Our Town Monthly December 21/January 22

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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 DECEMBER 2021/JAN 22

! s y a d i l o H y p p a H ourtownmonthly.com

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In This Issue D E C E M B E R 2 0 21 JANUARY 2022

About the Photographer..........................8 Looking to Brighten Your Skin During the Cooler Months? Eliana Ocheseanu Has the Tips for You...........13

15 Cover Story Amy Mollohan

13

Cover Story: Amy Mollohan wants to help you Live a Beautiful Life.................................15 Cobb’s Rising Stars! ................................21 Talkin’ Sports The Comeback We All Needed.......................22 The Club Pilates Difference....................25

Beauty Brighten Winter Skin

The Oaks at West Cobb. Assisted Living and Memory Care is OPEN!....26 The Smyrna Wellness Collective...30 & 31

38/39

22

Holiday Gift Ideas Local Picks!

Bring People Together for the Holidays Our Town’s Digital Director Shares How Through Social Media.....................................34 Cruising Into 2022 With OTM’s, Heather Meliski..........................37 Need Some Ideas for the Holiday Gifting? Check out Our Town’s Holiday Picks!....38 & 39

Talkin’ Sports The Braves Win!

The Holiday Season has Plenty of Buyers Deborah Ratchford has everything you should know in Real Estate in Our Town...................41

32 Travel Come Sail Away PAGE 6

35 Digital Bringing Everyone Together

You Wishing nes O d e v o L r and You Holiday s u o y o J a Year! w e N y p p & a Ha onthly own M ~ Our T

Our Town


Our Town onthly M

in this issue

F A M I LY L I F E S T Y L E N EW S M AG A Z I N E

STERLING

Publishers/Editors Our Town is published and direct mailed monthly to prestigious homes in the Our Town is published and direct mailed monthly to prestigious homes West Cobb Area. Opinions expressed by the editorial staff are their own and do not Linda Demery & Lori McLinden

in Cobb County. Opinions expressednecessarily by the editorial staff their own reflect the opinions of the publisher. Our are Town reserves the right to Graphics and Design edit and or reject any editorial or advertising content. Our Town is not responsible and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher. Our Town Terry Tanner for errors in advertising beyond the cost of the space or for the validity of claims made reservesTanner the right toInc. edit and or reject any editorial or advertising Graphics, by advertisers. content. Our Town is not responsible for errors in advertising beyond Account Executive Entire contents copyright 2018 by Our Town. Reproduction in whole or in sara@ourtownmonthly.com the Sara costYoung, of the space or for the validity of claims made by advertisers. part is forbidden in any media without prior written permission from the publisher. Feature Photographer Entire contents copyright 2021 by Our Town. Reproduction in whole Our Town Monthly or in part is forbidden in any media without prior written permission from the publisher. 109 Anderson Street Contributing Writers

Suite 109 Marietta, GA 30060

PUBLISHER/MANAGING EDITOR 678-337-7844 Tara Hill Hanover Fax: 678-337-7825 info@ourtownmonthly.com

ESTATES

Senior Living Communities

SAFE

SOCIAL

www.ourtownmonthly.com EDITOR/SPORTS CONTRIBUTOR Justin Hanover

DIGITAL EDITOR/SOCIAL MEDIA CONTRIBUTOR Kimberly Watkins-Swenk GRAPHICS AND DESIGN Jules Fandos ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES West Cobb Sara Young sara@ourtownmonthly.com Smyrna/Vinings/Galleria/Cumberland Misty Flanders-White misty@ourtownmonthly.com North/South Cobb Stephanie Mellom stephanie@ourtownmonthly.com FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHER Brooke Martin CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Eliana Ocheseanu Club Pilates West Cobb Karen Cabral Heather Meliski Deborah Ratchford PO Box 813610 Smyrna, GA 30081-8610 (678)337-7844 info@ourtownmonthly.com www.ourtownmonthly.com FB: Our Town Monthly

Our Town

STERLING ESTATES COMMUNITIES STRONGER THAN EVER Full Continuum of Living, IL Cottages and Apartments to AL & Memory Care, All on One 28 Acre Neighborhood Campus

CALL US FOR TOURS “What I’ve learned is that all communities talk about wellness and socialization… but they don’t have the wellness center, greenspace, programming and staffing that Sterling Estates has. No one can match what Sterling provides for their residents. My parents are thriving at Sterling Estates… Bet yours will too” - Susan S.

