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P rosper Prosper’s Community Magazine Since 2012 September 2021 | Issue 122

Life & Luxury Magazine™

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What’s Inside Family 6

Financial Tips for Parents to Teach Their Children

Community 8

P rosper Life & Luxury Magazine™

September 2021 | Issue 122

Never Forget


Town of Prosper and PISD Partner for Special 9/11 Ceremony


Young Men’s Service League Celebrates their Class of 2021


Prosper to Accelerate Three Bond Propositions


Town Council Sets Maximum Proposed Tax Rate


Prosper, Celina and County Break Ground on Frontier Parkway Project

Publisher Heather Reynolds Creative Director Jason Reynolds

Homefront 18

5 Tips for Remodeling in Today’s Market


Attract More Birds to Your Backyard


Koi Ponds Bring Relaxation to Outdoor Living

Director of Sales & Marketing Mark Mattison Photography Jason Reynolds - Cedarbrook Media Group Production/Design Cedarbrook Media Group, LLC Editorial Please send editorial considerations to PROSPER - Life & Luxury Magazine PO Box 405, Prosper, Texas 75078 972.347.6231 Advertising Information For media kits, contact Advertising at

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Fashion & Beauty 28


How to Wear a Shacket: Fall’s Stand-Out Layer is Having a Moment

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Contributing Writers Heather Reynolds | Ray Smith | Dr. Holly Ferguson Jimmie Gibson | Stacy Cate 4 |

PROSPER Life & Luxury Magazine is wholly owned and published by Cedarbrook Media Group, LLC. PROSPER Life & Luxury Magazine is published 12 times a year. No portion of this publication may be reproduced or copied whole or in part without expressed written permission from the publisher, Cedarbrook Media Group, LLC. ©2020. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. The title and all material are protected by international copyright laws and are reserved. Although the greatest of care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this magazine at time of going to press, neither PROSPER Life & Luxury Magazine nor Cedarbrook Media Group, LLC can be held liable for omissions, inexactness or errors.

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Life & Luxury Magazine Family

Financial Tips for Parents to Teach Their Children Children often dream of the day they can call themselves grown-ups, but few look forward to – let alone think about – the financial realities of independence. It’s never too early to start teaching your children how to save money and spend responsibly. “As parents, our job is to set our children up for success,” Bank of America’s Head of Deposit Products Erin McCullen said. “Giving our kids a strong foundation of financial skills like budgeting and saving is a key part in ensuring they thrive as adults and can concentrate on the things they love.” Consider these financial tips from McCullen: Establish a Budget Budgeting is a lifelong skill. Teaching young adults how to budget can help them plan spending, save money, create goals and address financial anxiety. According to a Bank of America survey, 52% of Americans said they didn’t start budgeting until they began their first full-time job. If your kids are on the younger side, they likely don’t have a steady income, but you can still help them practice budgeting with allowances or gifts from relatives or friends. Keep it simple: teach them to track the money they receive and separate it into spend-now and spend-later categories. Later, when you’re helping your kids create an adult budget, you’ll need to expand those categories to track expenses like housing costs and groceries. From there, measure these categories against their total monthly income. Ideally, they should have more money coming in than going out. This process can help identify must-have vs. want-to-have purchases while highlighting areas to cut back on spending or finding room to save. 6 |

Save Regularly and Consistently Making consistent, automatic contributions to a savings account can create a mindset that will be valuable as your children get older. “It is never too early to open a savings account,” McCullen said. “Even if your children don’t yet have any bills or financial obligations, teach them to set aside some of the money from their allowance or even gifts from family or friends. Helping children learn to save early-on, even for a small purchase, can help them develop a consistent savings habit over time.” Young adults should also consider programs like Keep the Change, which helps build savings automatically by rounding up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar amount and transferring the change from a checking account to a savings account. Make a Finance Checklist Young adults have a lot on their minds at the end of their final semester at school. As they begin to transition from student life to the working world, one way to help them stay on track is to prepare a checklist of things to do before they graduate and start their jobs. This list can include creating a budgeting and tracking strategy, opening a savings account to begin setting aside money from future paychecks or checking in with a financial planner to discuss transitions and what’s to come. Taking time now to teach your children strong financial habits can help them develop lifelong financial skills and prepare them for their next adventure. The healthy habits they build today can help carry them to tomorrow and beyond.

Emphasize the Importance of Safe Credit Young adulthood is the right time to begin building credit because establishing good credit takes time. Building credit from a young age can help pave the way for major purchases and life moments, since credit impacts future living arrangements, the ability to purchase a car and even employment opportunities.


Teach your children about the steps they can take to start building credit like planning their credit card usage, never spending outside their means and paying off their credit card bills on-time and in-full. They can also earn rewards while spending by ensuring their credit card rewards their spending. An option like the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card offers flexibility to earn rewards in the category of your choice and can help maximize rewards while building credit. FINANCIAL LESSONS AT EVERY AGE From preschool through college, every stage of school is designed to prepare kids for life-long success but learning about finances is one area that can be especially impactful for children in the long term. Consider these ways kids can learn about money throughout childhood as recommended by the experts at Bank of America: Elementary School Focus on basics like saving small change and planning how to spend it. As kids begin to learn fundamental math, you can introduce them to the concept of making a spending plan. Apply these lessons to toys or gifts they want and teach them to set aside money until they have enough to buy the toy of their dreams. Middle School Those early mathematical lessons around spending can be expanded to include real-life decision making and budget creation, including what should be accounted for and considered before making a purchase. Before children go to the mall with their friends, highlight the thought process involved in spending before they make impulse purchases. High School As adulthood begins to draw nearer, it’s worth exploring the fundamentals of credit scores, credit cards, investing, saving for retirement, homeownership and more so that, upon graduation, teens can start putting those lessons into practice. High school seniors should also educate themselves on student loans, as debt often becomes a reality for those who attend college and understanding the facts can help them make more informed choices. Bonus tip: If your high schoolers have jobs, even if it’s just part-time, it can be helpful to discuss taxes and how to manage receiving consistent income. It can guide them in creating balanced and accurate budgets in the future.

