Our Town Monthly Winter Issue - December 2020

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C O B B ’ S FA M I LY L I F E S T Y L E M A G A Z I N E WINTER 2020/21





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Letter from the Publisher



appy holidays to my OTM family! I hope you were able to find a few rainbows through the storms of this past year. As much as I hate “wishing my life away”, I feel ready to raise the white flag to 2020. I am hopeful and excited for 2021...a new year and a new start!

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Our Town Monthly will be celebrating its fifteenth birthday in January and we are so thankful to our advertisers, our readers and the entire Cobb community. Every birthday you get a wish, right? So, what is our wish? For our community to be able to gather again without restriction, to be able to hug your friends and family without fear and for everyone to respect their neighbors and embrace their differences. What is your wish for 2021? I hope you get everything and more. Why? Because you deserve it! “You become what you believe and we rise by lifting others.”

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In This Issue

Feature Photographer JD Tyre............................................................. 5

W I N T E R 2 0 2 0 / 21

McCray’s Tavern offers a safe, inviting place for guests to enjoy .......................................... 8 Justin’s glass is “half-full” when it comes to our Atlanta Braves, read all about it in Talkin’ Sports...............................................10

McCray’s Tavern McCray’s Tavern Strives to Go Beyond Typical


The Science of Beauty: HOW TO REVIVE YOUR SKIN IN THE WINTER by Eliana Ocheseanu.....................................12


Q&A with Crispina Ristorante & Pizzeria....................................................15

Q&A Crispina Ristorante & Pizzeria

Cobb’s Rising Stars! ................................17 Meet the Harbours ..................................20 Cover Story: Move over HGTV, Cobb has its own “Reno-Realtor” power couple.................21 Leaving on a Jet Plane by Our Town’s own travel expert, Heather Meliski .......................22 LifeStyle Report See exactly what your community salons and spas are doing to make your health and safety their top priority........27 Braves Foundation ..................................31


Talkin’ Sports Justin’s Glass is Half-full

Is Our “New normal” drying out our eyes? Dr. Janelle of Brillant Eyes explains why and what you can do.............................................32 Maintaining Your Sanity and energy through the “PAND-olidays” of 2020..............34 Kimberly Watkins-Swenk on how to have a safe and fun virtual holiday season.............36 Loving Arms Cancer Outreach ............38

20 Keep Your Pets Safe Holiday Safety Tips


Meet the Harbour’s Cobb’s own Reno-Realtor Power Couple


Real Estate in Our Town by Deborah Ratchford.......................................................41 Let’s Follow Our Dogs’ Lead into the New Year by K-9 Coach ..........................................46 Keep Your Pets Safe through the holidays by Best Friends Animal Rescue.......................46 Cobbs Next Generation shares with you her “Pam”demic Pup......................................45

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Our Town onthly M

in this issue


Our Publishers/Editors Town is published and direct mailed tomailed prestigious Our Townmonthly is published and direct monthly to prestigioushomes homes in the in Cobb county. Opinions expressedWestby editorial Cobbthe Area. Opinions expressed by staff the editorialare staff aretheir their own own and do not Linda Demery & Lori McLinden necessarily reflect of the opinions the publisher. Our Town reserves the right to and do not necessarily reflect the opinions theofpublisher. Our Town Graphics and Design and or reject any editorial or advertising content. Our Town content. is not responsible reserves the Terry rightTanner to edit and or rejecteditany editorial or advertising for errors in advertising beyond the cost of the space or for the validity of claims made Our Town is Graphics, not responsible for errors in advertising beyond the cost of Tanner Inc. by advertisers. the space or for Executive the validity of claims made by advertisers. Entire contents Account Entire contents copyright 2018 Our Town. in whole Sara Young, sara@ourtownmonthly.com copyright 2020 by Our Town. Reproduction in bywhole orReproduction in part isor in part is forbidden in any media without prior written permission from the publisher. forbidden in any media without prior written permission Feature Photographer from the publisher.

Our Town Monthly 109 Anderson Street Suite 109 EDITOR Marietta, GA 30060

Contributing Writers PUBLISHER/MANAGING

Tara Hill Hanover


Fax: 678-337-7825 EDITOR/SPORTS CONTRIBUTOR info@ourtownmonthly.com Justin Hanover


DIGITAL EDITOR/ SOCIAL MEDIA CONTRIBUTOR Kimberly Watkins-Swenk GRAPHICS AND DESIGN Jules Fandos Advent Marketing & Media, LLC ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE West Cobb - Sara Young sara@ourtownmonthly.com South Cobb - Nancy Martin nancy@ourtownmonthly.com Smyrna/Vinings/Galleria/Cumberland - Tamara Siemon tamara@ourtownmonthly.com North/South Cobb - Stephanie Mellom Stephanie@ourtownmonthly.com FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHER JD Tyre CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Eliana Ocheseanu Heather Meliski Dr. Janelle Davison, OD Ashley Inglese Deb Ratchford Hannah Stember K-9 Coach Team Evie Love PO Box 813610 Smyrna, GA 30081-8610 (678)337-7844 info@ourtownmonthly.com www.ourtownmonthly.com FB: Our Town Monthly IG: @our_town_monthly

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cCray’s Tavern West Village location has been a staple in the Smyrna/ Vinings community for the last thirteen years. While the concept has grown, adapted and evolved over the last decade, McCray’s mission to be a top-notch hangout for Smyrna/Vinings locals has remained constant. Steadfast in their commitment to community outreach and involvement, the restaurant group works directly with various nonprofit organizations throughout the year. McCray’s has also taken steps above and beyond those required in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A three-step sanitization process, professional sterilization, the removal of tables and bar stools as well as staff sanitization training are just some of the measures the Smyrna location has implemented to ensure the safety of their valued guests and greater community. McCray’s Tavern strives to go beyond typical tavern fare, offering garden-fresh salads and chef inspired entrées made with seasonal local vegetables, as well as mouth-watering burgers and elevated sandwiches. This year, the Smyrna McCray’s location added a smoker to their dog-and-family-friendly patio so patrons can see and smell their de-


licious “from the smoker” menu items while they cook low and slow throughout the day. McCray’s Tavern recently welcomed esteemed Chef Matthew Ratcliffe to their corporate team to help advance McCray’s Tavern to the next level of casual dining. “I want McCray’s to be a spot for a quick fresh business lunch and also a place to relax with a nice filet and great bourbon selection,” said owner Scott McCray. New menu items coming soon to the Smyrna West Village location, including Steak Frites, with local cuts from Revere Meat Co., as well as Gulf Shrimp and Popcorn Grits, a delicious modern spin on the classic southern coastal dish. On the weekend, McCray’s is serving up new brunch items, including a revamped Chicken and Waffles, and a Southern Style Breakfast Eggs Benedict complete with fried green tomato, roasted pork, and bbq hollandaise. Brunch can be enjoyed with a McCray’s Bloody Mary from 11 AM – 3 PM on Saturday and Sunday. As a fixture in the greater Atlanta area, McCray’s Tavern looks forward to growing with Smyrna and offering a safe inviting place for guests to enjoy fresh, made-from-scratch meals, with local small-batch breweries, craft cocktails and weekly happenings for all ages. To learn more or make reservations, please visit www.mccraystavern.com

