Happy New Year!

Is 2010 really almost over?¬† This year has completely flown by! We at SummerHouse are looking forward to a fun and exciting 2011. We already have some fun events in the works! Stay tuned for details about our “For the Love of Art” event coming up in February, where we will feature several of our favorite artists and their amazing work.¬†

For now, we thought we’d give you a little party planning inspiration so you can celebrate the change from 2010 to 2011 in style! Here are a few fun NYE decorating ideas for you!

While we are on the topic of parties, what is¬†a party without a signature cocktail?! We found a couple of recipes that sounded pretty delicious.¬† Take your pick!! ūüôā


We hope all of you have a very safe and happy new year!¬† Thanks to all of you for being so meaningful to us.¬† What would¬†we do without all of you?!¬† Have a great holiday, and until next year….. CHEERS!

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Christmas Jambalaya

So last week at our SummerHouse Christmas party, Melanie made the BEST jambalaya any of us had ever tasted.  We asked her for the recipe and she was so sweet to share it with us. It was even her idea to put it on the blog so all of you could have it too!  Make this for your next party or gathering and be prepared for lots and lots of compliments!

Note from Melanie:  Not only is this a great dip, but it is also excellent over rice or pasta.  ENJOY! And have a very merry Christmas!

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Christmas Open House: A Success!

We had so much fun¬†at the Christmas open house last Thursday!¬† We were glad that so many people were able to make it out!¬† Viking provided us with some really awesome baked brie and bite sized desserts, and the Madison Central Madrigals and RHS choir delivered some beautiful holiday music.¬† The horse and carriage rides (which guests were able to “buy” with a donation to CARA) got rave reviews from everyone we talked to!

Perhaps the things we were MOST excited about at the open house were our trunk shows!¬† Ann Taylor Duease, founder and designer for Adonis,¬†brought her gorgeous handmade jewelry to show.¬† She ended up having a pretty successful night! ūüôā And our Jonathan Adler trunk show ended up being the most beautiful, colorful corner in the store! It is still set up if you were unable to come see it on Thursday.¬†

Brittany was a great umbrella model!

We have already started working on ideas to make next year’s open house even better!! So you’ll have to be sure to come back!¬† Maybe by next year, we will have our new neighbors, Newk’s and Majestic Burger, up and running!¬†

Hopefully this picture of our sweet (and HILARIOUS) carriage driver, Wayne,¬†with a couple of our open house guests will make you smile on this chilly Monday!¬† If you didn’t get to meet Wayne this year, then you MUST come back next year…. If you have never talked to him, you are missing out!

Merry Christmas!

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Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family from all of us at SummerHouse!  We are so thankful for all of our wonderful customers and followers!  Have a safe and happy holiday and we will see you on Friday morning for some Black Friday shopping!  

We’ll leave you today with some dining room inspiration.¬† (Thanks to House Beautiful, Elle Decor, and LonnyMag for¬†the beautiful photos!)

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Meet Brittany Ivy


Brittany IvyMeet the newest member of the SummerHouse family:¬† BrittanyIvy!¬† Brittany is our new Jr. Designer/Design Assistant and is fitting right in!¬† Not only is Brittany funny and extremely talented, but she is also very organized! On her first day, we overheard her saying “I can’t stand for anything to be messy.”¬† Such sweet, sweet music to all of the designers’ ears… ūüôā

We took a moment to ask Brit Brit a few questions.  What a sweetheart she is!

How are you liking SummerHouse so far? What’s your favorite thing about working here?

I love working at SummerHouse! A few of my favorite things about working here are, 1) the people I work with! All the designers and employees are so friendly and inviting, and I think that makes all the difference in a workplace! 2) The thing I love about coming to work everyday is that I never know what task I will be faced with. Everyday is different and unique its own way.

What is your personal design style?

I would have to say that my personal design style would be more on the eclectic side Рmixing the old with the new!  I love shopping at antique and second-hand stores and finding unique original pieces and mixing it with new items and using what I already have!

What is your favorite place to find design inspiration? Magazines, blogs…?

I find inspiration from magazines such as Interior Design Magazine and ELLE Decor. Another inspiring place to find design are from the designers here at SummerHouse! Seeing all the projects that are going on around me are interesting and motivating! Each designer has their own personal style and its a great way to get to know each designer!

What is your favorite movie and why?

I would have to say of all the movies out there that Fried Green Tomatoes would have to be my favorite! Overall, the story is uplifting! I love that Evelyn gains independence by visiting Ninny and hearing the powerful story she has to tell. A few other movies I’ve enjoyed over the years are Forrest Gump, Little Miss Sunshine, and all of the Shrek movies!

