ColorOcala Contest

Grab your crayons, colored pencils, watercolor markers and cray pas, and join the hot new coloring craze!

Floridians, are you ready to COLOROCALA? Create beautiful art and compete for valuable prizes in Ocala Magazine’s latest big giveaway contest. You could win tickets for four to the Walt Disney World® theme park in Orlando, a family Christmas for four at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Kissimmee, and more. Color us excited!

Our latest contest is specially designed with family fun in mind. With a contest for both children and adults, you and your kids will have plenty to do this summer. And best of all, you can be creative together!

You can always count on Ocala Magazine for the best in news and entertainment, family fun, and fabulous prizes, so let’s get coloring! Show off your artistic side, and you might have a summer you’ll never forget.

Feeling Social?

Visit Ocala Magazine’s Facebook and Instagram pages and Colorala’s Facebook and Instagram pages – and while you’re at it, we hope you’ll Like our pages!

Here’s How You Enter:

You must complete Steps 1 through 4 to qualify for prizes!

  1. Download, print, and color your favorite specially drawn Ocala-themed coloring page from contest sponsor Colorala. (You can download pages as many times as you like.)
  2. Fill out the entry form (below) on the Ocala Magazine website before 6 p.m. Eastern time, July 22, 2016.
  3. Upload a photo of your completed coloring page using the File Upload feature provided on the form.
  4. Post your photo on Facebook OR Instagram before midnight, July 22, 2016. Use the hashtag #ocalamagazinecontest on Facebook OR Instagram in your post. Don’t forget to tag your friends and show off your creative genius!

That’s it. You’ve entered!

Click Each Image to Download a Coloring Page! (PDF Format)

Adult Coloring Page – Thoroughbred
Adult Coloring Page - Thoroughbred
Adult Coloring Page – Silver Springs
Adult Coloring Page - Silver Springs

Children’s Coloring Page – Thoroughbred
Children's Coloring Page - Thoroughbred

Children’s Coloring Page – Silver Springs
Children's Coloring Page - Silver Springs


Entries Are Now Being Judged, Stay Tuned!

Click for Contest Rules

Official Rules

  1. By entering, you agree to abide by The COLOROCALA Official Rules.
  2. All contestants must reside in the state of Florida.
  3. The contest will be administered by contest sponsor 7Hills Communications of Tallahassee, Florida.
  4. Entries must be submitted through the online form located at and all entry requirements must be met before midnight, Friday, July 22, 2016 in order to qualify.
  5. Entries submitted will be screened by 7Hills Communications and/or contest sponsor Colorala of Newport Beach, California, to ensure all entries meet contest requirements.
  6. Ocala Magazine, 7Hills Communications, and Colorala cannot be held responsible for email that is misdirected or undeliverable.
  7. Entries that do not meet all the “Here’s How to Enter” criteria will be disqualified.
  8. 7Hills Communications may, at its sole discretion and depending upon volume of entries, notify contestants whose entries are incorrect and must be resubmitted.
  9. 7Hills Communications will send only properly completed entries to Ocala Magazine.
  10. Completed coloring pages, along with the artist’s name, will be posted on the Ocala Magazine Facebook page and Instagram profile, and the Colorala Instagram profile. If the artist is 12 years of age or younger, the artist’s age also will be published.
  11. Following the conclusion of the contest, a team of fine artists from Colorala will judge the entries and select the winners.
  12. A list of winners will be published on the COLOROCALA Contest official web page, located at; the Ocala Magazine Facebook page; the Ocala Magazine Instagram profile; and the Colorala Color Instagram profile.
  13. Winners must claim their prizes by 5 p.m. Eastern time Monday, August 22, 2016. Any prize not claimed by Monday, August 22, 2016 will be awarded to an alternate winner.
  14. Ocala Magazine and/or 7Hills Communications will make every effort to notify winners via email, telephone, or postal mail within the 31-day prize redemption period. Ocala Magazine and 7Hills Communications cannot be held responsible for winners who cannot be located for notification within the prize redemption period.
  15. Ocala Magazine, Colorala, and 7Hills Communications will hold all contestants’ personal information except name, age, and city of residence confidential, and will not reveal said information to any third party unless required by law.
  16. By entering, contestants agree to allow Ocala Magazine, Colorala, and 7Hills Communications to post their names, ages if applicable, and photographs of their coloring pages to social media.
  17. By entering, contestants grant Ocala Magazine permission to publish their coloring pages in Ocala Magazine without remuneration. Published entries will be credited.
  18. By entering, contestants grant Ocala Magazine permission to publish photos of the winners, if applicable, without remuneration.
  19. Anyone employed as a professional artist, or who holds a college or university degree in studio art or graphic design, is not eligible to participate.
  20. Employees of Ocala Magazine, Colorala, and 7Hills Communications and their families are not eligible to participate.
  21. Each participant may enter the contest only once.
  22. All children 12 years of age or younger in a single family may submit one entry each for the children’s contest.
  23. Only one contestant 13 years of age or older from a single family may submit an entry to the adults’ contest.
  24. Only one prize per family will be awarded.
  25. While we encourage parents and legal guardians to experience the joy of coloring together with their children, contestants 12 years of age or younger must color their own coloring pages without physical assistance from any third party.
  26. All contestants 13 years of age or older must color their own coloring pages without assistance from any third party.
  27. Because children must be 13 years of age or older to have a Facebook or Instagram account, entries from children 12 years of age or younger must be submitted by a parent or legal guardian.
  28. Entries submitted by children 12 years of age or younger without parental supervision and consent will be disqualified.
  29. Contestants must abide by all Facebook and Instagram rules. Ocala Magazine, Colorala, and 7Hills Communications cannot be held responsible for any adverse decisions made by Facebook or Instagram as a result of a contestant’s violations of their Terms of Service.
  30. Contestants may use crayons, colored pencils, watercolor markers, or oil pastels (cray pas) to complete their coloring pages.
  31. Contestants may not use online or electronic coloring apps to complete their pictures. All entries colored with electronic coloring applications will be disqualified.
  32. One grand prize and two honorable mention prizes will be awarded in the children’s coloring contest.
  33. One grand prize and two honorable mention prizes will be awarded in the adults’ coloring contest.
  34. Contestants, or the parent or legal guardian of contestants 12 years of age or younger, must pick up prizes by appointment at the offices of Ocala Magazine, located at 743 E. Fort King Street, Ocala, Florida 34471. Ocala Magazine, at its sole discretion, may waive this requirement for winners who are not area residents.
  35. Winners must present a picture ID to receive their prizes.
  36. Ocala Magazine may, at its sole discretion, require a scanned or faxed copy of a picture ID before shipping prizes to winners who are not area residents.
  37. The Children’s Grand Prize Package is subject to the terms and conditions of the Walt Disney World® theme park.
  38. The Adults’ Grand Prize Package is subject to the terms and conditions of Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center.
  39. While we invite contestants to be fans, liking or following any Facebook page or Instagram profile is not required to win a prize.
  40. No purchase is necessary to win a prize.
  41. All judging/winner decisions made by Colorala Color are final.
  42. All contest decisions made by 7Hills Communications are final.
  43. Questions about The COLOROCALA Coloring Contest must be submitted via email to No telephone calls, please.

