Chris Tedesco, BodyQuest Owner

Chris Tedesco, BodyQuest Owner

Chris Tedesco, BodyQuest Owner

Former U.S. Marine Corps squad leader and 2007 International Trainer of the Year, Chris Tedesco, has helped motivate clients to overcome the obstacle of weight gain and poor physique for the last 11 years at BodyQuest, 106 Fairfax Ave.

The Voice-Tribune spoke with Chris about BodyQuest and found out about his expertise in personal training, as well as a special nutrition “prescription” that could help you finally lose weight and get into the best shape of your life.

You’ve won several awards as a personal trainer. What do you think separates you from other trainers?
I bring attention to detail. A lot of trainers just kind of view everyone as the same. I really take someone and focus on their goals and dig deeper and find what might be keeping them from meeting their goal. I take a much more prescriptive approach. I do a lot of education in my programs so in the future you will be able to utilize (the learned knowledge) on your own.

You offer boot camp at BodyQuest. What other programs do you provide at the gym?
Metabolic conditioning. We offer our assessment programs and a metabolic typing program.

What is a metabolic typing program?
It’s about understanding how foods affect your body. Some people operate better on higher protein diets and some people operate on a mainly vegetable diet. There are three different metabolic types. I’m more of a meat and potatoes guy myself.

What are the three metabolic types?
Type one is protein, type two is protein/carb and type three is carb. Defining your type will allow you to plan your meal choices based on how you best metabolize foods and help your body use the nutrients more efficiently.

Does learning and working with your metabolic type make a huge difference in weight loss?
It really does because so many people struggle with losing weight. They feel like they’re doing the right thing and they’ve tried every diet, but (the diet is) not working because they’re not on the right prescription. We try to get a deeper understanding of what the person needs.

You offer a free trial at BodyQuest. What all comes with that?
Personal training, a general assessment, understanding body composition. We take that information and do a goal-mapping session and talk about nutrition patterns and find what is the best direction for that person to go from there.

I see you work with Dare to Care. How are you involved with the organization?
We do charity boot camps where we collect food cans. I donate to a lot of organizations. I have one client who has Parkinson’s disease and we’re going to do a lot of free workshops to help people with Parkinson’s.

You have also worked with Coach Mo (Mozziz DeWalt) from “The Biggest Loser.” How did the two of you get matched up?
It’s all through referrals. He had just left the (“The Biggest Loser”) and had an injury and needed a high quality trainer to get him further along through his injuries.

I get a lot of NFL clients. I’ve had Olympic clients and a nine-year-old slated to be in the Olympics. (He’s) going to London to be a BMX rider.

What is your goal this year with BodyQuest?
I’m really going to be focusing more on the education side and have a lot more seminars for nutrition, and I’m adding more trainers. One of the things I find is a trainer will always be able to push you further toward your potential than you will be able to push yourself. They can really become a great resource for achieving your goals.

For information on BodyQuest, visit

Spring Fashions Whisk Away Winter Blahs

When temperatures drop below freezing and the sky turns gray for weeks on end, I tend to get a little blue.

To help manage seasonal depression I begin counting the weeks until some of Louisville’s most prestigious events take place.

After watching the Golden Globes, I’ve determined it’s the gowns that inspire my mood to find the perfect dress for the Speed Ball.

Nothing quite says spring until our local boutiques are stocked with the hottest trends of the season.

Here’s what we can expect to see in stores, which are just in time for Derby season as well.

VT: What are your favorite trends for spring 2012 that will be stocked in
your store?
We love all of the Cobalt that we saw on Spring runways.
Geometric  prints  and Day coats will be big for Derby. We’ve ordered a lot of cropped cigarette pants and skinnies in fun prints and bright colors.
Maxis are on every line — they really do work for petite women, too!

Who are your favorite designers and fashion icons?
Our favorite designer is Michelle Smith (Milly) — her designs are always timeless yet current.
We LOVE Lauren Moffatt — her designs are always so fun and fresh with a retro twist.

VT: What are some of the hot new spring trends for men this year?
The overlying theme in men’s clothing for spring 2012 is still fit. Trimmer fits in coats, trousers and shirts. You can expect to still see lots of color.  Brighter colors in both patterns and solids.

Tell me about some of the exciting new designer’s that Rodes for Him will be carrying?
We are expanding our softcoat selection. You will see more from our top vendors like Cantarelli, Etro & Zegna.
We are introducing a new slim fit trouser by Ivory.

Rodes For Him is also carrying a greater selection of denim from Agave, Zegna & Gardeur.

Tell me about some of the new designers Rodes for Her will be carrying?
The new contemporary designer we’re bring in is Joy Cioci. She is a new young designer with a celebrity following.
Her clothing has  a “femedge” look and feel, i.e. feminine, yet edgy.

