ColorOcala!

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 ocalamagazine.com/colorocala 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 ocalamagazine.com/colorocala; 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 [email protected] No telephone calls, please.

Socially Speaking August

Glitz & Glamour

Four hooves flying, lathered in sweat, mane and tail fanning out at record speeds with a jockey up in the saddle and whip in hand, champion horses are thoroughbred royalty. Homage was paid at the recent Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association Awards Banquet and Sapphire and Diamonds Gala held in the ballroom of Circle Square Cultural Center. The sold-out fete was packed with glitzy honorees from the thoroughbred world along with our Ocala/Marion County supportive community and business leaders. The evening raised more than $37,000 for Florida Thoroughbred Charities. The thoroughbred industry in the state of Florida has a $11.7 billion dollars economic impact. In 2019 alone there were over $1 billion dollars in thoroughbred sales.

The mayor of Horse Capital of the World, Kent Guinn, was on hand with his wife, Sandra. An extensive auction included art by famed Remi Bellocq who dazzled with sketches on the spot. He raised more than $4,000 from his appearance. The evening was a Who’s Who of equine pros from Pat Parelli to trick horse trainer Carole Fletcher. Horse Capital Television set up an onsite studio and host Barbara Dawson wore fashion by Dillards and jewels by Gause & Son. The store also donated a $1,500 equestrian themed piece for the evening.

Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Stud was the diamond sponsor hosting the Live Oak Stud Winner’s Lounge for honorees. New sponsor Christopher Whitney of Red Brand observed that his group had a wonderful time and will be back next year.

Social and events committee chair and board member Valerie Dailey said, “The Florida Thoroughbred Charities has been fortunate to have such great support from the entire community. Each year the gala has grown with more business and community members becoming involved. The Circle Square Cultural Center provides a great backdrop for this worthwhile cause.”

Florida Thoroughbred Charities is a non-profit organization and the charitable arm of the FTBOA. FTC is committed to strengthening both the industry and community through events and raising funds. Funds raised go to the Florida Thoroughbred Retirement program. It is the only program in the nation partnering women inmates and thoroughbreds where women learn life skills and equine knowledge that assist them with gainful employment when they are released.

“The FTBOA believes in the care and support of retired thoroughbreds. What makes our particular program different at Lowell Correctional Institute is that it also cares for and heals people as well as horses,” said Lonny Powell, FTBOA CEO.

The star of the night was Horse of the Year Imperial Hint who took home three honors. He was bred by Bert and Martha Pilcher of Shade Tree Thoroughbreds in Reddick.

Mike O’Farrell and his sons Joe and Dave of Ocala Stud were honored with the Joe O’Farrell Memorial Award from Ocala Breeders’ Sales, the Broodmare of the Year, the leading freshman sire with Uncaptured, and Breeder of the Year for the fifth time. The memorial award had special meaning as it was the name of the family patriarch who founded the farm more than 60 years ago.

Chad and Courtney Meagher of Citra, were presented the Needles Award as the state’s small breeders of the year. Bonnie Heath whose family campaigned Needles presented the award. The honor is named after Needles who was the first horse from Florida to win a Kentucky Derby in 1956. Stallion of the Year was First Dude who stands at Donald Dizney’s Double Diamond.

Everyone needs a helping hand to get into the saddle. Make your helping hands especially strong by donating to Florida Thoroughbred Charities, Inc. 

For more information or to make a donation please visit www.ftboa.com. You can also phone the FTBOA at 352-629-2160.

 

Florida Magazine Association Charlie Awards Gala

Each year magazines from all over the state of Florida converge for a weekend of learning, networking, and celebrating all of the successes the Florida magazine industry has had this year.  The 2019 Florida Media Conference, held at The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort hosted hundreds of guests, panelists, and vendors all eager to see what new trends are on the horizon. Rounding out the weekend with the Florida Magazine Associations Charlie Awards, magazines were awarded for their superior quality and content. On the list of winners was Ocala Magazine taking home five awards over the weekend.

 

Building Credit with the Community

On July 11th Ocala Magazine joined other community leaders for the ribbon cutting of the 51st branch of VyStar Credit Union. Present for the Ribbon Cutting was Chair of the Board, Eric Hatfield, with Mireyli Hernandez, VP of the Ocala Branch. This three day event included cash and special prize giveaways, new account incentives, and special treats for the kids. This is the first branch in the Ocala area and, as they continue to establish themselves as a financial household name, they are hopeful to continue to grow within the community. We would like to say thank you to Vice President Mireyli Hernandez and the entire VyStar Team for being such gracious hosts.

For all of your banking needs, stop by and visit at 4614 SW College Rd. Ocala, FL 32615 or call (352) 642-1140

 

Couch Sessions at Pi

Local artist Jessi Miller and local DJ Joel Downing entertained a sold-out show for their performance at Pi on Broadway. Jessi’s exhibit, entitled “The Messengers,” featured the likeness and quotes from some of history’s greatest thinkers and creative minds. People such as Gandhi, Steve Jobs, Nina Simone, John Lennon, Mos Def, and others were all highlighted with their famous words surrounding them. While Joel Downing spun tracks handpicked for the event, Jessi Miller painted a 36 x 40 canvas of William Shakespear.

For more information on how you can purchase Jessi’s work or book Joel for an event:.