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College Build credit by opening a credit card account to help achieve goals later in life, such as purchasing a home. With a career just a few years away (or less), college is also a smart time to begin reading into the basics of 401(k)s, starting an emergency fund or even learning the basics of investing.

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Life & LuxuryISD Magazine Prosper News

From the Desk of Dr. Holly Ferguson

Never Forget t is hard to believe that this year marks the twentieth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, a day that will forever remain in our thoughts and hearts. Our students are of an age where they learn why we commemorate this sacred day but thankfully, they never felt the emptiness that we all experienced on this devastating day twenty years ago. Even through all of the devastations, a sense of commemoratory rose from the ashes with all Americans. It was a significant time in our history because it was one of the most incredible displays of the American spirit. If we learned nothing else from this day, life is short, and there is no time for hate. Former President George W. Bush shared the following:


“Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children.” I recently learned that several of our former Prosper ISD students have been deployed to Afghanistan. This news came with a mix of emotions. I was incredibly proud to know that our students serving is one of the highest honors in our world, but I also felt an ache in my heart for their mothers and loved ones. The Town of Prosper, Prosper Fire Rescue, and Prosper ISD have joined forces to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of 9/11. It is not just a day to honor; it is a day to remember and honor those who have served our country through the military or through being a first responder. Many of you in our community have personal ties to this important date in our history. I invite our community to join us for a day to honor and respect those who serve and will serve. Please join us on 9/11/2021 at Children’s Health Stadium at Prosper ISD from 9:00-10:30 am as we remember the day that will never be erased from the memory of time. The Prosper Fire Rescue will have a beam from the Twin Towers on display for all to see, and we will have performances by our students and community members. We will be honoring our active and former military, first responders, and senior citizens with reserved seating on the field. We ask for all other visitors to bring a blanket as they join us. I hope that the Prosper Community will join together to show respect to those that serve and have served by giving a moment to show that we as a community will “Never Forget.” We are Prosper. We are one.

Dr. Holly Ferguson Prosper ISD Superintendent 8 |

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Town of Prosper and PISD Partner for Special 9/11 Ceremony The community is invited to a special 20th Anniversary 9/11 Ceremony put on by the Town of Prosper in partnership with the Prosper Independent School District at Children’s Health Stadium at 9:00 a.m. The annual Carter BloodCare blood drive will also be on-site collecting blood donations before and after the ceremony on Saturday, September 11. This unprecedented ceremony will include a patriotic remembrance of all of those who perished on September 11, 2001. Please join the Prosper community as we gather at Children’s Health Stadium at 9:00 a.m. The 9/11 Mobile Memorial, the recovered beam from one of the towers that has been placed on its own trailer and decorated with remembrances, will be on display. The Carter BloodCare Bus will also be on-site collecting blood donations before and after the ceremony. While the annual 9/11 Blood Drive begins on Friday, September 10 at Prosper Town Hall, the Carter BloodCare Bus will move to Children’s Health Stadium on Saturday, September 11. Donations will be accepted from 7:30 a.m. – 5:35 p.m. on both days. You must sign up to donate for your preferred date and location. Links can be found at

CEREMONY AGENDA • Opening remarks by Prosper Fire Rescue’s Chief Stuart Blasingame • Invocation by Pastor Mike Martin • 9/11 Memorial video • Members of Prosper Fire Rescue, Prosper Police, Prosper ISD Police and veterans will flake out 60ft American flag • National Anthem by Town of Prosper Communications Dispatcher Jackie Tyson • America the Beautiful by PISD Choir • Pledge of Allegiance by Prosper Fire Rescue Asst. Fire Chief Shaw Eft • A few words from PISD Superintendent Dr. Holly Ferguson • A few words from Prosper Police Department Asst. Chief Scott Brewer • A few words from Prosper Fire Rescue Chief Blasingame • Prosper Fire Rescue Honor Guard and “Tolling of the Bells” • Roy Perrin leads TAPPs along with two PISD Band trumpet players • Pastor Herring offers closing prayer • Video to play 15 Years I Miss You Dad Never Forget 9/11 video • Bagpiper plays Amazing Grace • Chief Blasingame closes ceremony | 11

