Our Town Monthly March 2021

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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 MARCH 2021





Imagine a school where students can customize courses that align with their God-given gifts and interests. The Academies at North Cobb Christian School offer five magnet programs under one roof, providing a customized track and realworld opportunities in STEM; Business; the Arts; Exercise + Sports Science; and Counseling, Ministry + Education.

Every student is unique. Their education should be, too.

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Success Gateway Academy is a hybrid homeschool program for middle and high school students who learn differently because of social, sensory, academic, or attention challenges. We meet daily from 8:30-1:30 at the Youth Center at Due West United Methodist Church. Call 770.626.2558 or visit www.sgacademy.org for more information. "Every student can learn, just not on the same day or in the same way". GEORGE EVANS


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hotographer Jordan Mason is the Visual Communications Specialist at Mount Paran Christian School, the largest private Christian school in Cobb county. MPCS serves small classes of students in pre-K3 through grade 12. The school, situated on a picturesque 68-acre campus adjacent to Kennesaw Mountain, is preparing the next generation of servant-leaders by developing young people to become Christ-centered, learning-focused, community-oriented pursuers of excellence. On the cover, MPCS students Scarlett Murton (PK4), VJ Ray (grade 8), Gabriana Carisma (grade 11), and Eli Cottingham (grade 3) are pictured near the future location of the Murray Innovation Center - a 23,000+ square foot addition to the current Dozier Hall high school building. The new space will provide state-of-the-art innovative learning spaces, from a dedicated space for a robotics field for the State-championship-winning Eagle Robotics teams; to new science labs; a digital lab; a makerspace; a fabrication lab; a collegiate-style, technology-rich classroom; and a permanent home for the Roost café, a coffee shop that is operated entirely by the high school entrepreneurship class. A virtual ground-breaking ceremony was held in February, with plans for the new building to open in the spring semester of 2022.


In This Issue

Feature Photographer About the Cover & Photographer ....................5

M A R C H 2 0 21

Home Renovations are Making Pandemic Living Easier.......check out the LifeStyle Report for our list of your top-notch local home improvement specialists ................9 Cover Story: Preparing Servant-Leaders is at the core of Mount Paran Christian School.......11

LifeStyle Report Pandemic Home Renovations


“Vaca” in the U.S.A. by OTM’s Travel Expert, Heather Meliski .................................13 Justin says Goodbye to Three Local Legends in Talkin’ Sports ............................14 Jordan Keane of Stretch Society shared with us why stretching is essential to living a long and healthy life ......................................18 Cobb’s Rising Stars! ................................21


Forget About Pampering, these facials are all about RESULTS by Eliana Ocheseanu........24

Cover Story Mount Paran Christian School

14 Talkin’ Sports The Loss of Three Local Legends

Our Town’s Kimberly Watkins-Swenk shares why the future going digital is good for you AND your wallet .....................................28 “Americans are expected to move in record numbers this year”, learn why with Real Estate expert Deborah Ratchford.......... 31 Spring is Springing and K-9 Coach has tips to keep our furry friends safe..................32

13 Travel Vaca in the USA

Spring Pets Spring Safety Tips PAGE 6

32 Our Town

Our Town onthly M

in this issue



Our Town is published and direct monthly tomonthly prestigious Publishers/Editors Ourmailed Town is published and direct mailed to prestigious homes in the homes in Cobb County. Opinions West expressed theby editorial Cobb Area. Opinionsby expressed the editorial staff arestaff their own are and do not Linda Demery & Lori McLinden necessarily reflect opinions of the publisher. reserves the right to their own and do not necessarily reflect thethe opinions of Our theTown publisher. Graphics and Design edit and and or reject any or advertising content. Our Town is not Our Town the right to edit oreditorial reject any editorial orresponsible Terry reserves Tanner for errors in advertising beyond the cost of the space or for the validity of claims made advertising content. Tanner Graphics,Our Inc. Town is not responsible for errors in advertising by advertisers. beyond the Executive cost of the space or for the validity of claims made by Account Entire2021 contents copyright 2018 by Town. Our Town. Reproduction Reproduction in whole or in Sara Young, sara@ourtownmonthly.com advertisers. Entire contents copyright by Our part is forbidden in any media without prior written permission from the publisher. in whole in part is forbidden in any media without prior written Featureor Photographer permission from the publisher.