Raoul is another new line. It is a modern, understated collection with a designer aesthetic but without the designer price. It is a “crossover” line that will appeal to a variety of ages.

10 Crosby is Derek Lam’s new diffusion line. It carries a status label and designer aesthetic, but again, without the designer price.
Lastly, Escada is new to Rodes for Spring. They have taken a fresh new approach and are no longer “your mother’s” look or label.
We are very excited about all of these new designers! All offer a lot of color and fresh new looks.

Take Five To Save a Life

So it’s now three weeks into the new year. Did you start a resolution to improve your life?

Maybe you gave up smoking or joined a health club. Perhaps you resolved to eat out less or spend more time reading and less time in front of the TV. Those are all great resolutions, but I have one I promise will make you feel better than all of those and it’s much easier: Resolve to save a life. Sound daunting? It’s not.
No matter how little time, space or experience you have, you can help put an end to homeless pets in your community.

I know what you’re saying: You don’t have room to take in more dogs or cats. Or you don’t have any experience working with animals. The truth is you don’t have to have any of that, and in many cases, five minutes of your time could make a huge impact. The folks at Best Friends Animal Society, a national rescue organization based in Utah, offer up some great ideas to make a huge impact with just a little time. I’m sharing a few of my favorites.

Make your voice heard

Log on and join Voices for No More Homeless Pets. It takes two minutes, literally. After you sign up, you’ll get e-mail alerts when there are issues or ordinances being considered in your area. You will also receive a form e-mail you can personalize to your local lawmakers making your voice heard. Sign up at

Search or Shop Online

Sign up at sites like or, which donate their revenue from your clicks to the rescue group of your choice. It doesn’t cost you a penny, and it’s something you already do anyway.

Use Facebook

Love to spend time on Facebook? Well, put a few minutes of that time to good use. Simply LIKE the Facebook page for one or more of the local rescue organizations, such as The Kentucky Humane Society, Animal Care Society or No Kill Louisville. Those are just three of many. After you sign up, simply “share” or “like” their content on your page and you will help spread the word. If you’re really feeling energetic, ask to volunteer to help them update their pages. Fresh content means their posts for help and support will show up on more news feeds.

Clean your closets

Of course, this idea could help you accomplish two resolutions! Your local shelter probably needs a lot of things you’d never think of, but some of them are probably sitting unused in your closet. Items like towels and blankets and leashes or old crates your dogs don’t use anymore might be very helpful to a shelter trying to preserve its budget. If you want specific ideas, call one of the shelters to find out what they need and then start your spring cleaning a couple months early.  Also, you can take some of the clothes you don’t wear anymore to a consignment shop and donate the proceeds to a shelter or rescue group.

Adopt – Don’t Shop

This is by far the easiest idea. When and if it comes time to add a new furry member to your family, please adopt. I assure you, there is no better feeling than saving an animal’s life, and you will get back far more than you will give.

I told you the ideas were easy, and most of them take no more than five minutes of your time. And imagine this:  if each Voice-Tribune reader would donate five minutes of time, once a month we’d add hundreds of hours of volunteer effort to eliminating homeless pets. Just think what we could accomplish.

David Loignon is the owner of Home Buddies Premier In-home Pet Care. Contact him at or

Coach P, Coach C: Teach History to Teams

It would be appropriate if John Calipari could get his Wildcats together for a short meeting with Rick Pitino and his Cardinals.

The coaches’ messages could be the same each year, and could go something like this:
Coach Cal: “This is for you freshman – you are all freshmen, aren’t you? Long before I was born, Kentucky had a coach named Adolph Rupp who beat the daylights out of every other team in the Southeastern Conference. To this day football rules the roost at every SEC school except here at Kentucky and at Vanderbilt.”

Coach Pitino: “Coach Cal knows what he is talking about. I’ve been there (at Kentucky) and done that. At Louisville – because of my success at Kentucky, I guess – we  get the same treatment in the Big East that the Wildcats get in the SEC.

“Coach Rupp won four – F-O-U-R – national championships. Coach Joe B. Hall won another. I, ahem, won another and I left Tubby Smith with enough talent that he also won the national title.”

The point is this: For both the Cards and Cats, every team you play wants to beat you more than any other team on their schedules. You must be ready for every game.

Coach Cal should tell his team not to be surprised if some away games in the SEC will have about as many Big Blue fans in the stands as your opponent. That’s the way UK fans are.

At Vanderbilt, UK fans bought so many season tickets for just the one UK game in Nashville that Vandy refused to sell tickets to anyone from Kentucky.

