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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Moms Are Queens For A Day.(BRANDON)(COVER STORY). USA, LLC

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BRANDON - Shari Bowers, her blond hair wrapped in sections around a halo of jumbo rollers, settled under a dryer Monday at All About Beauty on Mason Street.

"This is the best Mother's Day present I've ever gotten," said Bowers, one of seven women selected by the salon staff to receive a day of free beauty services including haircuts and styles, facials, waxing, manicures, pedicures and makeup applications. The women also were treated to lunch by Arby's restaurant on State Road 60 and received gifts from local businesses.

Salon owner Octavia Stoppa in April invited people to write or e-mail her describing why a mother they know deserves a day of pampering.

Stoppa said the letters she received were brimming with heartfelt sentiment and inspiring anecdotes. The seven most inspiring letters earned those moms free makeovers in honor of Mother's Day.

"I was glad they were able to write and talk about their stories because that's how you help heal yourself," Stoppa said.

She said she thought free makeovers would be a nice gesture and inspire more good deeds.

"I'd like to 'pay it forward' so they will end up doing something nice for someone else in the future," she said.

After about four hours of indulgence and relaxation, the winners were sent home with prepared dinners for their families by Honey Baked Ham.

The following are excerpts from the winning letters about Bowers, Mikki Bragg, Lillian Buchanan, Silvia Dixon, Marci Hammons, Traci Hatton and Janet Moucha. All got their makeovers Monday, except Hammons and Dixon, who will schedule theirs later.

'Running On Empty'


Nominated by her daughter, Madison Steeves, 18

I saw your [story] in the paper and I thought it was just the coolest and most sweetest thing that somebody could do. I'm sure that there are going to be a lot of entries for your offer, but I believe that my mom deserves it the most.

After my parents finalized their divorce [about a year ago], it seemed like anything that could go wrong did. First to go was our sewer that my mom had to have replaced. Then our air conditioner had to be replaced as well, and on top of that some people came to my house and told us that there was a sinkhole under it. So it's been about seven months now, and there are still people coming here trying to fix the hole under my house.

My mom also works five days a week, and it seems like by the time she gets home she's running on empty. I think my mom really deserves some time to herself to relax and just enjoy being pampered for a day.

Holds On To A Dream


Nominated by her mother-in-law, Angie Hammons

My son Rob and his wife, Marci, went to China in 2002 to bring home our first grandchild. Our little Mya is a beautiful little girl who will be 7 in May.

In 2004, Marci had the dream of adding a second daughter to the family. In order to help make the dream come true, my daughter-in-law spent hours compiling recipes to create 'The Red Thread Cookbook.' It wasn't just a cookbook, but also the story of the first trip to China. Marci would go to craft shows and spend hours in the hot sun to sell the books. The cookbooks didn't pay for the adoption but were a big help.

Marci did not give up her dream, and thanks to her we have a second beautiful little granddaughter. Emma will be 4 in November.

Car Accident Takes A Toll


Nominated by her daughter, Ireland Negrey-Bowers, 11

I want my mom to win this because of everything she has done for me and everything she has gone through. There are many different things to name, but the first one is a few years back we got into a car accident and she messed up her back really bad and has not gotten it fixed yet.

Another reason my mom should win is because her friend, Mary, fell down an elevator shaft and shattered her ankle, and my mom is helping her.

My poor mother's last haircut was for her birthday, which is December 8. I really think that my mom really deserves this. Please pick my mommy. I would be really delighted.

Mother Of 6 Takes No Time For Herself


Nominated by her mother, Dolores Riley

Time spent on herself or even for herself is simply unheard of. [She is a] mother of six, two of whom still live at home.

Our youngest granddaughter was born with water on the brain, requiring constant attention for herself and all the monitors she is on. Lillian has to delicately balance caring for Kaitlynn, keeping chores done, holding a part-time job and helping 11-year-old Destany with school projects and homework.

Kaitlynn is legally blind in the one eye she has left, so she has no idea what she looks like. Lillian tells her every day just how pretty she looks and how beautiful she is.

