Our Town Monthly June/July 2021 Issue

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Schedule a tour: 770.975.0252 | ncchristian.org | 4500 Eagle Drive, Kennesaw

Letter from the Publisher



appy Summer! I could not be more excited for everything that is to come...

If the past year has taught me anything it is to CELEBRATE EVERYTHING! So, I have many exciting announcements for the Our Town Family. l This past May marked the 1-year anniversary of my official ownership and being publisher of OTM. I made it! (and pretty darn proud, I must add, what a year!) l We have a new website. Check it out: www.ourtownmonthly.com l Our Town Monthly and Six Flags over Georgia have partnered for amazing Summer Staycation giveaways, all summer long. Like us on Facebook: Our Town Monthly and Instagram: @our_town_monthly for details on how to win. l Our Town’s “Rising Star” feature is just getting bigger and bigger. Submit your Rising Star to: info@ourtownmonthly.com l The MUST ministries Summer Lunch Supply drive is in full swing... check out our social media on details for volunteer opportunities.

NOW HIRIN G DEDICATE D ST training ava AFF ilable

Welcome Home...



...to DayBreak Village, your warm and friendly home nestled in the

*Thanks to everyone who helped out with our annual supply drive at Love Street Gifts in Smyrna along with Support Smyrna- what an amazing success!

heart of historic Kennesaw. DayBreak Village provides our residents with the lifestyle they want, services they deserve and care they need!

Schedule your tour today, call 770-218-6166

Thank you to our readers, advertisers and community! I am proud to live and work in such a place with so much love and support. Keep sending your comments, story ideas, spotlights, volunteer opportunities and favorite businesses because Our Town is Your Town!

3056 Cherokee Street • Kennesaw, GA 30144 www.daybreakvillage.com

“Where your next chapter of wonderful begins…” INDEPENDENT LIVING • PERSONAL CARE • RESPITE • HOSPICE • 24/7 STAFF

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Our Town

Our Town


In This Issue

Note from the Publisher...........................4

S U M M E R 2 0 21

Featured Photographer Chris Lawery.....................................................8 Eliana Ocheseanu is Here to Tell You: What is Essential to Your Skincare Routine in The Science of Beauty............................................12

14 Lifestyle Report Tara shares yummy summer family recipes

15 Cover Story Brookstone Animal Hospital

LifeStyle Report Celebrate this Summer with quick, easy and delicious recipes in the LifeStyle Report........14 Cover Story Welcome to Brookstone Animal Hospital. Meet the staff and take a look at the new and exciting amenities they have to offer.................................................................15 Looking for a Fun and “Spicy” Vacation but want to Stay Local? OTM’s Travel Expert, Heather Meliski, has the beach vacation for you....................................19


23 Talkin’ Sports Read about a Local Celebrity Family

Local Travel Welcome to Miami

33 Summer Fun K-9 Coach shares safe, fun ideas for you and your pups! PAGE 6

Cobb’s Rising Stars! ................................21 Local Celebrity Family Read all about it in Talkin’ Sports..................23 Dry Eyes Driving You Crazy? Dr. Janelle Davison of Brilliant Eyes Can Help! ..............26 Our own Social Media Guru, Kimberly Wakins-Swenk has some advice when it comes to “The Teenage Appendage known as the Cell Phone”..............................29

24 Social Media Wait, What are the Rules Again?

Rent it or Buy it? Not Sure What to Do? Check out Real Estate in Our Town by Deborah Ratchford........................................................31 K-9 Coach has Some Ideas for Safe, Summer Fun for You and Your Four-Legged Friends................................33

Our Town

Our Town onthly M

in this issue



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


Senior Living Communities



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 Chris Lawery

STERLING ESTATES COMMUNITIES STRONGER THAN EVER ALL RESIDENTS FULLY VACCINATED NEW TOURS AVAILABLE “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.

Come See the Differences

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Eliana Ocheseanu Heather Meliski Dr. Janelle Davison Deborah Ratchford K-9 Coach Team PO Box 813610 Smyrna, GA 30081-8610 (678)337-7844 info@ourtownmonthly.com www.ourtownmonthly.com FB: Our Town Monthly

Our Town

IG: @our_town_monthly

Best of Cobb

2019-2021 Retirement, Assisted Living & Memory Care


East Cobb:

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Feature Photographer CHRIS LAWERY


hris Lawery, owner of Chris Lawery Photograghy,is a professional photographer specializing in residential real estate, commercial and still-life photography/videography and drone imaging.

