Maple Syrup…Yum!

Maple Syrup…Yum!

by Ruth Ward One of my pet peeves is going to a fabulous restaurant and ordering pancakes that are organic and look amazing, but then the server hands you a bottle of ……manufactured syrup!!!! More »

A Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Winter

A Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Winter

by Anya Mayr Winter: the time of snuggly warm hot cocoa drinks, twinkly lights, and the unabashed smell of cinnamon. While winter in Florida lacks the cotton-white snow and piles of amber-colored leaves, the weather dips, hearty holiday meals, More »

How Trendy are You?

How Trendy are You?

by Brooke Utter You have all heard of Louis Vuitton and Chanel but are you cool enough to have heard of BAPE and Supreme? After my recent trip to LA, San Francisco, and New York More »

It’s More than Just Radiation & Medication

It’s More than Just Radiation & Medication

 by Ruth Ward Sharon Breitinger’s breast cancer journey began on October 10, 2017, the day of diagnosis. Sharon describes her initial reaction as one of shock, fear and the feeling that this cannot be real. More »

Now There’s a Tank for Big Kids!

Now There’s a Tank for Big Kids!

by Trish Utter You all know I have a passion for cars. I find that they are like a piece of exquisite art work and I also thoroughly enjoy the excitement of speed. More »


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!

The Value of Castor Oil

by Brooke Utter

An old remedy that works.

Castor oil is a tasteless and odorless vegetable oil made from the beans of the castor plant. If you buy castor oil read the label and look for cold pressed/processed, virgin, 100% pure and UPS food grade to ensure it is of the highest quality. It was used by Cleopatra and many other Egyptians for its healing power of wounds.

Natural remedies are often the best. Here are a few uses of an old remedy that your grandmother probably used:


Warm castor oil, make sure to test the temperature with your finger to make sure it is just warm. Put 1 to 2 drops in the ear and then plug with cotton wool. Apply twice a day for a few days until the pain has resolved. If it has not resolved seek medical attention.

Summer Body Guide to Hernias

by Anya Mayr

Why do they happen, and how can I fix them?

Surgical mesh is positioned in the tissue
to reinforce the area affected by the hernia

Summer is finally here, and your love for Florida beaches is more evident than ever as you migrate towards the coast in an effort to try and escape the swampy Gainesville weather and catch some waves. But while the breeze feels refreshing and the sugary white sand between your toes feels like you’re walking on a cloud, there’s a weird little bulge that’s keeping you from taking off your t-shirt and enjoying the summer sun. Maybe it just showed up one day, or maybe you felt a pop when you added the extra 20 pounds to your gym reps in preparation for the season. Either way, that new little lump is more common than you think!

A hernia occurs when an internal organ or tissue bulges through an abnormal opening. While hernias can occur in other sites of the body, they are more commonly found in the abdomen, upper thigh, belly button and groin areas. Symptoms include the bulging in an unusual manner, bloating, swelling, redness, and pain, with the most prevalent symptom being discomfort, especially after standing or strenuous physical activity.

Local Celebrity Spotlight Meet Susie Ulloa

Meet Susie Ulloa, a Gainesville resident who works at The Cancer Center as a Breast Cancer Navigator. She is also a breast cancer survivor and author, Susie is often seen at local events for The Cancer Center at NFRMC, or for her husband’s company, The Best Restoration.

Where are you from and when did you move to Gainesville and why?

I was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia (South America). I moved to the United States in 1999 with my husband, Jorge Villalobos, and children due to security reasons. We initially settled in Fort Lauderdale and came to Gainesville in 2004, the place we call home in every sense of the word.

How did you meet your husband?

Through a common friend, who actually had dated him. I met Jorge when I was 12 and he was 18, so we truly didn’t have anything in common except for the fact we both knew this person. Our paths crossed several times throughout the years until we were finally ready for each other, and we have been together ever since.

Why is your last name different from your husband’s?

In Colombia, many women from my generation chose to keep their last names. It’s just a matter of choice.