Now about the way most SEC teams used to regard basketball, and this is a true story: At Ole Miss one year when John Vaught was both head football coach and athletic director, he had this story sent to the Associated Press by his Sports Information department:
“Head football coach and director of athletics John Vaught announced that head basketball coach Eddie Crawford has been promoted to assistant football coach.”

Following UofL’s embarrassing loss at Providence,  Denny Crum  said that the Cardinals looked tired and noted that players can be “practiced out.” Crum added that he used to give his team two or three days off when they became the way the Cards were. (By the way, WHAS11 scooped its rivals with the Crum quotes. There are a lot of new faces on Louisville TV sports and some of them show signs of talent – if they will just stay in town long enough to get to know the lay of the land.)

Denny learned his lessons well from his college coach, John Wooden, and directed his Cards to two national championships.

Manual Girls Ranked

No. 1 Manual became the first Kentucky girls’ basketball team to be ranked in USA Today’s Super 25 ratings last Tuesday, 17th in the nation. That night, coach Stacy Pendleton’s Crimsons lost their first game of the season, to Mercy 67-65.

UofL 61, UK 85

USA Today’s final Sagarin football ratings placed Charlie Strong’s Louisville Cardinals 62nd in the nation and Joker Phillips’ Kentucky Wildcats 85th. Western Kentucky finished 101st and IU 140th.

Eastern Kentucky was 153rd; Murray 10 slots lower. Morehead finished 233rd out of 246 ranked teams.

Wedding Day Jewelry

Getting engaged is one of the most joyous occasions you will ever experience.

Picking out the perfect ring can be more challenging and add more stress to what is supposed to be the happiest of times.

The perfect solution is to let your bride-to-be pick out the ring she has dreamed   about since she was a little girl.

Too often, however, the proposal and giving of the ring is only shared between the couple, often kept a secret until the unveiling.

Sam Swope Man Of The Year

Sam Swope ought to be the man of the year if Louisville named one. Really though, he is the man of the century if one is judged by one’s contribution to mankind.

Ohio’s loss was our gain. Born in the Buckeye State, Sam played the saxophone in the Ohio State band. At games the band forms “OHIO” at the end of a performance and the “I” is dotted with an outstanding alum and the honor went to Sam one year.

Last week, Sam celebrated his retirement – after 60 years – with a big party at his huge Lexus dealership in eastern Jefferson County. The Swope Auto Group represents 21 automobile makes, in 24 dealerships in Louisville, Elizabethtown, Lexington, Radcliff and Richmond.

It is a family business he created and it is ranked as the largest dealership in Kentucky and 63rd in the nation. Swope is also the largest used vehicle dealer in the state.

Sam has turned over day-to-day operations to his nephew, Dick Swope, who serves as President and CEO, and his daughter, Patti Swope, who has assumed Sam’s role as Chairman of the Board, and serves as executive Vice President.

Sam may have been a car dealer, but his heart has always gone out to disabled children. He served as a director of Kosair Charities for 23 years and was President three times. He has served on the board of most of the important charity organizations in town, especially the Lincoln Heritage Council of the Boy Scouts. He was honored as “Louisvillian of the Year” by the Advertising Federation of Louisville.

With his leisure time he is a motorcycle nut!

Sam rides with the Kosair Shrine Motor Corps here, the Bahia Shrine Motor Corps in Orlando (where he was riding this past week), the Louisville Tour Riders, Harley Owners Group, and the BMW Motorcycle Club. He has ridden all over the USA and Europe on a motorcycle and, yes, he has had a bang-up or two and is lucky to be alive as a result.

Sam uses his passion to raise money for children in need. Last year was the 12th annual Sam Swope Road Rally, to benefit Kosair Charities and Kosair Shrine Temple. The events have raised over $750,000.

And just drive through the Masonic Home on Frankfort Avenue. There is a reason his name is prominent there.

On top of that, he is a pussycat. Men admire him and women adore him! You would think to hear about him and all that he has accomplished that he would be an O.F. But it is just the opposite.  No history of 20th century Kentucky would be complete without Sam Swope being recognized as a Distinguished Citizen Who Made A Difference.

Thank you, Sam for all you have done for our town.

Feast For Racing Fans: Top Horses Are Coming Back

The annual Eclipse Awards celebration of racing’s champions produced precious little drama in the crowning of Thoroughbred racing’s champions for 2011, but the roster of winning horses and humans honored Jan. 17 in Beverly Hills offers considerable promise for our still new year.

There were few surprises when the winners of the 2011 Eclipse awards were announced, with the night’s biggest winner being Havre De Grace, a horse with ample Kentucky connections who became the unprecedented third consecutive female to earn “Horse of the Year” honors.

Big Hoof Prints

Havre de Grace followed in the monstrous hoof prints of Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta after an ambitious campaign in which she split showdowns with the brilliant 2010 Kentucky Oaks winner Blind Luck and whipped top males in the Woodward at Saratoga.

