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SHELBY Living

Helena

Shelbyliving.com

Belles Molding the next generation of Southern women

The Bryant House

S Step inside i id the h 2013 Decorators’ ShowHouse

Bite-sized gourmet Bud’s B ud’s Best Best Cookies Cookies brings sweet success to Shelby County

June 2013

June 2013 • $4.95

Composting: Nature’s recycling

June 2013 | 1

Call

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to help protect your home, health & property!

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FROM THE EDITOR

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id you know a quarter of Shelby County’s population is under the age of 18? That’s a lot of young people! In this issue of Shelby Living, we share the stories of some of our county’s young residents. I was really impressed by their accomplishments and interests, and I think you will be too. First up is 16-year-old Rachel Irvin. The Maylene resident is a budding seamstress and one of her designs was featured in Birmingham Fashion Week 2013. Her passion is creating period costumes, and she shares some of her favorites with our readers this month. We also featured Ashley Tombrello, an Alabaster resident with cystic fibrosis. Ashley’s story caught the attention of Magic Moments, a Birmingham-based non-profit that fulfills the wishes of chronically ill children in Alabama. The organization sent her to New York City to experience life as a model, complete with a photo shoot. Finally, we caught up with the ladies of the Helena Belles. The organization is teaching its members how to be ladies and leaders. It’s great to see young citizens learning the importance of civic involvement and good manners, and I expect we’ll see these young women go on to achieve much in their future. I hope you enjoy reading about these interesting and accomplished young women. As always, feel free to share suggestions, comments or story suggestions with me. I can be reached at Katie.mcdowell@shelbyliving.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

SHELBY Living EDITORIAL Katie McDowell Amy Jones Neal Wagner Christine Boatwright CONTRIBUTORS Lisa Phillips Laura Brookhart Terri Sullivan PRODUCTION Daniel Holmes Jamie Sparacino Amy Baldis Jon Goering MARKETING Alan Brown Jill Harvell Thomas LaBoone Nicole Loggins Rhett McCreight Meagan Mims LaShan Johnson ADMINISTRATION Tim Prince

Katie McDowell, Editor

Jan Griffey

Katie.McDowell@ShelbyLiving.com

Mary Jo Eskridge Annie McGilvray Hailey Dolbare Christine Roberts

ON THE COVER

Merry Michael Ramsey, a senior in the Helena Belles, is pictured at the Helena Amphitheater. Cover design: Amy Baldis Photography: Jon Goering

Shelby Living is published monthly by Shelby County Newspapers Inc., P.O. Box 947, Columbiana, AL 35051. Shelby Living is a registered trademark. All contents herein are the sole property of Shelby County Newspapers Inc. [the Publisher]. No part of this periodical may be reproduced without written permission from the Publisher. Please address all correspondence (including but not limited to letters, story ideas and requests to reprint materials) to: Editor, Shelby Living, P.O. Box 947, Columbiana, AL 35051. Shelby Living is mailed to select households throughout Shelby County, and a limited number of free copies are available at local businesses. Please visit Shelbyliving.com for a list of those locations. Subscriptions are available at a rate of $12 for one year by emailing subscribe@shelbyliving.com, or calling (205) 669-3131, ext. 21. Advertising inquiries may be made by emailing advertise@shelbyliving.com, or by calling (205) 6693131, ext. 11.

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WHAT’S INSIDE

features 18 MODEL MAGIC Non-profit makes modeling dream come true for Alabaster teen

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HELENA BELLES Helena Belles organization is molding the next generation of Southern women

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B BITE-SIZED GOURMET Bud’s Best Cookies brings sweet B success to Shelby County

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WHAT’S INSIDE

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36

54 in every issue gardening 7

THE SIMPLE LIFE

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SHORT STORIES

60

SHELBY SPOTTED

80

OUT & ABOUT

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WHY I LOVE SHELBY COUNTY

arts & culture 10

CREATIVITY TAKES COURAGE A day in the life of Thompson Intermediate School’s art club

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READING ROOM Chelsea librarian shares why she loves to read

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LEARNING THROUGH ART Shelby County Arts Council offers summer program for children with special needs

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THE 16-YEAR-OLD SEAMSTRESS Maylene resident’s design garners her a spot in Birmingham Fashion Week

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NATURE’S RECYCLING Composting benefits the environment and your checkbook

home & food 40

WELCOME TO THE DECORATORS’ SHOWHOUSE Hoover home gets makeover to benefit annual ASO fundraiser

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FAMILY FARE Brava Rotisserie Grill offers a fresh take on fast food

50 Items that are sure to add a bit of whimsy or elegance to your home.

THE SIMPLE LIFE

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Rachael Ray’s Secret

s the world you’re living in on a daily basis causing you to not blink for fear you may miss something? Or are you afraid if you blink you might fall asleep because you are running in every crazy direction? Notice the verbiage, “the world you’re living in on a daily basis.” Lisa Phillips, owner of SimpleWorks, Each one of us lives in our own Simpleworksmtsp.com reality. lisa@simpleworksmtsp.com We fill the 24 hours we’re 205.981.7733 given with the things that bring us joy, happiness and blessings. But wait a minute. It’s not always cake and roses in my world! Where do the collisions, confusion and chaos fit in? How do you juggle kids, work, exercise, cooking, friends, sickness, bosses, bills and something that is highly overrated and undervalued called sleep? Your answer is in a new word called “e-ad.” Say it three times. E-ad. The definition of e-ad is “to consciously evaluate your own reality in order to create the lifestyle you desire through elimination, automation and delegation.” Eliminate. What can you take off your schedule? What commitments can you gently give to someone else? Learn to say “no.” It’s okay to let go of things that don’t bring you joy and happiness. Automate. Look at what you do over and over then figure out ways to make the tasks simpler. Keep cleaning supplies in every bathroom. Pack lunches the night before. Cut and paste frequent emails instead of recreating them each time. Delegate. What is your strength and what do you enjoy doing? For everything else, find someone to assist you. Hire a housekeeper, get someone to take care of the yard, and use a laundry service. Match your weakness with someone’s strength.  When you feel your “unique lifestyle” is not too unique anymore, think of Rachael Ray. Her empire includes a magazine, TV show, cookbooks, cookware and dog food, plus friends, family and sleep. The only difference between your daily routine and her 24 hours is the word “e-ad.” Rachel surrounds herself with people to help her. You decide what you can eliminate, automate and delegate. When someone asks you, “How do you do it all?” just let your new word roll right off your tongue. Go ahead and blink. It will feel great to get a good night’s sleep. It’s that simple. 

Match your weakness with someone’s strength.

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SHORT STORIES

SafeHouse executive director Kathy Wells to retire

THS students celebrate Josh Carden’s new home A little more than two years ago, Thompson High School students set a goal to raise $1,000 for fellow student Josh Carden, whose grandfather had died recently. Instead, they raised almost $13,000 in four days, and sparked a community-wide effort to assist Carden, who has cerebral palsy and uses a motorized wheelchair, and his grandmother by building them a new home. On April 25, the Alabaster community celebrated the completion of Carden’s home and honored the efforts made by the students and other community members during a presentation at THS. THS Principal Dr. Danny Steele told the students their actions served as a catalyst for the community. “Something took off that was known as the Josh Carden Project, that not just brought our entire student body together but the entire community of Alabaster,” he said. “It is a testament of what we can do

to make a difference, and that’s what it’s all about.” The Josh Carden Project organizer Jeff Brooks praised the students’ efforts. “Thompson, you decided to take a dark tragedy and turn it into something … brighter,” he said. The Josh Carden Project got its start when Carden’s grandfather, Tommy Pickett, was struck and killed by a car while helping him exit a school bus in December 2010. Following the tragedy, THS students set a fundraising goal to assist Carden and his grandmother, Louise Pickett. The effort soon spread to the Alabaster community. Volunteers originally planned to renovate Louise Pickett’s home, but instead they decided to build a new home better suited to Carden’s needs. Carden and Louise Pickett moved into their new home in the winter of 2012. — Katie McDowell

Kathy Wells is retiring as executive director of SafeHouse, a Shelby County organization that supports battered and abused women and children. “This work is my passion, my ministry, my mission,” said Wells, who has spent Wells 35 years working with and advocating for domestic violence victims. “I am only retiring, I am not walking away from the work. I will always keep my hand in and stay involved. I am simply walking away from a full-time job, seven days a week, 24 hours a day job.” Wells, herself a survivor of domestic violence, speaks passionately about the difficult, dangerous and emotional road that led her to her commitment to help battered women and children. “I experienced domestic violence when no one spoke about it, when there were no shelters,” she said. As to who will fill her position at SafeHouse, Wells said, “Nobody is irreplaceable. We have a great transition team, including both board and staff. The board is actively looking for a new director and I am very confident they will find someone.” — Linda Long

