Page 1

Local Nightlights

Speed Racers

Celebrity Faces

Holiday Gift Guide

Edmond is Aglow

Pedal to the Metal

Bringing Dolls to Life

DEC 2009 • Vol. 5 No. 12

Shopping Preview

Tips to Surviving the Season

13431 N Broadway EXT, STE 104 Oklahoma City, OK 73114

Heartland Outdoors! Really, Anything From




10 departments



ENTERTAINMENT & ART Kylie Morgan Sings from the Heart

30 A GIANT AMONG US A look at SSI Technologies


LETTERS FROM LOUISE Christmas in Any Language

10 SPORTS Close to Home 12

Speed Racers

14 BEST OF EDMOND Barrett Jewelers & Optique Vision Center 16 DINING GUIDE Hobby’s Hoagies 20 HOME & GARDEN Home for the Holidays 24 Edmond Nightlights 27 HEALTH & FITNESS Just for Kicks 42 AROUND TOWN

32 RUTH’S SWEETE JUSTICE Lawyer turned award-winning baker 34 WINTER SHOPPING PREVIEW Local vendors highlight hot deals 36 THE KEYS TO SUCCESS World-renowned concert pianist 38 BLENDING FAMILY TRADITIONS Avoiding conflict & enjoying the holidays 44 ALL DOLLED UP Bringing celebrity faces to life



Operations Manager

Dave Miller Stacy Brasher

Production Manager

Joshua Hatfield

Advertising Sales

Donna Walker JR Ross


Joshua Hatfield

Production Design

Krystal Harlow Joshua Hatfield

Managing Editor

Rebecca Wulff


Randall Green


Dan Quiroz Rachel Dattolo Deborah Coplin Louise Tucker Jones Kathryn Spurgeon Donna Walker Raquel Haggard Lindsay Whelchel Nathan Winfrey Mindy Wood Rebecca Wulff


The Edmond Outlook is delivered FREE by direct mail to 50,000 Edmond homes and businesses.

Additional copies available at the Edmond Chamber of Commerce, Visitors Bureau, & Back40 Design office.

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A special thank you to Cookies By Design for their kind donation, Workplace Resource for the use of their facilities and Brooke and Chesney McMiller for graciously contributing their time and talents for the benefit of our cover.

(Volume 5, Number 12) Edmond Outlook is a publication of Back40 Design, Inc. © 2009 Back40 Design, Inc. Articles and advertisements in Edmond Outlook do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the magazine or Back40 Design. Back40 Design does not assume responsibility for statements made by advertisers or editorial contributors. The acceptance of advertising by Edmond Outlook does not constitute endorsement of the products, services or information. We do not knowingly present any product or service that is fraudulent or misleading in nature. Edmond Outlook assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials.


E ntertainment & Art


Sings from the Heart


t first glance, Kylie Morgan seems like a normal teenager. A freshman in high school, Kylie is a cheerleader and into the same things as other girls her age. The difference is Kylie is also a promising country singer/songwriter poised to record her first fulllength album and shock the music world with her endearing tunes and heartfelt lyrics. “That’s what I love, to get to follow my dream at 14 and still get to do normal things that 14-yearolds get to do,” Kylie says. “It’s hard to balance everything, but I think I’m figuring it out.” Although she admits she doesn’t get to do everything her friends do, she knows it’s more than a fair trade considering the opportunities that have opened up to her at such a young age. Kylie grew up listening to Martina McBride, Reba McIntyre and Miranda Lambert. She knew at age 12 she wanted to sing. She started writing songs and taking guitar lessons and as her abilities developed, the subject matter of her songs matured. She started to get noticed. Her catchy, irresistible melodies carry lyrics drawn from life experiences. Her music is uplifting, and Kylie hopes it helps listeners through the pits and valleys of life. “When


by Nathan Winfrey

someone has a bad day, they can turn the song on and forget about things for two or three minutes,” she says. As their first signed artist, 2 Sisters have spent the last few months promoting her and trying to get her music out there. “They decided that they saw something in me and they wanted to do something about it,” Kylie says. Kylie released a self-titled, seven-song CD in April that is available on iTunes, which features just her voice and a guitar. This month she’s recording for an upcoming CD where she’ll be backed by a full band. Her band mates are Nick Sigman on guitar, Mikey Hines on bass, Jerred Bauer on drums and Tommy Frizzell on percussion. “It’s hard to find places where a 14-year-old can play, but we’re doing our best,” Kylie says. She played the Oklahoma State Fair five times this year, and she’s been making the rounds at rodeos, carnivals and festivals, including the Moore Music Festival. Her young age may limit playable venues, but it doesn’t appear to be a hindrance to her craft. Her songs carry an unnatural weight; they aren’t the shallow songs of a timid beginner. “I write all my own stuff,” Kylie says. “I think country music is good for me because I tell stories in

my songs.” She wrote “Prom Dress” out of irritation with teenage drama, but perhaps her most meaningful song is “She’s Our Miracle.” Kylie wrote the song when she was in eighth grade, after an English class journal assignment asked students to chronicle the most difficult thing they’ve ever gone through. Kylie wrote about watching her little sister battle cancer. Inspired, Kylie went home and wrote the song in record time. She played it for her guitar teacher who happened to be a DJ for an American Cancer Society fundraiser, Relay for Life. Now, Kylie performs the song at relays around the state and it has become an anthem for the program. She released the song as her first single, with all proceeds going toward the American Cancer Society. “I want to let people hear it and I want the song to touch them as it touched me,” Kylie says. “Hopefully these donations will help find a cure. I’m doing what I can.” Kylie is supported by her sisters and parents. “My parents are awesome through this. They are behind me 100 percent. It’s very nice to have parents who believe in me,” she says. Her current Christmas CD is titled Seven Days of Kylie. “We’re going to get some of the old Christmas songs and ‘Kylie-fy’ them,” she says. She will also contribute her version of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” for the Rodeo Opry Christmas CD, which will be available in all Oklahoma Taco Mayo restaurants. Kylie dreams of someday appearing on the Country Music Awards, and would like to see her name in big letters over her home town. “Ever since I was little, I wanted to have my name on a water tower,” she says. “Hopefully, one day, the one in Newcastle will say ‘Home of Kylie Morgan.’” Beyond that, her aspirations are relatively humble for someone with her talent and potential. “I want at least 100 people in each state to know my name and my music, and help cancer and find a cure.” For more information about Kylie and to listen to her music for free, visit and


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IN A NY LANGUAGE by Louise Tucker Jones


ne of my favorite Christmas traditions is baking and sharing homemade “goodies.” One year, just before Christmas, a new family moved into our neighborhood—two houses up and across the street from us. Since I was already baking some Christmas teacakes covered with red, green and yellow sugar crystals, I made an extra dozen for our new neighbors. I placed them in a decorative jar and tied a festive red ribbon around the top. Planning a trip to town, I decided to drop off the jar of colorful teacakes on my way. Since most of our neighbors were young couples with children, I was surprised when an elderly Chinese gentleman greeted me at the door in

broken English. I tried to explain the reason for my gift—to welcome them to our neighborhood—but Mr. Chung’s eyes filled with confusion. This was not the quick stop I had planned. I wanted to plunk the jar of sweets into my neighbor’s hands, wish him a Merry Christmas and be on my way but communication proved difficult. Outside of my native tongue, I was fairly fluent in Spanish, had survival skills in French and knew a few German phrases. I even remembered sparse greetings in Russian and Japanese, but I didn’t know a single word of Chinese. Mr. Chung followed me to the car, asking me to point out the exact house in which I lived. After several tries with words, pointing and gestures, he seemed content in knowing who I was and where I lived. He returned to his house and I jumped into my car, anxious to get to town and to my appointment. The following Saturday, my doorbell rang and there at my front door stood Mr. Chung, along with his petite wife and their adult daughter who spoke flawless English. “My parents wanted to thank you for your kindness,” she said, as I opened the door and invited them inside. Mr. Chung presented me with a small package of Santa cookies and Mrs. Chung gave a slight bow and offered a greeting in Chinese. As we sat in the living room chatting, my oldest son came into the room carrying

his little brother on his shoulders. Mrs. Chung’s face suddenly lit up and her hands automatically extended toward Jay, my toddler. Then, seeming embarrassed to have displayed such emotion, she quickly sat back against the sofa but continued to watch Jay quietly for the short time they visited in our home. In the months following Christmas, Mrs. Chung and I became friends. And though she never spoke a word of English, we were always welcomed into her home, especially Jay. She seemed to take great delight in his presence. Not being able to actually converse with Mrs. Chung, I never knew for certain what caused her sweet reaction to Jay on that Christmas visit in our home. But I have always believed that my little son with Down syndrome and his tiny, almond shaped eyes, reminded my new neighbor of her own children and grandchildren and a homeland far away on that most holy holiday. May you have a blessed Christmas as you celebrate the birth of our Lord—Jesus Christ.

