January - February - March 2023 CIRCA Magazine

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How is it that we are already welcoming a new year? 2022 seems to have gone by in a flash – and it was a great year! So much of that is because of you – our wonderful readers, our brilliant writers, and our incredible advertisers. Thank you all for helping to make it one of our best years yet!

While it’s hard to believe that the calendar has once again flipped over to a new year, I am excited about what awaits in 2023 – starting with this issue of CIRCA Magazine! It’s filled with expert insight, advice, and know-how covering a wide range of lifestyle topics, including delicious and comforting wintertime cuisines, cold weather cocktail recipes, suggestions for updating your living spaces for the season, guidance for prepping your garden for springtime blooms, healthful living, the local gem that is Dorothea Dix Park, a fashion forecast, retirement account consolidation, and so much more. This edition is here to help you usher in the new year and kick it off with a bang. And as you flip the pages, take notice of the many amazing local businesses who are advertising with and generously support us, making it possible to share CIRCA Magazine with you each and every quarter. Please support them as you’re looking for places to eat, shop, and play, or if you’re in need of professional advice and services – and be sure to tell them you found them here in CIRCA!

Now that you’ve read this far, grab a steaming hot cup of cocoa (or one of those just-mentioned cold weather cocktails), your favorite comfy, chunky blanket, and keep reading on – I hope you enjoy all that is waiting to be discovered on the following pages.

May your start to 2023 be great, and may you continue to stay happy and healthy this winter season. I’ll see you again come spring!

CIRCA Magazine is published quarterly by BallPointe Publishing & Design, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or transmitted without the written permission of the publisher. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained within; however, BallPointe Publishing & Design assumes no liability for accuracy or omissions. PUBLISHER & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Kent Lower CONTRIBUTING WRITERS CONTACT INFORMATION BallPointe Publishing & Design, LLC P.O. Box 1182 Wake Forest, NC 27588 919.453.2555 • info@circamagazine.com circamagazine.com ADVERTISING SALES 919.453.2555 • info@circamagazine.com MANAGERS Kent Lower & Mitch Lower Printed by Walton Press Inc. Allison Caudle Abbott Will Barnack Robyn Goss Bennai Buck Buchanan Camp Bow Wow Jonathan Daniel Vanessa Davis Tracy Dupler Pam Eagles Valerie Grasso Miriam Grueneich Elizabeth Johnson Grace Lower JANUARY • FEBRUARY • MARCH 2023 6 A Season Of Fun –Kick Off Winter With Culture, Comedy, And Community 10 Nutritious Comfort 12 Financial Focus –Should You Consolidate Your Retirement Accounts? 14 Decorating A Winter Wonderland 16 Fashion Forecast 18 A Healthy Diet For Healthy Eyes 20 Cool Kitchens – Smart Design Ideas For The Kitchen Of Your Dreams 22 Proper Pet Parenting –How To Be The Best Pet Parent Possible To A Newly Adopted Pet 24 The Gardening Guru 28 The Time Is Right – Why Buying A Home In Today ’s Real Estate Market Is Still A Good Idea 30 Sweet Cinnamon – Aromatic Spice Or Agent Of Death? 32 Good Reads 36 Beef Shank –It ’s What’s For Dinner 38 Cold Weather Cocktails To Warm You Up 40 Clean The Germs Away –Five Facts For Cleaning During Cold And Flu Season 42 Local Gems – The Delight Of Dorothea Dix Park 44 Decor Dilemma? Design Tips, Tricks, And Helpful Hints 46 Ensure Your Financial Future With A Life Insurance Policy 48 Driveable Destination –
50 Healthy
Exercise 52 Pre-Sale
–5 Tips
Sell Your Home This Season 54 Beat The
Blues 56 Cooked
58 Design
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Happy New Year from the Town of Wake Forest! We are kicking off 2023 with several exciting events to help you stay engaged and active. From musical performances and educational opportunities to film festivals and community celebrations, there’s something for everyone. So get out your calendar and let’s get started!


Several local churches and community organizations will honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during a free, community celebration on Thursday, January 19, at 6:30 PM at Friendship Chapel Baptist Church, located at 237 Friendship Chapel Road. The event’s theme will center around one of Dr. King’s messages: “True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.” In the spirit of the event theme, the Wake Forest MLK Committee will offer a slate of contests for students in the Wake Forest and Rolesville schools to recognize their talents. Based on this year’s theme, the contests involve creative performance, writing, and art. For more information, visit wakeforestnc.gov and search “MLK.”


Jen Kober will bring her original blend of stand-up comedy, storytelling, and improvised rock-n-roll comedy to the Wake Forest Renaissance Centre on Friday, January 27, at 7:30 PM. Kober has appeared in several TV productions, including Netflix’s AJ and The Queen and Dead to Me (2019) and Disney’s Diary of a Female President (2019). Additionally, she was the 2017 and 2018 NPR SNAP JUDGEMENT winner. Tickets are $20. For more information, visit wakeforestrencen.org.


February is Black History Month, and the Wake Forest Historic Preservation Commission is celebrating by partnering with the Wake Forest Historical Museum to offer historic walking tours throughout the Northeast Community. Along the way, each tour group will discuss the developmental and architectural history of the area, along with the significant men and women who shaped

the Northeast Community. These events are free and open to everyone, but pre-registration is required. To learn more, visit wakeforestnc.gov and search “Black History Month.”


Bright Star Theatre presents Rosa Parks & Friends at the AlstonMassenburg Center on Saturday, February 4, at 11:00 AM. This production takes the audience on an amazing journey through time with Rosa Parks where some of the most remarkable figures in Black history come to life. This show gives an extraordinary view of the challenges met by these amazing Black Americans. Admission is free, but seating is first come, first serve, so plan to arrive early. For more information, visit wakeforestrencen.org.


What could be more romantic than treating your Valentine to a Jazz brunch featuring Shana Tucker? The Wake Forest Renaissance Centre welcomes the cellist and singer-songwriter on Saturday, February 11, at 11:00 AM. Tucker, who invites you in with her voice and captures your heart with her unique ChamberSoul style, has opened for heavy hitters, including the Indigo Girls and Blind Boys of Alabama, and played several years in Las Vegas with Cirque du Soleil. Brunch will be provided by Cannon Catering. Reserved seats are $60 (includes brunch). For more information, visit wakeforestrencen.org.


The 2023 Wake Forest State of the Town Address & Dinner is scheduled for Monday, February 20, at 6:00 PM at the Wake Forest Renaissance Centre. Since 2009, the Town of Wake Forest has partnered with the Wake Forest Rotary Club to sponsor the annual State of the Town Address & Dinner on the third Monday in February. The occasion offers Wake Forest citizens the opportunity to reflect on the Town’s list of accomplishments during the previous year and learn about its goals in the coming months. Tickets are $15 each, including dinner. The mayor’s address will be recorded and replayed daily throughout March on WFTV 10. It will also be available on demand on the Town website. For more information, visit wakeforestnc.gov and search “State of the Town.”

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Mark your calendars for the Fourth Annual Wake Forest Film Festival on Friday and Saturday, March 3-4, at the Wake Forest Renaissance Centre. The Wake Forest Film Festival will spotlight passionate, creative, and thought-provoking movies by some of today’s most promising and accomplished local, national, and international filmmakers. The two-day film showcase will engage audiences with films of all lengths and genres. Intended for both the general public and film professionals, the festival is an opportunity for filmmakers to showcase their movies in a unique location to a discerning audience. Tickets are $20 plus tax for both days. For more information, visit wakeforestrencen.org.


Friday Night on White returns to downtown Wake Forest in 2023 for another incredible season. This year’s dates are April 14, May 12, June 9, July 14, August 11, and September 8. The free concerts are scheduled from 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM along South White Street in historic downtown Wake Forest and feature a variety of popular local bands. While these exciting events are still a couple of months away, you won’t want to miss them, so be sure to mark the dates on your spring and summer calendars now! To stay up to date on Friday Night on White, visit wakeforestnc.gov and search “Friday Night on White.”


Always be the first to know about Town of Wake Forest programs, services, and special events by signing up for E-Notifier, downloading the Town app, visiting the Wake Forest website, and/or following the Town on social media @TownofWakeForest. For complete details, visit wakeforestnc.gov and search “Communications.” 

Anna Bolton is the marketing and business relations specialist for the Town of Wake Forest. To learn more about Town events, sponsorship opportunities, and how you can be involved, contact Anna at 919-435-9422 or abolton@wakeforestnc.gov.

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The post-holiday slump has set in, and by now you’ve probably all but abandoned those resolutions you promised to stick with this year. Healthy eating is likely at the top of that resolution list, but with the cold weather here for the foreseeable future, it’s easy to fall back into our old routines and seek comfort food over healthier options. But don’t fret – all is not lost! It’s easier than you think to concoct delicious meals that will not only satisfy your craving for comfort this winter, but are healthy for you too.

For many of us, carb-heavy foods are often what we gravitate toward when we yearn for a homemade meal that will “stick to our ribs,” as our grandmothers used to say. Just because you are trying to eat better doesn’t mean that you have to completely eliminate them from your diet. Many carb-loaded mealtime favorites can be amended by substituting in nutritious ingredients that will add color, texture, flavor, and an extra dose of leafy greens and healthy veggies.

Cold weather months are perfect for savoring hearty pots of soups and stews – nothing beats the aroma of something warm and yummy wafting through the house to help cut the winter chill. But let’s be honest – after a long day, who wants to spend hours watching something simmer on the stove? Let your slow cooker be your friend! Prep your ingredients ahead of time, plug in the filled pot in the morning, and let it work its cooking magic throughout the day – you will be gifted with a hearty meal that’s ready as soon as your crew is ready to eat. Make enough so that tonight’s chicken soup can easily become tomorrow’s chicken and vegetable stew served over a small portion of rice or pasta. Or lighten this dish with roasted spaghetti squash instead. A winter favorite for my family includes chicken sausage, roasted peppers, and onions, topped with a marinara sauce and a sprinkle of shaved parmesan.

Friday pizza night is a wonderful way to wind down after a long week. To keep from breaking that New Year’s resolution while still enjoying this fun tradition, switch things up a bit by using less typical, lighter ingredients. For instance, swap out a thick doughy crust with a thinner flatbread or cauliflower version. Instead of a heavy tomato sauce as your base, whip up a kale or basil pesto with a little garlic and olive oil for your starting point. Top with roasted tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, or shaved parmesan. Make it a meat lovers by adding a handful of crispy bacon, turkey sausage, or shredded chicken. Or brush your flatbread with a little olive oil

and minced garlic and cover with mushrooms, arugula, and goat cheese for a lighter pizza pie. Let everyone create their own masterpiece – a great way to enjoy a little family bonding time.

Easy-to-create noodle and rice bowls are all the gastronomic rage right now. While the pasta and grains provide the foundation and a bit of substance, these bowls allow you to double up on healthy additions that pack in flavor and nutrients, resulting in yummy, wholesome goodness that will sustain you on those chilly evenings.

Asian noodle bowls are a personal favorite. Start with a quick sauté of ginger, garlic, and onion in a tiny bit of sesame oil and build from there, adding a vegetable or meat-based broth, depending on your craving. Sliced snow peas, bok choy, and your favorite veggies can be added and simmered for a short time. Just before serving, add a splash of soy sauce, fish sauce, and a little chili garlic paste and pour over your noodles. Pack in protein by adding in firm tofu, chicken, beef, or pork for the perfect one-bowl meal.

Rice bowls are also satisfying one-dish meals, providing the perfect opportunity to creatively add healthy ingredients and incorporate any leftovers that are taking up refrigerator shelf space. Whether you use white or brown rice as your bowl backdrop is totally up to your preference, or you may opt for quinoa as an even healthier base. Southwest style is my favorite flavor profile – I incorporate fresh cilantro, tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions and expand from there. Black beans, corn, avocado, and proteins such as chicken, grilled steak, and shrimp are all great additions. Kick things up a notch by tossing on some diced jalapeños, a squeeze of lime juice, and a dollop of your favorite salsa. Once your bowl is built you are rewarded with a fantastic meal that you can serve hot or cold.

Healthy eating isn’t complicated and doesn’t require you to completely abandon your favorite dishes. By focusing on balancing your ingredients a little differently, you can still enjoy a heartily satisfying and nutritious meal. So this winter, continue to find comfort as you gather around the table with family and friends, but maintain those New Year’s resolutions by doing so in a deliciously creative way.

Stacey Moritz is the owner of The Lemon Tree Cafe, located at 113 S. White Street in Downtown Wake Forest (919-521-5806), offering freshly prepared salads, pastas, soups, and take-away fare. The Lemon Tree Cafe serves breakfast and lunch Monday - Friday, 7:30 AM - 5:00 PM and Saturdays 7:30 AM - 3:00 PM.

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One of the rewards for working over several decades is the ability to contribute to tax-advantaged retirement accounts, which can help provide needed income for you when you do retire. As the years went by, you may well have accumulated several retirement accounts, such as IRAs and 401(k)s or similar employer-sponsored plans. But you might find it advantageous to consolidate these accounts with a single provider. Consolidating them can provide you with several potential benefits, including the following.

LESS CONFUSION AND CLUTTER: If you have multiple accounts in different locations, it may be difficult to keep track of tax documents, statements, fees, disclosures, and other important

information. Consolidating accounts could help provide clear, simplified account maintenance.

LESS LIKELIHOOD OF “LOST ACCOUNTS”: It may be hard to believe, but many people abandon their retirement accounts, leaving thousands of dollars behind and unclaimed. In fact, at the end of 2021, there were nearly 25 million forgotten 401(k) accounts, worth about 20% of all 401(k) assets, according to an estimate by Capitalize, a financial services company that helps individuals roll over retirement plan assets into new accounts. It’s possible that employers can even move small, old accounts out of their 401(k) plans into an IRA on behalf of their former employees, thus increasing the chances that savers will lose track of their money. By consolidating your retirement plans with one provider, you can ensure you don’t lose track of your hard-earned money.

ABILITY TO FOLLOW A UNIFIED STRATEGY: With multiple retirement accounts, and different investment portfolios, you might find it difficult to maintain a unified financial strategy that’s appropriate for your goals and risk tolerance. But once you’ve consolidated accounts with a single provider, you’ll find it easier to manage your investment mix and to rebalance your portfolio as needed. The need to rebalance may become more important as you near retirement because you may want to shift some of your assets into investments that aren’t as susceptible to swings in the financial markets.