Locals awarded in annual Parade of Homes Several homes in Shelby County recently took home top honors in the Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders’ 2013 Parade of Homes, which ran through April 28. For the past 57 years, the Association 8 | ShelbyLiving.com

of Home Builders has featured dozens of homes from across the Birmingham metropolitan area in the parade. After this year’s tour kicked off on April 20, a panel of Alabama home building professionals judged the homes

and named the top houses by city and square-footage. For more information, including a complete list of homes, visit Birminghambuilder.com. — Neal Wagner

Vincent High student wins prestigious Gates scholarship Nick Robertson can quit waiting by the mailbox now. The letter he has been hoping for finally came. It confirmed that Nick, a senior at Vincent High School, was a winner of the Gates Millennium Scholarship, one of 1,000 winners out of a pool of 54,000. Nick readily admits, “I was so excited, I broke into tears.” He and his mother went straight to Vincent High School with the news. “We stopped everything and made the Robertson announcement to the school,” Principal Joel Dixon said. “This is a small community and kids need to hear news like this. I mean this was a national competition and one of our kids won it.” Among other application procedures, Robertson had to write eight personal essays in which he told of being raised in a single parent home, “of how hard my mother has worked for me, and how I believe our mistakes make us stronger. With this and all the other scholarships I was applying for, I spent every night writing essays.” In the fall, Nick will enter the University of Alabama majoring in pre-med. The scholarship, which is funded through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will pay for books, tuition and housing for his bachelor’s degree, as well as his graduate school expenses if he chooses a mathematics- or science-based discipline. — Linda Long

Rock bands coming to Pelham amphitheatre A pair of popular alternative rock bands will hit the stage at Pelham’s Oak Mountain Amphitheatre in early August. Matchbox Twenty and Goo Goo Dolls, with special guest Kate Earl, will take the stage on Friday, Aug. 2 starting at 7 p.m. Tickets for the concert went on sale on Friday, April 12, and start at $45. Tickets are available on Livenation.com. Matchbox Twenty formed in 1995, and is best known for songs such as “3 a.m.,” “Real World” and “Unwell.” The band consists of Rob Thomas on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Brian Yale on backup vocals and bass guitar, Paul Doucette on percussion and backup vocals and Kyle Cook on lead guitar. Goo Goo Dolls originally formed in 1986, and are known for popular songs such as “Iris,” “Name” and “Slide.” — Neal Wagner

BUILDERS

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ARTS & CULTURE

Creativity takes courage A day in the life of Thompson Intermediate School’s art club Story and Photos by LAURA BROOKHART

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ake a look around Gaile Randall’s classroom at Thompson Intermediate School in Alabaster, and it’s clear she loves

her job. The classroom and surrounding walls are filled with student artwork. The bulletin board reminds Randall’s art class students and devoted Art Club students, as well as all who travel the hall, that “Creativity takes courage!” Randall’s weekly after-school program is a way for students to have a greater involvement in art throughout the year, serving as an enhancement to those who want more art education 10 | ShelbyLiving.com

than the standard curriculum offers. It also allows for more opportunities and the freedom to try different and new mediums as well as expound, experiment and refine technique. “The projects are student — and passion — driven,” Randall said. “I just provide the desired materials and help guide them in technique and execution of the different mediums.” Recently, in the weekly after-school program taught by Randall, students were creating self-portraits in paper mosaic and painting figurative clay sculptures symbolizing themselves and their interests. Katherine Lillie plays travel volleyball, so it is no surprise that her sculpture is

a pig-tailed volleyball player, wearing kneepads, crouched in position to serve. Zac Rogers chose to pose City League baseball player Timothy Monahan, complete in detail and dreadlocks. Rogers said his favorite project so far this year has been creating glow-in-thedark painted paper-mache masks. His was a Cyclops with three eyes. After Morris Lane placed the eyebrows cut from black paper, on his paper-cut out self-portrait, it was immediately obvious that what was to follow would indeed be recognizably his own face. Lane has already established a signature look — he wears a different tie to school everyday. “I think the tie

CLOCKWISE FROM FAR LEFT: Morris Lane shows off the paper mosiac self-portrait he created. Katherine Lillie’s clay figurine reflected her love of volleyball. Abby Spicer creates a clay figure representing herself in Randall’s art club at Thompson Intermediate School in Alabaster.

I will add to my paper portrait will be the one with Batman on it,” he mused. Meanwhile, Abby Spicer, who was sporting a colorful chevron-patterned shirt, glasses with lime-green insets and pink and black two-tone enameled fingernails, shared her reasons for loving the class. “My mom doesn’t let me put my artwork up in my room; she says it deserves to be in the living room,” she said. “I love doing art because there are no rules — unlike all day at school. I like working with pastel pencils. With my art, I can show who I am.” Learning to share your true self with the world? That takes courage, indeed.  June 2013 | 11

ARTS & CULTURE

Reading Room: Dana Polk Photograph by JON GOERING

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ana Polk is the director at Chelsea Public Library. Polk attended the University of Montevallo and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She and her husband, David, live in the Chelsea area. They have three grown children and one grandson.

What drew you to Shelby County? When my husband and I married we moved into my grandparents’ house in Wilsonville. We thought we wanted to move back to Jefferson County because that’s where we grew up and our jobs were there. The longer we stayed in Shelby County, the more we grew to love it. I can’t imagine living anywhere else now. Why do you love to read? I had a third grade teacher, Mrs. Hurliman, who wrote a note on my last report card that said “Keep up your interest in reading.” For some reason that stayed with me and the love of reading grew from there. What are your favorite types of books? I read mostly fiction. I love romance, romantic suspense, the current paranormal romance books, but I am also trying to include some classics. After I finish Nora Roberts’ new book “Whiskey Beach,” I will finish “Jurassic Park” by Michael Crichton.

Why did you pursue a literary career? I never thought that I would be a library director. About 21 or 22 years I ago I made a statement at my church that there needs to be a place that we could put the focus books for church member to access. I did not know that a member of the nominating committee was standing there, and I was approached about re-opening the small library in the old building. The Baptist Association offers a couple of conferences a year just for church library training. It covers everything from administration to care and repair of books. The library took off and it still is a strong part of the church. Chelsea Mayor Earl Niven and I went to the same church, and he asked me to work part time at Chelsea City Hall. About a year later,

the city decided to start the library and I worked both the library and City Hall. It all just grew from there. I have worked a lot of different jobs, but this, by far, is where I am happiest. I love being the director of Chelsea Public Library.   Do you have anything you want to promote? We have a couple of ongoing programs that target the children. The first is the Tot Spot, which meets on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. This is our story time for toddlers and preschool-age students. We have a great time for 30 minutes reading stories, singing, and learning. Lego Club meets the second Saturday of the month at 9:30 a.m. The group focuses on a different subject each month and displays books that go along with the theme. Their creations are displayed in the library for about three weeks. Our next big event is the summer reading program. This year’s theme is “Dig into Reading,” and registration begins May 28. The toddler/preschool summer reading program will meet following The Tot Spot. The kindergartenfifth grade group will meet at 2 p.m. on June, 12, 19, 26 and July 17 and 24. The sixth grade and up group will meet Thursdays at 2 p.m. beginning June 13. Follow us online at Chelsealibraryonline.com or Facebook. com/chelseapubliclibrary. 

Dana’s Reading Recommendations: The Princess by Lori Wick This book is one of my favorites. It is about an arranged marriage in a small kingdom. The struggle to get to know each other, not quite trusting each other and then redemption. It is my go-to book when I feel a need for a lift.

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Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard Linda is an Alabama author, and this book is about the perfect-man list gone wrong. It’s a romantic suspense novel. While many of her books take place in Alabama, this one does not. This one is also an older novel, but I have enjoyed all of her books.

The Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward This is a great series if you are into paranormal romance. This is a gritty, notyour-normal vampire series about a band of men who protect the elite vampire class.

ARTS COUNCIL CORNER

Learning through art Shelby County Arts Council offers summer program for children with special needs Story by BRETT BELL Photograph CONTRIBUTED

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pecial needs students will have the chance to tap into their creative side this summer. The Shelby County Arts Council, which is based in Columbiana, will host Spark Your Art Abilities, which helps children with disorders like autism or Down syndrome develop and improve motor skills, hand-eye coordination, critical thinking and socialization through art and music activities. Spark Your Art Abilities is an extension of Art Abilities, which serves special needs children during the school year. Edna Sealy is the visual art instructor for Art Abilities and the director of Spark Your Art Abilities. “It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve done,” she said. Through the main program, Sealy provides free weekly art classes to 16 Shelby County schools throughout the year. Sealy said the summer camp is a way for her students to continue to learn and develop their artistic skills while they are away from school. Sealy said

Students in the Shelby County Arts Council’s Spark Your Art Abilities program spend the summer painting and creating other works of art.

the class “teaches kids about planning,” in addition to encouraging creativity. Funding for the program is provided through grants and donations to SCAC. Spark Your Art Abilities will be June 10-14 from 9 a.m.-noon. Costs for the camp are $125 for the week per child.

For more information about either program, contact the SCAC at 205-6690044 or Shelbycountyartscouncil.com. Arts Council Corner is a regular article featuring the happening at the Shelby County Arts Council. 

