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By Courtney Corbridge


In today’s market, the vast majority of pearls sold by jewelers are not, strictly speaking, natural pearls. They are cultured, which means that the pearl-instigating irritant is actually implanted inside the mollusk’s shell rather than naturally appearing there. Once the pearl is harvested, jewelers often, as they do with other gems, enhance or alter the color in a pearl using various treatments like bleaching (making white pearls whiter), irradiation (turning pearls black, silvery, or bluish-green shades), and dyeing (creating a variety of colors). Though this does not necessarily affect the quality or longevity of the pearl, it will, and should, be reflected in the price. These treated pearls, have likely been treated in order to compensate for a shorter development period, which will affect color, luster, and depth of nacre.


While untreated cultured pearls can take years to mature, treated pearls are removed in 8–9 months. The shorter maturation period means a smaller layer of nacre that needs to be artificially enhanced.


Nacre, also known as mother of pearl, is the natural substance on the inside of a mollusk’s shell. It is layered on the irritant over and over to create a finished pearl, the color of which is contingent upon the color of the mollusk’s natural nacre. According to the Gemological Institute of America, here are a few naturally colored pearls you can find from around the world:


Akoya: Largely produced in China and Japan, these pearls mostly have white and cream body colors with pink or green overtones. Yellow, pink, and blue akoyas can also be found.


Tahitian: Home of the famous “black pearl,” Tahiti and other French Polynesian islands traditionally produce darker pearls—grays, browns, blacks, purples, greens, and blues.


South Sea: These salt water pearls come from Australia, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Largely pastel in color, they come in whites, creams, yellows, blues, and silvers. The pink, green, and blue overtones can additionally influence the appearance of the pearl.


Freshwater: This fairytale color collection of pearls, with its whites, creams, yellows, oranges, pinks, and purples, comes from the fresh waters of China and the United States. Here, you will also find the rainbow-colored orient pearl.  


As pearls are quickly coming back in fashion, dive in and find the trendy color for you!


Article sponsored by Nancy & Co. Fine Jewelry.

Find them on the web at: http://www.nancyandco.com


Independence Day PUPsicles



16 for small pups

6-8 for large pups




·      1 ripe banana

·      1 cup plain yogurt

·      4 tablespoons peanut butter

·      Dash of honey

·      1 cup water\

·      16 dog bones




Blend all ingredients into an electric blender until the texture is consistent.  Pour into ice cube trays and place a dog bone in the middle as a handle. 


Freeze overnight. 


Article Sponsored by Fincher and Ozment.

Find Fincher and Ozment on the web at: http://www.fincherandozment.com


By Tori Linville


Red, white and blue. "The Star-Spangled Banner." It wasn’t said, but you probably thought of the national holiday that is unlike any other of its kind. Millions of Americans celebrate the nations independence with barbeques, fireworks and more. Everyone knows the key to keeping a party going in the summer heat requires hydration. With the help of Pinterest, we’ve picked out some July 4 drinks that scream America while keeping the thirst quenched.


‘Merica Mocktails


Layered Freedom Colors


The key here is to choose drinks with different sugar contents so they actually layer instead of mixing together. Try this combination to get you started:

Pour in a Sobe Pina Colada, followed by Gatorade Fruit Punch, then G2 Blueberry-Pomegranate for a refreshing taste of freedom.


Fireworks Frenzy (Non-alcoholic) Martini


What you’ll need:


            Pop Rocks (blue or red, one pack per glass)

            corn syrup


            blow pops (blue or red, one per glass)


What you’ll make:


1.     To rim the glass with Pop Rocks, pour some corn syrup in a bowl big enough to dip the entire rim. Once dipped in the corn syrup, immediately dip into a bowl or plate of Pop Rocks. You could also just sprinkle the candy as well.

2.     Fill a glass with Sprite and unwrap a blue or red Blow Pop to add to the glass. Allow to sit for five to ten minutes to allow the drink to be flavorized.





Red, White and Blue Sangria


            What you’ll need:




            pineapples (cut into star shapes if you feel like it)

            2 bottles of dry white wine

            1 cup Triple Sec

            1/2 cup berry-flavored vodka

            1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

            1/2 cup simple syrup


            What you’ll make:


            Combine and stir! Chill in fridge for at least four hours. 


Bomb Pop Shots


What you’ll need:


            1/3 oz. Sprite

            1/3 oz. lemon vodka

            2/3 oz. blue curacao

            2/3 oz. grenadine


            What you’ll make:


1.     Mix Sprite and vodka into a shaker with ice, then strain into glass.

2.     Use a spoon turned upside down angled into vodka mix to break the surface. Very slowly poor the blue curacao. If not poured slowly, the two will mix instead of layer.