Cancer Hurts, HUGS Helps

By Elka Peterson

Close your eyes. Imagine you’re sitting in a doctor’s office waiting for the results of a medical test. You’re scared. Your heart is beating fast and your hands are trembling. You then hear those words the words that nobody wants to hear. “It’s cancer.”

Imagine for one moment that this is your reality. What’s going to happen to me? How am I going to get through this? It’s difficult to deal with a diagnosis like cancer. So many emotions come into play: anger, sadness, fear, desperation. You have to muster up all the courage you can to fight. The good news is that Heartfelt Unconditional Giving to benefit cancer patients (HUGS Charities) of Ocala is there to help when you need them.

Local resident and businessman, Michael Koontz, felt a call to action when his nephew died of abdominal cancer. It was a very difficult time for the family and Koontz felt helpless. It was at that time that he began to examine the resources available to those affected by cancer in our community.

“I felt like here in Ocala, cancer was pushed to the backburner. I wanted to do something that would bring it to the forefront,” he says. “Although the American Cancer Society existed, the funds raised were used outside of Marion County. I wanted to keep the funds here and help the local people.”

County Commissioners and members of HUGS announce Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Then serendipitous events began to happen. One evening in 2006, Koontz happened to be at the same event as philanthropist Manal Fakhoury, a member of the Royal Dames for Cancer Research.

“This is the perfect example of having an idea, putting it out into the universe, and having it manifest,” Fakhoury says.

Together, she and Koontz devised a plan to start an organization that would not only raise funds for cancer but would also work with local organizations to create an alliance that would benefit those affected by cancer.

In 2008, the non-profit HUGS Charities Inc. was founded by Koontz and Fakhoury. “We brought in more people that shared the same passion,” shared Koontz. “It’s enriching to see people’s altruistic tendencies.”

Fakhoury says, “The original plan was to start an umbrella organization, but it has become so much more than that.”

Shortly thereafter, the Cancer Alliance of Marion County was founded by Koontz’s daughter-in-law, Linda Koontz. The Cancer Alliance unites other organizations dedicated to cancer prevention and treatment.

Through the Cancer Alliance, the team discovered there was so much more to do in the community and thus created HUGS for Heroes, comprised of members of local law enforcement, firefighters, and HUGS members. The goal for them is the same: to help those affected by cancer.

Many local residents and members are wholeheartedly dedicated to the cause. One of them is Amanda Brown, Marketing Chair of HUGS. She shares, “I got involved with HUGS about four years ago. My family is personally going through the ‘rollercoaster ride.’  We have a young adult battling the disease. He is in his early thirties, a newlywed with a new baby.”

She continues, “HUGS is made up of volunteers, no paid employees. We provide support for patients to physically get to cancer treatments, keep their homes and lights on during treatments, and make ends meet in a time of financial and emotional crisis. A good charity responds to the needs of its community, and HUGS works hard to meet reasonable needs requested.”

To give a bit of perspective, Michael Koontz shared the story of a breast cancer patient who missed a treatment because it was raining. It was raining and she couldn’t drive herself to the appointment because she didn’t have windshield wipers on her car. “This is exactly why we do what we do,” he says.