POSSIBLE IMPROVEMENT IN INVESTMENT OPTIONS: Often, 401(k)s have limited investment selection, so consolidating accounts with a full-service firm may allow for a wider array of products and strategies. This broader exposure can potentially help you improve your overall retirement income strategies.

GREATER EASE IN CALCULATING RMDS: Once you turn 72, you will need to start taking withdrawals – called required minimum distributions, or RMDs – from your traditional IRA and your 401(k) or similar plan. If you don’t take out at least the minimal amount, which is based on your age and account balance, you could face a penalty. If you have several accounts, with different providers, it could be cumbersome and difficult to calculate your RMDs – it will be much easier with all accounts under one roof.

So, if you do have multiple retirement accounts, give some thought to consolidating them. The consolidation process is not difficult, and the end result may save you time and hassles, while also helping you manage your retirement income more effectively.

Tom Piper is a financial advisor with Edward Jones, located at 3607 Falls River Avenue, Suite 113 in Raleigh. He may be reached at 919-792-0316 (office) or 386-299-2434 (cell). This article was written by Edward Jones, Member SIPC. For more information, visit edwardjones.com.

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It’s a new year and the hustle and bustle of Christmas is over – which means that the holiday decorations have been safely stored away in hibernation. But wait … maybe consider pulling those crates back out for just a bit. Why? Because within them are some decorating items that will seamlessly transition through the winter season, creating a cozy and warm vibe and help keep the winter blues at bay.

Reusing traditional holiday elements such as garland, wreaths, faux trees, lanterns, and candles, as well as adding additional easy-to-decorate-with items such as wood, mirrors, blankets, and baskets can allow you to transform your post-Christmas blank canvas into a winter wonderland.

During the chilly winter months, the fireplace is often the star of the living space. Highlight it by draping garland or other seasonal greenery (think eucalyptus, pine, balsam, juniper, etc.), perhaps with a hint of white, atop the mantel – a great way to bring the outdoors in when the temps are low. Add twinkling lights for a bit of sophistication or pinecones for a more organic look (flocked ones will add a pop of white and softness to your winter mantel). Place white candles in gold or wood candlesticks against the stunning leaves – nothing creates a warm winter glow more. Display a large mirror in a warm-toned metal such as brass, copper, or gold above the mantel to instantly elevate the fireplace to its seasonal focalpoint status. This will also allow light to reflect throughout your room, helping to brighten it on those dreary winter days. Or opt for a large wooden snowflake propped on top of the mantel to further welcome winter into your space. A framed chalkboard featuring hand-drawn snowflakes in January and swapped for hearts for Valentine’s Day in February, or your favorite winter quote beautifully hand scripted, is a simple way to add that special seasonal flair. Artwork depicting a cozy winter scene is another option. Any type of green, white, or natural wreath can be used to beautifully decorate a winter mantel. Breathe new life into yours by removing all signs of its former holiday life, and embrace its resulting simplicity – when hung above the mantel, it gives a living room instant winter wonder.

When decorating for winter, don’t forget the hearth! Place those large lanterns that had previously been boasting brightly colored Christmas balls alongside the fireplace – but now, stuff them with

pinecones. Or set out a large basket filled with white birch logs, nestled among white, gray, or natural colored animal decorating items, or pinecones, wooden snowflakes, and a sign manifesting your wish for Mother Nature to “Let It Snow.” Lean that old sled or those antique skis you displayed during the holidays by the fireplace next to several white birch branches for a natural element and some vintage charm. Recycle small faux Christmas trees by removing the lights and ornaments and placing them in burlap wrappers – a perfect way to reuse items you already have on hand while inviting fabric and texture into your décor.

Further celebrate this time of year by incorporating winter-themed items throughout the rest of your living space. Place snowflake ornaments that had previously been hung on Christmas tree branches in a clear jar on your coffee table. Display pinecones, fir clippings,

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or artificial flocked green stems in a neutral wood bowl atop your kitchen table. Chunky blankets draped on an old ladder propped against the wall introduces a cozy and comfy vibe. Or toss a cable-knit throw in a deep and rich winter hue over the sofa or anywhere else you like to relax – not only does it add extra color and texture, it can also easily be accessed when you want to snuggle up with your favorite winter beverage and a good book. Layer white or neutral colored fluffy or fuzzy pillows to your couch or side chair for added warmth, making your space feel clean and inviting. Or if you’re craving some cheer to avoid the winter blues, infuse your space with pops of bright color. A few boldly hued pillows will help ensure your neutral spaces don’t feel cold and stark like the weather outside. Plus, these elements can help you quickly and easily transition into spring when the temperatures eventually start to climb.

Decor and accessories are great for cozying up your home for winter. But don’t forget to set the mood with seasonal fragrances –think relaxing aromas such as eucalyptus, pine, sage, lavender, cinnamon, vanilla, and coffee that will instantly amp up the winter coziness of your home. A large scented candle that slowly melts away as the winter season passes, potpourri placed on tables, flavored water with simple pantry ingredients simmering on the stove top, and essential oils in a diffuser can complete the comforting feel in your home during these chilly months.

Creating a warm, calming, and cozy space to savor during the winter months –especially after the chaos of the holiday season – doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With a little imagination, it’s easy to create a seasonal sanctuary that will have you embracing Ol’ Man Winter’s arrival, even if you aren’t a cold weather fan. 

Miriam Grueneich is the owner of archer + pratt, which offers locally handmade goods and is located at 138 E. Main Street in Youngsville. She may be reached at 919-4350066 or visit shoparcherpratt.com.

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Now that the holidays are over, I find myself with a sudden urge to clean and organize my home – and my closet is no exception. Partly I just want a fresh start to a new year, but also, I need to make room for those new gift arrivals. Let’s admit it – we all have too much in our closets. Not to mention that it doesn’t take much time into the new year before we will be dreaming of spring and new spring fashion.

There are certain things every woman needs in her closet; but we tend to accumulate too many and overlook those pieces that no longer fit, are no longer in style, and we no longer wear. Let’s break it down.

While I don’t always remove every item during my closet cleanout, there are certain categories to which I pay special attention. These include the pieces I will be reevaluating in January to enjoy during the winter months while simultaneously making room for new spring fashions coming soon. For instance, a good sweater can be a classic, but that doesn’t mean it will last forever. Start by getting rid of those that are pilled, stretched, or no longer fit. Since I hate to throw away good wool or cashmere, I have found I can repurpose them by transforming them into stuffed toys for children of friends –so off they go to the craft room, resulting in more room for sweaters

in my favorite hues and that flatter my skin tone. I’m loving the longer “coatigans” – long slim cardigans – that are wildly popular right now, as well as fresh cropped cardigans to pair with denim, particularly in the lilac and lavender shades that are hot this year.

Speaking of denim – somehow I find that I don’t have enough jeans, and yet I have a closet full. As you tackle your wardrobe purge, discard the old super skinny styles and any that no longer fit or flatter, like the old low rise ones. Keep or add trending full length slim boot styles and cropped flares. Make sure you have white and black jeans, as well as your favorite denim wash, coated denim, or faux leather.

Over the years, your coat closet may have gotten a tad overstuffed as well, so eliminate anything that no longer fits properly, is too oversized, or hasn’t been worn in years. Instead, keep the classics in neutral colors or beautiful plaids and add a good waterproof puffer coat for cold and rainy weather.

If you’re like me, you may have accumulated suits and blazers that you have trouble parting with. Be honest with yourself – if you haven’t worn it in the last five years, are you ever going to wear it again? Get rid of those in outdated shapes or that are too big or too small. Update your wardrobe with a new knit blazer that you will wear endlessly to the office or on Zoom calls from home. Consider adding a new pink blazer or suit this year – this hue is going to remain hot this year and will be so fun to pair with denim, brown faux leather pants, or black jeans.

“Florals for spring? Groundbreaking.” One of our favorite fashion quotes of all time (thank you Meryl Streep and The Devil Wears Prada)! But yes, florals are back and bigger than ever. Literally. Look for oversize floral patterns on blouses, skirts, and dresses. What else can you expect to see upon spring’s upcoming arrival? Other feminine details, including ruffles, bows, lace, and feathers, will be on racks and shelves everywhere. Leather jackets and skirts, or vegan leather if you prefer, will continue to be hot into spring, so you can transition from the cooler temps to the warmer weather in style. Stripes will be fatter and bolder. Watch for vertical stripes on trousers and wide ones on sweaters and tops. Pockets will be a statement all to themselves, with utility and cargo pockets popping up on everything from pants to jackets to dresses. For those dressier events, expect to see sparkling silver, drapey dresses, and asymmetrical hems. Such fun to look forward to as the weather warms and we get out again to show off our style. 

Please consider donating those items that are in good shape yet no longer fit properly to one of our community’s donation organizations.

Elizabeth Johnson is founder and owner of The Cotton Company and White Street Boutique, a multi-vendor clothing boutique in an upscale setting that features something for women of all sizes, shapes, and ages.

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It seems everywhere you look, there are vitamins and supplements that claim to improve your eye health. Studies have shown that there are many that do promote healthy eyes, and some may even help to decrease the risk of vision threatening diseases. A nutrient-rich diet may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, dry eye, and even night blindness.

VITAMIN A: Vitamin A possesses some antioxidant characteristics that can help slow or reverse damage to your DNA and cells. It helps your eyes produce pigments that make it possible to see the full spectrum of light. Vitamin A deficiency can cause night blindness, as well as a damaging form of dry eye. Vitamin A is found in leafy green vegetables, eggs, and orange foods like sweet potatoes, cantaloupes, and carrots. That’s right, the magic carrot helps you see! Contrary to popular belief, carrots do not improve your vision (sorry, rabbits) but they are good for the health of your eyes. So, to maintain optimal eye health, keep munching on those carrots during your busy day.

VITAMIN C: Vitamin C, another antioxidant, may also help with dry eye and reduce the risk of age-related eye disease. Like vitamin A, it can also help lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration. Vitamin C is found in oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, tomatoes, red and green peppers, and broccoli.

VITAMIN E: Vitamin E can also aid in reducing the risk of agerelated eye damage, as well as macular degeneration, cataracts, and dry eye – especially when taken along with vitamins C and E, betacarotene, zinc, and copper.

OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS: These can be very helpful in treating inflammation caused by chronic dry eye. Omega-3 fatty acids can also help address the dryness associated with Lasik. The recommended dose is at least 1,000 milligrams each day.

LUTEIN: Lutein helps to protect against UV damage to the eyes. It is concentrated in the lens of the eye and the macula of the retina,

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where its antioxidant effects may help to prevent damage. Research indicates lutein –found in grapes, spinach, kiwis, and eggs –plays an important role in delaying the onset of macular degeneration.

Research has shown that people with signs of early age-related macular degeneration (AMD) might benefit most from vitamins for the eyes. Studies have determined that taking certain vitamins in high concentrations slows the progression of this condition in a large percentage of people. However, the study notes that taking these vitamins can only slow the disease. Unfortunately, no vitamins can prevent it from forming in the first place. The National Eye Institute’s most recent guidelines for AMD in their AREDS 2 study (Age Related Eye Disease Study) gives the following recommendations:

– 500 milligrams vitamin C; – 400 IU vitamin E;

– 2 milligrams copper; – 80 milligrams zinc; – 10 milligrams lutein; – 2 milligrams zeaxanthin. This combination can be found in multiple supplements.

There are risks to vitamins and eye supplements and they are not designed to replace a healthy diet or lifestyle. For example, vitamins A and E are fat-soluble vitamins. If these are ingested in excess, it may result in hypervitaminosis, which can damage the liver and cause other issues, such as headaches and skin problems. Omega-3 fatty acids may interact with blood thinners. Any vitamin or supplement may potentially interact with current medications and result in unfavorable side effects. Before taking any supplements, discuss them with your doctor to ensure they are right for you personally and check for interactions with your current medications. 

Jennifer L.H. Murphy, OD is a doctor of optometry with McPherson Family Eye Care, located at 3150 Rogers Road, Suite 100 in Wake Forest. She may be reached at 919-263-9163. For more information, visit mcphersonfamilyeyecare.com.

19 CIRCA Magazine | January • February • March 2023 | circamagazine.com designdevelopment.com | 919 •848•4474 | Raleigh NC



Is 2023 your year to get the dream kitchen you always wanted? Do you have “that folder” stocked with magazine tear outs featuring the latest and greatest design ideas or is your Pinterest board filled with decorating inspiration? Yeah, me too. In some cases, a new home is not the option you want when thinking of a new kitchen – I get that! What I also understand is the importance of a renovation helping you in the long term. That new kitchen should also make you money when you one day sell your home. So before you select crazy paint colors for your cabinets or themed door knobs, read on for several smart design ideas for your kitchen renovation.

A great way to save kitchen space is to utilize your garage for appliances you don’t use on a regular basis. I keep an old refrigerator and a deep freezer out there as well – drinks stay out of the main fridge, freeing up valuable shelf space, yet stay cold for those guests who stop by unexpectedly. (Don’t forget to make sure your electrical is updated to accommodate the extra appliances.) Back inside, appliance cabinets and roll-up garages are sleek and smart storage solutions that will keep your kitchen looking and feeling oh-so tidy. Hiding small appliances such as the microwave, coffee maker, toaster, stand mixer, and more behind closed doors reduces counter clutter, yet still keeps them close at hand when needed.

Consider installing a pot filler near your stovetop or range. Not only are these highly coveted in custom built homes, they are super handy for filling pots right at the stove, saving you from carrying heavy water-filled pots from the sink and reducing the risk of spills. These faucets also help minimize cooking mess in your kitchen, as they allow your sink to remain open for food prep and dish cleaning. Another space to install a pot filler is above your pet’s water bowl for ultimate convenience and future “wow” factor when you eventually sell.

Make your kitchen island work for you by designing it as a home base for appliances like your dishwasher, especially if your sink is also on it. Cabinets under the counter will serve as extra storage to help keep your kitchen surfaces clutter-free. Don’t forget to add extra outlets to your island.

