Ocala Style | February 2022

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FEB ‘22


Home issue the


Just Listed

Gated Equine Estate – 14 +/- Acres

Privacy and Tranquility on 23.21 +/- Acres

Granddaddy Oaks provide gorgeous views on this farm located close to the Florida Horse Park plus access to the Florida Greenways & Trails. 4 Bed/3.5 Bath home plus screen enclosed pool, covered lanai, and summer kitchen. 4-Stall center aisle barn $2,175,000 with storage. Additonal acreage available.

Recently updated 4,000 SF estate with 4 bed/3.5 baths. Open floor plan with spacious great room plus stone fireplace. Pool. Zoned for horses or cattle. 9-Stall barn with tack/feed room, office, and 2 bed/2 bath guest apartment. Arena. Covered $1,795,000 storage building.

Brand New Construction!

26 +/- Acre Equestrian Oasis

4 Bedroom/4.5 bath home on 3.81 +/- acres. Formal living, dining room, and office/library. Chef ’s kitchen and large Master Suite with sitting area and walk-in closet. Recreation room with 14’ ceilings, beverage area and fireplace that opens onto the pool and lanai. 3-car garage. $2,494,000

Exquisitely designed 5,300+ SF residence. Foyer opens to living room, formal dining, and office. Spacious entertainment room. Screen enclosed lanai with brick paver deck, pool, and summer kitchen. 18-stall CB stable. Covered round pen with viewing area. Private stocked lake and basketball court. $2,975,000

Our results speak for themselves. List with Joan today! For these and other properties, visit JoanPletcher.com for information, videos and photos. Call or Text: 352.266.9100 | 352.804.8989 | joan@joanpletcher.com | joanpletcher.com Due to the privacy and at the discretion of my clients, there are additional training centers, estates and land available that are not advertised.

Oak Lane Plantation

Magnificent 132+ Acre Farm

165 +/- Acre farm is brimming with amenities and is graced with beautiful Grandaddy Oaks, gently rolling land, and alluring landscape. Residence with 4 bed/3 bath, clubhouse, 2 apartments. 2 workshops, plus 12-stall and 24-stall barns. This $4,650,000 property is a beautiful setting for you to enjoy.

2 Bed/2 bath home with guest cottage. 6-Stall barn with lush green paddocks plus a 16-stall barn with office. All this with mature landscaping and panoramic views that you will enjoy and want to share with your friends and family. Additional $3,700,000 acreage available.

Beautiful Nature Views

13.75 +/- Acre Equestrian Estate

Private, secluded and architecturally designed home on 207 +/pastoral acres. 5-Stall barn with 1 bed/1 bath apartment. Miles of trails for horse back riding, 4 wheeling, hunting or fishing. Adjoins Chernobyl Memorial Forest and access to Ocklawaha Prairie Area and National Forest. $2,497,500

State-of-the-art equestrian sporting horse facility that has it all. 13+ Acres, main home with 3 bedrooms/3.5 baths, gourmet kitchen, split floor plan, and 3-car garage. 24-Stall show stable, lush paddocks, plus apartment makes this farm perfect for any breed. $1,800,000

If you’re considering buying or selling, give us a call today! 352.266.9100

Publisher’s Note elissa Michaels, the author of The Inspired Room, once cautioned against the quest for a “perfect” home. “Your home will never be perfect as long as you continue to live in it. Your goal should not be perfection; it should be to create a home that inspires you to great things,” she said. I enjoy seeing the home issue come together every year but, understanding all the primping that goes on behind the scenes for the images you’ll see in this issue, I want to assure you that the most loved spaces in our homes usually aren’t this buttoned up. So, use these pages for inspiration but chin up, because on any given day our homes aren’t perfect either. We’ve got some great inspiration in this issue and want to thank all these locals who let us into their homes. Kacey and James Gray had their hearts set on a 1950’s-era home in the historic district that they could renovate and decorate in the mid-century style they both love. And that is exactly what they found beneath the magnificent oaks in their neighborhood in southeast Ocala, as seen on page 38. Kacey’s use of vintage influences, paired with pops of color and vibrant layered textures, gives the home an air of retro coolness paired with an aura of peacefulness. First-time homeowner Samantha Dailey certainly had the perfect role models in her parents Hugh and Valerie when she designed her dream home. Samantha says she visited model home listings in her mom’s real estate inventory and mixed and matched floor plans until she found a plan that fit her style and also would appeal to a future buyer. She took her Dad’s advice on putting in taller than normal doors to mirror the height of the cathedral ceilings. A custom-made barn style door into her oversized pantry also functions as a work of art and catches the eye from anywhere in the spacious main living and kitchen area. Check it out on page 37. In this issue, starting on page 32, we explore some trends that have come back around, making what is old new again—including, this year’s hot new color, botanicals, luxe fabrics and classic antique furniture. I think you’ll agree with me that no matter the size or design esthetic of your house, it will always be the personal belongings and people inside it that makes it a home.

Jennifer Hunt Murty Publisher

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Live Oak International is Back!


ne of the most exciting equine showjumping and combined driving tournaments in the world is returning to Ocala from March 3-6. Live Oak International will welcome competitors from around the globe and offer spectators a chance to visit the exclusive 5,000-acre Live Oak Stud farm. “There will be something for everyone, we’re the only combined driving and show jumping competition in North America. We will have a AdventHealth Ocala Kid Zone, Audi Gainesville Biergarten, several vendors, food trucks, VIP events and an opportunity to just be outside enjoying our beautiful, natural area,” offers Chloe Reid, co-president of the event with her uncle, Chester Weber, the world’s leading USEF Combined Driving National Champion. There will be a limited number of tailgating locations at all of the marathon obstacles on Saturday, which will give spectators an opportunity to gather friends and watch the live action from a prime spot. Reid says the levels of competition this year have been expanded to offer more divisions for amateur riders and younger horses, including the Live Oak International Youth Driving Division in which eight drivers under the age of 16 will be invited to participate, with all show expenses paid. As a grand prix rider herself, Chloe understands the valuable experience of competing at a world class venue and the education that it enables. The event, which was not held last year due to the pandemic, will again feature the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Ocala Grand Prix which will be increased to the CSI4*-W level. For the first time ever, a CSI1* division will be offered. The event offers more than $327,000 in prize money. Live Oak International will also be increasing the driving competition and is the only CAI3* on the continent. Reid notes that the marathon portion which is “action packed and very exciting” with the teams navigating tight obstacles is one not to miss, and the high-caliber show jumping grand prix on Sunday will showcase top talent. “Some people come out because they love show jumping and then find that they are fascinated by the combined driving excitement, and vice versa,” she shares. General admission tickets as well as VIP packages are available for the tournament and range from single day admission to weekend immersions. Tailgating spots along the marathon obstacles on Saturday go fast so purchase your tickets today! For more information, visit www.liveoakinternational.com

in this issue




ins ide r

vo w s




Project Hope provides help and resources to transition women and children out of homelessness.




Join us in celebrating local brides and grooms.

f e a tu r e s 32



The noted local arts aficionado creates palate pleasing Greek dishes full of color and flavor.



The Silver River Knap-In and Prehistoric Arts Festival will offer a chance to see flint knapping firsthand.

We visit the latest trends to help make your home a haven.


A new kind of music company is rising in Ocala.





Dave has colleagues who love the band Air Supply. As for Dave himself—not so much.


Kacey and James Gray remodeled their dream home and filled it with mid-century architectural and decorative elements.


Creating art can be a way to achieve clarity and growth for wellness.

On the cover: Leslie Hammond Photo by John Jernigan This page: left photo courtesy of Farrow & Ball paint & paper, center and right photos by John Jernigan

Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille 24 SE 1st Avenue, Ocala

(352) 840-0900 › hookedonharrys.com Mon-Thu 11a-9p › Fri & Sat 11a-10p › Sun 11a-8p Located in the heart of downtown Ocala, Harry’s offers traditional Louisiana favorites like Shrimp and Scallop Orleans, Crawfish Etouffée, Jambalaya, Shrimp Creole, Blackened Red Fish, Louisiana Gumbo and Garden District Grouper. Other favorites, like French Baked Scallops and Bourbon Street Salmon, are complemented with grilled steaks, chicken, burgers, po’ boy sandwiches and salads. Their full bar features Harry’s Signature Cocktails, such as the Harry’s Hurricane, Bayou Bloody Mary or the Cool Goose Martini. They also feature wines by the glass and a wide selection of imported, domestic and craft beer.