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ARTS & CULTURE

The 16-year-old

seamstress Maylene resident’s design garners her a spot in Birmingham Fashion Week Story by HEATHER AVERETT Photographs by JON GOERING AND MARY JO DENNISON

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hink back to when you were 16. What were your interests? Your talents? Most of us probably think of music, movies, sports or simply hanging out with friends. But for Maylene resident Rachel Irvin, a 16-year-old seamstress extraordinaire, her response will one day be quite different. Irvin is an amazing creative talent who has had a lot of time to explore a broad range of hobbies at a young age thanks to her exibility through homeschooling at Shades Mountain Independent Church Academy. Irvin is self-taught in all things textile – from knitting, crocheting, spinning, weaving, embroidering, Cherokee leaf pounding, drop spindling, quilting, needle felting, and her absolute favorite, sewing. “I have a lot of hobbies,â€? she said. “And I’ve had a lot of time to cultivate them through school electives.â€? Irvin’s afďŹ nity for thread and sewing began four years ago when she was 12. She adored the beautifully intricate costuming in movies such as the Jane Austen classics, “The Lord of the Rings,â€? “Pirates of the Caribbean,â€? “The Prince of Persiaâ€? and “Ever After.â€? She longed to wear these exquisite historical period pieces to dances and parties, but quickly realized that such elegant outďŹ ts were extremely expensive. The only way she was going to don such masterpieces was to make them herself. And so she did. Irvin taught herself to sew and began scouting consignment and thrift stores for materials. When

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she ran into roadblocks in design and execution she turned to her grandmother for help. “But it’s mostly been trial and error from the beginning,” she said. When she couldn’t figure it out herself, or her grandmother couldn’t help, she turned to online instructions via YouTube or sewing books that her family gave to her for special occasions such as birthdays or Christmas. “Sewing has taught me so many great life lessons,” Irvin said. “It has definitely taught me patience. You can’t just slap something together and expect it to be good. I’ve learned that when you take extra time and go through all the steps it makes for a much better piece.” Irvin, who has proven to be a quick learner, is beginning to make quite a name for herself. Not only has she been able to help her family and friends with alterations, she’s even offered 16 | ShelbyLiving.com

PAGE 14: A model walks the runway in Rachel Irvin’s design during Birmingham Fashion Week. CLOCKWISE FROM FAR LEFT: Irvin shows off some of the designs she’s created. Irvin said she enjoys making historical costumes.

sewing lessons to some local children with hopes of passing along her trade. Her most noted accomplishment, however, was being recognized as a Rising Design Star for Birmingham’s Fashion Week 2013. With more than 300 entries, Irvin’s design—a geometric dress with softened elements created from all recycled materials—was chosen among the top 40, garnering her a spot at the Rising Design Star Exhibit in the Birmingham Museum of Art. Irvin was then selected as part of the top 30 and actually had the opportunity to showcase her work on the Birmingham Fashion Week 2013 runway. “I was really excited about it,” she said. “Just competing was an honor. Everything else was icing on the cake.” So what’s next for this rising design star? Her “Plan A,” as she calls it, is to attend college and study apparel design, fashion merchandising and business. “Or maybe textile and fiber arts,” she said. “One day I’d like to be a movie set or theatrical dresser. The goal isn’t to become a big name designer,” she added. “I just love creativity and want to do what I love.” 

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ARTS & CULTURE

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Model

magic

Story by LINDA LONG Contributed photographs

Send us your Shelby County events for our

SHELBY >[h[`Y calendar!

Email Katie.mcdowell@shelbyliving.com

A

shley Tombrello, an 18-year-old senior at Thompson High School in Alabaster, has wanted to become a model her whole life. “Even as a small child, she would look at pictures in a magazine and say ‘I want to be one of those girls.’ This has been her ultimate wish,” said Margie Tombrello, Ashley’s mom. For a while, it looked like Ashley’s wish might remain unfulfilled. When she was 2 years old, she was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder affecting the lungs and digestive systems. There is no cure for CF, and it can be life-threatening. It requires an intensive medical regime and, at times, long hospital stays. When a non-profit organization, Magic Moments, heard about Ashley’s struggle against CF, they decided to step in. The organization fulfills the wishes of chronically ill children in Alabama by making each child’s dream come true. For Ashley, that meant an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City for a professional photo shoot. Ashley and her entire family took off for the Big Apple to meet up with a professional fashion photographer, makeup artist and hair stylist. The photo session came complete with June 2013 | 19

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PAGE 18: Alabaster resident Ashley Tombrello, who has cystic fibrosis, received a free trip to New York City and a photo shoot through Magic Moments. PAGES 20-21: Outtakes from Tombrello’s photo shoot.

seven wardrobe changes, seven hair styles, seven different makeup looks, the red carpet treatment and an on-location photo shoot on the streets of Manhattan. “Oh, my gosh, they made me feel special, like I was somebody famous,” Ashley said. “It was amazing, the most wonderful experience I’ve ever had in my whole life “ Amazing as it was, Ashley did learn that modeling is not for sissies. “Oh, it’s hard work all right, but I loved every minute of it,” she said. Hard work is nothing new to this spunky teen. Despite the challenges CF has presented in her life, she has never made excuses for her illness or let it get her down. She said if she could speak to every girl who faces similar obstacles, she’d tell them, “Nothing can stand in your way of doing anything. I have CF and I’ve been a cheerleader for seven years. It has not gotten in my way. I might have a bad day sometimes, but you can’t let anything get you down or let anything ruin your day. CF comes with very hard challenges, but you have to work through it, which is why I’m where I am today.” The high school senior is planning to attend Troy University and eventually be a nurse anesthetist — that is, unless something changes her career course. The trip was Ashley’s first time to visit the Big Apple but it probably won’t be her last. “I’m absolutely in love with every one of my pictures,” she said. “I may actually send them to some modeling agencies just to see if there‘s some interest. Who knows? I just might get a few modeling jobs here and there.”

205-668-4822 www.theupsstorelocal.com/6068

Calera

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FEATURES

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Ladies and

Leaders

The Helena Belles organization is molding the next generation of Southern women

Story by LINDA LONG Photographs by JON GOERING

F Raegan Bright, Jessica Ford, Savanna Windham, Kaitlyn Peterson, Ally Pitts and Merry Michael Ramsey are in Helena Belles’ senior class. The Belles are all seniors at Pelham High School.

rom Scarlett O’Hara “fiddle-deedeeing” on the steps of Tara to Julia Sugarbaker’s march on Atlanta, getting a handle on what makes a Southern woman tick can be an exercise in frustration. Descriptions are contradictory: charming and manipulative, flirtatious and chaste, sassy and demure. All add to the enigma of Southern womanhood, an enigma that most surely means more than knowing how to make sweet tea and not to wear white shoes after Labor Day. Amy Bolt believes being a Southern woman is actually a state of mind. As founder of the Helena Belles, a community service group for high school women, Bolt says, “We want our members to behave with a typical Southern attitude. For me, that means you have grace and

Join the Helena Belles Female Helena residents who are freshmen through seniors in high school may apply to join Helena Belles. Pick up an application form at Helena City Hall or contact Amy Bolt at 205-520-6640 or Helenabelles@ gmail.com.

June 2013 | 23

manners that women in other parts of the country simply don’t have. It means practicing the social graces and just simply behaving like a lady. For all of us brought up in the South, we know what that means without being told.” Though only into its second year, the Helena Belles already has 46 members and is growing. It is derived from the traditional Southern Belles of the South, complete with elaborate hoop-skirted gowns, pantaloons and garden hats, but Bolt says not to let the antebellum image fool you. “Make no mistake,” she said. “This is not the old South. Our Belles represent diversity across the board. Our membership is made up of all races and religions. I see us as an organization of future leaders who care about serving our community to make it a better place. I believe in raising independent

CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: Kaitlyn Peterson. The Helena Belles’ senior class, missing fellow senior Belles Lillie Gaston and Patricia Bianco. Ally Pitts. Savanna Windham.

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narrows

FA M I LY E Y E C A R E

21 Weatherly Club Drive Alabaster, AL 35007 205-663-4111 • Fax: 205-663-4134 www.joesitalianonline.com

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young women who can think for themselves, make their own decisions and make the tough decisions. I want to blaze a trail and I say, ‘Come, on. Let’s blaze it together.’” Being a Belle is not for those who are afraid of hard work, stressed Bolt. At least 25 service hours are required annually from each member. Members must also maintain a 2.5 grade point average throughout their tenure. Over the course of the year, Helena Belles typically assist at all city functions, from Fourth of July celebrations to Easter egg hunts. This past year they also conducted a successful coat drive for victims of Hurricane Sandy. “This project was a wonderful learning experience for them,” Bolt said. “The girls were all won over by the incredible generosity they saw in people.” Lillie Gaston is a senior this year and one of the group’s original members. “I believe the being a Belle teaches a girl to act like a lady and be shown as a leader,” she said. “I know I’ve learned more about making my own decisions, being myself and not just part of the crowd.” Young women like Lillie are the reason Bolt, who also has a full-time job and is mother of a

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FAR LEFT: Merry Michael Ramsey. ABOVE: Raegan Bright.

