Lake Norman CURRENTS Magazine December 2023

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Beck Bags

Home-Grown Fashion

Senior Softball Step up to the plate

‘Cottage’ Industry

Lakefront authentic meets eclectic

Special Section:


Everything but Ordinary From the owner of Barrel & Fork, comes a brand-new seafood concept with a purposeful lean towards the romance of the 70’s in Savannah with a coastal ethos of seasonality, vibe, and true southern hospitality. With Northeastern attention to seafood, sustainability, and a robust raw bar, we invite you to a thoughtfully presented menu that is delicate yet approachable. The space has an unapologetic energy, for some a little noisy for others completely infectious. An evening out should be driven by the entire experience; with world-class hospitality, a culinary approach to cocktails, and a savory menu that promotes humble ingredients with a sophisticated touch. Cheers!

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Barbi Dellinger Lincolnton

Tonya Shook Hickory

Logan Canipe Lincolnton



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The magazine by and for the people who call Lake Norman home


Holiday memories (and trees) loom large It’s not very often that I get to interact much with our advertisers. That’s mostly by choice, as I’m a firm believer in that bright line that should exist between the editorial and the sales sides of the house. And it’s also partly by necessity – I’m okay at the writing stuff, but if I had to earn my keep through my sales prowess ... well, let’s just say it would probably be the most effective diet I’ve ever tried. I would truly starve.

MacAdam Smith

Advertising Director Sharon Simpson

Advertising Sales Executives

But for this month’s issue, I had the chance to get a brief peek into the personal lives of several of our long-time supporters, and I allowed myself the indulgence of blurring that line just a little bit. We invited them to share with us a cherished holiday memory or tradition to help us all get in the spirit of the season, and it resulted in some quick, fun phone conversations about everything from Krispy Kreme doughnuts to train rides through the western North Carolina mountains.

Carole Lambert

Beth Packard

If you’re looking for a jump start to your holiday mood, take a minute to breeze through their stories starting on Page 30. It’s a collection of sometimes wistful, sometimes funny, but always heartfelt anecdotes from folks we often only see through the two-dimensional prism of a print advertisement. They may very well be successful business professionals in their own right, but as it turns out, they’re just regular folks like us whose recollections of holidays passed look and sound an awful lot like our own. Nadine Wynn’s story about her family’s regular trips to Linville Falls to cut down their own Christmas tree immediately took me back to memories of a similar tradition in my home as a teenager living in southern Vermont. Every mid-December, my dad and me would wander into the woods around our house to find the perfect specimen. And when I say “perfect,” I mean the tree that would be most likely to elicit a groan and a headshake from my mom when we tried to wedge the behemoth through the back door and into the living room. They got bigger and bigger each year, and thanks to the room’s two-story ceiling, we took it as a personal challenge to see just what we could get away with before she shut down our plans. Turns out we finally succeeded in dropping the tree to end all trees on her last nerve. This had to have been 40 years ago, but the memory of it for my dad and I remains quite vivid. The thing was so large that we couldn’t carry it but instead had to draaaag that sucker out of the woods, across part of the golf course that backed up to our property and eventually rode it – yeah, you read that right, we rode it – down a snow-covered hill that ended at our gravel driveway. There was about a half-mile-long trail of pine needles that ended in our living room, where we had to wire the tree to the walls since the tree stand wouldn’t support it and my tree-climbing cat wouldn’t stay out of it (and to keep its now bare backside to the corner of the room). All these years later, I’m happy to report that my mother is still speaking to both of us (against her better judgement), and that time and tolerance have led to tamer trees in both our homes. But as I write this, I’m kinda eyeballing my living room ceiling. You know, I think at its peak it’s got to be at least 15 feet high. Hmmm.

— LH

Lori Helms Editor



This just in ... #giveaway Follow us on social media to get in on some great new giveaways we will feature. At least three local businesses will offer prizes each month (at least a $25 value). Make sure you “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram to get in on the fun, fortune and maybe a little bit of fame.

Trisha Robinson

Event Coordinator Alison Smith

Social Media Specialist Lauren Platts

Design & Production idesign2, inc

Contributing Writers

Trevor Burton Kathy Dicken Mickey Dunaway Vanessa Infanzon Karel Bond Lucander Bek Mitchell-Kidd Jennifer Mitchell Allie Spencer

Contributing Photographers Jon Beyerle Lisa Crates






About the Cover: Interior decorator Michelle McKoy offers some holiday decorating ideas in this month’s “Dwellings” section. Photography by Lisa Crates

CHANNEL MARKERS Movers, shakers and more at the lake



Best of the Lake Spotlight


Bet You Didn’t Know


Glass Menagerie


Live Like a Native


Moment in Time


Limitless Learning

A section for LKN residents 55+

Home, Heart & Soul

Beck Bags in Mooresville

Local ways to celebrate the season



Friends and artists ‘grow’ together

To EV or not to EV

Executor - things to consider



Game On


Holiday Memories & Traditions

Senior softball fills the fields


Weekend Getaway High Point caters to all abilities

Nothing says the holidays like ...


Your Best Life

Understanding statins



DINE + WINE Eating, drinking, cooking and fun

34 DWELLINGS How we live at the lake



Wine Time


Tasty Bits


Nibbles + Bites


On Tap

Authentic & Eclectic

Home for the holidays on the lakefront

Lake Norman CURRENTS is a monthly publication available through direct-mail home delivery to the most affluent Lake Norman residents. It also is available at area Harris Teeter supermarkets, as well as various Chambers of Commerce, real estate offices and specialty businesses. The entire contents of this publication are protected under copyright. Unauthorized use of any editorial or advertising content in any form is strictly prohibited. Lake Norman CURRENTS magazine is wholly owned by Oasis Magazines, Inc.



Super Tuscans to the rescue

Slow Cooker Asian Short Ribs

Acqua Ragazza in Mooresville

Eleven Lakes Brewing Company

Mission Statement: Lake Norman CURRENTS magazine will embody the character, the voice and the spirit of its readers, its leaders and its advertisers. It will connect the people of Lake Norman through inspiring, entertaining and informative content, photography and design; all of which capture the elements of a well-lived life on and around the community known as Lake Norman. | DECEMBER 2023







Please visit us online at






All Specials Expire December 31st, 2023



704- 235-6800 209 WEST PLAZA DR. Mooresville NC 28117 M-F 8:00am-8:00pm Sat 8:00am-4:00pm

West P

laza D


t Rd


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Across from Randy Marion Chevrolet | DECEMBER 2023




Channel Markers

Movers, Shakers, Style, Shopping, Trends, Happenings and More at Lake Norman

Photograph courtesy Beck on Broad

It’s in the bag at Beck on Broad. | DECEMBER 2023


BEST OF THE LAKE NORMAN CURRENTS AWARD WINNER Editor’s Note: Each month we will feature one of the Best of the Lake Norman CURRENTS Award Winners and share a little more behind-the-scenes info with our readers!

Home, Heart & Soul

by Lori Helms photography provided by Lori Savio

The boutique’s selection of personal, heartfelt gift options is nearly endless. Lori Savio loves welcoming customers to her beautiful boutique, freshly decorated for the holidays.

Before your eyes can even begin to take in everything that Home, Heart & Soul has to offer, the first thing you notice when you walk in is the calming aroma of scented candles. Shop owner and interior decorator Lori Savio says she loves watching her customers walk in and experience that very moment. You take a deep breath, the tension in your neck and shoulders lets up a little bit at a time and just like that, whatever the world had decided to pile on you for the day is briefly lifted. That experience is just one of the many reasons our readers voted Home, Heart & Soul in Cornelius “Best Gift Shop” for our 2023 Best of Lake Norman CURRENTS Awards. “What I wanted to create was a place for people to come to just relax,” says Savio, “to take them away from whatever might be going on in their life. That, to me, is everything.” Mission accomplished. Of course, the fact that her boutique fills every nook and cranny of a charming historic home on Cornelius’ east side doesn’t hurt. “It’s extremely inviting,” she says. “It gives you just that warm sense when you enter.” Savio carries several home décor lines that she has an exclusive with, meaning you won’t see such items in any other stores. And it’s always 18


changing, she says, regularly offering something new to look at – much of it created by local artisans. “I have always geared things toward items that will inspire others,” she says, whether you’re looking for a gift for someone celebrating a life event or going through a difficult time. She even offers a curated bridal registry that draws from some of the unique lines she carries. And if it’s your home’s interior that needs some inspiration or perhaps a complete makeover, Savio can help with that, too. With decades of interior decorating and design experience, she can provide clients with a customized plan thanks to an extensive selection of furniture, fabrics, window treatments and accessories – samples of which can all be experienced in the boutique’s upstairs design studio. But a very recent decision Savio made means her studio will not be relegated to the upstairs much longer. Starting in January 2024, Savio’s transition from a retail venue to a full-service decorating and design destination will be complete. To work through that transition, her entire boutique inventory will be on sale through Dec. 24 at 40% off – perfect timing for your holiday shopping. Home, Heart & Soul is at 20901 Catawba Avenue in Cornelius. Learn more at or call 704.892.4743.