Happy Hour Specials: 2-7p every day $3 Draft Beer $4 House Wine & Premium Cocktails $5 Super Premium & $6 Harry’s Signature Cocktails $7 off bottles of wine We are open for dine in, carryout and delivery through Doordash and BiteSquad

Publisher | Jennifer Hunt Murty


Magnolia Media Company, LLC (352) 732-0073

1515 NE 22nd Avenue, Ocala, FL 34470

Editorial Art

EDITOR IN CHIEF Nick Steele nick@magnoliamediaco.com SENIOR EDITOR Susan Smiley-Height susan@magnoliamediaco.com

ASSOCIATE EDITOR Kristine Nolan Kristine@magnoliamediaco.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Julie Garisto JoAnn Guidry Scott Mitchell Jill Paglia Max Russell Dave Schlenker Leah Taylor

Marketing Sales

GRAPHIC DESIGNER/ PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Lisa Maliff lisa.maliff@magnoliamediaco.com

DIRECTOR OF SALES & MARKETING Andrew Hinkle andrew@magnoliamediaco.com

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CLIENT SERVICES GURU Cheryl Specht cheryl@magnoliamediaco.com

PHOTOGRAPHERS Bruce Ackerman Becky Collazo Meagan Gumpert John Jernigan Maven Photo & Film Tara McGovern Dave Miller Katelyn Virginia Photography Alan Youngblood ILLUSTRATOR David Vallejo

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Evelyn Anderson evelyn@magnoliamediaco.com Sarah Belyeu sarah@magnoliamediaco.com Ralph Grandizio ralph@magnoliamediaco.com Lee Kerr lee@magnoliamediaco.com

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Distribution Rick Shaw

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MORE BUYERS With passion that endures and unmatched expertise. It’s why we are the #1 Ocala Farm Realtors for 15 years & counting!

In 2021, Matt Varney represented buyers purchasing $104,138,731 in property. (This means Ocala Horse Properties brought the buyer!) The next closest Marion Co. realtor had $29,358,360 representing buyers! That’s a $74,780,371 difference! AGENT SUMMARY REPORT, OMCAR 1/1/21-11/18/21, SELLING SIDE.

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Social Scene Levar Thomas belts out a tune during the first concert in the new Reilly Noir series at the Reilly Arts Center. The December 10th concert featured The Funk Allstars and The Pyramid Horns. Photo by Maven Photo + Film


Black Box Theater Debut REILLY ARTS CENTER Photos by Maven Photo + Film, courtesy Reilly Arts Center

T Derris Lee

Carlos Vizoso



he joint was jumping during the December 10th concert featuring The Funk Allstars and The Pyramid Horns to christen the black box theater at the recently expanded arts center. The performance was the first in the new Reilly Noir series.

Cortnie Frazier

Jubilee Program

GREATER NEW HOPE CHURCH Photos by Bruce Ackerman

N Rev. Jerone Gamble

AACP Marion County Branch President J. David Stockton welcomed U.S. Representative Val Demings to the January 2nd event, during which she spoke about her proposed legislation, the Every Vote Counts Act, and vowed to protect every American’s right to vote easily, safely and securely.

DeNaya Wilkerson

Ocala City Council President Ire Bethea

Orlando Mayor Jerry Demings and U.S. Rep. Val Demings

First Friday Art Walk DOWNTOWN OCALA Photos by Becky Collazo


he streets were filled on January 7th with people checking out the artist displays, family-friendly activities and entertainers, including My Uncle’s Friend, The Allens, Leah Oxendine and Fareeza, all organized by Ocala Cultural Arts.

Mellisa and Brent Wiseman

Fe b r u a r y ‘ 2 2


Jesse Rochay

Sawyer Humphries

East Coast Youth Rodeo

WILLISTON HORSEMAN’S PARK Photos by Bruce Ackerman

C Jackson Manly

Kanton Anglin and Jackie Carver

Kade Bernard



owgirls and cowboys under age 19 showed off their skills in barrels, poles, team roping and more during the January 8th and 9th event. The festivities included vendors and entertainment and smiles as big as the hats and belt buckles.

Porter Humphries

Roland Russell

Conner Bennett, Cale Williams, Landon Stevens, Dalton Watson and Lane Crews

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On the Scene A guide to our favorite monthly happenings and can’t-miss events

Year Paso Festival 4 New World Equestrian Center The Paso Fino is a naturally gaited light horse breed with a history that stretches back over 500 years to the Cordela and Andalusia provinces of Spain. Pasos are prized for their smooth, natural, four-beat, lateral ambling gait. Central Florida has the largest population of Pasos and more Paso Fino foals are produced here than anywhere else in the country. The Ocala Paso Fino Horse Association offers two shows in one weekend, from the 4th through the 6th. For show schedule, visit pasofinoocala.com or email ocalapfha@gmail.com

The AdventHealth Grandview Invitational is a 3-day all breed draft horse hitch show, from the 4th through the 6th, featuring the Clydesdale, Percheron and Belgian breeds competing in the single horse all the way up through the eighthorse hitch. Marvel at 168 one-ton horses in a ring at the same time, along with 21 world class hitch wagons, being maneuvered by some of the best drivers in the industry. Organizers boast that “the pure power and excitement of this equine venture is one of the most crowd-pleasing horse events on the planet.” Gates open at 8am. Show starts at 12pm. For full schedule and details, visit grandviewinvitational.com

Annual Love of the Horse 5K 5 Third The Equine Medical Center of Ocala This charity 5K benefits the Foundation for the Horse, a group with more than 25 years dedicated to improving the welfare of horses through education and research. It has worked to advance care and compassion through disaster relief, veterinary projects in developing countries, veterinary scholarships and equine research. Race day starting time is 8am. For registration and details, visit loveofthehorse5K.itsyourrace.com

Top photo courtesy of Stunning Steeds. Bottom photo courtesy of Grandview Invitational.

Invitational 4 Grandview Florida Horse Park



SHOW J U M PI NG & C OM BI N ED DR I V I NG M A RCH 3- 6, 2022

@ l i ve o a k i nte r n at ion a l l i ve o a k i nte r n at ion a l .c om 2215 SW 110th Ave. Ocala, Florida 34481


Cattle Drive and Cowboy Round-Up Downtown Ocala Dust off your cowboy hat and shine up your boots for Ocala’s annual Cattle Drive and Cowboy Round-Up from 10am-2pm. Real cowboys drive Florida Cracker cattle through downtown Ocala to Tuscawilla Park and then the festivities begin. Enjoy live music, cowboy demonstrations, farm animals, craft vendors, food trucks, a kid’s corral, tractors and trailers. Visit ocalafl.org.

Discover the work of more than 250 fine artists from all over the country lining the streets of Mount Dora’s picturesque, lakefront, historic downtown district on the 5th and the 6th from 9am-5pm. The festival showcases a vast array of incredible talent and works that include painting, sculpture, clay, mixed media, photography, fiber art, fine fabricated jewelry and more. The festival also features wine tastings, food trucks, a free kid’s zone and live entertainment. The event is free to the public. Visit mdca.org

Equine Conference 5 Ocala Hilton Ocala This program of cutting-edge lectures and hands-on instruction for equine professionals, organized by the Florida Association of Equine Practitioners, an equine-exclusive division of the Florida Veterinary Medical Association, is focused on providing equine-focused learning opportunities and access to products and services. Visit fvma.org to register.

World Nights 11 Grandview World Equestrian Center On the 11th and 12th, Grandview Clydesdales offers two nights of elegant events under the evening lights at the prestigious World Equestrian Center, the largest equestrian complex in the United States. Designed to entertain and captivate you, these festive affairs incorporate the majestic power of the Clydesdale, Belgian and Percheron horse breeds with electrifying instrumental music. For more information, visit grandviewworldnights.com. 18


Derby 12 Duck Tuscawilla Park The third annual Duck Derby, hosted by the Ocala Rotary Club, follows the Cattle Drive and Cowboy Round-Up. 5,000 ducks will traverse the Tuscawilla Pond to win big. By adopting or sponsoring a duck, community members are eligible to win cash prizes. Proceeds benefit the Discovery Center along with other local Rotary Club projects. For entries and information, visit ocalarotaryclub.com

Clockwise from top left, photo by Paul Morris (morphoto.com) courtesy of Mount Dora Arts Festival, Cattle Drive and Duck Derby photos by Dave Miller

Annual Mount Dora Arts Festival 5 47th Downtown Mount Dora

Youth Fair 25 Southeastern Southeastern Livestock Pavilion The Southeastern Youth Fair (SEYF) is the premier not-for-profit, all-youth event for Marion County 4H and FFA members and the largest all-youth fair event in the state of Florida without a midway. The foundation of the fair, the Steer Show, began in 1941. 1978 was the start of the Horse, Beef Heifer, Poultry, Swine, Dairy & Meat Goat, Rabbit, Dog Obedience, Garden, Kitchen and Home Arts Show. The first Dog Agility Show began in 2004. The show promotes the importance of agriculture and its related industries in our area. The fair runs from February 25th through March 5th. Visit seyfair.com


Kayak and Koffee King’s Landing, Apopka The Marion County Parks & Recreation team will take participants to King’s Landing in Apopka to explore a new part of Central Florida. $25 per participant if you bring your own kayak equipment; $50 per participant if all gear provided. For ages 15 and older; ideal for beginners. Register at parks.marionfl.org or call (352) 671-8560.