As a child, Chris discovered and cultivated his passion for photography — a talent likely passed down from his shutterbug father, who chronicled his travels throughout Europe. Chris was captivated by the stories that his father’s photographs told; that’s when he knew he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps. Over the past twenty years working in the Atlanta area, Chris’ impressive portfolio includes spreads in major publications such as Country Living Gardener, Jezebel, HOME, Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles and corporations like Coca Cola,Travelers and Simmons. Most recently, Chris has been working directly with multiple Smyrna real estate agents and agencies to photograph homes in this busy market. Chris has attained his FAA Part 107 UAS License and is offering this service to the properties he photographs/videos. Chris has made Smyrna his home for the last fifteen years and loves spending time here with his wife and son. Website: https://chrislawery.photoshelter.com Instagram: @chrislawery Linked In: www.linkedin.com/in/chrislawery


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Our Town


The Science of Beauty


By Eliana Ocheseanu


n effective skincare, exfoliation is essential. No matter how many skin-loving ingredients are put onto skin, they cannot interact with other molecules and cellular processes if dead skin cells, excess sebum, or makeup residue are in the way. What is the number one rule in skincare? You must keep skin exfoliated and hydrated for product to be effectively absorbed into the skin. Exfoliants like alpha and beta hydroxy acids derived from natural substances provide multiple skin benefits. Encapsulated in liposomes, they can be delivered into skin with a lowered chance of skin irritation. Look for exfoliants containing phospholipids or liposome carriers along with the appropriate hydroxy acid or natural fruit enzyme that suits the specific skin concern.

Azelaic acid (from wheat, rye, or barley) minimizes hyperpigmentation, reduces inflammation, and clarifies pores. Bromelain (enzyme derived from pineapple) clears away surface debris while providing antioxidant benefits. Citric acid (from citrus fruits) serves as antioxidant, exfoliant, and skin lightener. Glycolic acid (from sugar cane) smooths lines and wrinkles, reduces hyperpigmentation and dark spots, and promotes cell regeneration. Lactic acid (derived from milk) softens, smooths, and improves skin tone.


Mandelic acid (derived from bitter almonds) is great for sensitive skin as it reduces enlarged pores, targets acne, smooths lines and wrinkles, and brightens. Papain (enzyme from papaya) promotes exfoliation by digesting keratin protein. Salicylic acid (a BHA from willow bark) targets congested pores, minimizes pore size, and helps control sebum production. If you have oily skin, you can exfoliate as often as needed. This may be daily, every other day, or less frequent. For all other skin types, you should limit at-home exfoliating to once or twice a week. If you have an underlying skin care condition or are unsure about where to start, make an appointment with a dermatologist or other healthcare provider. They can walk you through your options and help you develop a skin care routine suited for your individual goals and lifestyle. sources: LeMieux cosmetics , healthline.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

Our Town




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Lifestyle Report

awberry Pie “Shoney’s” SStrtrawberries

By Tara Hanover


fter such a strange and stressful past year, I intend to celebrate every day of summer this year! Now, I have to admit, I will still be aware of what we have all gone through (I think I have pandemic PTSD), I am not hanging all of my masks up just yet and will keep most everything outdoors but I am ready for family, friends, fun and food. I feel sure many of you feel the same way so I figured I’d share a couple of my Mamaw’s best summertime recipes. She always knew how to make the yummiest foods that could feed an army…here are some of her quick and easy “go-to” crowd pleasers.

No Bake Chocolate Éclair “Cake” Ingredients: Vanilla Instant Pudding Milk

Whipped Topping Graham Crackers Chocolate Frosting

Directions: First, mix pudding mix and milk. Fold in whipped topping and stir well to combine. Set aside. Cover the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan with a layer of graham crackers, “Brick-layer” style. Next, spoon half the pudding mixture over the graham crackers and gently spread into an even layer. Top with another layer of graham crackers. Add the remainder of the pudding mixture and spread evenly. Add a 3rd and final layer of graham crackers. Microwave the chocolate frosting for 25 seconds to make it easier to spread. Stir well. Pour chocolate frosting over the top of the cake and spread into an even layer. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 6 hours. (The longer you give the graham crackers to soften up the better.)

1 Pint Fresh - halved berry jello 3 Tbsp Straw ar 1 cup Sug 1 cup Water ch star 2 Tbsp corn lden) (baked to go l1 Pie Shel

Bottomless Pasta Salad

Ingredients: 16 oz of Pasta, cooked (various shapes and sizes)

Directions: Mix strawberries, sugar, jello and cornstarch; add water and cook until mixture comes to a boil. After cooking, pour into the baked crust then put in the refrigerator to cool.

