Our Town Monthly May 2023

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4 Our Town 80 Seven Hills Blvd Dallas GA 30132 l 678-483-0283 l shopindigogoods.com l info@shopindigogoods.com Monday thru Saturday 10-7 Sunday 11-5 unique gifts, clothing & home décor l wonderful customer service & smiling faces Stop in, shop & sign up to receive 20% off one item on your next purchase Happy Mother’s Day! Celebrate all of the Moms in your Life!
CONTENTS Lifestyle Report Don’t let Maycember steal your Joy.................8 About the Photographer Aharon Hill.......................................................8 Talkin’ Sports with Justin Look at our Atlanta Sports Teams for 2023.....11 Cover Story: Welcome to Leading Edge Dentistry..............15 Community Spotlight The Healing Power of Music...........................21 Health & Fitness Ashley Beckman of Burn Boot Camp has a tip on how to stay focused on fitness.......................24 Food Join us for the annual Summer Lunch Supply Drive, because Food is a MUST.......................27 Travel Expert Book Now for Fall Break & Winter Travel.......28 Real Estate Are you looking to buy a home? If so, Our Town’s Real Estate expert, Deborah Ratchford, has good news for you...................................34 6 Travel Book Now for Fall & Winter Travel In This Issue MAY 2023 Cover Story Leading Edge Dentistry 15 24 11 Talkin’ Sports Atlanta Sports 2023 21 Community Spotlight Songs for Kids Foundation Health & Fitness Burn Boot Camp 28 & Congratulations to the 2023 Graduates!

Our Town is published and direct mailed monthly to prestigious homes in Cobb County. 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 2023 by Our Town. Reproduction in whole or in part is forbidden in any media without prior written permission from the publisher.


Tara Hill Hanover


Justin Hanover


Kimberly Watkins-Swenk


Jules Fandos


West Cobb

Sara Young sara@ourtownmonthly.com


Amy Knight amy@ourtownmonthly.com


Aharon Hill


Ashley Beckman

Heather Meliski

Deborah Ratchford PO Box 813610

Smyrna, GA 30081-8610


info@ourtownmonthly.com www.ourtownmonthly.com



Full Continuum of Living, IL Cottages and Apartments to AL & Memory Care, All on One 28 Acre Neighborhood Campus


“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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Demery & Lori McLinden 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 109 Anderson Street Suite 109 Marietta, GA 30060 678-337-7844 Fax: 678-337-7825 info@ourtownmonthly.com www.ourtownmonthly.com Monthly F AMILY L IFESTYLE N EWS M AGAZINE Our Town in this issue
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STERLING ESTATES Independent, Assisted Living & Memory Care
Living Communities EXCEPTIONAL LIVING SterlingEstates.com West Cobb: 770-255-7000 Lacey & Sherry East Cobb: 678-946-4454 Shelly

Lifestyle Report

May is now referred to by many as “Maycember”, especially by busy mom’s (and dads) as this month is possibly the craziest and most overscheduled of the year. May can actually be relentless as everything is coming to a close. School, sports and clubs are all wrapping up, unless you are “lucky” enough to move on to AllStars. It’s graduation time for many high schoolers and college students too. As everything is slowing down and coming to an end, parents are squealing around town frantically, speeding to keep up.

Mothers Day, Teacher Appreciations, Class Parties, Graduations, Banquets, Recitals…May has replaced December as the busiest month of the year and let’s not leave out expensive too. However as a mother of 3 myself, living in the crazy rush of Maycember- I would not change a thing.

Yes, it’s busy.

Yes, it’s insane.

Yes, it’s expensive…but it has become some of the richest moments in my life. What I have realized is that life is a whirlwind of events. And, if I blink, I may miss a moment. The saying, “The days are long and the years are short” could not be more true. I am going to be the mother of a

graduate in 2 more short years. My middle child is in middle school and my baby will be a big ol’ third grader. (He’ll be reading to learn instead of learning to read.)

Wow! Where has the time gone?

As hard as it is to remember on the days that you can hardly catch your breath, enjoy the ride and stop to celebrate the moments.

