Page 1

for � Cobb woman



� BIG ADVENTURE issue farm-to-table adventures with chef johannes klapdohr

Adventures in Fashion: LOCAL FINDS



girl’s dayout guide

where womanhood meets motherhood®

Assistant Editor Tara Dorsey Graphic Designer Tiffany Westbrook Photographers Summer Adams Jennifer Harris

credits Account Managers Nikki Brown Kim Cooper Jen Greenberg Lea Tatum

Social Media/Project Assistant Christine Shaver Contributors Kate Hartley Suzanna Logan Amy Meadows Melissa O’Brien Carmen Sechrist Christine Shaver Cover Credits Photography by Summer Adams

LBD cover shot on the Marietta Square. LRW cover shot at the Smith-Gilbert Gardens, Cover wardrobe: Styles on Maryum from Love Street at Cedarcrest. Styles on Ryleigh and Caleb were made by Maryum (Sweet Designs by Maryum,

Play with us online! @blackdressmag

Little Black Dress Little Red Wagon 6110 Cedarcrest Road Suite 350, PMB 141 Acworth, GA 30101 Tel: 770-656-5127 Fax: 770-975-9814 Feedback is welcome. To advertise with us, call 770-656-5127 or e-mail © 2011 Little Black Dress/Little Red Wagon, LLC All rights reserved.



Publishing Editor Elizabeth Cossick

Little Black Dress/Little Red Wagon seeks to inspire women to lead whole, authentic lives, balancing the creativity, playfulness and unabashed love of being a mom with the individuality, femininity and strength of being a woman. We believe that joy comes from pulling that little red wagon, donning that little black dress…and all the moments in between. MISSION


Culinary Adventures From Seed-to-Table with Chef Johannes Klapdohr


Closet Envy Adventures in Dressing!


From Marietta to Rome An Italian Adventure


Love at First Cut Dyer & Posta Salon


The Biggest Losers One Couple’s Weight Loss Tale


The *Perfect Girl’s Day Out* Guide

The Big Adventure Issue!

(on the flip side) LITTLE RED WAGON

In Full Bloom Choosing a Landscaper for Life


Simplify Your Schedule One Office that Does It All


Dental Emergencies Advice for Every Scenario


Overcoming ADD One Boy’s Inspiring Story


Is Your Preschooler Ready? Preparing for “Big Kid” School


Plan a {Local} Family Adventure!


Worth the Wait Facts Against Inducing Labor


New Parent Adventures Baby Wisdom from Moms on Call


Elizabeth’s Space


MEET OUR GORGEOUS COVER FAMILY Our Big Adventure covers feature Maryum Goodwin with her children Ryleigh, 5, and Caleb, 3. This adventurous Kennesaw mom of two runs her own children’s clothing business, Sweet Designs by Maryum, and she also recently competed in her first National Physique Committee Bikini Competition. Oww! “Preparing for this competition created a whole new healthy lifestyle for us,” she shares. “My kids love to talk about healthy eating and exercise, which is so motivating for me and my husband.” To read more about her fitness adventures, check out her article on page 13. For a full interview with Maryum, as well as more photos, scan this tag with your smartphone or visit Photography by Summer Adams

Little Black Dress/Little Red Wagon is direct-mailed quarterly to upscale households throughout Cobb and East Paulding. Entire contents, including design elements and logos by Gala Design, are copyrighted and may not be reproduced in any media without the express written consent of the publisher. Little Black Dress/Little Red Wagon, LLC reserves the right to edit or reject any editorial or advertising content. Advertisers assume liability for content of all advertisements. Opinions expressed herein are not necessarily shared by Little Black Dress/Little Red Wagon, LLC. summer 2011


culinary adventures


from seed to plate Savoring the Sustainable Cuisine of Chef Johannes Klapdohr


hen I first met Chef Johannes Klapdohr, he was hunched over a bed of chard. Some chefs, when planning the cuisine for their award-winning restaurants, consult their recipe files. Chef Johannes consults his garden. The garden is a one-acre plot carved out of the picturesque farm property at Old Edwards Inn and Spa in Highlands, North Carolina. Here, heirloom tomatoes hang heavy on their vines, and speckled squash peek out from under a leafy canopy. Radishes, cucumbers, salsify, carrots and an array of greens flourish in the temperate mountain climate—all ready and waiting to be plucked from their organic existence and crafted into a ginger carrot soup or festooned atop a slow-rendered breast of duck. Not a bad life, for veggies. Satisfied that tonight’s salad greens are up to snuff, Chef Johannes stands to greet me. His smile is one of those good ones—the kind that stretches to the corners of his eyes—and I know right away that I’m going to like him. Actually, I already do like him. After all, even before shaking his hand, I had dined at Madison’s, the AAA Four Diamond Award-winning restaurant Chef Johannes oversees at Old Edwards. I had already experienced the euphoria of his culinary perfectionism. “We’re taking farm-to-table cuisine to the next level. Here, we’re seed to plate,” explains Chef Johannes, gesturing around at his homegrown bounty. “We initially found several good local farms to supply Madison’s with organic produce, but we wanted to develop 100-percent sustainable cuisine—where we grow the ingredients ourselves, import less, and provide specific varieties for our kitchen. It’s amazing how much food is produced from just this one acre of land.”

Chef Chris and Chef Johannes in the Old Edwards kitchen.


Madison’s Organic Garden at Old Edwards Inn and Spa.

culinary cocktails At Old Edwards Inn and Spa, Chef Johannes Klapdohr ensures that even the cocktails are healthful. The inn’s innovative culinary cocktails are imbued with fresh sprouts and herbs plucked straight from Madison’s organic garden, as well as from potted herb gardens on the bars of Old Edwards’s cocktail venus. The result is a refreshing respite from the typical heavy, hangover-inducing aperitifs. These mixology masterpieces are hailed by the National Restaurants Association as one of the top 10 trends to watch in 2011.

Here is Old Edwards’s recipe for vitamin C-packed Sunset Rock, which can easily be enjoyed at home.

Sunset Rock Culinary Cocktail: • 1.5 oz. tequila • 6 oz. Power-C Machine Naked Juice Smoothie (available at grocery and health food stores) • Fresh mint Mix tequila with Power-C Machine. Muddle with mint. Stir with ice and strain. Serve tall on the rocks.

Sustainable cuisine isn’t a new concept to Chef Johannes, who previously collaborated with The Chef’s Garden Inc. in Ohio, the leading sustainable farm in the United States, as executive chef of the prestigious Culinary Vegetable Institute. There, he championed the idea not only of sustainable agriculture, but of a sustainable lifestyle. Perhaps his passion for sustainable living originates in his European roots. Born in Germany, as the fourth generation in a line of chefs, restaurateurs and hoteliers, Chef Johannes notes that when he was young, there was an authentic connection between nature and overall health. “We valued the natural ways of doing things,” he observes. “When we were sick, my mom would shoot salt water in our noses, put us in our bedrooms, give us tea with honey and say, ‘You’re sick. You need to sleep.’ The next day, holy schnick schnack, we were better! We couldn’t wait to get out of that dark bedroom and get back to school. Dr. Phil would hate that, but it worked! Today, though, we’ve removed ourselves so far from nature; we go straight to medicine. There’s a real disconnect between the environment and nutrition and health, and we’re suffering for it.” So, Chef Johannes has set about reconnecting the guests at Old Edwards Inn and Spa to the bounty of nature—from their microgreen-topped sweet onion chowder to their veggie-spiked cocktails. “Sure, it takes time to do what we’re doing,” concedes Chef Johannes, who tends the garden himself, along with Chef de Cuisine Chris Huerta and Dave Taylor, owner of nearby Taylor Farms. “But we do it because it’s what we believe in. Yes, we have a beautiful facility, but we’re also passionate about the quality of the food and committed to caring for the health of our guests.” And, lest one read “healthy” and think “tasteless tofu,” let the record show that the cuisine crafted by Chef Johannes and Chef Chris is as heavenly as it is healthful. House-made charcuterie, rabbit ravioli with morels and braised mustard greens, black truffle-stuffed chicken with wild mushrooms and truffle froth: the dining experience at Madison’s is a sensory adventure—one I happily embarked upon (five times!) during my recent visit. While rapturously making my way through one meal, I forked a piece of chard tossed in pomegranate vinaigrette. Eyeing this unsuspecting little green, I was struck by my appreciation for Chef’s seed-to-plate aesthetic. And, happily chomping away, I had to agree that he was right: the salad greens were definitely up to snuff. ● For Chef Johannes’s “recipes of the month,” visit Before becoming executive chef at

Old Edwards Inn and Spa, Chef Johannes served as executive chef at Restaurant Schloss Glienicke in Berlin, chef de cuisine at Nikolai’s Roof in Atlanta, and executive chef of The Lodge at Sea Island. To experience his and Chef Chris’s culinary mastery, make a reservation at Madison’s (very worth the scenic two-hour drive from Atlanta) by calling 866-526-8008. Puree soup of butternut squash with foie gras custard.

summer 2011


social spotlight


the arts



magine a world without the arts. No museums, no artists, no visual displays of talent and creativity. Nix music, nix radio, nix concerts on the lawn. Do away with dancers, recitals, and little girls dreaming of being prima ballerinas. Eliminate color and possibility, and then take a look around. It’s a dull, dry world to imagine, is it not? If you eliminate the arts from a community, you take away its culture and drain away its color, leaving a grayscale void. To avoid this fate, the United Arts of Cobb Endowment Fund was created. This fund supports local arts groups like the Marietta-Cobb Museum of Art, the Atlanta Lyric Theatre, Theatre in the Square, and the Georgia Ballet, to name a few. It also encourages art education, ensuring that our little corner of the world continues to flourish in Technicolor artistry. “With the current recession, the arts groups and art education programs have been hit hard,” says Ron Francis, chairman of the board of the United Arts of Cobb. “We hope this fund will help grow young people into future artists and arts patrons.” To help support this worthy cause, mark your calendar and don your masquerade mask: The United Arts of Cobb is hosting their fourth annual Cobb Arts Ball. Known as one of Cobb County’s premier social events, this year’s “The Art of Masquerade” ball will take place at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center on Saturday, October 15. Rest assured that an evening put on by the artistic masterminds of Cobb will be an evening to remember. This year’s plans include lively casino games, a cocktail reception, a live and silent auction, dinner sponsored by WellStar Health Systems, live music by Men in Blues, and performances by members of the Georgia Ballet—in masquerade costumes. “All net proceeds of the Cobb Arts Ball go to the Endowment, and we are hopeful that the ball will generate over $100,000 for the fund this year,” explains Ron. “It will be a great night in support of the arts, ensuring our quality of life here in Cobb County.” ● For more information, visit www.unitedartsof Tickets are $150 per person for the entire event and $50 per person for entrance to the festivities after 9 p.m. Tickets will be available beginning September 1 and can be purchased by calling 404-622-6229 or emailing



closet envy



I F E I S F I L L E D W I T H A D V E N T U R E S —some well planned and premeditated (like that Mediterranean tour you’ve been scheming about for years) and others more impulsive (like a spontaneous night ITP). Whether your plans have you hopping the pond or just trekking through the urban jungle, this eclectic array of late-summer styles will ensure that you’re ready for whatever adventures come your way.