es s Te a c ak a m t is r h C

Your One Stop Shop! about the author Louise Tucker Jones is an award-winning author and inspirational speaker. Author and co-author of three books, her work has been featured in numerous publications. Mother of four and grandmother of three, Louise resides in Edmond with her husband, Carl and son, Jay. Contact her at: or

Happy Holidays! Thank you for another great year! Gift Certificates Available

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by Dan Quiroz

f there’s one thing the Oklahoma City Thunder knows, it’s how to hit the ground running. So, it only makes sense that their next move would be to build a state-of-the-art training facility that pushes the boundaries of not only athletic training, but hands-on medical experience. The INTEGRIS Health Thunder Development Facility is scheduled to open just prior to the 2010-11 season and is being built right next door to one of Oklahoma’s best communities – Edmond. Located right off Britton Road near the Broadway Extension, the new training facility will stand as a reminder that our great state is headed in a very good direction. Since the new facility is so close to Edmond, when the team begins practicing there, our residents will be seeing a lot more of our NBA stars out and about. The facility will include everything you can expect for an NBA team, with a few surprises. There are two full basketball courts, a hydrotherapy area, a 27-seat classroom and a dining room. HydroWorx designed an in-ground thermal and polar plunge and an underground water treadmill. Topping it all off, the facility is designated as an Olympic training site for archery and volleyball. The classroom will give coaches, students, players and staff access to state-of-the-art video and computer

technology to encourage team development and strategic planning through team film sessions. No training facility for hard working athletes would be complete without a world-class dining room, which aids in the nutritional aspect of physical training. Complete with a nutrition bar that has all the necessary supplements, protein shakes, juices and water, the dining room is sure to be a big hit with players. “We attempted to take what we felt were the best ideas that fit in our program and combine them with ideas that we think are unique to our approach and develop our own product,” Thunder Chairman Clay Bennett said. The publicly funded facility will cost about $10 million, due to a one-cent sales tax which was approved by Oklahoma City voters in March of 2008. The cost came in under budget by about $5 million. Thunder will pay $100,000 annually in rent to Oklahoma City, but Edmond expects an increase in restaurant and store traffic. “Of course, we are pleased to have such a quality facility located near our city borders, said Edmond Mayor Patrice Douglas. “When quality projects come to or near our city, we reap the benefits of increased visits to our shops and restaurants, and to our other amenities.”

The whole project is also in association with Edmond’s very own University of Central Oklahoma. In a joint effort between the Thunder, UCO, and INTEGRIS Health, the new facility will be an integral factor for the newly developed Master of Science in Athletic Training degree, which is the only one of its kind in the state and one of only 20 in the nation. The 45-hour program is an entry-level degree which provides graduate students a hands-on experience and skills needed to meet the Board of Certification eligibility. “In this program we focus on two forms of learning – cognitive and psychomotor. Our students are not only in a classroom, but also in the field getting real life experience with real life athletes.” said Jeff McKibbin, director of the Athletic Training Education Program at UCO. “There are so many things students need when they go out into their field. Every instrument and tool in a doctor’s office must be trained, so everything we teach our students we try to have our hands on. We are very, very thankful and very shocked.” “One benefit of many is eventually having internships and scholarships through the Thunder,” said Judy Reyes-Henderson, development manager for the UCO College of Education and Professional Studies. “It’s win-win for the community and for the Thunder to have the facility so close to Edmond.” “Having the Thunder in Oklahoma City has been a tremendous sense of pride for our community,” Mayor Cornett said. ”When the citizens of Oklahoma City passed the Big League City initiative to renovate the Ford Center and build an NBA-leading practice facility, we all looked forward to this day. This will be one of the finest practice facilities in the NBA, and we’re very excited to be able to provide this building to the Thunder.” Get ready, because the Thunder is dead set on shaking things up very soon. Bringing athletes, coaches, teachers and students together under one unifying venture, The INTEGRIS Health Thunder Development Facility is a great step forward into a bright future for our Edmond community.

UNEXPECTED TREASURES AWAIT YOU IN DOWNTOWN EDMOND Keep Your Community Strong Shop, dine and enjoy Edmond’s unique downtown area this holiday season.


S ports

by Rachel Dattolo

Tyler Fling


hat has four wheels, an open cab and is ridiculously fun to drive? If you’re picturing go-karts you’d be on the right track. Unlike your average go-kart, these karts can go up to 140 miles per hour, putting real pedal to the metal. “Every race car driver starts racing in karts,” says Edmond resident Caleb Hallman, 18, who has been kart racing since he was 12. “It’s just like any sport. Naturally when you start you won’t be the best at it. You have to work and work and do more and more racing to get really good.” His dad, Dave, does the mechanic work for his karts and “loves it just as much as I do.”


Hallman races at the Oklahoma Motor Sports Complex in Norman, along with 19 year old Tyler Fling, of Edmond. The complex holds one of the top kart tracks in the nation. Advancing through local, regional, national and even international races, both Hallman and Fling quickly found a sport they could excel in. Fling began racing around age 10. He and his father, Mike, found some rental karts and decided to take them out for a spin. Even though the karts only went 45 miles per hour and they never intended to start competing, Fling says, “My dad went around once and then went out and bought one.”

From there, both Fling and his dad began to race. With Fling progressing more competitively, his dad became his manager. “I get to spend a lot of time with my dad,” he says. “It’s great father-son bonding. My dad pushes me to work hard to get somewhere in life and he showed me that through racing.” As a Junior Pro, Fling has won two National Championships and placed fourth in World Finals. Both Hallman and Fling are in the TaG Senior class, one of the top classes of karts, but they have also begun racing formula cars – the cars that are one step away from the Indy Racing League (IRL). “Indy cars are the highest class of racing,” Fling explains. “If

you make it to Indy car, you are one of the best racers in the world.” Unlike NASCAR stock cars, IRL cars are what are called “open-wheel cars” – meaning that you can’t ever bump anyone on the race track, or else you’ll have a car go airborne, according to Fling. “Some people say you have to be stupid to do it,” laughs Hallman, “because you’re in this tiny little thing with no protection. But it’s addicting.” Safety gear for Hallman includes a pricy helmet, a neck brace, and the proper suit, gloves and boots. Even with having some pretty bad accidents, he comments, he’s never broken a bone. Despite the danger, it’s a fairly safe sport, Fling says – just one that demands respect. “In all my years of racing, I’ve never really seen anyone get hurt,” he adds. “I’ve seen more injuries on the football field.” While Hallman plans to continue racing karts and formula cars for a while, he also plays baseball for Edmond Santa Fe High School and plans to continue to develop his career in baseball. “Racing has always been something I’ve loved,” he says. “It’s hard to break away from because it’s so much fun to do.” To all aspiring kart racers, Hallman only has one warning, “If you want to compete competitively, it’s going to be expensive. But, if you’re debating just trying it out for fun, you can’t go wrong.”