What did you do over the weekend?!

Over the weekend¬†you would have found me in Starkville, MS at¬†the Mississippi State vs. Arkansas football game! Although the bulldogs couldn’t pull out a win for us in double overtime, I still had a great time visiting with friends!

What is something funny/unique about you?

I’m 25 years old and still sleep with my teddy bear and blankets.

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Invest In Your Nest

Well, we had an exciting weekend! SummerHouse was a participant in The Classic Bridal Showcase!  It was our first bridal show and we had so much fun! We met some cool brides and some really amazing wedding vendors!

For those of you who may not know, we have a bridal registry! It is called Invest In Your Nest, and it is awesome.  For details, go here:  http://summerhousestyle.com/registry/.  If you are a bride, or know of a newly engaged couple, let them know about our registry! We promise they will love it and find it to be VERY hassle-free and easy!

Here are a few shots from the show.  The Mississippi Craft Center was a beautiful venue!

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Holiday Open House on December 2!

Mark your calendars! Thursday, December 2, will be the best Christmas Open House this area has ever seen!  All of the wonderful merchants at The Township and all of the wonderful merchants at The Renaissance have decided to team up for CHRISTMAS AT COLONY PARK. From 5:00 to 8:00 on December 2, all businesses in both areas will stay open after hours.  All of the businesses at The Township will be offering specials that night, and many businesses will also have drawings for you to participate in! 

The part about this open house that we are MOST excited about is the carriage rides!  We will have horse-drawn buggies giving tours of The Township!  It will cost $10 or a bag of dog/cat food in order to be able to ride on the carriage.  All proceeds of this will be donated to CARA animal shelter. 

Christmas at Colony Park

We will keep you updated on things as the date draws nearer.  We are so excited, and hope you and your friends will all make plans to be here! Visit http://www.christmasatcolonypark.com/ to learn more!!

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Party Tips from House Beautiful

As we were perusing the new House Beautiful (which is SUCH a good issue) we came across these party tips.¬† With the holidays (a.k.a. parties galore) right around the corner, we thought these “Do’s and Don’ts”¬†were just¬†too good not to share!¬† Here are a few of our favorites!¬†

Go grab the November issue of House Beautiful to see all 101 tips!

99.¬† Don’t be afraid to set up a dinner table in an unconventional or not-the-usual spot for a more interesting dinner or lunch—in the library among the books, out on a porch.¬† -Gil Schafer, Architect/Designer

51. Have beverages visible from the moment guests step in the door.  -Matt and Ted Lee, Chefs/Cookbook Authors

35.¬† Seat guests next to someone they know and someone they’d enjoy meeting.¬† -Alex Papachristidis, Designer

85.  You can never have too many white plates, platters, and bowls.  -Cheryl Katz, Designer

57. Don’t be afraid to use your finest china, silverware, and crystal pieces outdoors.¬† It can make a casual event a bit more special.¬† -Ty Burks, Designer


8.¬† Don’t come to a party empty-handed.¬† -Jayne Michaels, Designer

86.¬† Serve an amazing dessert.¬† Even the worst main course will be forgotten if it’s followed by a spectacular dessert.¬† Extra points for making it yourself.¬† -Michael Devine, Shop Owner/Textile Designer

22.  Never, never, never run out of ice.  -Bryan Batt, Actor/Shop Owner

94.¬† Don’t move people around too much.¬† If you move people off the dining table it can be sort of a cue to leave and can break up the conversations.¬† -Michael S. Smith, Designer

49.  No colored candles! Only ivory and white.  -Jan Showers, Designer

1.¬† Create a music playlist that’s ready to begin as soon as the doorbell rings and doesn’t end until the last guest departs.¬† -Colin Cowie, Event Planner

55.  Never use paper napkins. -Judi Roman, Shop owner

28.  You should always have a cold bottle of bubbly stashed in your refrigerator in case friends drop by, and a bottle of something sparkly for nondrinkers.  -Christopher Hirsheimer, Co-founder, Canal House Cooking

97.¬† Don’t set the table with a single pattern of china or silver, as though you just unearthed your bridal registry.¬† Mix it up, get creative.¬† -Eddie Ross, eddieross.com

68.  Stick your candles in the freezer for a couple of days prior to using them.  The freezing will eliminate most of the messy dripped wax all over your furniture.  -David Stark, Furniture/Textile Designer

9.¬† Don’t try a new recipe at a party.¬† -Tricia Foley, Designer/Author

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Pumpkin Cupcakes

As we were perusing the House Beautiful website, we came across this Barefoot Contessa pumpkin cupcake recipe that sounded too good not to share!¬† Fall is here in full force, so it is time to start cooking fall goodies!¬† These would be so good as an option for Thanksgiving dinner dessert…. Yum!¬†¬†¬†

Pumpkin Cupcake (picture from housebeautiful.com)

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Frosting

Makes 10 cupcakes

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin pur√©e (8 ounces), not pie filling
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • Maple Frosting (recipe follows)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped Heath bars, for serving (2 1.4-ounce bars)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush or spray the top of 10 muffin tins with vegetable oil and line them with 10 paper liners.

2. Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. In a larger bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin purée, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vegetable oil. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined.

3. Divide the batter among the prepared tins (I use a level 2 1/4-inch ice cream scoop) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely.

4. Spread the cupcakes with the Maple Frosting and sprinkle with the chopped toffee bits.

Maple Frosting

  • ¬†6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon Boyajian Natural Maple Flavor
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese and butter on low speed until smooth. Stir in the maple flavoring and vanilla extract. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.

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Today we are celebrating two birthdays!! Lisa and KC both claim to be turning 28 today ūüôā


We are so thankful to have Lisa as such an amazing leader! She is an wonderful designer, manager, singer, mother, the list goes on….!¬† She always keeps us laughing up here, which I’m not sure can be said about many bosses! Hope you have the best day, Lisa!! You deserve it!

And we can’t forget about KC! She does such a great job, not only at answering phones, but at keeing things running smoothly with customers and designers!¬† She is the best at making all of us feel funny, even when we tell a bad joke.¬† Her laughter is contageous! Thanks for everything, KC! Hope your day ROCKS!!

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New from Schumacher

Our fabulous Schumacher rep, Jim, stopped in last week to show us what’s new from them this season!¬†¬† There were several fabrics we absolutely fell in love with.¬† Beth was able to pull together an entire project just from what he showed us!¬† We saw a lot of patterns, particularly florals, that we liked.¬† Here are a few:

Palampore Embroidery. Tobacco
Florentine Bargello. Olivine
Eastbury Manor Print. Tapestry
Cambourne. Honey
Avebury Floral Vine. Citrine
Rosegate Embroidered Print. Chartreuse
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Designer Spotlight: Meagan Burks

Meagan Burks

Meagan Burks, one of our amazing designers, is faced with design challenges on a regular basis (as most designers are!)¬† Where does she turn when she needs inspiration? Meagan has several designers, including Kelly Wearstler, Suzanne Kasler and Bobby McAlpine, whose styles really inspire her.¬† All of¬†them have books that help refresh Meagan’s sometimes depleated creativity.¬†

“First and foremost, Bobby McAlpine is an architect; and his new book, ‚ÄúThe Home Within Us‚ÄĚ is my favorite new architectural design book.¬† I have been an admirer of his architecture and interiors long before I knew he designed furniture.¬† The upholstery collection he designed for Lee Industries, one of our manufacturers, perfectly showcases his use of gracefully sculptural lines that are as timeless as they are unique.”


Slipcovered chair for LEE by Bobby McAlpine
Chair for LEE by Bobby McAlpine
Sofa for LEE Industries by Bobby McAlpine

In contrast to Bobby McAlpine, Meagan also finds inspiration from Kelly Wearstler.¬† Kelly Wearstler’s HUE is a reminder of how to properly incorporate daring color into interior design.¬† As The New Yorker so eloquently put it, Kelly is “the presiding grande dame of West Coast interior design.”

“You can always tell it‚Äôs a Kelly Wearstler room.¬† Her mix of pattern, color, and texture is so bold, but it always works.¬† What shows through in her interiors shows through in her textile designs.”¬†

Faux Bois in Ocher Cream by Kelly Wearstler
Soro Velvet in Oro Bark by Kelly Wearstler
Ombre Maze in Saffron by Kelly Wearstler

Somewhere between the earthy, natural Bobby McAlpine and the bright, bold Kelly Wearstler falls Suzanne Kasler.  Her versatility is endless. 

“Suzanne Kasler is known for her classically inspired rooms, soothing palettes, and casual elegance.¬† Her lighting fixtures bring Southern charm, European sensibility, and a respect for architectural details to her interiors.¬† Her work is polished and refined, yet casual, relaxed and effortless”

Suzanne describes her own style as “a fresh mix of continental flavor and classic style, emphasizing light, scale, and architectural elements of space, creating collected interiors.”¬†¬† Her book, Inspired Interiors, beautifully showcases the mix that Suzanne is known for.¬†

Thornton Floor Lamp by Suzanne Kasler
Garson Table Lamp by Suzanne Kasler
Quatrefoil Floor Lamp by Suzanne Kasler

Check back often for more Designer Spotlights!  