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Wishing You a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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rooke Martin is the owner of Brooke Martin Photography and is located in the Kennesaw area. She specializes in children, graduating seniors, and family photography. Brooke also enjoys commercial photography where she is the photographer for several clothing lines across the US. Her work can be seen in magazines (most recently Tatler Magazine), ads, Neiman Marcus’ website, and on many social media platforms. With a love for photography since she was a child, Brooke started her business 15 years ago while she lived in Houston, Texas. After relocating to Georgia 8 years ago, she continued her business by offering natural light photography to families and seniors across the Atlanta area.

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The Science of Beauty

By Eliana Ocheseanu, the Skin Whisperer at Refinery21 Aesthetique

N

ow that the cooler days have given way to crisp winter nights and the holiday season is chock- full of food, drinks, too much to do, too little sleep and too much stress, the result is your skin gets the winter blues just when you want it to look more sparkly and bright. This season is more important than ever to keep your skin hydrated. The drop in temperature and dry air associated with the winter months suck out the moisture from your skin, leaving it more vulnerable and prone to flakiness and peeling than usual. If you already have an underlying skin condition such as acne or rosacea, it’s imperative to use proper skin care ingredients to prevent these conditions from getting worse during the winter. Glycerin is a humectant that actively draws moisture from the air and actively binds it to the skin. Skin care products that contain glycerin are goopier and heavier than those who don’t, so don’t use it if you struggle with acne or oily skin. Give your skin a couple of weeks to get used to it and the difference will be soon noticeable. Hyaluronic Acid, is present in almost every tissue and organ in the body. In fact, almost 50% of the body’s hyaluronic acid is found in skin tissue and helps keep skin plump, supple, and smooth. However, as we age, the body creates less and less of it. Skin loses elasticity, dries out more easily, becomes thinner, and takes longer to repair itself. High, medium, and low molecular weights of hyaluronic acid offer the perfect solution for restoring moisture to aging skin as well as helping prevent dehydration due to seasonal changes or cold, dry environmental conditions.

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Inside Our Smyrna Boutique in the Shops at Belmont

FROM WINTER SKIN BLUES TO SPARKLY & BRIGHT Shea Butter is fat extracted from the nuts of the shea tree native to sub-Saharan Africa. Traditionally, parts of the shea tree were famous for their anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, relieving health issues like ulcers, nasal congestion and, unsurprisingly, skin problems. Naturally rich in vitamins A, E and F, it moisturizes, revitalizes, and softens the skin. The shea butter has anti-inflammatory benefits and helps heal cuts, scrapes and bruises as well as fighting break-outs, making it safe for use on acneic skin. Sodium PCA, also known as sodium pyroglutamic acid, is often synthetically produced, though it can also be extracted from soybean, coconut oil, fruits, and some grasses. Sodium PCA is a humectant naturally found in the skin’s protective barrier, binding moisture to the skin’s cells. It restores the skin barrier. Sodium PCA is not only non-irritating but it actually can help reduce inflammation. This makes it an especially great choice for people dealing with conditions such as eczema, rosacea or acne. Don’t forget that skin changes with the seasons and so should your skin care. Here’s to a healthy, happy and safe holiday season and to beautiful glowing skin! Sources: Skin Deep Magazine, LeMieuxskincare.com Eliana has over 20 years of experience in skin care. She is the owner of Refinery21 Aesthetique and she is always available for free consultations. Email her with any skin care related questions at eliana@refinery21studio.com

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Our Town


COVER STORY

AMY MOLLOHAN

T

his holiday season provides us a respite from a tumultuous time in many of our lives. While as recently as a year ago, many of us wanted to escape the quarantine and our houses. But now is an opportunity to remember that our house represents something greater than just shelter. Our house is a home where we live and eventually gather with our friends and family. Amy Mollohan from Ansley Real Estate has worked in real estate for many years, helping her clients find these homes - places to build memories with our loved ones. And as she says, to help clients live a beautiful life. We asked Amy a few questions about her business and the clients she has worked with.

Q&A

Amy, why did you get into the real estate business?

I absolutely love working with people and am obsessed with real estate, so it was an easy transition. And I enjoy nothing more than helping someone on the journey to prepare their home for sale. From staging to photography, to colors and to marketing, I walk my clients through the process and to make their home stand out. We make the home look as beautiful as possible and find that special next place to call home.

