Meet the Villagers: Erika Berry of Pure Barre

PB EBerry

Meet Erika Berry, Pure Barre’s newest instructor. We had the chance to sit down with her to talk exercise, particularly in the LTB sense!

Where are you from?
Brandon, Mississippi

Have you always exercised? What did you do, if so?
Growing up, my mother always told me that proper little southern girls didn’t play sports. Needless to say, exercise did not come naturally to me. Outside of a few 5K’s, one 10K, and two half-marathons, exercising felt more like a chore than an enjoyable activity.

In three sentences, what is Pure Barre?
I can describe Pure Barre in three words: Lift. Tone. Burn. In just 55 minutes you will feel every major muscle group burn and/or shake at some point. Even doing the smallest, lowest-impact movements, your heart rate increases as if you were doing a high-impact cardio routine. In a nutshell, Pure Barre is the fastest, most effective way to change your body!

How did you get involved with PB? Walk me through it step-by-step.
I took one barre class (not Pure Barre) when I lived in Nashville and was so intimidated by the “expertise” of other clients that I never returned. When I moved to Jackson, I didn’t realize we had a barre studio until my sister bought me 20 classes at Pure Barre-Jackson for Christmas. After those first 20 classes, I knew I wanted more!

How long have you been involved?
I started taking in March 2013 and I try to take four to five classes every week. Anything less, and I get in a bad mood. Pure Barre is addictive!

How many participants are in an average class?
An average class has about 15 clients.

What are the differences for you in teaching versus participating?
As a teacher I notice the “cues” a lot more – those suggested modifications that remind you what muscle you should be working. I am also much more aware of the Pure Barre national brand and how respected it is. I think I took that for granted as a participant.

Do you encourage non PBers to come try out classes? If so, why?
Yes! It can’t hurt to try! Just stick with it. Give it at least 10 classes before making a decision. After just a few classes, those “awkward” movements will begin to make sense, and you’ll feel much more confident in your work.

What is the most rewarding aspect of teaching PB? What is the most rewarding aspect of being a client, since you’ve been on both sides?
One of the most rewarding aspects of teaching is seeing the clients improve, class by class. As a teacher, I’m able to cue challenges, and it’s always rewarding to challenge someone! As a client, the most rewarding aspect is the personal sense of accomplishment. Class after class, you start to feel stronger, and you are able to stay in the positions longer, giving the final 10 counts your best 10 counts. You will also see more lean, toned muscles, and that’s always rewarding!

Any tips for newcomers who are not sure what to expect?
Just listen to the cues that the instructor gives. Listen to how the instructor sets up the positions and from where all the movement should be happening. Just be patient. Don’t do what I did at my first barre experience in Nashville: go for one class, give up and never return. If you have questions about a section of class, ask the instructor! We love questions! Have fun with it. Let the music drive your work (we have AWESOME music).

If someone would like information on attending class, how should they do this?
Call us (769-251-0486) or visit us at the studio or online (

Hot Pick: Tom’s Sandals

Screen shot 2014-06-10 at 11.02.27 AMThe Tom’s brand is widely known and celebrated and millions are devoted to the comfortable canvas slip on shoes. Now, while you can still get those comfy shoes we all know and love, Tom’s has evolved to include other styles, like these more summer friendly sandals, all while still carrying out their “One for One” mission of providing shoes to kids in need.

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This unique style of shoe, the Playa Sandals, are simple, chic and versatile enough to throw on with jeans or a maxi dress or dress down a pair of trousers. Grab your own pair now at Buffalo Peak Outfitters, Suite 115.

Father’s Day Gift Guide

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A day of celebrating Dad is just around the corner. But don’t sweat it, we’re here to help! Our list of gifts are sure to please and are conveniently located, you guessed it, right here at Highland Village!

1. Vagabond Decanters – Dad can pour a drink in style with these rustic yet sophisticated decanters from Annelle Primos & Associates (Suite 126)

2. Montana Artisan Collection Wine Opener – These handcrafted wine openers are perfect for the connoisseur, as they’re so much more than simply a corkscrew! Find it at Mozingo Clothiers (Suite 140)

3. Yeti Rambler – Keep beverages piping hot or frosty cool in this stainless steel tumbler from Buffalo Peak Outfitters (Suite 115)

4. M-Clip Money Clip – Hand polished and something dad would be proud to carry. Grab yours at Mozingo Clothiers (Suite 140)

5. Southern Marsh Oxford Shirts – Lightweight and a traditional tailored fit, get one for Dad at Buffalo Peak Outfitters (Suite 115)

6. Jingle Coins – Visit the Highland Village office for the perfect gift that fits every Dad (and everybody else, too)

7. Bittermilk – Premium cocktail mixers. Just add spirits! Whole Foods Market’s Merchant of Vino.

Vegans Rejoice!