Jessi Miller: jessimiller.com
[email protected]

Joel Downing: Instagram

@mozzarellasticksnearme

Couch Sessions is sponsored by
the Rielly Arts Center and hosted
by Oliva Ortiz

Protecting Our Children

It’s been 20 years since the Columbine High School massacre where 15 people lost their lives and our nation watched in horror. And just over a year ago on Valentines Day a gunman opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing seventeen students and staff members and injuring seventeen others. But as students, parents, teachers, and a community we felt the very real impact of the Forest High School shooting incident in April of last year. It was no longer thousands of miles away. The faces were no longer nameless. They were our kids. Our spouses. Our significant others. Our family. Our friends. Thankfully there was no loss of life. Statistic go out the window and things get very personal when someone you love is in harm’s way. Emotions run high and nerves are raw. But I’m not here to relive or recount the particulars of that day. We as a community need to continue to look forward from the Forest High School shooting incident in terms of school safety and the part that each of us plays in providing a safe learning environment for our children. Our future leaders. The legacy that we will leave.

Let’s take a look at where we were before the Forest shooting and after for some perspective. I had the pleasure to visit with Kevin Christian, Public Information Officer for the Marion County Public Schools (MCPS) who was a wealth of information and if I were a parent of school age children here (as I was over 20 years ago) these ongoing improvements in security would give me great comfort.

It’s important to note that the recommendations in the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act (born out of the Parkland shooting) were already being followed by MCPS prior to the bill being signed into law on March 9, 2018. The day after the Forest shooting armed Student Resource Officers (SRO’s) went from being on 17 schools to 56 campuses. Increased visibility led to increased awareness by students, teachers, and staff. SRO vehicles are parked as close as possible the main building entrances as a further deterrent.  Another front that Christian spoke of is fencing and it’s a big priority for MCPS even with the challenges it presents at some of the school locations.  The goal is to keep those off of school property that don’t belong and to keep those who do belong in a space that is safe and conducive for learning with a single point of entry. It’s not always possible to install perimeter fencing so in some cases fencing is being installed between buildings using the structures themselves as part of the barrier system.

Marion County Public Schools is also looking at the monetary cost of add more video cameras. A proposal has already been submitted to the School Board for 1.4 million dollars that would bring the total number of cameras to 672, nearly tripling the number there are now. Still, there is the challenge of how do you monitor all of these cameras? Kevin made a statement that stuck with me. “Students are the best eyes and ears we have on campus.” I think that 43,000 plus aware student eyes and ears trumps any number of video surveillance if they live by their mantra of “See it, Say it, Report it.”

Training and practice are also an integral part of the MCPS plan. There is a quote that says, “If you stay ready you don’t have to get ready.” Active shooter protocol training was completed by MCPS employees within 2 weeks of the Parkland incident and Sherriff Billy Woods said, “It saved lives.” In addition to training, active shooter drills are practiced as often as fire drills (which is at least 12 times a year while classes are in session.) This further reinforces top of mind awareness.

I also talked with Pastor Darren Gaddis of First Baptist Church, Ocala whose daughter, Leah was in close proximity of the shooter on the Forest campus that day. As a parent prior to the incident he said he felt his children were safe. Since the shooting he has observed the SRO’s vehicles at the front doors of the schools where his children attend. Although Rev. Gaddis dealt with a school shooting in 1997 just out of seminary he said, “We can get lulled into a false sense of security by the percentages.” Percentages go out the window when it comes to someone you love.

In a separate conversation with Leah (now a graduate of Forest High School) she echoed her Dads sentiment. “I felt safe because I knew everyone. I wasn’t as cautious because I didn’t feel the need.” Leah told me wearing a school ID made her feel safe as well as the gates and fencing. “The biggest thing for me,” she said “was the room with The Rock in it. It’s changed the culture of the school. It was a place to go that made me feel emotionally safe.” I asked Leah if she had any advice for students on campus. She shared 3 things with me:

• Always have an escape plan.

• Be proactive.

• Be prepared but not scared.

We live in an increasingly violent and unpredictable world but we shouldn’t let fear paralyze our lives. Safety whether on a school campus, a place of worship or a shopping mall all starts with walking into those spaces and being aware of our environment. Look up when you’re walking instead of down at your cellphone. Ask yourself if anything looks out of place and if it does say something to someone. We all too often think someone else will say something and “they” never do. Be the active teller of what you see. If you feel uncomfortable or threatened and have the ability to leave or flee the area to safety do it! Marion County Public Schools has the right idea for all of us.

Dynamic Duets

Take us through the basics, How did you two meet.

Caly: We met at work.  Through your downtown neighbor, Mrs. Angie Lewis herself.

Megan: I met Caly when I started working for Angie Lewis State Farm in October of 2017.

When did you realize that you wanted to make music together?

Caly: Immediately.  I mentioned at work, shortly after Megan started, that I sing and play guitar in my free time.  Megan came to me the same day asking to jam, and we got together that weekend to play for the first time.  Her voice is out of this world, clearly.  I couldn’t imagine not playing with her.  So now she can’t get rid of me. 

Megan: I found out when I started working that Caly sang and played. We traded recordings of songs we had covered and the one she gave me was an acoustic version ‘Lose Yourself’ by Eminem. My first thought was that I would have NEVER thought to do an acoustic cover of that song and that it was pretty unique. Once I listened, there was no way I was letting her say no to playing together.

What has been the biggest highlight of your musical journey to date? 

