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northside women { 6 }

THE INTERVIEW Roswell clay artist Ann Ginkel

{ 8 }

GETTING TO KNOW… Carla Toro, Avalon marketing manager

{ 12 } UNSUNG ‘SHE’RO Jacquie Tracy of NFCC { 24 } A DANCER’S DREAM Alpharetta girls in “Nutcracker”

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Northside Woman is published monthly & distributed free throughout north metro Atlanta. © 2014 Appen Media Group. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be copied or reprinted without the express written permission of the publisher.

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northside lifestyle { 10 } GOOD EATS Les Dames d’Escoffier { 16 } GOOD BOOKS Literary stocking stuffers { 22 } WINTER GETAWAY Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation

the cover

Avalon is the buzzword in Alpharetta this month as the eagerly awaited development entices residents with new stores, restaurants and holiday-themed activities. Carla Toro, marketing manager for Alpharetta’s new Avalon development, posed for our December cover and shared a few thoughts on what makes her holidays extra special, on page 8.

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AHaven for Her R Creative Soul

Artist Ann Ginkel is part of Roswell’s Clay Collective.


Artist Ann Ginkel finds a sanctuary for potters in the Roswell Visual Arts Center West

6 | | december2014

oswell resident Ann Ginkel had no experience in throwing or carving clay several years ago when, at a friend’s suggestion, she first came to the Roswell Visual Arts Center West. After selling her business, an enchanting children’s bookstore called Hobbit Hall, she felt the need to try something new. From her first visit, the Roswell Clay Collective became her art school and her sanctuary. “I had an interest in art and expression, a compulsion, I guess,” Ginkel said. “I appreciate design. Here, I learned to appreciate aesthetic as a way to communicate a feeling that comes from inside and how that may connect others through the experience of a piece of art. “That’s what this place is all about, what it’s built on,” she said. “The rooms are filled with an eclectic group, all coming here with different interests, from different walks of life. But everyone is welcome and welcoming. Each artist has their own story and their own space to create. It’s inspiring. It’s such a kind and open environment.” The term artist is a complicated one for Ginkel. When asked how she refers to herself, she laughs. “I guess I’d call myself lucky,” she said. “Technically, I suppose I’m a potter. I work in porcelain. I throw clay on a wheel and then I hand-carve.” She begins by altering the clay by hand-carving while it’s soft, then fires the pieces to the bisque stage. After the clay cools, glaze is applied and they are then fired a second time at a higher temperature. She makes aesthetic choices at each of these stages, with some of her pieces going into a salt or gas kiln depending on the effect she desires. The effect is nothing short of magical and elegant. There is the essence of her femininity in her work and a sense of the mysterious. Perhaps the story in her clay speaks to Ginkel’s appreciation for the role of art in every woman’s life and her belief that it should be guarded. “Women today work very hard to be successful in their careers and as mothers,” she said. “It can be hard to carve out time for themselves, just to absorb what’s around them, their friendships, their children and spouses, nature. “They need to take that time,” she said. “They need to appreciate the wonder of being alive. The Roswell studio became that kind of haven for me, and it provides that for many other artists. I encourage women to seek that out.” Ginkel is currently preparing for an art show this month at the studio featuring handmade ceramic artworks for sale, created by members of Roswell’s Clay Collective. Her eyes shine as she talks about each piece, describing them as mostly decorative, but also functional. She defines her work as a visual fugue.

Works in Clay Holiday Show and Sale

Dec. 4-Dec. 7. Shop for handmade pottery created by more than 40 members of Roswell's Clay Collective. Ceramic works in functional, sculptural, and whimsical forms will be available and make great gifts. Hours: Thurs. 7-9pm, Fri. 10-6, Sat. 10-5, Sun. noon-5. Art Center West is located at 1355 Woodstock Rd., Roswell. More info at: www.

“I’m inspired by line and form. I’m interested in where the eye goes, patterns that intertwine. I love movement, nothing static,” she said. Certainly no stranger to movement, Ginkel has done her share. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in social science from St. Joseph’s College and a master’s degree in technical writing from the Southern College of Technology, the New York native ventured abroad to England where she received her master’s in education from Warrick University before returning to the States to settle outside of Atlanta. Driven by her early love of expression, she taught literature in a multi-age classroom of upper elementary grade students, writing plays with her students as a way of inspiring young minds to explore and invent. It’s no surprise then, that Ginkel went on to write and publish her own children’s book, “I’ve Got an Elephant,” a story inspired by one of her daughter’s stuffed animals. “I really think motherhood is the most important work I’ll have done,” she said. Now a grandmother, Ginkel is happily married to her engineer husband for more than 40 years. Her two children are grown, married and successful in occupations that promote justice and social consciousness. She attributes their world view and civic mindedness to what she calls, “the freedom to think.” “Art is present everywhere,” she said. “It’s connected to the imagination and demands freedom to think, to create and to experiment. Art is what teaches us how to escape rigidity, to draw our own conclusions, to imagine original outcomes, to inference meaning. Art gives us the perspective of possibility.” To learn more about the Roswell Visual Arts Center West, visit their website at http://www. or find them on Facebook at Clay West Artists. ■



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getting to know her


getting to know... Carla Toro, Avalon’s Marketing Manager By KATIE VANBRACKLE

What special holiday events can guests look forward to at Avalon this December? We kicked off the Perfect Holiday Season at Avalon in November with a family-friendly day of activities and the lighting of our property. In December, guests can enjoy photos with Santa, ice skating on our Rockefeller Centersized ice skating rink, rides on Avalon’s Holiday Express and much more! Describe a great date night at Avalon. A delicious, candlelit dinner at Oak Steakhouse, a stroll down Avalon Boulevard, window shopping all the way to Cru Wine Bar’s rooftop patio (with heaters, of course!). Best holiday gift you’ve ever received? Gosh, what a tough question to answer! I would have to say my first pair of skis. I officially felt like a big girl when I was able to cruise down the mountain on my own pair of skis. Favorite family holiday memory or tradition? As kids, our parents would set up a Santa scavenger hunt every Christmas. They would hang sticky notes around the house (in Santa’s handwriting, of course) which led my sister and I on a wild goose chase to find little

goodies with each clue and, at the end, hidden in a super sneaky place, would be our big Christmas gift. What’s on your gift wish list this year? Something to read time with…Hint, hint: a new watch! Favorite holiday song? My all-time favorite song would have to be “All I Want for Christmas” by Mariah Carey. It reminds me of holidays with my sister and best friend growing up, driving in the car and singing at the top of our lungs (which often extends year round!). Favorite hostess gift to give at holiday parties? A Nest Holiday Classic candle. There’s nothing like filling your house with holiday scents all throughout the season.



s Marketing Manager for Alpharetta’s new Avalon development, Carla Toro, 26, plans events, partners with businesses and creates a consistent Avalon brand. She has been with North American Properties for two years, first working as Marketing Coordinator for Atlantic Station. An Auburn University grad (War Eagle!) who grew up in Marietta, Carla is excited about engaging with the local community to ensure Avalon’s success. She took time from her busy schedule to answer a few fun questions about what puts her in the holiday spirit.