What is it about the holiday season and homes that you love the most? I love the layering of memories with friends and family that the holiday season brings. The anticipation of time together coupled with the display of decorations of seasons past evoke memories of cherished times for me. The preparation for the holiday season can be a journey, and it allows a break from the hectic speed of life and the opportunity to focus on time spent with loved ones. This year, in an effort to stay true to the aesthetics of the farm, Darla Rublacalva of petal.ology, helped me keep a natural look on my front porch with salvaged materials from the land and surrounding areas. She focused on magnolia leaves, cypress leaves and king sized pine cones for a natural look. But of course, I came back and had to infuse a little glitter!

Tell us about the clients and friends who appear here with you.

This year I helped Ellen Smith of Marietta purchase a gorgeous beach home in Jekyll Island and while she won’t be able to spend the entire season there, she shared that joy in her Marietta home in pretty aqua colors and festive decorating with help from Cheryl Draa of Cheryl Draa Interior Designs. Shannon Kraal, of Marietta, also purchased a lovely resale in West Cobb on the lake in Hargage Pointe. Having a lifelong love of Christmas, she enjoyed decorating her front porch for the first time this year using her signature blue and white plates and antique Santas.

What are you looking forward to in 2022?

With my recent move to Ansley Real Estate, I hope to utilize these additional resources to truly help my clients with the best marketing in the area. We have a full staff that helps elevate every property to look its best, regardless of price point. I can’t wait to bring this added advantage to my listing clients throughout 2022. If you would like to Live a Beautiful Life, contact Amy at Ansley Real Estate to help you to get started on that path in home ownership.

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Amy uses her experience to help clients through the real estate process, to smoothly sell their homes and help buyers find the home of their dreams. After graduating from Georgia Tech, her early career was focused on data networking sales within the telecom industry. She would take a number of years to raise her children and immerse herself into volunteer roles, entering real estate at first as an investor, then an agent and now as a real estate business owner. Amy served as Executive Director of the Paulding Education Foundation; four years as a board member for the Center for Family Resources; and, as PTA President at both Cheatham Hill Elementary and Pine Mountain Middle schools. She was also a foster parent, and on the foundation boards for McClure Middle School, Lovinggood Middle School, Hillgrove High School and the Kennesaw Mountain High School Magnet program. Amy and her husband, Stacey, an attorney, live in Cobb County with their four children. amy@mollohanrealestate.com 678-570-0550

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Cobb’s Rising Stars! 2 1

3

5 4

6

8 7 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

ANNALIA JANSONS - Marietta High School Mt. Paran VOLLEYBALL TEAM RYAN McKEE - Kennesaw Mountain HS REGGIE GIVHAN - N. Cobb High School HANNAH TURNER - Harrison High School

Our Town

9

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6. REMIER SMITH - Campbell High School 7. GEETHA KRISHNA - Marietta High School 8. VARSITY XC TEAM - Whitefield Academy 9. FRANCIE CARSON - Marietta High School 10. SAMANTHA McGARITY - Harrison High

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Talkin’ Sports

By Justin Hanover

T

What a Long Strange Year It’s Been

his last year or so for the Atlanta Braves has been fairly insane, to say the least. There have been more ups and downs than a Roller Coaster ride at Six Flags.

ries since 1999. Star pitcher Charlie Morton was hit by a line drive in the opener against the Astros leading to a broken leg and some more anxiety. How can they finish this thing out against a very quality Houston team?

Where shall I even begin? We all know the ending but how did we actually get here?

Up 3-1 in games and up 4-0 in game five should have been it. But it’s never easy, is it? The Astros rallied for a 9-5 win moving the series back to Houston. The anxiety level once again reached epic proportions as many believed history was about to repeat itself, in a negative way.

The 2020 season began with Covid, pushed the season back many months and led to a 60-game schedule which ended one win away from a World Series berth after the Braves couldn’t put the Los Angeles Dodgers away, despite that 3-1 series lead. It was yet another depressing moment for a franchise and a city that has experienced a lot of pain of late. Things would go from bad to worse as two months later Braves legendary pitcher Phil Niekro passed away. As if that wasn’t bad enough, on January 18th, Hall of Fame player and Braves beloved broadcaster Don Sutton then died. With the club and city already reeling in a major way, both on and off the field, the Zeus of the Braves franchise, if not all of Major League Baseball, Hank Aaron passed away. At this point there were just no words, life flat out became unfair. But as we all know, the one constant in life is that life will always go on. So, the 2021 season began and on-time. Unfortunately, the play on the field was very mediocre and the hits off of it kept on coming. Ace Mike Soroka, who missed the majority of 2020, re-tore his Achilles Tendon just walking around Truist Park and would once again be out for the season. Then on July 10th superstar Ronald Acuna, Jr. tore his ACL. This is where things would get weird and a little creepy if you believe in this stuff. The team’s record at the time? 44-44. Yes, Hank Aaron’s number was 44. Stay tuned for more on this (as the faint Poltergeist music plays in the background).