Providing More Than Beautiful Smiles

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CHANNEL MARKERS - Bet You Didn’t Know

Beck Bags are available in a variety of sizes, styles and bold colors.

Home-Grown & Fashion-Forward Here’s a pop quiz for you ... what do some of the most popular designer handbags in the fashion industry have in common with a small storefront on Mooresville’s Broad Street? Would you believe, everything? It’s true. Beck Bags – one of the hottest handbag lines that’s carried in about 300 retail stores worldwide – can claim Beck on Broad as home. The women’s apparel and accessory boutique has the rear part of the store dedicated to showcasing some of the more popular colors and styles of Beck Bags. It’s a very cool little secret, says Ozzy Ojito. He’s the boutique’s co-owner and husband to Beck Moose, the creative genius and engine behind the handbags. “A lot of people are shocked when they find out that this luxury brand is based in Mooresville,” says Ojito. The town’s name is likely not well known by the fans of Beck Bags around the world, certainly not readily rolling off the tongues of shoppers in Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan or Latin America. Heck, the fledgling bag line itself was not well known to Ojito until Moose broke the news to him – months into its conceptual and design phase. “I’ve been a handbag junky my entire life, but there was always something that was a problem for me,” she says. “I either didn’t like the interior, or didn’t like the leather, the hardware fell off ... there was always something wrong.” 20


A handbag’s humble beginnings by Lori Helms photographs courtesy Beck on Broad

So putting together her years of experience working as a fashion photographer on runways around the world and the connections that afforded her, back in 2017 she slowly began piecing together the foundation of what would become a wildly successful business based on what she believed to be the perfect bag. Keeping her idea under wraps while she sketched out ideas, found a pattern maker, found a leather provider, selected colors and built her online presence, it wasn’t until several months into the planning that she broke the news to Ojito. It was time to start paying for samples to be manufactured and she thought he ought to know where the checks were going. “I want to start a handbag line,” she told him, pulling up her Instagram account and website to show him her concepts. “And, oh yeah, I’ve already been doing it.” He was an instant fan, immediately jumping on board to help find a production site, and the first Beck Bags “landed” in March 2018. Her connections in the fashion industry continued to pay off, with some of the biggest names as her most ardent supporters. The line now boasts multiple styles in a beautiful, bold color pallet, available around the world ... or just around the corner in Mooresville. “It’s been just this crazy journey,” says Beck. Find your Beck Bag at Beck on Broad, 106 N. Broad Street in Mooresville, online at or follow the brand on Instagram @beck.bags.


protecting our LKN community with


CLEAN OUT YOUR GUTTERS: Clogged gutters with leaves and debris that cannot drain can lead to water damage by flowing into your foundation, siding, walls, and ceilings. Coverage for this type of water damage is not typically covered by your Homeowner’s insurance. CHECK YOUR HEATING SYSTEM: Clean the area around the unit and clean the outside coils with a mild detergent. If you suspect any issues, have your heating system professionally serviced. Replace your air filters to keep it running like a champ during the season change. TRIM DEAD TREE LIMBS: High winds or the weight of snow and ice can cause large tree branches or entire trees to fall on your home. This could result in significant damage to your roof, deck, or windows, or with a tree lying in your yard. While your homeowner’s policy will cover if a live tree falls on your home, it typically will not cover if the tree is dead. REPAIR YOUR ROOF: Repair any roof damage, leaks, or holes. Snow is heavy, and when it melts, that water will have to go somewhere. Snow ice buildup on your roof can cause major problems, such as snowmelt seeping into your roof, walls, and ceilings, or the less likely incident, though still possible, an actual roof collapse. WINTERIZE YOUR POOL: To extend the life of your pool, deep clean the pool, check and balance PH and alkalinity levels, shock your pool, add winterizing treatment, lower the water level, remove pool accessories, drain pool pump, winterize pool plumbing, and cover the pool for the winter. MAINTAIN YOUR FIREPLACE: Clean your fireplace weekly to reduce ash buildup and get your chimney and fireplace professionally inspected. Never restrict air supply by closing the glass doors, failing to open the damper enough, or burning unseasoned wood. Always use a fireplace screen. WINTERIZE YOUR PIPES: If your interior pipes are vulnerable to freezing, when water freezes and expands, it could end up bursting your pipes. This could lead to water leaking, spraying, or even flooding into your home. You could end up with damage to your personal property and/or end up with structural damage to your home. Insulate the pipes, seal air leaks, and use heat tapes to help prevent bursting.

Zachary Fogle-Sizemore

Personal Lines CSR

(704) 875-3060

With 16 years of experience at the agency, Zachary is able to assist our clients with their policy changes and billing inquiries. | DECEMBER 2023


e t a r b Cele

CHANNEL MARKERS - live like a native

the Season

Few things are more magical than the holidays at Lake Norman. We’ve highlighted a few must-dos that are sure to help you and yours ring in the spirit of the season.

Dashing through the Snow

Because everyone loves a parade

Huntersville Half Marathon & Holiday 5k (Dec. 8-9): The popular race starts at Birkdale Village and is a two-day event with more options for locals to run the roads they love. The 5k will be held Dec. 8 at 7 p.m.; half marathon/10k will be Dec. 9, 8 a.m. www.

41st Annual North Mecklenburg Holiday Parade (Dec. 2): The parade starts in Davidson at 1 p.m., on N.C. Highway 115 (Old Statesville Road) at the intersection with Griffith Street and ends in Cornelius at the intersection with Catawba Avenue. At the conclusion of the parade, head back to Davidson to enjoy the Merry Main Street Tricycle Race in which four-person trike teams sponsored by Davidson businesses race through an obstacle course down Main Street. Admission to all events is free.

For those who like to stay active during the holidays, Lake Norman offers plenty of one-of-kind races and activities.

The Flashlight Candy Cane Dash (Dec. 9): For the littles ages 2-10. After the dash enjoy a visit from Santa, hot chocolate, holiday crafts and more. Pre-registration and your own flashlight required. The dash will be from 5:45 to 7 p.m., at James Hoyt Wilhelm Park. Registration is free for Cornelius residents, or $3 for non-residents. To register, visit Birkdale on Ice (Now – Jan. 28): Lace-up your skates and glide into the holiday spirit. Make reservations in advance to ensure your skating timeslot. Walk-ups are welcome, but not guaranteed. Duration of time slots is 75 minutes. Prices and times vary. Birkdale Village, 8712 Lindholm Drive, Huntersville.

Celebrate with the Animals

Because animals make everything more festive, the Lake has two experiences that are fan-favorites every season. Zootastic Christmas Wonderland of Lights (Now – Jan. 1): Drive through more than four million Christmas lights. Add-ons for an additional fee include giraffe feeding, carousel ride and more. Event typically runs Sunday-Thursday, 6-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 6-10 p.m. Visit website for all dates and times. 385 Ostwalt Amity Road, Troutman. Santa Paws in the Park (Dec. 3): Bring the family to this fun pet-loving event. Your pup can enjoy a visit with Santa, and you can shop for unique dog gifts from local vendors. Noon-2 p.m. Robbins Park, Cornelius.



Come by foot or by boat — if you have a wave, there’s a parade for you at Lake Norman.

