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From the Desktop

by Trish Utter, Publisher & Chief Bottle Washer

After my trip to California I became even more aware of healthy living and food. All the restaurants offered fresh, organic, and vegetarian/vegan items. It is clear to see that this life style they have works, as you will never find anyone living in Cali to be overweight. After sampling tons of vegan food while on the trip I think I would still rather eat real, organic cheese but on the whole I have found that since I have started to eat…clean, I feel better. So what is clean eating? Food that is in its natural state, nothing processed and rarely cooked, and never fried. For lunch I might have grilled salmon with grilled vegetables. As I have been eating like this for a while I find that I no longer crave fried food, in fact the thought of it actually makes me feel sick. I now look for restaurants that offer healthy alternatives. While my daughter, Brooke has been vegetarian for quite some time, she has turned me into a black bean burger fanatic. I was a diehard hamburger fan and thought I would rather die than eat a vegetarian burger but trust me when I tell you these taste better than hamburgers with a wide win! Some of our favorite vegetarian burgers here in Gainesville are at Relish or The Top. We also noticed that in California we were never offered or given a straw with our drinks. This led me to investigate and do a story in this issue. I hope you enjoy reading about our trip to California and the interesting facts about using straws.

The Last Straw!

by Trish Utter

One of my favorite places to window shop is Tiffany’s. I love looking at all the glittery diamonds, their famous sterling silver collections, and now I love their home collection of wallets, dog leashes, china, and…straws????????? Yes, this luxury retailer, Tiffany & Co, now offers straws in sterling silver, rose gold or vermeil. These crazy straws cost $350 and the least expensive is a sterling silver crazy straw for …just $250! A monkey, ladybug or dragonfly sterling silver straw will set you back mere $425!

So why would the top luxury jeweler in the world be offering these beautifully crafted straws?

Survivors’ Sock Hop

On June 3, The Cancer Center at North Florida Regional Medical Center and Florida Cancer Specialists hosted National Cancer Survivors’ Day. Each year on the first Sunday in June, communities across the country gather to celebrate. First introduced by Merril Hastings at the 2nd annual National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1987, Survivors’ Day recognizes individuals who have received and battled a cancer diagnosis. The day demonstrates that “life after a cancer diagnosis can be a reality”.

Margot DeConna – Director of Development at the Humane Society

What made you interested in working for the Humane Society?

I have always had a passion for advocating for those who cannot advocate for themselves. I spent six and a half years working with abused and neglected children at the Child Advocacy Center. So, when I was looking for my next challenge, I relished the opportunity to do the same for local pets.

Do you have pets?

I have two fur-babies. My orange tabby, Tiberius, an eight-year-old domestic short hair who I adopted from Gainesville Pet Rescue in 2010 and Captain Jack, my feisty one-eyed brown tabby who I rescued on my third day of work at the Alachua County Humane Society!

What is the best thing that has happened at the shelter since you have been there?

The best thing that has happened since I joined the Alachua County Humane Society three years ago was when our community finally achieved no-kill status last year. The animal rescue partners had been working towards that goal for almost two decades so I am very happy to be a part of the team who got us there.

Can people volunteer and what type of commitment is it, can people just stop by to play with the animals?

Yes! People of all ages can volunteer with the Alachua County Humane Society or one of our rescue partners. Simply sign up online and attend a brief training course and you’ll be snuggling kitties and petting pups before you know it.

Caramel Apples

Before you heat, whisk together all the above ingredients in a large pan. You need a deep pan as the liquid will bubble up.

Bring it to a boil slowly over medium heat and keep stirring at 245ºF.

Attention to Detail = Happy Home Owner

by Ruth Ward

When you are thinking of buying a new home you want a builder that you can trust. One with experience and one that cares about the product they produce. You can depend on Hartley Brothers to build you a home that you will be proud of for years to come.

Starting in 1980, Hartley Brothers have built more than 1500 homes in the North Central Florida area. With in-house design, CAD and decorating services, Hartley Brothers have the staff to design and build the home of your dreams at the price you can afford. The brothers and their families are involved in all aspects of the business and have extensive knowledge and years of experience in construction, design, real estate and financing. Hartley Brothers sets themselves apart by offering inhouse design services. Their clients can customize all aspects of their home. You can use your floor plan, modify one of theirs or even design a custom floor plan based on your ideas, needs and budget. Their team of sales people, designers, and decorators will combine your ideas with years of experience to design and build the perfect home for your family on your homesite.

Movie Stars, Red Woods, Cable Cars…California

by Trish Utter

Trish & Brooke riding Cable Cars in San Francisco

The golden state of California is well worth a visit but to tell the truth, it was not high on my 20-year-old daughter’s list of places to go. I told Brooke that I felt visiting California was important for her worldly education. I wanted her to see things that she had seen on TV but in person. It is hard to get the scale of a California Redwood or the fresh smell of the forest from a website or TV. We started in Los Angeles, our first stay was at the Mondrian Los Angeles on Sunset Boulevard which was a wonderful central location. If you ask for a room as high up as possible and facing away from the pool you will get spectacular views of the Hollywood Hills and downtown LA.

One of the first things I do when visiting a new city is take a tour. We did this with Starline Tours and opted for the Grand Tour. We were picked up from our hotel and taken to their main terminal where we boarded a luxury tour bus. Our guide narrated the 5.5-hour tour that took us to the Chinese Theatre where the Oscars are presented, and up into the Hollywood Hills to see the famous sign and the fabulous view overlooking LA. We drove down Melrose Avenue and saw loads of interesting restaurants and boutiques we wanted to visit. The bus stopped for lunch at the famous Farmers Market that opened in 1934 where you will find lots of high quality and creative food. One vendor was selling coffee in what looked like mini ice-cream cones!