Soft close cabinets are all the craze these days. You have no idea how many buyers ask me about these very sought-after items, and how many builders have had to answer that question from me. So here’s the scoop – soft close cabinets are a quiet blessing, literally. But if you aren’t currently blessed with them, did you know that you can make any cabinet a soft close one? Check out places like good ol’ Amazon for soft close hinges for your existing cabinets. Yes, that’s the exact term for which you will want to search. For under $100 bucks, you too can have this little “luxury” in your dream kitchen.

No matter your budget or your kitchen size, a renovation should never be stressful. Start with a well-executed plan, hire licensed and insured contractors, and then sit back and enjoy the process. When unpacking all your new kitchen items once your renovation is complete, don’t forget to keep that cutting board stored in a cabinet or drawer right next to the garbage can for easy clean up!

Tracy Dupler, a luxury real estate agent serving the Triangle area, is the owner of Tracy Dupler Realty Group, LLC. She may be reached at 919-948-9019 or email tracy.dupler@exprealty.com. For more information, visit tracyduplerrealtygroup.com.

20 CIRCA Magazine | January • February • March 2023 | circamagazine.com



Adopting a dog can be overwhelming, but bringing home a new furry friend is also fun, rewarding, and exciting. Being a good pet parent starts from the moment you think about adopting a dog all the way through their life. To ensure you enrich your dog’s life as much as it does for you, following are tips on how to make your newly adopted dog feel right at home.


– MAINTAIN A SAFE ENVIRONMENT . See your home from a dog’s perspective and put away anything that could cause harm or get it into trouble. You want to stow away items such as electrical cords, medications, harmful chemicals, plants, and food, as well as keep the garbage in a safe spot where a dog can’t get into it. By maintaining a clean space, especially the floor, you can help to keep your pup safe and comfortable.

LEARN TO DECODE YOUR DOG’S LANGUAGE. You want to be able to recognize the difference between aggression and overstimulation. If dogs feel threatened, they will often try to flee the situation first, but if they can’t get away, they may growl, bare their teeth, bark, and stand up on their toes with their ears and tail raised to make themselves look bigger. Dilated pupils don’t necessarily mean “aggression” – they can also indicate overstimulation, which is common in puppies and often seen before they pounce, even in play. Over-stimulation can also cause puppies to experience piloerection (the raising of the hair over their back and down to their tail – also known as hackles).

GIVE YOUR DOG LOTS OF LOVE AND ATTENTION. Dogs love their humans and crave quality time/attention. Leaving a dog in the backyard or alone for extended periods of time is not healthy for them. If you work long hours, hire a dog walker to get your newly adopted dog out during the day for some exercise and companionship.

EXERCISE YOUR PUP. Dogs that don’t receive enough exercise can resort to bad behaviors like chewing, digging, and barking. Make sure your dog gets a brisk 30-minute walk a day to get its energy out and keep it healthy.

SIGN YOUR DOG UP FOR A TRAINING CLASS. By teaching your dog commands, it will help you learn how to tell it what

you want and don’t want it to do in your household. It is important to create a bond with you and your dog, as well as learn how to communicate with it.

– SOCIALIZE YOUR DOG. Socializing dogs can have a tremendous effect on their development and interactions at home. Newly socialized dogs become calmer, friendly, affectionate, and can adapt better to new environments.

– EDUCATE CHILDREN ON HOW TO INTERACT WITH YOUR DOG PROPERLY. If you have children, teach them the proper way to interact with your dog. Most bites occur with kids under 12 years old, but education is the best form of prevention. Educating yourself, as well as your kids, on the best ways to approach their four-legged family member is a must. You’ll ensure you’re the best human and pet parent around.


There are many things that we, as humans, do to dogs that they don’t enjoy, and this puts them and us at risk for stress and injury. Some of these include:

– HUGGING: While we may think it’s sweet and comforting, pets often feel trapped and scared during hugs, particularly when humans pull pets into their faces.

– WAKING THEM UP: Who likes being jolted out of sleep? As dogs age, they can sleep more heavily, and can be startled and react poorly if woken up abruptly.

– CHANGING THEIR ROUTINE: Dogs appreciate routine, and it’s difficult for them to have abrupt schedule changes like weekday versus weekend schedule differences. Changes can cause them to stress and lead to behavior problems like chewing, barking, digging, or other destructive behaviors. Try to keep their schedules consistent: waking up at the same time to take them out, feeding them at the same times with the same diet, and keeping their exercise routine consistent. Routine helps humans, too!

INCONSISTENT SIGNALS: Often, humans don’t realize they are giving dogs mixed signals about appropriate behavior, and this confuses them. If you don’t want your dog to jump up on you, then you should never pet it when it does so.

– BRINGING NEW PEOPLE OR PETS INTO THE HOUSE: It can be scary to dogs to have strangers enter their household (their

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safe zone), so introductions should be done outside the house in neutral territory. Slow, calm introductions will help facilitate positive meet and greets. Follow the dog’s comfort level and don’t force any interactions.


– REINFORCING BAD BEHAVIORS: Many pet parents don’t understand that giving dogs attention when they are doing something inappropriate will encourage them to continue that behavior. Ignoring the dog when it performs bad behaviors and rewarding it for good ones will lead to a better-behaved pup.

– NOT TAKING YOUR DOG TO A TRAINING CLASS: When people don’t train their dogs, they feel like they don’t listen to them when, in reality, the dogs don’t understand what they are being asked to do. Take the time to learn from a professional on how to help your dog be a good dog. If your dog is a rescue, going to training will help you build a bond with it. It is important to get pets of any age into a training class to ensure that you know how to communicate with it in a way that it understands and to have an expert help you with any issues that could arise.

– NOT SOCIALIZING YOUR DOG IN A CRITICAL PERIOD: Puppies need to be socialized, and there is a very short window to accomplish this so they are comfortable with new things and people in their lives. Not socializing a puppy can lead to skittish or aggressive behavior later on. It’s important to expose your dog to as many new situations (i.e. other dogs, people, textures, and objects) as possible before it is 16 weeks old.

– NOT RESEARCHING THE BREED: Many people choose a dog because it is cute or as an impulse. Not understanding the breed you are adopting can lead to problems. If you adopt an active dog and don’t have an active lifestyle, it isn’t going to get the proper exercise or stimulation it needs – which can lead to bad behavior. Some dogs have innate behaviors that are

undesirable for a family setting, like protective herding or aggressive tendencies. If you are considering getting a dog, research various breeds that will work for your family and set out to find one that meets those criteria.

– NOT WATCHING CHILDREN AROUND YOUR DOG: Many people are very trusting of their family pet, but 50% of dog bites happen to children 12 years old and under, and many of those are by the family pet. Children do not understand how to properly read signals a dog gives when they are uncomfortable, and this can lead

to a bite. If you have young children, you should always supervise them while they are with your pet. Although they are important family members, remember that dogs are still dogs. Teach your child how to properly interact with the dog by not pulling its tails, ears, or fur, sitting on it, running at it, etc. 

Camp Bow Wow – where a dog can be a dog – offers doggy daycare and overnight boarding. Camp Bow Wow is located at The Factory, 1839 S. Main Street in Wake Forest. To book your reservation, visit campbowwow.com/wake-forest.

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“She who loves a garden knows it is only hers for a season.”

Author Mary Englebreit said this many years ago and it rings true still today. True gardeners – or dirt balls, as I sometimes refer to myself and my gardening buddies – enjoy the planning, the planting, the propagating, and the pretty results of our love. This time of year, I enjoy the perusing of seed catalogs and the purchasing of new introductions. Otherwise, what do you do in January and February?

We do have pops of lovely weather here in our Zone 7b gardens during winter, but we have some chilly days too. So, what do you do on those glorious days when the thermometer approaches 70 degrees in January? Go outside with your morning coffee and survey your garden. Perhaps you have your eye on a new area to introduce prized plantings this spring.

This type of plan leads to the question: Have you done a soil test in your garden, and lawn for that matter, in recent seasons? If not, do not get ahead of yourself. It saves heartache to test and find out what shape your soil is in before investing in new plants and all that goes along with a new area in the garden. Think back … did last year’s garden thrive as you had hoped? If not, a soil test might be in order. Contact your local Extension Office (for us, that is on Carya Drive in Raleigh) – they have master gardeners on duty Monday through Friday, eager and ready to answer your phone inquiries. They love helping fellow gardeners – avid ones and newbies alike –with their gardening questions. You are welcome to drop by during their office hours to pick up your soil testing kit, which comes with easy instructions for gathering your sample(s). All you’ll need are a plastic pail or any plastic container and a shovel or spade for

digging in several places around your lawn/garden for samples of the soil. You can return your sample(s) to the Extension Office, and they will forward it on to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, Agronomics Lab, located off Reedy Creek Road in Raleigh, where the soil is tested for nutrients, etc. Once completed, you will receive a detailed report via email with suggestions on enhancing your soil as needed. Note, November through March there is a nominal charge for this service, as the lab is busy with our farmers as they ready for a new crop year. April thru October, this is a free service for the home gardener.

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Back to the garden, and the many catalogs arriving almost daily in the mail – so much information, so many plants and seeds. I sit with a notebook and pen, jotting down all the new goodies I will order for my garden. As you do the same, be certain to consider your planting areas. Do you have full sun, or are you shady? Do you have an adequate water source? Again, save yourself disappointment by assessing your garden and the plant you want to introduce … is it a good fit? Growers and suppliers thankfully give us a good head start by sharing where the plant will grow best. We know we are hot and dry during the growing months here – can you commit to the watering and mulching that will be required for successful gardening?

Going forward, is there a theme to the area? Do you want to attract pollinators such as bees, butterflies, birds, wasps, and even bats? If so, herbs and native flowers should be considered. Do you want early bloomers? Consider hellebores for an evergreen perennial and daphne for a shrub. Both bloom when most other plants are still at rest. While hellebore is lovely, the daphne is both fragrant and attractive. Plant it somewhere you will enjoy the aroma.

My fellow gardening friends, I have just touched on the many ways we can fill the long winters hours. Enjoy downtime this season with some research and planning for the warmer weather to come. Before we know it, we will be visiting local high school plant sales as well as all our favorite garden centers grabbing lovely, fresh plants and heading home with our treasures.

In the interim, if it snows, dust it off your shrubs that might be damaged from the weight. If you are using salt to melt ice, remember your plantings and be careful; shoveling is great and will keep you in shape for gardening season. Happy digging! 

Pam Eagles lives in Rolesville where she gardens with three dogs and a cat.  She is a founding member of the Community Gardeners of Rolesville Garden Club and serves as a Wake County Master Gardener.

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When it comes to the current state of the real estate market, there is a great deal of concern about interest rates being high, and buyers feeling they may not be able to afford the homes they want. This is certainly a valid concern, but despite the current market conditions, buying a home now is still a smart financial move. After all, it is an investment that will appreciate over time, and is considered by most financial advisors to be one of the best long-term investments you can make.

Given the seemingly constant news about rising interest rates, many buyers have put their house hunting on hold, adopting a “wait and see” attitude. However, they may want to reconsider this thought process and instead take advantage of what is a decidedly more buyer-friendly environment than that of recent years.

As we kick off 2023, this trend will continue in the real estate world. With fewer buyers purchasing because of the “wait and see” mentality, the selling market has become markedly less competitive than what we have experienced the last couple of years. This allows for buyers to gain the upper hand, as sellers’ homes are sitting on the market longer, ultimately making the prospect of negotiating on the offer price or repair fees more favorable.

Due diligence has also leveled out in this current market. As you may recall from one of my previous articles, due diligence is incorporated into real estate contracts in order to provide buyers with the necessary time (typically two to three weeks, depending on when the lender can order an appraisal) to fully check out the house they’ve purchased and get their finances in proper order before they are no longer able to back out of the purchase. This provides ample time to conduct a property inspection, ensure it appraises, and negotiate any repairs for which the seller is

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responsible. Along with the period of inspection and appraisal, the due diligence period requires a charge known as the due diligence fee – this is where things had gotten a little crazy in the market recently. When interest rates were much lower, we had seen these fees skyrocket to 10%+ in order to secure a home in the offer process. Fortunately, this has calmed down to a more normal range, approximately 1%-2% of the home value. This allows buyers to not have to dedicate all of their cash up front, and purchase a home that may need some repairs, while still having the funds available to update the home as they see fit.

Mortgage lenders are also creatively finding ways for home buyers to buy down their interest rates. Remember, interest rates will eventually come back down, and you will have the opportunity to refinance that mortgage. So focus on making sure the home fits what you and your family’s needs are, knowing that there is the ability to refinance down the road. John Pasquinelli, from Movement Mortgage, shares that “a 2/1 buy down on a purchase is a great opportunity to lock in a lower rate for the first two years, which allows time for you to refinance before your rate goes back to the going rate at the time of purchase.” For more information on specifics, speak to your broker about the potential of this opportunity when submitting an offer. Make sure you know all the options available to you from your lender. It is always important to know what options they have on the table for you to lower your interest rates and increase your buying power. If you have been pre-approved, and the lender isn’t able to offer you any ways of lowering your interest rate, shop around, as there are plenty of mortgage lenders who are willing to work with you to secure you the best rate. As I tell my clients all the time, your mortgage broker works for you, and not the other way around – it is important that you have someone advocating for you when it comes to such a significant purchase.

As you consider whether or not to buy a home in today’s real estate world, consult with both your mortgage broker and your real estate agent about what your options are for acquiring the best possible interest rate. It’s important to remember that you are marrying the home that you buy, but you are just dating the rate that you are able to lock in. As the economy begins to rebound, experts predict that we will see a decrease in interest rates, which will allow you to refinance and lower that monthly payment. If interest rates go back down, you may have the opportunity to then re-

finance to a lower rate and save money over the life of your loan.

So while the “wait and see” thought process may sound tempting right now, take advantage of upper hand buying power as the market is currently much less competitive, due diligence is no longer as daunting, and higher interest rates aren’t going to stick around forever, and consider buying that dream home that doesn’t have to just be a dream.

Jonathan Daniel is a realtor with Bespoke Realty Group. He may be reached at 919283-1122 or visit bespokerealtygroup.com.

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What’s better than waking up on a cold, dark winter’s morning than smelling hot coffee and cinnamon rolls wafting from the kitchen? Or coming in from shoveling snow to a fresh pan of apple crisp, with the aroma of apples, cinnamon, and toasted oatmeal smacking you square in your runny nose? I can’t think of one thing! And it’s been that way forever … or should I say at least since 2800 B.C., when cinnamon – one of the earliest, most popular spices – was written about in Chinese writings.