Rachel Alexandra had been the only previous female with a Woodward win.

She is the first “Horse of the Year” honoree saddled by trainer J. Larry Jones, the Hopkinsville, Ky. native who returned from a one-year sabbatical to guide the daughter of Saint Liam through a campaign during which she won five of seven starts and earned more than $1.6 million.

No Doubter

Havre de Grace was an overwhelming winner in the Eclipse category that honored America’s top older female.

In this corner, Havre de Grace was a clear-cut and deserving winner of the night’s big trophy.

Owner Rick Porter and Jones mapped out a strong campaign with the “Horse of the Year” honor as a clear goal, and her accomplishments far exceeded those of the males in the hunt for the gold statuette that goes to the brightest star in American racing each year.

She crushed Royal Delta, who would win the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic on her way to an Eclipse Award that honored her as 3-year-old filly champ, in their only meeting in the Beldame at Belmont Park, and she traveled to take on top-notch competition.

She finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs, but that did nothing to tarnish a wonderful championship campaign.

The promise held in the honor for Havre de Grace is that Porter and Jones plan to race her again this year, with the ultimate goal of her 5-year-old campaign being a second bid for the Breeders’ Cup Classic this fall at Santa Anita.

Cross Fingers

Local racing fans should keep fingers crossed as Churchill Downs fans could have a chance or two to see Havre de Grace in action beneath the Twin Spires in 2012.

Porter and Jones have yet to map a specific campaign for their star, but The Courier-Journal’s Jennie Rees reported that the $300,000 La Troienne for older fillies and mares or an early showdown with males in the $400,000 Stephen Foster Handicap are among the stops that Havre de Grace’s team could consider for their star as the year unfolds.

Other 2011 champions with local connections include:

  • Bill Mott, the Hall of Fame trainer and all-time win leader at Churchill Downs who earned his third Eclipse as America’s top trainer.

    He added two notable victories to his victory total beneath the Twin Spires when he saddled Royal Delta and Classic winner Drosselmeyer for those triumphs.

    The youngest trainer to enter racing’s Hall of Fame is only 58 years old, so chances are this Eclipse will be followed by more.

    And that long awaited Kentucky Derby win for Mott is surely coming, maybe as early as this year.

  • Churchill Downs-based trainer Mike Maker now has his first Eclipse Award winner in 2-year-old champion Hansen, who edged Union Rages in a repeat of their 1-2 finish in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs.

    The gray colt is the first Eclipse champion stabled at Churchill Downs’ Trackside training center, located on the Poplar Level Road site of the old Louisville Downs harness track.

    Previous star residents of Trackside include Grade I winners Perfect Drift and Brass Hat, but never a champion until now.

    Though he’s spending the winter in Florida, Trackside can now boast that it is the home of its first early favorite for the Kentucky Derby.

  • Ken and Sarah Ramsey, the all-time leaders in wins by an owner at Churchill Downs, collected their fourth Eclipse Award when the Nicholasville, Ky. couple narrowly won the statuette that went to the top owner of 2011.

    Their stable led North America in stakes wins last year as they added their latest award to the Eclipse that honored them as leading owner of 2004, the year their Kitten’s Joy – now their breeding operation’s top stallion – was honored as turf champion.  They also raced 2010 Eclipse Award steeplechase champion Slip Away.Team Valor’s Animal Kingdom missed the second half of 2011, but proved again that a victory in America’s greatest race carries more weight than any other when the Kentucky Derby winner was honored as 3-year-old champion.

  • Two-time Eclipse Award champion trainer Steve Asmussen celebrated another champion when Stonestreet Stables and George Bolton’s homebred My Miss Aurelia, winner of the Grey Goose Juvenile Fillies in the Breeders’ Cup, was a runaway winner as champion 2-year-old filly.

    She spent a good chunk of her year at Churchill Downs, although the Breeders’ Cup race was her only start beneath the Twin Spires.

    We offer hearty congratulations for the winners with strong Louisville and Churchill Downs connections, but here is the real payoff for racing fans: many horses on the roster of Eclipse winners remain in training with the goal of competing in 2012.

Watch Dubai Cup

Havre de Grace clearly heads that list, but the now 4-year-old stars Animal Kingdom and the filly Royal Delta are training toward a possible meeting in the Dubai World Cup; Hansen and rival Union Rags head the growing list of Kentucky Derby 138 hopefuls; and My Miss Aurelia figures to be a heavy early choice for the Kentucky Oaks when she returns from an extended winter break.

Other champions back for 2012 include sprinter Amazombie, champion older horse Acclamation, and filly sprinter Musical Romance.