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Talkin’ Sports By Justin Hanover


or me living in Atlanta began with a BOOM thanks to that miraculous worst to first Braves run back in 1991. Then four years later it was capped off with a World Series Championship as Marquis Grissom raced down Carlos Baerga’s fly ball and the city erupted in celebration. But ever since? Well, Atlantans have certainly seen their share of disappointments. The Falcons blew that 28-3 Super Bowl lead against the Patriots and the Dawgs fell similarly in that National Championship game in Overtime against Alabama and on and on and on. So many examples and so little time. I’m not oblivious nor naive to the pain that has been experienced here for awhile now. It has been above and beyond what the average city should have to deal with but I’m a glass half full guy when it comes to the recent Braves 2020 season. Some would say it was “another epic Atlanta collapse” after leading the Dodgers three games to one. But not me and here’s why:

situations, including against the eventual star laden World Champion Dodgers. By the way those Dodgers went 43-17 in the regular season, lost one series all year long and were as good of a club as we have seen in a long, long time. Therefore losing three straight games to that team is far from equaling “an epic collapse”. In fact, winning three of the first four shows a ton. And how can we forget about that mash unit of a lineup. These guys were as good as they came in 2020, proving themselves to everybody, and it’s not like it was a bunch of aging veterans. Ronald Acuna Jr. is a young, 22 year old five tool superstar and an MVP Candidate. Dansby Swanson , Ozzie Albies, Johan Camargo, Austin Riley, Christian Pache and a few others form the core of a team that will compete for years to come. Oh and that Freddie Freeman guy, well yeah, he just won the MVP and still obviously has a lot left in the tank!

We witnessed a third straight division title and the emergence of some young players that have an amazingly bright future. We winced in horror as the ace of the team in Mike Soroka went down early in the season and yet Brian Snitker’s hurlers amazingly tossed four shutouts in its first five playoff games in sweeping away both the Reds and the Marlins. We knew Max Fried had an upside but with Soroka injured the lefthander turned into an absolute stud who even had a shot at winning the Cy Young award.

So, you can lazily lump the 2020 Braves into another city of Atlanta blown leads, if you would like, but in fact it was the complete opposite. Our boys from the Battery rose to the occasion in developing the young talent and came within a hair of slaying the dragon.

Other young fairly unknown pitchers like Ian Anderson, Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson went from, well, “young fairly unknown pitchers” to potential rising stars in the blink of an eye. All of them stepped up in the most crucial of moments against quality playoff teams in pressure packed

Justin Hanover is a sports reporter/analyst who has worked in the business since 1996. His stops have included ESPN, CNN, 790 The Zone and 680 The Fan. He has also done play-by-play analysis and color commentary ranging from the high school level all the way through the professional level. Justin lives in Smyrna with his wife and three children.


Of course, the end game is to win a Championship but only 1 of 30 teams can do so. The bottom line is that 2020 was an absolute success for the Braves and I will scream atop the highest mountain in saying so.

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The Science of Beauty HOW TO REVIVE YOUR SKIN IN THE WINTER By Eliana Ocheseanu, the Skin Whisperer at Refinery21 Aesthetique


f your skin is falling apart with the change of seasons, you might take a good look at your skin care routine. Try to tweak your beauty regimen so the cold winter days do not come between you and your perfect complexion. Problem No. 1: You forget about the winter’s sun. Getting ready in the dark might not make you feel like putting your SPF on and although it is true the sun’s rays are not as strong as in the summer months the UV rays are still out there causing sun burns and worse, skin cancer. Quick Fix: Make a batch of your favorite moisturizer mixed with sun screen and apply every morning before getting out of the house.

Problem No.5: You are using the same skin care routine you’ve been using for the past six months. We are creatures of habit and tend to use the same things over and over again. The problem is skin is influenced by internal and external factors all the time and routines must change with the seasons, new diets and medication. Quick Fix: See an esthetician. A good facial can do wonders for your skin and a skincare professional can help you transition seamlessly to a new and more appropriate skin care routine. We hope these five quick and easy fixes will help you keep your skin looking gorgeous throughout these winter months and we are always just a phone call away for any skin care advice. Eliana has over 20 years of experience in skin care. She is the owner of Refinery21 Aesthetique and is always available for free consultations. Email her with any skin care related questions at eliana@refinery21studio.com We hope to see you all soon at the studio but in these challenging times, when keeping you and your family safe is the main priority, make some time to create a beautiful escape for you in your own home. Eliana has over 20 years of experience in skin care. She is the owner of Refinery21 Aesthetics


Problem No. 2: Georgia’s weather goes from Hot and Humid in the afternoon to Freezing and Dry in the evening. Going to such extreme variations in temperature could cause your skin to become flaky, red, irritated and dry. Quick Fix: Use a richer moisturizer that helps lock in moisture and acts like a protective barrier between you and the external aggressor. Another way is to use a silicone base primer under your make-up. Problem No.3: You are taking long hot baths and showers. There is nothing more relaxing than a hot bath in a cold winter day but hot water will strip all the oils of your skin leaving it dry and dehydrated. Quick Fix: Be fast! If you like hot water then take a quick under 10 minute shower. Any longer than 10 minutes will start stripping the beneficial oils of your skin. Apply a body cream immediately after as it will be better absorbed by warm, moist skin and will also help prevent dryness and irritation.

we customize every treatment

Problem No. 4: You have pumped up the heat. I get it, there’s nothing better than coming out of the cold in a hot and cozy room. Unfortunately, dry heat will evaporate the water out of your skin and will cause dryness and irritation. Quick Fix: Use hyaluronic acid based serums. They will help you hold on to the water in your skin and prevent dehydration. Another expert tip: Use a humidifier at night. It’ll add extra moisture to the air, which your skin can soak up while you sleep.