Super Girl Tee and Miss-Me Capris This Erin Smith tee (local artist), $26, is perfect for your everyday feats of heroism—from planning that big charity event to doctoring skinned knees: “The super girl cape is in the laundry. You’ll just have to take my word for it.” Pair it with these flattering Miss Me capris, $88, and a Princess & Butch buckle, $40, and you’re good to go, Super Girl. SOURCE: Love Street at Cedarcrest

Brighton Roselie Purse With a removable crossbody chain and kiss-lock closure, this petite floral beauty from Brighton, $92, converts from a daytime coin purse to an elegant evening bag. Available in a variety of colors. SOURCE: Lola Rose

Adventure-Worthy Jewelry Ensemble Picture turquoise waves and swaying hammocks: these pieces lend refreshing Caribbean charm to a suburban wardrobe. Featured: 30” seedbead necklace, $12.80; hammered gold cuff with multi-colored stones, $29.80; and Vida Dulce Imports hand-crocheted beaded earrings, $46.80, crafted by Mayan women in Guatemala. We’ve found the jewelry; you provide the umbrella drink. SOURCE: Private Gallery


Stella & Dot Beauties We are obsessed with Stella & Dot! Each intriguing Bamboleo necklace, $228, is a four-hour adventure of hand-assemblage: exotic jade beads are woven onto antiqued chains with dip-dyed silk thread. For your less adventurous (but still ultra-stylish) days, opt for the jade Camilla ring, $49; Foundation beaded bracelet, $39; Paige enamel bangle, $59; Belle Fleur handset pave crystal ring, $49; or silver Bardot spiral bangle, $49. SOURCE: Priti Patel for Stella & Dot

Private Gallery, located at 4475 Roswell Rd in The Avenue East Cobb, carries infatuationworthy clothing, jewelry and accessories by the likes of Michael Stars and French Connection. Visit, call 770977-0179 or find Private Gallery on Facebook.

Love Street at Cedarcrest, located at 80 Seven




Little Black Dress Discount: 20% off any one regular-priced item. Cannot be combined; one coupon her customer. Expires 10/15/11.

Little Black Dress Discount: 20% off any one regular-priced clothing item (select merchandise). Cannot be combined; one coupon per customer. Expires 10/15/11.

Little Black Dress Discount: 10% off one item of your choice with Priti Patel. Cannot be combined; one coupon per customer. Expires 10/15/11.

Priti Patel with Stella & Dot offers unique, high-quality jewelry designs. To order directly (or to inquire about hosting a trunk show and receiving your fave items free), call Priti at 404808-0817 or visit

Hills Blvd, Suite 501, off Cedarcrest Road in Dallas, carries unique clothing, jewelry, shoes, Vera Bradley, Miss Me Jeans and gifts galore! Call 678-483-0283 or follow Love Street at Cedarcrest on Facebook.

✁ 8

Nicole Miller Dress Every adventurista needs a jaw-dropping “it” dress. This fully lined, platinum ruched techno-metal stunner from Nicole Miller, $430, is perfect for all those champagnesipping, art museum-traipsing, night-on-the-town adventures. SOURCE: Lola Rose

Photography by Jennifer Harris

in dressing Jeff Lieb Necklaces Elevate even the simplest ensemble to jetsetter status. From designing a jewelry line for Donald Trump’s Taj Mahal Casino to frequently being featured in Women’s Wear Daily, master artist Jeff Lieb brings originality to every hand-wrought piece. Shown here: bronze and turquoise, $90, and ruby gold, $97. SOURCE: Pixie’s Fashion Closet

Aryn K Polka Dot Dress Similar to the Aryn K dress seen on Taylor Swift in Italy last fall, this coral beauty with a flouncy balloon hem, $137.50, is just dying for an Italian adventure of her own. SOURCE: Pixie’s Fashion Closet

Ella Wish Jumpsuit This of-the-moment beaded jumpsuit, $75, is fit for a trek through L.A.’s fashion district. Shown cinched here with a buttery, heirloom-quality, lambskin leather wrap belt, $162. SOURCE: Pixie’s Fashion Closet Sparkling Accessories Animal print is a surprisingly versatile neutral, as demoed by this yummy Ivanka Trump bag, $125. Add Ivanka’s gold sandals, $120, an array of bejeweled rings, $45 each; an art deco silver cuff, $27; gold leather chain cuff, $45; or an artful round ring, $10.15, and you’re equipped for any urban expedition. SOURCE: Pixie’s Fashion Closet




Little Black Dress Discount: 20% off any one regular-priced item. Cannot be combined; one coupon per customer. Expires 10/15/11.

Pixie’s Fashion Closet, located inside Town Center Mall in Kennesaw, offers an eclectic array of fresh-from-the-runway styles, including Miss Me Couture, RYU:, and Tulle. Shop online at Call 770-429-1107 for information, or find Pixie’s Fashion Closet on Facebook.

New to Smyrna/Vinings, Lola Rose Boutique is located at 1675 Cumberland Pkwy at Ivy Walk. This chic boutique carries fashion-forward labels like Nicole Miller, T-bags, Brighton and Generation Love. Visit www.lola or call 770-435-4296.

Little Black Dress Discount: 20% off any one regular-priced item. Cannot be combined; one coupon her customer. Expires 10/15/11.

summer 2011


inspiring adventure


Jennifer s insider s

view of Italy On Men: Italian men are infatuated with women. In Atlanta, I can’t turn a head, but here, I have actually gotten marriage proposals when I’m out running, all hot and sweaty! On Homes: A home in Rome is a flat—it’s a compact space. Italians think all Americans live in a villa. Here, if you want a villa, you better have millions of Euros. On Beauty: Italy is totally like what you think: art and history and beauty abound. Century-old monuments and big beautiful fountains are everywhere.

I taly had always been a dream—an elusive whisp of a maybeone-day fantasy. And then, suddenly, she was there. Strolling by the fountains, sipping the wine, struggling through the language…and stumbling into an unexpected romance. This is a real-life adventure: the story of how Marietta resident Jennifer Hawkins Micocci left her life, her career, her country in search of love…which she found in abundance, in Italy.

On Fashion: Italian women have a great sense of style; it’s as if they were born with it. Valentino, Prada, Missoni, Armani, oh my! On Politics: Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi makes Bill Clinton look like a saint. His sexual escapades are scandalous…and he’s 75! So many Italians tell me, che vergogna, that they are embarrassed to be Italian because of their leader. On Visiting Italy: Move from the north to the south: arrive in Milan and spend a few days in the city, maybe taking a day trip to Lake Como; from Milan take a train to Venice and spend a few days wandering around the canals and bridges; from Venice take a train to Florence and visit the art museums. The train from Florence to Rome is about an hour and a half. In Rome, just start walking and you will be in awe. Buona vacanza!


It’s Saturday morning. Jennifer and her husband Stefano stop for a cornetto and cappuccino at their favorite bar before produce shopping in the bustling open-air market of Garbatella—their fountaindotted, cobblestoned neighborhood close to the heart of Rome. They select fresh-caught seafood, seasonal vegetables and choice wines before returning to their flat to prepare a typical, delectable late Italian lunch. But this life, as charmed as it sounds, came at the expense of several casualties in Jennifer’s world. After all, when one moves from Marietta to Italy, there are bound to be some things that won’t fit into the suitcase and must, by consequence, be left behind. For Jennifer, those things were her family (her parents and brother still live in Marietta), her cat (also still an Atlantan), and—the biggie—her career as a successful interior designer.

SPARKS FLY Jennifer’s career was just beginning when she initially visited Italy in 2002. To help plan her itinerary, she contacted the nephew of a family friend in Milan: Stefano. When she arrived in Italy, the two met, and when the trip was over, they remained in touch. Back in Atlanta, Jennifer, who had landed a job with the prestigious Culpepper, McAuliffe and Meaders design firm, was establishing a prominent name for herself in the hospitality design industry (think: ritzy glitzy hotels). But, despite her career success, Italy, and Stefano, were still on her mind. Seven months later, a friend’s wedding brought Stefano to America. “Seeing each other again confirmed that there was definitely a spark,” she says. For the next four years, Jennifer and Stefano ping-ponged across the Atlantic, visiting as often as they could. Then, in 2006, Jennifer decided to move permanently. “In all relationships, someone has to make a jump,” she observes. “I was in love with this person and had to see if there was a future.” SECOND THOUGHTS So, Jennifer left her family, her cat and her career and moved to Rome, to a tiny apartment with Stefano and Renzo, his roommate who spoke no English. And, since Jennifer spoke little Italian, life was rough: “I had enrolled in language school, but simple things—like ordering a coffee or answering the phone—become obstacles. It was very, very frustrating.” At the end of that first year, Jennifer’s frustrations had ballooned into full-blown second thoughts. While she had fortuitously landed a design job in Italy initially, her career was not secure, and Stefano wasn’t providing any decisive answers on their future, either. And so, when her former boss contacted her about a short-term project in Atlanta, Jennifer accepted. “It was really good to be home, to be able to talk to people!” she recalls. “It put things into perspective.” It apparently also put things into perspective for Stefano, who came to Atlanta…with a ring in-hand. “He proposed, I accepted, and when we returned to Italy together, it was like a weight was lifted,” she shares.