Originally native to Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), cinnamon is one of the oldest traded spices in the world. Once considered more valuable than gold, the spice, according to brittanica.com, “in Egypt was sought for embalming and religious practices; in medieval Europe, it was used for religious rites and as a flavoring. Later it was the most profitable spice in the Dutch East India Company trade.” For the longest time, it was openly traded on the “cinnamon route,” which is, per myspicer.org, where “Indonesion rafts transported cinnamon … to East Africa, where local traders then carried it north to the Roman market. Arab traders brought the spice through trade routes into Egypt, where it was bought by Venetian traders from Italy who held a monopoly on the spice trade in Europe.”

In 1518, however, the Portuguese took control of Sri Lanka – and the revered cinnamon grown there – where they maintained a monopoly on the spice for over 100 years. Fast forward to the 17th century, when the Dutch took control of the island, and the cinnamon monopoly. Once they learned that cinnamon trees had been discovered on the coast of India, they burned all the trees there, maintaining their control of the market. Eventually, it was discovered that cinnamon could grow in most warm climates; thus, the stranglehold on the spice was released. Today, cinnamon is cultivated in South America, the West Indies, and other tropical locales.


Cinnamon comes from the inner bark of a tree. When harvested, it is very light in color, turning brown as it dries. It is then ground into a powder. The four major species come from different types of cinnamon trees (all originating from the Cinnamomum genus). Verum (Ceylon cinnamon), commonly known as “true cinnamon,” tends to be more herbal and savory versus very sweet. Cassia is strongly aromatic, sweet, warm, and bitter. It is the type you generally see in the spice aisle of your grocery store, and in food product/supplement formulations when the label only states “cinnamon.” Korintje is generally milder in flavor, and Saigon cinnamon is the strongest – sweet and hot, it possesses the most essential oils.

Thanks to its spicy aroma, cinnamon enhances both sweet and savory foods. Used to flavor a variety of foods, it can be baked into bread, cakes, pies, and cookies; is a wonderful addition to warm beverages such as cider, tea, cider, coffee, and cocoa; and is also a good compliment to meats such as beef, chicken, pork, and lamb.


Not only can it add a bit of spice to your favorite dishes and drinks, cinnamon is also good for you. According to WebMd, “Cinnamon contains potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Potassium helps to counteract sodium’s effect on blood pressure and regulates the heart rate. Potassium is also involved in nerve function. Magnesium and calcium work together to maintain a healthy heartbeat. These two minerals are essential for skeletal health, preventing the weakening of bones.” It also provides other health benefits. While not necessarily scientifically proven, it can used as a pain killer and as a treatment for PMS; is an antifungal, an antiviral, and an antibacterial; aids with digestive issues, arthritis, and lowers blood sugar; helps combat diabetes, is a weapon in preventing cancer, slows cognitive decline, is an anti-inflammatory, helps with virility; and more. Whether or not all of this is true, I’m not sure – but it certainly is reported to help. I do know that cinnamon is used to help preserve meat, thanks to its phenols. Phenols restrict the growth of the bacteria that is responsible for some spoilage. If one was not so responsible and left their meat out longer than the phenols were capable of controlling bacteria, the aromatics of the cinnamon would mask

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the odor of spoiled meat (to an extent).

Despite all of its flavorful glory, there are some drawbacks to the spice. While safe to eat in small amounts, the “gift of gods and kings” does contain coumarin – an aromatic organic chemical compound. If too much is consumed, coumarin can lead to liver damage and may increase your risk of cancer. It can also create warfarin, which thins the blood, potentially leading to hemorrhaging. Since cinnamon is an anti-coagulant, hemorrhaging would not be good! Heavy use could irritate your mouth and lips, causing sores, and some people are allergic to it. It is also known to cause hair loss (insert frowny face here). But look at the bright side – it helps with a more youthful complexion (insert smiley face here).

So, is cinnamon the most awesome aromatic spice? Or is the agent of death? I don’t know … but I do know I’m going to keep baking with it!

Here are two tried and true treats that are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth and warm any belly on those cold, dark winter’s mornings coming up, when nothing is better than the spicy scent of cinnamon permeating throughout the house.


– 4 large baking apples

– 1/4 cup brown sugar

– 1 teaspoon cinnamon

– 1/4 cup chopped pecans, optional

– 1/4 cup currants or chopped raisins

– 1 tablespoon butter

– 3/4 cup boiling water

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Wash and core the apples. Mix sugar, cinnamon, pecans, and raisins together. Stuff your apples with the mixture and top with butter, then place in a baking dish. Pour water into the baking dish, and bake until apples are soft, but not mushy (30-45 minutes). Serve topped with delicious vanilla or butter pecan ice cream.


– ½ cup white sugar

– 1/8 cup butter

– 1/4 cup orange juice

– 1 pound Bing or other dark, sweet cherries, rinsed and pitted (or use frozen pitted cherries)

– ½ teaspoon finely grated orange zest

– ½ teaspoon cinnamon

– 1/4 cup brandy

In a sauce pan, melt the butter and mix in the sugar and orange juice. When this comes to a boil, add cherries, cinnamon,

and orange zest. Stir until the cherries are hot and softened, approximately three minutes. Turn off the heat, add the brandy, and turn the heat back on for one minute.

For dramatic effect, light the brandy when you add it (absolutely keep your face away from the pot when you do this – and keep the fire extinguisher handy). As it flames, sprinkle cinnamon above the flames. Spoon over a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

Buck Buchanan is the owner of Lumpy’s Ice Cream, located at 306 Wait Avenue in Downtown Wake Forest. Follow them on social media and visit lumpysicecream.com.

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All you warm weather lovers out there may find yourselves daydreaming of sunny days in some tropical locale – while in reality you are tightly snuggled up under the warmth of your favorite chunky blanket. If you’re looking to escape the winter blues, grab a book and transport yourself to another world –while you may not be able to escape to the tropics, these titles will help distract you all winter long, until Ol’ Man Winter finally bids his annual adieu.


Oona in the Arctic by Kelly

Mischief-maker Oona the mermaid and her best friend Otto the otter live in a dreamy ocean world filled with adventure and laughter in this grand tale written by bestselling author Kelly DiPucchio and beautifully illustrated by Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner Raissa Figueroa. Oona’s passion for finding, collecting, and making beautiful things leads to some serious trouble as they try to help a baby beluga whale who has lost her way reunite with her family and friends – but also some great problem-solving. As described by School Library Journal, “This title celebrates independence, self-confidence, and bravery to try the new even after defeat as Oona becomes aware of the true treasure in her personal effort.”

Evergreen by Mathew Cordell

When Evergreen, a shy squirrel who is afraid of everything, has to make a journey to aid a sick relative, she must face her fears and rise to the occasion. This sweet picture book by Caldecott medal winner Matthew Cordell is a classic tale of bravery and love that is sure to delight young readers for generations to come.

Very Good Hats by Emma Straub

Bestselling novelist and owner of her own bookstore, Emma Straub tries her hand at an entertaining children’s picture book, a “joyous and inventive read-aloud” that will “inspire kids to see ordinary objects in a whole new way,” says publisher Rocky Pond Books. Throughout Very Good Hats, readers will discover how we make our own outfits, “that anything can be a hat if you believe it is” (Rocky Pond Books), and why we are so unique.


A Ruinous Fate by Kaylie Smith

“Fate does not choose the weak. Fate chooses the ready.” So declares Disney-Hyperion, publisher of A Ruinous Fate. It is further described by author Aiden Thomas as “filled with fantasy tropes you know and love, made all the richer with a diverse cast of magical beings ... this action-packed fantasy adventure and high stakes roll of the dice is like playing Dungeons and Dragons with your best friends!”

The Stolen Heir: A Story of Elfhame by Holly Black

The first book in this captivating duology returns you to the opulent world of Elfhame. As described by publisher Little, Brown and

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Company, this novel about a runaway queen, a reluctant prince, and a quest that may destroy them both, is “filled with intrigue, betrayal, and dangerous desires.”


Spare by Prince Harry the Duke of Sussex Vividly depicted by publisher Penguin Random House, “It was one of the most searing images of the 20th century: two young boys, two princes, walking behind their mother’s coffin as the world watched in sorrow – and horror. As Diana, Princess of Wales, was laid to rest, billions wondered what the princes must be thinking and feeling – and how their lives would play out from that point on. For Harry, this is that story at last. With its raw, unflinching honesty, Spare is a landmark publication full of insight, revelation, self-examination, and hard-won wisdom about the eternal power of love over grief.”

I’m No Philosopher, But I Got Thoughts: Mini Meditations for Saints, Sinners, and the Rest of Us by Kristin Chenoweth Actress, Broadway star, and bestselling author Kristin Chenoweth shares her musings on creativity, loss, love, faith, and closure throughout the pages of I’m No Philosopher, But I Got Thoughts. Her uplifting stories from her personal life, inspirational quotes, and prompts and prayers make this the perfect read for those dreary winter days when you find yourself in need of a little extra pick me up, a bit of laughter, and a reminder that kindness goes a long way.

How To Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix

Affectionately dubbed the “Horror Master,” Gary Hendrix pens heartfelt and terrifying stories about love, history, and horror. In his latest humorous thriller, estranged siblings Louise and Mark are forced to get along as they try to sell their childhood home following the deaths of their parents. But as you read How To Sell A Haunted House, you’ll discover that some houses don’t want to be sold, and Louise and Mark’s home has other plans for them both.

Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun by Elle Cosimano Family is the focus of this funny and twisty page turner featuring a deeply engaging cast of characters. This third installment of the popular Finlay Donovan series is aptly summed up in Mystery and Suspense magazine: “Sassy, ludicrous, sexy … If you’re a fan of crazy off-the-wall antics and hysterical comedy, sexy tension laden chemistry, and an outstanding who’s-the-bad-guy mystery, [this] is for you!”

A Day of Fallen Night by Samantha Shannon

This sweeping and breathtakingly expansive epic – the standalone prequel to Priory of the Orange Tree – delves into the lives of four women and shares a course of events that shaped their world for generations to come. 

Suzanne Lucey and her husband Dave own Page 158 Books, located at 415 S. Brooks St. in Wake Forest. She may be reached at 919-435-1843 or visit www.page158books.com.

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Now that we are settled into the cold winter months, I can’t help but dig up memories of my mother’s comfort cooking. Growing up in Buffalo, New York, the short walk from the school bus to the door would instantly send chills down my spine. Nothing soothed me more than the warmth of the house and the delicious aroma of whatever she had simmering on the stove or in the slow cooker. One that particularly comes to mind is the iconic beef shank.

Now that the street tacos and hamburgers that are perfect for the warmer weather seasons are in hibernation, it’s time to make way for the hearty, filling meals that warm both our souls and our bellies. While there are many great meat options to use in preparation for the low temperatures of winter, thanks to Mom’s delicious cooking from my childhood, my choice is the aforementioned beef shank. Beef shank is a lean cut that comes from the leg portion of the animal. The attribute of this cut is a direct result of what cows do all day – stand, walk, graze, and walk some more. With a longer cooking technique to break down the meat and draw out the natural marrow, the shank becomes a celebrated entrée.

One way to cook beef shanks is in the oven. First, start by heating a large pot on the range to 350 degrees on medium heat. Season the shanks on both sides. Add a little EVOO to the pot and sear when up to temp. Using tongs, hold the shank and drag it across the bottom of the pot. Use the sizzle from the pot as your cheering section! Sear both sides of the shanks to create the fond at the bottom of the pot. The term fond refers to the caramelization left in the bottom of a pan after you’ve browned meat or vegetables.

Heat changes proteins and carbohydrates in ways that make them fall apart and regroup into browned, flavorful bits.

Once you have your sear, remove the shanks and add your vegetables of choice, garlic, and a seasoning mixture of garlic, onion, black pepper, salt, white pepper, and celery salt to the bottom of the pot. Carrots, onions, and celery are a great set to match with the shanks. Allow the vegetables to soften and engage with the fond, then coat the veggies with tomato paste, helping them to caramelize. Continue to stir the vegetables in with the paste.

The next step is to deglaze with about a half bottle of red wine. After the wine is added, place the shanks back into the pot side by side; the acidity of the wine will assist in their breakdown. Lastly, add bay leaves to propel bold flavors into your meal.

Place a lid slightly ajar for evaporation, which will allow for a nice finishing sauce extracted from the bottom of the pot, then insert into your oven, pre-heated to 325 degrees. Cook for three hours. Once ready to come out, the shanks should be incredibly tender and fall right off the bone. For a heartier, soulful dinner, place some of the meat from the shank atop mashed potatoes, surround with some vegetables, and ladle some sauce from the pot atop it all.

I’d be hard-pressed in finding a better meal to help transport me to those cold winters in Buffalo, and the smell, taste, and love shared at the family table. 

You can find this, and more recipes, on our YouTube Channel – The Butcher’s Market.

Will Barnack is the general manager of The Butcher's Market –Heritage, located at 1898 S. Franklin Street, Suite 100 in Wake Forest. He may be reached at 919-263-9367 or visit thebutchersmarket.com.

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37 CIRCA Magazine | January • February • March 2023 | circamagazine.com S O U T H E R N L U X L I V I N G . C O M W e w i l l w o r k t o g e t h e r t h r o u g h t h e r e a l e s t a t e p r o c e s s A f t e r y o u r c l o s i n g , a d o n a t i o n w i l l b e g i v e n t o o n e o f t h r e e s p e c i a l c h C a l l S o m m e r D o n a h o e 9 1 9 - 4 2 6 - 1 7 6 2 V a l u e , t r u s t & e x p e r i e n c e i s w h a t I b r i n g m y c l i e n t s , w h e n y o u a r e r e a d y t o b u y , s e l l i n v e s t i n a h o u s e o r l a n d .

When it’s cold outside, there are some tried and true hot beverages that are sure to warm your insides. While coffees, teas, and cocoa drinks are certainly tasty and comforting, perhaps you’re interested in something a little stronger to take the chill out of your bones – a cold weather cocktail is a great way to do just that.

Having been in the alcohol industry for the better part of the last 30 years, I’ve seen many changes on the cocktail scene. Since we tend to gravitate towards warm, cozy, and familiar offerings during colder months, we often think of classic winter flavors such as maple, brown sugar, and honey and spices such as cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. Many of these are found naturally in bourbon, rum, and scotch – but to kick up the flavor profile a notch, add them to your cold weather cocktail.