Caly: My biggest highlight is still the very first time I played in public.  Megan actually really pushed me and encouraged me to do it.  It was just a small open mic. night, I messed up half the chords because I was so nervous, I forgot an entire verse to our last song, and my voice was probably shaking the whole time- but all of our family and friends came out to support us.  They stood up, they cheered and clapped, and it was just so cool to see their love and support.

Megan: I’ve always loved to sing and would perform literally anywhere that would let me when I was younger, but I threw a lot of great opportunities I had a way that could have advanced me. Where I’m at right now, even though we’re just starting, the recognition we have gotten from people so far as well as the opportunities, has been a really big highlight after carrying regret from missing so much in the past. I’m really putting myself out there for the first time in a long time and it’s been amazing. 

From an artists perspective, what is your viewpoint of the Ocala Music Scene? 

Caly: I think Ocala’s music scene is incredible!  Almost every night of the week you can find local, live music somewhere downtown.  We have the Reilly Arts Center, which is about to double in size, and is where I’ve seen some of my favorite concerts of my life.  The Ocala Symphony Orchestra puts on the most enchanting shows. We have the coolest interactive concerts every month called Couch Sessions.  And there is so much more going on!  I highly recommend taking advantage of it.  Our town is full of talent.

Megan: I’m really just beginning to dive into the music scene in Ocala, but so far I’ve been very impressed with the talent that’s here. Caly has introduced me to the Reilly and to other events like Couch Sessions and beyond that, there’s just so many venues in Ocala that have local musicians play and so many open mics for people to go to. It really makes me love when people say there isn’t anything to do in Ocala.

You both harmonize really well together, how long has it taken you to get to this point?

Caly: It’s something we’re still working on every day.  Our voices are so different, and we’ve had to work really hard to figure out what works for each of us, and what doesn’t.  We’ve really gotten to know each other’s voices and each other’s strengths over the years.  We push each other to be better and push our ranges.  It’s been a process, but I think working together and trusting each other has been the most important thing. 

Megan: From the beginning, neither of us have been scared to tell the other if we don’t like or aren’t feeling something for our own voice, or if we don’t like it for the other. We are also the same in the fact that we will try something over, and over, and over again until we get as close to the same inflection as the other. We’ve gotten to the point where we really know each other’s voices and pick what we do based on that.

Every local music scene has its own set of challenges, what are some of the ones you’ve faced?

Caly: I’d say a big challenge of mine is making sure that I make time for music.  I work full time for Angie Lewis State Farm, am involved with the Reilly Arts Center’s Associate Board, I’m on the board for Young professionals Ocala, and I have to be very intentional about not letting music take a backseat.

Megan: Right now, I think the fact that we are only performing covers makes it a little more challenging to do something memorable for people since we don’t fully have our own sound figured out. So not getting lost in the background is pretty challenging Which is why we really focus on our song selection and making our catalogue so diverse so we can try to strike a chord with as many people as possible.

As you continue on in your musical pursuits, what are you most excited for.

Caly: I’m just so excited to keep getting better.  We’ve already grown so much together.  It’s so fun to listen to recordings and videos from when we first started, and compare it to our newer material.  The growth is so clear and I’m just stoked to keep playing together and improving even more.

Megan: I am most excited for us to start writing our own songs and navigating that part of our journey and process. We’re both so passionate and excited about what we’ve been doing already that I have no doubts that same energy is going to be able to create a lot of amazing music from us.

On The Menu: Ivy House on the Square

Over a quarter of a century ago Marjorie Hale, more affectionately known as “Mimi,” had the vision to turn a historic 1912 French country home in Williston into a hub where she would welcome the community to be part of her family. With the help of her daughters Evelyn Nussel and Waica Micheletti, today we see Mimi’s vision-and family-expanded with Ivy House on the Square in Downtown Ocala.

Around five years ago, when the time came to open a second location, Mimi and the family found the perfect extension to the existing historical theme. It was then that The Ivy House, in a beautiful and almost doll-house-like 1890s Victorian home right on the Silver Springs Boulevard, opened. When the opportunity came along to move closer to the downtown square, they pounced at the chance to “shake things up — not only for Ivy House but for Downtown as well.” They were looking for something new and exciting; a way to tap into the more modern mindset of the downtown frequenters, but still keeping with the 1900s vintage aesthetic that sets them apart. After careful consideration, Waica and Evelyn decided that the Speakeasy theme would be the best way to bring together the perfect balance of modern and vintage.

The newer downtown location comes with more than just floor to ceiling windows and an open floor plan. Originally constructed in the 1890s this building was part of the downtown reconstruction project after the Thanksgiving fire of 1883.  The fire is thought to have been accidentally started by a knocked-over lantern.  Despite the efforts of the community, the fast-burning fire was no match for the all-wood construction of the time. The fire ended up consuming around 5 square blocks of the downtown area. Among the rubble were two hotels, about ten stores, several residences and even the office of the Ocala Banner Newspaper. Such an iconic building, with such deep-rooted history of our city, was the perfect fit for The Ivy’s planned expansion. The Ivy House was able to reinvigorate the space while still keeping all the historical structures and charm. The new buildings were constructed using brick and iron to avoid history repeating itself. To our great advantage, the new construction has withstood the test of time to bring us the vintage industrial look that is now associated with Ivy on the Square.