Are you a vegan or vegetarian? Yes? Then lean in closely… BRAVO! Italian Restaurant & Bar (located on the upper level of Highland Village) has a Vegan Thursday Night menu that will blow your eco-friendly socks off!

Each Thursday, chef Matt Mabry, a vegetarian himself, creates a three-course prix-fixe menu that people have been absolutely raving about. If you’re of the mindset that vegan has to be boring, then think again! Chef Matt inspires creativity among vegans and meat lovers alike with menus like the one he started off the very first Vegan Thursday Night.

Try this on for size: Course number one was an appetizer of sesame glazed sugar snap peas with peanut sauce! The crisp peas… The nutty sauce… The tang of the ginger… Nothing short of a festival of flavors to open up the palette!  Follow that with an entree of eggplant-stuffed portabella with grilled asparagus and a potato and caramelized onion hash. To marry all of these items, Chef Matt tops the plate with a savory port wine sauce. And if all of that isn’t enough to make your mouth water, there’s still dessert! Coconut and strawberry pudding in a pastry cup, topped with a balsamic syrup. Sounds like something any food lover, vegan or not, would fully enjoy!

Since orders are limited, be sure to get a seat early on Thursday nights to ensure you get to enjoy Chef Matt’s vegan creation for the week (which you can check ahead of time on under Chef Specials, or on the BRAVO! Facebook page –!) And don’t forget about BRAVO!’s early bird special— 15% off the tickets of those who dine between 5 and 6 p.m.! See you at the next Vegan Night!

Faith in Design: Rebecca Lankford Designs

Screen shot 2014-05-12 at 10.41.05 AMWhen something you love turns into your career, you’ve discovered a holy grail of sorts. 15 years ago, Houston, Texas based Rebecca Lankford took up jewelry design as a hobby. Soon, when she enrolled in the Glassell School of Art to study photography, she found herself gravitating toward her newfound love of jewelry design.

“I grew up with a mom that was extremely creative,” says Rebecca, crediting her mother with her love of creating. In 1993, Rebecca officially launched her jewelry line and has continued to grow, now being sold in galleries and boutiques throughout the world, including Europe, Japan, Mexico, and Jackson’s own Maison Weiss. Now, the full-fledged designer handcrafts all of her work in her Houston studio.Screen shot 2014-05-12 at 10.40.55 AM

Rebecca Lankford Designs is simple, well-made jewelry featuring crosses, leather, soft golds and antlers, but the design is constantly evolving. Rebecca says she is inspired by her faith and the nature that surrounds her. “I love what I do. I am inspired constantly. I’m moved to design.”

What’s Happening at the Village: Turkoyz is Moving on Up!

photo-174For some time now, Fran and Alan Weeks have called Highland Village home. Eight years ago, they made their mark on Jackson with the opening of their jewelry and accessories store, Turkoyz. Quickly, the people of Jackson flocked for their unique selection.

After success with Turkoyz, the Weeks opened Turkoyz at Home four years later.  The home décor store just across the way from their original store and has helped make Turkoyz a household name in Jackson. Since that time, the Weeks have opened nine more stores throughout Mississippi and Alabama. This year, Turkoyz will grow even more with a move and expansion within Highland Village. The jewelry store will be relocating to Suite 136 and the home store to Suite 130 in Center Court.

“We sell a lot of jewelry and have always known that with more square footage, we could sell that much more,” explains Alan. “This move allows our stores to be side by side and share a back room which will make our day to day operations much easier.”

Alan says Highland Village was and continues to be the perfect place for both stores. “We looked at other places but we knew that this is where we should be,” he says. “Going anywhere else would be just like starting over. Our customers love Highland Village because they can park, run in and grab a quick gift or they can linger after a lunch at Highland Village. Being here just makes sense for us.”

According to Alan, the “secret of success” so to speak is that they carry 50% Mississippi made products and eight lines of pottery in their home store. “That really is what sets us apart from many other jewelry and home stores,” he says. Turkoyz and Turkoyz at Home will make their new home in Highland Village this June.

The Hillbenders are Coming!