While a nice maple-infused rum drink or a honey-ginger flavored scotch beverage is a great cold weather option, I’m here to share my all-time favorite cocktail that perfectly enhances this time of year –the old fashioned. Not that an old fashioned isn’t good any time of the year, because it is (trust me, I’ve tested it) – but it’s even more revered during the colder months. Unlike some other drinks, an old fashioned requires a bourbon that you would sip on its own. My personal old-fashioned preference is made with a bourbon such as Old Forester 100, as it has the proof and flavor to stand up to the drink’s other components. Rye is also a great option, as most ryes hold up well due to the nature of their stronger, spicier finish.

Now that we have selected our stellar bourbon base, it’s time to start gathering our other ingredients. For a traditional taste, you can certainly use the classic Angostura aromatic bitters … but for a fun twist, you may want to opt for orange and fig bitters, locally made right here in Raleigh by Crude Bitters and Sodas. I like to mix both bitters options for an extra flavorful combination. Grab a sugar cube for sweetness while you’re at it.

Start building your beverage in a rocks glass. Place the sugar cube in the glass, adding three dashes of the Angostura bitters to it (and a half dropper full of the Crude bitters if you go that route), and a teaspoon of water to break down the sugar, cohesively dissolving it into the drink; muddle and stir until all of the sugar is dissolved.




Toss in your preferred style of ice (personally, I like a big ball cube in mine) and add two ounces of your bourbon of choice, stirring again. To top it off, add the peel of an orange, expressing its oils on top of the beverage, and swipe it around the glass’s rim for an extra orange zing on your tongue … then sip and enjoy.

If you’re feeling a little extra wild this winter, why not compound multiple drink favorites into one concoction, creating an innovative drinking experience? For instance, one that falls somewhere in the land of an old fashioned mixed with a whiskey sour. Create this blend in a highball glass, starting by packing it with ice, adding two ounces of bourbon, two ounces of freshly squeezed orange juice, two ounces of freshly made sour mix (fresh lemon, lime, and orange juices, mixed with simple syrup), and capped with three dashes of angostura bitters for added flavor depth. Roll to mix and enjoy a burst of flavor in a glass … you’re welcome.

Now for a quick bit on one of my favorite hot adult beverages … I love a good Glögg, a Danish-inspired mulled wine that is served warm and is really quite delicious. Traditionally, Glögg is a red wine, infused with oranges, brown sugar, Danish spices, and served with a few raisins and blanched almonds. I also can’t resist a hot apple cider filled with warm spices – simply add your favorite liquor for an easy, satisfying winter weather drink.

No matter how you create your cold weather cocktails this winter, don’t be afraid to use your imagination and experiment. The best thing about experimentation is the quality control – sample, sample, and sample some more, until you’ve made sure it’s up to your standards. Keep experimenting and sampling til you get it just right – do it for the sake of science. I hope you enjoy some cold weather cocktails to keep you warm this winter, but always remember to drink and enjoy responsibly. Cheers!

Brad Wynn is the brewmaster for Norse Brewing Company. For over 25 years, Brad has committed his heart and soul to redefining the craft of brewing. His skills and talent have made him a brewing legend – not just in the area, but among beer lovers around the world. Now, as co-owner and brewmaster of Norse, he continues to push the boundaries of the art, creating truly unique and delicious beers. Norse Brewing Company is located at 203 S. Brooks Street in Downtown Wake Forest. For more information, visit norsebrewingco.com.

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Whether or not America’s official groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, signals an early spring for 2023, North America’s cold and flu season remains in full force all the way through May. And, while no amount of cleaning can protect you from all infectious disease, it’s important to know the facts about what works and what doesn’t, so any effort you do put into preventive cleaning is both effective and realistic. Following are five key facts to know about cleaning your home during cold and flu season.

FACT #1: There is a massive difference between sanitizing and disinfecting. Sanitizing kills 99.9% of bacteria only, while dis-

infecting kills 99.999% of viruses, fungi, and bacteria. Sounds like a miniscule difference, right? Nope. Sanitizing, when done properly, results in a 1,000-fold reduction in exposure to germs, while disinfecting results in a 100,000-fold reduction.

FACT #2: Even in cold and flu season, hospital-level disinfecting is probably overkill when there is no actively sick, immune/ health-compromised, or high-risk people – such as babies or elderly – living in a home. Washing and sanitizing hands regularly, eating nutritiously, getting plenty of sleep, and other activities that support immune health will still have greater impacts, so save disinfecting for when the above conditions are a factor, or focus mostly on high-touch common areas such as doorknobs, light switches, TV remotes, toilet flushers, sink knobs, drawer handles, and so forth.

FACT #3: Sanitizers and disinfectants don’t kill ALL infectious germs. To claim that a cleaning solution kills 99.9% of germs, its producer only needs to prove it can kill a few specific pathogens on a flat, non-porous, already-clean surface. To know exactly what a solution can kill, you need to read the fine print.

FACT #4: Disinfectants lose effectiveness when used on dirty surfaces. That “kills 99.999% of germs” claim only delivers when applied to a surface that is already clean. In fact, dirt and grime

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can shield pathogens from direct contact with disinfecting solutions. Some types of dirt may even consume or impair a disinfecting solution’s active ingredients. And, because no germ kill is 100%, dirt and grime can help germs to re-grow after disinfecting is complete. The takeaways here are: clean before disinfecting, always use cleaning solutions designed to bond with and lift away dirt and grime particles, and be sure cleaning tools are sufficiently absorbent to remove dirty water from surfaces you are planning to disinfect.

FACT #5: Disinfectants lose effectiveness when you fail to precisely follow manufacturer’s directions for use. For example, read the fine print on a canister of disinfecting wipes and you will learn that (1) multiple wipes are generally needed to deliver enough disinfecting solution to a surface and (2) the surface you are disinfecting needs to soak with the disinfecting solution for a full 10 minutes for a 99.999% germ kill to be achieved.

In addition to properly washing your hands and perhaps stocking up on some vitamin C as you navigate the cold and flu season, always keep these five key facts top of mind as you tackle your cleaning tasks, helping to keep you and your family in good health all winter long. 

Todd Nelson is the owner of MaidPro of the Triangle. Visit maidpro.com/raleigh-north or call 919-871-9996.

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Less than half a mile from downtown Raleigh lies a swath of over 300 acres of land known as Dorothea Dix Park. In the past, we have showcased “hidden” gems – and we recognize how fortunate we are to have so many local gems that may not fall into the “hidden” category, yet deserve to be recognized nonetheless. We are excited to introduce Dorothea Dix Park as our first “Local Gem.”

The land that makes up Dorothea Dix Park has and continues to play a large role in Raleigh’s history. According to the park’s website (dorotheadixpark.org), the land has borne witness to transformations from sustaining Indigenous communities for thousands of years; to 150 years as Spring Hill plantation, worked by enslaved African-Americans; followed by 160 years as Dorothea Dix Hospital, North Carolina’s first mental health facility; and is now home to the headquarters of NC’s Department of Health and Human Services. Recognizing the fluid development of Dorothea Dix Park is integral in recognizing its long and influential presence in the Triangle and beyond – as well as how this complex history offers opportunities for the public to learn about North Carolina’s social, political, and environmental past, present, and future.

The park is part of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience as the City of Raleigh recognizes the complicated history of the land and wants to ensure it makes a positive impact on the community moving forward. In terms of some of its revitalized aspects, the park provides large open areas in which you can picnic, appreciate the surrounding nature, fly a kite (or drones in the Big Field – 35 acres of gorgeous meadow), and witness a wonderful view of the Raleigh skyline. Addition-

ally, built in 1955 and renovated in 2020, the Greg Poole Jr. All Faiths Chapel is the property’s first indoor space, serving as the park’s welcome center and an event space. The chapel also features a mural by NC artist Christopher Holt; the mural was commissioned by the Dix Park Conservancy “with the intent of showcasing the breadth of the land’s legacy and [incorporating] the significance of the chapel as a place of community, celebration, and remembrance” (dorotheadixpark.org).

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Here are some additional park offerings:

DAFFODILS (FEBRUARY-MARCH): Dix Park plants 40,000 daffodil seeds that begin to bloom in February. As one of the first flowers to bloom in spring, daffodils are thought to represent new beginnings. Visitors are encouraged to enjoy this ribbon of yellow from dusk to dawn each day of the week. The darling daffodils are planted in Flowers Field, near the Flower Cottage.

SUNFLOWERS (JULY): With nearly 200,000 sunflower seeds planted in mid-May, Dorothea Dix’s sunflower fields are a sight to behold. Usually in full bloom by July and located off of Hunt Road, bring your camera, as the scenic sunflowers create a stunning subject or backdrop for your photos.

DOG PARK (YEAR ROUND): Dogs and their owners are invited to jump, bounce, and play in the off-leash dog park. The large grass-covered park has separate areas for small and large dogs, and a water station available for both people and pets. The dog park is located off of Umstead Road.

Be sure to also check out: Harvey Hill, four acres of mature oak trees that provide a shaded grassy area, perfect for viewing the Raleigh skyline, picnics, reading spots, and more; The Grove, a 16-acre hillside offering beautiful views of Raleigh and a great sledding spot during snow days; and the Picnic Rooms, first-come-first-serve or by-rent covered picnic and play spots, with grills, tables, seating, and a water fountain.

Dix Park is open from dusk to dawn, seven days a week. To access the fields of flowers and several other areas of the park, you’ll encounter hills and uneven terrain, so take this into consideration when planning your visit. Additionally, as mentioned previously, the Department of Health and Human Services is headquartered at the park, so you’ll need to use only the public parking spaces during weekdays. Finally, public restrooms are located inside the chapel. For more information before visiting this local gem, visit dorotheadixpark.org. 

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Wintertime often has us envisioning a warm and cozy home. Since the season brings with it cold and sometimes damp weather, we want our indoor spaces to feel like an escape from the outdoor elements. However, a couple of our readers feel like their homes are missing that warmth. If you too would like to create a comfy space, read on while cozying up with a hot beverage to see what you can do to your home to make it a place where everyone feels warm and welcome.

Q: My home has a monochromatic scheme of creams with wood elements, but I worry it feels cold and uninviting. How can I keep the monochromatic scheme that I love but make it feel cozier?

A: When you have a single tone in your home, it is important to bring in many textures. This gives a much-needed decorating splash since you don’t have pops of color. For example, if your sofa is a chenille fabric, toss wool, cotton, and embroidered pillows atop it. The chairs in the room can be in the same color scheme, but maybe opt for a tone-on-tone pattern for a little interest. Leather and velvet will add to the textures, making the space even more inviting. And don’t forget the rug! This is a great way to add even more texture – perhaps go for a wool or sisal-type. For accessories, embrace some of the wood elements that are in your home and disperse them throughout. Bringing the outdoors in is always a great way to soften a space. Floral pieces – real or faux – can stay in your cream color scheme, but choose different varieties and incorporate bark or sticks that are creamy in color for added dimension. They do not have to be perfectly arranged; remember, nature is natural and not forced.

Q: With the new year upon us, I’m finding myself wanting to kickstart it with updated art and accessories – I’m so tired of the same items I’ve had for years. But I don’t want to spend a ton of money. Any suggestions on how I can breathe new life into my space without breaking the bank?

A: This question always arises when I am helping clients downsize. I get the privilege of going through other people’s things with a fresh eye. We all get so accustomed to items in certain spaces that we cannot envision them anywhere else. This year, look at your items from a new perspective. Give the accessories that have been living in your bedroom a new home in your family room. Display that piece of art that is way too small for the wall upon which it is currently hung on a stand on a bookshelf or credenza. If you have faux florals, replace them with a few new stems that are updated and fresh. This is also a great time to update family pictures that you have displayed around the house. We all love that child picture from 20 years ago, but maybe it’s time to feature a more current photo. Swapping out outdated frames can instantly update a space. Don’t be afraid to spray paint them for an easy and instant facelift. The art or photos will look completely different in a new or freshly painted black frame versus its old, outdated gold one. Just a few tweaks and forgetting where the items were previously displayed can give your living spaces a whole new look, and allow you to kick off 2023 with a decorating bang.

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Q: What design trends are emerging for 2023 that can easily transition from winter to spring?

A: There are some exciting decorating trends on the horizon, ranging from windows to nature-inspired designs to statement rugs and more that will carry you from one season to the next. When it comes to windows, sheer, cotton, silk, and linen curtains in light and dusty or neutral colors are all the rage right now – this is a great way to add texture while also lightening up a space. Patterned window treatments are also trending, as long as they aren’t too busy and detract from the rest of the room. Statement rugs are making quite the statement right now as well. While neutral rugs are always a safe decorating bet, rugs that also serve as floor art are quite popular right now – this is an easy way to take a design risk without breaking the bank, so you can swap them out as the temperatures start to climb again. Biophilic – or nature-inspired design – continues to be hot, as people favor a more sustainable, eco-conscious way of living. This year, expect to see natural accents like bamboo, rattan, and stone. Display fresh-cut branches throughout your home to bring the outdoors in during the colder months, such as in a wicker or rattan basket on your hearth, or a clear vase filled with small stones atop your kitchen table. Replace with fresh flowers when spring blooms arrive for a great pop of color (and lovely fresh scent as a bonus).

If you feel like taking a bigger decorating leap this year that will

completely transform a space, perhaps opt for a new wall color. The new year always ushers in new hues. Sherwin Williams’ 2023 color of the year is “Redend Point,” (pictured) described on their website as minimal, calming, intriguing, and versatile. It further elaborates, “Minimal yet cozy, this color creates a comforting backdrop for the everyday moments that matter” and is a “thoughtful hue that knows how to reinvent a space in the warmest of ways.” Pantone’s color of the year is PANTONE 18-750 Viva Magenta, which, as the company describes, “injects excitement and drama into home interiors, energizing any environment with its dynamic vibrancy. Imbued with vim and vigor, a nuanced crimson red that encourages self-expression ... [it] is suited to an array of different materials, textures, and surfaces. Invoking the spirit of nature, a carmine red that does not boldly dominate but instead creates a beguiling presence, whether introduced through a painted wall, art, accent furniture, or home décor, or acting as a bold accent in a pattern.” 