3.     Then pour in the grenadine by pouring close to the glass’s edge, in a waterfall effect. Since it’s so thick, it’ll drop to the bottom and your shot will be complete.



Don’t have enough time to mix up a bunch of these ingredients? No problem. Grab some strawberries, blueberries and blackberries and pop a combination of each into an ice tray’s slots. Pour water in each slot and freeze. Add to water or Sprite for a red, white and blue combo that doesn’t take much effort at all.


(See punchbowl.com, thekitchenwhisperer.net and Pinterest for recipes.)


Article Sponsored by Tuscaloosa Tire & Service Center.


Find Tuscaloosa Tire & Service Center on the web: http://tuscaloosatireandservice.com


Independence Day Vanilla Infused Peach White Chocolate Ice Cream


Serves: 2 quarts




·      5 cups fresh peaches, diced

·      2 tablespoons of Vanilla extract

·      1 cup of granulated sugar  (you may add instead vanilla flavored sugar)

·      1 cup white chocolate morsels

·      1 (12 ounce) can of evaporated milk

·      1/2 package of instant vanilla pudding

·      1 (14 ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk

·      4 cups of half and half

·      Large bag of ice

·      Rock salt (for ice cream machine)

·      Electric ice cream machine


Note:  The ambient air temperature will determine the amount of ice and salt used in the ice cream machine.  Be sure to follow instructions on machine.




Place peaches into a bowl, add sugar, stir.  Allow mixture to sit for 1 hour. 


Place peaches into a food processor and pulse 3 times or until mostly pureed.  Set aside.


Whisk the evaporated milk, vanilla extract, and pudding mix.  Add the diced peaches, white chocolate morsels, sweetened condensed milk, and half and half, and whisk well.


Pour mixture into the ice cream machine and process.  Afterward, transfer to a container of choice and place into freezer.


Article Sponsored by Willcutt Block and Supply.  


Find Willcutt Block on the web:http://www.willcuttblock.com



Independence Day Barbecue Burgers 

Serves:  4


·      2 pounds ground beef

·      Dash salt and black pepper

·      4 slices bacon

·      1 onion, cut into 1/4 –inch thick rings

·      4 hamburger buns

·      4 slices cheddar cheese

·      ½ cup barbecue sauce of choice 


Create 4 evenly shaped burger patties.  Light grill and set on high heat. 

Place burgers on grill and cook until well charred (about 2 minutes).  Flip patties and brush with bbq sauce.  Then cook for another 2 minutes and occasionally brushing on sauce.

Brush bacon with bbq sauce and place directly over hot grill, sauce side down. Brush top with bbq sauce.  Cook until well charred (about 1 minute).  And repeat after flipping. 

Place onions on grill for 20 seconds, then flip and repeat. 

If you prefer the buns to be toasted, place them on the hot grill until browned.

Assemble burger. 


Article sponsored by Belle Chambre of Tuscaloosa and Lakeside Dental.


Find Belle Chambre of Tuscaloosa on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BelleChambreTuscaloosa/




Find Lakeside Dental on the web: http://www.lakesidedentalsmiles.com



A monthly editorial piece of masterful opinionated writing (insert joke here) regarding life and times in the big town of Tuscaloosa coupled with the musings of a guy nicknamed “Oz.” 


All Hail Fathers of Greatness


Wives can sometimes be obsessive compulsive.


Husbands can sometimes be obsessively repulsive. Well, because we are men. And some men have a way of not being able to identify the unpleasantness of our own being. In other words, we can’t smell ourselves.


Men are primarily simplistic creatures, practically to a fault. My grandmother used to tell my father that to get by, all men needed was a bunk and a skillet. And that is (almost) true.


Dads are all about priority and contrary to popular belief, dad does have them, although they may not always match those of our superior female counterparts. It’s not that dad can’t remember things. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Dad can remember a plethora of seemingly worthless information that only men can prioritize by order of importance. 


For instance, ask dad what team Alabama usually plays on the third Saturday in October? Or who won the National Championship in 1992? Or what time the race starts on Sunday? Or when hunting season begins and ends? Or all of the above.


See? That’s history. That’s current events. That’s relevance.


It’s not that we didn’t remember to fix the doorknob. It’s just that it hasn’t fallen off of the door yet. It’s not that we forgot to clean out the garage. It’s just that there is still adequate space for you to pull your car in. It’s not that we forgot to call the plumber. It’s that the line was busy when we did.