I think I always knew I belonged in Italy.


HOME SWEET ROME And now, Rome is home. She still misses her family (“Thank goodness for Skype.”) and her design career. (“It’s a cruelty that I live in the land of perfect architecture and style innovation without a steady design job.”) But, the joys of her Italian life now supersede the losses. There’s the rich culture (“The history, the people…the food!”) and the ease of travel: her passport stamps include Tanzania, Zanzibar, Madrid, Morocco, the Netherlands and Greece. And…there’s Stefano. “He is my rock,” says Jennifer. “Somewhere deep inside, I think I always knew I belonged in Italy. He’s the reason why.” ●

For more of Jennifer’s insights on Italy, including her favorite places to stay, snap this tag with your smartphone or visit To see what inspires her, visit

summer 2011


mirror mirror

at first cut Love


How one salon stole � ‫ה‬arts of two very different ladies

Why Dyer & Posta is a good catch: The Vibe: industrial-loft chic The Appeal: upscale, but not overpriced; urban, but refreshingly OTP The Buzz: featured in Elle, Allure, Fitness and In Style’s Black Book The Services: cut, color, bayalage, ombré, keratin smoothing, extensions The Products: Colorist Cure, Italy Hair Fashion, Reference of Sweden (REF)

To watch a video with Stephen and Elina, scan this code with your smartphone or visit

To book an appointment, call 770-514-1620. Dyer and Posta is located at 600 Chastain Road, Suite 216, Kennesaw, 30144. Visit www.dyerand to view their gallery.


Little Black Dress Discount: For new and existing clients: 20% off all services. Must present coupon; expires 10/15/11.


THIS IS A TALE OF TWO LADIES. TWO VERY DIFFERENT LADIES. On one hand, we have Elina. Elina is very particular about her hair. In fact, until recently, she would drive all the way to North Carolina to have her hair cut and colored because she would only trust one person on the entire earth to do it right. She is what we’ll call a salon monogamist: she’s loyal to the core. Then, there’s me. Kate. A certifiable salon floozy. I tend to jump around from salon to salon, never quite finding, or seeking, the perfect match. I am easily wooed into a new salon relationship. New products, unique décor, a broader selection of fizzy complimentary beverages—all of these are perfectly viable reasons to “Dear John” my current stylist and cozy up, weak-kneed, to a new one. Shameless, but, alas, true. And then. Oh then. Elina and I crossed paths at an unlikely place. Well, unlikely for her and entirely likely for me: a swank salon right here in Kennesaw, Dyer and Posta. For me, it was infatuation at first sight: shiny chrome chairs, exposed industrial ceilings, a fresh urban vibe. Marry me now! For her, it was skepticism from the get-go. We both met the owners: a pair as unlikely to end up under the same roof as Elina and I: tattooed, citified Stephen Posta and Southern-belle-sweet Amanda Dyer. At the eponymous Dyer and Posta, their polar talents and personalities meld into a synergistic cocktail of coiffed bliss. Maybe it’s this interesting blend that has held my attention past the infatuation stage. And maybe it’s their 41 years of combined experience or their precision-skilled, uncommonly trained stylists that finally convinced Elina to forego her 80-mile trek for a haircut. Whatever the reason, we have both found a new (dare I say it?) permanent salon home in Dyer and Posta. For me, there are several reasons why this salon, unlike so many other prior contenders, is a keeper. Exhibit A: It’s one of only two Marie Robinson-affiliated salons in the entire country. Meaning Marie Robinson (of the NYC salon-of-the-moment) personally endorses Dyer and Posta and has trained their stylists in her celebrity-saturated Fifth Avenue salon. Exhibit B: Dyer and Posta regularly garners praise from national style icons like Elle (featuring the salon in their August 2011 issue), Allure (featuring them this September), Fitness (featured the salon’s ombré color technique in their June 2011 issue), and In Style’s Beauty Black Book. And, Exhibit C: unlike some self-serving and egotistical salons I’ve encountered, Dyer and Posta is chic without being pretentious, upscale without being overpriced, and just dang good at doing hair. Recently, a friend of mine told me about a new salon opening up soon. I listened, and I waited for the familiar rush, the tingly let’s-prebook-ourappointments-now endorphin surge. But, I felt nothing. Actually, I felt something—an odd sensation akin to indignation. How dare they try to compete with my Dyer and Posta? Aha! It was pure, unadulterated loyalty! And that’s when I knew my salon-hopping days are over. Make me a key and clean out a drawer for my pantyhose; I, along with ever-loyal Elina, am here to stay. ● Photography by Jennifer Harris



How Maryum Goodwin Got THIS Fit


his past spring, Kennesaw mom Maryum Goodwin (featured on the covers) placed in the top five in her first NPC Atlantic Bikini Competition. Banish all images of giggly high-school girls lined up on the beach. This competition is a serious athletic endeavor. It took months of training, but when she finally stepped onto that stage, Maryum says, “It felt surreal to know I’d earned the right to be there.” While your fitness goals may be a tad different than Maryum’s, her experience can teach us all a thing or two about getting fit. Here’s what she learned: 1. Find a gym that fits your lifestyle.

“I chose Life Quest Fitness in Acworth (formerly Gold’s Gym) because, as a mom, I love the flexibility of bringing my children to the gym with me,” she says. “And, as a woman, I like that you’re treated as an equal there.” Gold’s Gym of Acworth, Kennesaw, Marietta, and Buford recently rebranded to Life Quest Fitness for that exact reason: Life Quest is dedicated to providing a family friendly workout experience. 2. Explore all of your gym’s resources.

“Life Quest gives me all the tools I need. My trainer, Eddie Russell, is phenomenal,” says Maryum. “If your gym offers a complimentary training session, take it! You’ll learn how to get much better results.”

“When you set a goal and achieve it, you aren’t left wondering whether or not you could have done it,” she concludes. “You’re left with, ‘Wow, I DID do that.’ It makes you feel very complete.” ● Whether you are training for a show or just losing that stubborn baby weight, Life Quest Fitness can help you meet your goals. Life Quest is a place where everyone can pursue a lifestyle of fitness in a safe and supportive environment. Call 678-973-0635 or visit Life Quest Fitness of Acworth at 3362 Acworth Summit Blvd. (across from NCG Cinema). Photograph by Summer Adams


3. Set a goal…and do it!

Little Black Dress Discount: Free childcare and tanning with a 24-month membership -OR- $29.95/month, no commitment! -OR- Two-week free trial membership! Must present coupon. Offer expires 10/1/11.

summer 2011


the skinny John and Michelle’s Slim-Down Secrets 1.Know It All: Use the Internet to find out caloric levels of everything you eat. Get the facts so you can make informed choices. 2. Think Small: Eating smaller meals more often will keep you from being hungry so you’re less tempted to splurge. 3. Find a Buddy: It’s easier to stay on track when you have someone holding you accountable. 4. Be Slip-Up Savvy: You’re going to have bad days, but you can’t beat yourself up over it. Just be more diligent the next day. 5. Chart Your Progress: Step on the scale every morning. Watching your progress over time is really motivating.

Photography by Jennifer Harris

Name: Michelle Toomer Age: 42 Height: 5’ 6” Weight Before: 178 Weight After: 130

Name: John Toomer Age: 45 Height: 5’ 10” Weight Before: 242 Weight After: 187


a local couple teams up to slim down



ntil a few months ago, John and Michelle Toomer’s story was typical. The couple spent their days juggling work and their kid’s activities, giving little thought to their personal health and eating habits. “We were always on the go,” recalls Michelle. “There were lots of chicken nuggets, tater tots and McDonald’s trips.” Over time, their fast-paced lifestyle and fast-food diet took its toll. When John tipped the scales at 240 pounds and Michelle hovered at a size 12, the mother of three decided something had to give. “I was tired of looking the way I did and wanted to make a change,” she says. While attending her son’s fall festival, she came across a booth for medical weight loss with Synergy Medical Centers. “Over the years, we had tried diets, boot camps…everything,” she says. Skeptical but desperate, Michelle decided to give Synergy a chance. Thirty days later, a low-calorie diet, daily appetite suppressant and weekly visits to Synergy left Michelle 15 pounds lighter—and halfway to her goal weight. John was intrigued. “Neither of us have any willpower, but I noticed during that first month that Michelle


the reward isn’t only the number on the scale.



wasn’t tempted by the kid’s treats anymore,” he says. “That’s when I realized this might be worth a try.” Within four months of joining Michelle at Synergy, John’s weight dipped below 200 pounds. “I hadn’t weighed that since college,” he says. Motivated by their success, the couple bumped up their goals. Michelle lost 10 more pounds; John dropped another 13. Soon, their neighbors and coworkers began taking notice. “You can watch weight-loss commercials all day long, but when people you know are experiencing results, it makes you a believer,” says John. So far, nearly a dozen of their friends have jumped on the Synergy bandwagon. “Now anytime we have parties, we have diet mixers for the drinks,” laughs John. Making those kinds of small but impactful changes in their eating habits has made the difference for the pair. Weekly meetings with the Synergy counselors taught them how to make healthier choices, like swapping ground turkey for beef, while regular weigh-ins provided much-needed motivation. “When you know you’re going to have to step on the scale every week, it inspires you to buckle down,” says John. Having lost over 100 pounds between them, Michelle says the reward isn’t only the number on the scale: “When you look good, you feel good, and you have more self-confidence.” Recently, the couple put their newfound confidence—and new, lean bodies—to the test during a Colorado vacation. “We went rock-climbing and hiking,” John shares. “Those are things we couldn’t have done before Synergy.” ●

John and Michelle’s success was found through Synergy Medical Centers, located at 3889 Cobb Parkway, Acworth, 30101. Call 770-975-1299 (consultations are free) or visit for information.


$100 OFF

Little Black Dress Discount: Shape up for fall! Receive $100 off a customized Medical Weight Loss Program at Synergy Medical Centers with this coupon. Offer expires in 30 days; offer available only to new patients.


You’ve got mail! PRAISE FOR FARMERS MARKET BASKETS KRISTINA PLAUCHÉ LOVES MAIL. AND SHE SHOULD. As the co-owner of Farmers Market Baskets with her husband Tom, she receives a fair share of warm-and-fuzzy e-mails from grateful customers, who appreciate the affordable access to farm-fresh fruits and vegetables provided by this convenient produce pick-up service. Here’s a look-see into Kristina’s mailbox…and a little peek inside her recipe box, too!

