A Romantic Weekend Getaway

A Romantic Weekend Getaway

by Trish Utter For a minute I thought I was in . . . Paris! But I was at the Park Plaza Hotel in Winter Park, which is close to downtown Orlando. More »

The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance 2019

The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance 2019

by Trish Utter This is the automotive equivalent of the Super Bowl. Anyone that knows me would tell you that this is THE event of the year that I have been waiting More »

Protecting Your Family

Protecting Your Family

by Trish Utter Over a year ago I was getting off the highway, and came to a stop at the traffic light when I was hit from behind. It didn’t seem like More »

The Excitement of…MIAMI!

The Excitement of…MIAMI!

by Trish Utter The chill of winter is here, but it’s 78 degrees in Miami! Don’t you just love living in Florida? There are so many places we can drive to for More »

Do Your New Year’s Resolutions Need Help?

Do Your New Year’s Resolutions Need Help?

by Danielle D’Silva With the New Year come all the same old resolutions lose weight, get healthier, get in shape… you name it. We start with high hopes thinking, “maybe this year More »

Local Celebrity Spotlight – Meet Hugh Cain

Local Celebrity Spotlight – Meet Hugh Cain

Meet Hugh Cain, he has been in the Alachua area for some time and is well known for his insurance business as an Allstate agent. Where are you from and why did More »


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!

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.