Lake Norman Christmas Lighted Boat Parade (Dec. 16): The parade starts at Blythe Landing in Huntersville, then floats to Ramsey Creek Park and ends at the Duke Energy Explorium. Each of the parks will be open until 30 minutes after the parade has passed each location. At Duke Energy Explorium, enjoy food trucks and a visit from Santa. Organizers request participants bring unwrapped toys as a donation to Little Smiles. 5:30-7 p.m. events/103726386134240/

Not to be Missed

Huntersville Tree Lighting and 150th Anniversary Celebration — Christmas in Huntersville (Dec. 2): Be a part of history when the Town of Huntersville reveals the 150th anniversary time capsule. Other activities include rides, ice sculpting, holiday performances on stage, Carolers of Christmas Past, balloon artists, pictures with Santa and local vendors. Admission is free. Veteran’s Park, 2-8 p.m. www. The Menorah Lighting at Birkdale Village (Dec. 7): Help light up the night. Guests are invited to the Parkway to celebrate Chanukah with a traditional Menorah lighting ceremony, children’s crafts, donuts, latkes, gelt and more. Friends from Chabad of Lake Norman will also have special goodies for guests. 5:30 p.m. A Classic Christmas in Downtown Mooresville (Dec. 8): Wagon rides, visits with Santa, Victorian carolers, a synthetic ice-skating rink, live performances, two life-sized snow globes, hot cocoa, an animated projected lightshow and more. 5 p.m., in downtown Mooresville.

e m o H r u o Y e l y t S TRENDS + STYLE

For the Holidays

[3] [4]


All of these items can be purchased at:

[1] [2]

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1. Stag Bowl $159 2. Decorative Trees - $39 and up

3. Ornaments - $7 and up 4. Potted Amaryllis - $149

5. Charcuterie Boards - $46 and up | DECEMBER 2023


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suits The Back Room, LLC is extremely proud to have been serving the patrons of Historic Downtown Mooresville and it’s surrounding areas since 2015.


We are Iredell County’s Tuxedo Sales and Rental Headquarters, helping young men with their Prom attire, as well as providing wedding couples with their needs for The Groom and his gentlemen on their special day. The clothing you see represented here will take you from the boardroom, to perhaps a business casual meeting, or to a Friday night football game. We are a full-service menswear boutique. We have offerings from both Italian and French designers and a selection of stock that will rival big box stores. You will receive a tailor fit experience when shopping with us. Our attention to detail will distinguish you between the dressed man and The Well-Dressed Man! We are proud to have had the distinguished honor of being chosen Men’s Best Boutique in Currents Magazine.‘s Best of The Lake Awards for 3 of the last 4 years. We pledge to continue our reputation of offering quality clothing at FAIR, AFFORDABLE, prices! So Gentlemen, stop by and up your wardrobe game. Ladies, come in to purchase gifts that will insure the men in your life are on this year’s Best Dressed List. We will be expecting you….. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to one and all! Eddie Wheeler, Owner


704-664-1424 119 N. Main St. Suite 102 Historic Downtown Mooresville | DECEMBER 2023


Batter Up!




Senior softball is going strong

Whether you’re in it just to get moving or you’re in it to win it all, there’s a place for you in Huntersville’s senior softball leagues.

by Lori Helms photography by Jon Beyerle

Like so many who now call the Lake Norman area home, Ralph Lambert moved here in his retirement years to be closer to his sons and their families. It was 2005 when he landed here from his native Pittsburgh, and at the age of 75, he had hoped to be able to continue with his love for playing softball. While his newly adopted hometown of Cornelius had much to offer, what he couldn’t find were any senior softball leagues. But that was soon to change. Calling on his experience in Pittsburgh years prior when he created a successful senior softball league sporting 23 teams, he quickly developed a strong, local following of players. He and a tightly knit core of original enthusiasts eventually turned their attention to the Cornelius and Huntersville parks and recreation departments for their support in formally organizing to help manage play format and field space, and the rest, as they say, is history. Today, the Town of Huntersville’s Ralph Lambert Senior Softball League hosts two divisions for players aged 50 and older to accommodate those looking for either recreational play (the Cactus Division) or a more competitive emphasis (the Frank Harris Division). With play programmed at R.C. Bradford Park’s fields in the spring and fall, there are as many as 15 or more teams available at any given time. Some play Tuesday mornings and some play Wednesday evenings depending on age and skill levels, but what’s obvious is they all play for the sense of community and companionship the league has created.

Quenton Thompkins, manager for the team sponsored by Southern Homes this fall, says he originally heard about the league from a friend, and found himself as the youngest one playing at the time when he joined a few years ago. “The thing that stands out is the camaraderie,” he says. “We’re just a bunch of people from all different backgrounds and life experiences, and when we’re here, we just leave the worries of the world outside the gates.” It’s a sentiment shared by Rick Carter. He describes himself as part of a core group of players that have been involved in the league for quite a while. He’s played in it for 15 years and couldn’t agree more with Thompkins. “It’s a great community effort,” says Carter, with players from so many different walks of life who come together purely for the love of the game and a bit of a timeout from life’s daily grind. “It’s one of those places where all that stuff just fades aside.” Getting involved couldn’t be simpler. Players can sign up individually (no need to organize your own team, as other adult leagues often require), and staff with Huntersville’s parks and rec department hold a skills assessment that helps them build co-ed teams that are as fair and balanced as possible. Above all, safety is paramount when putting teams together, says Huntersville’s Athletic Superintendent Ben Benshoof. | DECEMBER 2023



Where the OLD is the new NEW

Oh Chri st m a s t r e e , Oh Chri st m a s t r e e ,

More female players are always needed for Huntersville’s senior softball league.


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There are some players who are more than capable of hitting powerful line drives, so it’s imperative that there isn’t a less skilled or much older player on the receiving end of that. Whether you’re looking for a new way to stay active or still scratching that itch as a competitive player, Benshoof says the league has a place for everyone, for whatever the reason. “We make sure the league rules and structure allow for any player to have the chance to play,” he says. “For example, if you can only swing the bat, but physically cannot run the bases, we have a rule that allows someone to run for you.” He’s apparently on to something, as during the most recent season, the league’s oldest player was 89 years old. And he emphasizes that all the teams are co-ed, and they’re always looking for more female players. “We want to provide an activity for seniors to stay active and healthy,” says Benshoof. Registration for the 2024 season begins in January, so if your goal for the coming year includes adding to your social calendar or activity level, there’s never been a better time to step up to the plate.

More information and league registration are available on the town’s website at, or call 704.875.6541.




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Holiday Memories from some local favorites!

Maria Tobin Allen Tate Lake Norman

Everyone remembers their child’s first Christmas, especially the effort that goes into making it a special family memory. Even though this happened 25 years ago, you can hear in Maria Tobin’s voice and laugh that the memory of picking out the family’s first live Christmas tree is as crystal clear as if it happened earlier this morning. She says it was in December 1998, when her son was just nine months old, that as a family they were going to pick out their first live Christmas tree. That day happened to coincide with the annual Army-Navy football game, and with a U.S. Naval Academy grad for a husband, she remembers it being a fun day (“almost like a national holiday in our house”) with her son dressed in his little Navy sweatshirt and ready for that Kodak moment at the Christmas tree lot. “I was so excited,” Tobin says about that day after getting the tree home. “We get it in the stand, and a few minutes later, my husband says, ‘I can’t breathe.’” She says he started gasping for air, and all she could figure out was that it was an allergic reaction to the tree. That’s when the Super Mom powers kicked in. “I yanked that tree up – I think it might have still been in the stand – and I’m running through the house with it, needles everywhere, and I throw it in the driveway,” she says, laughing at the image of the whole ordeal clearly still seared into her memory. She quickly offered the culprit to her neighbor for free – minus a few needles. “And we’ve had artificial trees ever since.”

Mark Mosayebi has been an integral part of the team at Lake Norman Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Cornelius for more than 20 years now, but prior to that, he had another pursuit. “I used to bowl for a living,” he says, which goes a long way toward explaining his family’s fun take on a Christmas Eve holiday tradition. Each year for about the past seven years, they’ve enjoyed a night of bowling at their favorite spot in Mooresville, Victory Lanes. The group includes his wife, his young son (who has a birthday just a few days after Christmas) and his wife’s parents who visit from Tennessee each year and stay for about a week. Mosayebi says Victory Lanes is just the perfect spot – it’s family-friendly (including automatic bumpers for the kids) and has great options for food and drink, with a sports bar and full restaurant. “It’s gorgeous,” he says, “it’s a state-of-the-art bowling center.”