Senior Living Communities

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 EXECUTIVES West Cobb Sara Young sara@ourtownmonthly.com North/South Cobb Stephanie Mellom Stephanie@ourtownmonthly.com Smyrna/Vinings/Galleria/Cumberland Tamara Siemon tamara@ourtownmonthly.com FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHER Jordan Mason CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Heather Meliski Eliana Ocheseanu 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 IG: @our_town_monthly

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1ST SENIOR COMMUNITIES VACCINATED IN GREATER ATLANTA, CHRISTMAS EVE: 2ND DOSES COMPLETED IN JANUARY “What an awesome Christmas present...getting the vaccine was one of best gifts I ever got. It took so much pressure off me. Thank you Sterling for everything you have done to keep us happy and safe.” - Mary L.

“Vaccinating 400 people on Christmas Eve should be celebrated as a huge milestone...Sterling should be super proud of the success you have had protecting the residents and staff. We look forward to receiving our second vaccination and many wonderful, happy, safe and healthy years at Sterling.” - Dee & Hart W.

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Lifestyle Report By Tara Hanover


his past year so much about our lives and lifestyles have changed. The COVID-19 pandemic has many of us spending much more time in and around our home. Our homes used to be where we (sometimes) ate, showered and slept as we raced through our daily life. However, that has changed drastically...we now live, learn, work, dine and play in our homes and yards. If you are anything like me, you’ve realized the many ways your home environment could be more functional, comfortable, efficient and fun. In years’ past, I never watched home design shows, nor did I enjoy walking the aisles of home improvement stores. I was never the person who decorated for every season or googled the latest trends in home furnishings. But now I find myself obsessed with “fixer-upper” shows and the need to transform wasted places into usable spaces. How about you? We are realizing “the new normal” is not going anywhere, anytime soon and that our homes have become more important than ever.

Our Town’s Home Improvement Specialists: Bartlett Heating and Air Elite Roofing We Clean Windows Castro’s Cleaning Plus Five Star Chimney Tim Green Landscape New Image Roof Mosquito Hunters Little Bear Tree Service Skillful Squeegee

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I also think about my mother-in-law, who (pre-pandemic) lived life as an adventure, planning for what amazing destination she’d be jetting off to next or excitedly awaiting her tickets to arrive for the next fabulous event or show opening on Broadway and of course, which new trendy restaurant to try...this clearly came to a screeching halt for her and many others who enjoyed traveling, outside entertainment and dining out. Social distancing and business closures have forced society to get creative. Basements are being turned into personal retreats and backyards into relaxing “getaways”. Remodeling and “re-working” our homes have become a necessity as we have been forced into a new world. Is this sounding all too familiar? Are you feeling overwhelmed with where to begin or who to call? Well, no worries, we have you covered! Take a look at our top-notch home improvement specialists in the directory beside this article. They are OTM approved and ready to help you reclaim your home, create a functional sanctuary to live and work in and of course, spend more time with your family...if your kids are anything like mine, you just might see your own in-home “Broadway show”. As always my friends, when life gets you down... Get up, Dress up, Show up and NEVER EVER Give up! If you would like your business featured in the LifeStyle Report please email: tara@ourtownmonthly.com Tara has spent 23 years in the national news media. Her experience includes on-air beauty expert, host, speaker, lifestyle reporter as well as branding and professional presence facilitator. You can watch Tara 24 hours a day, 7 days week on the Gem Shopping Network hosting high fashion jewelry shows. She is owner, publisher & editor of OTM as well as writer of the LifeStyle Report.

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MPCS Eli in Class: Eli Cottingham, a third-grader at Mount Paran Christian School, loves that the school offers a variety of activities and social and academic clubs to enrich his school experience.




t Mount Paran Christian School, the mission to unite with home and church to prepare servant leaders to honor God, love others, and walk in Truth is carried out through exemplary instruction for the school’s 1,190 students in grades pre-K3 through 12. Preparing servant-leaders in the classroom, on the ball field, on the stage, and for our community is achieved through four core values. MPCS is Christ-Centered, Learning Focused, Community Oriented, and Pursuers of Excellence. Four families share what being a part of the Mount Paran Christian School community means to their children, through the lens of the school’s core values. MPCS Scarlett Hugs: MPCS pre-K4 student Scarlett Murton, pictured with friends, third from left, says “loving others and being a good friend to everyone around me” is an important part of her day at preschool.