Photo by Bruce Ackerman

County Fair 23 Marion I-75 Flea Market, Ocala The Marion County Fair, sponsored by Florida Kids Helping Kids (FKHK), presents Winter Carnival from the 23rd through the 27th. FKHK aims to give back to the community by providing educational opportunities, training and social services. The fair will open 4pm to 11pm weekdays and noon to 11pm on Saturday and Sunday. Entry is free. Midway ride tickets and wristbands for unlimited rides are available for pre-sale at dreamlandamusements.com. Wristbands may also be purchased at the gate for $35 dollars or individual tickets will be available for $1.50 each. Cash and, in some cases, credit cards, will be accepted for games and carnival food. In addition to the midway, there will be a petting zoo and pony rides. The fee to enter the petting zoo is $2 per person and you may purchase food to feed the animals. On Saturday the 26th, the fair will host both the Marion County Pageant and first annual Jr. Chili Cookoff (open to high school students and younger). The West Port High School Soccer team will operate an on-site day care to raise funds for their summer camps. The Lake Weir High School Jazz Band will maintain the self-parking lot and appreciate donations to help them attend an upcoming out-of-state competition. Visit marioncountyfairfl.com

in the Barn 25 Bourbon College of Central Florida Vintage Farm

A night of bourbon tastings, live music, live and silent auction items, and much more, beginning at 6pm, will benefit the mission of the Boys & Girls Club of Marion County. Tickets are $100 each for general admission and $150 each for VIP admission and tickets visit their Facebook page, call (352) 690-7475 or email admin@bgcofmarion.com.



(352) 237-1223


Fe b r u a r y ‘ 2 2



A Haven of Hope This Ocala outreach offers independence to homeless women and their children. By Susan Smiley-Height | Photography by Bruce Ackerman

April McDonald and Tami Webb


soft breeze ruffles the Spanish moss draping the enormous and ancient oak tree in the center of the Hope Villas campus in northeast Ocala. For many homeless women and children, the opportunities extended to them here are like a breath of fresh air as well. The Hope Villas apartment complex has 40 units, one of which is the office of Project Hope of Marion County (PHMC), a nonprofit organization established in 2007 by a faith-based community group. At present, 25 of the two-bedroom, two-bath apartments are home to homeless women and their children; the other 14 units are rented at market value to help sustain the program. “The greatest service we provide to Marion County is the transitional and supportive housing that we offer to single moms with children who are transitioning out of homelessness,” explains April McDonald, executive director of PHMC. “We are able to ensure that, at least right now, 25 women are not on the street with their children, in a car, on a friend’s couch, in an emergency shelter or at a rest stop. We encourage them, foster their selfsufficiency and help them to become independent 20


so when they transition from our program, the likelihood of them ever being homeless again is much less.” Under the program model, the women chosen to participate do not pay rent the first month. After that, they pay a subsidized fee to cover a portion of the rent as well as utilities. Once they find employment, the fees gradually increase until they can pay the full cost. The average residency is 12 to 18 months. Along with McDonald, Administrative Coordinator Tami Webb, Case Manager Charlene Robinson and Program Mentor Robyn Wagner also help provide an array of services that include counseling, financial skills development and trauma recovery. “This is such a wonderful program,” Webb offers. “There’s nothing else like it here.” PHMC is governed by a board of directors who guide policy and assure financial stability. Because the organization is faith-based, it does not receive state or federal funding. McDonald says community support is integral to the continued success of the program. “We continue to have a need for furniture donations, monthly monetary support, participation in our annual fundraiser in October, mentoring and volunteering,” she shares. “When you clean out your closets and you have kitchen stuff, bring it to us because anything you would use in a new setup, we could use. And the beautiful thing about it is, when our ladies leave, they take all their donations with them. That’s why we constantly have a need for furniture, cleaning supplies, linens, lamps and anything like that. Sometimes they come in with just a backpack.” PHMC estimates that domestic violence is the leading cause of homelessness for at least 60 percent of the women they serve. McDonald says there are currently 45 women on the waiting list for housing. “Three years ago, we had seven units and today we have 25. We’re looking to expand,” McDonald notes. “In fact, we’ve written several grant proposals and if we get them, then we’re going to expand to the last 15 units, hopefully!” To learn more, visit projecthopeocala.org


Ancient Implements By Scott Mitchell



Photo by W. Scott McGill/Shutterstock.com


re-sharpened as they became dull from use and heck calendars across Florida and you’ll tools were discarded when broken or worn out. find a variety of unique festivals that range Rock is practically indestructible and stone tools from celebrations of swamp cabbage in present archaeologists with clues about past culLabelle to the art of “worm grunting” in Sopchoppy. tures that are often all that remain of the people Not to be outdone, Ocala claims the Silver River who created them. Knap-In and Prehistoric Arts Festival. It takes Once we figured out how to make metals such place each February at the Silver River Museum, is as bronze and iron, flint knapping became less one of the largest events of its kind in the Southeast important but did not disappear. Early firearms and offers a chance to see flint knapping firsthand. used lock mechanisms that included a flint to The word knap means to break and originates create spark and fire the weapon. Armies and from Old German “knoppen” or Middle English hunters across most continents relied on this “knappen.” The act of “knapping” refers to the technology and kept flint knappers in business. controlled breakage of stone such as flint (or Flintlock muskets and chert in Florida) to crerifles were used up unate sharp tools. Prior to til the late 1800s and the invention of metals, traditional shooting sharp cutting impleenthusiasts still make ments made from stone and fire them today. helped people survive. Flint knapping Chopping or carving has seen a resurgence wood, butchering aniamong archaeologists mals for food or turning as a way to better hides into leather all understand the past require sharp-edged and artists who create tools. In the absence of beautiful recreations metal, stone is the next of ancient implements. best alternative. Each February, expert Prehistoric cultures knappers from across relied on stone tools. the country arrive at If people did not have the museum to demonaccess to suitable maAmerican Indian arrowheads made around 10,000 BC. strate their craft, trade terial, they would trade among themselves and with neighbors to get it. sell their work. While there is no swamp cabbage Spears and arrows, drills, knives, scrapers, axes, or worm grunting at this event, it is a fascinating adzes and other implements were tipped with glimpse into the past. sharp bits of stone. Flints and cherts resemble The festival will take place 9am to 4pm Febglass in the sense they are fine-grained and break ruary 19th and 20th. Admission is $8; free with very sharp edges. Knappers strike the stone age 5 and younger. For more information, visit in a controlled manner to shape the rock into the silverrivermuseum.com or call (352) 236-5401. desired tool shape. Raw stone was quarried from sources of parent Scott Mitchell is a field archaeologist, scientific rock, reduced to manageable chunks and worked illustrator and director of the Silver River Museum into finished tools. Stone was even cooked in fires & Environmental Education Center. to make it easier to shape. Working edges were


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Welcome Home To

Canterfield of Ocala

Life at Canterfield of Ocala

is meant to feel as home-like as possible but also providing many amenities not always found in the traditional home. From the moment you walk through the door you’ll notice our attention to detail. Elegantly designed community areas with rich traditional furnishings are the perfect place to gather with family and new friends.


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Dr. Sheila Noroozi, FACFAS

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352.867.0024 2825 SE 3rd Ct. | Ocala

FamilyFootAnkle.org Canterfield of Ocala_0222OS.indd 1

12/22/21 2:03 PM


Clearing the Air By Dave Schlenker | Illustration by David Vallejo


ast year, in a conference room in St. Petersburg, I gathered with colleagues—including two supervisors—and explained with deep conviction how I would rather pound nails into my ears than listen to Air Supply. Let me put it all in context: (1.) Air Supply is a top-selling soft-rock duo popular in the 1980s; they are known for love songs and more love songs. They’ve got good voices, but they were never my cup of tea. Too sappy. Too whiny. Too lovey-dovey and desperate. (2.) I support your right to listen to Air Supply. I understand good people actually enjoy Air Supply. I photographed an Air Supply concert once in a local retirement community; the venue was packed with hormonal grown-ups. A staffer had to peel a female fan off singer Russell Hitchcock. I’m told this is common. (3.) My staff meeting in St. Pete was about customer service and other business stuff, and I don’t remember how Air Supply surfaced. But we tumbled down a rabbit hole and I learned most of my colleagues, including—this is important—those supervisors, love Air Supply. But still I talked. And talked. Later, when an Air Supply-loving supervisor asked us to write productive ideas on sticky notes, I wrote about productive ways to avoid hearing Air Supply songs, including the nail-in-ear method. (4.) Oddly, I am still employed. (5.) The point: After my recent 54th birthday, I sat down to ponder practical lessons I have learned. On top of this list is never apologize for what you



like. Sports, movies, music, books, cargo shorts—if you dig it, don’t justify it. The heart wants what the heart wants, so crank up the disco and strap on those Crocs. There is no such thing—within reasonable confines of the law—as a guilty pleasure. That said, one important lesson I learned too late is to shut up about things you do not like, such as Air Supply. These days, time spent disputing personal preference is wasted time. Other practical lessons at age 54: — Life is too short for bad beer. — Always accept a free cup of coffee. — Always have pets. — Listen more, talk less. — Check with your spouse before selling things at a yard sale. — Keep your record albums. — Take pictures and print them. — Be in family photos. — When an out-of-state loved one is terminally ill, don’t plan your travel budget on the funeral. That plane ticket is better used visiting the loved one before that funeral. — My favorite lesson came in 1998 from a photojournalism professor: “Just be a nice person.” That is where I will end this column, although I need to apologize first. Air Supply, I am sorry for insulting your love songs. Honestly, I like them better than Starship’s We Built This City. In fact, I would rather snort sandspurs than endure We Built This…Dammit. So much for being nice. I will apologize to Starship when I am 55.




shley Yates and Holly Schmidt, better known as the “Sold Sisters,” own and operate Magnolia Homestead Realty. The founders of this top selling real estate brokerage credit their shared passion for the industry as the reason their sisterhood of real estate was born. Founded in 2018, the independent brokerage has the vision of building community, developing relationships within Ocala and enjoying the lifestyle that Marion County has to offer. The company takes its homegrown and locally owned leadership role seriously and it is reflected in the quality of agents and the quantity of record-breaking sales that Magnolia achieves year after year. The brokerage ended 2021 with more than $43 million in combined sales, landing Magnolia Homestead Realty in the top 35 brokerages among the Ocala/Marion County Board of Realtors. These results were achieved by a small army of 10 to 12 agents. In addition to the local market surge, Magnolia Homestead Realty has seen a rise in seasoned and new agents alike who are eager to disrupt this real estate market in 2022. The brokerage is always looking to add talented agents who are interested in cutting-edge technology, providing superb customer service and working in a fun-loving office environment located in the heart of downtown Ocala.