Life & Luxury Magazine Community

Young Men’s Service League Celebrates their Class of 2021 The Young Men’s Service League Prosper area chapter partnered with McKinney Roots to complete their annual Ultimate Gift project. In addition to their work with many different philanthropies, each YMSL chapter has a goal find a way to give an “Ultimate Gift” back to their community. McKinney Roots ( is a food donation garden in McKinney. Their mission is to supply fresh produce to the food insecure by growing and distributing it to local nonprofits, churches, and schools, alleviating hunger with healthful, nutrient-dense food. The YMSL members completed over 300 hours of service for McKinney Roots over two weekends and was instrumental in assisting McKinney Roots execute their expansion plans. Our projects will ultimately allow them to increase usable acreage, introduce new food categories for production (poultry and eggs), and to increase overall production allowing them to serve communities adjacent to McKinney TX (Prosper and Celina). The Prosper YMSL chapter would also like to congratulate our 19 seniors as they all begin a new chapter in their lives. The class of 2021 has volunteered over 1,600 hours, most of these alongside their mothers, for the 23 philanthropies the chapter supports. They served our community in many ways from helping Grace Bridge, Neighbors Nourishing Neighbors and LovePacs with food distribution to needy families, delivering and assembling beds and furniture for Bed Start, playing sports with the Miracle League special needs athletes, assisting with veteran ceremonies at Honor Flight DFW and distributing flags for the Rotary Club Flag program to name a few. The Class of 2021’s  dedication to service and leadership over the past four years has no doubt left a lasting impact on the community and we are proud of their accomplishments. As they enter the next stage of life, we know that they are prepared and that they will do great things. YMSL Prosper’s  Class of 2021: Matthew Bonaparte, Justin Burnham, Christopher Clark, Christian Cunningham, Colton Dunn, Cody Harris, Jake Kieffer, Clay Kindiger, Cole Kindiger, Thomas Michnevitz, Fisher Naumann, Cooper Olson, Colby Rodgers, Jonathan Roller, Zach Schryver, Colin Stasick, Spencer Stillman, Jake Ubanoski and Hunter Zavadil. Young Men’s Service League is a non-profit organization that initiates and encourages young men and their mothers to pursue philanthropic involvement in their community and provides an opportunity to enhance mother/son relationships. YMSL is a national non-profit with over 100 chapters in 16 states. 12 |

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Life & Luxury Magazine Community

Prosper to Accelerate Three Bond Propositions Track Progress of Projects with New Bond Tracking Dashboard

In November of 2020, Prosper voters approved bond propositions that include $30 million for public safety, $30 million for parks and recreation and $150 million for streets and transportation. The first issuance of debt for the bond package approved by voters took place August 18 with the sale of $40 million in bonds. The funds from this bond package will be used to construct roads, bridges, intersections, parks and recreational facilities and a new Central Fire Station, among other planned capital projects. The acceleration of projects that will be paid for with this issuance from August 18th’s bond sale includes: • Central Fire Station construction • Fishtrap Road (Stuber Elementary to DNT) construction • First Street (Coit Rd. – Custer Rd.) right-of-way acquisition • Lakewood Preserve Park construction • Tanners Mill Park design

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The 2020 bond program is planned for a ten‐year implementation and includes three propositions totaling $210 million in bonding authority. These propositions were identified through a detailed analysis by the Citizens Bond Advisory Committee (CBAC) based on the Town’s growth, future Prosper Independent School facilities, current and future road conditions, public safety needs, response time projections and citizen needs for park and recreation land and facilities. Each voter-approved proposition includes a maximum dollar amount that may be used for projects in that proposition. The program includes projects located throughout the Town and represents the program the Town Council intends to undertake to accomplish the intent of the approved bond propositions. The Town has developed a dedicated webpage to track bond projects from start to finish and to provide the public with an overview of the progress of the 2020 bond program. The Bond Tracking Dashboard ( publish?EQBCT=aabf9ca78bd249eca93920536a346b0f) provides detailed information on the cost of each project, projected time for completion and progress updates from Town staff. More information on the 2020 Bond Program can be found on the Town website (www.

Town Council Sets Maximum Proposed Tax Rate Tax Rate Unchanged for 15th Straight Year

On Tuesday, August 10, Town Manager Harlan Jefferson formally submitted the Proposed Budget to the Town Council. During the Town Council meeting, the council set a maximum proposed tax rate of .52 cents per $100 valuation. This would mark the fifteenth straight year of maintaining the current property tax rate. “The growth in property values has allowed us to accelerate the 2020 Bond Program while still avoiding the projected tax rate increase we had previously anticipated. The fact that we have been able to hold the line on the tax rate with no increase over the past 15 years is a testament to the commitment of the Town’s financial accountability” said Town Manager Harlan Jefferson. The FY 2021-2022 Proposed Budget addresses increased service levels to residents in response to continued growth, provides required or recommended capital investments in infrastructure and other public improvements as well as additional public safety resources. Budget highlights include no increase in property tax rate, no increase in Utility rates for Town customers, continued growth in property tax and sales tax and continued staff additions to Public Safety. A Public Hearing on the budget was held on August 24 followed by a Town Hall Budget Meeting on August 26. Residents were able to participate in both meetings either in-person or online. A Public Hearing on the tax rate and final approval of the Town’s budget and tax rate is scheduled to occur during the September 14 Town Council meeting. | 15