Community Oriented The Murton Family, Preschool Luke and Ashley Murton, Scarlett (pre-K4) and Natalee (third grade)

OTM: How does MPCS incorporate the core value of “Community Oriented” into the day-to-day? Ashley: MPCS always has events happening to encourage community within the school. This includes sports games, theatre productions, holiday events, chapel, etc. However, my favorite event is once a year - “Family Serve Day.” Every student signs up with their family to serve their community.

that the school our children attend, as well as the faculty and staff that have a huge impact on their lives, have the same values and ideals as our family. We also wanted them to be surrounded by administrators, teachers, and coaches that would point them to Christ on a daily basis. OTM: VJ, what do you love about attending MPCS? VJ: The people! I know my teachers and coaches care about me and want what is best for me, both now and for my future. I enjoy learning. The teachers and hands-on projects make the classes fun. Of course, I also like spending time with my friends and playing many sports with my teammates. OTM: What do you think it means to be “Pursuers of Excellence”? VJ: Working hard to be your best self by challenging yourself academically, athletically, and spiritually. It seems like every staff member, teacher, [or] coach knows every student, and they all have a genuine personal interest in our success.

Christ-Centered - The Carisma Family, High School Jimmy and Dianette Carisma, Gabriana (eleventh grade) and Adam (ninth grade)

OTM: What do you think makes MPCS different or special? Scarlett: My teachers talk to me about Jesus! I love seeing my teachers and playing with my friends. I really like going to chapel and eating lunch with my class. Enrichment is also really fun!

Learning Focused - The Metzger-Cottingham Family, Lower School Makia Metzger and Britt Cottingham, Eli (third grade) and Will (eighth grade)

MPCS VJ Ray (Photo credit TCPics): MPCS middle school basketball standout VJ Ray’s family says that “the broad athletics program at MPCS has allowed [VJ and his sister] many chances to develop both their capacity to work as a team and individual abilities, including accountability, how to deal with adversity, and competitiveness.”

OTM: How does MPCS incorporate the core value of “Learning Focused” into the dayto-day experience? Britt: As an educator, I was able to see how MPCS made strong academics a daily focus for my children in terms of approaching each child as an individual, to better address their strengths and weaknesses. OTM: Eli, what makes you excited to go to school? Eli: l’m eager to learn, and it’s a good way to connect with my friends. I like math because it is important, and I think God gave me the ability to do it well. I love going to school because the teachers are nice and teach in a fun way. Also, the schedule is balanced with fun and learning.

OTM: What do you think it means to be “Christ-Centered”? GC: Christ-Centered means that all the aspects of my school day were chosen and planned thoughtfully to glorify Christ. This idea is evident every day at MPCS, whether it be a history class, my visual arts class, or the way a teacher talks to their students. Everything is viewed with Christ at the center. OTM: What do you think makes MPCS different or special? GC: I am not just another student. The faculty truly cares for each and every one of us. It’s evident in their speech, in their availability to help after class, and when we pray for one another before class. It’s absolutely wonderful to feel loved.

Pursuers of Excellence - The Ray Family, Middle School Vince and Shelley Ray, VJ (eighth grade) and Landry (fifth grade)

MPCS Gabriana, World Vision Ignite, with sponsor child: Gabriana Carisma, a junior at MPCS, feels it is “a blessing” to attend the school, where she is participating in the Ignite leadership development partnership between MPCS and World Vision, working with students in Rwanda.

OTM: Why did you choose MPCS? Shelley: With classes and extracurricular activities, kids spend more time at school than they do at home, so we felt that it was important

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OTM: Why did you choose MPCS? Dianette: Mount Paran Christian School exemplifies everything that we value and is important to us for our children’s education. We researched and visited many schools, yet we kept coming back to Mount Paran because of the profound peace and comfort we felt. It’s evident that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is truly at the core of why the school exists.


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Vacay in the U.S. S.A. By Heather Meliski s you may have heard, the CDC recently announced required COVID testing and potential quarantines when traveling outside of the United States. Due to this change, a number of my clients have asked for great domestic travel options in lieu of international travel for their spring break vacations. If you are comfortable with traveling right now here are a few of my top choices.


Grand Teton National Park is practically next door and offers a variety of outdoor activities such as wildlife safaris, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing. In summer months you can also visit nearby Yellowstone National Park (the roads accessing the park from the south are closed to vehicles from October to May but are accessible by snowmobile).