Nadine Wynn Team Nadine Keller Williams

Mark Mosayebi LN Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram

“One of the fun things I’ve done with my kids was going up to the mountains to cut down your own tree,” says Nadine Wynn. She’s certainly not alone in that sentiment, as many Lake Norman dwellers have been known to take advantage of how close we are to some great mountain spots and Christmas tree farms. Wynn says that for about five years running, they would make the trip up to Linville Falls for an overnight adventure to pick out that year’s tree – a tradition that she says definitely puts you in the holiday mood. “We’d have warm apple cider and listen to Christmas music while we decorated the tree, with a roaring fireplace in the background,” Wynn says. Time has marched on and the tree-cutting tradition is a memory now that her children are grown, but listening to her tell it, it’s clearly a fond one. “When I think back, those were the funnest times I shared with my daughter before she went off to college,” she says. “It was such a blast.”

My favorite Christmas memory is waking up in both of my grandparents’ homes (we alternated Christmases between them) on Christmas morning, knowing I was loved beyond measure, smelling breakfast cooking, not having to go out and work on something (they both had farms) and anticipating what Santa Claus may have left … which was never a disappointment. Just like a Rockwell drawing! Most of those folks are gone now, but the impression they left lives on and I try to model it for my kids and grandchild.

Bob McIntosh The McIntosh Law Firm

Dr. Michael Foran Carolina Oral and Facial Surgery


All aboard! It wouldn’t be the Christmas season in Dr. Michael Foran’s home without a trip on the Polar Express train with his family. The departure point for the trip has changed over the years, but the tradition he enjoys with his two children remains – story time, hot cocoa and a trip to the North Pole for a visit with Santa. It’s all offered by the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in Bryson City, North Carolina, which hosts themed train rides based on the classic children’s book “The Polar Express.” Foran says the tradition began as an easy day trip for the book-themed ride offered by the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer (less than an hour each way from most Lake Norman towns), but for the last several years, his family has enjoyed the ride offered out of Bryson City. He says it’s a nice ride that runs alongside the Tuckasegee River, traveling to the “North Pole” to pick up Santa Claus while passengers listen to or read along with the story. As the trip to Bryson City is a bit further than Spencer (about three hours one way), his family makes it an overnight or weekend getaway that may or may not involve a stop or two at a favorite brewery along the way. And travel is definitely a Christmastime theme for the Forans, who like to add to their Christmas tree decorating with ornaments from each trip they take. Whether it was to the beach, the mountains or an amusement park, it’s all there on the tree for reminiscing. “It’s kind of cool,” he says. “We pull all these ornaments out each year, and it reminds us of a trip we took or just something fun that we did together.”


“Just taking it easy, spending time with family.” That’s what comes to mind when Alex Holbrook talks about his favorite Christmas memories and traditions – and it’s likely something we all strive for but may not always achieve. The holidays can be extremely busy times, especially when you are a business owner like Holbrook. As a couple, he and his wife, Caitlin, have found a way to take it easy and spend time with both of their families by splitting the holidays – Thanksgiving with hers in Tennessee and Christmas here in the Lake Norman area with his. “We used to do gifts on Christmas Eve,” Holbrook says about holidays growing up, and it’s a tradition he says they continue to this day. The idea was to have the excitement of exchanging and opening gifts the night before, and then Christmas Day was more laid back – a time to take it slow, play with or enjoy their new presents and just be together as a family. Oh, and there’s one more tradition that has survived all these years. Not a Christmas Eve goes by without watching National Lampoon’s “Christmas Vacation” – which is waaay better than a one-year membership to the Jelly of the Month Club. Just sayin’.

Jamie Ottinger Express Employment Professionals

Alex Holbrook Lazer Engraving Specialists

Having a sister my age only much smaller, and two other slightly older siblings just 22 months apart, and then my big bro’ five years older, opening gifts on Christmas morning was chaos and it was great! For my sisters, it was always dolls and accessories. For me, I wanted what my brothers had or some scientific or interactive thing. My most memorable gift I received was a “Simon Says” toy, because I never got the telescope I really wanted. But we can’t stay young forever. Families slowly fracture over time with graduations, jobs, growth, weddings and babies, but thankfully my parents ensured that Thanksgiving and Christmas would always be perfect for us – until Christmas 2018, when it was better than perfect. In preparation for dinner-prayer we each held hands, grandkids too, and encircled my dad to listen to one of his usual humble and thankful prayers. But this prayer was different, it was a proclamation. He was prepping us for what was to come, as his body was battling the curse of congestive heart failure. “It’s family that’s most important,” were his words and message. What a special reminder; a special memory to me, indeed.

The holiday season is always such a busy time of year working in the jewelry industry, but my family and I always try to prioritize a few special traditions. One of my favorites is making the drive to McAdenville to visit “Christmas Town USA.” The kids get hot cocoa, we turn on holiday music and we drive through the town to see all the beautiful lights and decorations. While in the store, I love the energy that the holidays bring. Getting to see friends and clients, and hearing the updates about their lives, is always a joy this time of year.

Christopher DiPietro Fink’s Jewelers

Christy Walker Christy Walker and Associates

It’s not unusual for a Christmas memory to involve some kind of food – a home-cooked turkey, someone’s secret pecan pie recipe, the sweets left in stockings hung above the fireplace. But here’s a memory courtesy of Christy Walker that anyone who has lived in the South for at least five minutes can appreciate. When Walker was a young teenager and living in Los Angeles, her family would travel to North Carolina every Christmas to visit her grandparents in Hickory. And every year, she and her cousins would look forward to a visit from that special guy who always came bearing gifts. No, not that guy, not at all. Even better. “Every Christmas Eve, we would wait on my uncle, who was the very first manager of the Krispy Kreme in Winston-Salem,” Walker says. “My cousins and I would wait up until midnight – after he got off his shift at 11 p.m. He would immediately drive to Hickory with his blue Mustang just filled with his treats ... every one of us would get our very own one dozen, hot savory donuts, fresh off the conveyor belt.” It was quite the event, she says. They would run out to his car, grab their donuts then dive back into their sleeping bags strategically located near the heat register where they could hear their parents in the basement preparing gifts for Christmas morning – giggling and eating donuts the entire time. And yes, if the parents had been really good that year, they got donuts of their very own, too.

When our girls were six and three, we traveled to Costa Rica over winter break, with plans to celebrate Christmas Day in Punta Leona on the western shore. As a family, we agreed the trip was everyone’s Christmas present and did our best to pack lightly. The trip was an adventure across the country, just the four of us in a rental Jeep with no technology and very little Spanish. From misty rainforests and steaming volcanoes to raucous flocks of scarlet macaws and spritely Jesus Christ Lizards, the memories of this Christmas vacation remain vivid, even 12 years later. We were enchanted by giant frogs in hot springs, monkey families and sloths in the branches around us and the friendly mystery lizard who lived in our Jeep. As the days grew closer to Christmas, the girls began to share concerns about being in such a foreign place. How would Santa know where to find them? On Christmas Eve, we enjoyed exploring the jungle and Tarcoles River with 18’ crocodiles swimming alongside our barebones riverboat. That evening back in our little room, we hung up long socks on the dresser and retrieved a batch of magic reindeer munch we’d brought from home. We sprinkled a trail of the irresistible treat to our doorstep, sang carols and told Christmas stories before bedtime. The next morning, as the sunrise streamed in, the girls were delighted to see the socks now bulging with treats and knew Santa had found his way after all.

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Dwellings How We Live at the Lake

Photography by Lisa Crates

Interior designer and decorator Michelle McKoy has some holiday ideas to share with you at her newly renovated Mooresville home. | DECEMBER 2023




Above, McKoy’s kitchen tree is a study in copper, gold, silver and chocolate-colored ornaments. Right, one of five silly critters McKoy has scattered throughout the cottage.




c i t c e Ecl Home for the holidays at a lakefront cottage by Lori Helms photography by Lisa Crates

I have to admit, driving up to Michelle McKoy’s lakefront home in Mooresville somehow took me back to my childhood. No, I didn’t grow up on a lake. And no, as my North Carolina native husband will attest, I most assuredly was not raised in the South.

Interior designer and decorator Michelle McKoy at her recently renovated lakefront cottage in Mooresville.

But there was something about her home’s remoteness on the Brawley School Road peninsula — how it was tucked among towering pines and how the road leading up to it turned to gravel. For just a moment, I could have been in a small town in southern Vermont’s Green Mountains, walking up the long gravel road to our house after school on an autumn afternoon, fallen leaves crunching underfoot. It was a step back in time, much like her late 1960s-era cottage built not long after Lake Norman was formed. | DECEMBER 2023



But that reverie ended immediately after stepping through her front door. This was not my childhood home’s mudroom for storing ski gear and snow-soaked clothing, and the flocked wallpaper and shag carpet were nowhere to be found. This was a transformation to behold – the bones of a 55-year-old home completely redone and rejuvenated with a 21st century sense of style. “We wanted to give it a little bit of a modern feel, but keep the flavor of the house,” McKoy says of the home’s complete renovation, and nowhere is that more evident than in the transformation of the kitchen. “This (room) was turned in eight weeks ... a total gut job down to the studs,” she says. Safe to say, her goal to mix authentic with a modern feel is a success.