Three years ago, Robert Boissoneault Oncology Institute (RBOI) joined HUGS Charities of Ocala as their Signature Sponsor.

Rhoda Walkup is the Director of Community Relations for Robert Boissoneault Oncology Institute, the Leadership Committee Member for Cancer Alliance of Marion County, and the Vice President of HUGS Charities. “As the Director of Community Relations for RBOI, I quickly became aware that cancer affects our community in many more ways than simply being a health concern. A cancer diagnosis affects every area of a patient’s life, as well as their loved ones,” she shares.

“I was immediately drawn to volunteer with HUGS when I saw how simple acts of generosity could change a patient’s and their loved ones lives forever—even playing a role in keeping them alive. When a patient is able to put gas in the car, miss some work, get to treatment, and still buy groceries, have a home, and pay bills—that can make all the difference.”

One of the questions that is frequently posed to members of the organization is, How can I make a difference? “There are a few ways that people can get involved and help us in our mission,” says Amy Roberts, who is a HUGS Board Member, Chair of the Cancer Alliance of Marion County (CAMC), as well as a clinical social worker and patient navigator at RBOI. “Of course, we are always looking for volunteers. You could donate gas cards. Those are used to provide rides for patients to treatments and appointments. You could volunteer to be a driver through the American Cancer Society Transportation Road to Recovery program. Many people are facing cancer alone, the volunteers who drive patients help people know that other’s care about them and that they are not alone.  Every year, during the holidays, HUGS provide Thanksgiving and Christmas meals for families in need. We can always use help from volunteers to deliver those meals.”

In March, HUGS Charities held their 11th Annual Fundraising Event at the One Health Center in Ocala, FL. This year they honored Leo Smith, a retired officer from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office who was diagnosed with cancer in 1998 and continues to live with the disease.

Approximately 150-200 people attend the prestigious event every year. An average of $25,000 is raised each year, not including generous annual donations from the Robert Boissoneault Oncology Institute. The event has grown, giving HUGS the opportunity to help more patients, as well as funding the Cancer Alliance of Marion County. All the funds donated stay right here in Marion County. Thousands of people from the community have been helped through HUGS and the Cancer Alliance. So yes, cancer hurts! But HUGS definitely helps.

HUGS is sponsoring a Lunch and Learn event on May 22nd, at the CEP Power Plant Business Incubator Building, called Protect The Skin You’re In about skin cancer prevention, early detection and treatments. All attendees must RSVP to Amy Roberts, at (352) 732-0277.

Golden Oasis

By Nick Steele


With over 20-plus years of experience in luxury, resort and medical spas and her own whole-body “wellness through natural therapies” approach, Kelly is focused on growing the spa’s offerings, while ensuring it continues to be the ultimate setting for indulgence. Kelly boasts an impressive background, including as Spa Director at Sheraton Bay Point Resort in Panama City Beach, Westin Hotels and Resorts in Mississippi, and Newnan Dermatology in Georgia. She says that her passion is to help others achieve balance and happiness within an ideal climate. We caught up with her for a quick chat about the spa and her new role.

Tell us what makes the spa such a special destination.

Golden Ocala Spa offers top-of-the-line luxury services, as well as home care products. Everything is hand-selected from handcrafted organic professional skin care to aromatherapy-based spa products. We strive to offer only the best services, as well as the best providers to ensure guest satisfaction. From our beautiful relaxation room and garden to saunas and steam rooms, our guests are able to spend an entire day unwinding and enjoying the full spa experience.

Is the spa open to the public or just members and residents?

The spa is open to our members and our members’ guests only.  It is this very exclusivity that sets us apart from other spas.

What new treatments and services are you most excited about?

Our new handcrafted organic products and the newly introduced Golden Ocala signature organic services have added an exciting new avenue for our members. We also have added a new nail polish/treatment, which is all natural without damaging formaldehyde and toluene for optimal wellness experiences.

Can you tell us about your background and how you became the spa’s new director?

I founded the Wellness Store and Day Spa in southern New England over 20 years ago. I brought the natural ways to beauty as well as wellness into focus. My services were sought after by many regional spas that were taking the organic and wellness route. After working as a consultant for approximately 300 luxury spas and day spas, it seemed quite natural to accept the role of director.

The Golden Ocala Spa offers a range of innovative treatments including; a range of traditional massage treats to warm stone massages, deep cleansing and purifying facials to L.E.D Light treatments, waxing, and eyelash extension services. The salon has a wide variety of styling services, blowouts, eyebrow and eyelash tinting.

While the spa is not open to the public, there are several membership packages available for non-residents to purchase that include access to the spa and salon.

For more information, visit

Curating a French Country Home

By Tricia Hiatt


When it comes to interior design, there are countless styles to explore. Choosing the right one for your home can be somewhat daunting, but can also be a wonderfully gratifying process. There are the purists who prefer to stick to one distinct theme. And then there’s those who decorate their home using a mix of styles. From traditional to modern, farmhouse to Boho, trends in home décor are always changing—but your home is a personal reflection of who you are and how you express yourself.