We are the dads of the world. We are the maintainers, the providers. We are the heroes of little girls and the role models of little boys.


We are men. We are fathers. And we are undeniably flawed. But our intentions are good although our execution may lean to the side of procrastination.


And while we may not know anything about some things, we know something about everything. 


For that reason, all hail to the good dads of the world: the ones who fight the good fight, the ones who (eventually) finish their work, and the ones who mostly remember to roll the trash out on the correct pick-up days. Unless there’s a holiday during the week which throws everything off by a day. That confuses us.


If you are fortunate enough to be able to hug your dad on Fathers Day, then make sure you do. Everything in life is filled with imperfections, but the love of a man’s family can make our day perfect.    

I tweet insignificant things @ozborn34.          


Derek Osborn is the Executive Director of PRIDE of Tuscaloosa by trade and writer by hobby. He lives in Tuscaloosa with his wife, Lynn, and daughters Savannah and Anica. 


By Tori Linville

Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day was created as a national way to honor fallen service members. Over two dozen cities take credit for creating the national holiday, according to the Memorial Day website. While Waterloo, New York, officially got the credit, every state finds its own way to celebrate. Check out some of the activities we’ve found for this Memorial Day, May 25.

Memorial Day Tribute – Gulf Shores/Fort Morgan

The Memorial Day Tribute in Gulf Shores will host special guided tours throughout Fort Morgan on Saturday, May 23. Historical interpreters will guide the tour dressed in period uniforms of the U.S. Army. Information about artillery and garrison life will also be featured.

Admission for adults will be $7. Senior admission will be $5 and child admission will be $4. For more information, visit fortmorgan.org.

SEC Baseball Championship – Hoover

The championship game falls on May 24 at 3:30 p.m. Memorial Day weekend will already be in full swing by the time the champions are given their trophies. So why not pop over to the Hoover Met and relax while watching America’s favorite past time?

Tournament tickets for all nine sessions are only $120, while tickets for six sessions are only $66. If staying indoors for hot dogs and Cracker Jack popcorn is more up your alley, the championship game will be available on ESPN 2.

To see more information about the tournament and game dates, visit secsports.com/championship/baseball.

Alabama Jubilee – Decatur

Decatur will host its annual Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic on May 24 and 25 at Point Mallard Park. Events including an arts and crafts show, The Southland Flywheelers Antique Tractor show, the Lexi Lee Walk Silent Auction and more will be held during the two day event. Each day will begin at 6 a.m. with a pilot briefing for the key grab race, followed by the race from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

Sixty balloons from around the U.S. will be featured, and the evening Balloon Glow event can’t be missed. The event is free, with the only fees being a $1-2 charge for shuttle bus services for remote parking lots.

To find event rules and more information, visit alabamajubilee.net.

Fallen Heroes Memorial Day Dedication – Mobile

Mobile will hold a Fallen Heroes Memorial Dedication at Battleship Memorial Park on May 25. Former Marine Infantry Officer and Iraq veteran Nathan Cox built the Alabama’s first memorial to honor fallen service members who lost their lives in the War on Terror in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the event’s website. The memorial will be on permanent display as a reminder of the loss.

The park has memorials honoring Lower Alabama Vietnam Veterans, a War Dog memorial, The Alabama Telephone Pioneers Living Memorial, a Korean War Memorial and more. Jan. 9 marked the park’s 50th year since its opening. 

For more information, visit ussalabama.com.

Biscuits Baseball – Montgomery

Nothing says Memorial Day like more baseball. The Montgomery Biscuits will take on the Tennessee Smokies for a Memorial Day showdown at 12:05 p.m. on May 25 at Riverwalk Stadium.

Tickets for lawn, box and super box seats are $9, $11 and $13, respectively. To find out more on how to get your local baseball fix, visit milb.com.

For more history about Memorial Day, and even access Memorial Day resources such as speeches, essays and articles, visit usmemorialday.org.

By Chloe Ballard


Sometimes it is hard to find that perfect gift for mom.  Some of us look for months while others know exactly what mom will want.  Nevertheless, the gift needs to be perfect, whether it be a spa treatment, a dinner out, or a quiet evening at home.  Here are some gift ideas for mom that might help you on your search for the perfect gift.  