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A Visit with Brian Fuente

Brian Fuente

Brian Fuente is a really cool guy.¬† He is a creative powerhouse.¬† As well as being an amazing musician (much thanks to his mom, Lisa Palmer!) he is an extremely gifted graphic designer.¬† Brian, founder of Zest Creative,¬†manages our website and designs all of the ads for SummerHouse.¬† He does an amazing job!¬† We recently took a moment to talk with him about what all he has going on…

SummerHouse: How long has Zest Creative been around?

Brian: ZEST first began under the name “Blue Creative” in January of 07′. ¬†The name ZEST came about last December. ¬†I was inspired to change the name because I wanted name with a little more attitude.¬†¬†At that time, I also changed my vision for the business. ¬†The real name of ZEST is “ZEST CREATIVE MARKETPLACE”. ¬†I am the only employee of ZEST but I have a group of people that work with me on projects.

SummerHouse: What all can you offer a client?  I know, for us, you have done web and print stuff.  Is that mainly what you focus on?

Brian: ZEST is your creative marketplace or one stop shop for Photography, Web, Print, Public Relations, Television and just about all things creative. ¬†My focus is print and design. ¬†For example, I’ll design and project manage a website and I’ll have my programmer program the site.

SummerHouse: What is the most unique client you’ve ever been approached by?

Brian: A couple of years ago I took on a client that was a Pole Dance Fitness Instructor.  I have come to find out that Pole Dance Fitness is extremely popular here in Nashville as well as all over the country!  After launching her site and ad campaigns her business grew by 75%!

SummerHouse: What else can you tell us about Zest?

Brian: ZEST utilizes a “new” business model. ¬†Everyone that ZEST contracts out has a home based office and are spread out. ¬†For example, my web developer is in Boston, MA! ¬†With the power of the web, there is no need to have the overhead of an office. ¬†We can all do this from home and keep our costs down! ¬†I also think that it creates an environment allowing us to all work comfortably, therefore working efficiently and creatively. ¬†There have been times where my band has been on the road and I am working in the back of the van. ¬†We can do everything we need to do as long as we have an internet connection!

Here are a few of Brian’s favorite SummerHouse ads from over the years:

VIP Holiday ad from 2008
Gulf Coast Wine and Dine ad
Delta Magazine ad from August
Northside Sun Holiday ad from 2009

SummerHouse: Give us a little plug for Newmatic. What exciting stuff do you have going on, and when will you be playing in MS again?!


Brian: Ha! So my band Newmatic is based here out of Nashville. ¬†We have currently signed 7 deals with Fall reality television shows (i.e. Keeping up with The Kardashians, The Real World…). ¬†Television placement deals can break a band and we are excited to hear our music on television. ¬†Also, we have just currently recorded 2 new singles which should be on iTunes by next month! ¬†You can check out the band at lovenewmatic.com

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Save the Ta-tas!

As many of you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.¬† Lots of stores and businesses in the area (and all over the country!) do displays and fundraisers to raise breast cancer awareness.¬† We were recenlty asked by the ladies at Annelle Primos to design a bra for a “Save the Ta-tas” display in their store!¬† We happily accepted the challenge and got to work on picking fabrics.¬† After getting input from all of our designers, we got to work on actually making the bra!

Katie went to Wal-Mart and got the most simple bra she could find.  Then Lisa gave Laurel specific instructions what fabrics to put where.  After working on the bra on and off for a couple of days, here is the final product! We thought it turned out really well!!

Our lovely creation!
Save the Ta-tas
Its all in the details!
"Save the Ta-tas. They feed the world!"

Fabrics/trims used in our bra design:  Raoul Zoo Dance, Cocoa.  Raoul Coverlet, Lavender.  Etamine Fersen, color 893.  Osborne & Little Taisho Button Braid, color 07.  Designers Guild trim, Discontinued. 

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Around Jackson with Flat Katie

SummerHouse is getting a new neighbor in The Township:¬† Millie D’s Frozen Yogurt!! We could not be more excited!¬† Millie D’s is set to open around the end of October/first of November and will feature numerous flavors of frozen yogurt and lots of toppings!¬† It will be a “create your own thing and pay by the ounce” type of place.¬†

So excited about Millie D's!