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Feb. 28, 2021

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Lovers of all things Italian take notice: Crispina Ristorante & Pizzeria is here to bring Italy to you. With two locations: One location in Vinings and another in Kennesaw, Crispina Ristorante & Pizzeria is close by for many Cobb County residents.


TM sat down with owners Andriano Djula & Raffaele Crispino to learn a little about what makes this Italian restaurant so good:

OTM: Why should customers choose your restaurant over other similar restaurants? What makes you different? Crispina: We like to bring Italy to you. When you walk into our restaurants, we want you to feel like you are in Italy. We have beautiful music playing, lights low for the romantic feel, fresh pasta made daily and homemade desserts. We are authentic Italy! OTM: How can customers order from you? Do you have in-person options? Crispina: Customers can order either in-store, through Uber Eats or carryout. We are still serving in person as well. OTM: How has COVID-19 affected your restaurant? Crispina: Covid-19 has affected our Restaurant in a couple of different ways. We haven’t been as busy as normal(before the pandemic hit). However, our takeout orders have skyrocketed. For our Vinings location, we were able to pull tables outside into the parking lot to keep the six-foot distance between tables. OTM: What is the most challenging part of your restaurant, especially now with Covid-19? Crispina: The most challenging part has been ensuring that everyone is following the social distancing guidelines. We make sure to follow all the rules and regulations when it comes to COVID-19. We want to ensure

our customers’ safety and we want to ensure the safety of our employees as well. OTM: Tell us a little bit about your background. What is your story? Crispina: We both have extensive backgrounds in the restaurant industry and decided it made perfect sense to combine the skills, knowledge and experiences that have been accumulated throughout the years into creating something monumental. At Crispina, our focus is on traditional, contemporary Italian cuisine originating from Naples and the country of Italy. OTM: What do you like about Cobb County? Crispina: We appreciate the love and support we’ve received from the community since we have opened. Everyone has been very welcoming and we are grateful for the acceptance into this wonderful community. OTM: What is the one thing that you want readers to know about your business? Crispina: ​At Crispina, we want you to have it all! We want you to enjoy an authentic Italian cuisine in a pleasant relaxing atmosphere. We pride ourselves in providing exceptional service as our standard. Everyone who walks through the door is family. We strive to give you a memorable dining experience. Let us bring Italy to you! Kimberly, our digital editor has eaten at the Vinings location several times and can vouch for the authentic Italian feel and AMAZING food. The Lasagna Della Nonna is her favorite. www.Crispinaatlanta.com

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When it comes to your child’s heart, you’ll go to any length to receive specialized, high-quality care, and in the Atlanta area, you don’t have to go far to find it. • With more than 50 pediatric cardiologists in more than 20 locations across the state, our Sibley Heart Center Cardiology clinics provide accessible outpatient care for your child’s cardiology needs. • Our outpatient cardiology clinics have one of the top three largest patient volumes in the country. • Our team of pediatric heart experts collaborates with other specialists to ensure that your child is receiving the best possible care.

Visit choa.org/heart for more information To make an appointment or referral call 404-256-2593 or 800-542-2233


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5 6


8 9

11 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

9U Smyrna Blue Slammers. 10U Smyrna Blue Slammers Christian Hughes - Campbell HS Hunter Nasrallah - Eagle Scout Parker Murray - Harrison HS

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12 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.



14 15

Mount Paran Christian Lady Eagles Varsity Lolly Johnson & Maggie Epps - Mt. Paran Jimmy Cyganek - Eagle Scout Lauren Render - Hillgrove HS Carter McWilliams - Eagle Scout

11. 12. 13 14. 15.

Cobb’s Rising Stars

2 3


Jade Stephens Tommy Bried ACE Aquatic Club Ryan Gold - Campbell HS Peyton Bumpers - Harrison Football Mason Hill - Eagle Scout



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Exp: Feb. 28, 2021

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Hundreds Of Happy Homeowners... And Counting!

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About the Cover Meet the Harbours.

We are so humbled by these and more than 70 other 5-star Google Reviews from our clients. Kathryn Harbour Real Estate team is top 10 in Cobb, and we would love to work with you. Considering buying or selling? We’ve got a video series for you. Scan the QR code to watch instantly or call us at 678.270.2242 to learn more.

Real estate agents, renovation experts and designers have become the new television superstars thanks to HGTV but did you know Cobb has their own “Reno-Realtor” couple?


athryn Harbour initially relocated from the north for the warmer climate in Georgia, to work at Emory University back in the early 1990s. Her circuitous career path and life experiences included stints at Accenture, caring full time for a loved one through a life-threatening cancer diagnosis and pre-med studies at Georgia State University. In 2003, she became a member of the SARS team of the Centers for Disease Control. Throughout her journey, Kathryn’s passion for helping people deepened. When life eventually led her to real estate, she was thrilled to be able to grow a business where she could guide and protect her clients through life-changing financial decisions and transactions. Born and raised in Smyrna with grandparents who resided in Vinings, Britt Harbour has deep roots in Cobb County. An entrepreneur since youth, he launched a lawn mowing business at age 12, then quickly jumped from pushing the mower to hiring other kids, growing the business through his own, oneon-one outreach to the community. As an adult Britt founded Grass Roots Irrigation, a Marietta business that employed locally and served clients throughout the Atlanta area. One of the more notable attributes of his business was his attention to detail. Rather than dig through ground in the quickest manner, Britt’s excavation spared the lives of trees on a property, often digging around the roots by hand in order to keep from damaging them. When Atlanta was hit with the great drought of 2007, Britt created a system for installing wells to irrigate and water lawns, saving the much-needed municipal water for desperate residents. Britt’s


work then expanded to site development and he gained a reputation for never taking shortcuts as well as delivering the best possible service to his clients. Now a contractor making structural changes, upgrades and renovations to all types of buildings, he carries this approach into his work, as well as to the real estate business he owns with his wife, Kathryn. When Kathryn and Britt wed, she moved to his home in Marietta where she became firmly planted in this community that she loves. Kathryn and Britt’s growing businesses allowed them to hire local professionals. They and their teams have always especially enjoyed helping people. Although their business ventures may have changed throughout the years one constant has remained, a focus on serving others. Kathryn and Britt continue to commit 10% of their business profits to local charitable organizations. Toys for Tots and backpack drives are, in “normal” school years, part of their effort to help local school children in need. Other endeavors include helping cancer patients and the homeless along with the fight to end human trafficking. In 2017, Kathryn’s raised over $10,000 to support the local charitable organization, Loving Arms Cancer Outreach. She was able to use her lifelong passion for dancing to compete in (and win) Dancing with the Stars. She now has upped the ante by serving on their board.