To all of you mama’s out there: This is your month, Enjoy your big day!

To all of you parents out there that have a Class of 2023 Graduate: Your child will receive their diploma this month, you certainly deserve to take a bow. Let’s face it, you worked hard too. Well done, parents!

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Happy Mothers Day! & Congratulations! to the Class of 2023 from your friends at Our Town Monthly!
10 Our Town
770.805.9977 4500 W. Village Place Suite 1011 / Smyrna


If you have been living in Georgia for a few years you have seen your share of ups and downs. There have been the most absolute pure moments of joy as well as heartbreaks that can make one feel as if they just fell off of a cliff. But where are we right now with our teams?


There isn’t another baseball team on the planet that is as well balanced and talented as our current Atlanta Braves. General Manager Alex Anthopolous has been a magician tying up high quality players at team friendly contracts. Guys like Ronald Acuna, Jr, Ozzie Albies, Matt Olson, Michael Harris II and Spencer Strider are just a few of the core players that should be here for years to come.

The 2021 World Championship was a little surprising and somewhat came out of left field (no pun intended) but looking back we can now see that moment of time as the real beginning of a hopeful 10-15 year run of success.

Championships aren’t guaranteed (just look at the Braves from the late 90’s/early 2000’s for numerous examples) as a lot of it is about getting hot at the right time. But things are being done here the right way and Truist Park will be a red hot destination well into the 2030’s!


You can really feel a new era dawning for Arthur Blank’s beloved Falcon franchise. If not for the Braves’ Anthopolous (above) General Manag Terry Fontenot may be the new golden child in town. All this guy has done in his two years here has been make right move after right move highlited by last year’s 2022 draft which was a masterclass on how to get it done. Of course, these things will take time and the jury is still somewhat out but Drake London is a star, Tyler Allgeier was a firstround pick (in hindsight) taken in the fifth round and Desmond Ridder is a very poised young man and quite possibly the Quarterback of the future who was snatched up fairly late in the third round. Add in Tight End Kyle Pitts from the previous year along with the numerous recent free agent signings and we are looking at a team that is on the cusp of exploding. We have somewhat seen this before with the Falcons as guys like Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley along with a few others have been splashy in the skill positions. The difference now, though, is Fontenot and Head Coach Arthur Smith seem to be building this thing properly, from the inside out valuing the big uglies on the lines. Offensive Linemen like Chris Lindstrom, Kaleb McGary and Jake Matthews form a magnificent three-some and have all been locked up to much deserved healthy sized deals, which should make Ridder’s life that much easier.

No doubt the Birds still need some help rushing the opposing team’s Quarterback but every team will have some sort of a flaw and right now in 2023 this team is very much trending up!


This franchise is a little bit of an enigma and probably the least settled of the bunch. The talent is there as Trae Young is a super star and we saw this team a few years ago explode into the Eastern Conference Finals, but frankly there’s been a little bit of a regression ever since.

The Hawks have been defensively challenged allowing right around 120 points per game and the increasingly loud and gaining steam rumors about Young leaving town is, well, let’s just say, not good.

With the above said, Head Coach Quin Snyder has been able to get his feet wet again, back in town since the beginning of March and he and his staff should be settled in for some reasonable success moving forward. Who will be on his roster and for how long, though, is a major question.

Bottom line: We need a happy and a healthy Trae Young here in the Atl. If that turns out not to be the case then it’s anybody’s guess which way this franchise goes.


It’s amazing what a little success early on in a franchise can do for you!?!?! And I mean this in a couple of ways, both good and bad.

Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra and the United came flying out of the gate winning a championship in year two, December 8th, 2018 to be exact. The sky was the limit with Josef Martinez, Miguel Almiron and Michael Parkhurst and so many other high-quality veterans that gelled so quickly. It was amazing to watch the build up of soccer here in Georgia the way United did it. 60,000 plus fans would routinely show up to Mercedes Benz Stadium chanting and screaming and just living the life. But it also created false expectations as it’s just impossible to live up to that level year in and year out. Amazing start, yes, potential to keep it going forever, of course not.