Fling, on the other hand, plans to make Indy car racing his career – whether out on the track, or on the sidelines as an engineer or manager. “One way or another,” he says, “I want to be around Indy cars.” At age 16, Fling quit racing karts and advanced on to formula cars. This winter, he plans to race in the Star Mazda series as the first step in his plan to ultimately make Indy car racing. It’s a plan that is

not without its challenges. Fling will need $700,000 to make it into the Indy Light series. Their hope is to secure sponsorship. A national corporation is currently working with the Fling family to potentially create a sponsorship. In the meantime, Fling will continue racing. “Getting the chance to race means a lot,” he says. “The adrenaline kicks in… it’s exciting.”

Caleb Hallman

k sure you get what h you Make want this year. Fill out your wish list at Pink Sugar.

– Spring Creek Village – 15th & Bryant in Edmond

(405) 359-0044


Best of Edmond

A Cut Above by Rebecca Wulff

Second generation goldsmith, Dennis Barrett will be proudly celebrating 45 years in business next year. Owner of Barrett Jewelers, he moved the retail shop to Edmond from Oklahoma City 26 years ago and the town has been good to him. The modest jewelry shop provides exceptional personal service and they’re proud to conduct all their jewelry work in-house. “It’s something you won’t find at a chain store,” says Barrett. As large jewelry stores pop up all over the place, Barrett realizes the value in having excellent customer service and a personal touch. He’s weathered the rise and fall of the economy and is proud to maintain great customers. “We’re a luxury goods item and we fall down the ladder. Jewelry isn’t something people ‘need.’ Our repair business has really kept us going.” When Barrett moved the shop to Edmond, the economy was much like it is now. “It was kinda sad. I knew people who were rich and the best job

348-5800 1450 S. Bryant AVE


they could find was hanging curtains.” Barrett has learned everything he knows about jewelry from his father. Although his father is now retired after 60 years in the jewelry business, he still spends his days in the shop keeping Barrett company and “causing trouble,” Barrett jokes. He enjoys time spent with his customers. “I talk too much. My customers know everything about me. Maybe I should keep my mouth shut more often, but if someone asks me a question, I’m not afraid to answer it. Sometimes I’m too honest,” he admits. A true workaholic, Barrett hasn’t had a vacation in 26 years. However, he’s recently been invited to Florida by one of his customers and is considering the long-overdue vacation. His customers are obviously important to him and some have been with him for 25 years or more.

Dennis Barrett,

Barrett Jewelers

“My customers must have poor taste – they like me! I have a tremendously warped sense of humor, but for some reason they still like me.” Barrett’s humor hides his humble demeanor, but his dedication to quality jewelry shines through. “I like seeing well-crafted jewelry pieces that become a work of art.” he says. He also values the connections he’s made in his store and as a business owner. “Some people I meet are fascinating.” With 40 years experience in the jewelry business, Barrett is an expert in his artistic field with exquisite taste in jewelry. Barrett Jewelers is located at 3224 S. Boulevard and can be reached at 340-1519.

A Clear Vision by Rebecca Wulff Edmond high school sweethearts, Dr. Mike Grindstaff and his wife Tricia, had a vision. Although, the decision to open their own practice may not have come at the most ideal time, “Tricia lost her job when she was six months pregnant. We decided we wanted to be in control of our lives and start our own practice and raise our new baby girl in our hometown of Edmond,” Grindstaff said. The couple owns and operates Optique Vision Center on 15th and Bryant. The business has only been open since July, but already they’re making an impact in the community. “I always had a desire to be in the medical profession and have the doctor-patient interaction,” he said. “I was attracted to optometry for many reasons, including the technology, unique equipment, intricacies of the eyes and impact you can have on people’s lives.” Prior to opening their own business, Grindstaff practiced in north Oklahoma City for five years with two established doctors. “I met so many wonderful patients and was able to care for them and their

families. I’ve been able to see many of them at the new office.” Dr. Grindstaff graduated from OU, earned his masters degree from NSU, and graduated with honors from optometry school in 2004. Tricia is the office manager for Optique; she has her own masters degree as well as a long list of experience in eye care and sales. Their staff includes expert optician, Chris Edwards and recent addition, Natalie Rinderer. “We feel like we’ve put together a great team to work with you and your family,” said Grindstaff. “We’ve heard a lot of wonderful comments from our patients and customers just in the few short months we’ve been open,” he said. “They say it’s the most thorough eye exam they’ve ever had. They love the atmosphere, attention to detail, customer service, time we spend with them and our honesty when we help them choose a pair of glasses.” According to Grindstaff, “Optique provides unmatched customer service, exquisite eyewear not found at every office or the mall, a boutique style office, superior quality and a two-year warranty on

Dr. Mike Grindstaff,

Optique Vision Center

our glasses. We offer extended and Saturday hours for patients.” The most difficult thing Grindstaff faces now as a business owner is managing all the details of the medical and business side of his new office. Still, he’s happy to have started his own business doing what he loves. Being able to practice in his hometown community with his wife by his side makes all the difference. Optique Vision Center is currently taking new patients and can be reached at 715-EYES.


D ining Guide

George Hobson Hobby’s Hoagies

Hobby’s Hoagies by Donna Walker


f the long line at lunch or the smell of fresh rolls isn’t enough to lure you through the doors of Hobby’s Hoagies, one look at their pastrami meatball subs or display case of Tastykakes will do the trick. Ask any of the regulars. They’ll tell you this deli is as close as you can get to the tastes of New York in Oklahoma. After more than 18 years in business, owner Kim Nixon “continues to be amazed” that so many people come in to eat the food her family’s created. She recalls meeting many of the regulars when they were expectant parents. Their kids have now graduated high school and still are among her regular diners. She’s proud of the following her little deli has attracted through the years. “We have the best and most loyal customers. We have regulars that come in every week without fail, and one couple has been in every Saturday for at least 10 years.” What’s the secret behind the original tastes found here? It’s the cravings and taste buds of this transplanted Eastern family. “My dad moved our family to Edmond from Delaware when he was transferred with General Motors. We missed our Hoagies and Philly Cheesesteaks, so my dad started making them and took them to work,” Nixon explained. “Everyone loved them so much we decided to open our own place.” Their authentic Philadelphia Cheesesteak is served on made-from-scratch Italian rolls. It’s piled with the


highest quality meats and vegetables, topped with fresh peppers shipped in from back East. “We prepare homemade dough for the pizzas every day. The sauce is a family recipe made of the finest ingredients.” Earlier this year they opened a second location in downtown Oklahoma City. The new location offers different menu items, such as a chicken parmesan hoagie, homemade chili, Nathan’s hog dog, roast beef a jus and a chicken fajita hoagie.

“We prepare homemade dough for the pizzas every day. The sauce is a family recipe made of the finest ingredients.” The holidays bring with them special dessert offerings, including a large variety of pies and their famous bread pudding. Diners can choose from pumpkin, cinnamon raisin or eggnog flavors. You can enjoy other delicious desserts such as lemon bars and freshmade cookies. Stop by the restaurant in Oakbrook Shopping Center at Santa Fe and Second Street or visit their new downtown location at 325 N. Walker.

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Buy Bu B uy 1 EEntree ntrreeee - G Get eett 1 EEntree nnttre ree o lles of lesser esse es se er va vvalue aluue FR FFREE REE EE With this ad and purchase of 2 drinks. One coupon per customer. Cannot be combined with other offers. Exp. 12/31/09

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D ining Guide

The Melting Pot Spend the holidays with family and friends around a warm pot of fondue by enjoying a fun and interactive dining experience at The Melting Pot, where fondue truly becomes a memorable four-course dining affair. Dip into something different and try their Alp and Dell Cheese Fondue with white wine, garlic, mustard, nutmeg and a smooth blend of three award-winning cheeses. Their signature entrée features filet mignon, shrimp, teriyaki-marinated sirloin, breast of chicken and cedar plank salmon. For dessert, try their White Chocolate Apple Cobbler Fondue with seasoned apples, streusel topping and spices. Let The Melting Pot host your holiday party. Call 235-1000 to make reservations or stop by 4 E. Sheridan Ave.