In A Nutshell: The Worlds of Maurice Sendak

I’m always amazed when I rewatch a favorite childhood movie or television show and find the adult humor or mature subject matter hidden beneath the surface. Never did I think the same would hold true for a classic children’s book, but it did after walking through “In a Nutshell: The Worlds of Maurice Sendak,” a new exhibit here in town.

Last weekend, I stopped by the Main Library’s Bernheim Gallery on 301 York St. to browse the exhibit on display through Feb. 24.

The library exhibit features several of the beloved characters from Sendak’s 1964 Caldecott Medal winning picture book, “Where The Wild Things Are.” There are also giant, vivid panels depicting illustrations from other notable stories Sendak has written over the years.

Ashley Anderson and "The Wild Things."

Ashley Anderson and "The Wild Things."

The national traveling exhibition delves into the influence that Jewish culture and history had on Sendak as an author and illustrator, which was an influence I never would have detected reading his work in the first grade.

Did you know that Sendak was preoccupied with “shtetl” (Yiddish for “little town”) life growing up in Brooklyn, New York and intertwined elements of the Holocaust and the Lindbergh kidnapping into his 1993 book “We are all in the Dumps with Jack and Guy”?

In fact, as a child, Sendak had become intrigued by the worn black-and-white photographs of his European relatives, many of whom were murdered in concentration camps, and based several of the monstrous “wild things” in his famous storybook off of his aunts and uncles who had scared him as a kid with their cigar smoking, crooked teeth and long nose hair.

It is said that the main character, Max, in “Where the Wild Things Are” is symbolic of Sendak and his quest to explore his European ancestry and make sense of his American upbringing.

Sendak has always been interested in deriving his fantasies from reality, and that was exactly the case for his iconic book that I’m sure many children never would have imagined held a deeper meaning beneath the adventurous tale of a boy dressed in a wolf suit wandering through the land of ferocious beasts.

It was through Sendak’s journey in literature that he was able to better understand his Jewish identity and family history that caused him conflict as a child battling his parents’ Old World mentality in the vibrant New World of Brooklyn. Without his past and inability to truly break from it, Sendak may not have become the renowned author he is today. Nor would he have finally found a sense of happiness, which he was quoted as saying, “comes only through art … music, reading, working. That’s it. And crappy television.”

Now, who would have thought that was the real story behind one mischievous boy who travels to a land inhabited by wild things?

For more information, visit or call 502.574.1611. Contact writer Ashley Anderson at, 502.498.2051.


Main Library
301 York St.


Monday through Thursday: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday: 1 to 5 p.m.



Special attractions

A Wild, Wild Rumpus
Saturday, Jan. 28: 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Come visit the Main Library for a special reading of “Where the Wild Things Are” performed by Stage One Family Theatre. Children will meet Max and one of the Wild Things and create wild crafts with the Speed Art Museum.

Jewish Ritual Objects: Religion and Art
Thursday, Feb. 16: 7 p.m.
In concurrence with the Jewish Museum in New York hosting the exhibit “An Artist Remembers: Hanukkah Lamps Selected by Maurice Sendak,” University of Louisville history professor Lee Shai Weissbach will present an illustrated exploration of how Jewish tradition has approached questions of artistic expression through the ages.

Is America Following The Lead Of Italy?

“When the moon hits you eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore.” –Dean Martin

I could be the last person in America to read Eat, Pray, Love, but there is a segment in the book that keeps running through my mind.

The author, Elizabeth Gilbert, references Luigi Barzini’s book The Italians when explaining why a country that has “produced the greatest artistic, political and scientific minds of the ages” has not become a world power.

Barzini’s conclusion is that after hundreds of years of corruption and exploitation by foreign domination, Italians don’t trust political leaders or big institutions.

Gilbert said the prevailing thought is that “because the world is so corrupted, misspoken, unstable, exaggerated and unfair, one should only trust what one can experience with one’s own senses.”

She added, “In a world of disorder and disaster and fraud, only artistic excellence is incorruptible. Pleasure cannot be bargained down.”

I have pondered Gilbert’s insight for weeks. I keep asking myself the essential question.

Is the United States headed the way of Italy?

Survey after survey shows that Americans do not trust their elected officials and don’t trust the people on Wall Street.

My parents grew up in a society where people trusted big companies to provide secure, long term jobs, excellent benefits and solid retirement plans.
They trusted Wall Street to invest in those big companies and fuel America’s economy growth.

They trusted political leaders to pass legislation that made the nation better, like the Civil Rights Act, even when the vote wasn’t politically expedient.
We trusted our leaders to do the right thing.

My children are growing up in a society where none of that is happening. Corporations dump loyal employees, cut benefits and wiggle out of paying for pensions. Wall Street rewards them for it.