Life & Luxury Magazine Community

Prosper, Celina and County Break Ground on Frontier Parkway Project Officials from the Town of Prosper, the City of Celina, and Collin County gathered on Tuesday, August 3 to symbolically break ground on the expansion of Frontier Parkway which forms the boundary for the two municipalities. The three-way cooperative project will expand Frontier Parkway from a two-lane blacktop to a modern divided, concrete, four-lane roadway which can be expandable to six-lanes in the future. In addition, the project will include a bridge that will overpass the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks which bisects both Prosper and Celina. The completion of this project is expected for summer of 2023. The reconstruction of this portion of Prosper’s northern boundary has been discussed for several years as the predictions of major increases in the populations for both Prosper and Celina are bearing out, making the reconstruction a critically important part of the area’s transportation infrastructure. Frontier Parkway borders the campus of Prosper High School and allows access to the Prosper ISD Stadium, the Natatorium and the Town’s signature park, Frontier Park. During construction, entries to Frontier Park may be limited by construction. Town officials have pledged to provide constant updates on detours, street closings, and other impediments to Frontier Parkway and the amenities surrounding it. Mayor Ray Smith shared the excitement of the start of the long-awaited 16 |

construction. “Collin County has done an outstanding job taking the lead on managing the design of this essential project with Prosper and Celina as close partners. It’s a tremendous project that we have anticipated for quite some time. We’re all very pleased,” he said. “The Frontier Parkway overpass will be a key element in ensuring better mobility across the tracks as well as improved safety for motorists and reduced response time for emergency vehicles,” said Hulon Webb, Director of Engineering Services for Prosper and the staff person who has been involved with the project from its inception. “The critical importance of the reconstruction of Frontier Parkway with an overpass at the BSNF tracks cannot be overstressed. It has been part of Prosper’s Comprehensive Plan from the very start and the stakeholders are excited to see this project begin.” The construction firm of Mario Sinacola and Sons will manage and construct the road project, including the overpass, at a cost of almost $22 million. Total cost of the project including engineering and rightof-way acquisition is $31.5 million. Funding is shared by the county, the two municipalities and the North Central Texas Council of Governments. Realtime updates for this project and a video illustration of the finished project can be found on the Town of Prosper website at https://www.

Left to Right – City of Celina Councilmember Chad Anderson, City of Celina Councilmember Andy Hopkins, Town of Prosper Councilmember Marcus Ray, Town of Prosper Mayor Ray Smith, Collin County Commissioner Susan Fletcher, City of Celina Mayor Sean Terry, City of Celina Councilmember Jay Pierce, City of Celina Councilmember Wendie Wigginton and City of Celina Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Justin Steiner.

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Life & Luxury Magazine Homefront

5 Tips for Remodeling in Today’s Market In the aftermath of the COVID-19 lockdown, labor shortages and access to certain products affects numerous industries, including remodeling. Even so, after extra time at home and delays caused by the pandemic, there is high demand for home renovation projects. If you’re planning a home remodel or construction project, consider these tips from professional remodelers to avoid frustration and ensure your vision comes to life. DO RESEARCH AND PLAN AHEAD Mapping out your project early and thoroughly can help you avoid delays. This is especially important when it comes to materials, said John Brown of Bliffert Lumber and Hardware. “The quicker a homeowner can make selections, the sooner we can get it on order and get it in,” Bliffert said. Some contractors are adjusting the way they approach planning to offset delays. For example, selecting materials and finishes at the outset, instead of as you progress through the project like you normally would, may mean the materials are available when you need them. “The design process has really changed,” said Robi Kirsic of TimeLine Renovation and Design. “We’re still designing based on homeowners’ wishes and dreams, but we’re also modifying by providing options based on what’s available.”

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KNOW WHERE YOU’RE WILLING TO COMPROMISE Whether you’re able or willing to compromise often comes down to why you’re doing the renovation in the first place. “Some homeowners are specific about what they want,” Kirsic said. “They’ve been waiting for a long time to do this project and they’re not doing it to compromise. Others have a time constraint for one reason or another; they don’t have the luxury of waiting.” It’s a sentiment echoed by others, who caution that you may be able to get an item you have your heart set on, but you may need to be willing to wait. “If you have your heart set on a certain bathtub, it might be a 6or 8-month wait, but another one might be available sooner,” said Jason Hensler of Marvin Windows and Doors. AVOID MAKING CHANGES Once your plans are set and your materials have been ordered, avoid unnecessary delays by changing your project scope or material selection. In this environment, project timelines are extremely tight and even minor changes can create significant disruptions, especially if there’s a delay in obtaining different materials or your new ideas require a different crew that wasn’t already scheduled for your job.

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While these are unusual times, having a reliable contractor can make the project run more smoothly and help you feel more comfortable as the project progresses. “Use someone you trust, someone who is part of a reputable group like the National Association of the Remodeling Industry,” Brown said. That way, if you encounter unexpected bumps along the way, you can be confident they will be handled professionally and appropriately. Brown encourages his teams to communicate early and often, which helps homeowners understand and trust they’re doing everything possible to keep the job on track. BE PATIENT Above all, understanding these are unusual times can go a long way toward a more successful project. “Patience will help it go a lot smoother,” Hensler said. “That may mean accepting longer wait times than you anticipated and a later completion date than you hoped.” The sooner you get your project started, the sooner your contractor can start mapping out a project timeline. Find contractors in your area at | 19

Life & Luxury Magazine Homefront

Attract More Birds to Your Backyard Basic Tips for Feeding Wild Birds

ith all the constraints people lived through in 2020, many turned to their own backyards – nature, in particular – for hope, solace, wonder and even entertainment. Despite the worldwide crisis, nature’s normalcy remained intact; flowers continued to bloom, bees continued to pollinate, and birds continued to fly and forage food.