So, we saw a few lean seasons and some coaches come and go which, unless you were totally caught up in the moment, was to be expected. But, right now, after a great start to the 2023 season you can’t help but feel that Atlanta United is on the right course to becoming a powerhouse on the pitch once again. Thiago Almada, Miles Robinson, Giorgos Giakoumakis and a few others form a nucleus that really could win another MLS Cup and that means some more exciting times are ahead!


Wait, what? Hockey? What hockey?

Crazy talk, right?

Nope. If you follow and listen to some people in the know they say it is going to happen in the next 5-10 years up in Alpharetta or Forsyth County. This could certainly change as it’s far from a done deal but the whispers are starting to get louder and it’s looking like a good chance we get some NHL action in our parts in the not so distant future!

Talkin’ Sports Talkin’ Sports
Justin Hanover is a sports reporter/analyst who has worked in the business since 1996. His stops have included ESPN, CNN, 790 The Zone, 680 The Fan and the Atlanta Falcons. 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.
Banners Blueprints Canvas Posters Scanning Stickers Vinyl Window Graphics Yard Signs and More! Welcome Home... ...to DayBreak Village, your warm and friendly home nestled in the 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 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 NOW DEDICATEDHIRINGSTAFF training available APPLY IN PERSON

Home is where the heart is at Dogwood Forest Acworth Assisted Living & Memory Care and so is the CARE

We love our residents like family and you can visit our website and hear from family members why they love us, too.


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14 Our Town
4461 South Main St. l Acworth, GA 30101

Dr. Dimple Patel offers comprehensive dental care for the whole family in their state-of-the-art dental office in Marietta. Dr. Patel has been providing dental care to the Atlanta area for the last 18 years and continues to implement new procedures and techniques to better serve the community. At Leading Edge Dentistry, Dr. Patel is a family dentist who specializes in cosmetic and comprehensive care that includes crowns and veneers, whitening, endodontics (root canal therapy), oral surgery (extractions and gum contouring), implants, and dental prosthetics (partials and dentures).

“We can restore patients back to excellent health while attending to their esthetic and emotional needs,” Dr. Patel says. The practice utilizes the latest in modern technology and techniques, and Dr. Patel consistently strives to improve both her skill level and knowledge.


Dr. Dimple Patel grew up in South Carolina and attended Emory University in Atlanta. There, she graduated with honors with degrees in Psychology and Religion while simultaneously fulfilling her requirements for dental school. She then returned to South Carolina to attend dental school at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. While in dental school, Dr. Patel was inducted into the prestigious Omicron Kappa Upsilon dental honor society and was named a Hinman Scholar where she was awarded a coveted scholarship. After graduating at the top of her class, she moved to Atlanta to pursue her career in dentistry. Since then, she has treated and changed the lives of thousands of individuals and continues to serve her community. She is constantly learning new techniques and staying on the forefront of advancing dentistry by partaking in countless hours of education. Dr. Patel has been residing in Smyrna for the last 15 years and has enjoyed watching her Cobb community grow and thrive. When she is not practicing dentistry, Dr. Patel enjoys spending time with her adventurous husband, playing basketball with her two energetic boys, working out, and supporting the Atlanta Falcons, Braves, and Hawks!


“What sets us apart is our commitment to treating each person with compassion and excellence while restoring health and beautiful smiles. We listen to each patient’s desires and empower them to make the best choices for their personal health and happiness.”

Being a mother herself, Dr. Patel understands the need for creating healthy habits early and the importance of preventative dental care for lifelong oral health. Dr. Patel routinely sees patients who have had negative dental experiences at other offices leading to fear and anxiety. At Leading Edge Dentistry, Dr. Patel and her highly skilled and experienced staff prioritize patients’ needs and comfort above all. From providing complementary nitrous oxide sedation (laughing gas) to warm neck rolls and plush blankets, patients are treated like family. Patients receive personalized care throughout their experience and take notice when treatment far surpasses their expectations, like the after-hours calls following a procedure to check on them. Since Covid, the office has also taken extra measures to ensure the health and safety of their patients by installing a state-of-the-art air purification system to eliminate the spread of viruses.