4-5 Green Onions -diced ½ Green Bell Pepper-diced 1 package of Grape Get up, Dress up, Tomatoes,halved Show up and NEVER EVER Give up! 1 English Cucumber-diced Small Can of Black Olives-drained If you would like your business featured in the LifeStyle Small Can of Mushrooms-drained Report please email: tara@ourtownmonthly.com 1 pkg Italian (dry mix) dressing Italian bottled dressing (or you can use ranch if you like a creamy salad) Directions: Mix all ingredients together. Add the bottled dressing and Salt/Pepper to taste. Chill and Serve. *You will probably need to add a bit more dressing before you serve, the pasta tends to soak it up. I hope you enjoy all of these quick and easy recipes. My Mamaw always knew how to please a crowd and fill a belly without missing out on the party herself. *Mamaw-the most amazing grandmother in the world. She could and would do anything, she loved and supporting me unconditionally!

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• Independent Living • Assisted Living • No buy-in fees • Limousine transportation • WinnWOOF dog park • Family-owned

• Delicious cuisine • Pet-friendly • Housekeeping & laundry • 9 hole putting green • Daily activities • Variety of floorplans

Assisted Living apartment available now Call (770) 738-4143 to learn more! See what residents & family members have to say about life at Winnwood at www.WinnwoodRetire.com 100 Whitlock Avenue, Marietta - One block from the historic Marietta Square


Our Town


brookstonevet.com + 770.628.0651


Associate Veterinarian Dr. Jordan West Dr. Jordan West, a native of Ontario, Canada, moved to Georgia in 2007. He earned a B.S. degree in Animal Science and Master of Animal and Dairy Science from the University of Georgia. Dr. West graduated with a D.V.M. degree from St. George’s University College of Veterinary Medicine and completed his clinical year at Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine where he took a particular interest in surgery, radiology, and dentistry. Dr. West and his wife Katie are excited to be back in the Atlanta area. Outside of veterinary medicine, Dr. West enjoys photography, hiking, kayaking, and fishing.

elcome to Brookstone Animal Hospital located in Acworth, GA. We are one of the few animal clinics in the area accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association and as such we aim to provide the highest level of medical care to our patients and the highest level of service to our clients. Our mission at Brookstone Animal is:

+ To support and nurture the health and well-being of all animals.

+ To treat our clients and their pets as members of our family. + To tailor our care according to the needs of each animal and owner.

+ To provide up to date and high-quality medicine. Brookstone Animal Hospital offers a wide range of veterinary services including preventative care, vaccination services, surgical procedures, emergency care, as well as boarding, grooming and playcare!

Medical Director Dr. Callie Mizell Dr. Callie Mizell received her DVM degree from the University of Georgia in 2009 and has loved working in the Brookstone community since 2013. Her medical interests include pain management and neurology. She is one of the founding members of Brookstone Animal Hospital and has enjoyed watching the practice grow from an idea on paper into the beautiful clinic it is today. Dr. Mizell has four pets, a Boxer mix “Fairburn,” two cats “Lillian” and “Gretzky,” and a horse “Prosecco”. She also has two young children, “Chip” and “Layton” that attend daycare in the area. Horseback riding has been a hobby of hers since 9 years of age and she also loves cheering on the Braves, Falcons and Georgia Bulldogs.

We have a state-of-the-art dedicated surgery suite where we offer routine spays & neuters as well as more advanced soft tissue surgery and ophthalmic procedures. We also have a modern dental suite where we have the ability to perform dental cleanings, dental radiographs, extractions and a variety of other dental procedures. Our boarding facility features many options ranging from standard boarding in cages to suite boarding in various size luxury suites. All pets are walked three times per day and additional playtimes can be added to your pet’s visit. All of our suites have raised dog beds and we offer comfortable blankets to suit each pet’s needs. We have a large 15,000 square foot grassed dog yard for pets to enjoy. It’s perfect for the energetic dogs who need a lot of activity or the slow-moving pet who only wants a little fresh air and natural sunlight. Our cat condos will make your feline friends feel right at home! They have different areas in their condos to provide ample space for your cat.

Associate Veterinarian Dr. Margaret Hiers Dr. Margaret Hiers grew up in South Georgia and has lived in the Marietta area since 2013. She earned her BA from Dartmouth College and a Masters degree from the University of Michigan in Classical Archaeology before deciding to return to school to pursue her DVM. She graduated from the University of Georgia of Veterinary Medicine in 2009. Dr. Hiers enjoys meeting new furry friends as well as pursuing internal medicine cases at Brookstone Animal Hospital. Outside of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Hiers likes to spend her time in the mountains with her dogs Moses and Anabelle, reading and traveling with friends.