Feeding birds can be enjoyable for any age group and provide stress relief for all who partake. A University of Exeter study, focused on nature’s impact on humans in suburban and urban areas, found lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress were associated with the number of birds people saw during afternoons at home. The benefits of birdwatching come from seeing lots of birds – quantity not “quality” – the study found. People “felt relaxed and connected to nature when they watched birds in their gardens,” researchers said. These feelings increased with the level of bird feeding in the yard. For millions working and schooling from home, this stress reduction was an unintended bonus. Data from 2020 shows sales of bird feed, feeders, nesting boxes and bird houses spiked as interest in backyard birds soared while people spent more time at home. Interest in birding isn’t slowing down. If you haven’t tried attracting birds to your backyard, now is a perfect opportunity to start. The experts at Cole’s Wild Bird Products Co. offer these bird feed and feeder basics to attract more birds to your backyard. FEEDERS A variety of bird feeder types placed at different heights attract more birds than one feeder featuring one seed type. Start with two feeder types that accommodate most feed options. Bowl feeders serve not only seeds but also dried mealworms, fruit and suet. An option like Cole’s Bountiful Bowl Feeder comes with an adjustable dome cover you can raise or lower to prevent larger birds and squirrels from getting to food and protect it from rain.

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Traditional tube feeders  are all-purpose options for bird feeding, especially for small birds that cling. For example, the  Terrific Tube Feeder  is made with state-of-the-art materials to prevent warping and discoloration and includes a quick-clean, removable base to make cleaning fast and easy. Just push a button and the bottom of the feeder pops off for easy access to the inside. Rinse the feeder with soapy water, dunk it into a water-bleach solution at a concentration of 9-to-1, rinse, dry and reattach the bottom. Regular cleaning of feeders is essential for preventing mold, germs, and disease.  POPULAR FOODS Birdseed: Not all birdseed is created equal. Look for quality blends without cheap filler like red millet and oats. All-natural seed containing no chemicals or mineral oil is safe and more appealing to birds. Top seed picks include all-natural black oil sunflower and Cole’s “Hot Meats” (sunflower meats infused with habanero chili peppers that birds love and squirrels dislike). Or an option like Special Feeder blend, packed with favorites including black oil sunflower, sunflower meats, and pecans, attracts the greatest number of wild birds. Offering a wide variety, Cole’s feed is researched and specifically formulated to attract certain bird species, the largest number of birds and the greatest variety of birds. Insects and Worms: A healthy, lush lawn is one of the best ways to feed birds that prefer insects and worms. You can supplement birds’ diets by serving dried mealworms in a packaged variety that’s easier to feed and less messy than live mealworms. Mealworms are packed with energy and contain essential nutrients, fat and protein. Fresh Fruit: Apples, orange halves and bananas are favored fruits. Suet: Perfect for insect-eating birds, suet is a high-fat food that provides abundant calories, rich nutrition and is a high-energy treat. Using the right feeders and high-quality feed can enhance your backyard and entice more birds, bringing stress relief and enjoyment. For more information on attracting birds to your backyard, visit

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Life & Luxury Magazine Growing Prosper

Koi Ponds Bring Relaxation to Outdoor Living If you are looking for a fantastic addition to your lawn or garden landscaping, perhaps a Koi pond is something you might be interested in. These fantastic ponds make a great addition to your outdoor living space while providing a sense of peace and tranquility, an oasis of sorts in this world that can be rather hectic and chaotic at times. Even if you haven’t considered the benefits that Koi ponds could add to your enjoyment of your outdoor living area in the past, perhaps this article will help convince you of the value it can add, particularly if you plan to spend a great amount of time outdoors. There are a few considerations you need to keep in mind however when planning a Koi pond for your next landscaping project. Benefits of Koi Ponds Believe it or not, Americans in general spend a large amount of time running to and fro, which often makes relaxation a far too distant memory. Koi ponds by nature are relaxing to look at and enjoy. They are a great way to bring nature to your outdoor sanctuary without feeling over burdened by the natural surroundings. Koi fish are also rather relaxing to watch and enjoy. Another great benefit of Koi ponds is the very fact that they are a rather stress-free way of having and housing pets that the family can enjoy. While Koi are not entirely maintenance free, they are much easier to maintain and care for than a puppy or kitten would be! Most of the cost involved in caring for Koi is upfront, while you will continue to spend a great deal of money caring for other types of pets over time. Finally, Koi ponds offer a certain aesthetic appeal to your lawn or garden oasis. It will raise the value of your home not only when it comes time to sell, but also while you are living there. So often, people tend to think of improvements that will affect the resale value of their home, rather than considering improvements that may add simple enjoyment of home ownership. 22 |

Things to Know about Koi Ponds Koi ponds are not a light decision to make. You need to make sure that you live in an area where practical additions can be made to your landscaping during for those colder months. Temperature is a very important consideration when it comes to creating a Koi pond. They are only practical year-round in areas where the seasons are rather mild and there is absolutely no risk of freezing…I know we just had the Great Freeze of February!! This doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a Koi pond or having Koi fish as pets in colder climates. It simply means that you need to consider bringing them indoors or install heaters for those colder months. Another consideration is location. The water in Koi ponds needs to be filtered. This means you need to plan for your pond to be located near a power source in order to power the filter. These ponds should also be a little larger in size than you may realize in order to provide a fitting habitat for the great fish you will be housing. Other things you should consider are the following: children in your area that may harm your fish accidentally, or even worse, harm themselves by falling into your pond; predators in the area – some birds love fish, your Koi and your pond are an investment; and the need to keep the water moving, as still water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes and should be avoided. If you are considering something a little different for your Outdoor Living space, Koi ponds can provide years and years of enjoyment for you and your family. I hope you will take the time to learn more about these great landscaping additions and how they can improve your standard of outdoor living. We all seem to be around the house a little more these days so might as well enjoy the time together as much as we all can!