Photo courtesy of Sherwin Williams. Rhonda Benvie Plummer is the owner of Help Me Rhonda Interiors and Open Door Furniture & Accents, a furniture and accessories store located at 11605 Durant Road in Raleigh. Visit helpmerhondainteriors.com or opendoorfurnitureandaccents.com or call 919263-9054. Rhonda is also a regular guest on WPTF’s “Making Your Home Great” radio show, the second Saturday of every month, when you can call in with any design questions you may have.

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Have a baby on the way? Then you’ve likely spent the past several months preparing to welcome your bundle of joy into the world. In addition to decorating the nursery, stocking up on diapers, and planning your parental leave, you may want to add “buy life insurance” to your pre-baby to-do list.

While I certainly understand this isn’t any easy subject to think about, it’s one that should become top of mind, as a life insurance policy can help ensure a secure financial future for your growing family. If you or your partner were to pass away, the benefits could be used to help replace income, pay off debt, cover living expenses, or pay for your child’s future college expenses.

But what type of life insurance policy may be a good fit for your family? Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself.


Every family’s insurance needs are unique, so it may help to start by using a life insurance calculator to determine how much coverage you may need. You may want to consider your family’s immediate and future financial needs when choosing life insurance coverage. Here are some things you may want to keep in mind:

– If you have a mortgage, how much do you owe?

– What other debts (such as car loans, lines of credit, etc.) does your family have?

– Do you want to help pay for your child’s college tuition one day?

– Would a surviving spouse be able to work after you pass away to help cover expenses?

Ultimately, you may want to work with a life insurance agent to determine how much coverage may be enough. Your insurance agent can help you choose a coverage limit based on your current assets, future needs, financial priorities, and more.

WHAT TYPE CAN I AFFORD? There are two main types of life insurance from which to choose: term life and permanent life. Your family’s financial situation can help determine both the type of policy you need and the optimal length of your policy.

Term life insurance: If you want your policy to be in place for a set period of time – for example, until your child finishes college or a 30-year mortgage is paid off – you may want to consider term life insurance. A term life policy provides coverage for a specific amount of time (typically between one to 30 years).

Term Iife insurance may also be a good choice if you’re young and concerned about whether you can afford life insurance both now and down the road. Life insurance premiums (the amount you pay to keep a policy in force) are based in part on your age and health at the time you purchase the policy. And, depending on the policy’s terms, the premium may remain the same during the entire policy term period.

Permanent life insurance: If you want life insurance coverage that lasts a lifetime, permanent life insurance may be an option. You’ll typically pay higher monthly premiums, because this type of insurance offers protection for your entire life, as long as premiums are paid. This means the policy’s benefit would be paid out to your beneficiaries no matter when you pass away.

These policies also typically include a savings component, called “cash value,” which may contribute to the higher premium. But, in addition to the death benefit, this means your policy will accumulate cash savings that you may be able to access while you are alive.

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Your employer may already offer life insurance to you as a benefit. However, it may be a good idea to purchase additional insurance on your own for several reasons.

First, your work-provided life insurance may not offer sufficient coverage for your family’s financial situation. If you have a spouse or kids, it’s recommended to have coverage worth five to eight times your annual salary (some experts even recommend 10 times the amount). It’s a good idea to check the coverage limits on an employer-provided policy and see if you can increase the death benefit.

Additionally, your employer-offered life insurance policy isn’t portable — meaning if you leave your job, you’re probably also leaving your life insurance protection behind. However, when you purchase your own policy, coverage isn’t dependent on your employment situation. In other words,

you can take the policy with you if you change jobs.

Furthermore, when you buy your own, separate life insurance policy, you decide how long you want to be covered. Moreover, with an individual policy, you may be able to get more personalized coverage that fits your financial needs.

As you plan for your growing family’s immediate needs, take time to plan for their future needs, too. While the decision to buy life insurance is often met with hesitation and denial, it’s a way to help make sure your loved ones are taken care of even if you pass away. If you have any questions or need help determining what kind of policy is right for you, talk to your insurance agent.

Thomas Walters is the owner of Walters Insurance Agency, located at 3207 Rogers, Road, Suite 100 in Wake Forest. Call 919554-0267 or email twalters@allstate.com for help with all your insurance needs.

47 CIRCA Magazine | January • February • March 2023 | circamagazine.com YOUR PURCHASE! USE CODE: YOUNGS20 “BEST EDIBLES IN TOWN!”


I have a simple but great memory from Brevard, North Carolina – venturing into town during my father-daughter summer camp weekend for a delicious pizza dinner and a bit of walking around shops, followed by some tasty ice cream. When considering places I’ve visited in our great state for this issue’s edition of Driveable Destination, I contemplated all of the towns I’ve visited in North Carolina’s Appalachian region and my love for the mountains, and remembered this camping excursion – and knew I had to share what I have explored (and have added to my bucket list) in Brevard. Without further ado, read on!

Brevard is a quaint city nestled in the heart of Western North Carolina. Located in Transylvania County, the City of Brevard is known for its prime access to trails and waterfalls, historic downtown, and natural beauty. The city’s website (cityofbrevard.com) states that Brevard encompasses a lovely 5.12 square miles, is situated 2,231 feet above sea level, and is about 27 miles from Downtown Asheville and eight miles from the South Carolina border. Originally, 50 acres were designated to establish the town on May 20, 1861 at Transylvania County’s first meeting, which was the same day North Carolina seceded from the Union. Because of the Civil War, Brevard’s incorporation was postponed until 1868, and the courthouse (which still exists at the intersection of Broad and Main Streets) was built in 1884.

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One of the main draws to the city is its premium location in the western part of the state. Surrounded by the Pisgah National Forest, DuPont State Recreational Forest, and Headwaters State Forest, plenty of hiking and biking trails, waterfalls, mountain views, and outdoor appreciation await your visit. Bracken Preserve hosts six miles of natural surface trails, and connects to US

Forest Service Road 475-C, the Art Loeb Trail, and the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education in Pisgah National Forest (cityofbrevard.com). Pisgah National Forest contains a plethora of trails, wildlife, and gorgeous sights. For instance, Rainbow Falls is a 150-foot cascade, with a three-mile round trip trail (starting in Grassy Ridge Parking Area in Gorges State Park, but most of the trail is actually in Pisgah!), or continue on Horsepasture River to Turtle Back Falls and Drift Falls. Whitewater Falls is a 411-foot beauty with several layers, while Looking Glass Falls (pictured) has a more challenging hike at about six-and-a-half miles with a 1,700 foot climb to reach a stunning view and 60-foot waterfall. Additionally, Brevard maintains 22 miles of greenways to explore the area’s natural environment and walk around town. You can also take a scenic drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway for beautiful views and lookouts, or visit the famous Sliding Rock in the warmer months for a whimsical water slide provided by nature itself. (Special thanks to the City of Brevard and the Transylvania Tourism Development Authority for this information.)

In addition to its vast outdoor opportunities, Brevard is home to an adorable downtown with plenty to do for the whole family. Visit the Brevard Music Center for a show, check out the Transylvania Heritage Museum, and the Veterans History Museum of the Carolinas, stop by the number of downtown art galleries for a bit of learning, or explore the variety of eateries, coffee shops, wine shops, and breweries for some tasty treats (for kids and adults alike).

If you’re looking to visit Brevard from the Triangle area, expect to drive about four to four-and-a-half hours, depending on your location. This makes for an easy weekend or several-day getaway; you can also check out one of the surrounding towns for excursions or daytrips once there. Visit neighboring Asheville – a unique, medium-sized city with a small-town vibe – for neat shops,

restaurants, art, and more. Also, check out the famous Biltmore House for a glimpse into history and nature. Other nearby towns include Hendersonville, Cashiers, and Waynesville, North Carolina; Greenville, South Carolina; and more.

I hope you’ll feel drawn to Brevard and the many marvelous mountain towns in North Carolina for your winter getaway. With lots to do – history to learn, restaurants to try, trails to track, and sights to

see – I hope you’ll take time to enjoy all that Brevard has to offer! 

Like what you read and considering a trip to this “Driveable Destination?” Check out the City of Brevard’s website at cityofbrevard.org and the Transylvania County Tourism Development Authority’s/Explore Brevard’s website at explorebrevard.com.

Grace Lower is a sophomore at UNCChapel Hill. She is studying Biology and Environmental Science, and also enjoys dance, theater, and writing for CIRCA Magazine.

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Have you ever heard of the term “sharpen your saw?” Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, calls the seventh habit “Sharpening the Saw.” He says that sharpening the saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset we have. What is that greatest asset, you ask? Our brains.

But how do we protect that greatest asset? Simply put – by keeping it intact. We keep our brains intact by using them, and by improving our cognitive functioning through physical (aerobic) exercise. Cognitive functions are brain-based skills designed to carry out any task, from simple ones to the most complex, including, to name just a few, how we learn, remember, solve problems, make decisions, and pay attention, as well as with motor coordination. Traditionally, we think of exercise as a way to get our bodies into shape – to build stronger abs, to lose weight, to tighten our core, and so forth – all of which are, of course, important to a healthy lifestyle. But the relationship between physical exercise and the brain is equally as crucial.


Physical exercise, particularly activity that is aerobic in nature, improves our cognitive functioning in three areas: memory, perception, and attention (concentration). While strength training is important to maintain strength, endurance, balance, and flexibility,

The New Year is traditionally a time when we make resolutions to change our lives. Many of us talk about how the upcoming year won’t be like the last, how we desire to make significant changes, to do things differently, and to make better decisions. This seems to be especially true when it comes to our physical health and wellbeing. While a desire to improve physical health is certainly important, cognitive wellbeing is equally vital. So this year, add establishing a solid and sustainable plan to maintain and / or improve your brain health, not just today, but also throughout the coming months, and the years to come, to your list of resolutions.

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#where quaint meets cool wakeforestnc.gov search “experience downtown” follow Wake Forest Downtown

aerobic exercise has been shown to have more of an effect on the brain, aiding us in our thinking, learning, problem-solving, and reasoning, as well as improving our emotional balance.

For example, one study published recently in Psychological Science examined the effects of aerobic fitness training on older adults, using a randomized control design (124 older adults between the ages of 60 and 75 years who were randomly assigned to either a six-month intervention of walking – aerobic training –or flexibility – non-aerobic – training). Results indicated that the walking group, but not the flexibility group, improved their performance across a series of tasks that tapped different aspects of cognitive control, indicating that physical activity is beneficial to cognitive performance during aging. This example supports the insight that regular aerobic exercise will go a long way in keeping our brains healthy.

Furthermore, scientists have long speculated that an active lifestyle may serve to spare age-related loss in regions of the brain that support top-down cognitive control. One neuroscientist, Dr. Wendy Suzuki, reported in a recent TED talk that “exercise is the most transformative thing you do for your brain … to improve cognitive abilities such as learning, thinking, memory, focus, and reasoning – all of which can help you become smarter and live longer.” She describes how exercise boosts brain health by decreasing feelings of anxiety, improving focus and concentration, promoting the growth of new brain cells, and protecting the brain from aging and neurodegenerative diseases.

Exercise helps to create new mitochondria – the nerve centers of cells that play a key role in the aging process and age-related diseases – which give us energy. Thus, exercise may quite possibly be the best antidote for mitochondrial aging.

More exercise means more energy for the body, which also means more energy for the brain, keeping it more alert and focused and able to do much more. Hence, our brains require a physical workout to reduce our risk of cognitive decline, including dementia. Some studies have shown that cognitive decline is almost twice as common among adults who are inactive compared to those who are active.

More energy also means that we can work for longer periods of time without a drop in productivity and with less stress. One particular study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that workers who exercised moderately produced higher quality work and performed better in their jobs than those who did not.

When we establish a regular and consistent workout regime, increases in efficiency and productivity are noticeable within weeks

of implementing an exercise plan. Since exercise helps us to combat stress, battle fatigue, soak in more information, and stimulate creativity, our overall wellbeing is improved. And when we feel happier and more energized, we are more efficient and effective at all tasks in life, which leads to a renewed self-confidence.

Many of us perceive exercise as a luxury, an activity we’d like to do if only we had more time. But we need to view exercise as something we need to do – for our bodies and our minds. After all, it’s what keeps our brains, hearts, and lungs alive. It’s time we start thinking of physical activity as part of our life’s work itself. The alternative – little or no exercise – can affect our daily lives in a number of ways, such as processing information more slowly; forgetting more often; and getting easily frustrated, making us less effective at our jobs and harder to get along with for our colleagues, just to name a few.

While you may have already established your New Year’s resolutions to eat better, spend less, etc., know that it’s not too late to amend that list a bit. Go ahead and make a resolution to “sharpen your saw.” Your brain will thank you.

Valerie Grasso is the owner of Coach Val Customized Fitness. She may be reached at 984-800-2554 or easy2exercise@gmail.com. For for more information, visit ez2exercise.com.

51 CIRCA Magazine | January • February • March 2023 | circamagazine.com

Selling your home in the cooler months can be tricky, but is certainly doable. With the cold weather and shorter days, it can be difficult to make your house stand out from other homes on the market. Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to help make your home more appealing during this time of year to prospective buyers as they view the property online, and when they arrive at the house for a showing or open house.

1. KEEP IT COZY: One way to ensure that potential buyers feel comfortable when viewing your home this time of year is to keep it cozy and warm. Make sure that all of the lights are on (and working) and turn up the heat before they arrive so that they don’t have to wait too long for it to get warm inside. This will give them a sense of comfort while touring your home, which may lead them to stay longer and view more rooms. Warm and comforting aromas like cinnamon and clove wafting through the home will help them to picture themselves enjoying a mug of warm cider or hot chocolate snuggled up by the fireplace.

2. SHOW OFF YOUR FIREPLACE: Speaking of the fireplace – if you have one in your home, now is the perfect time to show it off. Make sure that it’s clean and inviting by adding decor to the mantel, encouraging it to stand out as a focal point. Position furniture to draw your eye to it. Add a fresh coat of paint if needed. This will further enhance a cozy atmosphere and invoke thoughts of how wonderful it would be to spend winters there.