Our grooming services are catered to the individual pet and the client’s preferences. We offer breed cuts, shave downs, de-shedding, mini grooms and baths which are all performed with the safety and gentle handling of the pet as priority number one. We are excited to announce that we now offer playcare here at Brookstone Animal Hospital! Playcare is an innovative way to provide a variety of activities and experiences designed specifically to stimulate your dog’s curiosity, build social skills, confidence, good manners, and let them have lots of fun! Our playcare manager Skylar (featured above) performs evaluations on each pet before they join the pack to make sure they will be a good fit. Please call us for more information if you are interested in your dog joining our pack!

Our Town


• Diabetic Foot care • pediatric foot care • sports injuries • reconstructive foot surgery

Dr. Mike Laur

4450 Calibre Crossing NW Suite 1130 Acworth, GA 30101


www.vpcenters.com PAGE 16

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Publishers/Editors Linda Demery & Lori McLinden Graphics and Design Terry Tanner Tanner Graphics, Inc. Account Executive Sara Young, sara@ourtownmonthly.com Feature Photographer

Our Town is published and direct mailed monthly to prestigious homes in the West Cobb Area. Opinions expressed by the editorial staff are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher. Our Town reserves the right to edit and or reject any editorial or advertising content. Our Town is not responsible for errors in advertising beyond the cost of the space or for the validity of claims made by advertisers. Entire contents copyright 2018 by Our Town. Reproduction in whole or in part is forbidden in any media without prior written permission from the publisher.

Our Town Monthly Contributing Writers

109 Anderson Street Suite 109 Marietta, GA 30060

678-337-7844 Fax: 678-337-7825

Our Town

info@ourtownmonthly.com www.ourtownmonthly.com

in th

Welcome to Miami By Heather Meliski


ue to COVID and the testing required to travel outside of the United States, Florida has been an incredibly popular destination over the past year and Miami has been one of the most popular destinations within Florida. I recently traveled to Miami as a guest of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau and fell in love all over again with this vibrant city. I’ve been to Miami many times over the years and have always loved it. Each neighborhood is so unique – you have the financial center and millennial hot spot in Brickell, the amazing food and culture of Little Havana, the awesome street art in Wynwood, the high-end shopping of the Design District, and the ultimate place to see or be seen in Miami Beach, to name a few. Each area offers something so different than the others but it all meshes together into this perfect mix that makes Miami such a fantastic city. I’ve always loved Little Havana so I was so excited when we kicked off our visit to Miami with a guided food and cultural tour along Calle Ocho. It did not disappoint. The food was amazing – empanadas, colada, churros, guarapa, Cuban sandwiches, mojitos – and we tried it all. We watched cigars being rolled by hand and learned so much about the history of the neighborhood and its people. My favorite restaurant in all of Miami, Versailles, is located in Little Havana and while I couldn’t carve out time for a full meal there, I was able to have some grab-and-go yummies from their restaurant at the airport while I waited for my flight home. Speaking of food, Miami offers an endless number of fantastic restaurants with a variety of cuisines and price points. If you’re a foodie or just someone who appreciates a great meal, then Miami is the place for you.

Our Town

And no visit to Miami is complete without spending time at Miami Beach. The beach is wide and pretty, and the water is a gorgeous shade of turquoise. While some areas of Miami Beach definitely cater more to adults, there are also a number of family-friendly areas and hotels so it is a destination with something for everyone. You may want to avoid South Beach if you’re bringing the kids, but it’s a great place to stay for an adults-only getaway. I’m sure by now you’ve seen the stories about Miami Beach and this year’s spring break. It was the perfect storm of cheap airfare, uncommon hotel availability, and pent-up travel demand. I’m happy to share that the city commissioners have taken action to prevent this from happening again and have approved a pilot program to move up last call to 2AM from 5AM. The mayor also has a number of measures he is trying to pass to reimagine Ocean Drive to create a more sophisticated, mixed-use pedestrian space. Miami is a quick, direct flight from Atlanta so it’s a great option for a beach vacation or a weekend away. I’ll be back in Miami in November for the annual CruiseWorld conference and can’t wait to visit again! Heather Meliski writes Our Town Travel keeping us in the “know”. Heather 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 and two sons. Heather@yellowshoetravel.com FB @heatheryellowshoetravel IG @yellowshoetravelheather