For me, French Country décor is the perfect fit and allows me to keep evolving my home and swap in and out fun elements that reflect each new season. There’s something about its timeless charm that gives a home a feeling of warmth and comfort. The fundamental elements that characterize  this versatile style of decorating include stylish color combinations, decorative accents, architectural elements, and vintage furnishings.

The Palette

The breathtaking French countryside is filled with vibrant colors and for centuries people have been bringing the vivid colors found outside into their homes to curate beautiful, welcoming spaces. The color palette of French Country design can consist of warm, cool, or even neutral tones, allowing ample room for creativity. The fusion of the sea and the sun—azure blues and buttercup yellows—can make any space inviting. Warm red, kelly green, and lavender boast a strong presence in this old-world style.

A neutral palette, employing hues such as white, linen, vanilla, and soft gray, have been extremely popular for the past few years, because the tones blend so well together. When thinking of neutrals in French Country interiors, it’s reminiscent of a time past when dyes weren’t readily available and bright colors traditionally were not used in the home’s décor, unless it was brought in from the garden or countryside.

Decorative Accents

Objects with a sense of  history, whether true vintage pieces or artful new incarnations made to look like treasured heirlooms,  are essential elements in French Country design. For years and years, in French tradition, objects were used and later repurposed for use in country homes. Back then, people had to think creatively by reimagining old for new because big box stores weren’t right at your fingertips. When selectng decorative accents to depict the perfect French Country look think about a blend of old and new items. Such as vintage finds and almost anything weathered and worn from years of use in a garden, old home, or barn. Additionally, integrate salvaged architectural pieces to add a rustic flair.

In the Kitchen

Seek out items that one might find in a centuries-old cottage kitchen, such as pitchers, ironstone, transferware, balances, dried herbs, wooden utensils, baskets, and clay pots to incorporate into your kitchen. Candles, flowers, plants, and scrolled wrought iron pieces are also staples. Boxwood, magnolia, lemon, or grapevine wreaths with natural foliage look amazing on a range hood or curtain rod.

In the Living Areas

Brass candlesticks  look gorgeous on a mantle, buffet, hutch, bookcase, or even intertwined in a tablescape. Arrange vignettes using antique books, chippy wood corbels, flowers, and greenery for pretty decorative accents in the main living areas. Large, round wall clocks, gold mirrors, botanical prints, and vintage commercial or industrial wood and metal signs make beautiful statement pieces for the walls. Chandeliers and light fixtures can be either ornate and feminine or decidedly rustic. Carriage house chandeliers, wooden beaded chandeliers with larger u-shaped metal or iron arms, and wine barrel chandeliers are all excellent choices.


In the Bedrooms

Peaceful soft hues used in bedrooms create a serene atmosphere. White or off-white comforters or a quilt paired with a white bedskirt is a look that just can’t go wrong. An attractive headboard will make a big impact. When it comes to the decorative accents in French Country bedrooms, think lots of luxurious pillows and blankets. Vases filled with fresh roses or lavender create an air of romance.

Architectural Components

Design elements such as dark wood ceiling beams, stone, brick, uneven stucco walls, and natural planked floors remain true to the traditional roots of French Country and infuse rooms with a relaxed sophistication. Everything is perfectly imperfect, creating a cozy, lived-in feel.

French Antique Furnishings

When it comes to choosing furniture embrace all things distressed, whitewashed, rustic, and weathered. Again, this style made up of a mix of historical periods, dating  back to the Louis XV time period (1715-1774), when furniture was curvy and used inlays of varying woods. Some of it was quite ornate, but furnishings don’t have to be to suit theFrench country style. This versatility  is what is so nice about it.

Making it Cohesive

Combining these essential elements into your design cohesively can take years and years of practice, research, trial and error. Although that’s also what makes it so fun and ultimately very satisfying.

One of the best things you can do if you are either new to decorating or looking to improve your eye for design is to take notes. When you are looking at magazines or HGTV or Instagram for design inspiration, really study the photos that you love and ask yourself what it is you love about them. Take note of the colors, textures, placement of pieces, and height variations. Take into account the number of objects in a space and how they are arranged and then start applying what you’ve learned in your own space. Practice creating vignettes, arranging furniture, create a tablescape, and most importantly: have fun with it. You be you and enjoy expressing yourself through the canvas that is your home.

If you’d like inspiration in the style of French Country or French Farmhouse, you can follow yours truly on Instagram @frenchflairfarmhouse.

Natural Woman


It may not surprise you to know that Joanna Gaines isn’t interested in being picture-perfect. Although she and husband Chip have had a meteoric rise to fame since their reality TV series about home design and renovation, Fixer Upper, first aired on HGTV in May 2013—the lady of the house has remained humble, authentic and open about her all too human struggles.

“I realized that my determination to make things perfect meant I was chasing an empty obsession all day long,” Joanna revealed in the couples bestselling book The Magnolia Story, which chronicles their relationship and journey to success. “Nothing was ever going to be perfect the way I had envisioned it in the past. Did I want to keep spending my energy on that effort, or did I want to step out of that obsession to enjoy my kids, maybe allowing myself to get messy right along with them in the process? I chose the latter—and that made all the difference. It’s up to us to choose contentment and thankfulness now—and to stop imagining that we have to have everything perfect before we’ll be happy.”