ASdOvSR1yann82sBbXxXuJrU5x7gOBQrKNJWGhSRgo0,_ULKazYfaGgMwuovZ5FBRlR8c-UEJL0fMn8ee_PTDqwThe Highland Village summer concert series just around the corner, and we couldn’t be more excited! The band that’ll be entertaining us on May 22nd is a southern-based band named The HillBenders. If you’re a fan of bluegrass or rock and roll, then these guys will be worth coming to hear!

Nolan Lawrence, the group’s mandolin player, took some time to answer a few questions for us. We loved learning more about this talented group of guys!

Where did you guys meet and how was the band was formed?

It began in the town of Levelland, Tx where Mark Cassidy (banjo) and I (Nolan Lawrence – Mandolin) met while attending the renowned commercial music program at South Plains College. We became fast friends and eventually roommates for some time before Mark left to accept a touring opportunity with a MO-based band formerly known as The Arkamo Rangers. Shortly thereafter, I left the program and relocated back to my musical stomping grounds in Austin, TX. About two years after Mark’s departure, I got a call from him saying that the ‘Rangers had disbanded. He, and two of the other former members wanted to start fresh with a new sound, a new name, a new vision, and they offered me an invitation to be a part of the new venture. I drove to Missouri the next weekend where Mark introduced me to Jim and Gary Rea (guitar and bass respectively). We spent a couple days playing together and getting to know each other, and instantly felt a strong musical connection. We made the decision then and there to begin a new chapter of our lives with the yet-to-be-named band, The HillBenders

How long have you been together?

That meeting described above was just over 6 years ago, around the end of March 2008.

What is your favorite show you’ve played and why? We know Jackson is going to top the list come May, but up to this point, what’s been your favorite?

That’s a difficult question! There are so many memorable shows, many of them are special and memorable for very different reasons. If had to pick a favorite, I would say it was our first Telluride appearance back in 2009. We had just won the coveted band competition title and got to perform a few songs on the main stage to celebrate our victory before returning the following year for our official performance . We were a no-name band that nobody had ever heard of up until that day, possibly that very moment. Standing there on that legendary stage, instrument in hand, playing to the wild cheers of the festival crowd just like so many of my musical idols before me, I knew in that moment that my life would never be the same.

With your music being sort of a fusion between bluegrass and rock & roll, who would you say have been your greatest influences?

The thing about being a real band, as opposed to a frontman with a bunch of hired guns backing them up, is that you have more influences to pull from when creating the music. Sometimes though, it’s hard to tell if we are blessed or cursed by the huge amount of widely varying influences that everybody brings to the table. Having so many influences pulling in all kinds of different directions can make it difficult to establish an identity or sound that you can call your own. There are, however, some sounds that truly stand out and resonate for all of us. For instance, The Del McCoury Band, The Beatles, The Seldom Scene, John Hartford, Gram Parsons, Guy Clark, The Band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Ryan Adams, Tim O’Brien, Darrell Scott, The Grateful Dead, NewGrass Revival, and the list goes on, and on, and on….

What’s been the most rewarding thing about being live performers?

Music is an escape. In a world full of stress, deadlines, and insurmountable odds, artists and performers of all kinds are the stewards of respite from the harsh realities of life. We are among the privileged few lucky enough to be entrusted with raw, unrestrained access to the emotions, hopes, and dreams that people usually keep shielded from the outside world. Seeing listeners let go and live in the moment of the music, knowing that the passion and excitement that we feel with every note is being shared by those around us is unlike any other feeling in the world, and is by far the most rewarding part of the job.

Where do you see The HillBenders five years from now?

World domination. For us, that just means being able to travel the world with our music and still being able to pay the bills at home.

What else do we need to know about you guys?

We love to check out the local flavors, and you might occasionally find us on a random street corner getting in a little practice session before a show. We share a love of good scenery, greenery, and general tom-foolery, and by no means will we play “that one song from that movie”….. unless the tip is too big to turn down.

What’s Happening at The Village: Much Ado About Nothing

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Young lovers Hero and Claudio are to be married in a week. To pass the time, they conspire with Don Pedro to set a “lover’s trap” for Benedick, an arrogant, confirmed bachelor, and Beatrice, his favorite sparring partner. Meanwhile, the evil Don Jon conspires to break up the wedding by accusing Hero of infidelity. In the end, though, it all turns out to be “much ado about nothing.”

Join New Stage Theatre’s instructors and member of New Stage’s Professional Acting Intern Company in the Highland Village Plaza on May 3, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. for New Stage Theatre’s Young Acting Troupe’s production of Shakespeare’s delightful comedy, set in the Roaring Twenties.