Our Town

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Cobb ’s Rising Stars










1. GISSELLE RODRIGUEZ Osborne High School 2. HALLE CARDEN North Cobb Christian School 3. HAMPTON GUCKY Mt. Bethel High School

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4. LEILA SOMERVILLE Campbell High School 5. MATTHEW BUCHAN Mt. Paran Christian School 6. MICHAEL HERMANN Campbell High School

7. PARKER McCLENDON McEachern High School 8. PATRICK VILLARREAL Mt. Bethel Christian School 9. TAYLOR DAXE Campbell High School PAGE 21

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Talkin’ Sports Our Hometown Superstars By Justin Hanover


e may not live in Hollywood or New York where celebrity sightings are a dime a dozen but the amount of superstar families that we can boast here in Cobb County is beyond amazing. Meet the Rogers family. Lisa, Chris, Zhane’ and Isaiah Rogers are a Cobb County/Smyrna family through and through. They have lived in the district for the past 22 years, working locally (as a teacher, a coach and an essential worker) and attending the local schools as well. Lisa is in her fourth year teaching an intense talent development gifted program that she created at Smyrna Elementary and just recently received a massive honor as the Gifted Program Teacher of the Year in the state of Georgia. To celebrate, in late March, the school threw an elaborate surprise party that will never be forgotten. The entire student body and all of the teachers spilled out into the school parking lot without Lisa’s knowledge. The star then came outside, was handed a bouquet of flowers, and walked down a red carpet with an arch of balloons overhead. She then sat in a strategically placed red Jaguar and was driven around the parking lot as “Walking on Sunshine” boomed in the background. “I am so honored to be recognized on such a grand platform! The students at Smyrna Elementary have always been my number one priority. It’s all about them. There’s a quote by Mark Twain that says, ‘find a job you enjoy doing and you will never work a day in your life.’ I truly love what I do, I have found my purpose...I have found my passion”, said Lisa. While in elementary school, Lisa’s son Isaiah was a self-proclaimed chip eater and couch potato. Mom and dad knew somewhat of a change had to take place. After not really enjoying football or running around a track and without any knowledge of the Shot Put, Dad Chris took Isaiah to a throwing session. Eyes were opened and just like that a love for this thing called a “Shot Put” was suddenly born. The only problem was the Coach who ran the session, Coach Kelly, moved on to a different job after literally that first and only practice. So now what? Throwing a shot put is not exactly first-hand knowledge for the average person. But Chris is not exactly the average Dad and saw the sudden attraction his son had for the sport. Therefore, this father took it upon himself to learn the techniques and nuances of the sport and would help his son, first-hand, in his quest to achieve greatness. That coaching has paid major dividends as Isaiah is not only one of the best shot putters and hammer throwers on the college level but is also an aspiring Olympian and for good reason.

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In 2012, by the age of 13, Isaiah had already won five State Championships. He would go from King Springs Elementary to Griffin Middle to Campbell High School, starting off in the highly esteemed IB Program, before the crazy hours of training made him take a step back from the program. In the end, his illustrious High School career crescendoed into a Georgia State Meet Shot Put record of 67’ 10”, a mark that not only broke the then 50 year record set in 1966 but even still stands to this day. No Georgian at the State Championship Meet has ever thrown a shot put further than Isaiah has, EVER! The 18-year-old was also recognized as the 2016 Gatorade Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year in Georgia before taking his talents to the next level and TCU University in becoming a Horned Frog. Life was great in Forth Worth. Isaiah broke a school record, received many accolades and had a girlfriend. But this young man was wise beyond his years and felt that things were just coming too easy for him in a negative way and in order to continue to grow as a great thrower, he needed a change. Isaiah explained, “I fought so hard in High School to earn the comforts TCU had to offer; however, when I obtained these luxuries my tenacities for success dwindled. I became complacent. I knew to achieve further success I would need to challenge myself. So, I did something absurd. I left.” Being asked why he was doing this and told he was crazy to leave only fueled his fire. In August of 2018 onto Blacksburg he went. Isaiah immediately proved to his critics that moving on to Virgina Tech was the right move. This relative newcomer made his presence felt early on being recognized as a male Golden Gobbler Nominee, something that normally would be reserved for a seasoned Hokie veteran. In 2019 he also earned the ACC MVP at the Conference Championships and punched his ticket to a first NCAA Championship. Isaiah just graduated from Virginia Tech in mid-May and still has a year of eligibility remaining that he plans to use while in Graduate school. He knows that his future is extremely bright and has not come close to hitting his peak. Next goal? The Olympics! He believes the Hammer throw may be an easier route than the Shot Put as American Shot Putters are tops in the world and the competition is beyond fierce. Can this young man rise up and become an Olympian? Do not ever doubt Isaiah Rogers, as he says, “I’m not a gambler at all but when it comes to betting on myself, I’ll sell the house!” The Rogers- A local family that we can all be proud of! Continue to follow Isaiah’s journey on Twitter @irogersthrows.