One aspect of the holidays you could do without? The shopping traffic. The hustle and bustle of the holidays doesn’t need to be all abot the gifts. We need to keep in mind that it should be about spending time with loved ones.

If you were to plan the perfect winter getaway, where would you go? I would love to plan a trip out west to go skiing with a group of close friends and family to relax and have fun!

When you need a break from your busy schedule, how do you unwind? Head to a class at Exhale or Flywheel. It doesn’t matter if it’s yoga or barre, exercise always helps me clear my mind, relieve stress, and simply relax.

Favorite winter weather fashion item? Hands down, scarves. They keep you warm and are the perfect accessory to add a pop of color.

What’s the best book you’ve read lately? I especially enjoy “Grace for the Moment” by Max Lucado for a daily dose of inspiration.

Which holiday events do you most look forward to in Atlanta? Cirque du Soleil at Atlantic Station. We always plan a fun night with the family to go see the show and eat take out.

For you, the best part of the holidays is… The people and the spirit. Although the holidays can be hectic, I always make a point to spend quality time with family and friends, enjoying the wonderful holiday spirit. ■ december2014 | | 9

Crowds gather on the grounds of the Inn at Serenbe.

Fundraiser supports scholarships for women in the culinary arts By KATIE VANBRACKLE


n Sunday, Nov. 9, an elite crowd of connoisseurs gathered on the grounds of the Inn at Serenbe, south of Atlanta, to enjoy seasonal tastings from more than 80 restaurants, exclusive fine wines and premium microbrews and produce from Georgia’s organic harvest. Showcasing the region’s preeminent chefs, the 14th annual Afternoon in the Country was a fundraiser for the Atlanta chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI), a worldwide society of women in the culinary, beverage and hospitality industries. According their website, LDEI was founded in New York in 1976 by Carol Brock, a food reporter for the New York Daily News. At the time, there were few opportunities for women in the culinary arts and there were no prominent women chefs or sommeliers. Brock saw a need to create an organization of professional leading women in the industry who would serve as role models and mentors to others. Membership in LDEI is a much sought-after prize for women in the culinary world, said Cumming resident Sheila Bennett Perea, who joined in 2005. “For many, it’s a lifelong dream to become a part of this group. Sometimes I have to pinch myself,” she said. To join, one must be sponsored by two existing LDEI members, then go through an extensive application process. Overall, the organization has grown to more than 1,400 members in 28 chapters. The most recent chapter was chartered in London, England, in 2010. The Atlanta chapter, founded in 1996, is one of the largest, with a membership of nearly 100 women including professional chefs, restaurateurs, caterers, farmers, food retailers, event planners, cookbook authors, food journalists and historians, winemakers and wine industry professionals, food publicists, culinary educators and hospitality executives. Perea’s current connection to the culinary industry

is through the nonprofit organization Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, which connects kids in need with nutritious food and teaches their families how to cook healthy, affordable meals. The campaign also engages the public to make ending child hunger a national priority. As a member of the Atlanta Dames, Perea attends various meetings throughout the year, many of which include potluck meals. “With our members providing the fare, you can just imagine the food and wine selections we enjoy,” she said. “It might be fresh seafood, artisanal cheeses or a batch of homemade truffles.” The annual event at Serenbe is the group’s largest fundraiser, benefitting LDEI’s Atlanta scholarship fund. Last year’s Afternoon in the Country raised $115,000, providing financial support for women pursuing culinary or pastry arts, farming, beverage management, hospitality or agriculture careers. Perea, who previously served on LDEI’s scholarship committee, says the number of scholarships awarded in Georgia each year varies, and many factors determine who the recipients will be. “We look into what career the women will be going into, their need base and how involved they are in their community. Are they going to be a good citizen?” said Perea. “Applicants sometimes include moms who want to start a culinary career later in life and need education, or women who want to become organic farmers or food scientists. We also see entrepreneurs. Now with the popularity of Food Network, owning a restaurant is kind of sexy.” Whether through scholarships, educational programs or networking events, LDEI’s purpose remains the same. It’s about women supporting women, encouraging each other to follow their dreams and strive for excellence in the world of culinary arts. To learn more about the Atlanta chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International, visit www.ldeiatlanta. org/about/. ■

“ ”

Tempting tastings from more than 80 area restaurants.

For many, it’s a lifelong dream to become a part of this group. Sometimes I have to pinch myself.

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Sheila Bennett Perea, member of the Atlanta Dames.


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NFCC holiday program ‘closes the gap’ for families in need

Jacquie Tracy directs efforts to provide holiday cheer for thousands in community By CANDY WAYLOCK

► See SHE'RO, Page 14




his holiday season, more than 700 families sat down to a complete Thanksgiving dinner, though their pantries were bare, and 1,700 children will have new toys to play with Christmas morning while 1,400 people will face the winter cold in warm, new coats. These simple acts of kindness are part of the annual holiday program through North Fulton Community Charities (NFCC), as well as from the generosity of the community, which continues to recognize the level of need that exists in an outwardly affluent area. “The economy has been getting better, but there are still a huge number of people working minimum wage jobs, or living paycheck-to-paycheck and just one emergency away from a financial crisis,” explained Jacquie Holiday program coordinator, Jacquie Tracy, packs cans and boxes of food. 



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unsung‘she’ro ▼ SHE'RO, Continued from Page 12 Tracy, coordinator for the holiday program at NFCC. This is the first year Tracy will head up the program, which starts in September with the Thanksgiving program and goes through Christmas morning, involving hundreds of volunteers and thousands of hours. Tracy readily admits to being in a “learning curve” this year, but she has a solid foundation to continue its success. “I started volunteering for NFCC 10 years ago, helping stock the food pantry a few times a month, when my kids were in school,” said Tracy, recalling her initial connection to NFCC. “Life got busy when I took a job as a preschool teacher, but I continued to volunteer [on a regular basis].” Originally from Oregon, Tracy and her family, which includes husband Brad and daughters Julia and Lauren, moved to North Fulton 12 years ago, and volunteering has been part of the family fabric since the beginning. Six years ago, she was tapped to oversee the Thanksgiving program, and for four years led the efforts to secure donations from businesses and the community to ensure clients had a dinner to sit down to each year. Two years ago, she was asked to take over the entire holiday program, a promotion she loves and supports for its significance to both the clients and the community. The program has been a cornerstone of NFCC for more than three decades, in some form, and has grown as the needs of the community have grown. “This year, we will distribute 1,400 coats to families, two bags of food, turkeys or gift cards for 700 families, open the Santa Shop for 1,700 children, and [take care of] 100 sponsored families,” said Tracy. “The need for our services has gone up every year.” She noted the population boom in North Fulton has led to the need for more people to support the services the community has come to demand – cleaners, landscapers,