Tom & Kristina, Last year, I decided to get control of my health and weight. I found out about Farmers Market Baskets and signed up. My weekly baskets of fresh fruit and vegetables have played an important role in my journey. I lost half my total body weight! Having someone pick the produce insures that I eat a variety and challenges me to try new recipes. Not only did I uncover a thin girl; I discovered a love of cooking. —Terri

Kristina and Tom, I am so thrilled I found your company. I look forward to going to the warehouse every Thursday and can’t wait to see what surprises await me in my basket. I have been so impressed with the quality and quantity of produce I receive for the price. It is definitely a bargain—and it’s fresher than grocery store produce, too. — LaDonna Hale

Dear Kristina, I have been getting baskets for over two years, and I can’t imagine not getting one. My family now eats healthier, and we love the delicious recipes you e-mail weekly. If I tried to get the same amount of produce at the grocery store, it would cost two or even three times as much. With Farmers Market Baskets, you just can’t go wrong. — Laurie Hairston

KRISTIN A’S RECIP E FOR CR OCKPOT 2 cups c CREAME orn kern D CORN els, cu 1 4-o

t off the unce pa ckage cr cob 1/2 stic eam che k butter ese 1/2 cup milk 1 Tables poon wh ite suga r Shuck y our corn . Then, h sharp k old the e nife, cut ar uprig off the k scrape o ht and, ernels. U ff the “m using a se the ba ilk.” In a five ingr ck of the slow coo edients, knife to ker, com plus salt for two bine the and pep to four h first per to ta ours, or stirring s te on low fo . Cook on occasion r four to high ally. ● six hour s,

Photograph by Summer Adams

To sign up for Farmers Market Baskets, visit or call 678-460-7710. Pick-up sites include the FMB warehouse (2260 Moon Station Court, Suite 220, Kennesaw, 30144), Bentwater, Brookstone, Seven Hills, Echo Mill, Glenleigh and Towne Lake. Baskets come in classic or organic, in two sizes. summer 2011


real life adventures


your guide to a perfect







T H A T:





C R E AT I V E A D V E N T U R E S F O R Y O U A N D Y O U R B E S T I E S . R E A D Y, S E T … B O N D !

girl’out s day

White Rabbit Cottage Just standing outside this green-gabled, rambling white cottage is therapy. Stepping inside is pure estrogen heaven. Décor, furnishings, art, pottery, books, jewelry, fashion accessories, candles, and bath and body products are arranged in charming nooks and vignettes throughout the shop. Traipse through the garden area, poke around the various rooms, relax on the screened-in back porch: an afternoon at White Rabbit Cottage provides something for even the most diverse group of girlfriends. A recent customer summed it up perfectly: “It’s a fabulous place to come for a little respite.” And, you can take home a well-priced souvenir to boot.


White Rabbit Cottage, 3760 Due West Road, Marietta, 770-9191100. Visit, and find them on Facebook.

20%OFF Little Black Dress Discount: 20% off any one regular-priced item. Present coupon by 11/1/11; cannot be combined.

Kaizen Fitness: Girls Play Games Scarlet Knight, certified personal trainer and founder of Kaizen Fitness, knows the recipe for a memorable girl’s day: Start with a dash of physical activity, add a sprinkle of play, and dump in a whole load of laughter. That’s what she offers in her group circuit training sessions, aptly named Girls Play Games. Scarlet will lead your group through a circuit of fun, but seriously effective, fitness “games” reminiscent of childhood, like hoola hoops, hopscotch, beanbag toss, and—the favorite—a 20-foot parachute. “You laugh, you exercise, you play, and you clear your head,” says Scarlet, who charges only $50 per group for the 45- to 60-minute session. Groups can be from one to 12 people, ages 14 on up. “By the end,” she notes, “you’ve burned so many calories that you can all head to brunch…guilt free!”


Call or e-mail Scarlet to set up a Girls Play Games session for your friends at a nearby park or home: 678-697-3358, Visit kaizen or stop by the Kaizen studio at 3590 Cherokee Street, Suite 101 C, Kennesaw, 30144.

SPECIAL Little Black Dress Discount: $50 for “Girls Play Games” Group Circuit Session. Up to 12 people; ages 14 and up. Present coupon by 11/1/11; cannot be combined.


Photography by Summer Adams

W Buckhead-Atlanta


Is a full-scale girl’s weekend on your radar? Well, allow us to introduce you to W Atlanta-Buckhead. With upscale neighbors like Lenox Square Mall and Girl’s Night Out Special: Bottle of chamPhipps Plaza, the W is a stylista’s dream. From loungpagne, valet parking, 20% ing in the chic metropolitan Living Room (that’s off at Remede Spa, plus drink and food specials! lobby in W speak), to perching poolside on the posh fourth-floor WET deck, to sipping martinis at Rande Gerber’s Whiskey Blue rooftop bar, this is a girl’s retreat like no other. Fine dining, premiere shopping venus, an array of entertainment: opportunities abound to rediscover that little black dress.


Plan a Girl’s Day-To-Night-Out at W Buckhead now and enjoy champagne, valet parking, drink & food specials, and more! For details, call 678-500-3100 or visit www.watlanta Located at 3377 Peachtree Rd. NE, Atlanta, 30326.

Painting With a Twist “Painting together is cathartic,” says Laura Alford, owner of Painting with a Twist, the newest paint-your-own canvas studio in Kennesaw. This studio boasts over 1,400 art options created by authentic artists, offering something for everyone. You’ll drink a little wine, share a lot of laughter, and paint an original work under the guidance of a skilled instructor. “Intrinsically, everyone likes to do art—even if they haven’t done it since kindergarten,” observes Laura. “You pick up a paintbrush and explore an untapped side of yourself.” Bonus: you leave with a ready-to-hang canvas.


Mark your calendars for Painting With a Purpose on August 21; proceeds benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation. A different Painting with a Purpose benefit is hosted monthly. Located at 1635 Old 41, Suite 107, Kennesaw, 30152. Call 770-528-9998, visit, and find Painting With a Twist-Kennesaw on Facebook.


FREE Little Black Dress Discount: Bring 3 friends with you and you paint for free. Present coupon by 11/1/11; cannot be combined.

Challise & Company: Hair, Skin, Body

“As women, we don’t take time for ourselves, but we need to,” observes Carrie Cox, co-owner of Challise & Company Salon and Spa—the Aveda Concept salon in Marietta where she and co-owner Challise Copeland offer the ultimate in head-to-toe relaxation and pampering. In addition to enjoying a full array of salon and spa services (cut, color, massage, facials, peels, waxing, nail services), you and your girls can choose from a menu of mini spa services at the salon’s regular Spa Nights. Think: express facial, mini massage, Aveda paraffin hand or foot treatment, small-area facial waxing…and cocktails, chocolate and munchies! You pick three services for $60 or five for $90 and spend two hours in complete bliss. Little Black Dress Discount: 25% off any Aveda product. Present coupon by 11/1/11; cannot be combined.


The next Spa Nights are August 5 and September 16 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Call 770-591-5264 to RSVP. Challise & Co. is a Salon Today 200 Fastest Growning Salon! 3595 Canton Road, Marietta, 30066. Visit

Right: Carrie and Challise

the honeybee Locally grown. That’s the best way to describe the honeybee—the women’s shop with a cult following in Smyrna. Located in a cheery yellow historic home on Atlanta Road, “the bee” offers a bevy of brands by local artists—Pieces of Me, Ronda Smith, Jill Massey, as well as sought-after brands like TOMS, Dang Chicks and Lilla P. The result is a cool, creative collection of clothing, jewelry, shoes and accessories that impart an artful, one-of-a-kind vibe to any wardrobe. It’s this synergy of local-meets-unique that sets the bee apart. That, and the shop’s cozy, unpretenLittle Black Dress tious feel. “This is a home, and it feels like a home,” Discount: 20% off one regsays Betsy DiGiorgio, co-owner with pal Lisa Rieves. ular-priced item. Present coupon by 11/1/11; cannot “It’s just a real, down-to-earth little shop.”


Owners Betsy and Lisa


be combined.

Located at 2968 Atlanta Road, Smyrna, 30080. Call 770-432-5120, visit or find The Honeybee on Facebook. continued...

summer 2011


PearTree Interiors & Gifts A distressed farm table and fine silver, a crystal chandelier and frayed burlap. This distinctive blend of textures is the signature of PearTree Interiors & Gifts, a new, unique décor and gift shop in historic Powder Springs. PearTree is where rustic meets elegant. “Layering these contrasting textures gives a home a custom look, affordably,” explains owner Kim Kornblatt, who uses her interior decorating skills to assist customers in finding the perfect accents. And, if a customer seeks even more help, she offers full interior design services, as well. Kim is constantly hunting for new artists and wares—anything uncommon and striking. “People are sometimes afraid to step out of their comfort zones, but that’s where you find a look that is truly you,” she says. And that’s what you’ll find at PearTree.


Located at 4444 Marietta Street in historic Powder Springs, 30127. Call 770-222-8272, visit www.peartree, or find PearTree Interiors & Gifts on Facebook.

20%OFF Little Black Dress Discount: 20% off one regular-priced item. Present coupon by 11/1/11; cannot be combined.

The Magnolia Room Remember when shopping was fun? When service was personal and the quality was unquestionable? Well, the Magnolia Room in Marietta is bringing back those memories. The Magnolia Room is a one-stop-shop for antiques, gifts, decorator items, furnishings, home fragrances, hand-made jewelry and unique scarves. This diverse marketplace is owned by Carol Westbrook, a veteran of the gift business. Eight additional designers and dealers contribute to the complete selection, “providing a diversity that is truly unique,” explains Carol. The service is helpful, the gift-wrap is free, and Gabriel’s Restaurant and Bakery is steps away. All of this earns The Magnolia Room our “perfect girl’s day” stamp of approval—because shopping should be an experience you will remember.