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 playby-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.


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Dry Eye Disease in the Workplace:



Tips to Reduce the Symptoms of Dry eye Disease at Work

tudies have shown that symptoms related to dry eye disease is the most common reason for visits to the eye doctor as nearly 30 million Americans have symptoms consistent with dry eye. Many of the symptoms occur in the workplace. Patients enter my dry eye clinic, Premier Dry Eye Spa, on a daily basis with complaints of fluctuating vision, red, burning, tearing and gritty eyes. They all express the symptoms are worse while at work or at the end of the day. Do not suffer. Check out my tips to make your eyes more comfortable throughout the day.

3 Tips to Reduce the Symptoms of Dry Eye in the Workplace:

1. Take a Break: It is especially important during the workday to take adequate breaks from the computer. Yes, I know you have that deadline to meet. No need to get up from your station to take a much-needed eye break. Simply practice the 20/20/20 Rule. Every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This simple exercise will give your precious eyeballs time to relax and regroup throughout the day. 2. Remember to Blink: Partial blinking is common among individuals who suffer from dry eye symptoms. Your blink rate naturally decreases with sustained computer or device time. The average person blinks 15-20 times per minute totaling six million blinks in a year! The reduced blinking frequency with a partial blink will significantly increase your risk of dry eye disease. Do not worry, add this simple blink exercise to your work routine to reduce your dry eye symptoms. 3. Hydrate with H20 and Tears: According to research, 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Research has shown that up to 60% of the human adult body is water. So, duh! Staying hydrated is a quick fix to reduce the

symptoms of dry eye while at work. The World Health Organization recommends an adult drink 2 liters of water per day. Hydrating from within is especially important to break waste and nutrients down in the cell so that they can be moved through the various membranes and natural filters in the body. For added hydration to the front surface of the eye, under guidance of your eye doctor, instill an over-the-counter lipid-based preservative-free tear mid-day. This will rehydrate and stabilize the front surface of the eye. a. Retaine preservative-free tears. b. Refresh Optive preservative-free Some of my favorite Preservative-free tears: c. Thera Tears preservative-free d. Optase preservative-free Dry eye symptoms at work can tremendously reduce your production time and ability to focus on work. Do not become a victim of workplace dry eye! Take my advice: Break-Blink-Hydrate. If your symptoms continue for more than a week schedule an appointment with a dry eye specialist to help determine the root cause of your discomfort. Dr. Janelle OD Your Eye Care Expert, Founder/CEO of Brilliant Eyes Vision Center Connect with me on LinkedIn, Subscribe to my YouTube Channel www.brillianteyesvisioncenter l premierdryeyespa.com l www.wescore.org

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770.314.9087 PAGE 28


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FrameItMirrorDesigns.com Our Town

By Kimberley Watkins-Swenk

Wait, What Are the Rules Again?

aving a teenager introduced me to the teenage appendage known as the phone and the often-accompanying ear pods... (Oh, the phone and ear pods. The source of many annoying moments in our house. Where is our oldest as we call his name repeatedly around the house? Oh, wait, on his phone with his ear pods in as usual. Sound familiar?).


Teenagers are sneaky little buggers.

“I swear, I am going to run that phone over with my car,” says my husband. (I want to note we have a friend, who shall remain nameless, actually run over their kid’s device with their 2018 Black Tahoe in a fit of rage. Something I totally understand now.)

We have four basic rules for phone usage in our house: No phone use at/or after bedtime: There is one obvious reason for this - blue light disrupting sleep - but this also keeps kids from being up all night texting with their friends and watching YouTube. No phone use at the dinner table: Few things bore a teenager, like sitting at the dinner table with their family talking about their day or hearing about ours. But this is family time, and despite his urge to pull away, my teenager needs to hear about my time stuck on I-285! No phones during school: Almost all teens carry their phones to school, but phones shouldn’t be used during school instruction. Many schools have rules against this but setting up the expectation that phones aren’t allowed during school hours is always good. No phone use during homework: This helps teens concentrate and work through their work more efficiently. They’ll also be motivated to finish their work faster so they can get their device back.