retail and restaurants – but many of these service workers struggle to find affordable housing and put food on the table. “There is a high level of ‘food insecurity’ in our community, especially among children, and many households are really struggling with From left volunteers, Maggie Duncan and Paula Burzotta, pack cans and boxes of food. just the basic needs,” said Tracy. “It doesn’t take much to throw companies or individuals telling me they want to help and households off track and into a downward spiral.” what can they do. It makes our jobs that much easier,” said She says the need for food is especially high during Tracy. the holidays when school is closed and kids no longer The work, the phone calls and the needs come in have access to breakfast and lunch in their schools. This is non-stop. Every day involves a level of coordination that where NFCC steps in, closes the gap and provides help for mimics yesterday and will be the same tomorrow, but the holidays. Tracey leaves each day fulfilled and hopeful. “Even for the average household, the holidays can “I love working with all the people at NFCC, the cost a lot of money. So if you have someone barely making volunteers, the people we serve and the people in the it day-to-day, can you imagine the stress?” asked Tracy. “So community…and at the end of the day, I go home and know if we can provide a warm coat, food for Thanksgiving and I have done some good. And that is a wonderful feeling,” gifts for the children, it really alleviates the stress.” she said. Each week, the organization distributes several How you can help the holiday program at NFCC tons of food, which means NFCC needs to have an equal • Donate new toys for the Santa Shop. amount of donations to keep the program going. But the • Donate time to volunteer in the many activities that community has never let NFCC down, said Tracey. need helping hands. “NFCC could not survive without the help from • Donate food to help people through the holidays. the community, and I am always just blown away by the • Contact for other ways to help. ■ generosity on a daily basis. I get calls all the time from





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Good books to stuff your stocking Literary favorites for the readers on your Christmas list



ant to know the best books to curl up with in front of the fire this holiday season? Thanks to the staff at Barnes and Noble at the Collection at Forsyth, we know just what you’ll love to find in your stocking – and what to wrap up for the special readers on your Christmas list!

The Mockingbird Next Door By Marja Mills This fascinating account of the author’s years living in the house next door to Harper Lee, one of the world’s most famously reclusive authors, is a mustread not only for the explanation of why Lee never published anything after “To Kill a Mockingbird,” but also for its portrait of a changing South.

Make it Ahead By Ina Garten When a Garten book hits the shelves, home cooks everywhere rejoice. Her recipes have a way of becoming instant classics, the kind you’ll be pulling out for dinner parties for years to come. And the contents of “Make It Ahead” aren’t just delicious; 16 | | december2014

they’re designed to be put together in advance, so you can get the hard part out of the way before hunger strikes or dinner guests arrive. The beautifully photographed book is full of accessible recipes for casseroles, cocktails, cookies and more, presented in Garten’s inimitable, down-to-earth style.

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis By Barbara Leaming Jackie Kennedy was American royalty, yet her remarkable life has been overshadowed by the tragedy that took the life of her husband and changed the fate of a nation. Barbara Leaming delves into the former first lady’s life in the wake of JFK’s assassination, and argues that her decades-long struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder pushed her down a path she never imagined walking.

Gray Mountain By John Grisham When hotshot Manhattan lawyer Samantha Kofer finds herself laid off in the early days of the 2008 recession, she doesn’t expect her yearlong exile in an Appalachian legal aid clinic to be anything but

a way to kill time while plotting her return to New York. But working in the tiny town of Brady, Virginia, brings her closer to the actual machinations of the legal system than she’s ever been before, and she soon finds herself entangled in a high-stakes Big Coal case that could prove deadly. Grisham takes readers far, far away from the big city in this propulsive tale.

Diary of a Mad Diva By Joan Rivers The world of comedy may have lost its greatest diva this year in Joan Rivers, but thank goodness she left us with this scorching swan song – a diary chronicling her highs and lows, ups and downs and Mexican vacations. This must-read is like Joan herself: brutal, scathing, politically incorrect and undeniably charming. As expected, no one escapes Joan’s mighty pen – celebrities, politicians, debutantes and herself all end up under the bus – but readers will find themselves over the moon. The last act of a class act.

► See GOOD BOOKS, Page 18

CbALLING ALL ook on the no clubs rth


We want to hear from yo Share your u! gr favorite book oup’s story and s with fellow readers through Nor thsi She Reads. P de Woman’s le editor Katie ase contact katie@norths VanBrackle at idewoman.c om.

december2014 | | 17


Some Luck

▼ GOOD BOOKS, Continued from Page 16

Family Furnishings: Selected Stories By Alice Munro Quiet does not always mean subtle, and subtle does not always mean deep. But these 24 short stories by Nobel Prize-winner Munro manage to combine all three attributes. This collection takes us behind locked doors and into marriage beds, childhoods, the Canadian wilderness and the equally inscrutable wilderness of old age. With Munro as our guide, we’re happy to examine the painful beauty in everyday life.

By Jane Smiley Pulitzer Prizewinner Jane Smiley (“A Thousand Acres”) returns to Iowa for this first installment in what will be a three-book series about the Langdon family farm during and beyond the 20th century. This enveloping narrative begins in 1920 and takes us through 1953 one chapter at a time, encompassing war, birth, death, marriage, disappointment, pain, hope and other universal experiences of everyday life. Smiley has a satirist’s eye but a Midwesterner’s heart; over the course of this slow-burning, deeply felt novel, no character escapes her intelligent notice or her compassion.

John Green Box Set

For the John Green completist, this box set combines his four solo titles, from debut “Looking for Alaska” to most recent bestseller “The Fault in Our Stars.” We recommend pairing this gift with a box of Kleenex, a pillow to hug and a journal, because reading all of Green’s books in one go might cause an excess of feels. ■

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new pages at the Drake Closet Local authors celebrate new stories to benefit the Drake House By KIMBERLY BROCK


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here’s a chill in the air in Alpharetta, but it was a warm night for those who gathered last month to support the Drake Closet and three local writers. Located off Old Roswell Street in the heart of downtown Alpharetta, the Drake Closet is a boutique that sells gently used ladies’ clothing, shoes and accessories. All profits benefit the Drake House, which provides short-term crisis housing and support to homeless mothers and their children in the North Fulton area. When Cumming author Rona Simmons contacted Kimberly Jackson, savvy boutique manager and buyer, both ladies recognized the opportunity to celebrate new stories in print and in the lives being changed at the Drake House. Thanks to volunteer stylist Lynn Rauckhorst, the literary event sparkled. Customers were welcomed with friendly greetings, lively music and beautiful hanging, snow-covered ornaments to usher in the holiday season. Local ladies mingled amongst creative displays of jewelry, candles, scarves and clothing, and all were delighted with the opportunity to get some early Christmas shopping done while

serving such a meaningful cause. Jackson reminded customers of the boutique’s mission, and asked guests to remember the need for donations. Along with customers, the authors enjoyed a glass of wine and chatted about their work while they graciously signed copies of their novels. Stories were the order of the night, especially those of women. Simmons’ first novel, “The Quiet Room,” inspects the feelings and emotions of a woman who has chosen to travel the difficult road of self-discovery. Roswell author George Weinstein’s new novel, “The Caretaker,” portrays a woman who must reinvent herself to come out better and stronger after a terrible accident. Valerie Joan Connors’ latest book, “The Shadow of a Smile,” is a story about family secrets, the choices we let our hearts make and living with the consequences. All are stories of perseverance and hope, themes that run strong in the boutique and the community that it serves. If you missed this event, there’s always something coming up. On Dec. 4 and 11, the Drake Closet will host a Girl’s Night Out where you will find plenty of fun and fashion and a generous spirit that will warm your heart. To learn more about the Drake Closet and future events, visit their website at To learn more about the authors, visit their websites: Rona Simmons George Weinstein Valerie Connors ■