“After almost 20 years of practicing dentistry, I’m more excited than ever to go to the office. I have a great team and great patients and have found a niche allowing me to offer top-notch dentistry in a relaxed, comfortable manner.”

Leadingedgedentistry@gmail.com 3475 Dallas Hwy. Suite 310 l Marietta, GA 30064 l 770-425-2001



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16 Our Town
Photo: Norma Jean Roy
Our Town 17 F loralCreationsFlorist , i n c FLORAL CREATIONS FLORIST, INC. 770.433.0621 Family Owned / Serving Smyrna, Surrounding Areas & Metro Atlanta Since 1980 floralcreationsflorist.com $5 OFF purchase of $50 or more $10 OFF purchase of $150 or more when you mention FCFMAY23 at the shop or over the phone (LOCALorders ONLY / not valid online) Dickson Shopping Center l 3308 South Cobb Drive, SE, Smyrna 30080 MOM deserves the BEST! Make sure to ORDER EARLY a beautiful & fresh floral bouquet to shower MOM with love! Don’t forget the GRADS! We have graduation bouquets & gifts just for them MARS HILL RD BROOKSTONEDRNW STILESBORORD A BROOKSTONE WALK NW 678-402-5186 1727 Mars Hill Rd/Suite 203/Acworth 30101 In the Brookstone Publix Shopping Center arnettsjewelry.com/ga arnettsjewelryga.jewelershowcase.com Find the Perfect Gift for Moms & Graduates Scan for info ing our Community a Home 1349 Old Hwy 41, #220, Marietta, GA 30060 • 678-264-8575 We s t Co b b’ s R efo r m Co n gr eg a t i o n www.mynertamid.org Scan for info A G E S 5 & U P • B ’ N A I M I T Z V A H • C O N F I R M A T I O N Searching for your family’s Jewish Home in Cobb County? c n t re l i g i o u s s c h o o l Judaics | Prayers | Hebrew | Arts & Crafts | Celebrations ISJL Curriculum | Convenient | Local | Affordable | Fun!





At Varenita, residents can “age in place” comfortably and securely. One of the main benefits of choosing Varenita of West Cobb is that residents can stay in the same community and, in many cases, the same “living area” even as their health care requirements change. This means that once you or your loved one moves into our beautiful community, it’s home. No matter how much needs to change over time.


The perfect option for independent seniors who want support with daily tasks and personal care.

Varenita of West Cobb’s personalized assisted living care is designed for primarily independent seniors looking for a rich and rewarding lifestyle with an enhanced level of support. Guided by compassion and clinical expertise, our highly trained team members offer residents the gentle, individually focused support they need to flourish while retaining their independence.

Personalized Care for All Stages of Aging


This specialized program is ideal for those living with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or early memory loss. Our industry-leading transitional care program is built around an inclusive “open campus” model. It is specifically designed for residents experiencing the early symptoms of memory loss or MCI but may not require the full attention or secure environment of a traditional memory program. Residents who are appropriate for transitional care continue to reside in the Assisted Living area of the community while receiving additional support with daily activities.


An enriching and supportive program designed for those living with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias.

Based on the latest research, Varenita’s memory care program offers a truly compassionate approach to care designed for those residents living with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias. This living option combines an engaging, secure memory care neighborhood with a stimulating, person-centered lifestyle often missing from other cognitive care programs.


Unlike many other senior living communities, Varenita offers comprehensive physical, occupational, and speech therapy services for all our residents without the hassel of having to leave the community.


Varenita offers residents and their families an impressive mix of delicious cuisine and rich dining experiences. Our accomplished chef and culinary team create an ever-changing menu of delicious entrees made with organic, locally sourced ingredients across three beautiful dining venues. These include vegetarian, gluten-free, and specially designed dishes for residents with specific dietary needs. In addition, we have a registered dietitian available to help with residents’ nutritional needs.