Teenagers and phones are here to stay, and with the phone comes a whole world of issues. Something that many of us Gen X and older Millennial parents never had to face. Because of my profession, I am pretty savvy with the phone and the digital world, but many parents are not. And teenagers are beyond savvy with their phones, like “MI6 James Bond-level of sophistication”.  I have seen and heard so many stories of teenagers outsmarting their parents when it comes to their phones and technology that I have concluded that there is only so much we can do.  Monitor their texts? They use code words. Forbid social media accounts? They create accounts under a pseudo name and check it on their friends’ phones. Forbid phones altogether? They buy “burner phones”. (You know the phones drug dealers use in movies so the police can’t track them? Yes, those phones).

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But what we can do is set up expectations from the beginning and pray to the Almighty they follow them. It is vital to find a balance between respecting the privacy of your young adult child and their safety. But how do we do this?

Most likely, your kid will break one or more of these rules at some point, but hey, they are teenagers!  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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Renting vs. Buying - Think About These Things First


big part of the American Dream is centered on owning your own home. For this reason, real estate is a subject that never strays too far from people’s minds. Just like the homes for sale are not on the market too long, the same is true with homes on the rental market so one needs to be quick to go look at what’s available. After all, real estate is all about homes: where you live, how the market is and what neighborhoods are like. With all of this to consider, many people find themselves asking whether they should buy or rent? If this question has been hopping around in your mind, here are the follow up questions you should ask yourself. Questions to ask: · How long do you plan to stay in the area? · Do you want to be responsible for repairs? · What are the financial perks? 1. How long do you plan to stay in the area? Are you planning on moving to a different city or state in the next few months or the next couple of years? If you are, you are probably considering renting instead of buying for two reasons. Renters not only have the benefit of relatively low upfront costs when compared to buying a house, renters also have a cut and dry date that they can move. Renters know when their lease will end and when they either have to reup their lease or look for a new home. Most homebuyers, on the other hand, will have to wait until after they sell their home to move. With a professional real estate agent selling your home may actually be a fast process, but it’s worth keeping in mind that you may have to wait a couple months to sell a home.

is an investment. Homebuyers also benefit over renters because many homebuyers may see a ROI and a few tax breaks. For the past couple of years home value has been trending upwards, so not only will your monthly payments be an investment for yourself, but when you’re ready to sell you may see a sizeable return! Furthermore, homebuyers may be able to deduct their interest from their taxes. This can help offset some of the costs homebuyers have in the beginning. 4. Comparing similar homes that are for rent verses for sale. What renters normally ultimately realize when looking at homes to rent is that the quality and condition is much better in the ones for sale. A home that someone buys will normally have a lower monthly payment than a rent payment. There are normally many more homes to choose from that are for sale, than the available ones for rent within the same area of the search. It’s always best to contact a Real Estate agent for the best guidance. Renting and buying are both exciting ideas that require time and consideration. If you’re torn between the two, or even if you’ve already made the decision, contact your local real estate agent. An experienced real estate agent will help you find the perfect place for you! Make sure to visit Deb on the Web for more information. Deborah Ratchford - Top Producing Realtor with Proven Results!!! Keller Williams Realty Cityside Debratchford@kw.com 678-570-4779

2. Do you want to be responsible for repairs? When you a buy a home, you buy every part of it. This can be incredibly exciting as it gives you the ability to customize your home! This also means, however, that you’re responsible for any maintenance issues your home may have. For each home, home warranty, and HOA, the maintenance issues you’re responsible for may differ. Some HOA fees cover landscaping, some don’t. Some people have home warranties that cover appliances breaking and roof damage. Make sure that when you’re considering whether to buy or rent, you’re also considering the possible responsibilities you may have. 3. What are the financial perks? If you are planning on staying in the area for a while. then buying a home may be a worthwhile investment. When you rent, your monthly payments come out of your pocket and go straight to your landlord’s pocket. However, if your monthly payments are for your own home then your money

Expires July 31, 2021

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We love the fun and sun of summer’s bright skies, warm weather, long days, vacations and endless fun! OH… and ice cream! We LOVE ice cream!!!


As fun as summer is, it can be difficult to keep our dogs both active and safe in the extreme Atlanta heat. So, this month we’re going to provide a few tips and tricks for your family to make the most of these months, have fun and stay safe with your fourlegged best friend!

Explore some of the local walking and hiking trails here in Atlanta.