3. INTRODUCE COLOR AND LIGHT: During winter, for-sale homes often appear dull both online and in person, due to the lack of natural light or vibrant colors that spring and summer bring with them. To combat this, try adding some white or brightly-colored accents like pillows, throws, or curtains throughout your home so that potential buyers can get excited about

52 CIRCA Magazine | January • February • March 2023 | circamagazine.com

living there year-round – even during dreary winter months. And to let in as much sunlight as possible, make sure windows are sparkling clean (both inside and out), and open blinds and curtains. Swap out dim bulbs for brighter ones.

4. DON’T FORGET CURB APPEAL: Curb appeal is equally as important when selling a home during winter as it is other times of the year. Adding some lively and welcoming porch décor, such as a wreath adorning the front door, vibrant pillows atop rocking chairs, and colorful plants or flowers at the entry of your home will allow your house to stand out from others on the market, while providing buyers with a pleasant aesthetic and inviting vibe before they even step foot into your home. Make sure that the front light fixtures and door handle are new (or at least freshened up with a new coat of paint) for a great first impression of the home, and to show pride of ownership.

5. HIRE A LOCAL REAL ESTATE PRO: The real estate market is ever-changing and having a local and experienced real estate professional to help you price your home right, share staging advice, and market your property to the prospective buyers out there, as well as handle negotiations, is imperative to a successful sale.

Selling a house during the cold, dreary winter months doesn’t have to be difficult or intimidating. Just keep these five tips in mind as you pre-sale prep your home: keep it cozy by turning up the heat before potential buyers arrive, show off any fireplaces, add splashes of color with accent pieces, don’t forget curb appeal, and hire a true local real estate professional. With these tasks marked off your list, you’ll be one step closer to selling quickly (and profitably!) this winter season. Good luck! 

Allison Caudle Abbott is the owner and broker-in-charge of Southern Lux Living, serving buyers and sellers throughout the Triangle. She may be reached at 919-3956186 or visit southernluxliving.com.

53 CIRCA Magazine | January • February • March 2023 | circamagazine.com
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Whether going for a refreshingly brisk walk or hitting the ski slopes, winter’s colder weather shouldn’t stop you from getting out and about this time of year. However, cooler temperatures and chilly winds can wreak havoc on your teeth, mouth, and lips, putting a damper on those activities you enjoy. While oral health problems can certainly arise any time of year, we are particularly susceptible to dental damage such as cracking teeth, tooth sensitivity, and bacterial infections, as well as chapped lips, cold sores, and more during the cold winter months. Follow these winter dental tips to help keep your smile in tip-top shape this season.

TEETH SENSITIVITY: If you have sensitive teeth, you may have noticed that this condition is exacerbated during the winter months, when colder temperatures and chilly winds can worsen pain and sensitivity. If cold air causes your teeth to hurt, it may be because your tooth enamel isn’t providing you with the protection against the chilly weather that it should, or perhaps your gums have receded and are exposing the sensitive roots of your teeth. If you are a sensitivity sufferer, opt for a toothpaste that is designed for sensitive teeth. This can help to minimize the intensified effect of lower temperatures on them. Additionally, try to avoid acidic beverages and foods that are hard on your tooth enamel this time of year. Acids can irritate the dentin and pulp layers of your teeth, causing sensitivity. Remove cavity-causing plaque by brushing twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush, which is easier on your teeth and won’t irritate them, making sure not to brush too hard.

GUM DISEASE: Be sure to keep up with your oral hygiene habits once the mercury drops to maintain teeth and gum health, as a weakened immune system can leave gums more vulnerable to

inflammation and infections. Unfortunately, the same germs that make you sick each winter are the same ones that can cause gum infections. This is especially true if your gums are already susceptible to disease. Replace your toothbrush regularly, especially if you’ve recently been sick. Taking Vitamin C supplements can also be beneficial – not only do they help to boost your immune system, they also aid in collagen production, which is important for gum health. Additionally, avoid touching your face and mouth to help prevent the spread of bacteria to your gums. Also, rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash at least twice a day.

JAW PAIN: Cold weather can cause joints and muscles to tighten up – including those in the jaw. If you suffer from TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder), winter can prove especially painful. To improve jaw discomfort or TMJ in colder weather, consider wearing a scarf or other face covering to help keep your jaw area warm and toasty when you’re out in the elements. You may also want to stick to warm, soft foods such as creamy soups to help alleviate the discomfort.

CHAPPED LIPS: Dry, cracked lips can be an unfortunate side effect of enjoying outdoor winter activities. Exposure to wind, sun, and cold temperatures can damage the delicate skin on your lips, causing them to become rough and chapped. Applying petroleum jelly can provide soothing relief. Applying lip balm that contains a minimum SPF of 15 is an easy way to protect your lips from sun and wind. While indoors, install a humidifier to moisten the air and drink plenty of water to help keep your skin hydrated.

COLD AND CANKER SORES: Exposure to blustery winds and the bright winter sunlight can lead to those dreaded cold or canker sore breakouts. To help prevent mouth sores, protect the skin around your mouth – apply a daily moisturizer, preferably one with an SPF of at least 15; use lip balm (also with sunscreen); and wash your

54 CIRCA Magazine | January • February • March 2023 | circamagazine.com

hands regularly to avoid the spread of viral bacteria between them and your face.

CRACKED TEETH: Teeth expand and contract when exposed to hot and cold beverages and weather, which over time, can cause cracking (normal wear and tear may also contribute). Extreme temperatures can worsen these cracks, resulting in tooth pain and sensitivity. To avoid cracked teeth, wear a mouthguard while you sleep to prevent tooth grinding. Stay away from acidic foods and drinks that can wear down tooth enamel, increasing cracking chances. Sip beverages through a straw to eliminate direct contact with very warm or very cold drinks that could aggravate existing cracks. If you are experiencing a great deal of pain or discomfort from a cracked tooth, see your dentist, who can repair serious cracks with a filling, inlay, dental crown, or even possibly a root canal. Cracked teeth can lead to more serious issues and infections, so be sure to get them fixed as soon as you can.

HYDRATION: Drinking water not only helps to rinse sugar and acid off our teeth, it also keeps our lips and mouths hydrated and can prevent bacteria from developing in the mouth. However, once cold weather hits, many of us tend to reach for comforting beverages like tea, coffee, and hot chocolate, rather than that healthy glass of water. While that’s certainly enticing, continue to consume at least two liters of water a day to ensure proper hydration.

Good oral hygiene is an important step to keeping your teeth and gums healthy –and preventing other health issues. Contact your dentist if you have any cold weather dental concerns. 

Dr. Edmond Suh, DDS is with Supremia Dentistry, located at 1704 S. Main Street in Wake Forest. He is an international lecturer on contemporary dental techniques. At Supremia Dentistry, expect something different as they welcome you to their patient family. Call 919-556-6200 to learn more or schedule an appointment. You can also visit supremiadentistry.com.

55 CIRCA Magazine | January • February • March 2023 | circamagazine.com



Pi Day is coming! Founded in 1988 by physicist Larry Shaw, March 14 marks Pi Day (get it … 3.14), an annual day of celebration for the mathematical sign pi, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter (approximately 3.14). Coincidentally, it’s also Albert Einstein’s birthday. But best of all, 3.14 is also a day to celebrate PIE! It’s a great excuse to whip up all kinds of pies –from apple to cherry to key lime to pecan to pumpkin, and more. To help you celebrate, I’m here to share some of my easy-to-make pie favorites that have been passed on to me from my mother, my grandmother, and a childhood neighbor. And special thanks to a CIRCA reader who forwarded us one of her favorite recipes for us to share with you as well.

Even though Pi Day only comes around once a year, there’s no reason every day can’t be PIE day! So read on for some tasty treats, and have fun celebrating pi, Einstein’s birthday, and everyday –with pie.


From my mother’s personal family cookbook, “GG’s Guide To Great Cooking”

– 1 frozen pie crust, cooked according to directions (cool crust before adding filling) – 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened – 1 can Eagle Brand condensed milk – 1/3 cup bottled lemon juice – 1 teaspoon vanilla – 4 medium-sized bananas – 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the condensed milk. Blend thoroughly. Add the 1/3 cup lemon juice and vanilla and stir until thickened. Slice 3 bananas; line crust with banana slices. Add the filling into the crust atop the bananas.

Refrigerate 2-3 hours.

Cut the fourth banana into thin slices; dip in remaining lemon juice. Garnish the top of the pie with the banana slices.


Passed on from my late paternal grandmother, Mama Frances

– 3 eggs, beaten

– 11/4 cups sugar

– 11/4 cups milk

– 1/8 teaspoon salt – 1 cup grated coconut – 1 frozen pie crust

Blend with a mixer. Pour into a partially cooked pie crust. Cook at 450 degrees for 10 minutes.

Turn the oven down to 375 degrees and finish cooking, about 25 minutes.


Shared years ago from a childhood neighbor Makes 2 pies (please note these are crustless pies)

– 8 eggs

– 4 cups sugar

– 11 tablespoons flour

– 8 tablespoons cocoa (unsweetened)

– 2 cups melted butter

– 1 tablespoon vanilla – 2 cups pecans

Beat eggs very well. Add other ingredients. Pour into glass pie pans, and set pans in one-half inch of water. Bake 1 hour at 325 degrees. Leave at room temperature for several hours.

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Shared from a CIRCA reader

For the crust:

– 30 chocolate sandwich cookies (leave the cream inside)

– 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

– 3 8-ounce blocks (24 ounces total) cream cheese, room temperature

– 1 cup creamy peanut butter

– 3/4 cup powdered sugar

– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

– 11/4 cups heavy whipping cream (make sure cream has at least 35% fat content)

– Hot fudge and melted peanut butter for garnish

To make the crust, crush chocolate sandwich cookies in a food processor until a fine crumb. Stir the melted butter into the chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs with a fork until all are moistened. Press into the bottom and halfway up the sides of a

9-inch springform pan or pie pan. Chill until filling is done.

To make the filling, beat room temperature cream cheese and peanut butter with a hand or stand mixer until smooth. Mix in the powdered sugar until creamy and smooth. Add the vanilla and then slowly add the whipping cream while mixing. Continue mixing until stiff peaks form (filling will stand up when you move the mixer).

Spread filling into the prepared crust. Chill at least one hour before slicing and serving. Garnish by drizzling hot fudge and melted peanut butter on top of the slices. 

If you make any of these recipes, snap a photo and email it to info@circamagazine.com, or tag us on social media. We can’t wait to see your culinary creations!

And if you have any favorite recipes you would like to share in a future issue of CIRCA Magazine, please contact us at info@circamagazine.com for consideration!

57 CIRCA Magazine | January • February • March 2023 | circamagazine.com


Design is inherently a creative endeavor. As such, rules can become arbitrary and not applicable in all circumstances. However, unless you have a special design theme in mind or an excellent eye for off-kilter interior applications, certain rules will be helpful guides. There are basic design elements that come with standards that won’t impede your creativity, but instead will showcase your unique ideas and not distract from them. Even if you aren’t a rule follower, you may still want to consider giving the following suggestions for window treatments, rugs, and artworks a try, to help make your decorating process as seamless as possible.


Windows are in almost every room of the house, bringing in the best lighting of all – natural light. Most people like some sort of window treatment, and that makes sense. The fabric used for curtains can soften a space, add dimension, block out light and nosy neighbors, and bring visual interest to a room. All this to say, when you hang your curtains, make the most of them. Follow these steps to create the illusion that the walls are taller and the windows wider:

– Hang your curtain rod at least 4”-6” above your window casing, if not higher. It’s ideal to hang them halfway between the top of the casing and ceiling, or just go all the way to the ceiling.

– Extend your curtain rod beyond the width of your window so that when the curtains are open, the window isn’t covered.

– Hang curtains to the floor. You may not want them to drag or puddle on the floor, but try to keep them no more than about half an inch above the floor.

– Although typically panels are sold as single panels, you should hang one on both sides of the window.

As a side note, hanging longer shower curtains in your bathroom can add height and drama to the space.


Rugs can ground a space, add texture and comfort, and provide the perfect finishing touch in a room. They can also get very ex-

pensive as they go up in size, so while it’s tempting to go smaller rather than bigger, consider the following recommendations before purchasing your floor covering.

IN THE DINING ROOM: If you have a round table, then it makes the most sense to use a round rug, a rectangular rug for a rectangular table, and so on. The key is to make sure that even when the chairs are pulled out, they remain on the rug. What you don’t want is to have any chairs or chair legs off the rug, creating an uneven surface underneath.

IN THE LIVING ROOM: All of the furniture you have centered around the rug should be on it. If the furniture is spread out and

58 CIRCA Magazine | January • February • March 2023 | circamagazine.com
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the size of the rug would be too small for the entire furniture piece to be placed on top, then try to at least have the front legs of the furniture pieces on the rug. While sitting in the furniture, your feet should be on the rug.

IN THE BEDROOM: The same applies for the bedroom in that you want your feet to touch the rug as you get off your bed and walk away. You also want the rug to extend out from the end of the bed. If you want to move it further down so that the bedside tables are not on the rug, that will allow for more length at the end of the bed.


Art placement can be tricky. It requires balance and finding the correct height to make it work. If your art doesn’t feel quite right after being placed, it’s most likely because it’s disconnected from the furniture or other art pieces around it. Here are some suggestions for creating a cohesive feel with your art.

– When hanging art from an empty wall, hang it approximately 57”-60” from the floor. This is considered eye level for the average height female. If you’re a taller person, the eye level rule of thumb will not work for you.

– When hanging art over furniture, you should hang it about 8”

from the back of the furniture piece to the bottom of the artwork. This will allow for the art to feel connected to the furniture and not like it’s floating on the wall.

– If you have a large piece of furniture, such as a sofa, either hang a large art piece that covers around two-thirds of the width of the sofa or hang multiple pieces of art work above it. The art pieces should have something that keeps them cohesive, such as the color of the frame.

– When spacing the art pieces, put no more than 3”-4” between them. If you are hanging three rectangular pieces of different heights, use the center of the art items as your guide – i.e., instead of lining them up so the top or bottom of the frames align, keep the center of each piece in line.

– For a gallery wall on which you have multiple pieces that are of different sizes and not in a row, use the same height and spacing suggestions above as your start.

Making your home uniquely yours is the primary goal when designing spaces for yourself. However, while certainly not set in stone, even the most experienced designers find these tried-andtrue suggestions helpful when creating timeless, cohesive, and beautiful spaces. 