Come see us at Greystone Antiques & Marketplace and Oak Mountain Emporium.

PE

T GROOMING

&B

OUTIQUE June 2013 | 27

Jessica Ford.

15-year-old daughter, Madison, is so passionate about the work she does as leader of the group. “I actually feel like a mother to over 40 girls,” she said. “I’m on call 24/7, but I wouldn’t change one thing about it. I love it, and if I ever retire, I hope to do this full time.” Bolt brings her own personal experience to the program. Growing up in Vestavia Hills, Bolt herself was a Vestavia Belle. “I loved being part of the group and loved the work we did,” she recalled. “When we settled in Helena, I was surprised a city of this size didn’t have a group like this, so I did some talking and before you know it, we had formed the Helena Belles. “We work hard, sure, but we also have a lot of fun,” she continued. “We’re all still laughing about one story from last year’s garden party. I looked down the way and saw one of our girls jumping up and down with her skirt thrown over her head. Now, we all know Southern ladies don’t show their pantaloons, but come to find out a bee had made its way through all that hooped skirt and the young lady was simply trying to ask him to leave.” 

Special occasion, intimate get-together, business meeting. We've got you covered. Whether you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary, a long overdue date night, or celebrating with a group, The Melting Pot is perfect for any occasion. Create memorable moments with family and friends while enjoying cheese fondues, wines, salads, quality meats and seafood entreés followed by the most indulgent

RESERVATIONS RECOMMENDED • (205) 981-8001 611 DOUG BAKER BLVD., BIRMINGHAM, AL 35242 • MELTINGPOT.COM

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FEATURES

30 | ShelbyLiving.com

gourmet Bite-sized

Bud’s Best Cookies brings sweet success to Shelby County Story by CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT Photographs by JON GOERING

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he sweet aroma of freshly baked cookies reaches past the Hoover factory walls of the Bud’s Best Cookies factory and welcomes guests to explore what is essentially 89,000 square feet of cream- and chocolatefilled bliss. Bud’s Best Cookies’ namesake, Albert “Bud” Cason Sr., was first entranced by the cookie business when, as a 12-year-old, he began working for his aunt and uncle at Greg’s Cookies in Birmingham. Bud, who recently turned 76, reminisced about a time when cookies were sold for “a penny apiece or two for a penny” from grocery stores. By 1970, Bud knew he wanted to try something different than what Greg’s Cookies had planned, but

decided to purchase the company from his relatives at his aunt’s request. He then purchased Bishop Baking Company in Cleveland, Tenn., in 1983, and sold the two companies in 1986. Bud signed a five-year non-compete agreement, and so his cookie-making business took a hiatus. In the meantime, the cookie man decided to take a nutrition class. “I was in the business, but didn’t know much about baking the dough,” he said. That class changed the whole focus of his business plan. “The teacher said when someone wants something sweet, the first bite doesn’t take care of it, but the second bite does. The rest is just filling their bellies,” Bud said. And so the idea of the bite-sized cookie was born. “My friends said I was wasting my time and

PAGE 32: After mentioning his son’s tall frame, Bud joked he’s been feeding Al oatmeal cookies for years, which is why he’s more than 6-feet tall. ABOVE: Metal chains align the cookies so they are ready for packaging.

June 2013 | 31

money because no one was going to buy a little cookie,” Bud said. Bud’s Best Cookies found a home in the HooverRiverchase area in the early 1990s and produced its first cookies in 1993. “All of the sudden, everyone started making bitesized,” Bud said with a laugh. “It exploded.” Al Cason, Bud’s son and president of Bud’s Best Cookies, said the cookies are successful because they’re “baked with love.” “I feel like that’s true,” Al said. “We use highquality ingredients. We do have something we put in that bag that’s special. “This is Birmingham’s bakery. It’s Birmingham’s hometown cookie,” he added. INSIDE THE SWEETS FACTORY The Cookieland Express Train carries about 30,000 visitors through the factory per year. Guests are required to don hairnets as they motor past the factory’s 160-foot ovens. Flour and sugar are brought into the factory through pipes lining the ceiling, said Retail Sales Manager Aubrey Pearce. The cookie dough for Bud’s Best Cookies is gourmet, Aubrey said. 32 | ShelbyLiving.com

Aubrey said while creating the orange creamsicle cookie, the recipe took two years to perfect. “It took us two years to get to a point where we were satisfied to put it on the market,” Aubrey said. The chocolate chip cookie dough features 1 million chocolate pieces in a full mixer. The factory also produces Uncle Al’s line of cookies, which are primarily sold from travel centers and convenience stores. After the dough is mixed, the dough separator defines the cookie’s shape, and workers are “looking to make sure it’s coming out exactly like it’s supposed to,” Aubrey said. A rotary cutter creates a design, such as the familiar four-hole cookie that sandwiches cream in the company’s vanilla crèmes. (Bud keeps an old rotary cutter in his office that has been transformed into a lamp. Tiny faces of the Scooby Doo gang grin from the embossed metal that was once used to make cartoon-themed cookies.) To bake about a million cookies an hour, the factory’s bakers had to determine the precise temperature for the over-sized ovens. Ovens are set to 600 degrees to bake oatmeal cookies. Once the cookies are done, they ride a Tefloncoated belt through the factory, even above the heads of the workers, to cool completely. If the

ABOVE: Bud’s Best Vanilla Wafers are the company’s best sellers. To cool, the cookies exit the oven, travel down the conveyor belt, up onto the second story and into another room, and then into the packaging location. RIGHT: Vanilla wafers are sorted for packaging.

June 2013 | 33

cookies are not completely cool when they’re packaged, moisture will be trapped in the bag and spoil the product. Thin, metal chains comb through the rows of cookies to align them for packaging. Vanilla wafers are produced nearly every day, as they’re best sellers. According to Al, the wafers won a blind taste test for the Walmart Corporation and are now sold in Walmart stores across the nation. Golden Rule Barbecue also uses the vanilla wafer as part of its banana pudding. “The vanilla wafers — that’s a real science,” Aubrey said. “I’d put that cookie up against every cookie on the market.” CREATING A COOKIE EMPIRE During Bud’s Best Cookies’ first year of production in 1993, the company generated $1.5 million in sales. Today, the factory employs 160 workers and created $33 million in revenue during the past year. Bud built his sugary legacy by conducting business against the status quo. When the company purchased two robots — named Lucy and Ethel — to assist in production and packaging, Aubrey said the robots could have eliminated 12 jobs, but management chose to integrate the employees into other facets of the business. Instead of running the ovens seven days a week, Bud chooses to close the factory’s doors on Friday afternoon and doesn’t preheat the ovens until Monday morning. Bud, a Seventh-day Adventist, worships on Saturday, and gives his employees Sunday off to have their own worship time. He also tithes 10 percent of his company’s profits to the church. Employees always receive a Christmas bonus, even if the company only broke even during the previous year. “Even years we haven’t made money, my dad has taken his personal money and given employees something at Christmas. It’s something substantial because they’re part of the family, he feels,” Al said. Bud continues to thrive on sales calls, which he now makes with Al. “I love calling on these buyers,” Bud said. “It’s a challenge, but it’s a lot of fun.” After Al worked his way up from the mixing room, packaging, production and managing the warehouse, he was named president of the company, and now Bud and Al travel the country to show off and market their products at food shows. When asked if he plans to retire, Bud answers “in 34 | ShelbyLiving.com

about 20 years” with a broad grin. “My wife said if I’m ever killed and they cut me open, there will be little chocolate chips inside,” Bud said, laughing. In terms of progress, the father-son duo is adding 60 feet to an oven and investing about $1 million into internal expansion. The extended oven will double the size of the oven and produce a projected $5 million more in revenue per year, according to Al. “(Dad has) always said to me, ‘It’s not a job when you love what you do,’” Al said. “He loves to be with me, but he loves the cookie business. I’m very lucky to have him.” Bud said he learns from Al, and Al continues to learn the business from his father. “To me, people take a cookie and when they eat a cookie, they have a smile on their face,” Bud said. “It’s a happy business.” 

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: The cookie factory is open for tours on Mondays and Tuesdays during the school year from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. For more information, visit Budsbestcookies. com. On each bag of Bud’s Best Cookies, Bud Cason states that cookies are in his blood. Workers test for quality before sending the packaged cookies to the warehouse.

June 2013 | 35

FEATURES

36 | ShelbyLiving.com

Nature’s recycling Story by HEATHER BUCKNER | File Photographs

PAGE 36: Trisha Williams keeps a compost pile in her yard. ABOVE: Produce is dumped into a compost pile.