december2014 | | 21

winter getaway

Lingering Exploring the Ritz-Carlton Lodge at Reynolds Plantation By SUZANNE PACEY


n a recent fall weekend, my husband and I decided to schedule a quick getaway – just the two of us. But where to go? Having lived in the Atlanta area for almost 30 years, I’ve explored most of the “hot spots” Georgia has to offer, but there was one buzzworthy place yet to be explored – the Ritz-Carlton Lodge at Reynolds Plantation. My husband had been there a few years ago for a golf outing, but neither of us had visited the resort. The RitzCarlton has a definite upscale reputation, so I was curious

as to just how fancy this Greensboro, Georgia, resort could be, with its location in the absolute “middle of nowhere.” Before arriving, I decided to do a little research into the history of the property. Nearly 100 years ago, the land now known as Reynolds Plantation was established as a family hunting and fishing retreat named “Linger Longer.” The land was on the Oconee River and became lakefront when the river was dammed up to produce electric power. Rumor has is that the original house is now at the bottom of the 95-foot-deep lake. The family property became a luxury residential and golf development in the 1980s and 90s, and in 2002, the 251-room Ritz-Carlton lakefront resort and spa was an

exciting addition. Today, the area has six challenging golf courses, restaurants, swimming pools, pedestrian trails, marinas, a tennis center and more all surrounded by Lake Oconee. Getting there is easy – just a 75-minute drive from Atlanta – but it truly is in the middle of nowhere! With no real shopping around and very few other restaurants to choose from, it is the perfect place to go when you want to get away from it all. The Ritz-Carlton Lodge is a very laid back resort, unlike some of its “snootier” counterparts. No jacket required here – just relax and enjoy. The Lodge has a very rustic feel, similar to the Ritz’s Bachelor Gulch resort on Beaver Creek Mountain in Colorado. Fireplaces are scattered all over the property inside and out, creating a very cozy atmosphere. The resort offers nightly s’mores by the fire and romantic lakeside chiminea dining. As we headed out to explore the property, we soon realized that we would need far more than 24 hours to explore all of the great amenities this beautiful resort had to offer. Our first stop was the pool/lake area. We were



Gaby's by the Lake offers scenic views and famous BBQ nachos. 22 | | december2014

The beautiful property offers many spots for relaxation.

by the Lake surprised that even in November, you could still see people swimming and sunbathing by the beautiful infinity pool overlooking the lake – enjoying Georgia’s temperate fall weather. It was tempting, but we decided to keep going. Gaby’s by the Lake was hopping, so we stopped in to check it out. After perusing the menu, we decided to share the barbecue nachos and take in the amazing view. Both were incredible! Just past the pool, we walked to a small beach area, which looked like a great spot for an afternoon nap or an escape with a good book. The rack of canoes looked inviting, but we decide to pass for fear of tipping over into the cold lake water. Bicycles, kayaks, pedal boats, yolo boards, fishing, jet skis, pontoons and ski boats were also available for an added fee. Rounding the next corner, we discovered a basketball court and play area with a big tree swing and an inviting hammock. We focused on the game of horseshoes that kids were playing, wishing we had let our 13-year-old skip school and tag along. We learned that another fun activity for the younger folks is taking the Linger Longer Locomotive Express, a

10-minute scenic ride around the property…my son loved trains when he was little, we would have never gotten him off this one. As we were heading back to the main building, we noticed a big white tent tucked away in the corner. We both thought it must be a tent for a wedding or special event, but were surprised to discover an ice skating rink. After a little investigation, we found out it was part of the upcoming holiday events offered at the property. Next stop was the spa. This place was amazing with its indoor pool, fireplace and gorgeous vaulted ceiling. I find it hard to believe they are renovating it in January. After our tour of the facility by one of the staff members, I was tempted to stop here for a soothing massage or to relax in the eucalyptus sauna. But I promised my husband I would go see the Oconee golf course, one of the six courses on the property, and one of the top things on his list to see. It was a beautiful day for golf. And from what I understand, this is a golfer’s paradise. I know my husband was chomping at the bit to get out there and play…but our dinner reservation was fast approaching. After relaxing in the lounge with a great selection of

hors d’oeuvres and cocktails and a nice hot shower back at the room, we headed to the Linger Longer Steakhouse for dinner, located just a short walk from the main building. We each ordered a petite filet with a side of potato gratin. The wet aged filet was cooked to perfection…best steak I have ever had. At the end of the meal, it is a Linger Longer tradition to serve cotton candy – unusual, but yummy! We were offered a “chariot ride” (aka golf cart) back to the main building and noticed that the temperature had started to drop. Now those fires that were burning earlier in the day seemed much more inviting, especially the big fire outside Georgia’s restaurant, where guests gathered to roast s’mores. That’s something we knew our 13-year-old would have enjoyed tremendously. I would definitely recommend the Ritz-Carlton Lodge at Reynolds Plantation to couples, families or anyone looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. It was a bit expensive, but well worth the splurge. Check the Ritz’s website for special holiday events and packages scheduled for December: www.ritzcarlton. com/en/Properties/ReynoldsPlantation/Reservations/ Packages/Detail/Holiday-Celebrations-Page.htm. ■


The Ritz offers activities for all ages, from spa treatments to train rides.


Enjoy ice skating and s’mores by the fire during the holiday season. december2014 | | 23


A Young Dancer’s Dream Come True Two Alpharetta girls to dance in Atlanta Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’



Sophia Egolf of Johns Creek will make her “Nutcracker” debut this year.

his year, Atlanta Ballet will raise the curtain at the Fox Theatre on its 55th production of “Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker,” and among the cast of more than 200 students that dance alongside the 23-member professional company will be two residents from Alpharetta. Simone Harris, age 10 and a student at River Trail Middle School, will return for her third year, but in a new role. After dancing the role of “snow fairy” for the past two seasons, she will now get to experience what it’s like to be a “party child.” Eleven-year-old Sophia Egolf, a student at Johns Creek’s Autrey Mill Middle School, will make her Atlanta Ballet debut this year, also as a “party child.” She joined Atlanta Ballet’s enrollment division this fall after training for seven years at Perimeter Ballet, where she performed in such productions as “Sleeping Beauty,” “Coppelia” and “Cinderella.” Sophia, who has been dancing since the age

of 4, has had stage experience, but nothing to compare to being on stage at the Fabulous Fox in Atlanta. “I’m so excited!” said Sophia. “I’ve been there once before and it’s so beautiful and all of the dancers are so amazing. I can’t wait to dance at the Fox.” Sophia’s father drives her to Atlanta once a week for “Nutcracker” rehearsals in addition to her regular ballet classes three times per week. For her, dancing is more than just a hobby. She takes it as seriously as she would a profession, and hopes to be dancing for as long as she can. In their roles as party children, Simone and Sophia will step into the beautiful living room of the Petrov household in St. Petersburg, Russia, where a Christmas party is in full swing and Drosselmeyer, a mysterious toymaker, presents gifts to all the children, including a