Her candor and willingness to share her journey in such a public way has set her apart from the woman who once held sway over some of the same domestic territory where Joanna has found her greatest success. But while Martha Stewart built her empire on the stuff of chilly perfection, Joanna is as warm as one of her homemade biscuits and feels like she’s someone you could have a good laugh with on the back porch. The common territory between Joanna and Martha can be clearly seen in the similar path each took from TV and print media to merchandising and world domination. Martha, who has been described as a domestic lifestyle pioneer, parlayed her catering business into a hugely successful brand and business empire. She launched it out of her historic Westport, Connecticut farmhouse Turkey Hill. Hmmm…a lovingly restored farmhouse. Where else have we heard this story? Though not formally trained, Martha was preternaturally adept at cooking, canning, preserving, decorating, crafting, and gardening. A series of successful books on entertaining and cooking (not to mention her career as a teen model) led to a magazine and television show, both of which she named Martha Stewart Living—and boy, was she ever. Eventually, she found a way to escape the media partners who had made her famous, buy up the television, magazine, book and merchandising ventures that carried her name and consolidate them all into her own company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. If the story is sounding at all familiar, it’s likely because Joanna Gaines has been making some similar moves of her own. Although we don’t see a prison stint or a close friendship with Snoop Dog in Joanna’s future.

It was a blog post about a house that Chip had rehabbed and Joanna designed, that initially drew the attention of a producer that worked with HGTV. The combination of Chip’s passion for flipping homes and Joanna’s innate design sense was an irresistible combination for the network and a few short months later, the couple was filming Fixer Upper. Shot in their beloved Waco, Texas, the show quickly gained a huge following. Within a year of hitting the airwaves, the couple broke ground on Magnolia Market at the Silos in Waco, a 2.5-acre downtown space that has grown into a massive retail shop, bakery, garden shop, and outdoor green space, complete with no less than twelve food trucks. The retail mecca is estimated to draw between thirty to fifty-thousand visitors a week and there’s talk of possibly moving to a larger location to accommodate even more Gaines fans. On the Silos section of the Magnolia website, which is also the home of Joanna’s blog, there’s a note about how to best enjoy your visit, “Joanna’s vision for the Silos is that they’d become more than a dusty, dilapidated piece of history—her vision was that they would become a gathering place for community. A place to slow down, to turn your phone off, and to connect with people. We’ve found that those who come ready to unplug and enjoy time with loved ones have the most enjoyable experience.”

So leave those selfie sticks at home. You’ll just embarrass yourself.

By the fall of 2016, the couple’s first book, The Magnolia Story and the quarterly lifestyle magazine The Magnolia Journal both launched. As you might have expected, both flew off the shelves. And whoever said print magazines are dead, didn’t get the memo from their publisher. Meredith Corporation recently announced that the publication has a total audience of 5.5 million.

Chip and Joanna also launched a line of paint colors, a collection of wallpaper designs, and the Magnolia Home Furnishings and accessories line. But the enterprising couple took things to the next level when they signed on for an exclusive collaboration with Target and launched Hearth & Hand with the retailer. The line is still going strong and you’re gonna want to snap up the fringed hammock before they sell out. For some reason it’s called “Sour Cream” but we’re pretty sure that’s the colorway, not a scratch-n-sniff situation. There have been other collaborations and retail relationships, proving that there’s plenty of demand for whatever they decide to invest their energy in.

Chip released a book of his own called Capital Gaines and Joanna has since authored three more books. Seriously, do these two ever sleep?

But when Chip announced in September of 2017, that the fifth season of Fixer Upper would be their last, millions of hearts began to break like old drywall. But dry brush those tears away. Chip and Joanna recently revealed that they will debut their very own cable channel, with Discovery, in the summer of 2020. And yes, they will be back starring in a new show on the channel.

“We loved this idea of connecting with people in a different way, telling other people’s stories, curating content,” Joanna told USA Today. “It felt to us a lot like what we do with the magazine, but on a different playing field.”

So here’s where we get back to all this Queen of All Media/Next Martha Stewart stuff. First, it bears mentioning that Chip and Joanna were named to TIME: The Most Influential People of 2019 list and actually came face to face with Martha at the gala. Much fuss has been made about the domestic diva not knowing who they were…okay, Chip said it. But Joanna, who has been publicly fangirled by Jennifer Lopez and is now “helping” her decorate her new Malibu beach house, was still jazzed to meet her, between taking selfies with Taylor Swift and Julianne Moore.

Are you exhausted yet? Well, this world dominance stuff is not for the faint of heart. Joanna even managed to have baby number five in the midst of all that activity. So buck up and grab some shiplap, because we’re going to take you through some of our favorites must-haves from the family that just keeps on giving.


The Magnolia Story

The book that started it all is a really sweet, funny and honest account of their lives together and provides insight into why they work so well as a couple and thrive as a family. The tale is told through alternating storytelling between the two, like a conversation that you get to sit in on.








We Are the Gardeners

“From the first little garden patch we built on the side of our house to the larger one we’re growing at the farm today, the garden has always been a place where I get to connect with my kids and with nature. When we built our first garden bed, it was a lot of trial and error before any of us really got the hang of things. We wrote this book together to share the journey of growing our own family garden,” Joanna explained about the inspiration behind the sweetly illustrated children’s book that she co-authored with her kids.

Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave

If you really want to understand Joanna’s interior design process, this book will guide you through her approach and give you the tools to make your spaces uniquely your own.

Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering

Joanna’s first cookbook does not disappoint. It’s packed with so many great recipes, that you need to first prioritize what you want to try first. It’s also the next best thing to sitting down to dinner with the Gaines family or eating at their restaurant. In fact, several of the recipes are dishes that are available either at their restaurant or in the bakery at The Silos. #CulinaryStaycation


Joanna recently teamed up with Anthropologie for an exclusive collection of artfully-inspired rugs and pillows. “For me, Anthropologie has long been a source of inspiration, so this collaboration felt like a fun and natural pairing,” said Joanna. “I really love the color palette of this collection – from the hues of blush and blue to the ochre and classic combinations of black and white – yet, while each piece may exude its own unique style, the consistency of the subtle, classic details weaved throughout pulls it all together for a wide range of home styles.”


One of our absolute favorite collaborations that Joanna has been working on is Matilda Jane + Joanna Gaines for Matilda Jane Clothing ( The collection, which is inspired by her family’s life on their farm, is as sunny and fun as Joanna herself. “Like I do when I’m designing a house, I love to pull inspiration from what’s around me,” Joanna said of her second collaboration with the brand.” It’s been so fun to see how this translates into clothing.”

The collaboration offers  great pieces for women, tweens, infants, girls, and boys. “The whole inspiration for this new collection was summer here out on the farm—the long days, the hazy sunsets, kids running around just being kids. The whole idea of being inspired by life on the farm is really rooted in an effortless, easygoing lifestyle, and that’s the feeling I hope people have when they’re wearing these pieces.”

Women of Influence: Diana Williams


What do you love about the Ocala community?

“There’s so much to see and do—that’s Ocala, Marion County. The community in which you live is what you make of it yourself. My husband Jim and I had such a positive experience raising, nurturing, and coaching our four children in Ocala. There was never a dull moment. With such diverse paths, you’d never know they were raised in the same household—that is until you talk to them. All enjoy the outdoors from riding horses, running a trail, serving at Camp Kiwanis, kayaking, and playing in a concert at the Veteran’s Park. They love playing basketball, soccer, and tennis at the parks and there really is something for everyone. This leads to a variety of career choices as well; it’s important to enjoy your work!”

Can you tell us a little about your career path?

“For over 23 years I have worked in the financial services industry as a Financial Advisor. It has been a blessing to work in a career that provides flexible work hours. This allows time for field trips while the kids are in school, sports travel team weekend excursions, musical events, and occasional trips across the country or to Europe. Not to mention, the ability to keep a finger on the pulse of the community through community service.”

Is there someone who was or is an inspiration to you?

“I must thank my mother for setting such a great example of philanthropy and ‘giving back’ in service to our community, and I thank the public schools for doing a great job helping the students learn about the needs of the community and thereby producing caring adults. If many participate, it divides the workload and provides a sense of accomplishment and pride.”

How have you served in the Ocala community?

“Having served as a Supreme Court Mediator, on boards such as the YMCA, Arnette House, Kiwanis, United Way Endowment, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), provides insight into the needs of our citizens and how organizations can work together to coordinate services. There are constant challenges, so it is wonderful to see the success of the court diversion programs, outreach to the homeless, helping seniors and veterans, and learning how we approach the Opioid crisis is encouraging. It’s so uplifting to acknowledge the commitment of the agencies along with their board of directors, working together to improve the lives of those less fortunate.”

What advice do you have for someone who is new to the area?

“Take the time to appreciate our community and enjoy our natural wonders, our gorgeous horse country, our youth sports, the arts and music, civic theatre, museum, local college and downtown events, and recognize the efforts of so many that will simply put a smile on your face.”

Women of Influence: The Ivy House

Evelyn Nussel, Mimi Hale and Waica Micheletti

Can you tell us about The Ivy House?

“We have been in the boutique and gift shop business since 1968. Since 1992, we have also been in the restaurant business. We currently have two locations, one in Ocala and one in Williston. The love of fashion, food and design is what has brought us to where we are today. Learning from the best, our Mimi, has taught us the meaning of hard work and perseverance. There is no better team than the three of us. We like to ‘make things happen.’ We each play an important role as co-owners and operators of both locations. Each of us has our own strong suit, which makes us a wonderful team.”

How do you feel about Ocala?

“We have our roots in Ocala. Mimi grew up in Marion County and attended grade school here. Every morning before school, she had milk and donuts at Bennett’s Drug Store in downtown Ocala. This was in the 1940s and cost just ten cents. Making it to our current location, at 53 SW Magnolia Avenue, is certainly fitting for us—knowing that the matriarch of our family once walked this street on her way to school and watched movies just across the street. We love Ocala/Marion County. It’s unique big city with a small town feel sets it apart from most. The people here are gracious and very welcoming. The city has been so supportive to our downtown location and we feel that we have been an asset to the downtown community as well!”

As women of influence, what advice do you have for others who want to follow a
similar path?