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Harbour Town


an antique vanity with a fantastic faucet coming out of the wall that stays! We’re restoring the newel post-cleaning and re-staining it. Floors throughout the house are being refinished and restored. We’re turning doorknobs from the older doors into a coat rack!

itting on a little hill at the gateway into the Marietta Square, you may have noticed a sweet American Foursquare house. It dates to the early 1900s and now is in the process of a special renovation. 268 Church Street is situated on the Southeast corner of North Marietta Parkway. It has been neglected for years but now its future is looking very bright! Realtor Kathryn Harbour, together with her husband, contractor Britt Harbour, have had a vision for this building for some time. Transforming it from a property very much in need of TLC to the splendor it once knew has been a true labor of love.

OTM: What are some of the challenges of restoration? Harbour: You mean besides the termite damage? That was an unexpected doozy. We need to maintain some of the building’s historic elements and that’s not always easy. For example, we’ve replaced all of the windows and we want to restore and use the interior trim around them. When you replace windows, they won’t be the exact same depth as before. So, we’re figuring out how to retrofit interior decoration.

With renovation near to completion, their doors will open January 1st. The Harbours see this move as a way to become even more active in the Cobb County community, a community they are deeply rooted and invested in. We had a chance to sit sat down with Kathryn Harbour to discuss their plans for the property:

OTM: When did you first notice 268 Church Street?

Harbour: Britt noticed it for sale two

years ago and saw its potential. I was a bit hesitant, which is typical, so by the time he convinced me that it was worth exploring, it was under contract. Luckily the person who bought it decided to sell it instead of renovating it and this time, the timing was right for us!

OTM: What was your plan for it? Harbour: We always knew it was the best

OTM: How was it working together as a couple doing a renovation project together? Harbour: This isn’t the first building we’ve renovated together. We’ve actually flipped plenty of homes. And throughout the processes there are typically at least a few times that I threatened to quit and the same amount of times that Britt wanted me to stop! But we trust one another and always discuss the options, look at pictures, talk it through and then agree. Of course, there is always some give-and-take. We find our middle ground, and ultimately it ends up better. OTM: What were some of the areas where you and Britt had differing views and what tricks did you use to reconcile them? Harbour: Initially we did not agree on exterior paint colors AT ALL. We used a highly trusted method to decide: we did rock/paper/scissors!

place for our office. Realizing that it needed renovating we saw the opportunity for betterment, not just for the building, but for the corner and for Marietta Square.

OTM: What are some of your favorite parts

OTM: How will moving your office to this location allow your business to offer more? Harbour: Once it’s safe to do so, we really look forward to meeting with people in person. Our goal is to have a real estate onestop-shop, so we’ll have a lender office in the building, too. Since 268 Church Street is centrally located, guests can stop in for business and then have lunch on Marietta Square. We’re also looking forward to hosting pre-events for things happening on the square, such as the Glover Park Concert Series, Must Ministries Annual Gobble Jog and New Year’s Eve at Marietta Square. We’ll also be offering real estate and business-related educational and networking events in the building. We plan to be a resource for both homeowners and home buyers and sellers.

OTM: What are some of your favorite parts of the building that are being restored?

Harbour: There are six fireplaces! Three of

them have gas inserts that we’re restoring to make them usable. The upstairs bathroom has

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of the building? Harbour: I loved this building when I first set foot inside, even though it was a disaster! I love the flow of it and love the 10’ ceilings and those fireplaces! The upstairs vanity that we’re keeping is also remarkable. One attractive feature is a secret third floor that’s accessed through what is Britt’s office. He can sneak away for his afternoon naps and not tell anyone!

OTM: What do you hope that people will notice about the newly restored building when they come to your office? Harbour: We hope they’ll be able to envision it in its former splendor and that somebody cared enough to give it its life back. Blood, sweat, and tears have gone into this renovation and restoration. And love. A lot of love. Our goal is to be there for our community in many ways and our door will always be open. Thank you to Britt and Kathryn, for helping keep the Cobb community alive and restored!


Leaving on a Jet Plane By Heather Meliski


recently traveled to Los Cabos for work and wanted to share with you my personal experience with flying in the time of COVID.

Before I get into my flight experience let me begin by sharing that like so many of you, our family has been incredibly cautious this year since three out of the four of us are considered high risk. We haven’t eaten dinner inside a restaurant since February or traveled to see our families who are all out of state. We haven’t had birthday parties (which are my favorite!) or dinner parties with friends. We have cancelled vacations. I mention all of this because I want you to know that I don’t take traveling right now lightly. Like a lot of you, I was a bit hesitant about traveling. In particular, the idea of being on an airplane with a lot of other people for a long flight concerned me since it is an enclosed space and social distancing isn’t possible. After experiencing it first-hand I feel very comfortable with flying and wanted to share my thoughts. I am admittedly a Delta girl so I chose to fly on Delta to Mexico. I believe that they are doing a phenomenal job. From the time I walked into the airport their commitment to health and safety was very apparent. They handed out face masks, there was hand sanitizer available everywhere, plexiglass has been installed at all counters, and typical areas of congestion (the line to check luggage, security, boarding) were clearly marked for social distancing. Everything is managed on your smartphone which you do not hand to anyone. The boarding process has changed so gone are the days of everyone hovering near the gate waiting for their zone to be called. Boarding is now done by row which greatly cuts down on crowding both at the gate and on the plane. (Can we please keep this change post-COVID? Asking for a friend.) As you board the plane you are handed an antibacterial hand wipe. The planes are incredibly clean. I have always been a person that wipes down their space on an aircraft so I’m very picky. In between flights Delta is doing a detailed clean inside the cabin and is also fogging the planes with a special cleaner. To help with air quality they have installed industrial-grade HEPA filters and the air in the cabin is recirculated every 2-6 minutes. One big difference with Delta is they are still blocking middle seats through early January. Most of their competitors are no longer doing this. Having the seat blocked made me feel more comfortable since I didn’t have to worry about a person next to me encroaching on my space. Having extra leg room and not having to share an arm rest were an added bonus. They are also strictly enforcing masks. The flight attendants make it very clear that they are to be worn unless eating or drinking, and they remind passengers often that the need to be worn properly over both the nose and chin. I chose to wear a cloth mask in the airport and switched to a KN95 mask for the flight. Delta also has what I have refer to as the ‘three strikes and you’re out’ policy – they will give you three warnings to wear


your mask properly and after that you are placed on a ‘No Fly’ list with the airline. While in flight you are given a plastic bag with a variety of snacks, a bottle of water, and hand sanitizer. If you are in Comfort + you are offered a selection of beer and wine, and in First Class you are also provided a larger variety of snacks. It’s important to note that alcohol is not currently available for purchase. Overall, I had a really safe and positive experience flying and I would feel comfortable doing it again. And I absolutely LOVED Los Cabos…but that’s a whole other article! I hope you have a safe and happy holiday season! Heather Meliski, Global Travel Senior Advisor 678-522-4495 heather@ yellowshoetravel.com YellowShoeTravel.com 1517251236924_fb Yellow Shoe Travel - Heather Meliski @yellowshoetravelheather