At Varenita, we offer an impressive mix of activities, classes, and events that foster engagement, stimulate the mind, and provide a rewarding sense of purpose.

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Varenita of West Cobb | 1979 Mars Hill Road, Acworth, GA 30101 | 470-750-3500


Our Town 19
support Walker provides leads to opportunities that can’t be found anywhere else.”
has helped me to become a stronger student, and it has also helped me to foster strong relationships with my peers.”
Holden University
has given me the opportunity to shape my own path and to be who I want to be.” WHERE WILL WONDER LEAD YOU? RANKED #1 PRIVATE SCHOOL IN COBB COUNTY PK(3)-12 700 Cobb Parkway N. Marietta, Ga 30062 Open to all faiths Visit thewalkerschool.org/admission or call (678) 540-7229 to schedule an individual or small group tour. : Structured learning for children ages 6 weeks - 12 years Pre-K4 Accredited Kindergarten & 1st grade programs
Justin MIT “Walker
Sarah Cornell University
of Kentucky “Walker
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Community Spotlight

Josh Rifkind is an Emory graduate who has loved music his entire life. He was the lead singer for a local band called Lithp and was a music manager who knew the ins and outs of the business. His rolodex is long including some pretty famous names but it just wasn’t enough, he needed more. If you know Josh, or even just met him once, you can’t help but see his giving nature and one in a million personality.

“I wanted to do something to honor my Dad. He was a surgeon and my idol. I was always into music and was a manager and wanted to combine those worlds. I selfishly wanted to pursue something for the greater good that I would enjoy”, recalled Josh.

And, alas, in 2007, The Songs for Kids Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit was born.

It encompassed everything that Josh wanted, continue playing music but do it in a way that helped those in need or as he calls it, “the greater good”.

Songs for Kids provides music mentorship and interactive programs for kids and young adults up to the age of 39 who suffer from illnesses, injuries and disabilities. They focus on creative expression, encourage exploration in a safe space and most importantly of all, never lose sight of the fun.

The Center, which opened in late 2018, has a bunch of kids from our beloved Cobb County and, as Josh told me,”once they realize what this is, they are hooked.” It currently operates six days a week (all but Saturday) and pairs its “kids” with music mentors through a musical journey that can include singing, recording, writing and even playing the piano.

Before the Pandemic, Josh and his ten or so staff members visited 1,000 Children’s Hospitals a year and had over 17,000 friends and family. It is a National Foundation that started in Georgia but has branched out to hospitals in Los Angeles and New Orleans, among other places.

“This whole thing started out (in 2007) as just some friends and I. I was a music manager and this is a learn as you go project. This was just invented, so we didn’t have any road maps. It was literally out of my apartment. In the first year we did 18 Hospitals (and now it has grown to 1,000). The underlying goal is to be awesome for the kids and families”, said Rifkind.

The 50 year old added, “We have been on CBS This Morning, People Magazine, Headline News, CNN and almost every local channel but that isn’t what it is about to me. This is all about the kids. We are completely free. Parents don’t believe me when I say this. They always ask again, so how much do we have to pay? They just cannot believe when I tell them again It’s all free. We never charge a penny. And we’re not there to just play a couple of songs and provide a distraction. Our goal is to form the kinds of meaningful relationships that it takes to help kids deal with their illnesses through creativity.”

I asked Josh to give me a story, to share something as he is beyond humble and never wants to take any of the credit. He gave me a look of, I have a million stories, dude, I can’t just choose one. But he did share a couple.

“I was recently singing ‘Livin on a Prayer’ by Bon Jovi with a 16 year old. Suddenly I looked over and his caregivers were overwhelmed with emotion. Tears were wailing up. They said ‘we can’t believe it, this is the most vocal he has been in 9 months.’”

“A mom who brings her daughter in weekly emailed me that her daughter submitted a writing for the Girl Scouts about me. She wasn’t coerced. She just wrote it. These kids respond to how we see them, it’s amazing. People come in all the time and say I didn’t know this was here. Thank God I found you.”