Dan’s Pizza

With football specials and four big TV’s to watch the game, you have to stop by Dan’s Pizza this football season. Stuff yourself on their Chicken Alfredo pizza, piled high with juicy chicken and smothered with homemade alfredo sauce. While there, try out the crowd-pleasing Supreme pizza, loaded with fresh pepperoni, sausage, veggies and beef – it’s a must try! Bite into their delicious Hawaiian pizza, topped with Canadian bacon and pineapple. Call 359-3900 or come by Dan’s Pizza located at 121 E. Waterloo Rd, Suite 13.

Fantastic Food, Friendly Service, Great Price. Goldie’s burgers, chicken and steaks are specially seasoned and cooked to order, creating an exceptional taste experience.

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834 W. Danforth Rd. (SE Corner of Kelly and Danforth) • 348-1555


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Happy Holidays! 18

Colby’s Grill Stop by Colby’s Grill for breakfast or lunch this week and try one of their new menu items, like freshly breaded fried pickles or fried onion strings. They offer a wide variety of burgers, including a mouth-watering mushroom Swiss burger, Sunrise burger with egg or Old Fashion burger. Bite into the Inferno burger with hot cayenne, jalapeños, pepperjack cheese and Tabasco sauce. Their Cowboy burger is smothered in BBQ sauce and loaded with bacon, cheese and fried onion strings. Call Colby’s Grill at 513-8590, or come by to check out daily specials, open Monday through Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at 511 S. Broadway.


H ome & Garden


by Rebecca Wulff

he smell of wassail brewing on the stove, family gathered around the fire, and goodies baking in the oven. The sights, sounds and smells of the holidays take us back to warm memories and cheerful thoughts. With Christmas fast-approaching, many of us are preparing for company. Whether it’s overnight visitors, small dinner parties or huge events, we all want our guests to feel welcome and comfortable. “Follow your senses. Sight, smell, touch, taste and sound are what Christmas is all about,” said Julie Fost, Interior Designer and owner of J Fost Interiors. One of the best ways to bring instant cheer into your home is through comforting aromas. “This can be achieved by baking cookies, candy or breads.” If you have the time, home stager Debbie Mason of Staged by Design, encourages whipping something up in the kitchen. “Nothing makes a home feel welcoming like that of fresh baked goodies. Through the holidays, I bake a lot and always have plenty on hand when guests arrive. If you don’t have time for baking, there are great candles and plug- ins that have the smell of pumpkin pie baking. And there’s nothing wrong with using the pre-made cookie dough.” “A sure way to make your house smell like Christmas is with the pungent aroma of pine. Christmas trees, evergreen boughs and garlands are perfect for this,” said Fost. Potpourri will do the trick too. “When using potpourri, cinnamon and cranberry scents work well for Christmas and make the house smell wonderful when you don’t want to spend time baking.” Inspirations Tea room can help you find the perfect scent to fill your home. Owner, Larry Rhoads says, “We’re the largest retailer of Tyler Candles. Scents for the holidays include Homecoming, Family Tradition, Hot Cinnamon Spice, Holiday Berry, Candy Cane and Eggnog. We also have warming pots and wax for a flameless way to add aroma,” he said. Cookie, hot cocoa and wassail mixes can also be found at Inspirations to help simplify holiday food preparation, as well as Christmas CDs to add ambiance.

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“Music makes any event complete,” says event planner, Debbie Ritter of That’s A Wrap. “I especially enjoy playing holiday CD’s of local artists playing classical guitar, harp and strings. Some nice background jazz works all year long. When you can close your eyes and the music ‘takes you there,’ it’s the right thing to be listening to.” “Fill your home with music of the holiday,” said Mason. “If you can’t purchase a great CD you love, local radio stations play holiday music from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve.” When you’re preparing for company, Fost offers simple advice. “Dim the lights, put garland up, fill bowls with fruit and fill the house with candles and Christmas lights. Cook up a fragrant meal and play a Christmas CD,” she said.

“You can be as extravagant as you want for the holidays. It is the one time that you can go all out and no one will mind.” After your home is decorated to your satisfaction and your guests begin to arrive, Ritter advises having a greeter. “Someone to stand just inside the entrance and shake hands, recognize guests, and immediately make them feel welcome and comfortable.” “Try to say something personal – if you don’t know them well, comment on their accessories and mean it. That will make

Continued on page 22


D e b b ie M a s o n’s Il li a n Bars In

gred ients: 14 oz ca ra mel s-paper remo ved 2 /3 cup of P ET ev apor at ed mil k 1 G er man chocol ate ca k e m ix ¾ cup mel ted butter 1 cup chop ped pec an s 16 oz. choc ol ate chip s Direc tion s:

Preheat ov en 350 degr ees. In a h sauce pan eav y , combi ne ca ra mels and 1 cup evapor /3 ated mil k. Melt, stirri constantl y, n g and set as ide. In a la combi ne d rge bowl, ry cake m ix , butter, 1/3 evaporated cup mil k and p ecans. Stir ½ of the do . P ress ugh mixtu re in the bo a greased tt om of 9 x 13 bak ing dish. B degrees fo ak e at 3 50 r 6 minute s. Remove and spri n from oven kle with ch ocolate ch melted cara ips. Spread mel over ch ips. Crumbl remai ning e dough over caramels an for 15 – 18 d bake minutes. D o not over Cool and cu ba k e! t into squar es.

Continued from page 21 them feel like they are glad they came, put them in a social mood, and help them want to make conversation with the next person,” says Ritter. Be natural and make eye contact to put them at ease. “My single most important rule is to be ready and have everything prepared before my guests come to the front door,” says Mason. “I am more relaxed and can enjoy their company and I am a better host.” “Nothing is as important as the way in which you receive people into your home - the true sense of hospitality,” says Rhoads. “People get so stressed out about having company and it’s evident to their guests. Coming together is a time for strength - to build friendships and family relationships.” Making your home feel warm and inviting for your guests doesn’t have to be difficult or stressful. It’s as simple as keeping your guest’s needs in mind and appeasing the senses. Fost says, “Remember, you are assured success if you engage the senses!” To host your event at Inspirations Tea Room, call 715-2525. To reach Julie Fost for interior design call 330-6407. Debbie Mason can be reached at 642-6541 for home staging. Event planner, Debbie Ritter can be contacted at 201-2898.

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H ome & Garden



Looking a Lot Like Christmas

by Raquel Haggard

hether your house is lit up like the next Griswald Christmas Vacation movie, as barren as Scrooge’s, or somewhere in between, you can’t help but notice Edmond nights are aglow with Christmas lights. The twinkle and shine seem to reveal a hidden world. Everyday objects look very different under the spell of these tiny blubs. Options have expanded from the traditional bulbs and icicle lights, to include rope lights, LEDs (light emission diode), twinkle versions and even automation set to music. It can be overwhelming. If you’re considering the long-standing tradition of Christmas lights, you may want help navigating the variety. For the past 10 years, Andy Nelson of Nelson Lawn Service has offered light installation for those who want the twinkling beauty without the ladders and possible trips to the emergency room. Nelson uses LED lights because they use 90 percent less electricity, pose fewer fire risks, last longer, have longer warranties, and require less extension cords because they can be hooked together. “And they’re brighter and prettier,” Nelson says. LED options include small bulbs, motion, lights that can be set to music, and many other varieties. “LED lights come in a rainbow of colors, they’re really bright and they use less energy,” says Lightscaping

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Owner Gary Hatcher who has been in the outdoor lighting business for 15 years. “For those who want to ‘go green’, LED is definitely the light of choice.” Still, many homeowners have not yet switched to LED lights because they have accumulated a theme throughout the years, amassing quite the collection of the older bulbs. Each holiday season David and Diane Smith announce their OU spirit by blanketing their home and yard in red and white lights. “We have the OU Griswald house,” says Diane. Every inch of their home is outlined with white or red lights. OU signs made of rope lights hang on each peak of the house. Every bush alternates between the red and white lights. Two trees in the yard are wrapped, and even the driveway is outlined in lights. Diane admits the light extravaganza increases their electric bill, “but I love Christmas,” she says. Darren Huddleston began putting up Christmas lights at his wife’s request. “I wasn’t dying to do it, but then I found out about automated lights set to music

and that got my attention.” Huddleston says his electric bill increase is minimal because the automated lights are actually off more than they are on. “I believe in Christmas and what it stands for. So it’s a gift to the community.” Huddleston’s display includes 30,000 lights set to music. He programmed the lights into an FM receiver. “You listen to the music on your car radio. That way my neighbors don’t have to hear music constantly.” There are 144 separate channels of lights and each can be set to a different effect. “You program each string of lights to do what you want,” Huddleston says. This year he plans to add a 20-foot tall mega tree containing 16 channels with a star on top. Between songs, the star will shine down on a nativity set.