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december2014 | | 25


Pearls: A Timeless Gift



earl jewelry has been around for millennia. Chances are you have some in your jewelry box. Whether they are imitation or cultured (95% of the ‘real’ pearls in the market today are cultured), pearls are some of the most classic and functional jewelry. They are the staple of a woman’s business attire and look great with denim or tennis wear. Pearls make a wonderful gift and can be found in many price points. With care, pearls can be passed on to younger generations. One of my favorite pearl strands was a gift from my mother-in-law who received them from her father when she was a teenager. I plan to pass them on to my daughters-in-love. Ready to make someone’s holiday season with the gift of pearls? Here are a few buying tips that I garnered from the website ‘Absolute Pearls.’

1. The difference between imitation and cultured pearls. Imitation pearls are created with a glass or plastic bead that is coated with a fish scale mixture called essence of the orient or pearl essence. One of the most famous types of imitation pearls is ‘Majorca Pearls’. Cultured pearls can be created in freshwater and seawater. Many are farmed and harvested in China, Japan and the USA. Some can be harvested in as little as six months. Others can take seven years to create. The size and color depend upon the type of mollusk or oyster that creates the pearl. Akoya pearl is probably the most well known name of cultured pearls. They are also loosely known as Japanese

pearls as they are mainly cultured in Japan. South Sea Pearls generally refers to seawater pearls in a large area stretching from Thailand, Burma, Indonesia, Philippines, South East Asia, through north Australia, across to French Polynesia and the Tahitian Islands. They tend to be the largest and most expensive pearls available, especially from Australian waters. The Tooth Test: This is the easiest, if not the most hygienic, test for telling if a pearl is an imitation or not. Simply, rub the pearl lightly along the biting edge of your upper front teeth. If it feels sandy or gritty, it is probably real. If smooth, it is probably imitation. (I just tried it on several strands of my pearls and it works!)

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Captiva Island rests in quiet privacy in the Gulf of Mexico. It has become the preferred vacation destination (as well as permanent residence) for well-informed travelers. For Captiva Island offers what few other Florida beaches can: luxurious accommodations in the midst of unspoiled, natural beauty. This is also a favorite spot for Family Reunions, and Captiva was the #1 rated “Romantic Beaches in the U.S. and Nearby” by Amy Ziff, Travelocity’s Editor-at-Large*. We invite you to log on to to check out our December special events and view thousands of photographs of Captiva and its vacation homes, from quaint to awesome. We provide advance travel info for our new and returning visitors to help them plan and arrange their trip: accommodations, leisure activities, ecotours, satellite images of Captiva, history of the islands, local points of interest. Tell us how we can help you at 800-547-0127. We want all our guests to be happy here, which is why we match your needs to our various houses and price ranges. We’ll see that you get the best value and so enjoy your best vacation. And be the first of your friends to “like” us on Facebook.

See you at the beach!

5. Wearing your pearls

Geographically, Americans are said to prefer pink pearls, Europeans prefer white and cream, whereas South Americans and Middle Eastern people go more for the cream and gold colors. Cream and gold colors are believed to suit dark and olive skins, while some feel whites and pinks are more suitable for Caucasians and Asians. Try clothes of the same color as the pearls – if the color of the clothes suits you, then the pearls should do as well.

Wear your pearls often to allow them to breathe. Re-string your pearls every 1-2 years depending on how frequently you wear them. Your pearls should be knotted. Small knots tied between each pearl in a strand to prevent them rubbing together and to avoid the loss of pearls if the necklace breaks. If you have several strands of small sized pearls and are not a teenager anymore, consider wearing all of your strands at once for a luxurious look. Don’t worry about mixing colors of pearls. They will all look fabulous together. ■

3. Size matters! My customers know how I feel about wearing the proper size pearls for your stage of life. Absolute Pearls suggests 5.5-6.5mm as a “starter necklace” for young ladies graduating from high school or college. 6.5-7.5mm is one of the most popular sizes today, perfect for the 25-45 age range. Popular for anniversary gifts or landmark birthdays is the 7.5-8.0mm. Pearls 8.0mm and up tend to start getting more expensive. It is said that Jackie Kennedy wore 8.59.0mm, a very glamorous, impressive size of pearl. 9.510.0mm, a favorite size of Barbara Bush, is typically the largest size of cultured pearls normally available.


2. Color

To minimize contact with perfume, make-up, perspiration etc., which can alter your pearls’ luster or color, your pearls should be the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off. Avoid contacting pearls with perspiration, make-up, oils, creams, perfume, hairspray, chlorine, acids, ultrasonic cleaners, dust and grit. Wipe your pearls gently with a warm damp cloth to remove body oils before putting them away. Keep your pearls straight if possible and protected in a soft material such as velvet, silk or satin. Do not let your pearls rub against hard objects such as gold and diamond jewelry. Avoid very dry or extreme heat conditions. If not worn frequently, store your pearls in slightly damp linen to help prevent them drying out.


4. Caring for your pearls

As a personal wardrobe consultant and owner of Alpharetta-based Fashion With Flair, Lori Wynne helps people look their best. Contact her at

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Holiday Gift Guide 2014

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Marya dances with the Sugar Plum Fairy.

▼ GIRL POWER, Continued from Page 24 magical nutcracker doll for the Petrov’s young daughter, Marya. Set in the elaborate Moorish décor of the historic Fox Theatre, this unique production takes 20 pounds of snow, eight tons of scenery, lighting and props and a 38-foot-tall Christmas tree to make the magic of Marya’s unbelievable story come to life. Every year, Atlanta Ballet’s artistic director John McFall adds a special touch to the production in an effort to keep it fresh and vibrant. “For five decades now, Atlanta Ballet has been presenting ‘Nutcracker,’ and

we’ve become a holiday tradition for many families in Atlanta,” said McFall. “It’s an honor, but also a great responsibility. Each year, we want to make sure we preserve the tradition, but also keep the magic and mystery alive. We are thoughtful about each change we make and confident that it will ultimately make for a more enchanting experience.” Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker returns to the Fox Theatre Dec. 11 through Dec. 28 with the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra and the Georgia Youth Choir live for all 20 performances. Tickets start as low as $20 and are available by phone at 855-ATL-TIXX, in person at the Fox Theatre Box Office and the Atlanta Ballet Box Office or online at ■


Drosselmeyer with his dancing dolls.

Student dancers in this year’s “Nutcracker” include Simone Harris, third from left in top row, and Sophia Egolf, second from the left in bottom row.

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woman's best friend



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orth Atlanta is a hub for trendy-yet-refined interior decor. With plenty of brick and mortar stores to choose from, the difficult part is picking which styles best reflect your personality and taste. Below, experts offer their views on the staples and fads.