We spoke to Laurie, the sweet lady who is opening the shop, yesterday and she is very excited to be coming to The Township! Construction has taken a little longer than originally planned, but that’s ok! It will be SO worth all the time she’s invested once Millie D’s opens!¬†Laurie, rest assured that all the SummerHouse girls will visit OFTEN.¬† There are so many days when we say, “I really wish Millie D’s was open!”

We will keep you posted on Millie D’s progress! ūüôā

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Beautiful New Things!

We just got in some great new furniture and accessories and wanted you to have the first look!   We are very excited about it ALL!

Perfect for a house with a beachy feel!
Candles and tabletop by Canvas
This is just a sampling of our new pillows!
We are all in LOVE with this new table from Bliss!
These barstools are SO cute! Sadly they are already sold...
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Meet Elizabeth Gullett

Elizabeth Gullett

Meet our newest designer, Elizabeth Gullett!  She and her husband recently moved from Memphis, TN and seem to be loving life down here in Mississippi.  Elizabeth has jumped right in as a designer here at SummerHouse!  With several years of interior design experience under her belt, her transition was easy!  Elizabeth got her design degree from University of Memphis, then moved out to Los Angeles to do graduate work at UCLA.

Laurel:  So what was your favorite part about design in LA?

Elizabeth:¬† Well, I started working in real estate right when I moved out there and this really affected my design asthetic. I fell in love with the fresh, clean, open feeling that the west coast embraces in their homes. Outdoor spaces are a priority, not an afterthought… And the interior flows into the exterior beautifully. (The 70 degree weather must factor in here somewhere!) ¬†Even in many of the most expensive houses, families enjoy a casual, relaxed, “lived-in” look, but still keep their homes sophisticated and stylish in the same moment.

Laurel:  So what are some principles you learned in working out there that you can bring back to your work here?

Elizabeth:¬† Their blend of style with comfort, and sophistication with life, is what I love to help people achieve. I want to know about my client’s hobbies (Do¬†you dirt bike, or do¬†you host book club? Or do we do both?), their pets, their friends, their entertaining style… and of course about their children (or plans for them!) ¬†Most people know what they like when they see it. ¬†It’s cliche, but true. ¬†Most people don’t know how to organize all of these thoughts and things that they love into a single room, or an entire home. That’s where we as designers come in.

“Their blend of style with comfort, and sophistication with life, is what I love to help people achieve.”

You know how you buy that perfect shirt, or that perfect jacket, in that perfect color, and think, “Wow, this is so ME, I feel so great in this.¬† It’s perfect!”¬†¬†Think if you felt that way about every item in your closet… Never a Monday with nothing to wear! ¬†Now think if you felt that way about every item in your home!! ¬†My goal as a designer is to do that for my clients. ¬†I want my client’s home to be their favorite place; an escape from the outside world into THEIR world where it really is all about them.¬† My primary job as a designer is research, and digging!! ¬†I need to know what they love better than THEY know what they love.

Laurel:  What is the most rewarding part of working in interior design?

Elizabeth:¬†¬†My favorite words to hear from my client are these, after they see their new room for the first time: ¬†“I had NO IDEA it would look this amazing! I mean, I saw things by themselves…but together….How did you know I would love it all?”¬† My answer: It’s my job…and I love that it is.¬† That is SO rewarding!

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THE BIG REVEAL: A Big Success!

Thank you to everyone who came to THE BIG REVEAL on Tuesday night! We had a great turnout and saw lots of new faces! Now that this event is behind us, time to move on to the next one! We have a couple of things in the works so we will definitely keep you posted on what we come up with next!  Here are a few shots from the party:

Melanie did a beautiful job arranging the flowers!

Door prizes!
Viking did a great job on the food

Mini strawberry and chocolate tortes by Viking. Yummy!

Mike Williams and his adorable wife!

Lisa Palmer, Judy Denson, Elizabeth Gullett

Phyllis Geary and Dotty Butts

Barbara Sulser, Vicki Overstreet, Betty Wells

Lisa Palmer, Will Longwitz, Brian Ramsey, Beth Black
Katie and Taylor Phillips
Bill and Camille Morris, parents of Kathryn Trotter (Our new artist!)

Trent and Elizabeth Gullett
We love Dyann Gunter!

Chip Walker, Michele Myers, Tony Antoon

Carla Palmer and Shelia Myles

Christy Crockett White, Catherine Payne, Kim McCormack

Back Row: Melanie McGee, Laurel Donahoo, Katie Phillips, Elizabeth Gullett, Beth Black. Front Row: Marty Smith, Betsy Pevey, Lisa Palmer, Meagan Burks
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