My most-requested destination, by far, has been the Florida Keys. There are so many wonderful resorts, tons of outdoor activities and a real sense of escaping. Each Key has its own personality – Key Largo has some of the world’s best diving, Islamorada is the Sport Fishing Capital of the World, and Marathon is a family-friendly destination where you can swim with the dolphins or tour the Turtle Hospital. Key West is the most well-known of the Keys and is a unique mix of history, art, quirkiness, and fun. No matter which of the Keys you visit, they all share the same super laid-back vibe.

Sedona, Arizona is a fantastic desert vacation option. Famous for its stunning red rocks, Sedona is a great location for hiking and biking, has a vibrant arts community, offers a number of great resorts and spas, and is a spiritual mecca. Make sure to take a red rock Jeep tour while you’re here and check out the stargazing.

Another great option is South Beach in Miami. Known for its amazing beaches, great dining and happening nightclubs, it’s a great option to soak up the sun. You can stay in one of the famous Art Deco-inspired hotels or one of the high-end, luxe hotels South Beach is known for. Insider tip - make sure to sneak away to Little Havana for a meal at Versailles and make sure to order a cortadito.

If you want to escape the mainland to somewhere more tropical, then hop on a flight to either Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands. Both are gorgeous destinations that offer a variety of activities, have great resorts, beaches, and food. Because both destinations are in the Caribbean, they are a great choice for a true island vacation.

If you’re looking for a ski destination, there are a number of great locations out West. I recommend Jackson Hole as it is a family-friendly destination with a great mix of good skiing, great food, and shopping.

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 two sons. Heather@yellowshoetravel.com FB @heatheryellowshoetravel IG @yellowshoetravelheather

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Talkin’ Sports

By Justin Hanover


osing a hero or an icon or your favorite ball player in its own right is difficult enough. Losing three Braves Hall of Famers, including one Mt. Rushmore type legend, that are attached to your franchise, in less than a month was excruciating.

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able to the viewer. For 28 years many of us went to bed listening to one of the best in the business, his analysis and overall story telling ability will be sorely missed. And then on January 22nd the damn of tears broke.

First, Phil Niekro passed away on December 26th. Then, a few weeks later, came the news of the versatile Don Sutton’s death and finally just four days after that, on January 22nd, the gut punch of all gut punches as Hank Aaron, the home-run king and a transcendent larger than life figure, had left us as well. Niekro and his slow and slower knuckleball was as unique as they come. The right-hander had that gray hair, seemingly from when he first came into the league and in no way, shape or form represented the appearance of a professional athlete. Yet Niekro won 318 games in an amazing 24 year career. He just kept pitching and pitching and pitching, accumulating an insane 121 wins after his 40th birthday and retiring at the age of 48. Many of us went to our backyards and tried to mimic the man they called Knucksie. Don Sutton was a 324 game winning Hall of Fame pitcher who never threw a pitch for the Braves. But none of his on-field greatness had to do with the greatness of his post baseball Atlanta Braves career. “Black and Decker”, as many called him, had a way of telling the game story and meshing brilliantly with the other Atlanta TV and radio legends in Skip Caray, Pete Van Wieren and Joe Simpson. He was inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame in 2015 and just had that knack for painting the game picture, with loads of colorful information, while being very relat-


The legend of all legends, the Zeus of our franchise, Henry Louis Aaron, had passed. Aaron played from 1954-1976 and is widely known as one of the greatest baseball players of all-time. He was, and many still say is, the Home Run King, surpassing Babe Ruth in 1974 with his 715th career long ball en route to a whopping 755. Those baseball feats were obviously amazing as nobody had ever climbed to such extreme heights but when factoring in the numerous death threats and racism involved in the chase you can see the tremendous character and mettle this man possessed. Aaron, who worked in the Braves front office and in our communities after his baseball career, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom award from George W. Bush along with the Presidential Citizens Medal from Bill Clinton. But with all that Aaron has accomplished both on and off the field his most impressive characteristic might just have been his humbleness and respect for others. One cannot think of Hank Aaron without a warm smile coming over his or her face, remembering this incredible man for who he was. Thank you to Phil Niekro, Don Sutton and Hank Aaron. We are all much better for “knowing you”! 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-byplay 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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Stretching is more than a cool down.