Driving Kaitlynn sometimes to multiple doctor appointments in one day takes up any time Lillian might be able to spend on herself. To have Lillian qualify would be such a wonderful surprise for her.

She Deserves A Chance To Heal

MIKKI BRAGG, Thonotosassa

Nominated by her co-worker, Ingrid Baronville

I'd like to recommend Mikki Bragg. Mikki has one of the biggest smiles and a heart of gold. There are times when I don't know how she continues to keep her sense of humor and still work as hard as she does at the real estate office where she works.

In December 2006, Mikki tragically lost her only son, Camden. He was struck by a passing vehicle right outside his high school. It was a loss that was felt not just by the family, but by the entire community of Brandon High School.

I admire her willingness to speak openly about her son and all the happy times she had with him. She still celebrates his life in many ways, even sharing his favorite brand of chewing gum with me.

Please select Mikki as one of your deserving mothers. She deserves to allow herself some healing, if not only in her soul, in her spirit and mind.

Single Parent Sacrifices


Nominated by her friend, Ingrid Baronville

I have known Silvia for over six years and have always been impressed by her drive, determination and passion for life. She would often refer to herself as "Princess Silvia."

In the last three years I haven't seen too much of that vibrant soul. Silvia lost her mother, who was like her best friend and her biggest fan. She has never treated herself, as far as I know, to a pedicure or a manicure because they were luxuries she couldn't afford. As a single parent, she often made all the sacrifices for her two children, one who has since started a family of his own.

The loss of her mother has left a huge void in her life because she lost a major part of her emotional support line. Please restore the princess, if only for one day, and hopefully make a difference in her life that will go much further.

'Never Left My Side'


Nominated by her daughter, Sue Moucha

Mom took care of me when I was young, making sure I received the proper physical therapy I needed. See, I was born as a hemiplegic cerebral palsy person affecting my entire right side. I wore a brace on my right leg from 18 months old until I was in the fifth grade.

The roles were reversed when mom broke her femur. I was the one who took care of her and made sure she received the proper physical therapy.

This year, our lives took a 360-degree turn. Never in our wildest dreams did we ever think I would do something to my good leg. I severed my Achilles tendon in a freak accident. I spent six weeks in a wheelchair, three weeks with a walker and one week with a cane.

Mom was right here every step and moment, from the scream when the accident happened to the day I was able to get back in the pool to swim. She bathed me, fixed my meals and did anything else that had to be done until we were able to get help.

I was able to get through this only because of my mom. She never left my side those 10 weeks.

To read the letters in their entirety, go to, keyword: Brandon Moms. Compiled by Laura Frazier, who can be reached at (813) 657-4523 or lfrazier@

Photo credit: Tribune photo by LAURA FRAZIER

Photo: Salon owner Octavia Stoppa gives Lillian Buchanan a haircut while Stoppa's sister Karen Cox chats with Shari Bowers, another winner in the All About Beauty's contest.

Photo: Buchanan, shown before her makeover, cares for a child with special needs.

Photo: Buchanan, who rarely spends time on herself, looks relaxed after a day of pampering.


Photo credit: Tribune photo by LAURA FRAZIER

Photo: Nail technician Traci Lovato gives Mikki Bragg a manicure as Bragg's co-worker Ingrid Baronville watches. Baronville says after losing her son, Bragg "deserves to allow herself some healing."

Photo credit: Tribune photo by LAURA FRAZIER

Photo: Shari Bowers relaxes under a dryer with her hair in jumbo rollers. Below, she enjoys a makeup application. Her daughter wrote "my poor mother's last haircut was for her birthday," Dec. 8.

Photo credit: Tribune photo by LAURA FRAZIER

Photo: Stylist Laura Collins uses a flat iron to give Traci Halton a sleek new hairstyle.

Photo: Traci Hatton

Copyright [c] 2008, The Tampa Tribune and may not be republished without permission. E-mail

Source Citation
"Moms Are Queens For A Day." Tampa Tribune [Tampa, FL] 10 May 2008: 12. Popular Magazines. Web. 27 Dec. 2009. .

Gale Document Number:CJ179266234

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