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Question: Jimmie, I have a line of older, established Italian Cypress we had installed years ago to provide privacy from our neighbor behind us with two-story windows. Let’s just say we were not the best of friends. Long story short, the tall Cypress began turning brown and losing its foliage over the past few years and now we have “gaps” and no longer have the original intention of privacy. It breaks my heart; I really like the look of those and reminded me of my younger days growing up at my old family home where we had similar line of these. Am I going to have to start all over with the risk of this happening again? I’m at a loss now on what to do and a friend at church told me about you! Please advise when you can. Thank you so much! - Lilly T. in Prosper Answer: Hello Lilly! Yes, being in business for 41 years now I have seen your exact situation many times over! However, I have great news for you. Two words will solve your problem…Taylor Juniper! They are the new replacement for Italian Cypress. Looks the same, grows the same, just eliminates the problems! If you need help locating or installing let us know. We try our absolute best to help all. Good luck with your (Not so best friend neighbors! Haha!!)


Until next time…Happy Gardening!! Jimmie

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Send your landscaping and gardening questions to Jimmie Gibson Jr. at http://www. or jimmie@ Jimmie is a Prosper resident and the owner of Absolutely Bushed Landscaping Company, an award winning, family and veteran owned and operated business created in 1980 to provide the highest quality custom Outdoor Renovation available to homeowners in the Dallas Ft. Worth area.


2021 Senior Athletes! Game/Action | Portraits | Seniors | Fine Art Montages

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Life In &GLuxury ood Magazine Taste

Rally the Crowd with a Masterful Game Day Menu Scoring big on game day requires championship-level meals and snacks that keep the crowd full and ready for action. You can take your tailgate to the house with these baked dishes that help simplify homegating so you can focus on the big screen. From a salsa-based dip and chicken wings to kick off the party to sweet brownies for celebrating victory, each of these recipes call for less than an hour in the kitchen. Clock management is key to tackling a tailgate spread, making these delicious dishes the perfect play calls on game day. Just Wing It Skip the silverware at your next homegate and dive right in with a fan favorite that requires just your hands and a heap of napkins: wings. Whether you pick through your pieces or clean each wing to the bone, these Game Day Chicken Wings are perfect for eaters of all types. A simple flour-based coating keeps the recipe easy to make and baking in the oven means you can skip the messy fryer or firing up the grill. Cook until crispy then corral your party’s favorite dipping sauces from ranch and blue cheese to barbecue and more. Once your spread is served, it’s time to sit back and enjoy the game. GAME DAY CHICKEN WINGS 1/2 cup butter, cubed 1/3 cup flour 2 teaspoons paprika 24 |

1 teaspoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon black pepper 10 chicken wingettes, thawed dipping sauces (optional) fresh parsley (optional) Preheat oven to 425 F. Line baking sheet with foil. Arrange butter cubes on foil. In medium bowl, combine flour, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Coat both sides of wings in flour mixture then evenly space among butter cubes on baking sheet. Bake wings 30 minutes. Turn wings over and bake 15 minutes, or until crispy and fully cooked. Serve with dipping sauces and sprinkle with fresh parsley, if desired. Score Big with a Salsa-Based Dip Whether your game day celebrations call for a full-blown parking lot party or homegating with your closest friends, the nibbles and noshes you serve set the stage. Building your menu with crowd-pleasing classics – including one tried-and-true favorite that offers a fresh, veggie-forward taste: chilled salsa – makes your guests cheer for more than just the home team. Healthy game day snacks are important to almost half (48%) of tailgaters and 18% said they’d consider leaving a party if salsa wasn’t served, according to the “Game Day Eats Report” survey from refrigerated salsa brand Fresh Cravings. With its low-calorie count packed with high flavor, salsa supports health-conscious goals. Made with ingredients like fresh tomatoes, crisp vegetables, zesty peppers and more, the authentic taste of chilled salsa is a universal favorite among fans. With a belief that plant-based foods should contain wholesome ingredients and bold flavors worth celebrating, Fresh Cravings

refrigerated salsas are available in the produce section, next to dressings and dips, in restaurant-style or chunky mild, medium and hot varieties. Chilled salsa is an affordable and vibrant-tasting alternative to jarred salsa, making it a key ingredient in this Mexican Pizza Dip from celebrity chef George Duran. It’s a simple crowd-pleaser you can make in less than an hour, leaving more time for pregame festivities. For more information and game day recipe ideas, visit MEXICAN PIZZA DIP

Sugar, which is made from pure cane sugar and dissolves and measures cup for cup just like white granulated sugar without compromising performance or taste. Featuring an undefeated combination of peanut butter and chocolate, this dessert is ideal for baking a day ahead so you can manage the clock on game day. Find more tailgating sweets at MARBLED PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE BROWNIES Chocolate Brownies: 1/2 cup (1/4 pound) butter 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped 1 cup Domino Golden Sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 eggs 1/2 cup all-purpose flour Peanut Butter Marble: 1/4 cup natural (no added sugar) peanut butter 4 tablespoons butter, softened 1/2 cup Domino Golden Sugar 1 egg 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon baking powder powdered sugar, for topping (optional)

Nonstick cooking spray 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 pound ground beef 1 package taco seasoning mix

Heat oven to 350 F. To make chocolate brownies: In medium saucepot over low heat, melt butter and chocolate. Remove pot from heat; stir in sugar and vanilla until blended. In small mixing bowl, whisk eggs until frothy then stir into chocolate mixture. Sift flour into batter and stir just until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing to edges.