Robyn Goss-Bennai is a local writer with a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design. She can be reached at robyngossbennai@gmail.com.

59 CIRCA Magazine | January • February • March 2023 | circamagazine.com
DOWN TOWN EXPER IENCE #where quaint meets cool UNIQUE SHOPS n RESTAURANTS ORIGINAL ART n LIVE MUSIC FOOD& BEVERAGE SHOPPING ARTS&ENTERTAINMENT wakeforestnc.gov, search “experience downtown” follow Wake Forest Downtown



Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a chronic sleep disorder affecting roughly 18 million adults across the country. With OSA, the tongue and soft tissue in your upper airway collapse during sleep and cause respiratory obstruction. When this occurs, you stop breathing and awake suddenly, often grasping for breath. Most people with sleep apnea have no idea that this is happening as many as 60 times per hour!

Obstructive sleep apnea is often characterized by loud snoring, and it causes fatigue, daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, and poor concentration, along with mood changes and depression. Untreated OSA can eventually lead to serious risk of diabetes, hypertension, and stroke, as well as an increased likelihood of workplace or motor vehicle accidents. That’s why treatment of OSA is key and, fortunately, treatment options have come a long way.

Many patients get relief with lifestyle changes and/or wearing a facemask that is connected via a tube to a device that pumps continual air into their nose and mouth while they sleep. The Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine, known as a CPAP machine, solves sleep apnea issues in about half of the cases.

For patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea that can’t be managed by CPAP or other solutions, there is a new treatment option –an implant designed to work inside the body and alongside the patient’s natural breathing process.

Recently, Dr. Mike Ferguson and Dr. Allen Marshall with WakeMed ENT – Head & Neck Surgery completed the first hypoglossal nerve stimulator Inspire implant for sleep apnea at the hospital. The implant delivers mild stimulation to key muscles of the tongue, allowing the airway to remain open during sleep. During an outpatient surgery performed under general anesthesia, the nerve stimulator and its processor are implanted in the neck and chest wall, respectively.

When it comes to sleep apnea, a full medical evaluation is important. In order to qualify for hypoglossal nerve implant surgery, you will need to undergo a sleep study – or have had a sleep study within the last two years – that demonstrates moderate to severe sleep apnea. Additional criteria include a body mass index of 32 or less, documented CPAP intolerance, and sometimes a sleep medicine consultation.

For more information about sleep disorders, sleep apnea, and treatment options, or to schedule an evaluation, call the WakeMed ENT –Head & Neck Surgery practice at 919-350-EARS (3277) or visit wakemed.org/ent-head-neck-surgery.

60 CIRCA Magazine | January • February • March 2023 | circamagazine.com
61 CIRCA Magazine | January • February • March 2023 | circamagazine.com putting brands in motion GENERA TE DESIGNGENERA TE DESIGNwww.generatedesign.com 919.845.6310 Draw a straight line between your marketing dollars and results.

Terrariums require little in the way of watering or feeding and are a fun way to enjoy plants indoors –especially during the winter months when we may not be able to enjoy our outdoors gardens as much as we do the rest of the year. They can be either enclosed containers such as apothecary jars or aquariums, or open-ended containers such as brandy snifters or fishbowls. Enclosed containers are most practical for growing small plants that like humid conditions. Open containers will require more watering than enclosed ones and are better suited for succulents, cacti, and other plants that prefer less humidity.

Before planting your terrarium, select your plants by experimenting with different combinations of small ones and by choosing those that will do well in the light in which they will be placed. South and west facing windows provide strong, bright light. East facing windows provide medium light. North-facing windows and fluorescent office lighting is considered low to medium light. The plants should also have similar moisture needs.

SUGGESTIONS: Let most of the plants be green with not more than one variegated plant. Use plants of varying heights with taller ones in the back. Make sure plants are small enough or the container is large enough that leaves won’t touch the glass of the container. Plan where any decorative items will go in relation to the plants.


– A clear glass (or plastic) container, open or enclosed with no drainage holes

– Activated charcoal

– Pebbles, clay pellets, or sand for drainage

– African violet potting mix

– Fiberglass screen or sheet moss

– Plants

– Spray bottle of water

– Chopsticks or 1/4 inch dowel rods and a cork (if terrarium is too tall and narrow to reach the soil with your hands)

– Long, slender tongs

– Large kitchen spoon



– Decorative items such as stones, shells, driftwood, fairy garden accessories, etc. (optional)

– Prepare to plant your terrarium by first cleaning the container thoroughly with soapy water and drying it, and dampen the potting mix with a few sprayings of water.


Place ½ inch layer of pebbles, clay pellets, or sand in the bottom of the container. This is the minimum, but the amount can vary. In general, about 1/4 of the terrarium’s volume should be comprised of draining material (pebbles) and growing medium (potting mix).

Cut the fiberglass screen to a size that will fit over the pebbles and lay it over them. (While optional, this keeps layers separate, which

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helps with drainage and detoxification.)

Place ½ inch layer of activated charcoal over the fiberglass screen. Charcoal helps eliminate chemicals that could be toxic to plants and is especially important in enclosed terrariums. Place another layer of screen or sheet moss over the charcoal to keep potting mix from sifting in. The moss can also look nice as a green layer in the terrarium.

With your large spoon, scoop in dampened potting mix over the screen. Generally, a minimum depth of 1½ inches is required, but you may need more if the rootballs of your plants are deeper than that.

Add your plants. If the terrarium is narrow and tall, try using the chopsticks or dowel rods to create a hole in the potting mix before setting the plants gently in, using slender tongs. Gently tamp down the soil using your fingers, or if you can’t reach, a cork attached to a skewer or stick. Add more soil, if necessary. Spray the soil around the plants to moisten it and mist the plants to wash off any potting mix that stuck to the leaves. Mist again the following day. Add your decorative items, place your terrarium in its spot, and enjoy!


An enclosed terrarium may not need water for four to six months. If you don’t see condensation on the inside, it may be time to water. Open terrariums need water occasionally, but not as often as other houseplants. Avoid standing water in the pebbles and charcoal – better a little too dry than too wet. Let plants dry before replacing the lid on an enclosed terrarium. Trim plants periodically to keep the size down. Don’t fertilize the first year. Thereafter, apply a quarter-strength solution of houseplant fertilizer one or two times a year, as needed. 

Tina Mast is communications director for Homewood Nursery & Garden Center in Raleigh and can be reached at 919-847-0117 or info@homewoodnursery.com. For more information, visit homewoodnursery.com.

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We call our dogs “fur babies.” However, when they’re puppies, that’s not just an endearing phrase – puppies are truly babies! Like human babies, everything is new to puppies, and they share the same emotions our furless children have. New situations can be “ruff” for them, and if not handled properly, that stress can mean a lifetime of anxiety over one single event.

Take, for example, grooming. Dogs require regular grooming to keep them looking and feeling their best. And while most experts agree that professional grooming should begin at 12 weeks for dogs, the process can be intimidating, and not all pups (or their human parents) are automatically emotionally prepared for it.

Here are a few tips to prep your pup for a seamless grooming introduction, and what you should expect as your fur baby begins its lifelong journey of health, cleanliness, and comfort.


A puppy’s first grooming is a lot like a human child’s first haircut, in much the same way that it’s a rite of passage – however, while your human baby is likely too young to recall this momentous occasion, it’s one that your dog will always remember. So it goes without saying that you want that memory to be a positive one. A pup’s initial experience at the salon can set the stage for how it responds to grooming for the rest of its life. Thus, it’s crucial to make the experience as pleasant as possible. You can begin preparing your puppy for its first grooming on the day you bring it home – give it tons of hugs and love, but be mindful to gently handle its paws, ears, face and teeth, backside, and inner thighs … all the areas the groomer will focus on during grooming.

You can also introduce your new pup to water by dipping it in a tub or sink with very shallow water, increasing the depth as it adjusts to getting its paws wet. Speak in soothing, calm, encouraging tones during this process, and make sure there is enough room to splash and play – remember, this is supposed to be fun! Speaking of bath preparation, contact your chosen groomer for a sample of the shampoo they’ll be using, and let your puppy smell

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it to get used to the scent prior to the initial appointment.

Once your puppy adjusts to being handled, it’s time to tackle brushing and combing. It is important to acclimate your pup to these tools of the trade early on, so that it becomes familiar with what will become a normal part of the grooming process.

With plenty of handling, waterplay, and encouraging treats, your puppy will be ready to take that big step toward its first spa day.


Your fur baby’s big day has finally arrived! You’ve safely loaded your puppy into the car, filled a bag with its favorite treats, and now you’re officially on your way to your first grooming appointment. Let’s talk about what you should expect during the session.

When the appointment is scheduled, be sure to let the salon know that it is your furry family member’s first groom. Once at the facility, your groomer will slowly introduce themselves to your puppy in a gentle, soft tone – followed by lots of petting and affection. Once a comfort level is established, the groomer will introduce your pet to the grooming environment –it’s very important that it become familiar with and used to the surroundings.

After the “formal introductions” are made, the groomer will initiate the puppy’s first bath. This will include bathing, blow drying, nail clipping, and a light trimming of the face, feet, and sanitary area, if needed. The process will be administered gently, with positive encouragement each step of the way, along with a treat or two (if approved by the pet parent).

The focus during the first groom is on a most positive introduction. Just as it would be unrealistic to expect a young human child to sit still for a long period of time, it’s impossible to expect a puppy to be willing to stand still during the initial visit for the timeframe that a full grooming requires.

Moving forward, grooming every four to 10 weeks (based on breed and activity level) should be considered a regular part of your dog’s health and wellness routine. Those pups that only see a groomer once or twice a year (such as when they need shave downs due to matting) will perceive this process as punishment, resulting in a very stressful event for them.

It may take two to three sessions for your pup to become completely accustomed to and comfortable with the grooming process, so be patient. But proper preparation

will help to make your’ pup’s first grooming experience a “pawsitive” one, and allow future appointments to go more smoothly. Ultimately, the goal is to make the grooming salon a happy place for your dog, one it looks forward to visiting, full of people who are waiting to fawn over and pamper it its entire lifetime. 

Vanessa Davis is the founder and CEO of Dirty Dogs Spa, with locations in Wake Forest (929 Heritage Lake Road, Suite 500) and Raleigh (Stonehenge Market, 7490 Creedmoor Road). For more information, visit dirtydogsspa.com.

65 CIRCA Magazine | January • February • March 2023 | circamagazine.com


High above Falls Lake in northern Wake County sits Rockcliff Farm, a late 19th century farmstead, frozen in time with only minor mid-20th century changes. Rockcliff Farm was the home of Bertram Whitter “B.W.” Wells and his second wife Maude. Dr. Wells was a pioneer ecologist born and educated in Ohio and earned his PhD from the University of Chicago, but was drawn to North Carolina by our state’s wide-ranging eco-systems and its abundance of native plants. Wells was the first scientist to realize that North Carolina has the same botanical makeup from the mountains to the ocean that can be found along the entire eastern coast of North America – from the spruce forest of Canada located in the North Carolina mountains to the palm trees of Florida also found on Bald Head Island.

In 1919, B.W. Wells came to what is now North Carolina State University to head the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, a position he would hold for more than 30 years. In 1932, he published The Natural Gardens of North Carolina, which is still in print today and is often included on a short list of internationally recognized classic publications on natural history. Upon retirement, Wells and his wife were drawn to a property in northern Wake County where he had studied with his botany students for years because of the wealth of wildflowers and mountain laurel found there, as well as some spectacular geographic features – specifically, alongside the Neuse River, a rocky cliff, caves, and a rare volcanic plug, known as Zeagle’s Rock, that reaches some 75 feet above the river. Rock formations along the river proved to be like those found in Morocco. It is speculated that this is from the time when the continents collided, leaving rock deposits from the African Continent in what is now Piedmont North Carolina.

As the story goes, Dr. and Mrs. Wells were headed to Durham to purchase a new washing machine from Sears when they stopped for breakfast and noticed an advertisement in the city’s paper for the sale of the site Dr. Wells knew so well. They decided to make an offer on the property – the Ray family farm, called Rockcliff Farm – using the washing machine funds as a down payment. All of its magnificent botanical and geographical features attracted the Wells to the idyllic setting, to which they soon retired.

Dr. and Mrs. Wells made modest changes to the circa 1895 farmhouse.

They also kept the former owners, the Ray family, who lived in a nearby house on the property, as caretakers. In retirement, Dr. Wells became a rather noted artist, painting pastoral scenes and portraits of many local residents. One of the improvements to the property was the addition of a studio just a few feet from the kitchen. There Dr. Wells would work on his paintings, and the couple would relax by a fire in a huge stone fireplace relocated from the site of an 18th-century cabin built by the original land owners, the Lowery family, around 1790. Between the kitchen and the studio can be found a graveyard with members of the Lowery and Ray families, along with several other related family members.

Since the construction of Falls Lake and the death of Mrs. Wells, the site has been under the care of the State Parks system and supported and opened to the public only twice a year by the B.W. Wells Association, a private non-profit group of local citizens. The Association has long wished for more public access to one of the most beautiful historic sites in Wake County. Recently, much has happened to make the B.W. Wells site accessible. In 2021, the Wake County Historic Preservation Commission passed a resolution recognizing the site as significant to the history of Wake County and North Carolina. Former Wake County Commission Chair Sig Hutchinson worked to transfer the site from State Parks to Wake County Parks. Recently, Hutchinson made this statement concerning the site’s future: “B. W. Wells Park is an incredible opportunity to honor the life and times of Dr. Wells, as well as build stronger partnerships between Wake County Parks, NC State University, NC State Parks, the B. W. Wells Association and the Wake County Historic Preservation Commission. This historic and natural park will show not only how people thrived in 19th and 20th centuries, but it will also allow our residents and guests the opportunity to understand the diversity of nature that Dr. Wells preserved and wrote about in his book The Natural Gardens of North Carolina.” 

For more on B.W. Wells and Rockcliff Farm, visit bwwells.org. Copies of The Natural Gardens of Rockcliff Farm are available from the B.W. Wells Association or from the Wake Forest Historical Museum.

Photo courtesy of bwwells.org.

Ed Morris is executive director of the Wake Forest Historical Museum and Wake Forest College Birthplace, located at 414 N. Main Street. For more information, visit wakeforestmuseum.org.

66 CIRCA Magazine | January • February • March 2023 | circamagazine.com