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hat if there was a way to have a healthier garden, save money and be environmentally proactive? According to Regional Extension Agent Nelson Wynn, there is — and it’s much easier than it may sound. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, roughly 75 percent of all municipal waste is material that could have been recycled. As a result, landfills are steadily filling up with recyclable material and being forced to close, said Wynn. Composting, however, takes that waste and puts it to use. Compost, explained Wynn, is like nature’s recycling. It’s a process in which microorganisms decompose something that was once living, or carbon-based, and turn it into something useful again.

“Compost happens all the time, naturally. Things fall on the ground and decompose and go back to the soil. Composters just take that process and try to speed it up,” Wynn explained. In nature, it could take years for compost to form, but, according to Wynn, composters can shorten this to weeks. Wynn said learning to compost doesn’t have to be difficult; there are a few simple tips and tricks to remember. First, in a barrel, small enclosure or even an open mound, construct a compost pile in layers. Alternate types of waste and add soil or finished compost to the mix. Wynn said to include both solid, coarse material, such as cardboard and wood chips and finer material, like grass clippings and coffee grounds. He did advise, however, not to add meat scraps, bones or fats to the pile because it could attract unwanted guests, like ants, rats or even June 2013 | 37

A classroom is not bound by the walls that surround it, but by the imagination of the one who leads it. And for us, we seek at every turn to challenge, inspire and grow those individuals who have been called to selessly impart knowledge to others. Just as those who taught us to think for ourselves challenged us to explore and encouraged us to go further, we ready our students to teach, inspire and develop the next generation of thinkers, inside and outside the classroom. Because this is more than curriculum; it’s the building of character. Welcome to Unconventional Wisdom!

38 | ShelbyLiving.com

Between classes, Dr. Laurel Hitchcock, assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, stops to talk to students on the Promenade.

This large compost pile includes grass clippings and other debris.

raccoons. Wynn said it would help to have a compost thermometer to ensure the compost stays between 140 and 150 degrees. If the temperature reaches above 140 degrees, the pile should be turned. That’s when the beneficial microorganisms start to die. Wynn explained that adding leaves and twigs throughout the mixture separates and ventilates the material, but turning the pile also provides oxygen to the microbes doing the work. “Microorganisms are breaking this stuff down,” Wynn explained. “They need moisture, shelter and food. When we compost, we’re trying to manage those microorganisms. If it gets too hot, they could die. If you get too much water in the pile, that can also kill those organisms.” When determining whether or not the compost is ready, he said, “it should feel like a wet sponge. If you squeeze it and one drop of water drops out of it, that’s perfect.” It should also be homogenous, meaning the original components shouldn’t be distinguishable anymore. When it’s ready, compost can be used in lieu of fertilizer or mulch to improve the soil’s aeration, suppress weeds, retain water and control temperatures, among other things. Trisha Williams

is a master gardener who has been composting for about 18 years now and said it’s helped her tremendously. “It’s a wonderful way to use stuff you already have in your yard and around your house without putting it into a landfill — kitchen scraps, grass clippings, leaves, trimmings off your plants,” said Williams. “It improves the soil and adds nutrients to the garden.” Tommie Harrison, who has been composting for many years but officially learning since about 2000, said composting is worth the effort — “It’s cheaper because you’re not buying chemicals, and it’s healthier because you’re not using chemicals.” Instead, she uses grass clippings, leaves, hay, saw dust, bark, newspapers, light cardboard, coffee grounds and even the coffee filter. “I take my kitchen scraps and then I put them in my garden get vegetables. It’s a renewal process,” she explained. Harrison said the hardest part of composting is keeping the pile turned: “I’m 72, so my husband has to help me.” Despite that hindrance, Harrison said composting is a joy to her. “I personally enjoy recycling,” she said. “I feel like I’m a better human being and that I’m taking care of this good earth, using my waste to make something new again.” 

June 2013 | 39

HOME & FOOD

Welcome to the Decorators'

ShowHouse Hoover home gets mak makeover keover thanks to annual fundraiser for ASO Produced by KATIE MCDOWELL Photographs by JON GOERING

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ove home improvement shows? The 2013 Decorators’ ShowHouse, held in April and May, was a decorator’s delight. Interior designers and decorators from the Birmingham area reimagined 21 rooms and areas in The Bryant House, located in Hoover. On April 20, the house opened its doors to the public to raise money for the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, the state’s only full-time, professional orchestra. Nan Teninbaum, spokeswoman for the Symphony Volunteer Council, said decorators began working on the 40 | ShelbyLiving.com

home in March. Firms bid on and were assigned one or two rooms to decorate. Each room had a theme, such as the “Charmingly Coastal Kitchen,” which was decorated by Kathy’s Kreations of Alabaster and featured whites, blues and corals and seashell accents. Located in Riverchase near the Riverchase Country Club, the Bryant House provided a wonderful canvas for the participating designers. The fourstory, 9,100-square-foot home features “classic mid-Georgian architecture” and has six bedrooms, five and a half baths, three fireplaces and an elevator, according to the Decorators’ ShowHouse

program. Built in 1991 by the late Dr. William P. Bryant and his wife, Konie Clark, the home was inspired by two Charleston homes, the Miles Brewton House and the Nathaniel Russell House. Firms participating in this year’s show were Summer Classics, Jay Howton and Associates, Castle Creations, E Homewood, Kathy’s Kreations, Blackjack Gardens, Scandinavian Design, Birmingham Wholesale Furniture, Bill Aroosian Designs, Baker Lamps and Linens, Mantooth Interiors, G&G Interior Design, Umphrey Interiors, Virginia College School of Design and Lynn Coker Interiors.

Kitchen

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he light, bright kitchen served as inspiration for Kathy’s Kreations’ redesign. The final product was a “Charmingly Coastal Kitchen,” which used existing elements in a new way. The white cabinetry, tile backsplash and large kitchen island served as building blocks for the redesign. Kathy’s Kreations incorporated bright accent colors of coral and cobalt blue, as well as a range of textures, including burlap accents on the bar chairs. The walls are painted with Benjamin Moore’s Morning Dew. The room’s focal point is the custom iron light fixture above the island. A coral burlap medallion draws attention to the fixture, which is decorated with moss, seashells and other beachy accents. The theme continues with the place settings and the décor in the glass cabinets.

June 2013 | 41

The Master Suite

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illed as a “Master Masterpiece,” the master bedroom was reimagined as a “sophisticated look at the modern woman.” Mantooth Interiors decorated the spacious room in silks, velvets and taffetas in neutral tones with pops of blues and greens. An accent wall features gold horizontal stripes, which plays off other metallic accents throughout the room, including a mirror above the fireplace. Large abstract paintings and a birdcage chandelier add personality to the room. Baker Lamps and Linens decorated the adjacent “spa-style” master bathroom and dressing room. The dressing room is decorated in a neutral color palette and features “unique sconces, cabinet hardware and accessories.” The bathroom has a large, sunken whirlpool tub and a travertine shower. Windows offer a spectacular view from three sides of the bath, while geometric-patterned drapes offer privacy. The master suite, including the bathroom, dressing room and a large closet, is 1,200 square feet. 42 | ShelbyLiving.com

June 2013 | 43

Formal Living Room

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obin McCorquodale of Castle Creations designed the formal living room. Located at the home’s entrance, the living room is painted in Benjamin Moore’s Brookside Moss. The room is intended for someone with bold tastes who chooses “color with conviction.” The room features a grand piano, tufted sofa and chairs, floor-length drapes and gilded décor. “The elegant combination of embroidered silk, velvet and damask fabrics give pleasure to the eye and the hand in such a way that one perceives luxury even before crossing the threshold … The room combines harmony of grace and purpose,” according to the room description in the Decorators’ ShowHouse program.

44 | ShelbyLiving.com

Dining Room

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obin McCorquodale of Castle Creations gave the formal dining room a twist with mossgreen walls. Located across from the living room, the dining room draws inspiration from its history, as the home was inspired by Charleston’s mid-Georgian architecture. “Such a room evokes the quality of life distinctive to Charleston, and the grandeur of the room ascertains that the host and hostess live amid broadened experiences where luxury and comfort go hand in hand,” according to the room description. The room is also painted in Benjamin Moore Brookside Moss, which keeps it from feeling stuffy. A stunning crystal chandelier illuminates the room and is the only chandelier original to the house. The centerpiece of the room is a mahogany table surrounded by gilded dining chairs.

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June 2013 | 45

Breakfast Room

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Homewood Interiors created an elegant yet casual space in the breakfast room. “The breakfast room … reflects the casual comfort and warmth of a space that will function as an intimate gathering area for meals and family events,” according to the room description. Located off the kitchen on the main floor, the room’s curved wall features multiple floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the lawn. The designers chose Benjamin Moore’s Kendall Charcoal for the walls to give the room a “warm inviting feeling, balanced with a touch of sophisticated drama to maintain the elegant atmosphere of the residence.” E Homewood used distressed wood furniture, an oversized chandelier and apple green accent items while decorating. A butler’s pantry with glass-fronted cabinets showcases china and other items.