Wall Street has been based on a system of paying employees huge bonuses for gambling in silly trading games, rather than helping the economy produce growth.

Washington seems more focused on the latest opinion poll or their lobbyist buddies than what is good for the average citizen.

Long term thinking seems to occur around the “24-hour news cycle.”

If the American people are following the path of the Italians, you can’t really blame them.

On the other hand, I don’t want to see the United States become the next Italy.

I want to trust big institutions, but that trust has to be earned.

I trust many life insurance companies because they are heavily regulated and oriented towards safety. I’ve been in an associated industry for all my adult life, know the people who run the companies and believe in the concepts they sell. The culture is very different from Goldman Sachs.

I want to trust government. I voted for President Obama in 2008 because I thought he would bring change to the economic system. Instead he gave us Geithner, Bernanke, Dr. Lawrence Summers and all the people who got us in this mess to begin with. Having said that, there is a good chance I’ll vote for Obama again as I am not impressed with the competition.

There is a way to turn things around but the window is short. I’d like to see economic incentives for people who save and invest as opposed to bailouts for those who lack self control.

America could completely become the Italian model, where we retreat to our own worlds and focus on immediate pleasure.
Although there are a lot of downfalls, as Gilbert notes, the Italians can make one heck of a pizza.

In the big scheme of life, that’s amore.

Don McNay, who lives in Richmond, Ky., is an award-winning financial columnist for Huffington Post Contributor. You can learn more about him at

The Couture Closet Puts Brides On The Right Track For Beautiful Weddings

The Couture Closet, located beside the train tracks in La Grange, celebrated its fifth anniversary this month.

The Couture Closet, located beside the train tracks in La Grange, celebrated its fifth anniversary this month.

Every bride looks forward not only to her wedding, but also to each anniversary that commemorates it as the years go by.

Business partners Lauren Montgomery and Tera Davis are celebrating a special anniversary of their own this month — their fifth year as owners of the Couture Closet bridal boutique, which is at 123 E. Main St., La Grange.

These two entrepreneurs met while studying event coordination at Sullivan University. Initially, they thought about opening a wedding-coordination business after graduating.

“We wrote our business plan with that in mind, but each of us had about ten years of experience in retail, so we already knew this side of the industry,” Tera said. “Adding wedding-coordination is still in our ten-year plan. Eventually, we’ll be able to dress the bride and help her with everything about planning her wedding.”

Although she lives in Jeffersonville, Ind. and Lauren lives in St. Matthews, they chose La Grange as the location for their store — right beside the railroad tracks that run through town. The grand opening was Jan. 2, 2007.

Co-owners Tera Davis (left) and Lauren Montgomery met while studying event coordination at Sullivan University.

Co-owners Tera Davis (left) and Lauren Montgomery met while studying event coordination at Sullivan University.

“We wanted to be in a smaller area where people weren’t just stopping in on their lunch break,” Lauren said. “Our goal was to make this an experience. They come out here with their ladies and make a day of it. This boutique is between Louisville, Lexington and Cincinnati, so we attract customers from all three cities. It’s a perfect location.”

As many as 75 bridal gowns are in the store at any given time, and each one has been hand-picked by Lauren and Tera.

“They’re here because we love them,” Tera said. “We’re the only people who work here, so the brides are always dealing with an owner. It’s in our best interest to give 100 percent customer service. If we don’t have exactly what a shopper wants, we’ll help her figure out where to go to find what she’s looking for.”

The Couture Closet features an indoor gazebo in which the bride’s entourage enjoys refreshments while mirrors show her how she looks in gown after gown.

Madeline Nicholas, originally from Goshen, came from Indianapolis to explore the selection of bridal gowns.

Madeline Nicholas, originally from Goshen, came from Indianapolis to explore the selection of bridal gowns.

Strapless dresses are still popular among Kentuckiana women, Tera reported, but last year’s wedding of Kate Middleton to Prince William renewed interest in sleeves of various lengths.

Combinations of fabrics, such as a satin skirt with a flirty kick of tulle at the bottom, are in, as are belts or sashes bedecked with rhinestones, beads or flowers.

“When we’re asked to find the right dress for the mother of the bride or of the groom — both are often called ‘mother of the occasion’ now — we show them our up-to-date collection,” Lauren said. “Most shops have clothes that make them look frumpy, but we call ours ‘modern moms’ dresses.”

With shoes, accessories and gifts for each member of the wedding, the Couture Closet outfits customers from head to toe.

“Women who come here are happy as they look forward to their wedding and marriage,” Lauren said. “We help them decide what to wear on one of the most important days of their lives. This is fun for us, but it’s also an honor.”

The Couture Closet, located at 123 E. Main St., La Grange is open Tuesday-Wednesday 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday 11 a.m.-8 p.m., and Friday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Appointments are recommended. For information, visit or phone 502.225.0305.