Located at 800 Whitlock Ave., Suite 201, Marietta, 30064. Call 770-499-6015, visit www.magnoliaroom, and find The Magnolia Room on Facebook. ●

25%OFF Little Black Dress Discount: 25% off one regular-priced item. Present coupon by 10/1/11; cannot be combined. 18

20%OFF Little Black Dress Discount: 20% off the item of your choice. Present coupon by 10/1/11; cannot be combined.

Just Fired Pottery

“Good fun with good friends for a good price” sums up Just Fired, a paintyour-own pottery studio in Kennesaw. This is how it works: you grab some friends, you grab some wine, you head to Just Fired. You pick a piece, you paint the piece, they fire the piece. You spend between $5ish and $30ish, and you acquire a custom set of coasters or a birthday plate or picture frame or shower gift, or, or…. “The atmosphere is colorful and relaxed, and no experience is necessary,” assures owner Ellen Barry, who keeps idea books, stencils and stamps at the ready. “It’s just a creative, laidback time.”


On September 9, Just Fired is co-hosting “Tinis for TaTas,” a martini night at nearby Ralph’s Tavern and Grill benefitting the Heroes for Hope 3-Day Team. And, August 19 is Just Fired’s monthly Hot Mamas Ladies Night; join the fun! Just Fired is located at 4290 Bells Ferry Road, Kennesaw, 30144. Call 770-516-3777 or visit ●

summer 2011




KEYS TO THE GOOD LIFE Woman-to-Woman: Dr. Kitti Barfield Gets Real

“ T H E K E Y S T O A G O O D L I F E A R E R E A L LY P R E T T Y S I M P L E , ” says Dr. Kitti Barfield. “Eat well. Sleep well. Exercise. Get an annual physical. And then, add in your happiness factor: a hobby or family.” Hmmm. It does sound simple. But what do these principles look like—really look like—in the average day, week, life of a busy woman? Here, Dr. Barfield, who is a family physician at Cartersville Family Medical Associates and a mom of two boys, gets real about how she personally lives out good health. Key #1: Eat well.

How Dr. Barfield Eats: “I don’t skip meals,” she shares. “Make sure you eat three meals a day, and try to make them balanced. And, occasionally allow yourself a little of what you want, so you don’t feel deprived.” Key #2: Sleep well. What Dr. Barfield Knows: Not only does sleep combat stress. Dr. Barfield explains that “deep sleep triggers the release of hormones responsible for weight loss.” Enough said. Early bedtimes for us!



add in your happiness factor... Key #3: Exercise.

What Dr. Barfield Struggles With: “My biggest struggle is staying consistent with cardio fitness,” she confesses. “Everybody has something!” What she does to get motivated: “I’ll just start with 10 minutes of getting my heart rate up a day. And then I’ll move higher and do more.”

Key #4: Get an annual physical. What Dr. Barfield Does: “During annual physicals, I can really talk to my patients about their personal health,” says Dr. Barfield, who is also on staff at Cartersville Medical Center. “I’ll test blood levels, check cholesterol, do mammograms and pap smears, and help you set realistic goals.” Key #5: Add in happiness.

How Dr. Barfield De-Stresses: “I’ll garden or clean my house. I go on vacation. And, my favorite, I play with my children,” she shares. Her boys, ages 7 and 12, are students at North Cobb Christian School. Her parting wisdom: “It’s important to keep life as simple as possible, so you can de-stress. Those are the moments that make life good.” ●

Dr. Kitti Barfield (pictured here with her family) practices with Dr. Haroon Mian and Dr. Carl Astaphan at Cartersville Family Medical Associates, where she sees patients ages 4 and up. Her practice was formerly located off Cedarcrest Road in Acworth and is now located on the Cartersville Medical Center campus, 970 Joe Frank Harris Pkwy, Suite 100, Cartersville, 30120. Call 800-242-5662 to set up an appointment; she is currently accepting new patients. Dr. Barfield is also on staff at Cartersville Medical Center. summer 2011




TOP TIPS FROM COLORIST PHYLLIS ENGLISH WHAT DO JENNIFER ANISTON, RACHEL BILSON AND SARAH JESSICA PARKER HAVE IN C O M M O N ? A S I D E F R O M T H E O B V I O U S ( E N V I A B LY P R E T T Y, U N C O M M O N LY FA M O U S ) , THEY ARE ALL KNOWN FOR THEIR GORGEOUS HAIR COLOR. To teach us how to achieve starlet-worthy color, we consulted Phyllis English, the colorist and stylist at Inga’s Skin and Body Care Salon in Marietta. Phyllis is a master colorist and instructor with over 20 years of experience. Here are her insider color tips.

self care

Star-Quality Hair Banish Boredom

Take another cue from the stars, and keep your look fresh. To achieve this, Phyllis never writes down the formulas she uses on clients. “When you come in, I want to look at you with fresh eyes, not just look up some number from two months ago,” she says. This type of personalized attention allows for a custom, seasonally appropriate look every time—just like having your own A-list stylist. ●

Stare Into My Eyes

The key to a perfect color match, says Phyllis, is in your eyes. “Eyes are not just blue, brown or green. They are blue with gold flecks or brown with an orange tint. Those undertones determine what hair color will look stunning on you,” she explains. Her general guidelines: pale blue and deep “M&M” brown eyes look good with white-blonde highlights, while golden-flecked eyes look better with golden tones. Cooler green and blue eyes look great with dark, saturated hair color.

Phyllis English’s color expertise has earned her a loyal following. To set up a hair consultation with her, call Inga’s Skin and Body Care Salon at 770-952-0905, email or visit the salon at 1471 Terrell Mill Road, Marietta, 30067. Inga’s has been providing quality hair, skin and body treatments in a relaxing spa atmosphere for 20 years. Visit www.ingas-come Little Black Dress Discount: for a virtual tour. Refer a friend! If they get a cut, you score a half-price cut. If they get color, your haircut is free!

50% OFF

summer 2011


in full bloom


Your yard’s Pro tips for finding a landscaper for life


ou know those friends that you’ve had forever? The ones who “knew you when”? They’ve been there for you, proven their allegiance, and you know they’ll continue to be there for you far into the future. That kind of solidarity is a good feeling. So, what does your bestie have to do with an article on landscaping? Quite a lot, actually. When choosing most relationships in our lives—our friends, our investment advisors, hopefully our spouses— we make our selections with longevity in mind. We are in it for the long haul. But, for some reason, when it comes to our yards, many of us hop around from landscaper to landscaper, following the scent of the cheapest bargain and then switching to someone new when the discount services inevitably sink to subpar. Well, we’d like to introduce you to a different concept, one that pros in the landscaping biz suggest for the best results and least amount of cash spent in the long run: finding a landscaper for life. Sound farfetched? Keep reading to learn some insider tips on why longevity with the right landscaper is a wise (and frugal) move.

Your Grass Has a Past


When a well-qualified landscaper consistently works on your yard, they learn your yard’s history, its insand-outs. They learn what works in that shady patch under the big oak, which tufts of stubborn crab grass need an extra spritz every spring, what type of fertilizer and nitrogen combo produce the best results. “This

you should be getting more than just a sign stuck in your yard.

Photography by Jennifer Harris and Summer Adams.


type of consistency with a quality provider ensures a vibrant lawn from year to year and also saves money,” explains Jason Cory, owner of Dogwood Landscaping, one of Cobb and Paulding’s premier full-service lawn maintenance and landscaping companies. “You’re not going to end up paying for expensive ‘add-on’ treatments while a landscaper experiments to get it right, and you won’t have to pay to have mistakes fixed in the future.” A Pro in Your Pocket


Just like the valued advice from your best friend, a professional landscaper with the right credentials is an invaluable resource. “Find someone who will take the time to answer your questions. The provider should be proactive about offering solutions to your property’s problems,” says Jason, who notes that a landscaper who isn’t interested in establishing that kind of relationship isn’t worth keeping around. “If you’re paying for regular service, you should be getting more than just a sign stuck in your yard. Little Black Dress Discount: Your choice: You should feel like you’re getting a trustworthy relationship with a professional.” with a 12-month agreement, you can receive either the first month FREE, or 20 bales of pine straw installed FREE or 6 yards of mulch installed FREE. Offer expires 10-1-11; new customers only.

To meet our favorite LFL, call Jason Cory with Dogwood Landscaping directly at 678-368-7000 and request a free estimate. Visit to see photos of their latest impressive projects.


We Check I.D.

To help ensure that you’re picking a landscaper who can offer all that and a bag of chips, ask for credentials. Make sure the team is certified for the work they are doing. Jason, for instance, holds the “Mercedes” of landscape certifications: he is a Belgard Authorized Gold Level Installer, ICPI and NCMA Certified Concrete Paver and Segmental Retaining Wall Installer. This means that his warranties are backed in writing, and an industry Two-Year Workmanship Warranty comes with all of Dogwood Landscaping’s hardscape installation services. If only all new relationships came with such guarantees! The takeaway: picking a landscaping company should be like picking a BFF. Choose one who is committed to bringing out your property’s best—a quality company Owner, Jason Cory that you can see sticking around. Think of them as your LFL: your Landscaper For Life. ●

summer 2011




COMES KNOCKING { a Marietta couple’s story


ichael and Carol Novosel (pictured left) hadn’t noticed anything amiss with their Marietta home. So, they were surprised to find a roofing contractor standing on their doorstep one afternoon when they answered a knock. “He had been working in the neighborhood and spotted signs of hail damage on our roof,” says Michael. “We hadn’t even noticed the missing shingles.” At the contractor’s suggestion, Michael called his insurance agent, Tevis Upton with Allstate. “False roofing claims are rampant, especially from unsolicited contractors, so the first thing Tevis encouraged us to do was secure a second opinion,” Michael explains. The Novosels called another contractor, who confirmed the hail damage. What happened next was an even bigger surprise than the missing shingles: Allstate paid for a whole new roof. “They replaced the whole thing, and even covered interior damage caused

in the know


by the missing shingles,” recalls Michael. “We had only been with Allstate for about two years at this point. We knew we liked Tevis; he was approachable and even made a house call to come meet us. But, we had never made a claim before, so we didn’t know if there would be hassles.” There weren’t. “When the bill was sent to Allstate, they cut the check within a day or two. I didn’t even have to fill out a single form; Tevis initiated it all for us,” says Michael. “You know, I hadn’t seen my previous agent in 20 years,” he adds. “It’s not like that with Tevis. He is more than just an agent; he is your friend and your advocate with Allstate”—which, it turns out, is exactly what’s needed when a roofer comes knocking. ● Interested in benefitting from Tevis’s old-time customer service (while potentially saving a beaucoup on your rates)? Give him a ring at 770-917-1111. You can also pop by his neighborhood Allstate office on Cedarcrest Road in Acworth or visit www.all Upton. Photograph by Summer Adams

summer 2011



good medicine

one-stop D E N TA L S H O P

simplifying the schedule of a mom of four



ISTY HANNAH IS A MOM OF FOUR. With an 11, 14, 20, and 21-year-old, she sometimes physically needs to be in two places at once—which can be a tad tricky. Since cloning isn’t yet a viable option for humans, she has to do what she can to simplify her family’s complex schedule. Her top tip? “Consolidate medical appointments,” she says. “I don’t have time to run from office to office with my kids, so I find practices that can accommodate our needs under one roof.” Quantity…With Quality