2137 E Fort King St Ocala, FL 34471 MarionCitrusCountyHomes.com (352) 895-0072

Community involvement is also important to the brokerage and Magnolia Homestead Realty enjoys supporting nonprofit organizations such as The Humane Society of Marion County and the annual Cornerstone School Chili Cook-off. The Sold Sisters don’t only sell the “lifestyle,” they live it. Both founders own agricultural properties. They also possess firsthand knowledge of cultivating the land, rearing livestock and the overall farmstead experience, making them experienced professionals whether you are planning to buy or sell a large or small farm. Magnolia Homestead agents view themselves as ambassadors for Ocala and the Marion County lifestyle and are passionate about real estate. Having a vast knowledge of the real estate sector, and being the local experts in the residential market, investment, farm and luxury properties, makes Magnolia Homestead the best choice for all your real estate needs. “After all, the only source of knowledge is experience,” according to Yates and Schmidt. After nearly 14 years of combined real estate experience, the “Sold Sisters” have the expertise to help their clients realize their real estate dreams. “If you build it, they will come,” the founders like to say. “And that they have.”

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Celebrate... You are cordially invited to celebrate Ocala’s newest brides and grooms, get a glimpse into their most special of days and hear firsthand about the memories that will always hold a place in their hearts. Pictured: Joanne Alfred & Benjamin Goolsby | Photographed by Tara McGovern


JOANNE ALFRED & BENJAMIN GOOLSBY April 25th, 2021 Photography by Tara McGovern Reception Venue: Circle Square Cultural Center Wedding Planner & Florist: Pascale Taradoux/La Vies Des Fleurs Hair and Makeup: Little Bird Beauty Her favorite memory: “I really enjoyed the special memories shared during the toasts. It reminded me of all the ways Benjamin and I had grown together while dating and it was great to be reminded in front of all our favorite people. Their favorite memory: “We enjoyed our first dance together, which we had been waiting for over one year since our official wedding date*. The song was from one of our favorite movies and was one of the reasons why we first became friends.” *The couple was married in 2020, followed by their wedding reception on April 25th, 2021.

JULIA & LAYTON POLLARD October 2nd, 2021 Photography by Katelyn Virginia Photography Wedding Planner: Blessed Magnolia Venue: CF Vintage Barn Florist: Graceful Gardener Their favorite memory: “Our favorite memory would be our first look. We are very happy we captured such an intimate moment on film. It turned out so beautifully and we will be able to remember it forever through the photographs.”

Image by Molliner Photography


Your special day can be everything that you’ve imagined. We offer a variety of services to match your wedding style. Customize your total experience from engagement parties to bridal showers and rehearsal dinners. Stunning indoor & outdoor venues | Professional wedding experts | Customized catering menus Guest accommodations weddings@goldenocala.com 352.629.6229 | goldenocala.com

d e r i p s n i e r u t na d color and woo

lots of texture

For 2022, designers have shown a strong return to soothing colors and materials gifted by mother nature. From wood and shades of green to upcycling— it’s all about renewal.

Now and Again By The Ocala Style Editorial TEam

Our favorite home trends for 2022 include the return of many classics that are always in good taste.

Every major paint company is offering up the lightest shades of green as an alternative to white. The pale greens can serve to extend nature into a room when they are painted on walls that have views of trees or grass. White accents give the space visual drama, highlight architectural features and can modernize a traditional dining room.

Clockwise from top right: Statement wall painted with Evergreen Fog from Sherwin-Williams, October Mist by Benjamin Moore brushstoke, Room painted with French Gray No. 18 by Farrow & Ball, Hallman Single Oven Italian Gas Range with True Convection in Emerald Green with chrome trim, available at homedepot.com and a paint sample of Evergreen Fog from Sherwin-Williams.






shades of green

Natural wood grains are back in demand at a time when many furniture companies are experiencing new inventory shipment delays. Conveniently, that makes the wood table or antique chair down at the vintage shop more attractive—if you are the sort that prefers immediate gratification, like us.


To keep things fresh, consider reupholstering. Head to a design center to find modern prints and some design advice, including how much to order and all the trim options available. Our friends at Koontz have quite the selection and you can count on getting some great advice. Antique stores and thrift shops are a great source for executing another design trend that we think is a classic—a mixed media gallery wall.

textured fabrics

After nearly two years of focusing on making our homes cozier, the importance of textured fabrics and layering has never been more “practiced.” Decorators have been leaning towards the most luxurious layers they can, including velvet, sherpa and bouchles. And, you’ll be happy to know fringe and tassels are back! Velvet is an upholstery fabric for the ages because it is both luxurious and durable. Since it has no raised weaves it is impossible to snag. Very convenient if you have as many pets as we do! Fe b r u a r y ‘ 2 2


Another design trend taking a cue from nature are botanicals— both bold and demure.

We love the striking botanical wallpaper that designer Jennie Holland of J Holland Interiors used as a focus wall for this bedroom in the home of Dr. Dennis and Jen Davis. The choice to use it not only behind the bed, but extend it along the angled ceiling creates a chic statement. The more delicate botanical design of the blue and white wallpaper and floral accessories are a classic design that will never go out of style. We’ve seen designers duplicate these botanical wallpaper prints into matching upholstery. In our opinion, that move might be crossing the line into a design trend you might tire of. Framed botanical prints can be an inexpensive, yet classic, art element that fits in many different types of design aesthetics. We think the ones shown here, without matting or ornate frames, keep it from becoming too precious, particularly against the moody wall color. “Botanical patterns within interior design have been used for centuries, but the variation in colors and scale have continued to evolve. We’re seeing more modern, abstract botanical prints as well as multi-color, oversized patterns,” offers Holland. “This fuchsia and white wallpaper print gave a Palm Beach-meetsSouth-of-France vibe, so we ran with a French theme throughout the room. The wallpaper helped us transform the entire space.” 36


Top photo by Alan Youngblood. Holland portrait by Meagan Gumpert.

bring on the botanicals

Great Expectations Meet the dynamic young professional who used inside information to create her “farmhouse modern” dream home. By Susan Smiley-Height | Photography by John Jernigan Ocala native Samantha Dailey grew up immersed in the world of agriculture and real estate, learning much from her father Hugh Dailey and mom Valerie Dailey. And from being a child on her family’s horse farm and small cattle operation to earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in animal sciences and agribusiness, she always knew the kind of home that she wanted to build for herself one day. While working as an agent at her mother’s real estate agency, Showcase Properties of Central Florida, and as an area sales manager for Seminole Feed, this busy young woman found time to do just that. She broke ground on her first home in June 2020 and completed construction in May 2021. She mixed and matched floor plans from other home projects to achieve a unique design that would not only suit her immediate needs, but that she believes will appeal to potential future buyers when she decides to move on. “The open concept was a must, since I like to entertain,” she offers. “I love the farmhouse look, but know it’s not for everyone so I made it ‘modern farmhouse’ with elements that could easily be changed to match someone else’s taste and kept a neutral color scheme.” One area in which she takes great pride is the master bath, where she created a large “wet space” that incorporates both a deep-soak bathtub and a spacious shower area. “It is definitely unique and I love the option to take a bath and still be in the ‘wet’ area when you get out,” she explains. One enters the distinctive 3-bedroom, 3-bath home through an open-concept great room with cathedral ceilings that seamlessly unite an inviting kitchen, cozy living area and a stylish dining room accented by a custom-made wood and acrylic barn-style door that fronts her oversized pantry and serves as a functional work of art or as she likes to say “statement piece.” The space is perfect for both entertaining and relaxing with friends and family, which is what she loves to do when she’s not working or exploring the great outdoors.