Officially at the new location for a year as of February 2019, the restaurant features tall beamed ceilings and exposed brick walls, where enlarged historical pictures from the 1900s hang to capture the speakeasy era. The waiters add to the theme by dressing in suspenders and bow ties with matching newsboy caps, bringing the 20s fashion to life. The almost 130-year-old building, once home to an appliance store in the 1940s, sits around 150 people. It also has a chic outside dining area with an elegant patio garden vibe perfect for those who would like to eat al fresco. The restaurant, however, serves anywhere from 200 to 500 guests daily! Feeding the masses is no strange task to the Ivy on the Square staff. They offer catering services and have a party room available for reservations that sit 50 people. The casually upscale atmosphere elevates southern hospitality to a new level, which the chefs beautifully translate to the food.

Waica and Evelyn have been gracious enough to open their doors to welcome Ocala residents as family. To help incorporate environmentally friendly practices, they have included some healthy and environmentally conscious changes to their menu. They verify that their poultry products are all cage-free and make their burgers with the healthiest and leanest grass-fed wagyu beef available. Their lunch and dinner menus also feature vegetarian and gluten-free options for those more health and fitness conscious customers. Not only do they source high-quality ingredients, but they make everything in-house from scratch. Their kitchen staff is top-notch, able to take traditional recipes to a whole level with a fresh perspective. One such example is their delicious hand-battered lobster tail. Fried and served with a creamy lemon sauce and a side of corny cornbread it’s a wonderful pairing with a fresh salad. For those with a sweet tooth, the desserts are equally as fabulous. A full dessert bar is available for those with room enough to indulge in the sweeter side of life. From a creamy white chocolate creme brulee, a decadent chocolate midnight cake, or a perfectly sweet and tart key lime pie, there is something for every tastebud.  Enjoy dessert alongside a hot Hazelnut Latte or add a little extra oomph with a luscious Nespresso Mojito from their fully developed “Coffees and Lattes” menu. No matter what mood you’re feeling, their menu has something to satisfy your craving.  However, the speakeasy aesthetic would not be complete without a large cocktail bar. With over ten years of experience, the staff is churning out prohibition inspired cocktails such as the Bee’s Knees Mojito, the Jitterbug Tea, the Rum Smuggler. The attention to detail that went into putting this entire concept together is remarkable.

Waica and Evelyn have taken the southern flare of their family recipes and presented their vision in a way we could not ignore. The mission has become more about giving the community good elevated southern food, and their delivery is flawless. The speakeasy aesthetic they achieved has the perfect balance of vintage and modern, industrial, and victorian that allows for people of all ages to enjoy their experience. It has all the best references of the 1920s era. With old school sophistication and some modern industrial flare, it’s more than food; it’s an experience. And if cooking you family recipes wasn’t enough, you can now buy Mimi’s cookbook “Graciously Southern” and take the recipes home with you. They have also had a positive economic impact on the community by driving up pedestrian traffic, which is very much welcomed by neighboring business owners.

Ivy on the Square is perfect for a night out with a special someone, close friends for a girls night, or in my case, a mommy date.  The staff was very attentive and pleasant, and the service was top notch. My mom, who does not have a single sweet tooth, could not stop raving about how delicious and light the Pecan Tulipe was. Even with all the refined touches in the decorating and menu choices, you still feel at home when you step in. So much so that you almost hear Mimi sing out their motto, “Come on home. It’s supper time!”   

Small Steps, Big Impact

Every decision we make, every action (or inaction) we implement, is shaping our generation’s legacy. Sustainable living and preservation of earth’s natural resources is something we can no longer ignore. Doing so only ensures that we will leave future generations with an inheritance of polluted oceans, unbreathable air, and overflowing landfills. Organic living may sound complicated and overly expensive, but there are small steps you can take that are simple and relatively low cost.

“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” is an age-old saying that rings true now more than ever. Living in Ocala, the beauty that nature has to offer is around every corner. From natural springs to canopy covered roads, our city is a beautiful place that deserves preservation. So let’s look at some small daily decisions that can become second nature and overall make a big difference.

GO PAPERLESS

Going paperless is an easy first step to tackle. Gone is the need for overflowing mailboxes as many businesses now offer incentivized paperless billing. To discourage clients from using more paper than necessary, some companies have started charging customers for paper statements. When it comes to the unnecessary paper billing, opt to have it emailed instead. Americans use roughly 85 million tons of paper every year. So for the paper items that find their way into your homes, make sure to toss it into the recycle bin.

CLOTHING CYCLES

One topic that has risen to the forefront in recent months is that of clothing waste. Every year 15 million tons of textile waste hit our landfills. While some fibers can be recycled, synthetic fibers can take hundreds of years to decompose. Swapping and borrowing is an eco-friendly way to recycle your used clothing. This trend of thrift store shopping has found an uncommon ally in the Hollywood elite. Celebrities are taking to social media to rally for people to shop at second-hand stores, or to donate their clothing to local charities that help those in need.

Here in Ocala there are many places that accept clothing donations. The Interfaith Thrift Store, Hospice Thrift Stores and a wide variety of smaller, locally-owned stores can be found with a quick online search.