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Lifestyle Report By Tara Hanover


Saving Beauty

o one expected our world to stop and change as drastically as it has this year. Thanks to COVID-19 we have all had to find a “new normal”. Some businesses were deemed “essential” and kept going, pivoting and learning as they kept us all safe and served. Others had to shut down and some had to adjust A LOT…figuring out new ways to do things while still doing their best to provide a quality service. OTM salutes you all. We are so thankful to all of our Cobb businesses. However, one industry that has really taken a hit is the professional beauty industry. Let’s face it, it is really hard to keep a physical distance in a business where touching is essential. It is no secret that the salon and spa industry is near and dear to my heart. So this issue of the LifeStyle Report is dedicated to these dedicated professionals. Our community’s salons and spa’s have not taken this lightly. They have stepped up to the challenge. Instead of hearing it from me, let me allow them to tell you for themselves:

Amy Valerio, The Body Glow Body Glow is committed to our loyal clients by providing a safe, clean and healthy personal spray tan experience. We will greet you at the door wearing a face mask and a hidden smile. Appointments are required for services as we welcome one customer at a time into our salon. A signed COVID waiver is required before all appointments. Spray tans are rotated between two rooms as an extra measure of safety, in addition to sanitizing all surfaces, equipment and tools.

Cheri Dourron, Bellissimo Aesthetics

We clean all frequently touched surfaces in the spa using medical grade cleaning agents throughout the day and between each client visit. All linens are changed between clients. We continue to perform proper hygiene by hand washing before and after client contact, gloving and masking. In addition, we have hand sanitizer for use by staff and clients. Clients are encouraged to wear their masks to the Spa. We phone screen all clients prior to thier appointment. Upon entry to the Spa, touchless temperature checks are performed and a series of COVID related questions to ensure that everyone entering our facility is healthy. If you or a family member currently feel sick, we ask that you stay home, reschedule and call your physician.

Kevin Isenberg, My SALON Suites Acworth Visiting your beauty professional at My SALON Suite Acworth ensures a safe experience without sacrificing a pleasing aesthetic and friendly environment. Each of our individual luxury suites boasts insulated floor to ceiling walls. We follow strict sanitation protocols. Perhaps, most importantly, we have invested in a bipolar ionization filtration system in every HVAC unit in order to mitigate virus and infection exposure. Beauty and the refresh experience, which comes from visiting your stylist or esthetician, doesn’t have to be put on hold during these challenging times.

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Kamelia Stimphil, One Energy Wellness Spa Upon entering the facility both team members and guests are required to wear a mask, have a temperature check, and wash their hands thoroughly before completing any paperwork or beginning their treatment. In adherence to CDC guidelines, our waiting room/ sanctuary is only used by one client at a time or when it’s booked for a sanctuary experience. In addition, the cucumber water has been removed and individual bottled water is served instead. A thirty-minute transition time between clients is used to thoroughly sanitize each room after treatment. The perpetual use of temperature checks, masks, hand sanitizers and surface cleaning products are reinforced with a weekly facility-wide cleaning by a professional sanitation process called Environshield. The safety of our guests is our number one priority at OEW. All of the CDC guidelines are being implemented and maintained.

Lynda Baker, Co-owner and founder, true salon | spa We have always been committed to the health, safety and wellness of our team, guests and community. Our industry is held to extremely high cleanliness and sanitation standards and we’ve always strived to exceed those requirements. Fortunately, we know much more now about COVID-19 than we did just a few months ago but at true, we still adhere to strict guidelines recommended by both the Professional Beauty Association and the CDC. Before we reopened in May, we removed half the operable stations in our salon to ensure guests would always be more than the six-foot recommended distance from every other guest. We also placed breathe guards everywhere clients might be less than six feet from working team members and require face shields to be worn by all employees interacting with guests or performing services. Like most businesses, masks are required to be worn properly by all team members and guests at all times along with temperature checks for all. Any employee that travels must have a COVID-19 test before they return to work and provide the salon | spa with proof of a negative result. Our entire space is fogged with a virus killing mist a few times per week and we limit capacity to 40%, rather than the recommended 50%, including employees on site.

Saadat Masoudi, Evene Day Spa

In 18 years of service, safety has never taken a back seat at Evene Day Spa. Our number one priority is to ensure a safe and clean environment that allows us to serve our clients with peace of mind. Bookings are spread out to promote social distancing between services as well as leave ample time for thorough sanitation protocols. Our spa and staff follow the guidelines of CDC very carefully, supplied with PPE such as face masks, shields, gloves, disinfectant wipes, and spray. Appointments and masks are enforced and temperature checks are mandatory upon arrival. Although we wish the circumstances were different we are very aware of the pandemic and only wish to cultivate a healthy, relaxing space. Let’s spread love, not germs! Continued on page 28


Lifestyle Report Continued from page 27

Chuck Paas, Spa La Paz

I know that many deem the beauty industry as an essential business and I am so glad that our OTM family of salons and spas take the health and safety of our community so seriously. Also, don’t forget, the holidays are quickly approaching and a gift card ALWAYS fits.

We temperature check our staff each morning and do the same for each client when they arrive while scheduling patients at a pace by which we can socially distance those guests in our waiting area.

Get up, Dress up, Show up and NEVER EVER Give up!

Spa La Paz requires masks or facial coverings while in our waiting area and while in the treatment room, unless of course we are performing a facial treatment.

We telephone screen clients when possible and have guests answer a pre-treatment questionnaire about their recent medical/health experiences.

If you would like your business featured in the LifeStyle Report please email: tara@ourtownmonthly.com

Each treatment room is sanitized after each guest leaves the room and our waiting room is sprayed and wiped down throughout the day.