Sounds like a grand plan, but how does this actually work? Quite well, if you can find a practice that specializes in multiple procedures without compromising quality—which is exactly what Misty found in LifeSmiles of New Hope in Dallas. “When we first visited Dr. Parbhoo at LifeSmiles, my kids all had different dental needs, from wisdom teeth extraction to braces. And my husband hadn’t been to the dentist in years and needed crowns and fillings,” she shares. She was relieved to discover that LifeSmiles could do it all in-house. “In one visit alone, we may have five family members in tow,” Misty says, “and Dr. Parbhoo takes care of us all.” “Sometimes, Dr. Parbhoo can see us at 7 a.m. in the morning and sometimes as late as 6 p.m.,” she says. “Most practices aren’t even open that late, much less ready to assist an entire family simultaneously. It really helps both me and my husband. He’s a firefighter and an emergency management technician, and I work 50-plus hours a week. I appreciate someone who can accommodate my family.” Father of Five


it is certainly a timesaver for me.

As a father of five children, ages 5 to 16, Dr. Parbhoo understands needs like Misty’s. Her story is one of many that inspired his one-stop-shop philosophy. “In this economy, many people just can’t ask for hours off to visit the dentist,” he says. “If we can accommodate our patients by making an appointment for a cleaning for one family member, a braces adjustment for another and a filling for another, we will do that. It’s about offering flexibility to our patients and making it work for them.” And, as for Dr. Parbhoo, he enjoys the challenges and variety of offering general dentistry, implants and orthodontics under one roof. “Professionally, it’s rewarding to provide comprehensive dental care in a relaxing atmosphere,” he says. “And, I like that no two days are ever the same!” He’s also a bit of a technology nut—as evidenced by the flat-screen TVs suspended from every ceiling, the high-tech massage chairs, and the latest dental technologies at the ready. “You know you’re getting top-notch care,” concludes Misty. “We love Dr. Parbhoo. He can talk to my husband and me on our level, and then speak to the kids on their level to explain things to them. His office staff works with our insurance company and is always willing to find a solution to ensure we have proper dental care. It is certainly a timesaver for me.” Which, to Misty, is essential—at least until cloning is legalized. ●


Dr. Parbhoo and family.

Dr. Parbhoo offers free consultations to discuss dental procedures and other general dentistry needs at his office, located at 49 Hosiery Mill Road, Dallas, 30157. His friendly office staff can help you set up multiple appointments for your entire family. For more information, call 770-445-1314 or visit www.lifesmiles summer 2011


good medicine



a story of a boy, a bat and an emergency trip to the dentist



ental trauma. The words just beg you to turn the page, don’t they? But, we all know that having kids

makes words like dental trauma an unfortunate reality from time to time. It certainly became Jeff Butler’s reality, when he ended up in Dr. Mike Rossitch’s office one evening with his 7-year-old son, Jack, and a few of Jack’s teeth in a plastic bag. One weekday afternoon, Jeff saw his neighbor’s name come across his phone. He picked up, not suspecting the news he was about to get. “Jack had been playing baseball. He was pitching the ball, and his buddy was batting,” Jeff recalls. “Apparently, when his friend swung the bat, it came out of his hands, flew towards Jack, and knocked out a few of his teeth.” Jeff knew immediately who to call. It was almost seven o’clock in the evening, so he didn’t know what the chances were of reaching Dr. Mike, but he left a message and hoped for the best. Within two minutes, Dr. Mike called back. He told Jeff to get Jack and whatever teeth he could find and come to his office. When they got to the office, Jack’s entire mouth was bleeding, he had an ice pack on his swollen lips and his emotions were, well, like a 7-year-old whose mouth has been struck by a bat. Jeff handed over his son’s knocked-out teeth and the parts of chipped teeth that he could find, and Dr. Mike got to work. Dr. Mike took X-rays, cleaned up Jack’s mouth, implanted his knocked-out teeth and did as much cosmetic work on the chipped teeth as he could. The entire process took four hours. “Dr. Mike made a very traumatic situation as painless as possible—emotionally for me and physically for my son. By the time we left the office, Jack was calm and his chipped teeth were restored,” Jeff shares. “Dr. Mike has an amazing dedication to his patients and his profession.” All of this is what keeps Jeff bringing his kids back to Dr. Mike, regardless of the fact that they now live in a different city. “I pass a lot of pediatric dentists on the way,” he says. “I’m sure they’re good, but Dr. Mike is great.” ●


how to handle a dental emergency:

Jack Butler is back at the plate, thanks to Dr. Mike! Photography by Jennifer Harris.

Here’s a little chart from Dr. Mike, so you aren’t (quite as) panicked if your child takes a bat to the mouth, a fall from the monkey bars, or any number of other likely scenarios. And, remember: you should always call your child’s dentist as fast as possible to determine the urgency of the situation.

If a permanent tooth is knocked out: 1) Only handle the tooth by the crown, not the root. Dr. Mike practices at Rossitch Pediatric Dentistry in Marietta, near the Avenue of West Cobb (3698 Largent Way, Suite 201). He provides dental care for infants, children, teens and patients with special needs. For more information, call 770-420-6565 or visit


2) Rinse the tooth gently with water, but do not scrub it. 3) If you are comfortable placing the tooth back in the socket, do so. 4) If you are not comfortable replanting it, place it in milk immediately and get to your dentist right away. The faster you get to the dentist, the better the tooth’s chance of survival.

If a baby tooth is knocked out:

If a tooth is chipped or fractured:

It is typically not recommended to replant it. If you are unsure whether it is a baby tooth or a permanent tooth, place it in milk and get to the dentist right away.

In general, a small chip is not an urgent situation, but a complicated fracture should be addressed quickly by your dentist. When in doubt, call your child’s dentist to determine the urgency.

summer 2011


parenting matters




icholas was a sweet boy. Not a problem child, not a discipline problem. He sat in preschool, a seemingly willing participant in group activities. But, his mother Melissa knew, even then, that his brain was not transferring what he was learning into effective verbal and written communication. Melissa had Nicholas tested in second grade, and found that he had ADD. Medication was diagnosed, but it wasn’t strong enough to help him retain the information he was learning. “He would just fade out, or things would go in, but they wouldn’t come out,” Melissa explains. “It’s a very passive form of ADD.”

The Struggle The school gave Nicholas help in his classes: tests were given verbally, and he was able to take exams in a separate room. Every year, his teachers had a new strategy to solve his problem, but it was never enough. “Every time we would try something new, it would last about a week, if at all. Nothing caught,” recalls Melissa. “The issue was that he was still being taught the same way as the other kids, just with special accommodations.” At home, Melissa and Nicholas would tediously pour over assignments, causing the evenings to be like another day of school. Between the work at home and his arrangements at school, Nicholas kept his grades relatively high. It worried Melissa, however, to think about his future in high school and college. She knew that neither she nor Nicholas could sustain their current pace once the material became more stringent. Mostly, she knew that there had to be a lasting solution to bridge the gaps in Nicholas’s brain. But, she had no idea where to turn. If you think your child may benefit from LearningRx, call 770-529-4800 to set up a complimentary consultation. For more information, visit or stop by LearningRx in Kennesaw at 3420 Acworth Due West Road, Suite B. Owner Kristen Thompson, pictured right.


Photography by Jennifer Harris

how one boy {and his mom} overcame ADD

pieces the

The Suggestion

Then, last summer, at a routine appointment, Nicholas’s doctor passed along information about LearningRx, a cognitive skills training center in Kennesaw. Melissa recognized immediately that it wasn’t just another tutoring program. It might just be what they were looking for. A few weeks later, the family walked into the doors of LearningRx and knew that they had found their answer. “We met Kristen Thompson {the owner}, and she was an amazing woman. She was honest about everything. She made us feel so welcome, and she understood our problem,” Melissa explains. “I knew we had to try this. This is exactly what Nicholas needed.” It was a big commitment for Nicholas and his family. They had an hour-long round-trip commute, and 15-year-old Nicholas was in each session for an hour and a half, four days a week. “It was a lot of time. And Nicholas was tired, because his brain had to work so hard to change the way it was thinking,” Melissa says. “The program isn’t just a tutoring program. They are literally changing the way the brain works. But, they do this through games and activities, so Nicholas was learning in spite of himself.”

The Solution And it worked. He started reacting more positively to schoolwork, beginning school projects without being hounded, committing to memory what he learned, and improving his writing and verbal skills. His grades also improved, even over what they were before. While in the program, Nicholas did so well on his English final that the instructor e-mailed it to all of his former teachers! Today, Melissa is a proud—and relieved—mama. “For the first time, he’s starting to plan for his future,” she shares. “He’s saying, ‘Yeah, I can be a physicist. I can work in genetics.’ He’s even talking about being a doctor now.” You can hear the joy in her voice as she concludes, “It’s as if there was never a problem.” ●

Undo the summer brain drain Who better than Kristen Thompson, owner of LearningRx, to share a few tips for sharpening your children’s minds, as they head back to school this fall? • Play games, including learning-geared computer games (check out • Get moving! Physical activity is good for the body and the mind. • Talk about goals and expectations for the school year. • Be aware of the seven basic cognitive skills that are used by our brains to think and learn. Which skills are strengths for your child? Weaknesses? To find out for sure, take a three-minute survey by scanning the QR Code below with your smartphone, or visiting

In His OwnWords

Q. Nicholas, what is the difference in the way you felt in school before you went to LearningRx and the way you feel now? A. Before I started, I wasn’t very good at speaking in front of class or interacting with teachers. Now, I’m really confident in speaking or interacting with people at school. I also feel like it’s helped me a lot with my writing skills. Before, I couldn’t think of ideas when I had to write out answers. But I’ve learned to just jot down ideas and get a flow going until I have the answer all written out. Q. How has it helped in your ability to learn? A. I’m having an easier time paying attention and focusing on the teacher. I don’t zone out while I’m in class. Q. What about the way you feel about your future? A. I was worried I’d be too nervous in job interviews, but now I feel more confident about that. Q. How has LearningRx transformed your school experience? A. It will be dramatically different. I feel more confident about school in general.