To view the families’ 2008 musical light show in action, visit www.edmondoutlook. com for the direct YouTube link. Or to see this year’s extravaganza, drive by 3024 Loma Verde in Stillwater, OK off Country Side and 19th Street. Edmond hasn’t yet switched to LED lights either. Kirk Knowles of Expert Services and his crew utilize miniature and C9 lights to turn downtown Broadway and Festival Marketplace of Edmond into a romantic nighttime dream. Knowles claims he’s not fallen off a roof, but his dad, who started Expert Services 45 years ago, had a trip off a roof without a ladder. “He did what he always told us to do—‘fall and roll.’ He landed in the bushes, rolled and stood right up. ” If you want the magic of Christmas lights without the possibility of going through the holidays on crutches, contact a light installer who can help decide the best lights for you. Lightscaping: 409-5443, Nelson Lawn Service: 202-4120 or Expert Services: 691-6955.


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any of us remember eagerly awaiting the sweet sound of the recess bell to dismiss us. Running out onto the grassy field and immediately moving into playing positions, we knew it was game time. We remember the sound the ball made as it bounced off our foot representing a successful kick. Running from base to base, it didn’t even matter that we ruined our new pair of jeans sliding into home plate – the run was made. All grown up now, a group of men and women with Edmond All-Sports are reliving those playground days by taking up kickball once again. As adults, they no longer have to worry what mom will say about those bothersome grass stains. The non-profit group typically specializes in youth sports, but has recently started an adult kickball league in Mitch Park. It’s taken off and is giving adults what they’ve always wanted; the chance to become kids again. With a host of stresses in our lives, we could all use a healthy dose of childhood fun. “We were looking for new things to do,” says Edmond All-Sports’ Assistant Director, Kirk Sparks. “We’re always trying to start new programs and there’s not a lot to do in Edmond for adults, besides softball, so we thought we’d give it a shot.” The league is now in its fall season and going strong with 10 teams participating. For those of us who are unfamiliar with the sport, Sparks says “It’s pretty much baseball or softball rules with the exception you kick the ball instead of hitting the ball with the bat.” The other obvious difference is that instead of facing an opposing team of fourth graders, you’re more likely to be opposite a group of 40-year-olds. The players’ ages range from mid 20’s to 40’s and most teams have between 12 to 14 players. The rules allow for up to 12 kickers at a time, but three players on the field must be women. After spending time sitting on the sidelines, Sparks couldn’t resist it any longer and decided to join in. “I just got to watching it last year and thought it looked like fun, so I got a few friends together and decided we’d have a team this year,” he says. Of course the game time action is the most thrilling and heart pounding aspect of the experience, but another important element is what happens off the field. “We just kinda hang out and chit-chat a little bit,” Sparks says. In that seemingly simple exchange, the players “get quality time with their friends and it makes for a fun evening.” Since starting the league, feedback has been extremely positive. “My team would play every night if I’d let them, they even talked about doing a winter league.”

by Lindsay Whelchel The kickball trend is definitely growing. Benefits of the sport go beyond what you’d expect of an elementary school recess relic. “I think it’s a way to get out and socialize and have physical activity. Some of the teams form good friendships,” Sparks says. “It’s not as demanding as adult softball where you have to play it every weekend.” Sparks finds the game less expensive than softball and says his team barely even practices. “Some of the other more serious teams might- I don’t know,” he laughs. The requirements to play kickball are simply to organize a team of people willing to kick and run, try not to get struck out and to have a good time. Usually, people enter the league with teams already established, such as a group of co-workers or friends. For individuals looking to join in the fun without an established team, Sparks hopes to have enough interest in the spring so he can connect individuals and form a team. “I got a call the other day from a husband and wife. They didn’t know anybody else and they wanted to try to get on a team for the spring. If I can get enough individuals on a team, it would be a way to meet new people.” Edmond All-Sports has found a remedy for that serious and unfortunate condition called adulthood by bringing kickball back into our daily lives. It’s relieving stress and taking some adults back to simpler times, one game at a time. More information about Edmond All-Sports can be found at


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f you’re carrying a Pet Perks key tag on your key chain or an Aspen Health Club membership card in your wallet right now, then you’re carrying an SSI Technologies product. Tucked inside Edmond’s city limits, nestled among trees between Target and the new UCO dorms, sits a stateof-the-art manufacturing giant. SSI was formed 40 years ago by Ron Goade, salesman turned manufacturer. The company manufactures national gift and loyalty cards, international identification and registration cards, as well as direct mailers. As CEO and President, Goade moved the headquarters from Oklahoma City to Edmond in 1993 because of the central location. With just 75 employees, SSI provides their products to local companies as well as those on the East and West coast and in the Midwest. “We work predominantly with businesses,” says Steve Wolfe, Director of Sales. “You can’t come in as an individual and get a gift card from us. We print for businesses like 7-Eleven, Men’s Warehouse, Gold’s Gym, Aspen Health Club and even international businesses in countries like Poland and Sweden.” With a strong international presence, they’ve developed and produced National Identification credentials for Russia, Latvia, Australia, Iran, Croatia, and South Africa as well as the first voter registration card for Mexico, which was 55 million pieces. “It was a joint venture with Polaroid at the time because, of course, a person’s picture had to be on it. The project was a massive undertaking,” Wolfe said. Very few people know how much influence Goade has had on the industry’s developments


by Deborah Coplin and patents. He pioneered the magnetic stripe and barcode technologies for plastic card applications. He also developed the black bar security stripe, concealing the barcode which allows only infrared scan. Goade even developed the first electronic photo identification camera.

He pioneered the magnetic stripe and barcode technologies for plastic card applications. SSI uses mostly Teslin to make their cards. It is a non-toxic, synthetic material that is silica-based and environmentally friendly with no ozone-depleting constituents and more durable than PVC. “We print, laminate, encode, die-cut, put a mag stripe on it, ship it - we do it all right here,” Wolfe said. SSI was the first to produce a Teslin-based plastic card in the industry, and then the first to produce the card with variable information. Their 40 years of experience and technological innovation has created many of the procedures for imaging, scanning and encoding presently used by most plastic card producers today. Although Edmond is considered a smaller market, SSI has proven to be strong competition. According

to Wolfe, “We have some great competitors in this business, both here and across the country, but if you’re looking for a Teslin product, the state of Oklahoma is where you’re going to find it.” Like most businesses, SSI does most of its sales during the holiday and gift-giving seasons. However, with a lull in the economy and the impending end of the holiday season, they have incorporated direct mailing into their portfolio to segue into their year-round sales. “Even though we are in a semi-recessed economy, we’re excited about the print side of our business,” said Wolfe. “We recognize companies need to get their name out there and we are happy provide that for them. I believe loyalty programs are as critical as they’ve ever been.” Valentine’s Day is a great post-Christmas time for the company as jewelry retailers and companies like FTD utilize their direct mailing products to drive traffic to their stores. “We’ve taken what we know about gift and loyalty cards and incorporated that into direct mail,” said Wolfe. “The direct mail piece we send out is a laminated paper card that has a gift card or loyalty card embedded in the piece that you can snap off and use as such. Ultimately, it’s a great way to deliver a gift card or loyalty card as it’s much more likely to be read than traditional incentive mail.” SSI Technologies has contributed greatly to the growth of their industry. They have found innovative ways to make their Edmond presence span international waters. “We’re proud of the last 40 years and excited about the future,” said Wolfe.