Rifkind finished up his salad as we ate and summed it all up. “I’m grateful, I’m the one filled with gratitude that we get to do this. The gratitude is almost in reverse. They should be grateful but I am the one that feels grateful.”

Josh Rifkind, a true hero!

Check out the amazing Songsforkids.org

It’s nothing less than incredible.

Not all heroes wear capes and this month’s Community Spotlight focuses on one such hero.
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Our Town 23 Providing Adult Day Health Services to several counties: Cobb, Paulding, Douglas, Bartow, Cherokee, Floyd & Gordon 4279 Austell Powder Springs Road n Powder Springs, GA 30127 serenityadultdaycare.com 678-324-1237 Monday - Friday 7AM-6PM RN Nurse Administrator, Support by CNA’s Medication Management Covid & Flu Protocols in Place Assistance with Eating, Restroom & other Activities of Daily Living Personal Care for each Guest Full Commercial Kitchen providing Breakfast, Hot Lunch & Afternoon Snacks Activity Center: Arts, Crafts, Bingo, Games, Painting, Music, Movies Private, Serene Outdoor Patio State Licensed, Medicaid Provider for CCSP & Source “Call today and schedule your private tour of our facility. Let us assist and guide in helping your family, loved one, friend or neighbor find the right solution for their needs...taking one day at a time!”

Goodbye winter and HELLO SPRING!

With spring comes a new energy - the sun is shining, flowers are blooming, the warmth outside makes us feel reinvigorated and ready to move into the season ahead, with new beginnings and fresh ideas. It’s time to reevaluate, refocus and recommit our lives.

We all had goals for the year, some of us have kept them and some of us lost sight of them with the winter blues. Some of us have already said, “I’ll try again next year!”. Well, we still have plenty of time left in the year to reach those goals. Let’s reevaluate our goals now and see if they are realistic and attainable and if not, it’s okay to modify them so they are.

I work for and attend Burn Boot Camp in Smyrna. Many of the people that I see come into the gym with new goals on January 1st and by now are losing focus. It’s easy to do! Once you have reevaluated your goals, check in with your body and mind and use this spring energy to refocus.

This can be challenging with the many distractions in our lives, so finding a space where you can concentrate on yourself is key. There are a number of healthy ways to do this like meditation, Yoga, a walk in nature, and journaling. Once we have reevaluated where we are and refocused our energy, it’s time to recommit to ourselves. Living a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle can include many different things but diet, exercise and community are a few of the key ingredients.

After a winter filled with holidays and comfort foods, I see spring as a time to brighten up my food choices, not just in color but also flavor. Check what’s in season and try to add from these each week. Check out your local farmers market where you can often find great options. Spring is also time to get moving - exercising regularly can not only improve your physical health, it’s also great for your mental health. A community of family and friends that provide support and accountability can be huge in all of these areas. Thinking about where we can grow in this area might include spending time supporting your local community, visiting family or joining a gym. Find like-minded friends and hold each other accountable.

I’ll close with why I choose to spend my time at Burn Boot Camp. Burn is where I get all of these things. I go to Burn to exercise, both cardio and strength training. While I’m there, I have focus meetings with the trainers where we talk about nutrition and what I could change or add to feel better and be the best version of myself. We have Yoga Saturday’s where I can get a good stretch along with some time to restore physically and mentally. Lastly, and for me most important of all, is community. During my first month at Burn, I was lucky enough to find a group of friends that, to this day, encourage me, motivate me, and help me stay focused. This is what keeps me coming back, holds me accountable and helps me thrive each and every week!

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s u b j e c t t o c h a n g e , w e a t h e r p e r m i t t i n g

Our Services Include:

Bath w/Hydro Massage Ears cleaned

Nails Trimmed Sanitary Trim

Basic De-matting

Full Brush & Blow Dry

Shave downs

Full cuts

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, Sandy Springs & Dunwoody extending 3 miles north of I-285.

Our Town 27

Fall Break & Winter Travel – The Time to Book Is NOW!