But 2021 proved to be different. Freddie Freeman, Dansby Swanson and Soler homered and Fried and two relievers combined on a 7-0 shutout win. It was the first World Series title since David Justice’ Home Run against Cleveland led to the 1-0 victory at Fulton County Stadium back in 1995. The parade on November 5th was amazing as it started in downtown Atlanta and ended at Truist Park, right here in our beloved Cobb County. Many schools gave the day off and wonderful memories were made. Tears of joy and warm smiles were aplenty. The best part of all? Many children at that last parade, 26 years ago, were now the parents. Oh, and by the way, the Braves just won the World Series in the 44th week of 2021! What a long strange year it’s been. 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.

With the Bravos teetering on the brink of an underachieving season and many key cogs done for the season there were whispers about being a seller at the trade deadline and just looking toward the future. General Manager Alex Anthopolous not only did not hear said whispers, but did the complete opposite. He traded away some younger guys to bring in quality established veterans signaling he was going for it and not waiving the white flag, despite losing the immense talent the Braves lost. First it was Joc Pederson added on July 15th. Then 15 days later Atlanta became home for Eddie Rosario, Jorge Soler and Adam Duvall, three quality veterans. The second half went surprisingly great, despite losing Acuna, as Atlanta roared to the front of the pack in the National League East, winning another Division title. How many games did they win after the All-Star break? Yup, 44! Now to the postseason, the franchise’ Achilles Heel for the past quarter of a century. No Acuna, no Soroka and a bunch of new guys should have spelled trouble. For older guys like me, after seeing only one World Series Championship in the great run of the 90’s, with Hall of Famers like Maddux, Smoltz, Glavine and Chipper, 2021 should have had no chance. We had legends years ago and only won one title. Now all beat up and a bunch of new guys? Come on, silly. Do I even need to fill in the rest? The Milwaukee Brewers were the first victim in four games. Then another 3-1 lead on the Dodgers led to some anxious thoughts but this time was different and Atlanta won that series in six, advancing to its first World Se-

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WHERE WILL WONDER LEAD YOU? Alex, Class of 2021 Bowdoin College

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Hannah, Class of 2021 University of Georgia

“I am most proud of the perseverance and resilience that has shaped me into the person I am today. My favorite memory is playing for the state volleyball championship my junior year.”

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“Taking advantage of all the amazing opportunities offered and pushing myself to become a better student, classmate and friend has allowed me to become the best version of myself.”

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B

orn in San Diego in 2007, Club Pilates has expanded around the globe, bringing Pilates to hundreds of thousands of people. We serve up over eight million workouts each year to our dedicated members…and we’re just getting started! Pure to Joseph Pilates’ original Reformer-based Contrology Method, but modernized with group practice and expanded state-of-the-art equipment, Club Pilates offers high-quality, life-changing training at a surprisingly affordable price. We believe that Pilates is the path to a fuller, more satisfying physical existence. We believe that being in control of your body helps you to be in control of your life. And best of all, we believe that you can start anytime!

THE STUDIO

Meet your new home away from home! Club Pilates studios offer more than low-impact, full-body workouts. With a range of class offerings that challenge your mind as well as your body, Club Pilates provides a path to a more fulfilling life. Our West Cobb location has been open since 2018, and has one of the largest schedules available in the state!

THE WORKOUT

At a glance, you’ll see that classes at Club Pilates are different than any other workout. The reformer-based group Pilates classes are complemented by TriggerPoint, TRX® springboard, EXO-chair and other equipment designed to build strength, mobility and stability. Plus with so many options, you’ll never take the same class twice!

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THE COMMUNITY

The amazing instructors at Club Pilates have more training hours across more disciplines than industry standard. You’ll get individual attention in a fun group setting with other people who know that on life’s journey, it’s best to stay flexible.