CLEANER CLEANING

As you go through your home searching for clothes to donate, take a look at your cleaning supplies. The cleaning products we use daily cause significant damage to our area. The toxins in household cleaners, when dumped down the drain can leech into our soil and water supplies. Thankfully there is a great alternative; eco-friendly household cleaners are safe, non-toxic, and come in sustainable packaging. By switching your detergents, you can improve your homes air quality, reduce skin and eye irritation, and respiratory infections. Want an even less expensive option? Try using basic items such as baking soda, vinegar, lemon, or olive oil. Many of these items are present in any pantry, and with a little research, they can prove cost-effective and leave you with an equally clean house without the harmful chemicals. It also helps to reduce the plastic waste of purchasing plastic cleaning bottles every month.

THE PLASTIC PLAGUE

If you’ve been on any social media outlet, recently chances are someone has posted content regarding plastic waste. This protest goes for everything from cleaning supplies to water bottles. Choosing to say no to plastic water bottles can dramatically reduce plastic waste. Plastic can take centuries to break down, meaning those toxins will live in our water supply for ages. One way to ensure your family gets clean healthy water is through a quality water filtration system. Installing water filters is a low cost and efficient ways to enjoy clean, fresh tap water at home. If you’re on the go, Agapanthus in Downtown Ocala offers Swig Bottles. These aluminum water bottles are easily portable and hold hot or cold temperatures for up to 24 hrs. They are perfect for those of us who find ourselves in line for coffee on our morning commute. Another added benefit, Starbucks offers the ability to use their reusable cups and have incentivized usage by offering discounts throughout the year. Carrying stainless steel straws are also a small change that makes a significant impact. The earth and the sea turtles thank you.

LOCALLY DELICIOUS   

Every Saturday, rain or shine, from 9 am to 2 pm Downtown Ocala hosts a local vendor Farmer’s Market. Everything from fresh seafood, honey, baked goods, fresh produce, and gluten-free snacks are available from a variety of different vendors. If farmer’s markets are not your thing, Mindful Foodies, run by Victoria Hall and Johnathan Keller, offers fresh and seasonal meals available for pickup. New menus are available every Wednesday, and these meals are perfect serving sizes to fill you up and reduce food waste. Not only could this be a time saver for a busy family, but these meals are healthy, delicious, and keep money in the local economy. Eating organic and local foods and choosing to reduce meat and dairy can considerably reduce our carbon footprint. By not adding to the current rate of greenhouse gas emissions, land use, water pollution, and air pollution that is is a result of farming these animals and products.

All of these small steps yield big impact. So buy less, choose local, reduce and recycle. Together we can leave the next generations with a more sustainable future.

 

SUSTAINABILITY UNDER A BIG HAMMOCK

There are some local small businesses doing what they can to reduce their footprint. One such company is Big Hammock Brewery. Using easily recyclable sustainable materials they are helping to the cycle of single use plastics that have become a problem in our society.

Clicktivism

Miles away from any computer, tablet, or cell phone, the ocean is calm and peaceful. Marine life flows with ease, and the only soundtrack is nature itself. It’s a beautiful picture. One that propels people all over the globe to seek out the shores of its beaches, looking to experience the paradise of the world around them. Yet the very electronics keeping everyone tethered to the chaos of their lives, the ones that they so often strive to get away from, may very well be the devices that help save it.

Oceans are central to existence. Without them, the ecosystem would be thrust into a chaos that would eventually lead to the demise of the planet. It sounds extreme, apocalyptic almost, but the drama of the situation is solidified in scientific fact. Without our oceans, the rain would stop-or at the very least be an extremely rare occurrence-the topography of our world would morph from lush greenery to a giant barren desert. For Floridians who suffer through torrential rainstorms on a daily basis, the idea of no rain sounds like a vacation, but the outlook of life without oceans is grim at best. 

Oceans are the great regulators of the planet, keeping temperatures around the globe in check and consistently feeding water to the skies. Humanity would survive, but only for a short time. Sustained only by melting icecaps and underground aquifers and even then these resources would be limited. Eventually, due to the rising surface temperatures, spontaneous fires would break out and all manner of flora and fauna would die off. With the lack of fresh carbon, the amount of breathable air would diminish, eventually stopping all human life on earth. There is a great balance to be kept, and at the heart of this balance is water.

With all of this in mind, we have to ask, why does society seem to balk at the conversation of protecting the oceans? Is it the age-old tale of ‘perception is reality?’ Does humanity have a gross misunderstanding that because there is water on the planet it must be useable? In 2017 the United Nations conducted a study showing that if we change nothing-if we keep going as is-then by the year 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. The longer we ignore the problem the closer we are to the edge of an issue that within our lifetime, may render itself unfixable. Humanity desperately needs to move away from the ‘out of sight out of mind’ mentality as this is a problem that affects everyone on a global and local scale. The plastics in the ocean are seeping into every aspect of our daily lives. Without being too heavy handed on the ocean analogies, our polluted oceans are a tidal wave of a problem approaching a society who has its back turned.

The issue of ocean pollution is not a new one; it’s one that has been growing for generations. In the 1960s, plastic was touted as the item to make life simpler. It was reusable, durable, and cheaper to manufacture than other options. As consumers began to purchase the product in masses, manufactures found more ways to use it. Soon, single-use products started hitting shelves. Plastic bags, water bottles, single-use take out containers. This is where the problem worsened. Single-use plastics are everywhere; what we didn’t account for was it reaching the deepest depths of our oceans.