By Susan Smiley-Height Photography by John Jernigan

This native Ocala couple used their love of mid-century modern style to create a cozy and stylish home for their growing family.


cala natives Kacey and James Gray decided early in their marriage that they wanted to find a specific type of home in the historic district that they could customize to suit their taste. From the moment you first approach their home in Southeast Ocala, your attention is drawn to the gracefully gnarled oak trees in the front of the house and the commanding granddaddy oak shading the backyard. “We love the clean minimalism of mid-century modern architecture and design and were specifically looking for a 1950’s ranch-style house that would fit well with this vibe. It’s a timeless style that still feels fresh,” offers Kacey. “We immediately fell in love with the charm of the house, but the beautiful oak trees that are signature to the neighborhood—especially the one anchoring the pool area—really sealed the deal.” After they purchased their home in August of 2020, the young couple, who have a 3-year-old daughter and are expecting a second daughter this month, completed the majority of the renovations before they moved in. “We made quite a few updates to the inside of the home, including new flooring throughout, updates to the kitchen, adding large picture windows to bring in more natural light, custom closets and a gut renovation of all three bathrooms,” Kacey explains. “We also fully renovated the pool area and added a circular driveway out front. The master bathroom remodel was probably the biggest project. We knocked down the walls to open up the space and incorporated design

We love the clean minimalism of mid-century modern architecture and design. It's a timeless style. - Kacey Gray

elements like terrazzo and handmade cement tiles, a custom vanity and modern artwork and fixtures to make it our own. We did keep the original glass block windows that are true to the era.” Once the structural elements were in place, Kacey and James began to add decorative elements, including furniture with midcentury clean lines, elegant fabrics and bold colors. “We wanted to create a bright, clean, minimalist design that played well with the mid-century vibe of the home’s architecture and leaned into the indoor/outdoor feel created by the large windows and natural lighting,” Kacey shares. “We wanted a ‘modern bohemian’ style that still felt warm, which was achieved by incorporating pops of color, layered textures and hand-crafted elements. We decorated with a combination of vintage pieces and new pieces, incorporating lots of plants and eclectic design elements to ref lect Fe b r u a r y ‘ 2 2


our personal style.” James says the pool area is one of their favorite areas of the home. “It’s peaceful and private and a great area for entertaining,” he notes. “We love how the exterior of the home wraps around the pool for a cool mid-century feel. We transformed the space by resurfacing the pool, adding geometric tiles, redoing the pool deck with pavers, incorporating modern furniture and decor, and installing landscape lighting to brighten the space and highlight the oak tree that overlooks the pool.” The two are quick to offer praise to their realtor, Melissa Townsend, and said the remodel went more smoothly than anticipated, “which we attribute to the fabulous contractors we worked with,” says Kacey. “We have a never-ending project list but are happy with the amount of progress we’ve been able to make in the first year.” Kacey, Signature Brands, Marketing Director (Brand Management) and James, with Properties of the Villages, Real Estate, could have bought or built a home anywhere in the area but were determined to stay close to their roots. “We’re both Ocala natives and enjoyed growing up here,” shares James. “We love the character of the downtown area. I’ve spent my whole life here, so it’s very nostalgic taking our daughter places like Silver Springs that I went to as a kid. It’s been really cool to see the city transform over the years while keeping its smalltown charm." 42



In The Kitchen with Leslie Hammond This Ocala art expert serves her beloved Greek cuisine in handcrafted ceramics. By Susan Smiley-Height | Photography by John Jernigan


eslie Hammond, Ph.D., an archaeologist, accredited senior art appraiser and the former curator at the Appleton Museum of Art, loves Ocala but she also has strong connections to Greece and considers that ancient sun-kissed land to be her second home.



In her travels to Greece, Cyprus and Egypt, she has participated in archaeological explorations and immersed herself in the culture and traditions of these splendid regions. She also has brought back to Ocala some amazing artworks and a knack for preparing tasty and healthy dishes such as Fasolakia,


a traditional Greek vegetarian dish bursting with fresh flavors and vibrant colors. It is prepared using a basic cooking technique called “giaxni,” which translates into “steamy.” This popular technique of steaming in a large pan or pot is used in authentic Greek cooking to prepare anything from fish, meat or vegetables. Fasolakia combines green beans, onions, tomatoes and olive oil, which are simmered together until all the flavors mingle into a delectable vegetable stew. Hammond serves it with Tzatziki, a creamy and savory yogurt and cucumber dip. “The dishes are based out of my love for and lots of experience traveling to Greece,” she offers. “These are some of my favorite dishes and I thought they would be appropriate with Lent coming up. It’s typical Lenten food.” She explains that a meal in Greece normally would begin with “small plates” for sharing, followed by a main course. “It’s kind of like tapas. Basically, everybody shares food when they get to the Greek table,” she explains. “The Tzatziki is a dip that you serve with some great bread. You can also use the bread to sop up the sauce in the green bean dish.” Hammond, who grows her own herbs for cooking, such as mint, oregano, basil and dill, all of which are commonly used in Greek cuisine, is a vegetarian but says that any lamb dish, roasted chicken or fish would be a main course offering to complement these two time-honored small plates. And, in her home, the ceramic plates themselves have a history. “When I was doing my dissertation on Greek ceramics, I thought the best way to understand how they made ceramics was to take a class, so now

I have this thing about really looking at pottery,” she shares, sweeping her arm across a group of intricately-painted pieces in her kitchen. “I made a couple, a good friend made these two out of Italian terra cotta, that antique is from Israel. I pick them up when I’m traveling but also from FAFO and other places. It’s whatever catches my eye.” Hammond, who came to Ocala in 2002, said she is keenly interested in how artifacts “illuminate our understanding of past cultures, whether it came out of the ground and dates to the prehistoric period or it’s a painting that was created two months ago. It all tells a story.” During her most recent archaeological field work in Greece, her team discovered a Minoan artifact from the island of Crete on the mainland. “The site had a prehistoric element to it that we didn’t expect at all,” she shares. “Those kinds of things really make it exciting and fun.” Hammond believes that art can be culturally and economically important to the community and calls the art scene in Ocala “amazing” and says she has witnessed its “transformation” over the years. “Art is something that is vibrant and the more you have these things, the more engaged your community is,” she notes. “The Marion Cultural Alliance has been around a long time, but they have ratcheted things up recently and now there’s Magnolia Art Exchange; just all kinds of different organizations communicating with one another and collaborating—that makes a big difference.” And although her travels often take her to exotic destinations, she says that the close-knit creative community here in Ocala is what makes her feel right at home.

Tzatziki 16 ounces plain Greek yogurt (she prefers the Fage brand) 1 English cucumber (preferred) 3 garlic cloves crushed and minced (or more to taste) 2 teaspoons fresh mint chopped, with some whole leaves for garnish Salt and white pepper (preferred) to taste Kalamata olives for garnish Extra virgin olive oil for garnish Wash, partially peel and seed cucumber, then grate cucumber and let sit in colander to drain for about 15 minutes. › Place yogurt in medium size bowl and add garlic. › Place cucumber in a cloth or paper towel and drain remainder of liquid. › Add cucumber to yogurt and mix. › Add mint then salt and pepper to taste. › Add more garlic if desired. › Refrigerate for at least an hour, but the longer it rests the better. › When ready to serve, plate on a saucer or low rimmed dish and dress with olive oil, mint leaves and kalamata olives, as desired. Fe b r u a r y ‘ 2 2


Fasolakia 1 ½ pounds French green beans 1 pound yellow potatoes chopped or ¾ to 1 pound baby potatoes chopped in half 1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes or alternatively, both 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes and 1 14.5 ounce can of fire roasted tomatoes 12 cherry tomatoes, cut in half 1 yellow onion, chopped 4 cloves of garlic, minced 1 cup water 1 tablespoon tomato paste 2 teaspoons Greek oregano 1 teaspoon cumin 1 bay leaf ¼ cup fresh parsley Feta cheese Fresh squeezed lemon juice Olive oil Salt and pepper 46


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. › Heat olive oil (about 3 to 4 tablespoons) in a Dutch oven over medium heat. › Add onions and cook until soft, add garlic, cumin and oregano and cook about 5 minutes. › Add all tomatoes and paste, bay leaf and water; stir to combine. › Mix in green beans and potatoes as well as salt and pepper. › Increase heat to reach a simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes. › Stir well, cover and place in oven for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until sauce thickens (check and stir after about 15 to 20 minutes). › Serve hot or at room temperature and garnish with parsley, feta cheese, a squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.


Leading Realtors

With expertise in residential, commercial and horse properties, these real estate pros have the local know-how to meet your real estate goals.


Leading Realtors

Valerie DAILEY

Showcase Properties of Central Florida Valerie@ShowcaseOcala.com (352) 816-1080 Valerie Dailey has been the owner and broker of Showcase Properties of Central Florida since 2013, developing the company from fewer than 10 agents into a full-service brokerage with two locations and more than 40 agents. “Selling real estate isn’t just about selling properties. It’s really helping people discover the potential of the area and where they fit within that community,” she explains. “Our goal has always been to help our customers fall in love with where they live.” Having lived in Marion County for over 35 years, Valerie’s deep roots in the area have provided her a well-rounded network and first-hand knowledge of what makes Ocala so special. On top of running one of the area’s top independent brokerages, Valerie is also the first female president of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association, a member of the county’s Value Adjustment Board and the National Association of REALTORS® 2022 Director for Marion County. “Relationships have always been the backbone of my brokerage and my agents,” Valerie explains. “We’re very involved with our community and we have created a tradition at Showcase to give back as much as our community gives to us.”