hile often overlooked, your muscles need regular stretching to protect your health, body, and mobility for the long haul. Stretching is the key to living longer and being mobile into our old age- with less pain! We spoke with Jordan Keane, the program designer of Stretch Society, a local studio dedicated to enhanced stretching through unique Stick MobilityTM classes and 1:1 professionally assisted stretches, to dig deeper into what makes stretching the foundation to a healthy lifestyle. When and how often should you stretch? JK: Stretching daily is ideal but at least 2-3 times a week at minimum. The good news is that stretching doesn’t have to take hours, short sessions are all you need. When to stretch depends on your needs. Morning stretches can release tension in the body after sleeping. Stretching in the evening relaxes your body and can help you achieve a deeper sleep. Stretching after a workout helps prevent injuries and increase the range of motion. Who benefits from stretching? JK: Literally everyone benefits! No matter your fitness level, if you are sedentary, just starting your health or fitness journey, or you are a sea-

soned athlete, stretching is a beneficial addition to everyone’s healthy routine. We modify our stretches to each persons’ fitness and activity level which has allowed many of our clients to kickstart their journey to a healthier lifestyle. Why is a dedicated stretching studio better than stretching at home? JK: We all know we need to stretch, but most of us put it on the backburner for other exercises or get too busy. We provide knowledgeable coaches and equipment that most people don’t own at home so you get the most out of your stretch. We have families who come together as a bonding activity, friends who meet for the lunch class, or athletes who come to help their body recover. Stretching in our studio becomes an experience that people can share together as they build the foundation to a stronger body. What are customers saying about Stretch Society classes or 1:1 sessions after they try them? JK: A few of the amazing testimonials that come to mind are people that literally cannot move a part of their body because of a pre-existing condition or pain. They can see progress in how they gain more movement back after each session. We had a gymnast coach client who hadn’t been able to do a split in 12 years. It was a huge milestone when she was able to do her splits again after class. We even have a picture of it on our Instagram! Those types of stories happen often and make me happy to be able to give people their freedom and happiness back. What is a professional 1:1 assisted stretch and how hands on will it be? JK: At Stretch Society, a 30 minute 1:1 stretch session uses a combination of HypervoltTM vibration therapy, active stretching using Stick MobilityTM and hands-on assisted stretching with a professional Stretch Coach. A session could include a full-body stretch or target 1-2 specific problem areas, depending on your needs. Our Stretch Coaches will guide you through a safe and effective stretch to ensure you leave feeling relief, loose, and better than when you came in! What are the benefits of classes vs. 1:1 stretching? JK: Our classes offer a safe and clean small group setting where one of our elite coaches lead you through a 45 minute head to toe stretch, using Stick MobilityTM, stretching straps and bodyweight stretches to leave you feeling relaxed, more flexible, and ready to take on life’s everyday movements without pain. Whether your goal is to be able to get down on the floor and play with your grandkids, improve your mobility for your workouts, or you just want to wake up in the morning pain free, our 30 minute 1:1 stretches are designed to meet your specific needs and goals. Am I ok to go to class if I have had surgery, a limited range of motion or a preexisting injury such as a hip or knee replacement, bulging disc, or planters fasciitis? JK: We have successfully worked with many people with pre-existing injuries or surgeries to decrease their pain, increase their range of motion, and restore muscular imbalances. We give multiple variations of every stretch to work with most pre-existing injuries and skill levels, from beginner to advanced. After surgery or intense pain, the muscles overcompensate to stabilize you and we can help bring balance back. Meet your body where it is, and do what feels best for you. The good thing about stretching is it helps you be as mobile as possible, so doing it regularly may help you get some of that range of motion and mobility back and keep it long term. Visit stretchsociety.com to learn more about their Kennesaw and East Cobb locations and view safety precautions.


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*Home Equity Line of Credit promotional rate of 1.99%. Rate shown is a promotional rate that applies to new HELOCs only and is effective through March 31, 2022; thereafter, the rate will adjust to the Prime Rate as published in the Wall Street Journal, plus a margin determined at time of loan opening. The margin is determined by the creditworthiness of the borrower and our underwriting standards. Current Prime Rate is 3.25% APR as of December 21, 2020. Member will pay closing costs, if applicable. Qualification is based on an assessment of individual creditworthiness and our underwriting standards. Program, terms and conditions are subject to change without further notice. Contact Credit Union of Georgia at 678-486-1111 for current rates, terms and conditions. Credit Union of Georgia, 3048 Eagle Drive, Woodstock, GA, 30189, NMLS ID #571306.