The internet is packed with videos concerning what scientists have dubbed  The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. According to SmithsonianMag.com, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch contains 79,000 metric tons of plastic. Having a pile of toxins of this magnitude in the ocean is a disturbing thought, however, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is not alone. Conservation.org reports that there are 5 total garbage patches floating around with the largest of its kind being the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. These plastics are seeping noxious chemicals into our oceans, and as they are consumed by marine life-then the marine life is consumed by humans -the transfer of contaminants becomes cyclical.

Living in Marion County we are surrounded by water. Driving east, west, or south for a few hours and you will find yourself at a beach. This doesn’t take into account the many lakes, rivers, streams, and natural waterways in between. Water is a way of life in Florida; it’s one of the perks of living in paradise, but without people taking action to keep our environment clean that paradise can quickly turn into an unlivable situation. Thankfully there are those who are committed to finding a solution.

In an age of constant communication where life is viewed through the scope of a six-inch screen, our ecosystem has found an unlikely ally in social media. One of the greatest challenges of environmentalists has been the lack of education to the masses. It’s not that the information wasn’t there, it’s that getting the word out to everyone on a mass scale was difficult and costly. Now, thanks to the advances in technology, we live in a world where dispersing information is the least of our problems. As the years go on, more attention is being paid to our sustainability simply because more people are talking about it, and the one place they are communicating is on social media.

Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and the myriad of other networks have taken the conversation to a new level. Marketwatch reported in 2018 that the average adult spends more than 11 hours a day staring at a screen. We are consuming information at a rapid rate, and it has given voice to a whole audience of people who are ready to lead the charge for environmental change.

This movement of ‘clicktivism’ is often criticized as a copout. There are some who feel it’s merely complaining disguised as activism. Keyboard warriors who would rather talk on a social platform rather than put action behind the ideals. Yet, no real change begins without conversation. One of the best attributes of social media is not just showcasing those who are doing great things but in putting pressure on larger companies and politicians to change the policies and procedures that are causing the issues.

The Institute for Humane Education reported that “the main reason teens volunteered was because their friends were doing it.” So while there are always negative effects of peer pressure, environmental change is one area where the social pressure can be a good thing. Time Magazine reporter Sophia Rosenbaum reported how a simple video by marine biologist Christine Figgener showing a turtle with a straw stuck through its nose went viral virtually overnight, and within 48 hours the internet was awash with social media influencers encouraging their followers to do away with plastic. This action of ‘clicktavism’ put pressure on corporations who mass amounts of single-serve plastic to reduce their usage and do away with their practices. Starbucks was the first mega-corporation to announce its alignment with this ideal. Shortly after many other companies started following suit including American Airlines, Disney, Hyatt, and many others.

Unfortunately, our conservation efforts are far from being over, and the cleanup of the Giant Pacific Garbage Patch proves difficult. With water currents constantly shifting and the continued flow of plastics into our ocean, it may take some time before this problem is solved. The system isn’t perfect, and it may take decades for society to implement these changes on a mass scale, but every step leads towards a common goal. For this very reason, we cannot discount the efforts that are being made every day.

To dismiss the power of conversation on social media is to deny the power of dialogue, regardless of its medium. Communication always has been, and always will be, the catalyst for change in an ever-evolving society. There is no denying that social media can be an exhausting place filed with the white noise of the day. We can grow weary of the constant bombardment of news, but there is a side of social networks that can be used for the betterment of society, and that is where we need to place our focus. So let’s ‘look for the helpers,’ and let’s join together to keep the conversation going. 

A Life of Beauty

It’s been over a decade since Ocala Magazine’s first cover model contest and as we look at yet another successful year we are also fond of looking back at where it all began. Kimberly Leemans has built herself a life of beauty and now that she is established as a seasoned industry professional, she took a moment out of her busy schedule to speak about what it takes to survive in one of the worlds toughest industries.

For Kimberly, stardom has always been in her veins. It didn’t matter that she is from a small town in central Florida, she knew what she wanted and was determined to make it happen. Like many young girls, it was the big screen that drew her in. The creativity and magic created in front of the camera captured her attention and never let go. “I feel like the first movie that really marked me was Hocus Pocus. The youngest actress was about my age when it came out, and I just wanted to know what I needed to do to be able to play with Bette Midler in this awesome witch adventure. And then watching Disney Channel I just so wanted to be a part of the shows that I was watching, I wanted to live in those worlds.”

A stunningly natural beauty, her expressiveness and charm are one part nature and one part nurture. She has learned how to work the camera not in a classroom, but through trial and error. Now a polished professional, it is observation and experience that were her teachers. Back when the roadmap wasn’t always clear, this wide-eyed dreamer from Ocala took a chance during Ocala Magazine’s very first cover model contest and that chance has paid off in a big way.

“Honestly, the first time I ever thought or felt like a model was during the Ocala’s Next Top Model magazine photo shoot. You guys did an incredible job putting together a professional shoot for five local girls. I feel like we maybe had five or seven different wardrobe changes and setups. I remember feeling so excited and so nervous because I had no idea what I was doing but getting to see the final photos when the voting began was an incredible confidence boost of like Wow! That’s me! And then after I won and saw my face on the cover of a magazine all over town. That was a pretty special moment. So thanks Dad, for submitting me without my knowing because other people could see something about me before I could.”

One thing you will notice when talking to Kimberly is that she carries a surprising amount of humility for someone in the heart of the fashion and entertainment industry. “The truth of it is that without this experience I wouldn’t have had the confidence boost to apply for America’s Next Top Model.”