We are lucky Atlanta has many places that you can walk and hike with your dog. Check out the Paces Mill Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area off Cobb Pkwy, Heritage Park, Sweetwater Creek, Sope Creek or Kennesaw Mountain. The Chattahoochee Nature Preserve offers miles of trails as well. Have fun and allow your dogs to explore, safely splashing in clean water and checking out wildlife. Make it a family event and take a picnic and spend the day together. Safety Tip: Take these hikes and walks during the cooler hours of early morning or early evening, hydrate your dog, bring them water to drink and watch for any signs of overexertion or heat exhaustion.

your dog to stay active, safely cool, work their minds and increase their training knowledge. Fun classes also help your relationship with your dog and make them a more well-behaved family member. Take advantage of the kids being out of school and get the whole family involved. It’ll pay dividends when they’re back in school in the fall! Safety Tip: Pick a trainer who uses positive reinforcement techniques and allows all members of the family to participate.

Remember our dogs, like people, can overheat and become very sick, very quickly. In rare cases, they can lose their lives due to the

heat. Speak to your veterinarian if you have questions about how to keep your dog safe in hot weather or about the signs of heat exhaustion or stroke. Providing adequate hydration, a cool place to relax and safe activities goes a long way. Pay close attention to elderly dogs, ill dogs, puppies and brachycephalic breeds (dogs with “pushed in” faces including Pugs, Boston Terriers, Pekingese, Boxers, Bulldogs, Shih Tzu), who can have exceptional difficulty in hot weather. Lastly, remember to NEVER leave your dog in your car. They are much safer at home or at a facility like K-9 Coach. NOW… go play with your pup and soak up the summer sun and fun times!

Amber, Jarrette & the K-9 Coach Team

Take your dog to the lake. Many dogs love to swim, play and frolic in the water. Play fetch with floating toys, relax on the dock or go for a boat ride. If your pup enjoys playing with other dogs, bring along a good play pal. Safety Tip: It is a good idea to purchase a life jacket for your dog if you’re going to be boating with them or if they’re going to be swimming in large bodies of water. Remember, a dog can be overcome in the water just as humans can, or they can be thrown from a boat. Keeping your dog in a life jacket can keep them and you safe. Also, never swim alone with a dog as he can panic and drag you under water. Make your backyard a doggy water park. Turn on a sprinkler and let your

dog enjoy the spray, purchase a small baby pool from a local toy store and allow your dog to swim, splash and play in it. Another great idea is to take your dog’s favorite chew toys or treats and freeze them inside a Tupperware container full of water. Once frozen, remove the ice treat from the Tupperware container and take it outside. Your dogs will play with and mouth the frozen treat, keeping themselves well-hydrated as well as entertaining their minds as they forage for their treat. Remember, dogs are natural hunters and this game allows them to connect with their true nature. Safety Tip: A wet dog can quickly become a matted dog and that’s a painful condition that can lead to other health concerns such as infections or skin irritations. So, either on your own or with the help of a professional groomer, make sure you’re spending sufficient time maintaining your pup’s coat during these months. Always brush and remove mats before getting your dog wet and always be sure to thoroughly dry and brush out after water play to prevent matting.

Summer is a good time to try out some new doggy classes or training. Involve your whole family, including your children, and enroll in a fun, indoor and temperature controlled doggie class. Whether these are for obedience, sporting activities or something more specific, these classes will allow

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The owner is a Master Groomer, member of the Georgia Groomers Alliance & the IPG • Weekend Appointments

COME SEE US IN SMYRNA! 3988 Atlanta Rd SE #112 Smyrna, GA 30080

All doctors at Cumberland Animal Clinic have extensive experience in medicine and surgery for dogs and cats. We are conveniently located at the corner of Spring Road conveniently and Village Parkway in Smyrna. in yrna.

770-319-0095 www.thedandydogspetspa.com

Monday thru Friday 8am-6pm Saturday 8am-1pm Sunday CLOSED

OR WE’LL COME TO YOU! We service all of Cobb County


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

Call us today to book your next appointment!

www.thewagginwagon.com PAGE 34

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Deborah M Ratchford

Keller Williams Cityside 3350 Atlanta Road Smyrna, GA 30080

I Want To Sell Your Home Today!

DebD id it

C: 678-570-4779 O: 770-874-6205



UNDER CONTRACT - in Mableton!



Call the agent that knows the market and how to get over the asking price. Results Driven!!! Call today for your FREE market analysis. Looking for Listings and Buyers! Call Today! 678-570-4779

COMING SOON - in Smyrna! Call Today! 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 PAGE 36

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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