Ilove to travel. I’m always thinking about my next vacation, my next work trip, my next bucket list destination.

If you’re already envisioning your next vacation for fall break or this winter, now is the time to act. I know you might be thinking ‘it’s only May!’ but availability is already limited for some destinations for the remainder of the year and even into 2024. Some resorts and cruises are already sold out. I have had several clients reach out for vacation planning for various fall break and winter vacation dates and in some cases, we’ve already had to look at their second and even third choice options due to availability.

My most-requested fall and winter destinations are Europe (for fall only), ski vacations, the Caribbean, and Mexico. All of these are great choices but most of them – minus Europe - tend to have higher crowds during these times because they are so popular.

Winter vacations occur during peak season in the Caribbean and Mexico because the weather is consistently great, it is outside of hurricane season, and people want to get away to somewhere warm while it’s cold - particularly for people who live in the Midwest or Northeast. This also means that prices will be higher due to higher demand. Resorts, flights, and cruises book up fast so ideally you want to book at least nine months in advance for the best selection. There is still availability remaining but I recommend booking sooner rather than later if you have a specific destination in mind.

December through late March is ideal for a ski vacation so if you’re thinking about a vacation to Colorado, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, or even Europe, winter vacation might be a good option for you. Since this is the busiest time of the year, expect crowds and higher prices. Most ski destinations have good powder through the first week of April so if winter vacation doesn’t work for your ski vacation, winter break in February or spring break are also good choices.

If you’re looking for something less crowded, I recommend some – but not all - destinations in Europe during the winter. The weather will be colder but the crowds and prices will be lower in most non-ski destinations. The downside is that some businesses, particularly in port cities, can be closed during this time. If you don’t mind the cold, then Italy, England, and France are good choices. It’s also a fantastic time to see the Christmas Markets either via a river cruise or a personalized land-based trip.

No matter your ideal destination now is the time to plan your fall break or winter vacation – don’t wait!

28 Our Town
/Southern-Grace-Cleaning-LLC Kasi Freeman OWNER 404.808.0300 We offer luxury services, including laundry
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
Our Town 29 Independent and Assisted Living Call 770-738-4143 to learn more! 100 Whitlock Avenue, Marietta - One block from the historic Marietta Square - Learn more at www.WinnwoodRetire.com or scan our QR code! Isn’t it time to start enjoying your retirement?
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Our Town 33 770-971-1577 paintingplus.com Serving Homeowners in Marietta and North Metro Atlanta since 1998. One Call for Painting and All Exterior Renovations. House Painting, Exterior Renovations, Roofing, Siding, Gutters and More. BEFORE AFTER 404-301-9955 www.warriorwindowcleaning.com CALLTODAY FOR A FREE ESTIMATE! WINDOW CLEANING l GUTTER CLEANING l PRESSURE WASHING l OUTDOOR LIGHTING $149 Flat rate applies to 1- and 2-story dwellings up to 25’ feet elevation and 3,500 total square footage. 3-story elevation requires on-site estimate. Excludes systems with guards, screens, or any attachments that covers the gutter cup opening. Exp 6/15/23 WINDOW CLEANING FIRST 25 WINDOWS Valid for Whole House Window Cleaning Removing, dusting or cleaning window screens is a separate and independent service. $149 Applies to standard window cleaning. Excludes non-standard, storm/encasement or oversized windows. Exp 6/15/23 WARRIOR PACKAGE Combine all 3 Services, get a 15% Discount PATIO & PARTY LIGHTING Create inviting outdoor entertainment spaces with illuminating patio lighting! Schedule your FREE on-site consultation! 404-301-9955 Book your service appointment by 6/15/23 & get a can of premium glass cleaner for FREE! PRESSURE WASHING All Surfaces: Siding - Brick - Wood Stone - Concrete - Composite Starting at $149 Discount rate based on 2,500 sq. ft., 2-story dwelling. Larger sq. footage or any 3-story elevation requires on-site estimate. Exp 6/15/23 PROMO CODE OURTOWN25

BUYERS are Starting to Have

More Control in Today’s Market.