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Becoming a

Georgia Peach

By Dr. Janelle OD Your Eye Care Expert Founder/CEO of Brilliant Eyes Vision Center


ailing from Michigan, I am a Northern girl who adores Southern charm. I told myself once I hit 20 years in “Hotlanta”, I would officially become a Georgia Peach, and I’ve got 6 years to go! I am a wife, mom of two adorable children, and your local optometrist, specializing in dry eye disease with a passion for “saving sight” and mentoring future doctors. I am the owner of Brilliant Eyes Vision Center and Premier Eye Spa: a staple in the Cobb Community, promoting “healthy eyes for a healthy life”, and providing over 5000 mentoring hours for students in the Cobb County CTAE work-based learning program. My life mantra, “service is in my DNA”, compelled me to extend my mentorship beyond Cobb County. In 2017, my baby sister, Dr. Joya, DDS, and I founded a 501c3 non-profit, S.C.O.R.E, Inc. wherein we aim to expose, empower, and encourage minority girls to pursue STEM careers. To date, we have awarded $12,500 in scholarships with active partnerships that service all of Metro-Atlanta and Charlotte, including TiE Young Entrepreneurs (TYE), Buy-Cobb, and Code313.

of the symptoms associated with computer vision syndrome. Schedule an appointment to find out which type of eyewear is right for you.

Replace the liquor. Wine Spritzers are a better choice. The wine typically has a lower alcohol content, paired with sparkling water and fresh fruit to keep the calories low. Overall, better for your eyes (and belly)! Schedule a dry eye evaluation & consultation to determine the root cause of your discomfort. My unique approach, called Infrared Imaging, will diagnose the direct cause, then enable our office to formalize a customized, dry eye treatment plan to reduce discomfort. In the new year, stop by to see our state-of-the-art dry eye treatments! Our “new normal” of constant computer usage, mask wearing, and increased alcohol consumption (direct effect of homeschooling your children, lol) is exacerbating the symptoms of dry eye disease. If you are experiencing frequent burning, tearing, a gritty sensation, styes, and red eyes, you probably have dry eye disease. Three tips to keep your eyes white and youthful:

Invest in a quality mask. Masking is especially important in reducing the spread of the Corona Virus. However, an ill-fitting mask can worsen dry eye symptoms. When you breathe out and your mask is loose-fitting, air can flow up and across the surface of your eyes, encouraging evaporation of your natural tears. Prevent Computer Vision Syndrome, which is blurry vision, eye strain and dry eye. When looking at a screen, it is recommended that you stop every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds, then blink. This will reduce excessive strain on your eyes and increase hydration to the front surface of the eye. Blue light anti-fatigue glasses will eliminate many


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Dr. Janelle OD Your Eye Care Expert Founder/CEO of Brilliant Eyes Vision Center Founder/Clinical Director of Premier Dry Eye Spa & Cosmetic Eye Care Co-Founder of S.C.O.R.E, INC. STEM 501c3 Connect with me on LinkedIn Subscribe to my YouTube Channel http://www.brillianteyesvisioncenter http://premierdryeyespa.com/ https://www.wescore.org

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Maintaining your sanity and energy through the “PAND-olidays” of 2020 By Ashley Inglese


t’s the holidays...during a pandemic! Even though the holidays are a welcomed happy distraction from all the stressors going on in the world, they tend to be a stressful time in and of themselves. Let’s talk about some ideas on how to stay healthy during this time. No, we aren’t focused on your weight and we wanted to give you a few applicable tips to manage your overall physical, mental, and emotional health and wellness during this time. There are a few {albeit great tips} that we hear each year like drinking half your body weight in ounces of water (for example, if I weight 140 pounds, I drink 70 ounces of water), get enough sleep, limit wine and sugar (yeah right), move your body at least 30 minutes a day, and eat lots of fruits and veggies.

mailing. And God forbid you forget your second Aunt Mary. After letting go of a task that didn’t bring me joy I feel huge relief. What’s that thing you’ve always done that doesn’t serve you anymore {or maybe never did}? Let it go, Elsa!

Here are just a few attainable strategies to maintaining your sanity and energy through the PAND-olidays of 2020:

5. Move your body intuitively in a way that feels good for you that day. If you don’t feel like lifting weights and prefer to go for a long walk with a friend instead, do that. Having a routine and schedule is great but it’s okay to listen to your body and move intuitively instead. Remember, the endorphin release you get from exercise is great for mental and emotional health so whether that’s sitting in a HOTWORX sauna by yourself for 30 minutes or getting outside in nature, it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you feel better afterwards - and you 100% will!

1. You are the sum of the 5 people you surround yourself with. This includes social media! Control your FOMO, comparison, and anxiety by limiting your media and social media consumption as well as making sure that the accounts you follow infuse your day with messages that make you feel good about yourself. If certain accounts make you feel anxious or unworthy, do yourself a favor and unfollow! 2. Give up one thing that doesn’t bring you joy. A few years ago I released myself of sending Christmas cards. I love getting them in the mail but, for me, it was a major stressor picking the best photo, shelling out money to order cards, updating mailing addresses, purchasing stamps, and


3. Rather than focusing on “healthy” foods, or foods that are “good” or “bad” try focusing on foods that bless your body. Before eating that thing, ask yourself how you will feel afterwards. Will this fuel you and give you energy or will it make you feel tired and sluggish? Does this food have nutrients in it that will help you to feel strong throughout the day? 4. Get dressed and put your shoes on! Even if you are working from home, you are much more likely to take a quick brain break by going for a walk if you already have shoes on!

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ike the twist of a dagger delivering the final jab of 2020, COVID & the Flu are expected to increase during the holiday season; therefore, no large gatherings inside without potentially dire consequences for those at risk.

Oh, 2020, how we detest you. But as humans do, we adjust and improvise. Instead of in-person holiday parties and family gatherings, here are five ideas for interacting with those you love without risking increased exposure.

1. Virtual White Elephant

The Go Game is a virtual event planning company. According to caroo. com, “Let The Go Game use their years of event expertise to help you design a virtual extravaganza appropriate for any holiday and any occasion. These event rockstars will cover all the details and leave all the fun up to you. Their event hosts make sure you, the event host, enjoy the virtual event as much as any guest”. The Go Game is known for putting on unique virtual happy hours and their popular Game Show virtual events.

4. The Festivus For The Rest Of Us

I cannot think of a better virtual holiday party theme than Seinfeld’s Festivus For The Rest Of Us if for only one reason - The Airing Of Grievances. You better block off extra time for this one. 2020 is a year of full of grievances. And why not challenge everyone to make their own Festivus Pole and dress up as their favorite Seinfeld character?