MEMBER TESTIMONIAL

“I started Pilates because I needed to work on my balance, but what I discovered was that it was a full body workout that also included core strengthening and stretching. Since joining I’ve not had to visit a chiropractor even once; I’ve also noted that my bat wings are smaller and I’ve lost a size without trying! What was totally unexpected, and perhaps the best, was getting rid of my migraines! There are just so many benefits - balance, core strengthening, improved posture and flexibility. When I first started my goal was to just not lose what balance and flexibility I had, but now it’s to see how much I can achieve! What truly impresses me is the professionalism of instructors and how clean the studio is. From the minute you walk in the studio and are greeted by a welcoming staff, you know you are in the right and best place. This vibe seems to also trickle down to the members who are also quite friendly and kind (egos are left at the door). I look forward to every class because each instructor has their own style and brings something new and different to class; no two classes are the same so there is not the monotony that one gets from a treadmill or rowing.” ~ Lacy D, CP West Cobb member since ‘19

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The Oaks at West Cobb Assisted Living and Memory Care is excited to announce our recent opening in November

W

hat makes us the best at what we do? First and foremost, our care and training of all staff and management. At Oaks West Cobb we will all be cross trained and work together to ensure we all understand each other’s role and also ensure we are working to stay current on the latest information with the CDC, COVID updates and Alzheimer’s Association. Following state regulations and standards with continued training on safety and caregiving is a must, all in an environment that fosters being part of a family that puts our residents first. We are a person-centered environment honoring each resident. Our Oaks family mission is to provide an environment where people are valued and appreciated, honoring personal choice, and providing a sense of purpose while enabling meaningful relationships. We also believe in the importance of intergenerational programming, partnering with the community by having the local preschools in along with our residents’ grandchildren and the children of our staff as well. Our activities are formed not only by our directors, but by our residents as well, offering a variety of stimulation choices for the mind, body and fellowship. Our community even has a designated chapel. The Oaks at West Cobb building is constructed with our resident in mind. It’s always about safety in design, aligned with an inviting state of the art community environment . You will find high ceilings, oversized and an abundance of windows to let the light in and wide hallways with aesthet-

ically pleasing railings for our residents to hold on to in our common areas. We also have Global Plasma Solutions (GPS) in all of our common areas. GPS delivers clean indoor air that is safe and healthy-producing neither ozone nor other harmful by-products. The community focus is on our Main Street Square which is designed with the appeal of storefronts from a movie theatre, arts studio, café/bistro, billiard gaming room and a private dining room, leading to a country kitchen, main dining area and also outside dining patio. Main Street also opens up to a putting green, gardens and raised gardening beds. Our second floor is visible from the first floor with open windows so that we can see activity taking place in the library or our Yoga studio. There is also a business office center for our residents as well as an exercise zone. On Main Street our residents, family and friends will have the opportunity to meet and greet everyone and get to see what activity opportunities are taking place. Our grounds continue with a large, oversized greenhouse, a pet play area and a children’s playground. We have walking trails around the entire building and a large green scape for outdoor movies, picnics, musical and theatre events. Come visit and tour today! Karen Cabral, Executive Director Oaks at

West Cobb 3292 Ernest Barrett Parkway 470-531-5940 www.oaksseniorliving.com

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Availability in Memory Care Tour Today!

SOME OF OUR UNIQUE AMENITIES

ENJOY ALL DAY DINING!

All Day Dining Chapel Yoga Room Country Kitchen Movie Theatre Green House Billiard/Gaming Room Library Patio Dining Bistro/Cafe Storage Units Business Center Walking Paths Putting Green Children’s Playground Pet Play Area Water Features Aquarium Bird Aviary On-Site Rehab

GPS Air Purification Systems

Installed to help prevent the spread of disease through better indoor air.

3292 Ernest W. Barrett Pkwy NW l Marietta, GA 30064

470.531.5940

OaksSeniorLiving.com

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l Family Operated l Assisted Living & Memory Care

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The Smyrna Wellness Collective

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Social Media Brings Everyone Together For The Holidays

H

ave you heard the new Facebook nickname? The name Gen Z uses when someone older asks them if they are “using” Facebook? BoomerBook

boomerbook

I busted out laughing when I heard this - BoomerBook. There is some truth to this nickname, and that you will be hard-pressed to find a Gen Zer actively engaged on BoomerBook. My career requires extensive knowledge of social media platforms. When someone wants to reach the 65+ demographic, I go straight to Facebook and nowhere else. Think about it for a minute, Gen Xers & Millennials; where do we post our family pictures for the Grandparents? Facebook. School pictures? Facebook. Photos of the new puppy? Facebook. Facebook is a multi-generational platform for those who are less comfortable with social media, a place for families to connect. Why am I making this argument? It is the holiday season, my friend. And the holiday season means GATHERINGS! Sadly, with COVID still making a presence in our daily lives, some highrisk people or people who don’t feel comfortable with large gatherings plan on spending the holidays by themselves again this year. This is where social media saves the day (something you don’t hear much).