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by Kathryn Spurgeon

lawyer turned baker. Not just any baker, an awardwinning gold medalist in wedding cake competitions. Ruth Rickey has been featured in numerous magazines and has appeared on television shows like TLC’s Ultimate Cake Off and the Food Network. She believes she can do anything she sets her mind to. We have to agree. Ruth’s Sweete Justice has been a top choice for wedding vendors for almost 10 years. A spacious 1,500 square-foot cake showroom is loaded with design books and cake ideas. Three pastry cases hold over 80 different bakery items every day, including 30 flavors of cookies and a tasty new signature cupcake line. They take special pride in their wide array of flavors and fillings. After practicing law for ten years, the bakery idea started when Rickey was dating Robert, her husband. She wanted to make a fun birthday cake for his 4-year-old son. “I grew up doing a little cake decorating with my mother and grandmother,” she said. “They loved it. I lost them both just before I started the bakery, so part of cake baking is getting in touch with something they had a passion about. I think they both look down and smile upon me.” Rickey loves unique ideas and can tailor a wedding cake for any theme. Her own ideas for specialty cakes come from all over — architecture, stained glass windows, or a trip to Ireland.“We stay ahead of the trends,” Rickey said. “The latest rage seems to be 3-tiered cakes and sculpted cakes for birthdays, like ‘Sweet 16’ cakes.” Sweete Justice bakers use European-rolled fondant icing because it has a marshmallow texture and is pliable. It’s almost like edible modeling paste, which makes it easy to form wonderful creations. They have some remarkable employees, many who have worked at the bakery since they opened. “We know a lot of the regular customers and don’t want to lose the personal contact by growing too large,” said Ricky. Of course, every time she’s on TV, the bakery gets a demand for more specialty cakes and new people venture in to see what they’re doing. “We try to make them a customer for life,” said Rickey. Rickey is one of only 13 International Cake Exploration Societé Certified Master Sugar Artists in the world. She has won over 200 awards for decorating excellence at competitions, including 3 Gold Medals in the National Wedding Competition at the Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show. She has appeared on We TV Wedding Cake Wars, and TLC shows for cake competitions. Rickey led the team on Wedding Cake Wars. She and her assistant, Janet Rosebarry from Rosebarry’s Designs and Baking in Guthrie, took on 11 other teams and won the seven hour wedding cake challenge. On TLC’s Ultimate Cake Off Rickey assisted her friend Pat Jacoby and two other friends. Rickey said, “We constructed the 4th of July cake of a lifetime and helped Pat win $10,000!”

To Rickey, competitions are not just about winning. “I get a chance to see if I can create that particular cake. If something goes wrong, I may get a momentary panic, but I remember that I am creative and can find a solution. And if I’m happy with my work, I’m happy. After all, the judge is subjective.” Rickey has met some of the most well-known cake and sugar artists in the world, and has designed wedding cakes for the daughters of Toby Keith, former Governor Frank Keating, former Governor David Walters, as well as the 2002 Miss Rodeo USA. Rickey’s passion extends to all other areas of her life. She’s not only a talented instructor for the Oklahoma Sugar Art Academy, but she has completed multiple fundraisers by participating in marathons and endurance races. She just finished her ninth endurance event with Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Teams in Training Program. “I first started running for Emory, a little boy who is battling leukemia,” said Rickey. Emory is the son of one of Rickey’s law school friends. “When the marathon gets difficult, I tell myself that this is for Emory. Every year I run the San Francisco endurance race is one more year Emory is still living.” A leukemia survivor herself, Rickey has gone into full genetic remission. She also participates in marathons and endurance events for her customers and friends who battle leukemia or other types of cancer. Successful as an attorney, a master sugar artist, and a determined marathon participant, tenacity is her life. One of Rickey’s mottos is, “There is no limit to what we can do, if we only try.” Anything to change the world, she is all for it. For a one-of-a-kind treat, visit Ruth’s Sweete Justice Bakery and Sugar Art Shoppe at 7606 North May or see

Ruth Rickey with her team TLC’s Ultimate Cake Off


winter shopping


Edmond and Oklahoma City’s most unique scrapbook & paper arts store.

You will find the most current scrapbook and paper arts supplies featured in your favorite magazines and blogs. We also carry Fringe gift items and other accessories for you and your home. Classes, kids camps and birthday parties are a hit, making Paper Crown the place where the artsy girls go to play. 9303 N. Penn • OKC • 848-2389 Mon-Fri 10am-5:30pm • Sat 10am-5pm

Unwind from holiday shopping & discover your inner artist! Join us for a relaxing night out in Oklahoma’s only art entertainment studio located in downtown Edmond. Bring your friends, family and take home a Pho to by: Kim masterpiece created by you! Deck your own halls or Horsma n Photo graphy give your painting as an original Christmas gift. Visit our website to view the monthly calendar of day and evening artwork schedules. Private party sessions are also available. Call or register online to reserve an easel for your next night out! 100 N. Broadway, Suite 160 • Edmond • 513-5333

Bloomin’ Babies at Loabi Yukon’s Best Kept Secret

You’ll find everything you need for your little ones, your home and your holiday gift giving! We carry Tea, Petunia Pickle Bottoms, Aden & Anais, Little Giraffe and many other brands.

New Leaf is now in 2 locations to serve your floral, home accessory and holiday decorating needs. Explore our over-the-top Christmas showrooms to find the perfect ornaments or holiday decorations to fit your decor. Stop by our newest location at 2500 N. May Ave or 9221 N. Penn Place in Casady Square for your one-stop shopping experience. 2500 N. May • OKC • 842-2444 9221 N. Penn • OKC • 840-5323

419 W. Main • Yukon • 577-6790 Open Mon-Fri 10am-6pm • Sat 10am-4pm

At lia sophia, one good thing always leads to another. • Being a Customer – pick the items you want to put on sale. • Hosting a Show – earn free and half-priced jewelry. • Becoming an Advisor – run the business of your dreams! lia sophia is a unique direct selling company that offers fashion jewelry through personalized in-home shows. Learn more today! Sabrina Garza • 918-640-2075

Make this the Christmas of your dreams with Red Chateau. From unique ornaments and Christmas glitz to perfect gift items, you’ll find everything needed for a picture-perfect holiday. Beautify your home with beautiful canisters, extraordinary furniture pieces, elegant vases, regal tapestries and wonderful accessories. For a holiday to remember, remember Red Chateau. 9205 N. Penn • Casady Square 842-2262 Detail is the difference between ordinary and extraordinary



Get lost in the expansive inventory at Sterling’s home décor and gifts. They offer a wide variety of items, including Lori Bonn “Love Letter” and Birthstone Necklaces. With an inventory of gifts, cards, and memorabilia for the young and old, you’re sure to find something for yourself or for others. Sterling’s is a must for Christmas shoppers. Every good & perfect gift is from above. Downtown Edmond 105 S. Broadway • 844-7465

Looking for a great barber? Missing that old-time friendliness and atmosphere of the barber shop from days gone by? Check out The Clubhouse. Enjoy all the old-fashioned touches like hot lather neck shaves and friendly conversation as well as an indoor putting green! And of course, a great cut at a great value. For a great new look for the holidays, mention this ad and receive $2 off a men’s cut. 316 W. 33rd • 286-2038

Wondering what to do for your child’s next party? Let Tumblebus come to you! TUMBLEBUS is a full-sized school bus that has been outfitted with fun, exciting equipment, making it the ultimate gym on wheels. TUMBLEBUS is great for walking toddlers through 8 years old, and is available for birthday parties, play dates, family reunions, corporate events or other special days. OK Tumblebus...A Gym on Wheels • 513-2077

Golf Course Give the gift of FREE Golf to the golfers in your life with Millennium Players Cards from Coffee Creek Golf Course. These cards include UNLIMITED green fees with half cart from December through March, 50% off green fees from April through November and FREE green fees after 7 p.m. May through August. Hurry, call 340-4653 today as cards are in a limited supply.