A New Generation at H&R Block

Amanda Payne with her mother Diana Snelgrove

by Trish Utter

Amanda Payne works with Ameriprise Financial in Alachua, she has been the Alachua Chamber president and is always involved in our community. Payne’s office is next door to H & R Block that was owned by her mother, Diana Snelgrove.

In 2018 Diana Snelgrove retired after a very successful 39 years of business and her daughter, Amanda Payne took over H & R Block and purchased the franchise.

What made your mom start the H&R Block office?

She was working at a bank and took the tax course just to make some extra money. She fell in love with being able to help clients save tax dollars. In 1979, she and my dad came up with the franchise fee and stepped out
in faith believing God would bless them.

As a child did you go to the office to help?

I was 4 years old when my parents bought the franchise. I spent most of my childhood in the office. My earliest memory of helping was at the age of 12 when my mom sat me down with a brown paper bag of receipts from one of the local farmers and an old-timey calculator and told me to separate the receipts and add them up. She would then attached the receipt to my work so she could check it. It took me hours and I asked lots of questions, but I did it.

From the Desktop

by Trish Utter. Publisher & Chief Bottle Washer

What does July 4th mean to you? For me, it is a reminder of how lucky I am to live in America. I became an American citizen in 1991. I’m originally from London, England. I had to take an exam on American history and politics, which I took in Alexandria, Virginia. It wasn’t easy – in fact, I failed it the first time. They did not tell you what the questions would be and there were no hints, so I had to study hard on everything. There must have been a hundred questions and it was not multiple choice. I also had to have a medical exam and fingerprints, which really makes you feel like a criminal. I had to prove that I had legally been living and working in the U.S. for at least ten years before I could be eligible for the exam. Immigration then, lost my results! I had to get my local Senator to help me. Obtaining my citizenship was a very difficult and expensive thing to achieve. I finally got my citizenship just a few weeks before Independence Day. So, you can understand why I tear up when the fireworks start and the national anthem plays. It is a privilege to live here and one I am thankful for every day.

City of Alachua welcomes Holiday Inn Express & Suites

The City of Alachua has waited a long time for a new hotel and were thrilled when Holiday Inn Express & Suites Alachua, recently had their grand opening.

The hotel is located next to Publix and close to the entrance of Hwy I75. It is owned and managed by MPH Hotels. The Holiday Inn Express brand is part of IHG’s diverse family of brands in nearly 100 countries and territories. MPH Hotels specializes in developing limited service hotels, typically 75 to 150 rooms in secondary markets. The City of Alachua was a perfect location for MPH Hotels to expand.

Local Celebrity Spotlight: Meet Kim Stinton: Business Woman, Wife and Mom!

Kim and her husband Andy own The Floor Store of Newberry and have always been active with events in their area. They have advertised with Good Life Community Magazine for 12 years. As we are always taking their daughter Alexa’s photo, we thought it would be interesting to get to know Kim.

Where are you from, when did you move to Newberry, and why?

I was born and raised in St. Augustine, Florida. I left home to go to the University of Florida. I ended up in Marietta, Georgia, and together with my husband, Andy, we moved down to Newberry in 2000. We were both from Florida and wanted to move back to Florida. After living just outside of Atlanta for so long, we really wanted to move to a smaller town and open up our own business. My mom is from Newberry, and one of my brothers lives in Newberry, so Newberry it was. Growing up, we always came here on the weekends and during the summer to see my grandmother, so the town was very familiar to me, and Andy loved all the farmland around. In Marietta, I taught school and Andy worked in flooring. He is a 2nd generation flooring installer. Together, we opened a small, retail store in Marietta, and I worked there some in the afternoons and on weekends, but I mainly took care of the accounting books. For years, we talked about opening up a larger store and working at it full time together. The plan was to save every dime we made, sell our rental properties that we had acquired over the years, and for me to “retire” from teaching so that we could build what we would later name The Floor Store of Newberry.