Here Are Two Facebook Features That Bring Families Closer Together: Facebook Video Chats. It is like face-timing via Facebook. Some people feel more comfortable face-timing via a desktop or tablet versus a phone. Plus, the image is larger on a desktop & tablet, making it easier for older family members to use the function.

To video chat on Facebook: 1. In the top right of your Facebook account, click the Facebook Messanger icon, which looks like a text bubble with a zigzag line. 2. Open a conversation with the person or people you want to video chat with by clicking on their avatar. 3. Click on the camera in the top right corner of the chat window. Helpful Hints On Video Chats If your screen locks during a call, your video may continue to stream. If you’re ready to end a call, be sure to hang up before closing your computer. Make sure you’re using a supported browser and that your camera and microphone are set up correctly. Want to include a larger group of family members in holiday celebrations? Facebook Live is your answer. Stream your celebrations live on Facebook, so those who are unable to attend can watch online. To go Live: 1. Click What’s on your mind, [Name]? at the top of your News Feed. 2. Click then click Live Video. 3. Write something about your live video. 4. Click Go Live in the bottom left. Note: Use the Google Chrome web browser to go live from your computer. The Facebook help section is easy to navigate and answers any additional questions. 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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Certified Masterpiece Living Community Offering Holistic Lifestyle l Onsite Rehabilitation Therapy By Licensed Professionals l 24-Hour Concierge Service for All Neighborhoods l

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l Onsite 3rd Party Home Care Agency Available Modern & Spacious 1 & 2 Bedroom Apartments l Onsite Physicians by Appointment l No Buy-in Fees l Emergency Pull Cords in Independent Living Apartments l Gourmet Restaurant-Style Dining l Maintenance-Free Living (Personal Pendants Also Available) l Assisted Living & Memory Care Neighborhoods Onsite

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Come Sail Away

I

Virgin Voyages isn’t for everyone but if you don’t necessarily love traditional cruising it may be for you. I will admit that cruising isn’t my top vacation of choice. I am a beach girl and given the choice, I will choose a warm, sunny destination 95% of the time. Y’all, I absolutely loved this cruise!

recently had the opportunity to cruise again after a little more than three years and while some things have changed, some things felt exactly as they used to be.

I decided to take a chance and experience the new Virgin Voyages cruise line on the Scarlet Lady. This is an adults-only cruise line for ages 18 and up, and it breaks all of the rules of traditional cruising in the best ways possible. This cruise line is intentionally different – they don’t offer the traditional programming that most cruise lines have, you won’t hear announcements of the latest happenings over the sound system, and there are no paper daily schedules or towel animals in your stateroom. The shows are edgy and creative, one show borders on being a bit risqué, and the entertainment doesn’t fit the usual cruise line mold. The vibe is very cheeky so having a sense of fun and a sense of humor is a must. Virgin Voyages prides itself on its inclusions (all onboard dining, WiFi, gratuities, basic beverages, and fitness class are all included in the price), amazing food, pop-up experiences, and inclusivity, and they did not disappoint. I made it a point to attempt to try all of the food on the ship and even with six days onboard I failed because there are so many options. I’m more of a foodie and my cabinmate for the sailing is less of a foodie, and everything we ate was delicious so the food options definitely have something that everyone will enjoy. Our favorite activity of the cruise was the 80’s VHS Workout class complete with leg warmers, side pony tails, and shake weights. We laughed just as much as we exercised.