Window “Treatments”


’d love to know who used the expression, “window treatments” first. I’m old school. I was taught that “curtains” are unlined, “draperies” are lined. Period. NOW,..... there are plantation shutters, roller shades, woven wood shades, textured blinds, wood blinds..... SO many ways to cover your windows! Not only will draperies and window treatments add to the aesthetics of a room, they provide protection from the sun’s harmful rays, protecting both your furniture and floors. An initial investment in a pair of draperies or simple, UV-Protecting Roller Shades can ultimately save hundreds of dollars over the years. And we all like to save money, don’t we? Come visit our extensive Drapery Showroom at Home Fashion Interiors, 793 North Main Street, Alpharetta, GA, 770-609-4416.■ Mark Sunderland, Allied Member ASID Interior Designer for: Home Fashion Interiors 793 North Main Street, Alpharetta, GA 30009 404-274-5091 Portfolio:

Holiday Cheers for a Well Organized Kitchen Floor


oliday cheer often brings more cooking and entertaining in our homes. It’s also a great time evaluate what’s missing in your kitchen. Some of the best loved conveniences that were once found only in new cabinetry can be purchased and installed to enhance the functionality of your kitchen. If your cabinets still look fabulous on the outside but you never had roll trays, lazy susans or a spice rack, you can have all that now without gutting your kitchen. Want a pull out trash bin with two trash cans, one for recycling? Most cabinets can be fitted to accommodate a wide assortment of pull out trash bins. Whatever slows you down in your kitchen, there are products to remedy the problem.

Whatever your kitchen needs are, there are fabulous products that help you better organize, improve your space and time productivity so you can spend more time with your guests. ■ Mary Jo Alton, Owner, 2612 Holcomb Bridge Rd, Ste 110, Alpharetta, GA 30022 470-268-7787

Purposefully Playful Decorating This Holiday Season


he holiday season is steeped in traditions and most of us want to enjoy the nostalgia that comes along with the items from our boxes of festive decor collected throughout the years. Sometimes it can be difficult to determine how to incorporate these items without compromising on the esthetic designed home that you’ve worked so hard to create. Enjoy those fun and festive memories while ensuring that your home retains your sense of style by being purposefully playful this holiday season. Maybe you love a monochromatic look or just a pop of color in your home. Decorate for the holidays with that same simple principal in mind. Just keep the sophisticated decor in areas you may entertain guests in such as the dining room and living areas. But feel free to go wild with the colorful decorations you’ve collected over the years in your lesser viewed space’s such as the kid’s rooms, bonus rooms, landings or even the rooms that we spend most of the time the kitchen, breakfast and keeping rooms. At the end of the day...let your home reflect your personal style and don’t be afraid to showcase and display items that have a history behind them. Happy Holidays! ■

Jenny McClanahan is an Interior Designer for the full service design center, Tuscany Fine Furnishings 1570 Holcomb Bridge Rd. in Roswell, tuscanyfinefurnishings. com, 770-993-0640 open Mon-Sat 10-6 p.m. Sun. 1-5 p.m. december2014 | | 35




Protect your devices from theft


ei fi v n o r


de th a s & si d t s for e w o ip n me



is the season. It’s sad but true – thieves are on the prowl this time of year, just waiting for the chance to snatch a purse, or steal a laptop from a parked car. Here are a few steps you can take, however, to protect your mobile devices and your important files and photos. Be smart. Be savvy. Be safe.

1 Backup your files, photos and videos daily Just do it. Data experts recommend backing up all of your files to at least two separate locations. An extra hard drive next to your home computer is great, but won’t help if your house burns down. An added bonus of using an online storage service such as CrashPlan or Carbonite is the ability to access your files remotely. It’s a great feeling to know that even if your device is stolen, your precious photos will still be safe “in the cloud.”

2 Keep track of your serial numbers

Every mobile device has a unique IMEI or MEID number in addition to the regular serial number

that can be used to identify the device if stolen. Look for it in your Settings menu on the ‘About’ screen. Then use a screenshot to capture the information and email it to yourself and to a family member or close friend for quick access when away from home.

3 Install a GPS tracking app for all devices

Not only is this a useful tool for spying on your teenagers, it might also allow police to track the thief if a device is ever stolen. “Find My iPhone” for the Mac also allows you to instantly lock or erase all data on your device remotely, if the device is online.

your chances of getting the phone back if found by an honest person.

5 Treat device theft as credit card theft

Sensitive information and passwords are often stored on mobile devices. If stolen, do what you would do in the case of a stolen wallet. Contact your bank and credit card companies to put them on alert. Immediately change any sensitive passwords. Then call the police. ■

4 Add an emergency phone number to your lock screen

Use a free or inexpensive app like Over (iOS) to create a custom lock screen wallpaper design which includes an emergency phone number (not your home phone number!) and an “If Found, Please Call…” message. This might increase


Fall is the perfect time to discover a relaxing vacation in Gainesville, Florida. Paddle down a spring-fed river. Stroll through downtown for exciting live entertainment and award winning art festivals. Finish your day at a cozy B&B with a cocktail. Awake refreshed and ready for another day of fun. Visit Gainesville, where Nature and Culture meet.

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I heard the bells ring and thought to myself: remember this. Remember being the last ones to leave the dance floor. Thinking that a massage truly might be Sweden’s greatest contribution to the modern world. Perfecting my left-handed coin toss at the Trevi Fountain. And, listening to the sounds of Venice slowly fade behind the ship’s wake. It’s funny; I don’t remember a single thing from our Celebrity cruise—I remember everything.

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woman's best friend

Ask the vet:

The importance of dental care for your pet

QUESTION: How and why should I brush my dog’s teeth? ANSWER:


rushing our dog’s teeth is the gold standard in preventing periodontal disease. Just like us, dogs also get tartar build up. Tartar build up will lead to irritation of the gums resulting in gingivitis and eventually periodontal disease. One of the most important things to remember is that dogs’ teeth must be brushed with dog toothpaste. Dog toothpaste is fluoride free and is usually beef, chicken, malt or peppermint flavored. One particular brand that we recommend at our clinic is C.E.T., which stands for clean every tooth. It is sold in most pet stores as well as online. When picking a toothbrush, you may want to consider an angled dog toothbrush. It is made so as to make it easier to reach all the teeth inside their mouth. A finger toothbrush may also be comfortable for owner and pet. These are fitted on the finger like a thimble and are usually flexible. Both of these types of dog toothbrushes are available at pet stores and online. Lastly, you may start brushing your dog’s teeth when they are young. You may want to start with a damp wash cloth wiping away the food, ideally twice a day, after each meal. You want to always approach your pet gently and give lots of praise so that they can find the whole process less

intimidating. Do this for two weeks and then start using the toothbrush. Initially dip the toothbrush in warm water and brush the teeth. Once the brush becomes familiar, you can add the toothpaste. Most attention should be given to the outside of the upper teeth. The toothbrush bristles should be placed at the gum margin where the teeth and gums meet at a 45-degree angle. The movement should be in an oval pattern. Be sure to gently place the bristle ends into the area around the base of the tooth as well as into the space between the teeth. Complete 10 short back and forth motions, then move the brush to a new location. Cover three to four teeth at a time. ■

Dr. Beatriz Segarra is the owner and veterinarian at the Village Animal Hospital on Abbotts Bridge Road in Johns Creek. wwwthevillageanimal


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Harry and Austin Nijenkamp with their Lego city

Roswell father and son built huge Lego city with no glue and no rules



Harry works in his home studio.