Always a fan of the show when the opportunity came for her to audition her family and friends rallied around to support her. “Going out for ANTM was a two-parter.  I was a freshman at Florida International University in Miami and my girlfriends would all gather together in one of our rooms every Wednesday or Thursday night and we would pig out while watching the show. Any time the girls on the show had challenges and would freak out about not being able to do it I would be like ‘I could do that!’ So eventually my girlfriends put me to the test and said ‘why don’t you audition then?’ ”

Not one to back down from a challenge, she did just that. But the auditioning process would prove to be more difficult than anticipated.  “I Auditioned with the big mass casting call and didn’t even make it past the first round of elimination. To be fair, I had this terrible brassy blonde hair and had definitely packed on some freshman 15lbs. So leading up to the next year I went back to my natural brown hair and started working out. I sent in a taped audition and was later called by the producers to come back to the mass auditions, but in a different category. I made it through the first eliminations, then the second, third, fifth. Seventh, and then It was a waiting game. ‘Don’t call us we’ll call you.’ And maybe three months later I got the call that I was in the semifinals! That was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had!”

Out of thousands of models in attendance, the small-town girl from Ocala Florida was thrust onto the worlds stage. “There isn’t an adjective thrilling enough to explain the pure joy and exhilaration I was feeling. I wanted to shout it from the roof tops but I wasn’t aloud to tell anyone. Only my parents and my boyfriend knew. I couldn’t even tell my best friends, it was super-secretive. So my celebration was intensely intimate. I just had to tell everyone that I was going on vacation for a few months and it wasn’t until the promos came out in September that I could finally admit to it!”

A roller coaster ride from the start America’s Next Top Model 9 was filled with everything you would expect from the show. From the outside looking in, the average viewer assumes that the rumors are true. That the modeling world is notoriously competitive and at times almost vicious. So how does a small-town girl adjust to life on such a competitive scale underneath the scope of an international audience?

“The models have always been really nice. I never felt like I fit in, though. These girls are so naturally classy-looking that they could just rock a white t-shirt and jeans and look like a cover of GLAMOUR. I, on the other hand, didn’t feel as effortless and maybe came off as a little try-hard, but I didn’t know any better. There’s no guidance or how-to on being a model. It goes back to being as authentically you as possible. One girl’s authenticity is to casually resemble a magazine cover and another girl (me) is just coming across as a goofy noodle.” She laughs. Maintaining a sense of humor is important in an industry that is built upon physical appearance and even someone as steadfast as she had her moments.

“It takes its toll for sure. I lost a lot of work because my skin was never clear enough. You would think with all the photoshopping they do that it wouldn’t be such a deal-breaker (but it is). I went to Europe to test out those markets and my breasts were too big for Paris, my look wasn’t edgy enough for Belgium, my look was too classic for Milan. It was always something.”

Tired of the endless cycle of being told who to be she did what anyone in her situation would do, she rebelled against the system that created her image in the best way she knew how. “So, a few years ago I started cutting my hair. My agents freaked and I bought extensions. You’re a product, and you have to stay consistent so that they can sell you. But when you feel like, your full potential isn’t being recognized you start to rebel. So the next step was to bleach my hair white-which continued to evolve by shaving my sides. I no longer wanted my talents to be based off what people thought would sell—because it wasn’t selling enough for what I wanted. I wanted to have free-will over my self-expression again.”

It’s her ability to express herself that has landed her roles on mega-hit television shows whose fandoms and syndication span worldwide. “I you’re a fan of The Walking Dead, I played Crystal from The Hilltop in season six. Spoiler alert, I punched Rick for killing my boo and then Machonne kicked my a**.”  Die hard Walking Dead fans know who she is, as there are very few people who can fight both Rick and Michone and live to tell about it, but in the show that exactly what her character did. So does this mean she will be making another appearance on one of the shows upcoming seasons? “She’s still technically alive and I think she’s probably made it to Canada by now but I’m sure she could find a ride back down to help the good fight if the contracts align.”

The Walking Dead was not her only foray into the sci-fi/horror community “One of my favorites was playing a witch (the younger version of Jo) in Vampire Diaries. And the next time I should be on your screens is this October in a new Syfy Tv series called Spides.”

Darker characters seem to be well established in her wheelhouse but they’re not the only tool in her arsenal. With an ability to channel any character, she found herself on the hit show Nashville. “I got to play (alongside) Miss Hayden Panettiere in Nashville as a reporter that got to follow her daily life for a week.”

With a chameleon-like ability to go from modeling to television, the experiences in and of themselves are worth their weight in gold. “My favorite memory of those TV experiences are the sets, just the massiveness of the productions. The amount of people and expertise in every department it takes to entertain you for a few minutes. I love community, and these sets are like self-sufficient little villages and the crew becomes like a family. The sad part is not being able to stay longer. The dream would be a 7-year series where we just get paid to play and entertain. That’s what attracted me to becoming an actor. I always had an active imagination but how much more fun is it when you can play make-believe on real sets and then see all the magic come together in the end. Best. Game. Ever.”

Transitioning from one venue to the next is not something that everyone can do. Both models and actors must have within themselves a sense of timing, but in acting, it’s the delivery that matters; and Kimberly has mastered her craft. 