46 | ShelbyLiving.com

Garden Room

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candinavian Design Gallery gave the garden room a contemporary look with lots of color and a variety of textures. The garden room was already bright thanks to three walls of windows overlooking the lawn. “The sunny space was built for utility but designed with a bit of glamour,” according to the room description. Scandinavian Design used grays and silvers for the main elements of the room, including the sofa, rug, lighting and the walls, which are painted Benjamin Moore’s London Fog. A brilliant Swarovski crystal chandelier adds a bit of whimsy to the room, while the clear coffee table and accent table offer a retro feel. Named “The Orchid Room,” the designers brought in gorgeous bright pink flowers. Glass plates on the walls provide more color, as do pillows and other decorative accents.

June 2013 | 47

Library

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esigner Bill Aroosian redesigned the library as “Le Collecion.” “The whole idea is this person is a world traveller, collects things and brings them home,” he said. The room features items from across the globe, including chairs from a Paris flea market, a rug from Turkey, a salt lamp from the Himalayan Mountains and rows of books. Aroosian also brightened the wood-paneled room by removing the blinds from the transoms above the windows and painting the ceiling Benjamin Moore’s Fool’s Gold.

48 | ShelbyLiving.com

Family Room

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edesigned by Birmingham Wholesale Furniture, the family room is an elegant yet livable space. The company named the room “Joie de Vivre, a French phrase often used in English to express a cheerful enjoyment of life.” The room is a warm, inviting area with plenty of seating and sophisticated décor. The wall are painted Benjamin Moore’s Sag Harbor Gray.

June 2013 | 49

HOME & FOOD

These striped rugs come in a variety of cheerful colors and will be a welcoming addition to your kitchen. Dash and Albert rugs, $25 each. Alabama Furniture Market, 100 Commercial Park Drive, Calera. 205-668-9995.

This elegant gold clock will keep you on time and in style. Claudette Gold Iron clock, $68, Renaissance Consignment.

Delightful

dĂŠcor

Looking for ways to punch up your living room or kitchen? These items, all from local stores, are sure to add a bit of whimsy or elegance to your home. Produced by KATIE MCDOWELL Photographs by JON GOERING

Add a touch of Southern charm with a burlap table runner monogrammed with your initial. This would make a great gift for a friend too! Table runner, $25, Alabama Furniture Market. 50 | ShelbyLiving.com

Funky pillows are an easy and affordable way to bring new life to your home. Ikat pillow, $24, Renaissance Consignment, 6801 Cahaba Valley Road, Birmingham. 205-980-4471.

Home is where the heart is. Give your hometown some love with one of these rustic city signs. Sign, $39, also available in other cities, Alabama Furniture Market.

With iron legs and a burlap-covered seat, this barstool will look both rustic and modern in your home. Stool, $132, Renaissance Consignment.

This rustic can caddy is perfect for transporting silverware during dinner parities. Park Hill can caddy, $12, Alabama Furniture Market.

These candle holders, which are shaped like eagle legs, are sure to be a conversation starter. Kalalou Aluminum Eagle Leg Candle Holders, $49 for set of two, Alabama Furniture Market.

This delicate wooden box can store small items and looks pretty sitting on your bookshelf. Water Lily Box, $17.95. English Ivy, 250 Doug Baker Boulevard, Suite 100, Birmingham. 205-437-9080.

Made from salvaged iron, this lamp would look fabulous in any home. Lamp, $264, Renaissance Consignment. June 2013 | 51

HOME & FOOD Owls are the symbol for wisdom, which makes them the perfect guardians for a set of books. Iron owl bookends, $19 each. Renaissance Consignment.

Gold feathers keep this from being your traditional frame. Picture frame, $22.95, English Ivy.

Share your faith with a beautiful ornamental iron cross. Cast Iron English Cross, $16.95, English Ivy. 52 | ShelbyLiving.com

Spruce up your home with these charming boxwood trees. Park Hill trees, $39 each, Alabama Furniture Market.

Choose items of varying heights and bright colors to create visual interest in your home. Finial, $18, and Terra Cotta cache pot, $70, both from Renaissance Consignment.

This lantern is roomy enough for a candle and other décor – moss, sea shells, coffee beans, or flowers. The rope handle also lends it a rustic vibe. Candle holder with rope handle, $69, Alabama Furniture Market. Candle sold separately.

License: AL10169

June 2013 | 53

HOME & FOOD

54 | ShelbyLiving.com

Family

fare

Brava Rotisserie Grill offers a fresh take on fast food June 2013 | 55

Story by KATIE MCDOWELL Photographs by JON GOERING

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arry O’Hare had little experience in the food industry when he stepped into a small café in Spain a few years ago. However, he felt the café’s simple menu, which focused on rotisserie chicken, and emphasis on fresh food would translate well in America. “I had an idea that it would do well in the States, not necessarily Spanish food, but the freshness, the healthy aspect of the food,” he said. “I figured people would enjoy that kind of an option at an affordable price.” In March 2011, he opened Brava Rotisserie Grill, named after Spain’s Coast of Brava. The restaurant draws inspiration from the café O’Hare visited, but it’s been tweaked for an American palate. O’Hare’s goal is to offer fast, fresh and healthy food. “Everyone’s looking for a healthy alternative, and I think we’re definitely in that arena right now,” he said. As the name suggests, the rotisserie plays a big role at the restaurant. Chicken, steak, pork loin and new potatoes are all cooked in the rotisserie, as well as full turkeys during the holidays. O’Hare said Brava is known for its sauces and seasoning, which features basil, oregano and Mediterranean flavors. “One of the most popular sauces here is the Romesco sauce, which is a traditional Spanish sauce. It’s made with sweet peppers, garlic, balsamic, a little paprika,” he said. Rotisserie plates are served with a salad, pita bread and a side, which includes seasonal vegetables or fruit, seasoned fries or chips and new potatoes. Brava also offers a range of sandwiches, including chicken, tilapia, pork loin, steak and the Cuban. When Brava was opened, O’Hare offered several specials, including fish tacos, a tilapia plate and shrimp plate. “The specials became so popular they now have made it onto the menu,” he said. O’Hare said the fish tacos are a crowd favorite. The fish is grilled instead of fried and served with the Romesco sauce. Salads include Caesar and the Brava, which 56 | ShelbyLiving.com

Mark your calendar and celebrate America’s birthday with us! Costumed historical interpreters • Revolutionary Army drills 18th century games • Independence Ball

Full Moon BBQ and other tasty fare!

$5

admission age 4 and under free

FREteErans

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Ga s open at te 1 Events fr1 a.m. o noon to m evenin fireworkg s!

Hwy 119, Montevallo • 205-665-3535 • www.americanvillage.org

PAGE 54: Brava’s rotisserie meals include two sides, such as rice and salad. PAGE 55: Owner Barry O’Hare. CLOCKWISE FROM FAR LEFT: The interior features bright walls and colorful artwork. Rotisserie chicken with green beans. A wrap.

June 2013 | 57

Brava’s seasonsed chips are a popular side.

features tomatoes, roasted red peppers, red onion, olives and queso fresco. The restaurant’s chicken salad is made with almonds, raisin, celery and honey and is available as a plate or sandwich. O’Hare said the restaurant is popular with health-conscious people, and many of his customers participate in CrossFit or on the Paleo diet, which emphasizes meats, fruits and vegetables. O’Hare said he also sees a lot of families with young children with the restaurant, which was one of his original goals. The kids’ menu features a chicken wrap, drumstick plate, grilled cheese and chicken tenders. Brava also serves pick-up dinner for four or six and does catering. With two years under his belt, O’Hare is looking to open a second location, possibly in Homewood, where he lives with his wife and their four children. He also wants to continue to develop the Brava brand – the idea of fresh, healthy food and a friendly atmosphere. “It was more of the essence of how they and Europeans in general eat. It’s more of an event for them,” he said. “Eating is a very important part not only of your health, but your social life. Being able to sit down with your children, it’s an important time.” 

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58 | ShelbyLiving.com

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Montevallo Citizens’ Night Awards Banquet

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The 35th Annual Montevallo Chamber of Commerce Citizens’ Night Awards Banquet was held March 28 at the University of Montevallo. (Photos by Heather Buckner.)

1. Cindy, John, Trever and Abby Tidwell 2. Josh Weeks, Emily Colley, Xan Shivers, Faith Frost, Kerrington Maddox, Lucas Sears and Josabeth Martires 3. Ronald and Eleanor Davis 4. Chapman Curtis, Tarsi Woods and Kit Benson 5. Dollar Bill Lawson 6. Kay and Terry Sutton 7. Rebecca Beaty, Melanie Poole and Pete Walker 8. Kelby Roth, Colleen Colley, Bette Lovell, Alex Kovalsky, Glenda Conway and Janet Hails 60 | ShelbyLiving.com

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9. Terry Bruno, Jason Cooper, Suzanne Hurst, Montevallo Mayor Hollie Cost, Tiffany Bunt, Steve Gilbert and Lea Ann Webb 10. Sam Rodgers and Brent Murrill 11. Susan Fulmer and Herschel Hale 12. Sam Reece, Kristen Gilbert, Olivia Gilbert, Diane Gilbea and Gregory Reece

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Greystone Country Club held an Easter egg hunt April 6. (Photos by Jill Harvell.) 1. Jackson Harvell 2. Sean, Rhonda, McKenzie, Maddox and Brooks Johnson 3. Jeff and Levi Newdome 4. Maddy Powell, Maggie Beans and Jamie Burleson 5. Matt, Mason and Natalie Palmer 6. Angie, Jason, Matthew and Kiley Iwanski 7. Claudia, Amilia and Eric Cole 8. Jackson and Jason Harvell with the Easter bunny 9. Jennifer, Tripp and Anthony Gartrell

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South Shelby Chamber Luncheon

The South Shelby Chamber of Commerce held its monthly luncheon April 4 at Columbiana First United Methodist Church.