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature 1/2 cup sour cream 1 cup Fresh Cravings Chunky Salsa, plus additional for topping 1 cup grated mozzarella 1/2 cup blended Mexican cheese sliced jalapeno (optional) sliced black olives (optional)

To make peanut butter marble: In mixing bowl, cream peanut butter, butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla; beat just until blended. In separate bowl, sift or whisk flour and baking powder then stir into batter just until combined. Carefully spread peanut butter marble over chocolate batter. Use knife to swirl batters together, first horizontally then diagonally. Bake 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Cool completely on wire rack before cutting. Top with powdered sugar, if desired, before serving.

green onions (optional) tortilla chips Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray 8-by-8-inch glass pan or large souffle dish with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. In large saute pan, heat oil over medium-high heat and add ground beef, breaking up with flat wooden spatula, until fully cooked. Sprinkle taco seasoning throughout beef and combine. Place warm beef mixture in large bowl and add cream cheese, sour cream, 1 cup salsa and mozzarella. Mix well until combined and pour into prepared pan. Top with blended cheese and sliced jalapeno, black olives and green onions, if desired. Bake until fully warmed and cheese is melted, 30-35 minutes. Top with small spoonfuls of salsa. Serve with tortilla chips. Cap Off Game Day with an All-Star Combo Pregame festivities call for salty snacks and meaty morsels, but halftime eating and postgame celebrations are perfect for sweet treats. You can sweeten up your tailgate or homegate with a shareable option like Marbled Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies made with Domino Golden

To find more tailgate and homegate recipe inspiration, visit | 25

Life In &GLuxury ood Magazine Taste

Quick, Nutritious Recipes to Make Family Meals Easy Enjoy Dairy Dishes without the Discomfort

Dinnertime dishes loaded with nutrients help keep loved ones connected while refueling after busy days spent at work and school. Dairy foods – key ingredients in many at-home meals – provide nutrients for people of all ages to grow and maintain stronger bodies and minds. However, some bodies are unable to break down the sugar found in milk, known as lactose, which causes an upset stomach and a heavy, bloated feeling. Rather than avoiding dairy and missing out on beneficial nutrients, people with lactose intolerance can enjoy real dairy products that are naturally low in or don’t contain lactose without the stomachache with foods like: Lactose-free milk, which is real milk with the same 13 essential nutrients as regular milk Hard and aged cheeses, such as cheddar, colby, Monterey Jack, Parmesan and Swiss Yogurt with live and active cultures, which help break down lactose, making it easier to digest These easy-to-make meals offer lactose intolerance-friendly options for families seeking to keep milk on the menu. Because they all require an hour or less in the kitchen, they provide quick solutions for those hectic schedules without sacrificing taste or nutrition.

26 |

CHICKEN CORDON BLEU KEBABS Recipe courtesy of Rachel Gurk of “Rachel Cooks” on behalf of Milk Means More Skewers: Nonstick cooking spray 2 chicken breasts (6 ounces each), cubed 1 ham steak (6 ounces), cubed 6 bamboo skewers (8 inches) 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 1/4 teaspoon paprika 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil Sauce: 2 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons flour 1 cup lactose-free 2% milk 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese salt, to taste (optional) pepper, to taste (optional)

To make skewers: Preheat broiler to 500 F. Line broiler pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Thread cubed chicken pieces and cubed ham pieces onto skewers. In small bowl, combine Dijon mustard, maple syrup, black pepper, paprika and oil. Brush mustard mixture on skewers. Broil about 5 minutes, flip and cook 5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. To make sauce: In small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute, whisking constantly. Gradually add milk, whisking constantly. Add Dijon mustard. Continue cooking 5 minutes, or until thick. Reduce heat to low and stir in cheese, whisking until melted. Add salt and pepper, to taste, if desired. Serve chicken and ham kebabs with sauce. CHICKEN, SPINACH AND FETA CASSEROLE Recipe courtesy of Marcia Stanley, MS, RDN, on behalf of Milk Means More

ONE PAN MAC AND CHEESE Recipe courtesy of Sheila Johnson of “Eat 2 Gather” on behalf of Milk Means More Water 2 teaspoons salt 2 cups dry macaroni noodles 2 cups lactose-free whole milk 2 eggs 2 tablespoons butter, clarified or ghee 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese salt, to taste fresh cracked pepper, to taste Add water and salt to 3-quart saucepan; cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and add noodles back to pan. Measure milk into large measuring cup. Add eggs and whisk. Toss noodles with clarified butter, turn heat to medium and pour in milk-egg mixture. Add cheeses and stir until melted. Bring to low boil about 3 minutes; sauce will thicken and become creamy. Add salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste. PARMESAN-SWISS FISH Recipe courtesy of Marcia Stanley, MS, RDN, on behalf of Milk Means More 1 1/4 pounds skinless halibut, salmon or tilapia fillets (fresh or frozen) 3/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt 1/4 cup mayonnaise 2 tablespoons sliced green onion 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon pepper 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese 1/4 teaspoon paprika

1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed 3 eggs, slightly beaten 2 cups cottage cheese 1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken

Preheat oven to 450 F. Thaw fish, if frozen. Cut into four serving-size pieces, if necessary. Pat fish dry with paper towels. Arrange in single layer on greased 15-by-10-by-1-inch baking pan, tucking under any thin edges. In small bowl, toss Swiss cheese, yogurt, mayonnaise, green onion, salt and pepper. Spread over fish fillets. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and paprika. Bake, uncovered, until fish flakes easily with fork. Allow 6-8 minutes baking time per 1/2-inch thickness of fish.