Desserts First Is Girl Scouts All Grown Up

Sorry fellas, 2012 has been declared the “Year of the Girl.”

The slogan was created by the Girl Scouts to mark the 100th anniversary of the organization, which was founded by Juliette Gordon Low in Savannah, Ga. on March 12, 1912.

Along with the centennial celebration, here in Louisville, Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana will host its sixth annual Desserts First, which has arrived just in time for the three-month-long cookie season continuing through March 18.

The popular event features a competition among local chefs who will create original desserts and hors d’oeuvres using Girl Scout Cookies as the key ingredient.

“I actually went and visited (a Desserts First event) in Detroit and thought we could maybe do this and do it better,” said Suzy Gessner, director of development of Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana. “This event is for adults. We have young professionals that come and we sell corporate tables. We’ve even had people (come) on their first dates before. It’s a time to leave the kids at home and enjoy Girl Scouts all grown up.”

Desserts First will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, at The Kentucky International Convention Center, 221 S. 4th St.

Those who attend will be able to taste the various Girl Scout cookie-inspired creations of chefs from such restaurants and businesses as Jack Fry’s, Bakery Cafe, Consumers Choice Coffee and Sweet Surrender.

The winner of best dessert will receive the Golden Whisk award, while the Golden Grater award will be given to the best hors d’oeuvre.

Papalino’s, BoomBozz Pizza and other local eateries will also compete for the Golden Wheel award, the prize for this year’s new pizza category.

Marty Rosen, food writer for The Courier-Journal, Megan Malone, blogger of, and Ann Evans, executive director of the Kentucky Governor’s Mansion, will participate as the evening’s judges. The three will select the winner of each category, while the public will also vote for the People’s Choice Award for favorite dish.

“You’d be surprised on some of the hors d’oeuvres,” Gessner said. “We’ve had everything from lamb rolled in Samoa cookies to chicken saté that had Do-si-dos peanut butter filling and a Samoa coffee drink.”

Desserts First will offer a cash bar and silent auction that will include tickets to sporting events, getaway packages and memorabilia.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts, Desserts First will also give away a pearl necklace from Haas Jewelers valued at $1,000 to one lucky winner in honor of Girl Scout founder Low having sold her valuable necklace of rare matched pearls in order to finance operations of Girl Scouts in the early days.

“The main thing is to raise awareness and to connect with our community,” said Lora Tucker, CEO of Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana and retired U.S. Army colonel. “It’s an incredible event and fun event, and (Girl Scout) Cookies really allow girls to do great things. (Girl Scouts) was without a doubt one of the cornerstones of my life. I had the opportunity to come back to my home state and lead this council after leading incredible young Americans, and now I’m trying to make a difference in our girls here in Kentucky.”

Tickets for Desserts First are $50 per person; $1,000 for corporate tables of 10. Proceeds will benefit Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana, which serves more than 23,000 girls and 6,700 adult members in 64 counties.

For reservations and information, visit or call 502.636.0900.

Recipe of Past Desserts First Gold Whisk Award Winner

Salted Caramel Coconut Tart
By Stacey Borah, Sweet Surrender Dessert Cafe

Ingredients for all components

  • 2 boxes of Samoas
  • 1 3/4 cups coconut
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 qt cream
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 14 oz bittersweet chocolate (small pieces)
  • 1/8 tsp coarse salt

Preheat oven to 350

Spray 2 to 10” cake pans with non-stick spray and line them with plastic wrap, making sure that the plastic is as smooth as possible and there are no large air bubbles.

Make the cookie base:
Place 2 entire boxes of Samoa Girl Scout cookies (minus a few for garnish) in the food processor. Process until fine and sandy with the appearance of graham cracker crumbs. Press crumbs into first prepared pan and bake until set, about 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Make the sponge:
(adapted from “Simply Sensational Desserts” by Francois Payard):

  • 2 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups dried shredded coconut

Put the eggs and sugar in a bowl (or in a stand mixer) and whisk on high until it has tripled in volume. Then, using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the coconut. Spread in an even layer in the second prepared cake pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until it is light golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Make the caramel:

  • 2 1/3 cups  heavy cream
  • ½  cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla

Place cream and sugar in the largest heavy bottomed sauce pan that you own. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until thick and caramel colored, stirring very frequently. This mixture just loves to boil over, hence using the largest pan you own. Once it is thick and a medium caramel color, remove from stove and cool.

Make the ganache:

  • 14 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 2/3 cup cream

Place chocolate in a large bowl. Heat cream to a boil, then immediately pour boiling cream over the chocolate. Whisk until smooth and cohesive. Chill until thick but still pliable.