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Leave a Legacy, Not Litigation Wills • Trusts • Estate Planning Orcutt Law Offices: (678) 383-7857 info@orcuttlawoffices.com • www.orcuttlawoffices.com


The Science of Beauty


By Eliana Ocheseanu, the Skin Whisperer at Refinery21 Aesthetique


bout 20 years ago the only Hi-tech gadgets you would find in an esthetician’s room were a steamer and a magnifying lamp. In the past decade the idea of facials has truly evolved. What was once a procedure of the usual deep cleanse, extraction and mask routine is now upgraded with high-tech equipment and cutting-edge technology. Terms such as IPL (intense pulsed light), LED (color light therapy), microdermabrasion and oxygen therapy are quickly gaining traction and with good reason. Forget about pampering, these facials are all about the results. DermaZenerate. This combination of dermaplaning, light chemical peels and Rezenerate micro-channeling will guarantee your skin glowing and looking more lifted and plump. The results usually last up to 4 weeks with more permanent results after a series of 6 to 9 treatments. OxyGeneo. Originally from Israel, this three-in-one super facial, became popular about 2 years ago in the United States. The OxyGeneo facial, works upon the natural process of our body to oxygenate the skin from within, simultaneously exfoliating, oxygenating and infusing nutrients into the skin. This facial will leave your skin smooth and glowing while visibly reducing fine lines and pigmentation. Best of all, the results aren’t surface level. Rather, since it works from the inside out, it allows the CO2 to penetrate the skin to create the oxygenating effect at the deepest layer, which makes for more noticeable, longer-lasting results.

The HydraFacial. Somewhere in the world a HydraFacial treatment is performed every 15 seconds. Yes, it is that popular! Combining the power of water with chemical peels and LED (light therapy) this facial deep cleanses the pores leaving your skin hydrated and blemish free. It is great before an event and should definitely be done in combination with other facial procedures for more long-lasting results. The Oxygen Facial. This facial has a huge celebrity following and as weird as it sounds, spraying a highly concentrated stream of oxygen molecules to the skin’s epidermis can make it glow. A lot! The oxygen facial helps to nourish skin and promote collagen growth. It involves a machine that is used for spraying highly concentrated molecules of oxygen right into your epidermis (the outer layer of your skin). The oxygen that’s applied to your face and neck is infused with vitamins, minerals, essential nutrients and botanical extracts. Celebrities, including Madonna, swear by this technique for smoother and plumper skin. The results typically last up to 10 days, making it ideal for a special event. There are many other gadgets estheticians love to use in the facial room but these specific ones are the most popular in spas around the world for anyone who wants their facials to go above and beyond.

Eliana has over 20 years of experience in skin care. She is the owner of Refinery21 Aesthetics








Spring into action, warm weather is almost here! Did you know you can prolong the life of your heating and air system by having it maintenance… Chimney Service

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Continued on page 28

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The Future Is Digital - And That Is Good For Your Wallet!

By Kimberley Watkins-Swenk


he Pandemic of 2020 will go down as what is called a disruptor event. An event in human society that fundamentally changes the course of human progression. The Spanish Flu, World War I, and World War II are all disruptor events. Covid 19 has radically changed the world within the last 12 - 18 months. One of the most obvious ways is transforming to a more digital world, a world where the need to go into an office or a classroom is no longer the only way to work or learn. Goodbye, snow days. Fear not; we will not be banished to our houses forever. Humans will always need to see each other face to face. What has happened is the opening up of a whole world of extra income opportunities for those looking for extra (or much needed) cash. People are comfortable learning and working online. Most have likely upgraded their internet speed and equipment and have dedicated spaces in their houses for learning and working. One of the hottest trends is online courses, courses created by people like you and me to teach regular people like you and me anything at all, from special certifications to gardening. Online courses are a great way to learn something new and also make money. My favorite online course platform (for learning and teaching) is Udemy (www.udemy.com). With 35 million students and 400 million course enrollments, Udemy gives you the audience you need without putting thousands of dollars into advertising and marketing. They also have guides to help you through the process of making your first course. The catch?


Udemy does take a 50% commission, but remember, you are creating passive income, so once you develop your course, you only need to update it when you deem it necessary.