$100 OFF

There’s one word to sum up what LearningRx has instilled in Nicholas: confidence. He talked to Little Black Dress|Little Red Wagon about his experience (which we’re very grateful for, because we know 15-year-old boys don’t love talking about…anything!).

Little Red Wagon Discount: $100 off an assessment, which evaluates a student’s cognitive skills, determining areas of weakness and strength. Offer good through 10/10/11.

summer 2011





Cobb moms share their school-readiness insights

Proof that Moms Know Best

Moms love Primrose, and now there’s scientific proof that they’re right. A recent study, pictured here, shows that elementary school children who attended Primrose score more than twice as high as children who did not attend Primrose on the standardized Bracken School Readiness Assessment (BSRA), which evaluates mastery of colors, letters, numbers/counting, sizes, comparisons and shapes.

Remember when you’d ask your dad a question and he’d say, “Go ask your mom”? Well, we think that’s a great suggestion. So, we recently polled some local Cobb moms on a hot-button topic: how are they preparing their preschoolers for the upcoming adventures of “big kid” school? The answers to this question ranged from library fieldtrips to ABC bathtub letters to scouring the town for the best preschools. With regards to the latter, one school was consistently praised: Primrose Schools. From our queries, Primrose moms emerged as a pleased-as-punch bunch. So, what exactly is Primrose doing that impresses moms so much? We did a little digging to find out.

parenting matters



Inside the Classroom

In a Primrose classroom, we learned, children are taught through what’s called the Balanced Learning approach, meaning a balance between structured, teacher-directed lessons and creative, student-initiated activities. Essentially, children have opportunities to play together imaginatively, but they also learn how to “do school”: sit still for circle time, listen to the teacher, share with others. The results? By the time they enter elementary school, Primrose children have mastered the basics: shape recognition, counting, writing, spelling simple words. But, they’ve also learned how to think critically, show compassion, imagine and share—all the life skills that make school sailings so much smoother.

‘‘ Just Ask a Mom

In the name of firsthand information, we decided to share the responses from Primrose moms in Cobb. Here are their insights, from one mom to another: On Character: “I’m absolutely confident that both my children are developing to their full potential

with Primrose, both academically and socially. My 4-year-old is writing his name and my 20-month-old is saying her ABC’s. What’s more, both are learning to treat people of all ages, cultures, and differences with respect.” —Dana Rohulich; mom to Henry, 4, and Madeline, 20 months, who attend Primrose School

at Brookstone.

On Reading: “Primrose did an amazing job preparing Mia for elementary school. In kindergarten, she was already reading on a second-grade level. And, it’s such a well-rounded program; she learned so many important character-building principles.” —Shanon Goode; mom to Mia, age 6, who attended Primrose

PRIMROSE SCHOOL AT BROOKSTONE 5250 Stilesboro Road Kennesaw, GA 30152 770-794-1651

PRIMROSE SCHOOL AT MACLAND POINTE 1815 Macland Road Marietta, GA 30064 770-425-0035 PRIMROSE SCHOOL AT OREGON PARK 3690 Largent Way Marietta, GA 30064 770-421-0369 PRIMROSE SCHOOL OF SPRAYBERRY 2531 East Piedmont Road Marietta, GA 30062 770-578-4832

School at Macland Pointe.

On Willingness to Learn: “I‘ve seen a HUGE difference in Spencer’s willingness to learn, as well as big strides in skills needed for the next level. He’s self-confident and excited to go to school each morning.”

—Cristy Kesling; mom to Spencer, age 4, who attends Primrose School at Brookstone. On Kindergarten Readiness: “The program Primrose uses to

prepare children for kindergarten is rock solid, and the Private Pre-K teachers at Primrose of Sprayberry are nothing short of fantastic. Our daughter has been incredibly well prepared for the year ahead.” —Meghan Wohlfarth; mom to Hannah, 4,

who attends Primrose School of Sprayberry.

The conclusion? We discovered that when you ask a mom how to prepare children for school, Primrose is a tool that they value, both for academics…and beyond. ●

To learn more about the programs at Primrose Schools and what moms are saying about them, visit R

summer 2011


adventure zones


Photography by Summer Adams

ADVE{NTURE 5 local kid-approved ideas



A Trip Back In Time THE ADVENTURE: Hop aboard the Historic Marietta Trolley for a bell-clanging

ride back in time. Choose a narrated daytime tour, or—if you have a spirited bunch—a nighttime “Scary-etta” ghost tour. Another fun option? Hitch a vintage-style ride on a pedicab! THE PARTY: The Historic Marietta Trolley Co. also offers birthday parties! Kids

start with a mini trolley tour, followed by a slew of customizable options: the Marietta Fire House Museum for a (free) tour, Marietta Pizza Co. for a slice, the Vineyard Café for a tea party, or The Brickyard for a private fête. Options abound…and so will the memories. THE PRICE: Trolley birthday parties typically range from $150-$275. Individual trolley tickets are $12 for

children 4-12; $18/student; $20/adult ($25 for Scary-etta). Children 0-3 are free. THE DISCOUNT: Mention this article when you book a party by 11/1/11, and receive $25 off the party. THE GUIDE: Historic Marietta Trolley Co., 131 Church Street, Marietta, 30060; 770-425-1006, www.marietta

Family Game Night THE ADVENTURE: Turn off the TV: it’s time for Family Game Night! First, head to The School Box for

the best family-friendly game selection. Our faves: BLURT! (ages 10+), a riotous game of rapid word recall; Spot It! (ages 6+), a matching game that takes speed and a sharp eye; and Yikerz! (ages 7+), a strategic game of magnets. Then, get ready for a night of unplugged family fun. SUPER SATURDAYS: Join The School Box for Super Saturdays! At every location from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on August 13, personalize your own ruler at Back-to-School Rules. And, on August 27: make your own puppet at Puppet Playtime. Best part? It’s free! THE DISCOUNT: Present this article by 11/1/11 and receive 20% off any one regularpriced item. Cannot be combined. THE GUIDE: Visit The School Box in East Cobb at 1205 Johnson Ferry Rd., Marietta,

30068; 770-578-4445, or The School Box in West Cobb at 50 E. Barrett Pkwy., Marietta; 770-422-2440. Visit

Explore the Arts THE ADVENTURE: Your kids can get their Glee on at Studio 4 the Arts, a brand-new performing arts

studio founded by Tammy Anthony, a long-time Cobb dance instructor. At Studio 4, kids explore dance, acting, voice and a full array of musical instruments with expert instructors—all under one roof! So, your daughter can take ballet and voice lessons. Or, your son can learn the guitar while your daughter takes 37

drama. Translation: One building, multiple opportunities for children ages 2 and up to discover their talents as part of an authentic arts community. THE DISCOUNT: Present this article by 11/1/11 to waive the $25 class registra-

tion fee. THE GUIDE: Fall registration begins August 15! Call 678-402-6991 or visit Located at 3210 Hopeland Industrial Dr., Powder

Springs, 30127.

Get Creative THE ADVENTURE: Corkscrews and Canvas is a locally owned paint-yourown-canvas studio where multiple generations can get creative together. The studio provides all the art supplies, an expert instructor, a cash bar stocked with adult beverages and soft drinks, and great music; you provide a group ready for an artistic adventure! Each family member will put a unique spin on their masterpiece—which, when hung together, create a very special collage. THE AGE RANGE: 3 ½ years and up; most daytime classes are designed for families. THE PRICE: $28-$38/person; private party rates

are also available. THE DISCOUNT: Present this article by 11/1/11 and receive $5 off any one class. THE GUIDE: Located at 800 Whitlock Avenue

in Marietta, near Gabriel’s Restaurant and Bakery. To register, visit www.CorkscrewsAnd or call 678-641-6151.

It’s Game Time! THE ADVENTURE: What happens when Brunswick

Zone XL merges with U.S. Play? You get a brand new facility—Brunswick Zone XL. We’re talking extra-large fun: 34 lanes for bowling, seven billiards tables, one giant arcade room, a lazer tag arena, a bar and grill, and a super-sized lounge to relax with your fam or catch the big game. Add special event rooms and cosmic bowling and you’ve got one ultra-cool family adventure. THE PRICE: Group event packages start as low

as $14.99. THE GUIDE: Located at 775 Cobb Place Blvd.,

Kennesaw, 30144. Call 770-427-7679 or visit ●

FAMILY ADVENTURE GIVEAWAY Win FOUR tickets to the incredible new Callaway Gardens Treetop Adventure! To enter, scan this QR code with your smartphone or visit www.blackdress

summer 2011


Available at:

wise words

worth � wait BY AMY MEADOWS



here’s no doubt that the final weeks of pregnancy are challenging. You’re feeling rather large (understatement), you’re pretty sure none of your internal organs are in the right place (your lungs may have dropped out completely), and you’re eager to finally meet the tiny person you’ve been carrying (it’s like Christmas Eve…for nine. long. months). To up the anticipation factor even more, everyone you know and love is hoping that the big day will coincide with their schedules, so they can be there. No pressure or anything. And so, the idea of inducing labor before your due date sounds quite appealing, especially since babies technically are considered to be full-term at 37 weeks. There’s nothing wrong with a little convenience, right? Well, before you open up Outlook to plan your early delivery, let’s delve into the facts. A COMPLICATED MATTER

“In non-emergency or non-medical situations, elective induction before 39 weeks is simply not in the best interest of the baby or the mother,” explains Paula Greaves, MD, who specializes in obstetrics and gynecology at WellStar Northwest Women’s Care, a practice that boasts the lowest cesarean section rates at WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, as well as the fewest number of babies who are sent to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). “In fact, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recently revised its labor induction guidelines and partnered with the March of Dimes to let patients know that elective induction prior to 39 weeks can increase the risk for complications,” she adds. For starters, babies born after an early elective induction are two to three times more likely to be sent to the NICU, according to Dr. Greaves. Some of those babies have respiratory issues, such as difficulty breathing because of immature lungs, while others have trouble maintaining their body temperature, cannot keep their oxygen saturation levels up, or are poor feeders.


increase the chances that you will be able to enjoy the entire process.