Don’t Miss This!

“Celebricktion” FUNDRAISER

WHEN: Dec. 20-22, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. each day WHERE: High Meadows School’s Community Center, 1055 Willeo Road in Roswell MORE INFO: $10 tickets – 100 percent goes to support the Drake House in Roswell, providing emergency housing for women and children in the local community.

various creations by other metro Atlanta Lego enthusiasts. Harry looks forward to visiting with Lego fans young and old during the show. “Legos appeal to all ages, from young kids who love to build, to adults who are into design or robotics,” he said. “People are impressed by the largesse of the whole thing, and kids and teens love spotting their favorite pop culture characters in the display. A bunch of the ‘Lego Movie’ characters are there, as well as Star Wars, Harry Potter, Bat-Man, you name it. And people can enjoy the show and feel good knowing that the cost of their ticket is going to support a great cause.” If you visit Celebricktion, look for the tall Dutchman with the friendly grin. Harry is happy to “talk trade” with Lego fans and you are sure to come away inspired to dream big. Really, really big. ■



f you are a fan of Lego’s toy building bricks, then you won’t want to miss “Celebricktion,” a magnificent Lego city display containing more than one million Lego pieces, all “free-built” by Roswell father and son building team, Harry and Austin Nijenkamp. The show, to be held Dec. 20-22 at High Meadows School’s Community Center in Roswell, is a fundraiser for the Drake House, with all proceeds from ticket sales benefiting emergency housing for homeless women and children in the community. Celebricktion’s Lego city is a wonder to behold – with towering skyscrapers, parks and gardens, sailing ships on a blue ocean and 2,000 mini-figures filling the streets in a DragonCon-style parade. All straight from the boundless imaginations of Harry and Austin, who build with no glue and no rules. “The great thing about Legos is there are no limits on what you can build. If you have the time, talent, money and are willing to put in a lot of sweat and late night hours, you can do it,” said Harry. “I grew up playing with Legos in Holland. Back then, it was still expensive, and there were just a few basic shapes in primary colors. We mostly built houses,” he recalled. Harry and his young son, Austin, eventually worked their way up to the biggest Lego set on the market, which in 2001 was the 3,000-piece Statue of Liberty. But instead of being satisfied, the pair still had the itch to build something even bigger and better. They started ordering pieces in bulk and designing their own creations, like a 14-foot skyscraper with 20,000 windows, a Japanese castle surrounded by blooming cherry trees, a Mexican restaurant complete with mariachi band in sombreros and a museum with big picture windows allowing one to peek inside to see dinosaurs on display. Harry and Austin build in “mini-figure scale,”

meaning everything is the appropriate size for a Lego character. “Here’s a fun fact – if we were to build a model of the Empire State Building in mini-figure scale, it would be 33 feet tall,” said Harry. Astounded friends encouraged Harry and Austin to share their creations with the public, and in 2011, the pair built a large Lego city for the showroom at Honda Carland in Roswell. The free display drew large crowds of enthusiastic Lego fans. As their Lego creations grew, so did the need for more space in which to build. A large bonus room in Harry’s home is now his Lego studio, with 1,500 custom labeled bins covering the walls, organized by color, then by part. Lego makes 14,000 different parts, and Harry owns about 10,000 of them. How does he find them all? “Every Lego part has a number, and there are networking websites such as that link Lego buyers and sellers. We get Legos in the mail almost every day at my house. We’ve ordered from almost all of the 50 U.S. states and from dozens of countries around the world.” Harry’s wife, Kristy, doesn’t join in the building process, but helps behind the scenes with organization and administrative tasks. “Yes, she sometimes thinks all this is crazy, because it is crazy, but she’s fully supportive,” said Harry with a chuckle. Daughter Nikole, 21, is away from home earning a college degree in chemical engineering. Austin, 19, is also a college student, though a bit closer to home, which still allows him to partner with his Dad on building projects. Appropriately, for a young man who has been designing and building massive Lego cities for years, Austin is studying to become an urban planner. In addition to the massive Lego city display, Celebricktion will also include a Lego robotics demonstration, a replica of Harry’s Lego studio and


How Big Can You Dream?

december2014 | | 39


A Holy Cause Celebrating renowned southern author, journalist, and syndicated columnist Celestine Sibley



eing a reporter is one of the noblest things you can do in life. Letting the people know. It’s really a holy cause. Time after time after time, in the middle of corruption and disgrace and bad politics, I’ve seen people come through and do for people. I write about someone in trouble and someone else rallies to help them. Through reporting, things can change.” Celestine Sibley, April 1999 This quote from Celestine Sibley came from the last year of her life and opens the book, “The Reporter,” a collection of many of her best newspaper stories, edited by reporter Richard Eldridge. One of the first female editors, Sibley reported for the Atlanta Constitution from 1941 to 1999. She wrote more than 10,000 columns, covering state politics, courtroom drama and cultural affairs. Sibley was also the author of nearly 30 books of different genres published between 1958 and 1997, including her memoir, “Turned Funny” (1988) and “Children, My Children,” which won the first Townsend Prize for children’s fiction. Firm in her convictions about her labors, Sibley continued working until the final weeks before her death, with her last regular Constitution column appearing on July 25,

1999. She died of cancer at the age of 85 on Aug. 15, 1999. Celestine Sibley’s many accomplishments have long been celebrated. In 1990, she received the Ralph McGill Award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism. A few months before her death, Sibley was awarded the National Society of Newspaper Columnists Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2000, in appreciation for her years of political reporting, the Georgia House of Representatives named its Capitol press gallery in Sibley’s honor. But she is perhaps best remembered for her writing about Southern culture, poignant essays that made her an icon of her beloved South. She held dear a belief in the value of home as a place of refuge from the ever-changing world, a sanctuary from the encroaching developments swallowing up the countryside outside her window. In 1961, Sibley created her own haven, purchasing and renovating a dilapidated log cabin in Roswell, Georgia, for just $1,000. She named her home Sweet Apple Cabin. From there, she enjoyed a simple life and proclaimed the benefits of such an existence in such a prolific and convincing way that for many of her readers, it became an idyllic imaginary home for them, as well.

Last month, four journalists with Atlanta connections were enshrined into the Atlanta Press Club Hall of Fame during a reception ceremony. Celestine Sibley was included amongst the likes of Tom Brokaw, Claude Sitton and Brenda Wood. Bestselling Southern author Kathy Trocheck, better known by her pen name Mary Kay Andrews, inducted Sibley. Sibley’s grandson, John Bazemore, accepted the award. “The old show business saying, ‘Don’t follow kids or animals,’ could be changed to don’t follow Tom Brokaw or Monica Pearson,” he joked.