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Treat yourself or someone you love to a gift they will treasure…a Bello Gift Package!

Our Holiday Special includes a 60-minute body massage and 45-minute signature facial…all for only $100. Don’t forget, gift certificates make a great gift too! Classic Manicure & Pedicure... always only $30 3410 S. Broadway • 330-0034 Mon-Sat 9am-7pm Gift Cards Available

Just In Time for Christmas

Serving Oklahoma City since 1989 Located on historic Route 66 For a quality timepiece at an affordable price call:

Every gathering is a special occasion with good food from Epicurean’s Pantry. From the fine imported and domestic artisan cheeses to fresh-pressed olive oils and vinegars, you’ll find everything you need to add flavor and pizazz to all your holiday creations. Epicurean’s Pantry offers hard-to-find spices, pasta, sauces and fine chocolate. For a unique gift to be treasured, let Epicurean’s Pantry create a custom gift basket filled with great taste.

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We sell pre-owned Rolex watches that come with a one-year warranty! Perfect for the hard-to-buy for on your list! We also offer a great selection of pre-owned Breitling, Cartier, Movado, Omega, Tag Heuer and other fine watches along with vintage wrist and pocket watches.



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r. Valery Kuleshov is a world-renowned Russian virtuoso concert pianist. He’s received numerous prestigious honors for his work, including one from Russian President, Boris Yeltsin. He has played Rachmaninoff’s Concerto Number Three before an audience of 25,000 in Australia. He’s interacted personally with the famous Vladimir Horowitz, a world-renowned classical pianist and minor composer. Based on his remarkable credentials, there’s no doubt Kuleshov is marvelously talented. Despite international recognition that would afford him to live anywhere in the world, he has found himself here in Edmond. Kuleshov and his wife of over 20 years, Kate, came to UCO in 1998 to serve as an Artist-in-Residence for the School of Music. “It is an honor to have Dr. Valery Kuleshov’s time and talents as part of our educational experience,” said Susan Parks-Schlepp, marketing and communications manager for UCO’s College of Arts, Media & Design. “In addition to teaching master classes for our piano students, Kuleshov performs in solo performances and at the annual ‘Toast to the Maestro’ scholarship fundraising event each year.” The presence of the Kuleshov family can be credited to a relationship with Edmond resident, Dr. Steve Blevins. A music enthusiast, Blevins hosted the family in his home during a concert tour and encouraged Kuleshov and his wife to move to the U.S. His daughter, Tatiana, has proven to be a prodigy and an award-winning professional pianist, herself. She travels the world as a concert performer, chamber music artist, accompanist and teacher. Kuleshov’s career began as a young boy. The fouryear old surprisingly discovered his talent in his Russian kindergarten classroom. He saw an intriguing “box” in a corner and began to play with it, typing out melodies with one tiny finger. The seemingly simple act set in motion the beginnings of a life-long calling. He wrote compositions as a child and found his mother was instrumental in his breakthrough. “My mother copied my compositions by hand, without knowing about music,” he said. “After I auditioned for the Central Musical School of the Moscow Conservatory they told her they would take me, but they didn’t believe the compositions were mine.”

At the age of seven, Kuleshov entered the Central Musical School of the Moscow Conservatory. He made his concert debut with a symphony orchestra in the Great Hall of the conservatory when he was just nine years old. As a young man in college, Kuleshov had to pay his own room and board. To support himself, he played different instruments at live venues. Followers of classical music may be surprised to learn this internationally acclaimed pianist came to prominence after performing in a rock band named Dissonance. “We traveled to different cities in Russia. I played electrical guitar, keyboard, drums and I sang sometimes, but having perfect pitch does not make for a perfect voice,” he modestly said. He continued on with his schooling and earned his Master’s Degree at Gnessin’s Academy of Music and his Doctoral Degree from the State Jewish Academy, both in Moscow. Among his long list of accomplishments and awards include placing first at the Pro Piano International Competition and a Silver Medal winner at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

“Each time I see him, I am spellbound by his talents.” In 1997, by decree of Boris Yeltsin, president of Russia, Kuleshov was awarded the rare distinction “Honoured Artist of the Russian Federation.” “Each time I see him, I am spellbound by his talents,” said Parks-Schlepp. “His fingers move so fast it’s like watching a half-dozen hummingbirds in flight. It’s just a thrilling display of artistry.” Composers need artists of exceptional talent to play their work. Without expert hands to negotiate their pieces, the music remains on a page, unable to move their listeners. Kuleshov is truly a master of his work, a man who brings magic to the music. Kuleshov has been shaped through hard work and determination. With the help of loved ones, he has taken his natural gift and used it to become a highly successful and well-regarded concert pianist. He is a man who inspires artists to follow his example and will continue to inspire the people of Edmond. To learn more about Valery Kuleshov, visit his website




by Mindy Wood

f you think your holidays are stressful, step into a blended family’s world. Between new spouses who have to earn the love, respect and affections that seem to come more naturally in a biological family, and children who have to find their place in a new home, things can get pretty complicated. We’re not talking about ‘June Cleaver’ stress, which yearns for the perfect cookie or décor, but a deeper stress, bubbling from your desire for the perfectly unified family. These uniquely blended families can survive the holidays with a little effort and a generous sense of humor. Executive Pastor at Henderson Hills Baptist Church, Kim Swyden married Julane, a counselor, 15 years ago. He had two daughters, she had one. Pastor Swyden says problems often result when everyone wants to do things the way they’ve done them for years. “It’s always going to be a problem if you try to bring your traditions to your blended family,” said Swyden. “In doing that, we often unintentionally create stress and crisis, and it ends up being the 12 days of Christmas we never intended. We have to create a new tradition.” Jackie Shaw, executive director of Edmond Family Counseling, said starting meaningful and fun traditions can bring everyone together. “Keep celebrations manageable and enjoyable. Somewhere along the way we’ve forgotten they’re supposed to be fun. I knew a family who all made turkeys from a paper sack of supplies. Some really strange things came out of those sacks and it was hilarious. They do it every year,” she says. “Some families volunteer to make Christmas baskets, deliver gifts or serve meals to needy families. Others take in a live nativity or read the Christmas Story. Having a good time together helps everyone, especially for someone in the family who is upset.”

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Swyden realized they had to evaluate which traditions were most important, which ones to cherish as memories and how to flexibly create new ones. “For us being at church Christmas Eve was very important and everyone respected that. With my oldest daughter’s marriage, things got a little complicated since she wanted to start her own traditions with her new family. I wasn’t going to ask her to decorate three Christmas trees, attend half a dozen dinners and drag along her baby to do it.” The Swydens knew they would have to compromise and plan ahead. “We decided to tell our loved ones that we would plan our holiday around their schedule. Our daughters love to get together on Christmas Day so we moved things around to do that and now we spend the end of the day together every year. We’ve just connected as people who can be flexible and fit in. We’re relaxed, we have an expectation of the day and though it seemed like a sacrifice at first, it’s really a happy, lovely time.” Shaw said another way to run a smooth holiday is to communicate with younger children who don’t

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“Sidestep competition, rise above animosity and enjoy your family’s uniqueness.”