Above, traditional red and green touches adorn a guestroom (along with a mustached and monocled rabbit), as well as the living room with its rustic tree.



The modern touches include the metal detail in the upper cabinetry, the sleek wood feature above the range, the high-end appliances and the Taj Mahal quartzite on the large peninsula bar. But details as small as the aged brass pulls for the drawers and lower cabinetry keep that authenticity of an older home, as does the extensive mill work on the board and batten walls and shiplap ceiling that she made sure to preserve. That attention to maintaining a lake cottage feel while incorporating modern touches shows throughout the home – so much so that McKoy received two of her three recent Lake Norman Home Builders Association “Best of the Lake” awards for projects in the cottage. An old bathroom that was converted into a laundry room and the re-do of her primary bathroom received awards for best residential interior design in the less than $25,000 and $25,000$49,000 categories, respectively.

The mix of nostalgia and whimsical also extends to her living room, which features pops of traditional red and green to go with the more rustic feel to the Christmas tree. It stands in a wooden box and features oversized jingle bells and gold and brown ribbon paired with adorable mice ornaments and colorful teal and silver balls. “I’m very eclectic,” she says. “There are a lot of new pieces in my house, but there are a lot of antique pieces, too. I love mixing stuff, every year it’s different.”

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McKoy says she didn’t achieve this renovation alone. Here’s her invaluable team: DCI Resources, Ferguson, A Cut Above Stone Works, Christopher Hills Electrical, Vicente Painting, Dodds Flooring, Pierre’s Wood Work, Popolocas Tile, Philip Keener Handyman and Lily and Grace.

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And her sense of incorporating a timeless feel with a modern touch extends to her Christmas decorations, as well. For the champagne-tone tree in the kitchen, she chose copper, gold, silver and chocolate-colored ornaments, with a beaded ribbon that’s about 20 years old – she thinks she might have picked it up in Greensboro. The tree also features crystal snowflake, glass snow globe and white owl ornaments, as well as a wooden star on top and a faux fur blanket for a skirt.

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HP Library



Qs Corner

Visitors to High Point can experience the StoryWalk at the public library, play on “Main Street” at the Nido & Mariana Qubein Children’s Museum (left) or try out a playroom at Q’s Corner.

Highlighting High Point’s Newest Designation

Now a Certified Autism Destination in support of those with disabilities by Vanessa Infanzon

High Point’s community has made it easier for families traveling with someone with autism to enjoy a day trip or weekend visit to the city. Last year, High Point (just a bit more than an hour from Lake Norman) became a Certified Autism Destination, the second in the country. More than 10 attractions, hotels and restaurants in the city participated in training to become a Certified Autism Center (CAC). Staff learned about high and low support, how to approach a family in a respectful way and what vocabulary is appropriate to use. Another component of this designation is offering a sensory guide to 38


help visitors know what to expect in terms of sight, smell, sound, touch and taste. The guide may be found onsite, and in some cases, online. “Sensory guides prepare families when they visit a facility,” says High Point Museum Director Edith Brady. “It lowers the anxiety for everyone in the family.” Several CACs provide a sensory rescue bag, with items such as a weighted lap blanket, noise canceling headphones, a feelings chart and a variety of fidget toys to borrow while visiting. “We want all our visitors to feel welcome,” she says.

Dive into history

High Point Museum offers free admission, easy parking and an outdoor greenspace with picnic tables. Photography exhibits, galleries and interactive activities portray the growth of the city and the furniture industry. American jazz saxophonist and band leader John Coltrane’s piano from his childhood home is on display. Meredith Miniatures – tiny rooms made to precise scale by the late High Point native Meredith Michener – will delight everyone. A quiet space within the museum is available for family members who need a break. Every Saturday, outdoor buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries are staffed by costumed interpreters, and the blacksmith shop often has demonstrations. The Hoggatt House contains historical reproductions, perfect for tactile learners. One Saturday each month, the Little Red School House opens for hands-on programming for preschool to third grade students. Learn more at www.highpointnc. gov/2329/Museum.

Expand horizons, imagine more

Q’s Corner, a family-owned business, promotes inclusion with its activities, games, arts and crafts, and other playrooms especially designed to welcome people with autism, disabilities and those who use a wheelchair. The Sensory Room features a tunnel to run or roll

through and touch-sensitive components for vibration and light. Swings, a ball pit and slides will wear out the active members in your group. The Nido & Mariana Qubein Children’s Museum gives families the opportunity to explore water play, climbing and a space center on Mars. Kids can make believe on Main Street — visit the café, dentist, grocery store, vet clinic and other shops. Head outside for the carousel, playground and a garden. More details are available at www.

Uncover new worlds

Weather permitting, the outdoor Arts & Education Plaza at the High Point Library features a certified butterfly garden, picnic tables, musical instruments and space for kids to explore. StoryWalk – a paved path leading to the laminated pages of a book – is outdoors, at the front of the library. Once a month, on a Sunday, the children’s library offers a sensory-friendly and interactive story time for kids 12 and younger. Learn more at For more information about High Point and its CAD designation, go to and Locate all 12 Certified Autism Centers in High Point and request a free Autism Travel Guide at | DECEMBER 2023



Understanding Statins When side effects can be the main event By Dr. Emmanuel Quaye – WellcomeMD Mooresville

Statins are a class of medications focused on treating high cholesterol and reducing the risk of heart disease. Brand names for statins include Lipitor, Crestor and Pravachol. These drugs work by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol in the bloodstream and by decreasing inflammation, which can help prevent the buildup of plaque in the arteries, reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

damage. Some individuals might experience liver enzyme elevation, which usually returns to normal when the medication is discontinued. In some cases, particularly in the elderly, patients may experience mild cognitive impairment. Because of this, it’s important that patients speak with their physician regarding risks and benefits of statins.

The use of this class of medications has grown over the past several decades, primarily because they are strongly linked to a substantial decrease in cardiovascular events and mortality, making them an important tool in cardiovascular disease prevention. In fact, statins are the most common drug class of prescriptions in America. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that in the U.S., nearly one in four adults over the age of 40 uses a cholesterol-lowering medication.

One of the most common side effects is muscle pain, which can range from mild discomfort to severe myopathy, a condition characterized by muscle weakness and pain. In rare cases, statins can lead to a serious condition called rhabdomyolysis, where muscle fibers break down, releasing a protein into the bloodstream that can be harmful to the kidneys. This can result in kidney damage. While muscle-related side effects are relatively uncommon, they highlight the importance of close monitoring and communication between you and your physician during statin therapy.

And while these medications are clearly indicated, and generally considered safe and effective for certain patient populations such as those with known cardiovascular disease, they can have some side effects. Common side effects include muscle pain, weakness, and in rare cases, muscle

As with any medication, if you’re taking statins or considering it, you should be aware of the potential side effects and discuss any concerns with your doctor, who can help weigh the overall benefits and risks of statin therapy for specific health needs.



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Try a little glass to class up a garden. | DECEMBER 2023


LIMITLESS - feature

How Does Your Garden




There’s no end to the variety of “flowers” artists Robin Boyles and Christy Thornton can create for your outdoor art.

Artists transform old glass into new bouquets by Karel Bond Lucander photographs courtesy Robin Boyles & Christy Thornton

Flowers made of vintage glass glisten in the afternoon sun. With no watering required, relics of a bygone era have been given a second life as radiant garden art. Two artists and friends, Robin Boyles and Christy Thornton, shop at Habitat for Humanity ReStores, Goodwill, estate sales and antique stores for old platters, plates and saucers to make these beautiful, one-of-a-kind glass blossoms.