The best part of this sailing is it is the first trip I have taken in almost two years that felt ‘normal’. Everyone on the ship was vaccinated including 100% of the staff, they were operating at about 50% capacity, and all guests were tested at the port immediately before embarkation, so I felt as confident as I could that there was an incredibly low risk of contracting COVID. We were all masked up at the port but immediately upon entering the ship everyone but the staff was no longer required to wear masks while onboard. It was frankly an odd feeling to be around people and not be masked up, not have to worry about bringing my mask with me, interacting normally with people in the lounges or restaurants or shows, not feeling stressed about COVID. The very best part of the experience is that I walked away hopeful and excited that we can see a way to eventually getting back to our pre-COVID, normal lives. Right now might be a great time for you to safely sail - on Virgin Voyages or one of the other cruise lines with strict protocols in place – so make sure to consider cruising for your 2022 vacation plans!

Heather Meliski is a travel agent specializing in the Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico, Europe, Australia, the South Pacific, cruises, theme parks, and more. She lives in Smyrna with her husband two sons. Heather@yellowshoetravel.com FB @heatheryellowshoetravel IG @yellowshoetravelheather

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WINDOW CLEANING l WINDOW TINTING GUTTER CLEANING l PRESSURE WASHING

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Removing, dusting or cleaning window screens is a separate and independent service.

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Our Town


Selling in the Winter is a Great time to be ON the Market!!! By Deborah Ratchford

A

re you thinking about selling your house this winter, but you’re not sure if your house will sell timely during the holiday season? If so, consider this: even the holiday season has plenty of buyers out there, ready to look at homes and buy your house. Here’s why selling this winter is a win for you. Today’s buyers are still dealing with a limited number of homes for sale. Thanks to continued low inventory, those buyers are competing with one another for their dream home. And when that happens, if your house is one of the few on the market, it will rise to the top of the pool – and it will be worth it. It sure seems like the average seller received 3 or 4 (some cases even more) offers on their house this past fall season, provided that it was in good condition and showed really well. Nationwide, the average seller is still getting 3 to 4 offers. That number is significant because it means you’ll likely have multiple offers to pick from if you sell your house this winter season. Keep in mind that pricing your house correctly is crucial to this equation and a good listing agent is very helpful in accomplishing this. Also, it is still important for the home to be in good shape and show well. To put things in perspective, no matter what state you live in, you only need one good offer that works for you to get the deal closed. Any offer you receive will likely be from a highly motivated buyer who’s doing everything they can to beat the competition. Most buyers today have made prior offers that have not worked out which normally makes that buyer more aggressive with the next offer they make. The stakes for buyers are high. They’ve been looking for a house and they want to lock in their dream home before prices and mortgage rates rise further next year. Chances are, they’ll get creative with the terms of their offer, which could include waiving contingencies and offering over the asking price – both of which are great news for you. A good listing agent will be very helpful when going through this process. If you’re on the fence about when to sell, remember, your house is a hot commodity this season. As other sellers take a break for the holidays with plans to re-list their homes in the new year, you can put your house in front of motivated buyers by making your move today. That means your house will be the center of attention and likely the center of a bidding war. Selling in the winter could be the quicker answer for you. Bottom Line Selling now gives you even more opportunity to win big as buyers compete for your house in today’s winter selling market. It’s always best to consult with an experienced listing agent on the best plan of action based on your situation and needs. I’m always glad to help. Deborah Ratchford 678-570-4779 Debratchford@kw.com

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Cozy Nights are Ahead of Us!

CHIMNEY SERVICE

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Chimney Cleaning & Inspection

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For all your home comfort needs this holiday season

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Celebrat ing 10 Year s in North Atlanta!

Mobile Dog Grooming

The waggin’ wagon provides professional mobile dog grooming services to the North Atlanta community. We are currently servicing Buckhead, Brookhaven, Smyrna, Vinings, Sandy Springs and Dunwoody extending 3 miles north of I-285.

Our services include: Bath with hydro massage Ears cleaned Nails Trimmed Sanitary Trim Basic de-matting Full brush and blow dry Shave downs Full cuts

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www.thewagginwagon.com

Expires January 31, 2022

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Deborah M Ratchford

DebD id I Want To Sell it Your Home

Keller Williams Cityside 3350 Atlanta Road Smyrna, GA 30080 C: 678-570-4779 O: 770-874-6205

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Looking for Listings and Buyers! Call Today! 678-570-4779 All information is believed to be accurate, but not warranted. Each Keller Williams Realty Office is individually owned and operated.

Ameris Bank Mortgage Services Barry Butler Senior Loan Officer Member FDIC

600 Townpark Ln Ste 190 Kennesaw, GA. 30144 O 404.553.2621 C 770.365.7179 barry.butler@Amerisbank.com


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