Featured Listings

Tranquil 10-Acre Farm 5050 SW 140th Avenue, Ocala, FL 34481 $730,000


Winner’s Turf Farm 1749 NE 120th Street, Anthony $749,900

SOLD Tranquil 10-Acre Farm 5050 SW 140th Avenue, Ocala $730,000

SOLD 4-Acre Gentleman’s Farm 8801 SE 7th Avenue Rd, Ocala $850,000

Leading Realtors

Showcase Properties of Central Florida Erin@ShowcaseOcala.com (813) 478-1735


Erin Freel grew up in Weirsdale, developing her love for the land among cattle and citrus trees. Real estate is generational in her family, with her grandmother being a REALTOR®, her father selling and developing real estate, and now her 19-year-old niece, Riley, whom Erin mentors as a fellow REALTOR®. Erin is an entrepreneur, author and award-winning REALTOR® who has competed in more than 50 triathlons, including an Ironman, and has also earned a qualifying position multiple times for the USAT Nationals and Worlds. She’s even cycled across the state of Iowa—twice! In addition to farms and land, Erin’s 21 years as a business owner has inspired her passion for commercial property and she is currently in the process of earning a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) designation, which includes a two to three year educational component and a portfolio of over $20 million in commercial transactions. Regarding her love of our area, Erin offers, “My soul is fed by traveling and seeing the world, but there’s nothing better than coming home. My home is Marion County, Florida. It truly is the best place to live.”

Featured Listings

Tranquil 10-Acre Farm 5050 SW 140th Avenue, Ocala, FL 34481 $730,000




River Ranch 10779 HWY 314, Silver Springs $950,000

Tranquil Meadows Farm 3305 Marion County Rd, Weirsdale $1,350,000

Signature Brands SW 20th St and SW 44th Ave, Ocala 200,000 sq. ft. built-to-suit warehouse

Leading Realtors


Mary O’Neal MONeal@ShowcaseOcala.com (352) 553-7324 With more than 18 years of experience in the local real estate and equestrian industries, Mary O’Neal has a proven track record of success in the local high-end residential and farm markets. In 2021, Mary exceeded her personal best in sales by helping nearly 30 customers find their place in the Horse Capital of the World. Her extensive personal and professional network serves as an invaluable asset to her many customers and those ready to find their place in Ocala’s Horse Country will be hard-pressed to find a better match for their real estate needs. In addition to being a routine award-winner and top-ranking agent within Marion County in farm sales, Mary is highly invested in marketing, providing customers a top-notch variety of digital and print avenues as well as advertising opportunities in nationally and regionally distributed publications.

Featured Listings

Tranquil 10-Acre Farm 5050 SW 140th Avenue, Ocala, FL 34481 $730,000


Pine Meadows Farm 10580 NW 125th St, Reddick $1,800,000

SOLD Golden Ocala Custom Home 7573 NW 33rd Place, Ocala $1,180,000

SOLD Twin Oaks 11414 NW 123rd Lane, Reddick $1,600,000

Leading Realtors

Premier Sotheby’s International Realty tasha.osbourne@gmail.com (352) 613-6613


I am a Global Real Estate Advisor and your Top Lifestyle Producer in Ocala, with $47 million in 2021. I believe relationships matter and I’m obsessed with accomplishing the impossible for people. Luxury is a level of service—not a price point. I provide extraordinary marketing and reach for homes of every lifestyle. Helping buyers with their dream homes, accomplishing off-market property opportunities or building new homes with my amazing builders, I offer high quality for all my customers. My dedication and influence come from my true love for people. The possibilities are endless in Ocala. I love meeting people fresh to the area and sharing my passion for our community. From a one-bedroom condo to a $12 million 922-acre equestrian training facility, all my customers get the same quality of work and I tailor each experience to match their financial needs. I graduated college as a mother and wife, all while working and earning a BA in Business, which is testament to my determination to complete the work to realize my hopes and dreams. I’m a global real estate agent and I can connect you with one of my friends anywhere you’re looking to move. So, let’s get the conversation started and let your lifestyle run wild!

Featured Listings

Exceptional Living Stunning pool home on fairway at Country Club of Ocala. Elegant 5-bedroom, 4-bath; 3-car garage. Oak trees and mature landscaping.

Rustic Elegance Grandeur and sophistication. Over 5 acres in equine-friendly subdivision near shopping, restaurants and Florida Horse Park.

Training Center 110-acres, Spanish-style architecture, 70 stalls, 12 income-producing barn apartments, lush paddocks. Near HITS and WEC.

7927 SE 12th Circle, Ocala $845,000

6161 SW 18th Court Road, Ocala $999,999

5350 SE 212th Court, Morriston $4,300,000

Leading Realtors


Ocala Business Brokers, Inc. connie @ocalabb.com (352) 502-3811 More than 40 years ago, Connie Ann started selling businesses in her hometown of Key West, where her mother owned a large real estate company. As she was just getting started in the business, her mother assigned her the “tough” transactions, selling businesses either with or without the properties. “I thank my mom, who is now in heaven, for helping me find my niche,” Connie Ann explains. “I truly enjoy working with new and seasoned entrepreneurs as they enter and exit these important chapters in their journey.” Connie Ann resides in Ocala with her husband. In addition to spending time with her family and friends, she enjoys attending church and is incredibly open about her faith. Throughout the community, she is known for her leadership and sense of humor. Ocala Business Brokers opened in 2008 and has a diverse team that includes a local attorney, a seasoned realtor, a new agent who sold his own business in 2020 and a mergers and acquisitions expert. Connie has won numerous awards and is one of the most sought-after brokers in Florida. When asked to sum up her business in just a few words, Connie offers, “My business is to help you buy or sell your business.”

SOLD Taylor Rental Equipment and Party Rentals (business with property).



Kids City USA (formerly Small Talk Early Learning Center) business and property.

The iconic Bruster’s Ice Cream, business and property, sold to Jeremiah’s Italian Ice.

Leading Realtors

Joan Pletcher Real Estate Network joan@joanpletcher.com (352) 804-8989


With more than $100,000,000 in local real estate listings, Joan has earned a reputation as the region’s top seller and most trusted expert for luxury estates, horse farms and land. In 2021 alone, she amassed total sales of $139,811,950. She has built her legendary track record of success by exhibiting an unparalleled combination of professionalism, integrity and relentless commitment to her clients, and by developing a personal relationship with each client and focusing on their unique needs, interests and desires. She believes the Ocala region is home to the most beautiful equestrian estates and horse farms in the United States and that the natural beauty of the area, along with an amazing variety of equinecentered activities and venues, such as the phenomenal new World Equestrian Center, makes this a place that more and more people want to call home. As a residential, equine property and land development REALTOR® since 1985 and a horsewoman herself, Joan remains committed to unparalleled attention and service for her clients and ensuring a bright future for the community. “What drives me is the smile and the happiness I see on the face of my client when they walk on the right property for them,” she says. “That is my passion.”

Featured Listings

Specializing in Estates and Equestrian Estates.

Vacant, Land, Farms and Training Centers.

Large or Small – we can help you with your Real Estate needs.

Leading Realtors


Premier Sotheby’s International Realty stacey.rollins@premiersir.com (352) 221-9913 I have a multi-million-dollar track record in sales and take pride in the fact that past clients have referred their loved ones to me. Because people trust me with one of their biggest assets, I take my work seriously. I’m proud to represent one of the world’s most recognized and respected luxury brands. Every client is different, so I ask key questions to better understand what they are looking for and to help find options to meet their objectives. And because buying and selling real estate can be an emotional experience, I want my clients to know I’m a trusted advisor who can help them through the process. I have an extensive network of contacts, which is helpful when something unexpected pops up and sometimes just a phone call or two can help a client reach his or her goals at the closing table. I grew up on a large farm, so I appreciate open spaces. There is so much natural beauty here, from the rolling hills to our beautiful springs. Ninety-five percent of my buyers are from out of town. I especially enjoy showing them properties and hearing them say, “This is exactly what we want.”

Featured Listings

Exquisite Estate Beautifully landscaped 2.24 acres in town, 30 ft. wood beam ceilings, gourmet kitchen with lots of cabinet space, granite countertops, top line appliances, Florida room, theater room, over 10,000 sq. ft. home.

Mini Farm Renovated ranch home on 2 acres. Extra-large primary suite, chef ’s kitchen, custom bar, media room, Florida room opens to fenced backyard with covered pole barnlike area, fire pit and hot tub.

SOLD French Kiss Farm An incredible 15-acre property near the Ocala Jockey Club and Majestic Oaks is a true gem in the Horse Capital of the World.