CHECK OUT THESE POPULAR COURSES ON Udemy: 1. Simple Solutions for Common Dog Behavior & Training Problems. 2. Complete Guitar Lessons System: Beginner to Advanced. 3. BEGINNERS Watercolor. Get Clear On The Basics and Paint. 4. Travel Photography: Take Beautiful Photos on Your Adventures.

Creating a course can be as long and short as you want it; the duration and complexity are entirely up to you. You create your content, record your videos, and grow your community by interacting with your students. Udemy provides all the tools for messaging, quizzes, Q & As, and course announcements. The hardest part for you is creating the content and shooting the videos, which Udemy also provides support.

Don’t think you have anything to share with the world? Anything that will make people feel, “I need that. Where is my wallet?” Trust me. You have something. 5. Soil, The Key To Organic Gardening.

I suggest you go online and take a look at Udemy and see if there is an opportunity for you to make some extra cash. Take advantage of the disrupter event that is COVID-19 and come out ahead of the curve.

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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Winnwood Retirement Resort-Style Retirement

• 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

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By Deborah Ratchford

Why are so many people willing to buy a home in 2021?


ell, I am glad you asked...According to many people I’ve talked to the real estate market is expected to continue to grow in 2021 and it’s largely driven by the lasting impact the pandemic is having on our lifestyles. As many of us spend so much time at home, we are re-evaluating what “home” means and what one may need in going forward. Here are the many reasons why people are reconsidering where they live and why they’re planning to buy a home this year:

1. Mortgage Interest Rates are at a record low!!! In 2020, the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage hit a record low- several times. Many buyers have been able to get below 3% for their home purchase interest rate. I heard of a buyer that closed on their first home purchase a couple of weeks ago and their 30-year fixed interest rate was 2.65%. The big question I’m hearing over and over again is, “how low will these rates go and how long will they last?” This sense of urgency is driving many to buy this year which will lead to a continuing seller’s market. *If you are thinking of selling, this is the market for you.

2. Home has become the new “workplace”.

Working from home is a new normal for many businesses and it’s lasting a lot longer than we planned. Many in the workforce today are discovering they don’t need to live close to the office anymore and they can get more for their money by moving a little further outside of the city limits. That great city location just might not be so important anymore. The surge in the work-from-home population has rewritten the playbook for many home buying decisions, from when and where to relocate, to what people are looking for in their next home. *The reality is, for some, working remotely in their current home is challenging, especially when there may be other options available.

3. More Outdoor Space would be great!!! The new priority for homeowners is having more usable outdoor space. Being at home is driving some to seek less densely populated neighborhoods so they have more room to stretch their legs. People are looking for homes closer to parks, ball fields, playgrounds and in some cases, backyards big enough for a pool. Plus, those living in apartments and townhomes are often looking for extra square footage, both indoors and out. Many in the industry think this trend will grow in 2021 and beyond.

4. Avoiding the pitfalls of Renovating. It’s recently come to light that many homeowners would rather buy a new home than go through the process of fixing up the one they have. When renovating an older house there will always be unseen costly problems like the never-ending increase in material costs, electrical, plumbing and HVAC. Most people are seeing the benefit in buying a house that’s checking all or as many of the boxes as possible. Depending on what needs to be addressed, today’s high buyer demand may make it possible to skip some much needed renovations before selling. *Many of these homeowners have prioritized buying over renovating for convenience and potential cost savings. It’s clear that homeownership needs are changing. As a result, Americans are expected to move in record numbers this year. If you’re trying to decide if now is the right time to buy a home, contact a local real estate professional today to discuss your options. Deborah Ratchford - Top Producing Realtor with Proven Results!!! Keller Williams Realty Cityside Debratchford@kw.com 678-570-4779

Exp: Mar. 31, 2021

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Book 2 Days 'In-Board Training' in March Get an EXTRA Day! Need a Longer Break? Book a 1-Week 'Learn for Life' Get a complimentary treat bag, treats & leash www.K-9Coach.com | 404-603-9744

Spring is Springing!


pring is around the corner and we at K-9 Coach are thrilled. We can get outside again and see people!!! Fresh air, blooming trees and flowers, as well as perfect outdoor weather, make us and our canine friends very happy. For all that is wonderful about springtime, especially during a pandemic, it is also very busy and potentially very dangerous for your beloved pups. Each year we take a moment to remind people about some COMMON SPRINGTIME HAZARDS and precautionary steps to help keep your furry friends safe. With COVID and the cold, wet winter we’ve experienced, many of us have been cooped up indoors and now more than ever, are looking forward to outdoor activities with family, friends and pups. So, here are a few things to remember as you venture outdoors this spring. As more and more of us create outdoor living spaces where we can safely enjoy the company of friends and family, there is a flurry of landscaping activities. Landscaping Products such as colored mulch, mulch made from recycled rubber, chemicals used on lawns and gardens, such as fertilizer and plant food and many common plants can be deadly if ingested. Make sure to read the labels, look for safe alternatives, follow manufacturer directions in terms of storage and post-application contact with pets and ask your veterinarian.