Cornelius, taught horticulture. Now both semi-retired, Boyles tutors math and Thornton works part time at Mission Farm wedding venue and observes student teachers in agricultural education. This spring, the first of these buds sprouted while Thornton was visiting Boyles at her home, who shared the glass treasures she found and her creative floral concepts. Thornton, who has a penchant for all things garden-related and is an avid crafter, adored them. “They were so dang cute,” Thornton says. “After that, we got a few pieces together that we liked.” They often hunt together for glass but make their own flowers in their respective home garages. Thornton sells hers through her Facebook page Christy’s Heart2Hands Designs and Boyles through her Instagram @the_loving_glass. They both recently sold flowers at two art fairs at Bailey’s Glen in Cornelius, where Thornton resides.

Christy Thornton (left) and Robin Boyles at a recent Christmas show in the Bailey’s Glen community in Cornelius.

Although they work individually, they use the same process to layer, glue and cure these exquisite glass botanicals. It takes several hours to make one, not including the time to shop for materials. Each flower comes on a copper-pipe stem. The flower can be removed from its stem for safe keeping in inclement weather. The cost for one flower is $35 to $65, depending on the bud size. A lovely bouquet of three multi-sized flowers is $125.

“Years ago, I saw something similar at an art show, but I was young, and they were very expensive,” Boyles says. “These flowers have always stuck in my head.”

These make fabulous outdoor adornments, but some choose to plant them in indoor pots. The artists can each also create a perennial that includes your own heirloom glass piece, turning a special memento into a gorgeous new bloom.

So, she and Thornton got to work creating some. These glass artisans met 30-plus years ago as teachers at Independence High School. Boyles, of Mint Hill, taught math while Thornton, who lives in

For more details, email or text Thornton at or 704.651.3483, and Boyles at or 704.534.1202. | DECEMBER 2023


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LIMITLESS - a moment in time


My Car Tells Me ‘Hello’ Vehicle options to consider ... or not

by Mickey Dunaway

Have you bought a new car recently? I have. More about that shortly. I bought my first new car in August 1969 after graduating from Auburn. A Pontiac Lemans Coupe. V8.Vinyl interior. Radio. Vinyl top. Automatic. Made in Detroit. I paid $3,500 for it. I took out a loan for that new Pontiac with my mother’s co-signing. I had a job but had not yet deposited my first paycheck. In a month, I would be teaching and coaching in the Mobile, Alabama Public Schools, making $6,200 a year. A beautiful new wife would be making more at International Paper than I was as a teacher. A new car. A new apartment and a new job. I knew what heaven looked like in Mobile, Alabama in August 1969. Now, about my latest new vehicle. It is a midsize SUV. Four cylinders. 270 horse power. All-wheel drive. Leather interior. Harmon Kardon sound system with 12 48


speakers. Sweet. I will let you guess its country of origin. And though I won’t give you the bottom line, it was more than $40K – about average for an SUV these days. These days, if you are like me, you will do hours of research on websites such as Edmunds, Consumer Reports, and Car and Driver, sorting out reputable manufacturers, types of vehicles and models you will eventually settle on. And you will have just begun. Hopefully, the dreaded minivan is out of the picture for you by this time of your life unless the grandchildren have reentered the picture. If children must be factored into the equation of a vehicle with the spouse, do not hint that an SUV is just like a minivan, only sportier. If the minivan is in the picture, the SUV is out of it. If you are considering an electric, semi-electric, sometimes electric, mild electric or hybrid electric vehicle, there are questions you must answer, and they are increasing with each fanciful commercial.

[Life is] like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way. — E. L. Doctorow

Full electric or hybrid. Big difference. Full hybrid or plug-in hybrid. The plug-in hybrid will get you about 40 miles, and then it kicks over to the gas engine. Big difference again. Recently, I discovered this vehicle called a “mild hybrid,” which the prominent European automaker describes as “No plug-in is required. Every drop of fuel saved helps – and in our mild hybrids, you enjoy lower fuel consumption without experiencing performance compromises.” If you understand that logic, please let me know because I am totally lost in the “Electric Vehicle Forest.” However, I sure wish I had written that bit of phraseology. Without thinking about it enough, I recently hinted to my oldest son that I was thinking about going down the electric vehicle (EV) route. I can’t quote his first sentence, but his second sentence was, “Are you completely nuts? Do you really want to risk running out of juice between Cornelius and Marietta!?”

Good question. I had thought of it and begun to believe that the government would have electric-juice stations at every interstate exit, and it would only take 10 minutes to fill up my new electric SUV. Yes, I had bought into that slightly out-of-focus commercial with the happy family showing family pictures on the side of a rock wall in a national park. Yeah right. Talk about fantasy. Getting the entire family together for movie night with a projector powered by the battery of your new EV may be the most fantastical car ad I have ever seen. Eventually, I knew the time would come when I had to listen to my son’s logic. Just didn’t think it would be this soon. But I listened and forgot about the EV, the hybrid, and the mild hybrid. For the foreseeable future, I am sticking to my trusty gasoline-powered midsize SUV with all the bells and whistles I will never understand. However, when I crank up, it does greet me by my first name. How can that be improved upon? | DECEMBER 2023


LIMITLESS - learning

Being An Executor – Should You Say Yes?


ave you been asked to serve as executor of someone’s will? Some who have done it may say, “It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it.” Indeed, somebody does have to do it, but will it be you? Knowing what to expect will enable you to make an informed decision. The probate process involves locating and liquidating the decedent’s assets, settling their debts and distributing the net assets to the heirs. Sounds simple, but the process can be quite lengthy and complicated. Locating the assets can often take several months, requiring multiple calls, emails, faxes, etc. Tax issues can take months to resolve. Courthouses take several weeks, to even several months, to process items filed for the estate. The whole process can take up to a year or more. The heirs can make things miserable. They fight amongst themselves and become impatient with the time it takes to settle the estate. They want their money now! They may accuse you of hiding or withholding assets. Transparency and communication are key. Providing a realistic overview of the process to them early and maintaining effective communication throughout can minimize the amount of “drama.” Serving as executor is usually not a high paying job. Unless the will provides otherwise, compensation is based on a small per-



centage of the probate assets (i.e., those passing under the will). Many assets, such as brokerage and retirement accounts, pass via beneficiary designations, so those are not part of the base for calculating compensation. Additionally, the compensation usually must be approved by the court. You could be exposed to personal liability for mistakes. Hiring the right team of professionals (experienced probate attorney, accountant, investment advisor, etc.) greatly minimizes this risk. Knowing the job description ahead of time will enable you to make the right decision about the job, and if you do say yes, it may not be such a dirty job at all.

Amy Shue Isaacs is an Attorney with The McIntosh Law Firm, P.C. Contact her at 704-892-1699 or visit | DECEMBER 2023


r e v i r s d e o o h t w e h t h g Over u o r h t d an

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Service Appointments: 704-663-4994

Dine + Wine Eating, drinking, cooking and fun

Enjoy Acqua Ragazza’s delicious Italian cuisine, such as this turn on Shrimp Scampi. | DECEMBER 2023


Dine Out & Local dining is a sweet deal!





Serving the LKN community for 18 years Award winning wings, pizza and pasta in a warm, family pub atmosphere We deliver our own food! Mon through Thurs 4pm to 10pm Fri, Sat , Sunday 11am to 10pm

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Wine Down

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9230 Beatties Ford Road, Huntersville | 515 Rinehardt Road, Mooresville, NC 28115

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Wednesday - Thursday from 10:00 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. Friday from 10:00 a.m. - 9:30 p.m. Saturday from 11:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m. 275 N Main St, Troutman, NC 28166 (704) 528-1204

DINE + WINE - wine time

s l e b Re

with a Cause Super Tuscans and the renegades who created them by Trevor Burton photograph by Trevor Burton

Simply stated, Super Tuscans are the result of a bunch of Italian rebels. Let me explain. Wine rules in Italy, as in most European wine regions, are strictly enforced by the country’s national food and beverage governing body. In the Tuscany region of Italy, most wines by law are oriented around the Sangiovese grape or variations of it. Every other grape is frowned upon. This didn’t sit well with a group of winemakers who wanted to try to show how Italy’s grapes could compete with or even surpass the feted wines of the Bordeaux region of France. However, Italy’s strict wine laws stood in their way. What these winemakers wanted to do was create a wine that was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and the rest of Bordeaux’s array of grapes – and maybe a few others, as well. To the chagrin of Italy’s wine regulators, the winemakers went ahead. The wines they created were definitely world-class. They were super. This annoyed the regulators. They responded by not recognizing the quality of these wines. According to Italy’s wine laws, the ranking of Tuscany wines are DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) and DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata). All are based on Sangiovese and its offspring. Anything else has a much lower, almost pejorative, ranking as “wine typical of the region” or even simple “table wine.” What the regulators chose to do is designate these superb wines with a lower rating. So there! Thus, what was created was, what were to be called Super Tuscans – great wines with a much lower rating designation Which brings me to a fairly recent and definitely superlative experience. I’m a big fan of Super Tuscan wines and of Italian cuisine. Along with a favorite niece, my wife and I indulged my needs. We dined at Caruso’s restaurant in Mooresville. Getting back to Super 56


Super Tuscans, great wines with a much lower rating designation.