With the knowledge she has acquired over the years, she has branched out from being in front of the cameras to now running the show. Models come to her for advice and guidance entrusting her to help them build the very career she previously built for herself. “The opportunity came up that a talent agency was opening up in Bend, OR where I live now. I was so excited to finally get the insider scoop of how the submission side of things worked. I wanted to be the change that I wanted to see in this industry. I let each of my clients know when I bring them on that I want there to be an open line of communication. There can be this weird hierarchy/gatekeeper vibe between agents and talent when really we both need each other. There’s not one without the other, so let’s talk to each other like human beings. I’ll let you know when things aren’t working or the feedback I get from casting,” she explains.

As time moves forward and technology changes the industry changes along with it. It’s been over decade since Kimberly Leemans was named Ocala Magazine’s cover model and the years have been filled with lessons, both good and bad.

“The industry is changing so fast. Especially with social media. I’m not sure how long the ‘followers’ game will be an active part of getting people work. The pros are that anyone, anywhere can become an ‘insta-model’ and promote what they have to offer by themselves. The con is that it seems like a lot more work and a lot more competition to just get in the game and stay relevant.”

With trends in a constant state of flux, whether it’s modeling or acting, one needs to know who they are and what they want. “Something I’ve come to grips with now that I’m in my thirties is that I’m tired of my skillset being ‘trendy.’ What I have to offer, the experience I’ve built, the talent I have developed is flippantly discarded because of a look people are going for at this moment. It’s in, it’s not, you’re hot then you’re not. There’s no stability and there’s no way to predict the next move. My wise advice is, be who YOU are. Always. The tides will change and when it’s ‘your’ turn you’ll have been authentic from the get-go. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Do find a balance of work and play. Never put your life on hold for your career.”

Perspective is often the best teacher. We do not know where each step will lead. That is the beauty of life, not knowing. Taking each opportunity as it comes and having the courage to step through the doors when they are opened. That is the lesson to be learned, and for our current models, Kimberly has one final thought.

“Girls, I want you to know, however this experience has been for you, to appreciate the support system around you. To the photographer that helped coach you into your best angle. To the hair and makeup team for highlighting your naturally gorgeous features. To the editors and designers that highlight and layout this gorgeous spread that you get to keep forever. To your community that voted and routed for you ‘winner’ or not. And most importantly to YOU for showing up, doing something out of your comfort zone, being vulnerable and brave. What you do with this experience from here on out is yours and maybe it will take you 13 years to take a moment to reflect at how young, innocent, naïve, beautiful you are in all of your unknowing. Congratulations!

Shakin’ Things Up: The Bacon Brothers

By: Melissa Deskovic

Solidified among the Hollywood elite, The Bacon brothers are synonymous with creativity. Kevin is a Golden Globe award winner whose name is currently etched on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. With a career that spans decades, he’s regarded as one of Hollywood’s busiest actors. Older brother Michael, an Emmy award-winning composer, is a powerhouse behind the scenes. With over 98 credits to his name, he is a driving force behind some of Hollywoods best scores. Individually they are amazing but together they are dynamic.

In the mid-’90s the brother’s combined their talent to form The Bacon Brothers band. Captivating audiences with a style of rock, blues, and country; they’ve created a sound uniquely their own. Their chemistry carries a comfortability that comes from a brotherly bond, and audiences are eating it up.

You both have expansive careers in industries other than music. Do you feel you have to reacquaint yourself with audiences when you perform? If so, do you feel you’re able to connect with audiences on a deeper level?

K: It’s all about connecting with the audience. In the case of the band, we are hoping that they will connect to a song. Or even a piece of a song. An idea. A line they can relate to or a tune they can hum.

M: Nobody’s going to beg you to go out and play in front of people. Both Kevin and I have a compulsion to test our songwriting on a live audience. The level of depth is a function of how the audience is affected by the songs we’re singing.

With nine albums in your discography, how has your music evolved over the decades?

K: We play better, sing better and write better. It’s more complex and varied than when we started. And the ideas deepen with time.

M: Our style is pretty much the same but we’ve gotten a lot better at it. Still, personal songs, wide variety of orchestration and feels, lots of harmonies.

Clearly, your songwriting style is all about storytelling. How much of that is reflective of your actual life?

K: The songs are way more telling than any interview we’ve ever given. We share almost everything in the songs.

M: It starts with that but songs go where they will and there has to be some kind of universality or no-one will get it. I really don’t understand how novelists do it. I just saw Non Fiction and that’s what the movie was about.

Take us through your songwriting process. How do you decide what songs are going to be on your albums?

K: I have a guitar with me almost all the time. An idea comes. A title. A lick. A chord progression or drum groove. And it starts to come together. Sometimes it happens fast. Sometimes it takes months. Then I play it for Kyra. Then make a demo and share it with Mike to get his take. Then the band and hopefully a live crowd.

M: It’s intuitive. You have to imagine singing it in public in front of strangers. Then the recording process is improvisational. Ultimately, you really don’t know how it will be received. But mostly, it’s our wives.

You have played at venues around the world, what is your take on performing in small-town America? (places like Ocala)

K: We are big city boys in a small town band.

M: That’s my favorite part of touring-finding yourself in a place that one might not normally see. I always photograph the marquees so I’ll remember.

Kevin, you have a vast career in film and television how does it compare to your life as a musician?

When I play music I wear my own clothes!

Michael, how does the creative process for the Bacon Brothers differ from scoring a documentary or film?

Writing instrumental music is a source that our parents gave me from a very early age. They weren’t musicians but they had a wonderful, eclectic taste and a killer hi-fi system.

 

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