Insect Control Products including those in over-the-counter flea and tick remedies, can be toxic. Most professional pest control companies


have pet-safe alternatives, but you must ask. Pet owners should never use any product around pets without first reading the warnings and consulting your veterinarian. Eating outdoors? Human Food is often poisonous to pets and so you really should employ the old “Why even risk it?” attitude. Common foods which are poisonous to pups include: Alcohol, Avocados, Chocolate, Coffee, Cooked Bones, Garlic, Grapes and Raisins, Macadamia Nuts, Onions. Traps and Poisons must be treated with extreme caution. Just remind yourself of why they exist! Even if you do not use traps and poisons, remember that your neighbors might. Dogs and cats can be poisoned if they eat a rodent who has been killed by poison (called secondary poisoning). Spring is the time for Spring Cleaning. Make sure to keep cleaners and solvents safely out of the reach of dogs (and small humans too, of course) and mop up any spills before a curious puppy puts their inquiring nose in it! Finally, remember that Dog Gear needs to be inspected for safety. Collars and leashes wear out and can break when your pup pulls on that afternoon walk! Stuffed toys and beds get holes and, let’s face it, eating white polyfill stuffing may be irresistible but it isn’t good! We are always honored to serve you and your dog needs. Whether through training, camp, lodging, grooming or retail supplies, we are always striving to help you develop a lifetime of positive memories with your pup(s). We hope you enjoy the beautiful weather this spring and please be sure to take a little time to make sure everyone is ready to have fun! For additional information on this and other important topics, please see our resource library in the K-9 U section of our website at www.k-9coach.com.

Amber, Jarrette & the K-9 Coach Team

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Boarding • day Care grooming • Spa Creekside is a 7,000 sq. ft. pet hotel with 2 acres of shaded property




First Groom Visit

A $20 Value! for Day Care guest


1360 Lockhart Dr. Near the intersection of McCollum Pkwy & Big Shanty Rd, next to Site One Landscape



Tours of facility available!

Temp Test

Serving the community for 33 years!

everyoNe Wants to look their very best, iNcludiNg our furry frieNds! Our Befur & After pet stylists are here to help your pet look fetching for those family pictures or selfies!

Whether your pet has been naughty or nice, go ahead and treat them to a facial, haircut or bath. They’ll be refreshed and ready for family gatherings. Reserve your appointment today! Give our pet stylists a call at 678-540-8522 and schedule some salon time for your fur baby!

No time to spare? We’ll come to you!

Make an appointment with our mobile grooming stylist. Call 404-966-9900 ASAP for Befur & After Mobile Pet Grooming! Don’t delay! Appointments are filling fast! Our Town

Befur & After Grooming Salon 678-540-8522 Befur & After Mobile Grooming 404-966-9900


Celebrating 10 Years 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, East Cobb, West & South Marietta, Our Services Sandy Springs & Dunwoody Include: extending 3 miles north Bath w/Hydro Massage Ears cleaned of I-285. Nails Trimmed Sanitary Trim Basic De-matting Full Brush & Blow Dry Shave downs Full cuts


• Weekend Appointments

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.

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

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LIFE offers specialized undergraduate and graduate degrees, LIFE offers specialized undergraduate and graduate degrees, of natural realm tracks pre-professional defined withdefined of natural realm thethe in in tracks pre-professional with single-campus largest world’s the is and health, vital and and vital health, and is the world’s largest single-campus program. Chiropractic Doctor program. Chiropractic ofof Doctor

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1269 Barclay Circle | Marietta, GA | USA 1269 Barclay Circle | Marietta, GA | USA

LIFE.edu LIFE.edu


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



Call the Agent That Gets Results! Ask her How She got $27,000 Over the Asking Price!!!

SOLD in 6 days!

SOLD in 3 days!

SOLD in 1 day!

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 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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