Tuscans ... the lower designation of the wine mandates that, when you’re selecting, you choose wine that’s really “super” and not just a run-of-the-mill wine with its lower designation. That’s where Pasquale Caruso and his wine list comes in. On that list was a Super Tuscan carrying the “typical” designation—IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica). As Pasquale included it, you could be sure that this was a great wine even though it carried this low designation. Then came a choice of an Italian dish. I’m simply a creature of habit. When it comes to Italian food I go for fresh pasta with some sauce. Off Caruso’s menu I selected Fettuccine alla Bolognese – pasta made with a sauce consisting of ground beef, tomatoes and onions. There were many more delicious dishes to choose from, but I was in a personal heaven, a glass of superb wine and a favorite dish. Lucky me. Over the years, Super Tuscans have ultimately gained some recognition. Bolgheri, located on the Tuscan coast just to the south of Livorno, has earned its own DOC. It is known for its age-worthy red wines, usually based on the Bordeaux grape varieties. So, it pays to explore Super Tuscans; superb wines that carry a low designation. And it pays to be in the hands of a recognized wine enthusiast or to find out, for yourself, which wines are truly “super.” You can go with the Bolgheri DOC for a level of certainty or explore these wines. You’re sure to find some gems. Those Italian rebels really came across something. They had a cause and went after it. It pays to find out what they did. | DECEMBER 2023


DINE + WINE - tasty bits



Slow, Sweet

y r o v a &S

by Kathy Dicken photography by Kathy Dicken

Slow Cooker Asian Beef Short Ribs I love using my slow cooker anytime, but especially during the holidays. It makes creating dinner so simple, and these Slow Cooker Asian Beef Short Ribs are beyond simple. There’s no searing required and no extra pan to wash. This is the perfect recipe when you are craving your favorite sticky Thai-style beef, but don’t want to order carry-out. These tender beef short ribs are slow cooked with shallots in a sweet and savory chili sauce, and by the time they finish cooking, the meat should be falling off the bone. We enjoy beef short ribs anytime of the year, but these seem especially appropriate for the holiday season. And when you add the fresh red and green garnishes, these beef short ribs make such a festive holiday meal. The pomegranate arils are a surprisingly superb complement to the beef with their juicy pop of flavor, while the fresh cilantro and green onions round out the classic red and green on your plate. Note, I highly suggest you don’t skip the garnishes — they really take this dish to the next level. We served these spicy, sweet and tender ribs over microwave jasmine rice with steamed broccoli to complete an almost effortless holiday meal. Servings: 4 Prep time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 4-5 hours

Kathy Dicken lives in Huntersville and is the author of The Tasty Bits food blog. For more meal ideas that are simple and delicious, you can follow her blog at or on Instagram @thetastybits.

Ingredients: 4 lbs. bone-in beef short ribs (1 lb./person) Black pepper 4 shallots, halved 2 inches fresh ginger, sliced 2-3 tsp. Chinese 5 Spice (recipe below) 1 cup pomegranate juice 1/3 cup soy sauce 1/3 cup sweet chili sauce 1/2 cup chopped green onions 1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped 1 cup pomegranate arils (or dried cranberries) 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds (optional) Chinese 5 Spice 3 star anise ¾ tsp. whole cloves 1-½ tsp. black peppercorns 1 Tbsp. cinnamon 1 Tbsp. fennel seeds Combine all in a spice grinder until finely ground.

Instructions: In the bowl of the slow cooker, season the short ribs with pepper. Add the shallots and ginger, and sprinkle with Chinese 5 spice. Pour in the pomegranate juice, soy sauce and sweet chili sauce. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours. Use a measuring cup to skim any excess grease from the top of the sauce and discard. Keep the slow cooker on warm. In a bowl, mix the chopped cilantro, green onions and sesame seeds. Spoon ribs and sauce over rice, and top with herbs and pomegranate arils. Notes: Chinese 5 Spice seasoning is widely available in the baking/ seasoning aisle of your grocery, or you can easily make your own. Sweet chili sauce can also be found in the international foods aisle of most grocery stores. | DECEMBER 2023


DINE + WINE - nibble and bites

Creative cocktails and authentic Italian dishes are on the menu at Mooresville’s newest Italian food destination.

Acqua Ragazza Mooresville’s ‘simple but elegent vibe’

The first restaurant to open in the new Mill One space in downtown Mooresville, Acqua Ragazza is quickly becoming a local favorite. Owned and operated by a restaurant industry veteran but first-time restaurateur, Tara Cottone, this vibrant and modern spot offers authentic Italian cuisine in an upscale but relaxed environment. The menu features Italian classics, handmade pasta, wood-fired pizza and flavorful entrees, all using the freshest ingredients. Owner Cottone relocated from Miami to the Charlotte area eight years ago to be closer to family. Having worked in the restaurant industry in various roles since the age of 14, she realized during the pandemic that it was time to open her own concept. The restaurant she was working in at the time closed for two months and, “not being a partner, I had no say,” she says. With the extra time at home, she began researching and decided that Mooresville would be a good fit for her vision. She was the first business owner to sign a lease at the Mill One property in November 2021. Acqua Ragazza opened in June 2023 after a host of delays, thanks to supply chain and labor issues. “It was pretty much a nightmare,” Cottone says about the construction process, even for a “stubborn Italian” like herself. For décor inspiration, Cottone channeled her maternal grandmother, a northern Italian widow. 60


by Allie Spencer photography courtesy Acqua Ragazza

“Old and new, traditional, simple but elegant vibe,” she says to describe the look. “You don’t need a lot, it just has to be perfect.” The result is black and white with metallic accents, textured leather, chandeliers, matte black cutlery and drone footage from various Italian locales playing on the TVs behind the bar. Cottone’s commitment to quality ingredients and authentic Italian cuisine, plus her years of experience in the industry, have proven to be a winning combination. It’s difficult for her to pick favorites from the menu, but when pressed she highlights the Caprese di Bufala (made with authentic bufala mozzarella), the Ravioli Granchio E Aragosta (lobster and crab ravioli in a vodka sauce) and the Sogliola Alla Mugnaia, an entrée featuring sole in a butter, lemon and white wine sauce. The restaurant also offers a late-night menu from 9 to 10 p.m., and recently launched Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with options like Caprese di Bufala Benedetto and Holy Cannoli, a brioche cinnamon toast with cannoli filling. Cottone says the response from the Lake Norman area — and Mooresville specifically — has been overwhelmingly positive. She admits that being a female restaurant owner has its challenges, especially in an industry dominated by male chefs. “I have to earn their respect as well, even though I’m the owner,” she says, adding that going it alone as the sole owner has paid off, particularly when it comes to decision making.

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“It’s more work for myself, but we can make changes as we are learning things about the area, and make a decision and move on,” says Cottone. “It’s contributed to our very quick success.” That early success already has her thinking about her next move. She says she is considering different options, but is leaning toward another concept in Mooresville. “I’m so happy with how supportive Mooresville is because I’m a very young owner,” she says. Whatever she decides to do, she will be adding to the Lake Norman dining scene. “I definitely won’t stop here, I have been waiting to do this my whole life.” Acqua Ragazza is at 201 N. Church Street, Suite 102, in Mooresville. Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 5-10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. They will be open Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Check their Facebook page for special event menus.


Learn more at | DECEMBER 2023


DINE + WINE - on tap Eleven Lakes Brewing Company is a dog-friendly venue - you may even be greeted at times by brew dog, Charley.