Here is a virtual twist on this ever-popular holiday game. The premise is the same (everyone brings random, hilarious, or otherwise traditionally “unwanted” gifts). What differs is people drop off and pick up gifts from a designated location (host’s house). Then everyone meets online at the set time to open their gifts.

5. New Year’s Eve Virtual Party Let’s not forget New Year’s Eve. The new year brings in the hope of a fresh start, a chance to shed off the challenging year 2020 and bring in what is hopefully the better year of 2021.

2. Virtual Secret Santa

How about a French theme with a virtual backdrop of the Eiffel Tower, French Champagne, and French pastries?

Very similar to the virtual White Elephant, but people know who they are buying a present for then drop off and pick up their gifts at the specific location. Virtual Secret Santa also works well without of town invitees because people can mail presents.

3. The Go Game Virtual Parties

This idea is perfect for businesses and organizations looking to keep in the holiday spirit without bringing too many people together in one place.

Or maybe an NYC Big Apple Theme with Apple Martinis and watching the Ball Drop at NYT Square with some Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, Billy Joel, or Jay Z playing? You can fill hours with NYC born artists. Whatever your theme, virtual holiday gatherings can bring people together even if you can’t see them in person and maybe save a few lives in the process.

Kimberly Watkins-Swenk is a social media professional and also OTM’s Digital Content Director & Editor. Kimberly and her family split their time between Smyrna and Durango, Colorado. She is married to Jason and has two sons, Luke and Chase, and two cats she loves more than anything


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uring this season of reflection and thanksgiving, Loving Arms Cancer Outreach is so thankful for the support of the community throughout this very challenging year.

It is wild considering a year ago no one had ever heard of COVID-19 and believed a worldwide pandemic only happened in the movies. However, it is real and has bulldozed its way into our lives and has forever changed the landscape. Everything and everyone we know has been changed. As we navigate through the unknown in our ever-changing world, some things have remained the same. One such thing is cancer with its hateful uncertainties and unfortunately COVID has only made it worse! Another thing that has not changed is the dedication Loving Arms has for helping cancer patients. We have continued to provide emotional and financial support throughout this pandemic. We have a weekly support group via Zoom for all cancer patients. We talk about the hard stuff, the good stuff and support each person at their point of need. We also continue to provide food and gas as well as assistance with utility bills. There are so many people out of work and cancer patients are at the top of the list for being quarantined. They will be isolated longer than the average person because of their weakened immune systems from chemotherapy and radiation.

We will feel the effects of this pandemic long after it’s over. Again, we are so grateful for the many organizations and foundations that have provided funding for us to assist the patients in our community. Organizations like the Cobb County Commissioners who helped us feed hundreds of Cobb County cancer patients, The Atlanta United Way for helping provide funds to pay utility bills for Metro Atlanta Cancer patients and Select Cobb for funds to keep our employees working for our patients. There are other supporters like Northwest Georgia Oncology, Greystone Power, and Cobb EMC to name a few. We want to thank the aforementioned as well as those not mentioned. As we bring this year to an end and look toward a new year, we ask for you to consider making a donation to Loving Arms Cancer Outreach. We have not been able to have our regular fundraisers that account for a big part of our overall budget. Therefore, we have a shortfall this year. We need the community to rally so we can continue helping cancer patients, not only financially but emotionally as well. There is nothing like being in the fight of your life and having no resources available for a lifeline. We do not want our patients to lack their basic needs as they battle cancer and the effects of COVID. Please donate https://secure.givelively.org/donate/loving-arms-cancer-outreachincorporated/2020-president-of-loving-arms-appeal Or Donations can be made at lovingarms.support/donate

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Real Estate in OUR TOWN

ur W o Y “

inter To-Do l


By Deborah Ratchford


inter is just around the corner and you know what that meanscreating a Winter To-Do list.

Will you make a snowman? Go skiing? Maybe snowboard? Whatever fun events you may have planned, make sure to also include a few home maintenance tasks. The following tasks will help you save costs this winter and keep the warmth in! Install a door sweep Have you noticed that some doors leave a small gap between the bottom of the door and the floor? This is to prevent floors from being scratched, however if the gap is sizeable enough it can lead to heat loss. You can fix this by installing door sweeps! These sweeps won’t harm your floors and will close any gaps to keep the heat in. Programmable thermostat While it’s great to have the house heated to your perfect temperature when you are home, there’s not really a reason to have your house warm when everyone’s at work or school...or when sleeping. Having a programmable thermostat can reduce costs by setting schedules for the heater! You can also simply set this schedule and make reminders for yourself to save costs. Insulate, Insulate, Insulate Having the proper insulation can make a great difference in keeping the cold out and the warmth in! However, some older homes may lack proper insulation, so make sure to get a consultation and maybe bulk up your home’s insulation. Winterize Your Windows Many windows tend to let heat seep out but there’s two ways to directly combat this: temporary storm windows or an insulator kit. The insulator kit will provide films to cover your windows and is a cheaper alternative to storm windows, but both are great options for insulating your windows. Cover the Windows Applying new windows or films to windows can be intimidating so you can also combat heat leaks by getting insulating curtains. Not only can

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these curtains help prevent heat leaks but they can also be stylish decor to give the room a warm feeling. Reverse Ceiling Fans Did you know that the direction your ceiling fans are turning actually effects how heat travels in your home? If you can change your ceiling fan direction, make sure they’re spinning clockwise, as this will make warm air lower. Clean the Gutters & Drain Outdoor Plumbing Buildup in your gutters can lead to still water, which has a high chance of freezing. This also applies to any outdoor plumbing you may have like hoses and a sprinkler system. Try to make sure that there’s no water in either of these systems when the colder months come our way because they might freeze over. Sweep out the Chimney One of the best parts of winter is sitting in front of a cozy fire but you have to make sure you do it safely! If you burn log fires at a lower temperature, tar can actually start to build up in your chimney. Make sure that before each winter starts, get your chimney swept, cleaned and inspected for safety to avoid any potential fires. Please feel free to contact me with any of your Real Estate questions. Deborah Ratchford 678-570-4779 Debratchford@kw.com