“There are many influential women in Ocala/Marion County, in various professional areas, be that politics, the arts, real estate and business owners, to name a few. Women can do many different things to be more influential and powerful by being genuine, compassionate, honest, accountable, dependable. This enhances their reputations. Find a balance between work and home—work hard and play hard! And never give up your dreams or what you believe in.”

Women of Influence: Britt McMinn


Tell us about your work

I have been in the beauty industry for over a decade. I’ve had a passion for skin my entire life. It’s been a journey of ups and downs but I can finally say with consistency and hard work I am at my peak place in the beauty industry, as a medical aesthetician. My love for medical and beauty are all in one! It doesn’t get much better than that. I specialize in customized facials and skin care plans for your every need, as well as microblading and lashes.

What do you love about our community?

I’ve had the privilege of living in Ocala for the last 30 years. Our community is that of strong independent striving individuals. I love seeing Ocala grow as well as prosper in all the right ways! The love for our community and others is what sets us apart, I believe. Well, that and being the horse capital of the world.

What advice would you offer someone interested in a similar career path?

If I could give anyone advice it would be to stay patient and consistent with your passions, goals and dreams. Be kind and love yourself and others. Life is about learning and expecting nothing from anyone except yourself. If you want it bad enough there is always a way.   

Women of Influence: Cynthia Tieche

Can you tell us about Recharge?

“Recharge Clinic is a functional/regenerative-medicine doctor’s office with a medical spa. We offer the most innovative medical treatments to get our patients feeling and looking their best, starting with their health on the inside and finishing it with their beauty on the outside. I created this clinic with my husband Dr. Steve Tieche. I have a passion for health and beauty and I am excited to be able to bring this cutting edge clinic to Ocala.”

What is it that you love about Ocala?

“Ocala is such an amazing place to be. You can really get the best of both worlds. It’s fun to be in the middle of horse country and also be ten minutes away from a city that has so much to offer. I love being a part of such a fast growing community.”

What advice would you give to someone who wants to create a business like yours?

“I have worked, and still work, very hard everyday to make this clinic successful. My advice to anyone wanting to follow this path is to first make sure you know clearly what your destination goal is and keep your focus on that. Know what your direction needs to be to get there and go for it. This means working seven days a week, all day, late nights and no quitting. Your hard work will pay off”

“I would also love to introduce you to Brittany McMinn, one of our medical aestheticians on staff, who performs medical peels, PRP microneedling for hair loss and skin rejuvenation, advanced ZO facials and microblading for brows, to offer you her perspective.”

Women of Influence: Tyla Kennedy

What do you love about the Ocala community?

“What do I love about Ocala? Everything! I was born in New York and have lived in Ocala for the last twenty years. I came from a small town, so Ocala is just big enough for me. I love all the activities for young entrepreneurs like myself. It’s the perfect town to network in and to build great relationships.” 

Can you tell us about what you do?

“I am a full time Herbalife health coach, business owner, Ted Talk speaker, Christ follower, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. I am currently on a mission to make the world a healthier and happier place to live. I recently opened a nutrition club, Baseline Nutrition, which is a smoothie/shake shop that provides healthier options for the community. I have a passion for helping others reach their physical and financial goals through nutrition, fitness, and a healthy, active lifestyle.” 

In what organizations have you served in the Ocala community?

“I wear many hats in the community including ambassador of the CEP, member of the Young Professionals of Ocala, board member of the March of Dimes, and a member of Toastmaster Ocala. I love getting involved with local charity events in the community. I have had the honor to raise money for the PACE Center for Girls, the Marion County Literacy Council, Frank Deluca YMCA Scholarship Program, Interfaith Emergency Services, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Marion County.” 

What advice do you have for others who
would like to follow a similar path to the one that you have?

“If I could give women any advice it would be to never give up on your dreams and never settle. If you can dream it, you can achieve it. So often I see women settling for the job they hate, the man they can’t stand, or the idea that life is just about going through the motions. Write that book, open that business, go on that trip, and most importantly love yourself! You are worthy, you are beautiful, and you were created for so much more. There will never be another you again, so love as much as you can, give as much as you can. Service to many leads to greatness.” 

Is there anyone you would like
to thank?

“I would just like to say a special thank you to God for another day, my mom for the gift of life, and to anyone who is reading this and got inspired. The world needs YOU. Never forget it.”

Women Of Influence: Mary Britt


If you’ve lived in Ocala for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard of the Ocala Civic Theatre (OCT), one of the prime arts and culture hubs of the city. The theatre ranks among the top community theatres in Florida. And if you’ve had the pleasure of seeing a play—or the experience of acting in one—at this charming community theatre, then you know that it is a place where laughter, joy, and the good kind of “drama” abound. It’s a place where people are both entertained and are entertainers. It is also a place that recently mourned the loss of its extraordinary, long-standing Executive Director Mary Britt.

As Executive Director of OCT for 31 years, Britt originally became involved in community theatre as a volunteer actor. She might have gone on to become an amazing actress, but the ever-humble Britt quickly realized that she preferred to work behind the scenes.

She would go on to become board president and later executive director. Her passion for the theatre was undeniable and she had a lasting impact on the arts and cultural development in Ocala. “Mary Britt was a rock star,” commented Dave Schlenker, of the Ocala Star Banner. “She was the most effective and respected cultural advocate in Marion County, which is saying a lot. Mary could chat about Boofus, the theatre cat, in one breath and untangle the complicated web of state arts funding in another.”