41% of Sellers are working with contingencies that buyers are putting in their offers.

67% of Sellers are willing to negotiate on inspection items.

32% of Sellers are willing to pay for some or all the buyer’s closing cost and participate in buying down the buyer’s interest rate.

We are now seeing the mortgage interest rates coming down, so now is a great time to sell and buy.

Is a Home Warranty a good thing to have if you are buying an older home? Yes, it is a great peace of mind for the buyer to have a home warranty that starts on the day of closing and normally is a one-year coverage plan that is negotiated and paid for by the seller. We are seeing more sellers pay for a Home Warranty, which is between $500 and $600. Most reputable Home Warranty companies will cover the heating/Air, appliances, plumbing and electrical systems which are the high-ticket items. Lots of homeowners will renew the Home Warranty policy each year moving forward. Is this advisable? There are pros and cons to these warranties. It is a decision you will have to make, just like buying any warranty on anything you purchase at the store sometimes used, sometimes not, also depending on what it covers. Therefore, it’s always best to read the fine print and

seek the advice of an experienced real estate agent for a reputa ble Home Warranty Company.

If your listed house is sit ting on the market too long with no showing’s day after day, week after week – here are some possible reasons why this is happening.

1. Maybe the pictures need to be better. Random pictures of rooms that do not matter just do not help. Staging is also important so it’s best to work with an experienced real estate agent that’s willing to help stage the house to show how spacious and inviting it can be. There are also staging companies that can stage certain rooms, maybe not the whole house but just rooms that matter. An experienced real estate agent should be willing to help with staging

2. Maybe the Curb Appeal needs to be improved, which is very important. A great looking yard says a lot about how well a house has been cared for. You should plant spring flowers this time of year, yellow is inviting and pleasing to the eye. It’s a nice welcome to your listing when buyers pull into the driveway for a showing. Make sure your house smells nice with no foul odors. It’s nice to have a fresh scent but not too overpowering to the point that it smells like you are trying to hide something. Fresh flowers in the house also will add a warm, welcome feeling for buyers.

3. It’s also Important have an experienced listing agent networking with other agents that gets familiar with your listing and spread the word of the new listing. There are always some off the market properties as well, so a good agent is always networking to hear about these. I’m the kind of agent that sells properties before they ever hit the MLS. In today’s market social media is important. Make sure your listing agent is targeting buyers in as many ways as possible, like social media, MLS and doing Open Houses. Don’t forget that having an experienced listing agent with great negotiating skills are important, so again experience is the key.

If you are looking to sell or buy, please don’t hesitate to call for free advice on when and how you should go about this process. I have been working with buyers and sellers for over 23 years and I am available to help. I have seen it all and am willing to share any tips on getting the best deals in today’s market. I have also been working with the best lender for 20 years and he is kind, patient and honest plus willing to work diligently to get the best interest rate for you.

His name is Barry Butler 770-365-7179 with Guaranteed Rate.

Call Deb today at 678-570-4779 if I can help in any way to make this a smooth process please call today.

I am “Results Driven”

Sincerely and I hope to hear from you.

My best contact is:


Or my cell at: 678-570-4779

Thank you, let’s go shopping!

34 Our Town

If you are thinking of buying or selling this spring or summer call Deb! She brings 25 years of experience and is results driven. She knows the areas and how to get the most for your home. Deb knows of single family homes, townhomes and condos hitting the market before they even go live. If you are trying to decide the best time to go on market, call today for a free market analysis! Deb, is an excellent advisor and will get you

Deborah M Ratchford Keller Williams Cityside 3350 Atlanta Road Smyrna, GA 30080 C: 678-570-4779 O: 770-874-6205 barry.butler@rate.com / O 404.474.3974 C 770.365.7179 125 Townpark Drive Suite 300, Office 23 / Kennesaw, GA. 30144 Barry Butler Branch Manager/VP of Mortgage Lending NMLS ID: 658820 All information is believed to be accurate, but not warranted. Each Keller Williams Realty Office is individually owned and operated.
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