What’s more, mom’s health is also impacted. “Prior to 39 weeks, if a woman has not gone into labor, the cervix is not what we call ripe,” Dr. Greaves notes. Because the cervix is not ready to begin labor naturally, it may take days instead of hours leading up to the delivery. (Yes, that said days. Of labor.) And, Dr. Greaves continues, “The longer the induced labor, the higher the likelihood that a vaginal delivery will not happen and the mother will have to have a cesarean section.” A c-section is major surgery; the chance for infection is always a concern, and the recovery rate after the birth is slower. PROCEED WITH CAUTION

Of course, there are times when induction of labor is necessary, such as if you are post-term, or 42 weeks— or if you have medical conditions like gestational or chronic hypertension, preeclampsia, eclampsia, diabetes, premature rupture of membranes, or restricted fetal growth. Then, your doctor may feel that the baby will be better off outside of the womb than inside.



However, in the absence of serious medical issues, waiting until at least 39 weeks can make the labor and delivery process as trouble-free—and special—as possible. “You don’t want to miss out on even one minute of the joy that is the beginning of life,” Dr. Greaves concludes. “We want to see a healthy baby and a healthy mom who can bond immediately. When you wait until at least 39 weeks, you increase the chances that you will be able to enjoy the entire process.” A process that is, truly, worth the wait. ●

Dr. Greaves practices at WellStar Northwest Women’s Care, which has served Cobb County patients for more than 20 years. The practice is located at 833 Campbell Hill Street in Marietta, on the WellStar Kennestone campus. For more information, call 770528-0260 or visit

summer 2011


parenting adventures

MomsonCall shares the ins and outs of infant care w


hen I was pregnant, the most common comment I received from well-meaning passerby as they eyed my protruding belly was, “Life will never be the same.” This wasn’t said, mind you, with a youare-about-to-be-incredibly-blessed tone of joy, but rather with a prepareyourself-for-nuclear-fallout-you-aredoomed solemn nod.

bonus toddler tip: Does your toddler like to say “No” when you make a request? Avoid the urge to raise your voice to correct the behavior. Simply say, “Not ‘no.’ ‘Yes ma’am’ and do it.” Then, help them do what you have asked them to do. After


many repetitions, they will catch on!

Then, as I cradled my precious, miraculous son in the hospital after his birth, I shrugged off all of those doomsdayers. I mean, how hard could caring for this little love-bundle truly be? I had survived pregnancy through the summer months of Sweatlanta. I had made it through hours of labor and delivery. Motherhood, by comparison, was going to be the fun part. I was ready for the adventure. And then we brought him home. After the first few sleepless weeks, I realized one of the unfair realities of the universe: babies don’t come with instructions. Where was my user’s guide? My owner’s manual to tell me how to remove the batteries and stop the squawking? Nowhere to be found. Of course, there’s nothing novel about my experience. Most parents with newborns make the same jarring 3 a.m. discoveries, and we all stumble through somehow. But what if there was a way to make those first months easier—a sort of handbook of tips and wisdom to smooth the way? This is exactly what Laura Hunter, LPN, and Jennifer Walker, RN, BSN, two Atlanta-based pediatric nurse-moms, discovered was missing from the array of materials available to new parents. It all started when the pediatric office where the two ladies worked established an after-hours call service for parents (like first-time parents who hadn’t slept in 96 hours).


I was ready for the adventure. And then we brought him home...


“As we spoke with these parents, we noticed that what was lacking was more than just information—it was a voice that they could trust,” says Jennifer. “The voice of the mom wasn’t present—advice from one mom to another. We set out to help parents make choices based on truth instead of out of fear.” And so, in 2003, Jennifer and Laura launched Moms on Call—an in-home consultation service for parents of infants and toddlers. Now, they use their 20 years of combined experience—and eight children between them—to help parents acclimate to life as, well, parents. Before they knew it, word of their unique (and—eureka!—effective) techniques spread across the country, launching these two ladies onto a national platform. A book followed, The Moms on Call Guide to Basic Baby Care: The First Six Months, which includes a DVD with step-by-step instructions. They also invented an extra-large cotton swaddling blanket (hallelujah!) and launched a series of online classes sponsored by the American Safety Council, giving parents access to their advice at the click of a mouse.

Here, Laura and Jennifer share their top tips for getting a baby to sleep, establishing a routine, and managing the fussies for newborns and infants up to 12 months old. Read their tips, try them out… thank us later. Sleep Tight

A good, tight swaddle can mean the difference between a three-hour night and a six- to nine-hour night. Getting it right involves the way the swaddle is folded and also the size of the blanket; Jennifer and Laura recommend 44 x 44 inches. “Sleep is key for that little one, developmentally and physically in terms of their immune system, digestive system and more,” says Laura, who used her own experience as a mom to develop the proven swaddle technique they teach parents. Sound It Out

While the sound machines found in baby stores are often cute (and even cuddly), most aren’t loud enough. “White noise is effective because it helps get the brain to REM sleep and keep it there longer. In the womb, the white noise is between 70 and 90 decibels,” Jennifer explains. However, baby-specific sound machines don’t replicate that, so Moms on Call recommends using one for adults, like HoMedics or Conair.



to help be the happy, content babies we know they can be.

Get Set

One of the best things you can do for your baby is establish a regular routine of eating, playing and sleeping. By having a schedule, your infant will know what to expect and be rested and ready when the next feeding comes around. Of course, Jennifer observes, “There’s a balance between being so scheduled that you can’t enjoy life and being so flexible that your baby doesn’t know what’s happening.” A good general guideline to follow is the eat-playsleep routine: eat first, then play, then sleep. “For healthy babies, once breastfeeding is established (typically by about 2 weeks), the feedings should not take longer than 30 minutes. Bottle fed babies should feed in 15-30 minutes, depending on the weight and age of the baby. Then it’s a half hour of playtime,” Laura explains. “After that, if they are 3 months or younger, we swaddle them nice and snug, get that white noise going and put them down in the crib on their back for a good one-and-a-half to two hour nap.” Nighttime requires some extra finesse, which the ladies outline in practical detail in their online classes and book: pure gold for a new parent. Enjoy The Evenings

If your baby gets fussy in the evening, congratulations!—he’s completely normal. “Babies have a certain amount of energy that they have to release every day,” Jennifer says. “The evening fussies are the only way for them to release that energy before they are ready for a long stretch of sleep.” Channel that evening energy by working on tummy time or muscle development. And, if these tips aren’t enough to unearth you from the rubble of newborn nuclear fallout, Jennifer and Laura are here for you, just like they’ve been there for countless other newbies. “At the first level, our job is to partner with parents so they don’t feel alone. On the next level, it’s about offering no-nonsense, instructional information,” says Jennifer. Laura adds, “There are specific things we can do to build a foundation so that babies can sleep well, eat well, meet developmental milestones, and be the happy, content babies we know they can be”—proving what you knew all along: motherhood really is the fun part. ●

To learn more or to schedule an in-home consultation, contact Moms on Call at 678-653-1730 or visit summer 2011






my sþace


or our recent 10-year anniversary, my husband Graham planned a surprise date. I was told to wear a dress and be ready at 6:30. Romantic, right? Wrong. All day, I fretted about where we were going. I even called him for a hint. I know; I’m awful! He finally told me to chill and embrace the adventure. I guess “adventure” doesn’t come that naturally to me—although, looking back, my top-shelf memories all involve adventures: going on mission trips to Spain and Brazil, teaching my first class of fourth-graders, marrying Graham (that one was risky!), buying our first house, having our kids, launching this very magazine. Life, it seems, is best lived in the adventures. So that’s what this issue is all about: embracing the adventure. From planning the ultimate girl’s day to moving all the way to Italy—adventures big and small are celebrated within these pages. And, just for the record, I thoroughly enjoyed my anniversary adventure. He took me out for lobster, surprised me with diamonds, and made me 10 origami flowers that, when unfolded, recounted the highlights of each year together. I’m officially changing my position. I love adventures. PUBLISHING EDITOR ●

Children’s Photo Contest 2011

We are searching for Cobb’s cutest kids! GOT A CUTIE? To enter, simply e-mail one clear, candid (not professional) photo of your child (ages birth to 18) to by September 5. You can enter multiple children; just please submit ONE separate photo PER child. Photos will be posted on BlackDress and Facebook (first names only), so that friends and family can vote for your darling! The two winners (one birth to 3-years-old and one 4- to 18-years-old) will be photographed by the very talented Jennifer Harris and featured inside our holiday issue. They will also each receive prizes from The School Box, Love Street at Cedarcrest, Studio 4 the Arts, Aqua-Tots Swim Schools, Miss Priss Tutus, Vintage Couture by Amy Anderson, and Jen Harris Photography. The mamas of the winning kiddies will each receive prizes from PearTree Interiors & Gifts, the honeybee, Challise & Company Hair|Skin|Body, Simply Stamped jewelry, Michele McKinney of Biltmore Inspirations, and Priti Patel with Stella & Dot. Woot woot for loot!! AND—we are partnering with Stacey Perlino of Kids II, an Atlanta-based toy company, to find models for their national product packaging. So, your child could get “discovered”…even if they don’t win the contest! FOR FULL CONTEST DETAILS, VISIT

summer 2011


for � Cobb mom


NEW PARENT ADVENTURES: Answers from Moms on Call

plan a local FAMILY


se TO e CO p N .4 TE 2 ST




Ch il

Meet Maryum Goodwin:

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Little Black Dress | Little Red Wagon Summer Issue 2011  
Little Black Dress | Little Red Wagon Summer Issue 2011  

Little Black Dress | Little Red Wagon Summer Issue 2011