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1. Pat Smith, Lisa Phillips and Peg Hill 2. Barbara Zieba and Vicki Everett 3. Linda Porter and Karen Stamps 4. Helen Dean, Paula Johnson and Lamar Vick

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Shelby County’s Best BBQ cookoff

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Shelby County’s Best BBQ Cook-off, hosted by the Shelby County Arts Council and South Shelby Chamber, was April 5 in Columbiana. 1. Sam and April Stone 2. Terry Cummings, Dell Carson, Phillip Gentry, Randy Bearden Jr. and Cheryl Morgan 3. Jess Bates and Dana Barnes 4. Tim Bowen, Jeff Callicott and Terri Tucker 5. Trent Sullivan and Sarah Head 6. Joyce and Charles Tidmore 7. Brooklyn James, Brianna McCrimon and Kathy Copeland 8. Stanley Shotts, Lynn McKenzie, Forrest Walker and David Betzhold

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9. Thomas Barton, Jaquan Youngblood, Josh Huffstulter, Ryan Starnes, Amanda Smith and Joel Dixon 10. Corley, Jamison and Julie Ellis 11. Phoebe and Red Robinson 12. Naseem Ajlouny and Reggie Hill

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Unscripted exhibit

Gretchen B. Photography hosted Unscripted, an exhibit of local photographers, on April 7 in Helena. (Photos by Gretchen Birdwell, CPP.) 1. Gary Ricketts and Barry Altmark 2. Art Hummel, Nancy and Ron Clemmons, DJ Boyd and Henry Neff 3. Butch Oglesby and Rachel Martin 4. Hal Woodman, Laura Brookhart and Mike McGary 5. Ann and Corkey Strickland 6. Brenda Miller, DJ Boyd and Karen Hurd 7. Charlie Stewart, Ken Boyd and Graham Bostick 8. Nealey and Chase Tubbs with Katelyn Mitchell and Clay Barnett

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Princess Tea Party A Princess Tea Party with special guest Miss Shelby County Jamie Brooks was held April 6 at the Columbiana Public Library. (Photos by Phoebe Robinson.)

1. Helen Dean, Fran Sharp, Jamie Brooks, Sarah Atchison and Dutcha Lawson 2. Morgan Jeffries and Jamie Brooks 3. Denna, Anna and Ally Brown with Jamie Brooks 4. Gracie and Katie Swann with Mary Theresa Bailey and Jamie Brooks

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StadiumFest at SPHS

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Spain Park High School’s Jaguar Stadium was the site for the 2013 StadiumFest. (Photos by Amy Jones.) 1. Kathryne and Wendi Shoop 2. Tom Cashin, Traci Hite, Tonya Hayes, Marcie Gladwell and Linda Cashin 3. Kathryn Hardy and Heather Willey 4. Madison Harrold, Aubrey Rouse and Amanda Harrold 5. Ana Gillelyn and Robin Joiner 6. Olivia Cissell and Kensley Yarbrough 7. Lindsay Armstrong, Katie Belcher and Christine Carrier 8. Hannah Harris, Hali Alexander, Sarah Layfield and Nichole Cox

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9. Jenna Adams, Hilliary Hallman and Rebecca Webster 10. Kelsey Wyrosdick, Kristen Tuttle and Rebecca Salstrand 11. Sarah Munroe and David Evens 12. Deidra WhitďŹ eld, Mike King and Antwaun Williams

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Oak Mountain Middle School’s Expo Excitement, featuring live music, amusement rides and carnival games, was held April 12-14 at the school’s football field. 1. Angela and Janae Wells 2. Wil and Mason LaFollette 3. Evan and Daneille Dunbar 4. Rebecca Ehrbar and Hannah Honeywell 5. Amber Johnson, Sarah Waine and Destiny Cannon 6. Christopher and Allen Young 7. Lauryn and Kevin Wdgworth 8. Traci and Ethan Cooley 9. Ashlee Stein, Colton Stein, Robbie Reuse, Bryson Stein and Travis Stein 10. Mikki, Ella and Abby Vineyard

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11. John, Anna, Marian and Sarah Hartsell 12. Heather, Riley and Mark Watkins 13. Michael and Gary Gagnon 14. Garrett, Rebecca, Bonnie and Alaina Tautkus

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The Montevallo Arts Show was held April 13 at Orr Park. (Photos by Drew Granthum.)

1. Loren Leigh and Lydia Baggett 2. Michael Tallon, Hannah MasďŹ eld, Carly Zywno, Jonathan Evans, Ripley the dog, Stephanie Howe, Liza Schwieterman and Jeffrey Boudreau 3. Cecily and Arthur Cheney 4. Kimberly Hall, Anleia Nance and Brittany Chavarria 5. Caleb, Jennifer and Eden Whatley 6. Jim Baker and Stephanie Foster 7. Chloe Bertschinger and Subastian Cordosa 8. Loran Murphy and Elizabeth Gross 9. Stephen Thompson and Daniela Phillips

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10. Amanda Fowler, Ashley Mims and Melanie Laurance 11. Jacoby Wilson, Nathaniel Wilson, Valerie Wilson, Nicholas Wilson and Nigel Wilson 12. Denise Poole-Cahela and Melanie Poole 13. Rachel Hamrick, Keisha Epperson and Kyle Richardson

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Mt Laurel Spring Festival

The Mt Laurel Spring Festival was held April 13. 1. Bowen and John Yarbrough 2. Johnna and Meagan Weldon with Alicia and Jennifer Russo 3. Gin Jager and Grace Harris 4. Rita Stewart and Jackie Lewis 5. Narciza Grace and Cheryl Ward 6. Joe O’Neal and Tracy Delaney 7. Braden, Tony, Michelle and Brenna Mauro 8. John Celaya and Courtney Hendrickson 9. Renee Thomas, Carlotta Jenkins and Pastor Lawrence Jackson

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10. Kathryn Peters, Becky Schneider and Erica Chavers 11. Michaela, Carissa and Talita Rector 12. Maggie Burnett and Ann Matlock 13. Miriam, Chris and Gabby Wood

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The Birmingham Dressage and Combined Training Association held its Spring Fling Show April 13 at Inanda Stables at Shoal Creek in Birmingham. 1. Ellie Gorman and Ann Clair Walton 2. Al, Shauna and Holly Blair Formentano with Calina and Mirela Burst 3. Charlie Jones and Madalyn Clark 4. Bridgette Myers, Nikki McCreless and Heather Blevins 5. Katie Allen and Rachel Beasley 6. Julie Olson and Aragon 7. Janie Montgomery, Chris Turner and Penny Turner 8. Kat and Crake Magnuson 9. Skip and Kathy Blalock

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10. Janice Ballard with Kevin and Autumn Pipkin 11. Amanda Priest, Ellary Mulder, Emerson Mulder and Shana Mulder 12. Savanna Stephens and Kara Nichols 13. Lauren Richards, Samantha Maxwell and Kenan Ashurst

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The Shelby County Arts Council hosted the opening reception for “Folk Art Blues: The Roots of American Music” on April 6 at its gallery in Columbiana. 1. Bruce Andrews, Guy Allbrook and Becky Gwarjanski 2. Gene and Judy Quick with Edna Sealy and Jerry Roldan 3. Jenenne Boyd and Kevin Wayne 4. Roger and Debra Spratlin with Ann Yates 5. Christina Frederick and Charlie Tidwell 6. Margaret and Ed Moreland 7. Lois Cooper and Joyce Smith 8. Aurelia Couch and Ben Grammer 9. Lynn and Bill Hightower

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Strength Conferences

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Mitzi Eaker led conferences about online marketing strategies and creating online content on April 8 and April 15 at Danberry at Inverness.