Pints &


Where craft beer and community come together by Jennifer Mitchell photographs courtesy Eleven Lakes Brewing Company

Walk into Eleven Lakes Brewing Company and you sense the vibe very quickly. The taproom has a special history and is built on a foundation of community and friendship. Opening its doors in 2017, the Cornelius business is the brainchild of four neighbors. Jack Lippy and Ray Hutchinson began brewing their specialty beers in the kitchen and garage of their homes with support from their wives, Teri and Christy. But as the hobby-turned-business began to take off, all agreed it was time for a more permanent location. “As the volume of our small batches kept growing, it became clear we were outgrowing the space needed to continue to do this out of our homes,” says owner and General Manager Teri Lippy. “Now we are able to not only offer our unique craft beers to the community, but we also host numerous fundraisers at the brewery to give back to those who need it most.” Teri took on the role of general manager because it allows her to scratch her philanthropic “itch.” Fundraisers held at Eleven Lakes Brewing have now resumed post-pandemic. This month, an event will be held to help support a young mother with two small children who has breast cancer. Other recent fundraisers have helped benefit a variety of causes including the Cabarrus Victims Assistance Network and Wounded Warriors. “Each month, we choose a charity and round up at the register to raise money for that particular need,” says Lippy. “We really try to treat everyone like family.” That includes welcoming four-legged family members too. 62


“We are very dog friendly, and you may even see our brew dog Charley while you visit,” she says. “She is a little shy at first but warms up quickly.” Making exemplary craft beer, with attention to detail, is what customers can expect. Northern Aggression and Sandbar Blonde are among their top selling brews. Ray has personally zested hundreds of pounds of oranges for another favorite — Orange is the New Pale. All selections are made with the freshest ingredients, and hops are locally sourced when available. “To say all our lives are full is an understatement,” Teri says. “We work very hard daily, but we also have a lot of fun doing it. I always say we have the best and brightest customers, and we take a lot of advice from our customers.” The name Eleven Lakes is a nod to the Catawba River that flows from the Blue Ridge Mountains down to the plains of South Carolina and the 11 major lakes that make up the Catawba Basin. For the Lippys and the Hutchinsons, it all ties back to a passion for home brewing and bringing people together while celebrating life and community. “This is a place where everyone can feel at home,” she says. “Many relationships have been forged amongst our customers and that is exactly the type of environment we want to foster.” Eleven Lakes Brewing is at 10228 Bailey Road, Suite 201, in Cornelius. For more information, visit their website | DECEMBER 2023


Living Well Your local resource for health and wellness services near you Audiology

PHC – Lake Norman Ear, Nose & Throat Megan Mathis-Webb, AuD Susie Riggs, AuD Del L. Hawk, Au.D 140 Gateway Blvd. Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-664-9638


PHC – Heart & Vascular Jips Zachariah, MD Naveed Rajper, MD

359 Williamson Road Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-235-1829


Family Medicine

PHC – Nabors Family Medicine Emily Nabors, MD

142 Professional Park Drive Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-696-2083

PHC – Lake Norman Family Medicine Timothy A. Barker, MD Heather C. Kompanik, MD Bruce L. Seaton, DO Amanda H. Bailey, DO Kyle Babinski, DO Sherard Spangler, PA 357 Williamson Road Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-664-7328

PHC – Mooresville Dermatology Center Naomi Simon, MD Sarah Carlock, MD Kristin Prochaska, PA-C Gina Noble, PA-C Heather Hollandsworth, FNP Susan Stevens, RN, BSN

PHC – Sailview Family Medicine Tiana Losinski, MD

128 Medical Park Road, Suite 201 Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-235-1827

150 Fairview Road, Suite 210 Mooresville, NC 28117 •704-235-0300

PHC – Wolfe Dermatology Steven F. Wolfe, MD Molly Small, PA-C

PHC - Troutman Family Medicine Amrish C. Patel, MD Janeal Bowers, FNP Kimberly Whiton, FNP Kelly Buchholz, FNP

114 Gateway Blvd., Unit D Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-663-2085

Riva Dermatology “Imagine your skin at its Best!”

General Dermatology for the Family, Botox, Fillers, Laser/IPL & more

Kerry Shafran, MD, FAAD Lindsay Jayson, MPAS, PA-C Erin Dice, MPAS, PA-C Ashley Noone, MPAP, PA-C Nikki Leahy, MSBS, PA-C Mari Klos, CMA, LME

704-896-8837 Cornelius, Mooresville, Denver

Ears, Nose and Throat

PHC – Lake Norman Ear, Nose, & Throat Keith Meetze, MD Thomas Warren, MD Herb Wettreich, MD Fred New, Jr., ANP 140 Gateway Blvd. Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-664-9638

Endocrinology PHC- Endocrinology Elaine Sunderlin, MD

170 Medical Park Road, Floor 3 Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-664-9506


206 Joe V. Knox Ave. Suite J Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-360-4801

PHC – Fairview Family Medicine Golnar Lashgari, MD Jennifer Scharbius, MD

154 S Main Troutman, NC 28166 • 704-528-9903

Gastroenterology PHC – Gastroenterology Brandon Marion, MD April Lockman, NP

359 Williamson Road Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-878-2021

PHC –Comprehensive Digestive Care Center Vivek Trivedi, MD Tiedre Palmer, FNP-C

359 Williamson Road Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-878-2021

PHC- Gastroenterology Laila Menon, MD Gabrielle Miller, NP

170 Medical Park Road, Floor 3 Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-664-9506

Internal Medicine

PHC – Fox Internal Medicine Jessica Fox, DO Jacqueline Swope, FNP

435 East Statesville Avenue Mooresville, NC 28115 • 704-663-5056


PHC – Internal Medicine & Weight Management Manish G. Patel, MD Julie Abney, PA Andrea Brock, PA-C

128 Medical Park Road, Suite 101 Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-658-1001

PHC – Lake Norman Internal Medicine John C. Gatlin, MD LuAnne V. Gatlin, MD 548 Williamson Road, Suite 6 Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-660-5520

Mental Health Services PHC-Mastor Mental Health Jason E. Mastor, MD Kristin C. Brown, PA-C Megan I. Flott, PA-C Diana J. Remenar, PA-C

206 Joe V. Knox Ave. Suite F Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-662-6500


PHC – Neurology & Sleep Medicine Dharmen S. Shah, MD 359 Williamson Road Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-873-1100

PHC – Lake Norman Neurology Andrew J. Braunstein, DO Ryan Conrad, MD Craig D. DuBois, MD Douglas Jeffery, MD Roderick Elias, MD

124 Professional Park Dr, Ste A Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-662-3077

PHC – Lake Norman Neurology Andrew J. Braunstein, DO Ryan Conrad, MD Craig D. DuBois, MD Douglas Jeffery, MD Roderick Elias, MD

9735 Kincey Avenue, Ste 203 Huntersville, NC 28078 • 704-766-9050

Obstetrics/Gynecology PHC – Lake Norman OB/GYN James Al-Hussaini, MD Laura Arigo, MD Katie Collins, DO Grant Miller, MD James Wilson, MD Nicole S. Wellbaum, MD NailaRashida Frye, MD Coral Bruss, ANP-C

131 Medical Park Road, Suite 102 Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-663-1282


Southern Oncology Specialists William Mitchell, MD Poras Patel, MD

46 Medical Park Rd, Suite 212 Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-659-7850

Orthopaedic Surgery

PHC – Piedmont Bone & Joint Scott Brandon, MD Brett L. Feldman, MD Alex Seldomridge III, MD Kim Lefreniere, PA-C

359 Williamson Road Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-235-1829

Orthopedic Surgery – Spine PHC – Piedmont Bone & Joint Alex Seldomridge, III, MD

359 Williamson Road Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-235-1838

Pain Managment

PHC – Pain & Spine Center Harsh Govil, MD, MPH James Murphy, MD April Hatfield, FNP-C

359 Williamson Road Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-235-1829

PULMONOLOGY PHC –Pulmonology Enrique Ordaz MD Jose Perez MD Ahmed Elnaggar, MD Vishal Patel, MD

170 Medical Park Road, Suite 201, Mooresville NC 28117 • 704-838-8240


PHC – Rheumatology Sean M. Fahey, MD Dijana Christianson, DO

128 Medical Park Road, Suite 101 Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-658-1001

FOR SALE Pristine Peninsula ABOUT THE PROPERTY Home on Corner Lot Amazing outdoor living space! Offered at


Welcome to this lovely home in the desirable Peninsula Community on Lake Norman. Located on a large, private corner lot with a fenced in yard & close proximity to Peninsula Yacht Club. No expense has been spared upgrading & improving this lovely Augusta custom built home, outdoor living area, & hardwoods on main level. New Backyard landscaping, Venetian Series Patio Pavers including pergola covered hot tub spa with automatic blinds

Christy Walker & Associates KW | Keller Williams Realty

704.439.5300 | DECEMBER 2023




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