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Let’s Follow Our Dogs Lead into a New Year


ach year during this season, we reflect on our past and look forward to the possibilities of the future. What did we learn? What did we accomplish? What challenges did we overcome? Where did we fall short? What do we want to do in the future? And so forth… As we charge into 2021, doing everything possible to move beyond the reality that was 2020, I find myself asking “What would life look like if we were more like our pups?” and I am reminded of an article I read and saved some years ago. It was written by Debbie Gisonni and published on huffpost.com in 2014. The following excerpt is from that article: 10 Things Dogs Teach Us About What Matters Most: 1. Live in the moment - Whether they’re eating a bowl of kibble or chasing a ball, dogs live for the present moment. The past is gone; you can’t do anything about it. The future is unknown. The only thing you can really enjoy and affect is the present moment. 2. Overcome fear with love - There are plenty of stories about frightful, aggressive dogs who transformed into kind, gentle dogs after they were placed in a loving environment. Dogs can overcome their fear and insecurities through love, and so can humans. 3. Don’t hold grudges - A dog will never be angry with you because you didn’t give him a treat after dinner last night. Holding a grudge weighs you down emotionally and keeps you from moving forward in life. Let grudges go and you will create your own personal freedom. 4. Play every day - Dogs love to play, which usually involves lots of movement, whether it’s running, chasing or jumping. This is a good reminder for us to play and move our bodies every day as well. 5. Jump for joy when you’re happy - We live in a miraculous world where the sun comes up every day, flowers bloom and seasons change. There is much to jump for joy about.


6. Accept yourself - Can you imagine a terrier wishing she were a boxer

or a poodle envious of a collie’s mane or a pug wanting the nose of a greyhound? How boring it would be if all dogs (or all humans) looked and behaved alike! Love everything about yourself -- the good, the bad and the ugly! 7. Enjoy the journey - When dogs go for a car ride, they stick their head out the window, smell the air and feel the wind against their fur. They don’t care where they’re going. They’re just enjoying the journey. 8. Drink lots of water - Dogs instinctively know when their bodies need water. They usually stop eating when they’re full and won’t eat anything that seems poisonous to them. 9. Be loyal and dependable - Dogs are pack animals. They stick with their pack. They play with their pack. They defend their pack. This is a great reminder for all of us to be conscientious members of our human pack. 10. Love unconditionally - No matter what, dogs love you unconditionally. Loving others unconditionally is a difficult task, but it’s the one that would surely make the world a better place if we all just tried. For the entire article, see our website here: www.k-9coach.com/dogslife So, here’s to 2021 and living like a dog! Thanks everyone. Be safe and wag on.

Amber, Jarrette & the K-9 Coach Team

Photo by Baptist-Standaert-Unsplash

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Out of the darkness comes light and a small Cheagle was born. By Evie Love or many years, my brother, sister and I have asked my parents for a dog. No matter how much we promised to care for the dog ourselves, they always answered, no. After months of quarantine, we rescued Pam, who was a tiny 4.5-pound three-month (part chihuahua part Beagle) bundle of joy. From the first moment we saw her my family and I instantly fell in love and knew she was ours forever. But just like the pandemic, she is definitely a challenge. Even though I brought home a fun loveable puppy, I also brought home a selfish, obnoxious dog. I didn’t quite realize how much she would eat, sleep, pee, poop and chew on everything.

Celebrating 10 Years in North Atlanta!


Pam is like that person who always wants to be the center of attention and wants to have the spotlight (you know someone like that, right?). She is a sweet, lovable puppy but can also be a “brat”. However, as much as Pam is annoying at times, she still loves to run, play and she lets us dress her up. She wears sunglasses, cowboy hats, dresses, shirts and onesies. Pam is also quite the troublemaker. She loves to eat EVERYTHING...sticks, paper, carpet, my face-basically everything you can think of. One of the things I was so excited for when I dreamed of having a dog was to do have it sleep with me. So, I tried it with Pam. No surprise, I couldn’t sleep. Why? Well, she is like the biggest heater in the whole world. I finally drifted off to sleep just to get woken up at 4:00 in the morning by licks in the face. It was nothing like in the movies, when the kids are so happy to be woken up by their dog. I didn’t feel the joy shown by those kids in the moment. But since Pam is a super cuddly and sweet dog, I’ll let her get away with it. So, am I happy with my perfectly imperfect (Pam)demic pup? Yes!

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Evie is a Cobb middle school student who loves volleyball, soccer, her family and friends. She’s kind, funny, determined and hardworking. She pushes herself to achieve her goals and last year made principals honor roll.

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Best Friends Animal Society Offers Tips to Keep Pets Safe By Hannah Stember


ike everything else in 2020, this holiday season will look quite different. There will likely be fewer folks around the dinner table, friends may be connecting on FaceTime, and grandma might be joining by Zoom, sadly without her famous sweet potatoes. Although there might be fewer human visitors, one thing that’s certain is that many American homes have newly adopted dogs and cats to be thankful for, and pets are grateful to be spending the holiday in foster homes. Many people are counting their blessings with a pet in their home for the first time. For this reason, Best Friends Animal Society hopes to help make this a happy, healthy holiday for all family members by offering a few special precautions to protect our pets: An active home full of holiday guests can increase the chance of your pets becoming loose, so it’s important that your pet is has an identification tag with current contact information.



Be aware that increased visitors and lights can cause stress.

As your home fills with guests and parties, maintain a normal schedule of walks, treats, and alone time, as well as providing a warm, safe, quiet place that can act as a retreat.



Curb the tendency to give your dog or cats human food. Any change in your pets diet may give them indigestion, diarrhea or worse.

Foods that people should avoid giving their pets include chocolate, grapes, onions, poultry bones, eggnog and fruitcake. Call your veterinarian with any questions about what food may be toxic to your pet.



As Dogs and Cats Are Newly Adopted or Fostered Amid COVID


Holiday plants such as lilies, holly, mistletoe and poinsettias are known to be toxic to pets and should be kept out of reach.

The water your live Christmas tree sits in is a breeding ground for bacteria and can be extremely harmful. Keep the water covered at all times with a thick skirt.



Tape electrical cords safely to the wall and make sure that all electrical connections, batteries, and outlets are concealed.

Tinsel, ribbon, metal hooks and glass can obstruct or perforate the intestine if ingested. Use alternatives such as paper or plastic ornaments with plastic hooks and hang dangerous decorations out of reach from your pet.


Quickly dispose of wrapping paper, packages, and bows after opening presents and put children’s toys out of reach of pets after playtime to avoid accidental ingestion by pets.


Best Friends works collaboratively with Atlanta-area shelters, animal welfare organizations and individuals to save the lives of pets in shelters in the region and all across the country. Visit: bestfriendsatl.org

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