Award winning Truffles.  http://shopdcm.com/index.php/featured-deal/deal/view/93/only_24_for_award_winning_12pc_truffle_assortment_by_indie_candy


From spa treatments to popular gifts. https://www.groupon.com/occasion/mothers-day-gifts


Kid created presents.  https://www.parentmap.com/article/25-homemade-mothers-day-gifts-that-kids-can-make


DIY ideashttp://www.diyncrafts.com/5575/homemade/50-fabulous-mothers-day-gifts-can-make-20


Mother’s Day poems.  http://www.mothersdaycelebration.com/mothers-day-poems.html


Printable Mother’s Day cards. http://familycrafts.about.com/od/mothersdaycards/a/printmomcards.htm


Free Printable Mother’s Day coupons.  http://www.homemade-gifts-made-easy.com/mothers-day-coupons.html


Mother’s Day Breakfast and Brunch recipes. http://www.foodnetwork.com/holidays-and-parties/packages/mothers-day/photos/mothers-day-breakfast-and-brunch-recipes.html






By Tori Linville

Spring has exploded in Alabama in the form of pastels, pollen and, of course, allergies. Another spring staple, Easter, incorporates the annual Easter egg hunt into everyone’s schedule this weekend. There have already been many Easter egg hunts across Alabama, but for late bloomers, there are still some opportunities to scout some colorful eggs this weekend.



To kick off the Easter weekend, the Madison City Disability Advocacy Board will hold its third annual Easter Egg Hunt for the Special Needs Population. The hunt will start Friday, April 3 at 5:30 p.m. in front of the Dublin Park Facility.

Dublin Park’s eighth annual Flashlight Easter Egg Hunt will also be held Friday, April 3 at Malcolm Field for children five to 12 years old. The gates open at 7 p.m. and the hunt will start at dusk. Children must bring a flashlight and a container for collecting their eggs. Prizes will be awarded for participants who find a golden egg, but the golden eggs are limited to one per child. Parents will be allowed inside the gate before the event, but are asked to remain off the field during the hunt.

Saturday, April 4, Dublin Park will hold its 18th annual Easter Egg Hunt. The hunt is hosted by Daystar Church and the city of Madison. Children up to five years of age are welcomed to attend and will have a chance to meet and take pictures with the Easter Bunny. The gates will open at 9:30 a.m. on Malcolm Field, and the hunt will start at 10 a.m. Children must bring a container to collect their eggs with, and are limited to one golden egg per participant. Prizes will be awarded to those who find a golden egg.

By Tori Linville

Easter has arrived, and for most people it means ham, family and Easter egg dyeing. After blowing out the egg’s content by making small holes in the tops and bottoms of the shell or boiling eggs, most people dunk the egg in a bowl of food coloring and call it a day. This Easter, we’ve looked up cheap and creative ideas for Easter egg dyeing that allow for some creativity. For best results, don’t rush the process of dyeing the eggs.

Rubber Band Eggs

By adding some rubber bands from your office to the mix, Easter eggs can have a one-of-a-kind look that strays from a simple dye job.


First, bring eggs to a boil in a pot of water. Remove to cool and pat the eggs dry. Next, add the rubber bands. Because of the egg’s round and slick surface, it’s best to use wide rubber bands or multiple skinny rubber bands for best results. Arrange the bands around the egg to your liking.

Dunk egg into dye and keep submerged for at least five minutes. For a darker color, keep egg in the dye longer. Allow egg to air dry. For a mix of colors, re-dip the egg in a different color dye.

Dye ingredients: Three-fourths a cup of warm water, one tablespoon of white vinegar and about 10 drops of food coloring.


Melted Crayon Eggs

Adding an individual and artistic spin to your Easter eggs only takes two steps. Using crayons already laying around the house, children can draw their own Easter egg designs in no time at all.

First, put eggs in a pot of water and bring to a full boil. Remove from heat and cover the pot for 12 minutes to get hard boiled eggs. Taking the eggs from the pot let them stand for one to two minutes.

Add designs to the eggs by drawing on them with crayons. Let children mix and match colors for a creative twist.


Traditional Egg Dyeing with a Twist

If simple food coloring and water is a method that is the most convenient and comfortable, add a twist by mixing ingredients that you already have in your pantry or spice cabinet. This will save time and money, along with providing some Easter entertainment.

Bring water to a boil before adding ingredients. Each recipe calls for four cups of water, two tablespoons of white vinegar and two tablespoons of table salt.

Aqua Green/Teal: Two cups raw Spinach

Dark Blue: One head of cabbage, chopped         

Brown/Burnt Orange: Two tablespoons of coffee

For a marbled effect, leave the eggs in the die for a longer amount of time. For an additional pop of color, add olive oil to the dry shells. To see additional methods for other colors, visit greenthumbwhiteapron.com.

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