Having the ability to do what you love for a living is a wonderful opportunity and Britt was blessed to live out her passion on a daily basis. “The way Mary talked about the theatre, you could tell it was her passion,” shared OCT Box Office Manager and Volunteer Coordinator Craig James. “Any time she gave a curtain speech, she would say how Ocala Civic Theatre was one of the top community theatres in the country. Just the way she said it, and the way she smiled, you could see that she was so proud of that. That meant a lot to her.”

That kind of enthusiasm and her excellent communication skills made her a persuasive and formidable leader. “Mary was one of the most incredible communicators I’ve ever met,” shared Chris Jorie, a noted director, actor, vocal coach and longtime friend of Britt, who took over as interim executive director after her passing and has directed many shows at the theatre over the past 20 years. Jorie also noted that Britt’s love of people was irrefutable. “She was compassionate and loved being with people,” he explained. “To the extent of knowing thousands of folks, outside of the theatre, by name.”

“She was so dear to us and always so sweet and caring,” shared one of Britt’s longtime friends Elodie Perron, owner of the La Cuisine restaurant. “Mary would ask about the restaurant staff and their families every time she came in. She ordered the same drink every time—a Flirtini—which is a mixture of vodka, triple sec, pineapple juice, and champagne. We are thinking about renaming it to The Brittini in honor of Mary.”

While she loved people of all ages, Britt especially adored children. “Mary understood that, above all else, Ocala Civic Theatre should open its doors wide to children,” explained Interim Executive Director Katrina Ploof. “She understood that creativity gives young people the much-needed skills of collaboration, problem-solving, perseverance, and focus, which in turn helps them grow into generous and caring adults. As a visionary, she knew that a community is only as strong as the young people it raises and that exposure to the arts should never be limited by financial or personal resources. Ocala, and indeed the greater world, benefit everyday from the young people who have grown and thrived under her leadership.”

Britt didn’t just welcome children into the theatre with open arms, she welcomed them into her beautiful heart. “When I came home from rehearsal the evening that Mary passed, I opened Facebook to find dozens of individual posts from young people at OCT, all expressing their shock and grief at losing someone they grew up with,” recalled OCT Guest Music Director Philip King. “It occurred to me that so many of the volunteers, that I work with in Ocala, grew up with Mary. She was another parent. Perhaps most importantly, a parent who ushered in a lifelong love of the arts.”

Being the talented, multifaceted businesswoman that she was, Britt was excellent at managing and maintaining everything from marketing to administration, to budgets and fundraisers. When it came to the productions, Jorie offered, “She knew when to step in and when to step out of the way. She had a fantastic eye and she was our quality control at the theatre.”

Planning and taking trips to New York City, with as many as 25-30 people, was one of Ms. Britt’s yearly highlights. One of her recent favorites was Come From Away, a true story and heartfelt musical about what transpired when thousands of stranded passengers landed in Newfoundland a week after the 9/11 attacks.  The classic story, To Kill a Mockingbird, was another show that she held dear to her heart.

“Mary was a champion of every season and every show,” Jorie recalls of the many productions she oversaw at OCT.

There are countless anecdotes and funny stories from her tenure, but one in particular stood out to Britt, according to Jorie. “Back at the old theatre, they were doing a performance of Cyrano and a very large roach climbed out of the lead actor’s hat and wig, down his neck, onto his shoulder, and then down his arm,” he recalls with a laugh. “The actor flung it onto the floor, the insect crawled off the stage, and everyone laughed and applauded.”

Britt was active with OCT right up until her passing on April 3rd of this year, at the age of 64. The theatre is ready to show their love by hosting a tribute in honor of her. “Mary laid it all out for us. She wanted the theatre to have a celebration of her life,” Jorie explained. “It was very important to her that we make it a joyous occasion.”

I had the pleasure of knowing Mary Britt for a couple of years when I was a volunteer actor at OCT. I knew then, even at a young age, that she was solid, sweet, and sound. Everything from her passion and dedication to her sparkling blue eyes made Britt the endearing person she was.

Actor and Director Terrence Mann stated, “Movies will make you famous; television will make you rich, but theatre will make you good.” And that is exactly the case with Britt. Her reach in the theater scene was exceptional, not just in our region, but also nationally and established her as a leading woman in her own right. “The theater was her first love,” Jorie offers.

So although we mourn her loss, we know that the curtain has not closed on Britt. Our community will continue to pay tribute to this remarkable woman and her legacy will be found in the laughter, the applause, and the spirit of collaboration that will continue at her beloved OCT for generations to come.

A memorial fund has been established in Britt’s name. If you would like to contribute, please contact the theatre at (352) 236-2274. The theatre will host a celebration of life for Britt on May 21st at 5 p.m. at 4337 E. Silver Springs Blvd.

The Addams Family, an award-winning musical comedy based on the classic television show, opens on May 16th and runs through June 9th. A special evening of show tunes by Victoria Sexton and Scotty Tomas is scheduled for June 10th. Auditions for the Summer Student Theatre Arts Enrichment Performance camps (STAG) begin May 4th. For more information visit or email 


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