But Bazemore is humbled by the experience, well aware of his grandmother’s holy cause and her long-reaching influence. “She would have been thrilled and proud to be included with so many old friends and colleagues like her former boss and mentor Ralph McGill,” he said. “Standing up in front of all those people who make a living talking was a little scary, but it was an honor to stand in for Tine.” Remembered and revered for her true, unflinching accounting of life, standing in for Celestine Sibley seems impossible to her readers, but it might be exactly what she intended.■

Sibley at her Sweet Apple Cabin in 1997.

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DECEMBER and a complimentary glass of wine served by ladies in period clothing, followed by a tour of the 1839 childhood home of Mittie Bulloch, Theodore Roosevelt’s mother, decorated for Christmas. Reservations needed. $45 per person. 180 Bulloch Avenue, Roswell.



Avalon on Ice All month long. Ice skate at Avalon on the Rockefeller Center-sized ice skating rink in the Plaza. Watch for theme nights and enjoy warm tasty treats rink side. Open during school holidays from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. Skate rentals are $16; add $4 for hot cocoa. Avalon, 2200 Avalon Blvd., Alpharetta. Lanier Islands Christmas Daily through Dec. 31. Magical Nights of Lights has transformed into Lanier Islands Christmas, complete with the light displays, free skating after 5 p.m., a live Nativity, a s’mores bonfire, visits with Santa, shopping, a Christmas carnival and more. Admission is per vehicle.

Jingle Jog and Christmas Parade in Cumming 8:30 – 11:30 a.m. Get a running start to your day at 8:30 a.m. by participating in the Jingle Jog 5K in Cumming Town Center, 2085 Market Place Blvd. Then, from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m., cheer on the festive floats in the Cumming Christmas Parade, which follows Market Place Boulevard between Buford Dam Road and Hwy. 20.

Girls’ Night Out at the Drake Closet in Alpharetta 5 – 8 p.m. Enjoy food, fashion and fun while shopping for new jewelry, gifts and accessories as well as gently used clothes, all benefitting the Drake House in Roswell for homeless women and children. The Drake Closet, 26 Old Roswell St., Alpharetta (behind SmokeJack).


Alpharetta Christmas Tree Lighting 5 p.m. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be visiting with children all evening in the gazebo during the lighting of the 45-foot live spruce tree with 10,000 white lights in Old Milton Park, the corner park in downtown Alpharetta. Mayor David Belle Isle will read “T’was the Night Before Christmas,” and North Point Community Church will present entertainment. 2 South Main St., Alpharetta. Tree Lighting at Northside Hospital-Forsyth in Cumming 6 – 8 p.m. Enjoy live entertainment from local schools and groups, children’s activities, photos with Santa and the lighting of the giant Christmas tree atop Northside Hospital-Forsyth, 1200 Northside Forsyth Drive.


Back to Nature Holiday Market at Chattahoochee Nature Center 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Features local artisans selling original art, eco-friendly items, toys and winter greenery. Free admission. Chattahoochee Nature Center, 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Johns Creek Founders Day Parade 10 a.m. A lively parade travels west on State Bridge from West Morton to Ocee Elementary on Kimball Bridge Road featuring more than 80 units, Shriner clowns, high school bands, colorful floats and the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile. events/foundersday

42 | | december2014

Snow on the Square in Alpharetta 1 p.m. Enjoy a taste of snow in downtown Alpharetta as Old Milton Park is filled with snow for an afternoon of snowballs, snowmen and wintry merriment! The event will be cancelled if it rains. Old Milton Park is the park on the corner across from Alpharetta City Hall. Alpharetta Holiday Farmers Market 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Browse for fresh produce, flowers and homemade foods from regular farmers market vendors along with various types of crafts and Christmas gift ideas. Old Canton Street in downtown Alpharetta. Holiday Celebration on the Square in Roswell 5 p.m. This annual fun family event includes carolers from local schools, the lighting of the Town Square, a reading of “T’was the Night Before Christmas” and Santa Claus. Pictures with Santa are available at a nominal fee. Holiday shuttle bus to Santa’s Secret Gift Shop. Historic Roswell Town Square, intersection of Hwy. 9 and Hwy. 120.


High Teas at Bulloch Hall 4 p.m. Additional events on Dec. 11, 16, 18. Enjoy a delicious two-course tea

Church, 180 Academy St., Alpharetta. Tickets online at Reindeer Day in Roswell 1 – 4 p.m. Meet live reindeer at the Chattahoochee Nature Center and enjoy a day full of learning about winter animals and enjoying holiday cheer. All activities included in general admission. Chattahoochee Nature Center, 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell.



“Celebricktion” Lego Show in Roswell 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. through Dec. 22. See an amazing Lego city with over a million pieces featuring parks, skyscrapers over 12 feet tall, streets and even a parade containing thousands of Lego mini figures, all built by a Roswell father and his son. Tickets are $10 for this fundraiser benefitting the Drake House for homeless women and children in Roswell. High Meadows School, Community Center, 10500 Willeo Road, Roswell.

“A Christmas Carol” at Cumming Playhouse 8 p.m. Shows continue through Dec. 21. Enjoy the story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey from an embittered, ungenerous creature into a giving, caring human being at the hands of three spirits who, one Christmas Eve, show him what life means. The Cumming Playhouse, 101 School St., Cumming. Tickets available online.

Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra Christmas Gala and Holiday Pops Concert 8 p.m. Enjoy a variety of seasonal favorites and an old-fashioned sing-a-long at this delightful concert featuring the full JCSO orchestra, the adult chorus, soloists and special guests. $30 for adults, $25 for seniors (55+), $15 for students. Johns Creek United Methodist Church, 11180 Medlock Bridge Road, Duluth, Ga. 30097.

“Dad’s Christmas Miracle” by ACT1 Theater in Alpharetta 8 p.m. Shows continue through Dec. 21. Connor Murphy wants a go-kart for Christmas in the worst way, and that’s how he sets out to get it. Hysterical situations abound in this loving memory of Yuletide charm back when a dollar was more money than you knew what to do with, an hour of play seemed like forever and the best time in the whole world was Christmas. ACT1 Theater inside Alpharetta Presbyterian

Dancing with the Stars Live 8 p.m. Cobb Energy Centre is excited to welcome the cast of “Dancing with the Stars” on New Year’s Eve, featuring the television show’s most popular competitors who will choreograph never-before-seen numbers and re-create some of the show’s most memorable moments. Tickets are $37 – $62, plus fees. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. ■

“A Christmas Carol” at Bulloch Hall 7:30 p.m. Shows continue through Dec. 23. Gather at Roswell’s grand Bulloch Hall for an intimate 45-seat performance of Charles Dickens’ holiday classic once again featuring Brink Miller as Ebenezer Scrooge. Tickets are $15; reserve them early! Bulloch Hall, 80 Bulloch Avenue, Roswell.


december2014 | | 43

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Northside Woman, December 2014  

Northside Woman is a work and play publication and companion website that covers news and features.

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