Leading Realtors

Stellar Real Estate Agency Stellar@StellarREA.com (352) 585-1562


Whether buying or selling land, residences, luxury homes, farms or commercial properties Nikki enthusiastically applies these facets to her career and clientele. Nikki draws on her personal and professional experiences and resources for clients locally and globally and has established a stellar reputation for going above and beyond. Being detail oriented and results driven has taken Nikki from starting real estate five years ago to becoming a multi-year, multimillion-dollar producer and outstanding achiever, to opening her own brokerage. Stellar Real Estate Agency was established two years ago, a unique relationship business that has a signature approach for a modern business built on classic principles. Nikki thrives on making relationships and referral business from those accustomed to her exceptional service and expertise. Each client and transaction is unique and having the best resources to provide for clients is a fundamental piece of Stellar Real Estate Agency. Nikki provides a concierge service from start to finish knowing how precious each client’s time is. She is a member of Realm, “a carefully vetted group of independent luxury real estate professionals from across the globe operating at the very highest level.” She is also a Certified Luxury home marketing specialist. “I love making dreams happen,” she says. “My goal is to provide exceptional service exclusively tailored to each individual client.”

Featured Listings

High and Dry Twenty acres high and dry; ready for your new farm or residence in Levy County.

Key Location Key lot off Highway 50 Cortez Boulevard, off of I-75 in Hernando County. Plans for buildout available to qualified buyers. Contiguous parcels available separately.

Large Parcel Can be subdivided into five separate parcels. New Citrus County exit on the Suncoast Parkway.

Leading Realtors


Ocala Horse Properties matt@ocalahorseproperties.com 352-615-7001 With $188,000,000 in volume in 2021, Matt is once again Marion County’s leading realtor. He believes that teamwork, education and being invested in the community are keys to success “Our clients come to us not just for our knowledge of horse farms, but because of how involved we are in the equestrian community, whether it is protecting horse farms or the area’s open spaces through organizations such as Horse Farms Forever,” says Matt, a founding member of the organization. He says the team at Ocala Horse Properties works together to ensure that every client enjoys the ultimate in customer service. “It’s about working together so all of us succeed,” he insists. “There’s no better team than I have with my business partners Chris and Rob Desino and our wonderful staff.” In selling more than double the next closest realtor in 2021, Matt says education is imperative. “Our extensive experience allows us to educate clients to a higher degree than the competition and the numbers in 2021 confirm that,” he states. Matt started in real estate at 23 and later became the number one realtor in Wellington (Palm Beach County) before he moved to Ocala. Matt and his wife, equine veterinarian Dr. Courtney Varney, live on a horse farm with their son Hudson.

Featured Listings

Willow Winds Resort-like 193+ acre farm with spectacular contemporary main home, additional residences, 97’x30’ infinity pool, huge outdoor entertaining area, multiple barns and horse amenities, 1/2 mile track. Offered at $13,995,000

Golden Ocala Estate Luxury home next door to the WEC. It overlooks the finishing hole of the brand new 9 holes at the Club’s championship now 27-hole golf course. Offered at $3,995,000

Ocala Downs Farm This farm is a quick drive to Golden Ocala and the World Equestrian Center. Beautifully maintained and landscaped home, 3-stall barn and private riding trails. Offered at $1,465,000

Preview Night TUESDAY, MARCH 1, 5-7 P.M., CF Ocala Campus, Ewers Century Center

✓ LEARN about academic programs. ✓ MEET representatives of clubs and organizations.

✓ FIND OUT about student and campus services.

✓ GET HELP with admissions and financial aid.

✓ PLAN a fun, successful college experience.

CF.edu/PreviewNight | 352-873-5800 –an equal opportunity college–


Garden Party: Botanical Paintings by Susan Martin Through April 24 Appleton Museum, Artspace and Store


Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday, noon-5 p.m. 4333 E. Silver Springs Blvd. | AppletonMuseum.org

-an equal opportunity college-

Sound Minds A new kind of music company is rising in Ocala, led by a dynamic team of collaborators.

By Nick Steele | Photography by John Jernigan | Lisa Midgett portrait by Meagan Gumpert


n 2020, noted local philanthropists David and Midgett introduced the community to their North Magnolia (NOMA) Gallery in the storied 1939 Coca-Cola bottling plant building at 939 North Magnolia Avenue. The fine arts gallery was created to help expand the existing art scene in Ocala and

create even more opportunities for local artists. The couple generously supports a wide range of arts organizations through The David & Lisa Midgett Foundation. Lisa also serves as chair of the Marion Cultural Alliance and David is on the board of the Reilly Arts Center, as well as the Community Foun-

dation for Ocala/Marion County. The gallery was not the only venture the couple had in mind for the historic venue. The pair, who have known one another since the tender age of 11 and who sang together in church throughout their youth, envisioned creating an indie record label. “We’ve just always had music and art in our lives,” Lisa confides. For that venture, which they named NOMA Records, they enlisted the help of their talented friends, husband and wife Bert Smith and Xochitl Jacques-Smith—affectionately referred to as “Big Bert” and “Xochee.” Both contribute essential expertise to the mix. Xochitl, the company’s chief marketing officer, brings a wealth of experience in marketing, brand development and media relations and Bert is an acclaimed musician and record producer, having worked with A-list artists and recording projects in Los Angeles and Miami. “Our getting together is an interesting partnership,” notes David, who is the chairman of the label as well as the president of The Midgett Law Firm, in his signature self-effacing style. “My music background is...well, I can play a little bit of piano, but I’d be better on the kazoo.” “I started in the business professionally at age 16,” Bert recalls, though he had been playing the drums, keyboards and a Hammond B-3 organ in church from about the age of 4. “From there it progressed to writing songs. My cousin built a small studio set-up in his house, where we began to record and make beats. By 16, I had my own studio in my basement.” At 18, he had placed his first song with multi-platinum pop sensation Enrique Iglesias. “From 18 and on, I worked in the industry composing and producing for multi-platinum artists including Beyonce, Michael Jackson, The Spice Girls, Jennifer Lopez and Toni Braxton,” he explains. “It’s been an amazing journey to be able to work with such esteemed artists and talent from such a young age. It never gets old.” He counts his time working with Michael Jackson among his greatest career highlights. “It was an honor to be able to co-write and produce on his last studio album Invincible,” Bert recalls. “I got to spend a lot of time with him and witnessing his creative genius is something I will never forget.” That sort of collaboration is inherent in the vision for NOMA Records and the group is passionate about helping emerging artists and songwriters develop their craft and create lasting careers. “I’ve worked with major record labels and artists for the majority of my career. The opportunity to start an independent record label is the next

Lisa Midgett

progression,” Bert asserts. “I want NOMA Records to be a part of developing and producing the next wave of new talented artists and a few Grammys along the way wouldn’t hurt either. My role as CEO is making sure we’re developing, producing and distributing music and content at the highest level.” “When Bert and I first started talking, he wanted a partner who could handle the business side of things,” David explains. “I get to do the resource and business development work and he is focused on the creative side. He’s just phenomenal at what he does and all of his contacts are going to allow us to have those partnerships beyond what happens here. We’re not looking to be a little local record label.” They are also not looking to be a record label in the traditional sense of cutting albums. NOMA Records aspires to be a new kind of music company with the mission to help songwriters make the most of their songs in the digital age. Over the past 20 years, the music industry has been transformed by technology and true innovators have developed non-traditional ways to monetize music consumption and conceive of different models that capitalize on new opportunities. Fast Company magazine recently said of the shift, “The 10 most innovative music companies of 2021 spent the year changing the industry’s tune for the better.” “Xochee and Bert secured a partnership with Dolby Atmos, so our studio has a new immersive audio setup. Apple Music is doing it. Netflix is Fe b r u a r y ‘ 2 2


“We’ve been working a lot more with songwriters than artists. We brought in some new folks to develop and some really established songwriters,” David shares. “One of Bert’s friends is Robert Waller. He’s had multiple Grammy nods for work with Beyoncé. He came in and worked with our new songwriters. This past year was just put your head down and create, so we’ve got about a dozen albums worth of music. It’s about 130 songs. The idea was to get the catalog created and right now Bert and Zulu (engineer/vocal producer) are in the studio mixing and mastering all those songs—getting them perfect.” From there David meets Goliath…or more accurately, NOMA engages a group of Goliaths. According to WIRED magazine, “Three major record labels produce two-thirds of all music consumed in America. They are the most powerful buyer of music and talent, and they use that power to prioritize a handful of mega-stars and pop hits. They pitch music into massive radio conglomerates and streaming platforms that control how music is consumed, and they collect an ever-growing share of industry revenue.” David Midgett, Xochitl Jacques-Smith and Bert Smith And though things worked out for the biblical David, there’s doing it. You’re starting to see the first sound bars no need for a battle this time out, as the David in come out for it. It’s their spatial audio, immersive this tale has an inside man on his side. audio. Instead of just 5-1 Dolby, you’ve got height “Bert’s got contacts at Sony and Warner Chapto it as well. You can make things go over your head pell and all the major record labels. We want partinstead of just going around,” David explains. “Dolnerships with those ‘majors’ for distribution so their by came here and worked with us and now we’re artists will come here and record… their songwritcreating educational video content for them. And ers will come here and write with our songwriters. they’re going to help our artists and our songs on A small independent label like ours can scout talent, their playlists. We’re one of the only Atmos studios bring them in, record and do things a lot less exon the East Coast and the only one in Florida. It’s a pensively than the big guys can. But, ultimately, we small studio, but it’s state-of-the-art. All that digital need them to get the distribution, to get the buzz, to technology combines with nice analog technology to get the artist a break—that’s what they’re great at.” create a specific kind of sound.” What they believe will allow them to secure The team spent 2021 building the studio out, these relationships is further innovation. signing artists, hosting writer’s camps and bringing “A lot of people don’t know that when you hear in songwriters. a song on the radio, there’s two different copyrights 60