Continued from page 39 know what to expect for their day or how they should feel about the new home. “Communication is vital. Parents forget that it’s really important for kids to know what’s going to happen. For those little people who don’t feel like they have any control in their lives, it’s very important they know what to expect and where they will be or they will be more likely to act out,” she said. “Also keep in mind sometimes kids feel disloyal to the absent parent, so encourage them to express their feelings, allowing the child to talk about their sadness, guilt or regret. Doing this before the


holiday event is a gift to the child. Give him permission to enjoy himself with the parent he visits.” Pastor Swyden emphasizes the importance of making Christmas all it was intended to be and setting a good example for your children. “I’m not sure the holidays were ever intended to be stressful. I think they were intended to be celebratory, by celebrating the birth of the Savior of the world. It’s been our goal to keep Christmas about Christmas by expressing the same love He came to demonstrate to us. It puts things on a plain from which we get our perspective,” said Swyden. “There will be stress, there will be people

who miss the real meaning of Christmas because of their issues and struggles but it’s very important for our children to see us in a way we want them to model as adults. What we model for our children today, will be what our grandchildren model tomorrow.” As to dealing with difficult people who let their emotions get the best of them, Shaw said, “Do your best to stay out of power struggles, especially with your former spouse. Work to be flexible, but reasonable, and look for the good and the funny moments in all that goes on. Sidestep competition, rise above animosity and enjoy your family’s uniqueness.” Planning ahead, staying flexible, and communicating with family members is great advice for any family. Although blended families have their work cut out for them, they will enjoy a lifetime of love and cherished memories – the true reward. For more information please visit and

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Oklahoma’s art entertainment studio, Paint Your Art Out, is located at 100 N. Broadway, Suite 160. Unwind in a relaxing studio atmosphere and take turns with your family and friends in creating a masterpiece. This artistic experience is perfect for seasoned painters and the “young at art” and makes great gifts. Call 513-5333 or visit

Enjoy holiday music and benefit ENHS Orchestra by attending the Annual Winter Concert and Silent Auction. Thursday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. at the North Performing Arts Center, located at 215 W. Danforth Road, featuring orchestras from Edmond North High School and Cheyenne Middle School. Auction items include theater tickets, gym memberships, cooking classes, portrait packages, artwork and many other great opportunities to purchase Christmas gifts.

CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICES New Covenant United Methodist Church will host three worship experiences on Christmas Eve at 2700 S. Boulevard. A family service will be held at 5 p.m., a traditional service at 7 p.m. and a contemporary service at 11 p.m. All services conclude with an inspiring candlelight recession. Make plans to attend “Come to the Manger,” a fun advent experience for children, on Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. Visit for details or call 562-3200.

EDMOND SHOWROOM OPENS One of Oklahoma’s long-standing leaders in the roofing industry, Salazar Roofing and Construction, recently opened their Edmond Showroom at 711 S. Broadway Extension. Salazar has provided roofing replacement and repair as well as other general repair and construction services in the Oklahoma City area, since 1988.

GREAT HOLIDAY SHOWS Firelake Grand Casino will host a variety show titled, “Drinkin, Singin, Swingin Christmas Show,” Dec. 16 - 19 at 7 p.m. nightly. Tickets are $10 and feature Frank, Dean and Sammy impersonations. Enjoy the comedic stylings of Rodney Carrington on Dec. 26 and 27. Join the fun at the casino’s News Year’s Eve party from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. with live music, party favors and more. For more upcoming event information, visit:

SHOP ‘TILL YOU DROP Need a little help with your holiday shopping list? Stop by Lush Fashion Lounge located at 14101 N. May Avenue. You’ll find all the latest fashion trends for young men and women, including the most sought-after lines of denim and dresses. Shop extended hours Dec. 21 - 23 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Open Christmas Eve until 7 p.m. for last-minute shoppers.

GRAND OPENING Classics Salon & Barber Shop located at 100 N. Broadway, Suite 166 is now open. They specialize in styles for the entire family with classic barber and beauty shop touches and all the latest looks. Call 285-2580 for grand opening specials. Open Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL Inspirations Tea Room is hosting A Christmas Carol themed tea experience by reservation. Now serving a full dinner menu, diners can enjoy a full menu for lunch and dinner, open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Call 715-2525 to make reservations or visit them at 2118 W. Edmond Rd.

60TH ANNIVERSARY Madeline’s Flower Shop is Celebrating it’s 60th Anniversary! As a thank you to the community they are giving back. Bring in a 16 oz or larger canned good to benefit the Hope Center here in Edmond and receive a beautiful rose! Stop by 1030 S. Broadway for great holiday touches and gifts too.



by Deborah Coplin


emember your first doll? Well, if you’re a girl you do. Mine was Gigi, a pasty doll with straw-like orange hair and glassy blue eyes that closed when I laid

her down. Today, dolls come with a change of outfits, multiple accessories, cars, cell phones, iPods and even careers. But what if you wanted to change your doll’s face? You seek Kristen Ashford. Nine years ago she created Repaints by Kristen, a doll “repainting” business to satisfy collectors from all walks of life, even from countries as far away as Australia, Japan and Spain. The term “repaint” refers to a process that completely alters the face of a doll

from its original factory look. Whether you’re dissatisfied with the look of your doll, or you simply desire a celebrity look-a-like, Ashford can do it all. With the birth of EBay, Ashford, an artist and doll collector, saw a doll on the auction site which had been customized. “I was just amazed! I realized you could customize a doll, that you didn’t have to buy the doll the way it came from the factory anymore,” Ashford said. “You could buy a doll from the manufacturer, remove all the face paint with nail polish remover and paint whatever face you want on that blank canvas.” “You can even change the hair color by adding highlights. Remove the doll’s head, thread some new

hair through a needle, put a knot at the end of the thread and pull it through, put curlers in your new hair, put it in really hot water and you have curly hair.” Her ‘blank canvases’ have revealed the faces of numerous celebrities like Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Kiera Knightley, Catherine Zeta Jones, Jessica Simpson and Britney Spears. Her website also displays many of her celebrity dolls from the golden age of Hollywood, including Gene Tierney, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Rita Hayworth and Marilyn Monroe. Bella from the Twilight series is her latest doll. Though Ashford specializes in celebrity dolls, she also accepts commissions. While you can’t purchase a doll directly from the website, they are available through EBay with new monthly listings. “I use professional artist quality acrylic paint and an acrylic safe varnish that protects them. It’s one-of-a-kind artwork, something I’ve always enjoyed and I get to share it with other people,” Ashford said, holding up the Kiera Knightley doll. “I want them to be in love with their doll.” She finds it’s much more difficult to repaint male dolls compared to female dolls. “It takes an insane amount of time because the original face of a man doll from the factory is not anything you can work with for a portrait. You have to change it.”

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Ashford works with her mother, an oil painter, who uses her dremel tool to sculpt away the excess vinyl from the male doll’s face until she gets a shape they can work with. Ashford enjoys the challenge of creating the male doll “because realistic renditions of male stars are extremely hard to find.” So, how long does it take to make one of these dolls? According to Ashford, it generally takes a few sessions of several hours each for a doll. “Portrait dolls take more time because you can’t just stop when a doll is pretty. It has to look like the

N at al ie Po rtm an

person. Commission dolls can take longer if you’re tweaking for the collector.” Ashford has come a long way from creating paper dolls with her sister as a teenager in her room. She’s now creating top-of-the line celebrity renditions in her living room workshop. Somewhere in Australia, England, France, Japan or Spain, sitting in someone’s lavish doll cabinet, is a celebrity or customized doll, courtesy of Repaints by Kristen. For more information visit


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Profile for Outlook Magazine

Edmond Outlook DECEMBER 09  

Edmond Outlook is a lifestyle magazine based in Edmond, OK and is delivered free to over 50,000 homes and businesses.

Edmond Outlook DECEMBER 09  

Edmond Outlook is a lifestyle magazine based in Edmond, OK and is delivered free to over 50,000 homes and businesses.

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