Leave your baked cookie base in its original plastic lined pan, and spread some cooled caramel over it in a thick, even layer. Sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon of coarse salt over the caramel, making sure to spread it as evenly as possible. Take the coconut sponge layer out of its plastic (carefully) and press it on the caramel layer. Then spread an even layer of ganache over that. Finally, take any extra caramel and ganache and drizzle them over the top.

Place the tart  in the freezer for roughly an hour, until it chills and is set. Then gently tug on the plastic wrap to release it from the pan. Discard plastic wrap and place tart on serving dish. Makes 16 generous servings.

When The Going Gets Tough, Trinity’s Man Is Dieudonne

Nathan Dieudonne.

Nathan Dieudonne.

The Trinity High School basketball team found itself in an unusual predicament at halftime of the Republic Bank/Coca-Cola Louisville Invitational Tournament championship game on Jan 14.

The Shamrocks — No. 1 in The Lexington Herald-Leader’s Cantrall Ratings — were struggling to break down Moore’s 2-3 zone and trailed the Mustangs by a point at Bellarmine’s Knights Hall.

On a team bristling with potential game-changers, it was senior forward Nathan Dieudonne who emerged from the locker room hell-bent on being a second-half savior.

The Boston University signee ramped up his defensive pressure, pulled down one rebound after another and used his size (6-6, 205 pounds) to capitalize in the paint on offense.

Dieudonne tossed in 13 of his 15 points in the final two stanzas and the Rocks coasted to their third LIT title with a 74-57 victory.

Worked Harder

“I just started working a little harder and Coach (Mike) Szabo told me to play a little bit better defense and the points would start coming,” Dieudonne said after finishing 6-for-6 from the field with nine rebounds.

It was just the latest in a long line of standout performances for Dieudonne, who started all but one game as a junior last season and averaged 11.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.

The Rocks finished 21-8 after falling to Ballard in the opening round of district play.

A year later Dieudonne has become a consistent interior option for an up-tempo Trinity team that won the Republic Bank Holiday Classic last month and entered this week undefeated against in-state competition and on a 10-game win streak.

Trinity’s two losses came to St. Raymond’s (N.Y.) and Salesian (Calif.) at the prestigious City of Palms Classic holiday tournament in Fort Myers, Fla.

Versatile Star

“He’s our only big guy so we do need to get him down in the block,” said Szabo. “He’s matured and I think he understands his role and the impact he makes on our team.”

Through 17 games Dieudonne is averaging 12.2 points and 5.8 rebounds while shooting 61 percent from the field and 73.8 percent from the foul line. His offensive versatility makes him a difficult player for most defenses to handle, according to Szabo.

“What sets him apart is the fact that he can do so many things,” Szabo said. “He can finish around the basket, score with his back to the basket or face up and knock down the jump shot. He can also put the ball to the floor and go by you.”

It was this diverse skill set that caught the eye of first-year Boston coach Joe Jones.

“I saw him on the (AAU) circuit this summer and thought he had a nice level of confidence and skill,” said Jones, whose Terriers are defending America East Conference champions. “He comes from a great family and he’s a hardworking kid. I definitely think he has the ability to be a guy that could step in and help us right away.”

The family Jones referenced consists of parents Marie and Carl, brother Danny, 20, and sisters Kianna, 16, and Nadia, 13.

Dad Bowl MVP

There is no shortage of athletic ability among the Dieudonnes.

Carl was a linebacker at the Air Force Academy from 1981-1984 and earned MVP honors in a 1982 Hall of Fame Bowl win over Vanderbilt.

Danny, a 2009 St. Xavier graduate, was a wide receiver on the Tigers’ football team and placed third at the State Meet in the high jump (6-4) his senior year.

Kianna, a six-foot sophomore middle blocker at Sacred Heart Academy, and Nadia, a seventh-grade student at St. Aloysius, are both rising volleyball stars.

Dieudonne said he will try to spend as much time as possible with his family before he heads north in the fall. A 3.6 student, he wants to major in human sciences to prepare for a career in physical therapy.

Two big matchups are on the horizon for Dieudonne and the Rocks.

Joe B. Classic

On Jan. 20 at 7:30 p.m., they take on archrival St. X at Freedom Hall before traveling to Montgomery County on Saturday for the Joe B. Hall Prep Classic, where they will face an undefeated Madison Central team at 7:15 p.m.

“It’s always a great game and the intensity will be sky-high,” said Szabo about the matchup with St. X.

Trinity has won five straight against St. X and seven of the last eight. The Tigers entered the week with a record of 11-6 and are led by junior guard Alex Jones (9.9 points per game) and senior forward Nathan Smith (9.6 ppg., 5.3 rpg.).

Contact columnist Chris Cahill at