involved: the song composition and the master recording. The songwriter who owns that song, along with the publisher, gets paid on the composition copyright, the artist who sings and the record label get paid when the song is played,” David explains. “We’re really focused on the song copyrights right now. Everything we’re recording is done as if it’s a finished product. It’s not the kind of thing that’s recorded in someone backyard or a garage demo. These are finished records—ready to go. First, we’re looking to place some of these songs. If we can send some of these to Warner Chappell and they go, ‘Oh, we have an artist at Warner Records and this song would be perfect for them,’ we place that with that artist. We get paid upfront. Our songwriters and us, as publishers, get paid and then there’s a better residual income because you’ve now got a star singing that song. Second, we’re trying to do songs so they are in good enough shape that we could place them directly for “sync rates” for film and TV. So, for instance, on Netflix or Showtime when you watch your average show you hear 15 different song placements. There’s a huge market for that, and it’s burgeoning. They want songs where the person who’s pitching that for placement has both the master recording and the composition, because trying to track those down and negotiate with everyone, get everyone credited, get everyone paid…it’s kind of tough because those are all negotiated one at a time. We go to these larger record labels and publishers with these packages of songs and say, ‘Look what we were able to do on our own. Here’s the catalog we’ve created this year. If we partner and you provide some funding, we can bring more artists in. We can produce more of this kind of music for you’. That’s really the primary push, to use the catalog to create new relationships.” “We’re focused on connecting with new and Bert Smith and Zulu

established talent. Collaboration and community is so important in the work we do,” Xochitl notes. “The evolvement comes from each artist and song. It’s exciting and the possibilities are endless.” Another way in which the label is breaking with the past is in the approach to how artists are compensated for their work. “You have these traditional loyalty deals in the music business where they sign you as an artist and they own your master recordings and you get like a 12% to 13% royalty subject to recoupment. You’re never going to make any money on that,” David maintains. “Our partnerships with our artists are important to us, so we have these deals that are basically called net-50 contracts. They are true partnership deals, where we’re going to split everything 50/50 with the artist. It makes it a much more equitable situation than a lot of things in the past.” As for what kind of artists they are looking for, David offers an equally modern answer, “We’re always looking for creativity, people who are already performing live shows and people who are savvy about exposure, fan engagement and marketing.” That’s where the group’s style guru comes in. “I have the best job,” Lisa asserts. “Sure, Bert makes the music, David handles the business, Xochee does her masterful marketing, but I do image. I help the artist develop their personal style and brand. The part of the job I love best is helping people gain confidence. That may start with something as simple as clothing, but I also hope to help them realize who they really are and identify what they want from their career. I’m excited to be a tiny part of bringing this independent record label to Ocala,” she continues before adding, “and excited to pick out my dress to wear to the Grammys!” For more information, visit nomarecordsglobal.com




Creating art can be a way to achieve clarity and growth for wellness. By Susan Smiley-Height


here are myriad ways to improve and enhance one’s physical and mental wellness. Among those are programs offered by community groups as well as in clinical settings by highly trained and nationally certified art therapists. Such creativity in the latter case goes much deeper than painting a symbolic chrysalis from which a butterfly emerges with a new body and beautiful wings. According to the American Art Therapy Association, “Art therapists work with people who are challenged with medical and mental health problems as well as individuals seeking emotional, creative and spiritual growth.” Art therapists are master-level clinicians and can be found working in venues such as hospitals, schools, clinics, private practice, psychiatric and rehabilitation facilities, crisis centers and senior communities. The Guest House Ocala, a recovery center for adults, offers multifaceted programs to patients at the facility, including art therapy. “Art therapy connects to the part of the brain that processes emotion and instinct; talk therapy to the logical parts of the brain,” offers Thomas Pecca, the senior clinical advisor at the venue. “For true healing, we must engage all three and the combination of art, experiential and talk therapy do that.” Kristi Labenne is the art therapist at The Guest House Ocala and a certified trauma therapist. We asked her to tell us about her experiences.

Kristi Labenne

How does art therapy work? It is designed as a creative modality to heal old wounds and emotional trauma. It allows the individual to explore areas of trauma and/or addiction that may be hidden and not easily accessed by talk therapy. Exploring the issue is often less intimidating using the artwork created to ask questions and explore difficult topics such as sexual trauma, love and sex addiction, co-dependency, chronic depression, anxiety, substance use disorder and process addictions (process addictions are linked to behaviors including eating, having sex, shopping, gambling, playing video games and social media bingeing). Each art therapy directive is designed to assist with the individual’s therapeutic goals. My experience facilitating art therapy sessions has led me to believe each individual has an inner knowing or creative healer that guides them through the artistic process to reveal a truth needed to facilitate change. My therapeutic training helps facilitate this experience in a safe and supportive environment. Art therapy is not about how well you can draw, paint or use a medium. It’s about engaging in the creative process, exploring the language of the heart, sublimating feelings and emotions, and allowing the artwork produced to act as a translator. What are some of the media used? Art therapy modalities consist of a variety of media such as paint, clay, markers, collage, 3-D, oil, spray paint, craft dolls, tissue and craft paper, mixed media, giant puzzles for unity projects, wooden stick figures glued to a painted canvas to represent where the person feels they are in an unhealthy cycle or pattern of behavior and masks sculpted and painted to create a visual image of what it is like to be in active addiction or recovery. How did you decide on this career? My passion started at an early age, painting with watercolor. My parents enrolled my brother and I in art courses, paid for private oil painting classes and sent me to Italy on an art history tour in high school for college

credit. I was in advanced placement art in high school and enjoyed teaching kids and sharing the creative process with others in the community. I graduated with a B.A. from Pacific University in 2001 and immediately started to complete psychology courses for the graduate art therapy program at Marylhurst University. I am by nature a healer, an advocate for others and a creative person, so a career in art therapy seemed like a perfect fit. What brought you to Ocala? I am in long-term recovery and lived through an all-consuming addiction years before becoming sober. I was offered the gift of recovery through an intervention from friends who contacted my family. I began my journey in recovery at a long-term treatment facility. As I became committed and passionate about working in the field of addiction, I realized my darkest days could be used as one of my greatest assets, not only as a woman in recovery but as an art therapist. I moved to St. Augustine in 2015 to help open a long-term drug and alcohol recovery center and began implementing art therapy. About four years into recovery, my trauma presented in ways that were disruptive and unmanageable. I sought counseling and it helped for a time but wasn’t enough. I

was blessed to attend a “Spirit2Spirit Healing” trauma retreat, hosted by Judy Crane and Tom Pecca of The Guest House Ocala, which changed my perspective on how trauma affected my life and so many of us working as professionals in the field of recovery. This opportunity to engage with my own trauma work and become a certified trauma therapist helped me avoid relapse, capitalize on the gift of my artistic ability professionally and personally, and promote a future as a thriving art therapist. To learn more, visit arttherapy.org and for more information on The Guest House Ocala, visit theguesthouseocala.com.

Artistic Options


here are several arts programs in the area, some of which are targeted as therapy and some that are not but are said to achieve that outcome as part of the creative process. There also are programs that offer art created as part of the healing process as fundraisers for local programs. Examples include: • Hospice of Marion County: Art therapy classes at the Monarch Center for Hope and Healing. hospiceofmarion.com • Florida Center for the Blind: Offering art therapy through the enrichment class program. flblind.org • Kimberly’s Center for Child Protection: Children create artworks that are auctioned off in the Art & Soul fundraiser



for center programs. kimberlyscenter.org • Master the Possibilities: In the Reflections on Loss Through Art course, students review and reminisce with pointers for resolving grief through art, collage, journaling and crafts; the next session will be in May. In the meantime, numerous art classes are offered such as ceramics, pottery, stained glass, painting, pine needle basket weaving, rock painting and making fairy houses. masterthepossibilities.org • Marion Cultural Alliance: Numerous programs, such as the annual Art of Aging in partnership with Marion Senior Services. mcaocala.org and marionseniorservices.org • The nonprofit Wear Gloves

Inc. helps those in need get back on their feet and rejoin the community through initiatives including the Dignity Center, Dignity Roasters Coffee and Church in the Garden. The Art Recovery program is offered at the center each Tuesday. weargloves.org. • The Artistic Spectrum is a nonprofit that offers studio time and art classes to the public. Proceeds go towards autism acceptance and other special needs causes. theartisticspectrum.org • UF Health Shands Hospital: As part of the Arts in Medicine Program, art therapy is used with children, adolescents and their families to support the medical healing process. artsinmedicine.ufhealth.org

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