New Stage is Mississippi’s only not-for-profit professional theatre. Chartered in 1965, New Stage has provided Mississippians with a refreshing take on classics for generations.

Meet the Villagers: Sylvia Blackwell of The Pilates Place of Mississippi

sylviaToday’s Meet the Villagers is with the lovely Sylvia Blackwell, owner of The Pilates Place of Mississippi, which has been in Highland Village since 2001. We were honored that she took a little time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions we had about her business! We learned a lot and think you will too!!

In a nutshell, what does The Pilates Place of MS offer clients?   
Our goal is to promote the strongest muscular-skeletal foundation available for each individual client. We strive for optimal function for the long haul through life. The Pilates Place of Mississippi offers a contemporary approach to the original exercise method pioneered by the late Joseph Pilates.  We utilize modern principles of exercise science and spinal rehabilitation to offer a clear and detailed approach.

What sets The Pilates Place of MS apart from competing businesses?
The Pilates Place of Mississippi is committed to the highest quality of Pilates training. All Instructors have Pilates certifications that require stringent educational standards, including a professional knowledge of anatomy and exercise physiology in order to offer the very best training. Our belief is that Pilates done right is the perfect exercise to compliment any fitness regimen or hobby.  Individual Training is tailored to your specific needs and all group classes are small (mostly less than five) allowing for individual attention.

Much of Pilates exercise requires you to look within, focus on your breathing, and feel the subtle differences within your body. Many people come to a very meditative state while doing Pilates, and therefore will grow mentally and spiritually over time through this type of exercise. By strengthening the postural muscles people have learned to maintain good posture thereby appearing taller.

Other benefits may include but not limited to…
Increased strength without unwanted bulk
Increased core strength, stability and peripheral mobility
Improved fitness levels which may help prevent injury
Greater ease of movement through a full range
Heightened body awareness and mindfulness of movement
Decreased impact on the joints
Added variety as a compliment to other forms of exercise
Improved performance of specific sport skills (golf, skiing, hockey, etc.)
Enhanced balance, coordination and circulation
Where can we find out more about taking classes?
On our website,

Why did you choose Highland Village for the location of your business?  
Highland Village is the perfect location for the Metro Jackson area for our Pilates studio. Located at Exit 100 of I-55, the address is so easy to describe and travel to from all directions. The shopping and restaurants available at Highland Village are second to none.  Highland Village also serves as host to many charity events which lends itself to such a positive environment.

What has been the most rewarding part of your business?
We strive to provide a stress-free environment, where individuals seek to feel better physically and have a better outlook for longevity of living.  Helping someone gain confidence and fitness strength is the greatest reward.

We’re certainly inspired! Big thanks to Sylvia! We look forward to making more frequent visits to that beautiful studio, and we bet you’re right there with us!

What’s Happening at The Village: Easter Fun!

DFM Logo JpegIf your family is looking for something fun to do this weekend in anticipation of Easter, Highland Village and The Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi are co-sponsoring the annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 12.

The Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi (DFM) hosts a variety of fun, educational events and programs throughout the year. From their annual Diabetes walks to the Mardi Gras-themed Bacchus Ball to certification events for teachers, the DFM is focused on educating people about diabetes, while raising the necessary funds to support its life-saving programs and services.

Originally started on a grassroots level by local physicians in the ‘60s, the DFM joined the national group, the American Diabetes Association, in the ‘70s. Several years later, the board of directors for the DFM decided to break away from the ADA and return the DFM to its local level of control. As a result, every donation raised stays in Mississippi to benefit those in need.

The Easter Egg Hunt is one of the DFM’s many events targeted specifically to children. It is held rain or shine! Eggs for children under the age of three will contain chocolate candy, tattoos and stickers.  For children ages four to six, eggs may also contain small toys. Carb Counting information will be available for the contents of the egg.

“Proceeds from the Easter Egg Hunt support our children’s programs including Camp Kandu, where we teach children and teens with diabetes that they can have a life without limits,” said Mary Fortune, DFM Executive Vice President.

A $5 donation includes the egg hunt and digital photos with the Easter Bunny. Registration and photos with the Easter Bunny begin at 10 a.m., with the hunt to follow.

The Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi Annual Easter Egg Hunt

Who: The Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi

What: 2014 Easter Egg Hunt

When: Saturday, April 12, 10 a.m.

Where: Highland Village Center Court. If it rains, the hunt will be held under cover near Ulmer’s Stride Rite.

Contact: For more information, please call the DFM at 1-877-DFM-CURE