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1. Chantal Kottmeyer, Allison Adams, Mitzi Eaker and Joseph Currier 2. Jennifer Rash and Sherrel Stewart 3. Jennifer Warren with Tammy and Andrew Gagliano 4. Jim Strickland, Beverly Carroway and Hillary Weston

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OUT & ABOUT Alabaster CityFest

Oil painting workshop

June 1

CityFest Alabaster CityFest returns for the 11th year on June 1 at the Alabaster Municipal Park and Thompson Middle School. The free, all-day event features live outdoors concerts, kids’ activities and inflatables and vendors offering arts and crafts, merchandise, food and fun. Concert headliners are country musician Josh Turner and rock artist Ed Kowalczyk, formerly of the group Live. Visit Alabastercityfest.com. CityFest 5k The Alabaster Arts Council is proud to announce the addition of the CityFest 5K to this year’s 11th Annual Alabaster CityFest. The Inaugural CityFest 5K will begin and end at the High School Football Stadium located on Thompson Road. This will be the kickoff event for a greet day of family entertainment. The race will be Saturday June 1 at 8 a.m. Day off registration will begin at 7 a.m. All runners will receive a commemorative CityFest t-shirt and will be eligible for door prizes. To register go online at Active. com. For more information email Info@alabastercityfest. com. Starfish Strut 5k 80 | ShelbyLiving.com

Liberty Day

The Giving Hands 5K Starfish Strut will be June 1 at 8 a.m. at Veterans Park in Hoover.

June 2

Bump N Grind The Bump N Grind is part of the 2013 Alabama Mountain Bike Series and will be held June 2 at Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham. Race day registration starts at 7 a.m. and ends at 8:30 a.m. sharp. Race will start at 9 a.m.. Pre-registration fee is $35 and the race-day registration fee will be $40.

June 5-9

Regions Tradition The Regions Tradition will be held at Shoal Creek Golf Club June 5-9. The Regions Tradition is part of the Championship Tour, a membership organization of professional golfers age 50 and older. Celebrities attending this year’s tournament include Coach Nick Saban, Coach Gus Malzahn, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Coach Jimbo Fisher, Coach Dan Mullen and Bo Jackson. Visit Regionstradition.com for more information or to buy tickets.

June 7

Free Friday Flicks Veterans Park in Hoover will host Free Friday Flicks June 7. To find out more, call 444-7777.

June 8

Derby Run The Derby Run will be a 5k/10k run on groomed trails and paved roads through the beautiful campus of Indian Springs School, with a onemile fun run/walk on a paved road. The run will be held June 8 at 8 a.m. at Indian Springs School, 1215 Woodward Drive, Indian Springs. It will benefit Special Equestrians, Inc. which has provided high quality therapeutic horseback riding and equine assisted activities/therapies to persons with physical, mental, developmental, and emotional disabilities since 1985. Registration is $25 through May 31, and $30 June 1-8. Bass Tournament The first annual Myelitis Bass Tournament will be held June 8 at Beeswax Creek Boat Ramp, 245 Beeswax Park Road, Columbiana, from safe light until 3 p.m. First place winner receives $1,000. Second, third and fourth winners will receive $300, $200 and $100. Fee is $90 early entry (deadline May 24) and $100 day of event. Proceeds benefit UAB research into inflammatory diseases of the spinal cord. Info: 621-5821 or 475-7879.

kNOw More Orphans 5K The kNOw More Orphans 5K will be held June 8 at 8 a.m. at Veterans Park in Hoover. To register, visit Knowmoreorphans.org. Block Party St. Vincent’s One Nineteen will host its annual Block Party June 8 from 5-8 p.m. For more information, visit Onenineteen. com.

June 13

SSCC Silent Auction The South Shelby Chamber of Commerce will host a silent auction Thursday, June 13 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Magnolia Meadows Golf Course, 315 Highway 47 South, Columbiana. Admission is $10. Proceeds benefit the South Shelby Chamber Scholarship Fund.

June 14

SSCC Golf Tournament The South Shelby Chamber of Commerce will host a golf tournament Friday, June 14 at Magnolia Meadows Golf Course, 315 Highway 47 South. Shotgun starts at 8 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Contact April Stone at 205-669-9075 for more information.

Flag Day Flag Day will be celebrated at the American Village on June 14 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission charged. Travel back to 1776 and experience the power and drama of the nation’s journey for liberty, independence and self-government. Info: Americanvillage.org or 6653535 extension 1063.

the grandmother, Dorothea, who has sought to assert her independence through strongwilled eccentricity; her brilliant daughter, Artie, who has fled the stifling domination of her mother; and Artie’s daughter, Echo, a child of exceptional intellect and sensitivity whom Artie has abandoned to an upbringing by Dorothea.

June 15

ASF Youth Triathlon The Alabama Sports Festival will host its youth triathlon Saturday, June 22 at 8:30 a.m. at Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham. The triathlon is part of the ASF’s annual state games competition, which began in 1983. Last year the games showcased more than 6,000 athletes competing in 25 different sports and over 100 sporting events, making it the state’s largest annual amateur multi-sport athletic event. This year’s games are June 21-23 in Birmingham. Triathlon youth individual entry fee for early registration is $35 and must be receive by June 7. Standard registration, received through June 18, is $50.

Oil painting workshop The Shelby County Arts Council will offer a rare opportunity to take an intensive oil painting workshop from nationally recognized artist Donny Finley on June 15 at 10 a.m.  This workshop will include discussion on the Old Masters approach to painting and how modern artists can implement this approach into their work.  Finley will share his painting philosophy and demonstrate techniques. Students will receive one-onone instruction. Bring your own paints and canvas.  Visit Shelbycountyartscouncil.com. MDA’s Steel Strides 5K The MDA’s Steel Strides 5K will be held June 15 at 8 a.m. at Veterans Park in Hoover. This run will benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association. To register, visit Active.com. Nature Program Learn the best ways to attract the right kind of wildlife to your yard. Participants will also make bird feeders. at the Campground Pavilion at Oak Mountain State Park at 10 a.m. on June 15.

June 22

Eleemosynary “Eleemosynary” is at the Shelby County Arts Council on June 22 at 7 p.m. $15 per person. Purchase tickets online at Shelbycountyartscouncil. com or at the gallery MondayThursday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The play probes into the delicate relationship of three women:

June 28-29

Liberty Day exhibit The Shelby County Arts Council will launch its annual Liberty Day exhibit June 28 at its gallery, 104 Mildred Street, Columbiana. Visit Shelbycountyartscouncil.com for more information. Liberty Day The City of Columbiana will hold its 27th Liberty Day celebration June 28-29. The free event includes a parade, patriotic music, performances by local dance groups, fireworks and food and arts and crafts vendors. Call Helen Dean at Columbiana City Hall at 205669-5808. Do you have an event you want to be featured in Shelby Living? Email the details to Katie. mcdowell@shelbyliving.com. June 2013 | 81

WHY I LOVE SHELBY COUNTY

Sue Ellen Gerrells ‘Big-city benefits with small-town feel’ What brought you to Shelby County? Before settling in Alabama, I did some research on the Birmingham area and found it had great theater and good quality of life. We looked at homes throughout the Birmingham area but were drawn to Shelby County and our eventual home for its beauty and affordability. What do you love about Shelby County? I love the climate, the rolling countryside, the people and the amenities. Alabaster has all the benefits of a big city but with a small-town feel.

Story by KATIE MCDOWELL

S

ue Ellen Gerrells is the artistic director of the South City Theater in Alabaster and the executive director of the Alabama Conference of Theater. She and her husband, Mike, have been married 46 years and live in Alabaster. They have three sons and three grandsons. Before Mike retired, his job took the couple around the world, including Mobile, Texas, California, Singapore and Japan. Sue Ellen has worked in community theater since the 1960s and received her bachelor’s degree in theater from the University of South Alabama. She worked at USA in the theater department and earned a master’s degree in English with a concentration in dramatic literature.

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How did you become involved with the South City Theater? South City was closest to my home so I was eager to work “in my own backyard.”  I contacted Alan Gardner, SCT’s original artistic director, and sent in my resume. It didn’t hurt that Alan had just left the University of South Alabama, where I had acted and directed for 10 years. I was invited to direct “The Octette Bridge Club” several years ago. Thankfully, I’ve been asked back to direct for SCT every year since. Little did I know that one day, Alan would hand the artistic director reins over to me, but I’m very glad and humbled that he did! What are some of the awards SCT received recently?  “Best in Show” for the past three years at the state festival, as well as acting awards each year.  Represented Alabama at the

regional Southeastern Theater Conference for past 3 years, winning awards for sound and acting. What are the components for good community theater productions? For me, the best community theater productions are those that reflect the values and tastes of the communities they serve while challenging their participants to raise the bar of their theatrical skills. What’s next for the SCT? We have one more production scheduled for this season: “Eleemosynary” June 6-15. We are also collaborating with Shelby County Arts Council to bring our performances to Columbiana at the end of our SCT runs. What attracted you to theater? I was fascinated by the idea of becoming someone else ... of slipping into a different personality ... but I was very shy in high school. It wasn’t until college that I mustered the courage to try out for a production. One show and I was hooked. If you could direct any play, what would it be and why? I’ve always wanted to direct “Equus” by Peter Shaffer. It is such challenging material and requires highly theatricalized staging. It wouldn’t be a good fit for the majority of our SCT audiences, but perhaps someday I’ll have the opportunity to work on this amazing piece.

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Shelby Living June 2013