3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Visit to find more delicious dishes that fit a lactose intolerant meal plan.

2 tablespoons butter, melted 2 teaspoons dried minced onion 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper Preheat oven to 350 F. Place spinach in colander. Use back of large spoon or rubber spatula to press moisture from spinach. In large bowl, combine spinach, eggs, cottage cheese, chicken, feta cheese, flour, butter, onion, oregano, salt and pepper. Spoon into greased 1 1/2-quart casserole dish. Bake, uncovered, 45-50 minutes, or until set near center (160 F). Let stand 5 minutes before serving. | 27

Life & Luxury Magazine Fashion

How to Wear a Shacket: Fall’s Stand-Out Layer is Having a Moment As we savor every second of summer, subtle signs indicate that layering season is just around the corner. As temperatures dip, we reach for layers that easily add style points while keeping us cozy. One of our favorite women’s fall fashion 2021 trends is the shacket. What is a shacket, you ask? A shacket, aka an overshirt, is the ultimate layer that effortlessly combines a shirt and a jacket. From lightweight fabrications to warm wooly textiles, we’ve got all of your shacket layering lessons right here. TYPES OF SHACKETS: THE QUINTESSENTIAL LAYERING PIECE FOR FALL Now that we’ve established what a shacket is, let’s break down the different types of overshirts we’re longing for. Women’s shackets come in all shapes and sizes. From light and layer-able to lined and textured, there’s an overshirt for every occasion. This autumn, reach for plaid, oversized and flannel shackets for all your outerwear needs. From punchy prints and color pops to soft neutrals and muted pastels, shirt jackets add a finishing touch to any ensemble. Opt for an overshirt to keep you warm when the temperatures turn down. Check out our women’s shacket styles that are must-haves for crunching through fallen leaves. Plaid Shackets Want to add an awe-inspiring autumnal aesthetic to your outfit? Look no further than the women’s shacket. When considering what type of shacket to sport this season, add plaid prints to the mix. Women’s shackets are an easy way to incorporate playful patterns into your wardrobe. You can find plaid patterns in a variety of colors and designs. From traditional tartans and classic checks to handsome houndstooth and timeless tattersall— there’s a plaid shacket just waiting for you. This season, details like sherpa-lined collars and raw-edge hems give plaid shackets that extra edge. For a chic style that echoes the 90s grunge trend spotted on fall runways, toss on a buffalo-check shirt jacket. Rock your look from head to toe and wear it over a black band tee, distressed denim and combat boots. Looking for a more minimalist take on autumn’s it print? A women’s windowpane shacket could be the top layer for you. This classic check instantly channels a modern, refined flair when paired with dreamy dresses and Chelsea boots. Oversized Shackets The type of shacket next on our list? One with an oversized fit. There’s no denying that we’ve become accustomed to comfort post-Covid. When thinking about what a shacket is—part shirt, part jacket—finding boxy and big fits is a top priority. Look for long-line women’s overshirts that drape easily over dresses and billowy silhouettes. Alternatively, loose shirt jackets add dimension to fitted profiles. No matter how you wear it, an oversized shacket adds a glint of glam to any outfit. This autumn, the cottagecore trend makes way for cabincore. Wrap yourself in an oversized overshirt that effortlessly layers over sweaters. With a roomier fit, a shacket is the sweater weather layering essential. When adventure calls, pair a fleece-lined women’s shirt jacket with a richly textured cable-knit sweater and a tiered mini skirt. Add a crossbody bag and coordinating knee-high boots. Style points for socks that peek out of the top of your boots for a dash of color. Voilà, you’re ready to pile on the fall fun. Flannel Shackets Last—but definitely not least—the type of shacket we’re wearing this 28 |

season is flannel. No need to borrow from your older brother’s closet. Flannel shackets for women with a mid-weight fabrication offer equal parts structure and drape—you’re sure to stand out. Opt for a flannel overshirt for all of your casual layering needs. Flannel for the win. Looking to feather your nest at home or spend time outside leaf peeping? Grab a flannel shacket. Embrace our comfiest trend, loungewear, on a rainy day. For a long reading session, snuggle up to a soft pastel flannel overshirt. Wearing it over a ribbed knit henley and joggers in elevated neutral colors gives you the ultimate lazy day outfit. Do neutrals pique your interest? Choose from tried-and-true grey, black and navy as well as warm browns, camel and ecru. Heading for a hike to enjoy the brisk fall air? Stay warm in a legging set in spicy hues, layer a flannel shacket with a corduroy collar over and add hiking boots. No need to wonder what a shacket is anymore—now, you’re a women’s overshirt expert.

HOW TO WEAR A SHACKET Wondering how to wear a shacket? The answer is simple: you can wear a women’s shirt jacket with almost anything. A shacket is as multi-talented as your favorite authentic wash jeans. Whether styling for work or play, day or night, an overshirt is a versatile layering option for any season. Need a light layer in the summer? Throw on a shacket over a tee. Looking to add an extra layer in the heart of winter? Try an overshirt under your winter wool coat. With a variety of colors, prints, textures and silhouettes, the styling options are endless with a shacket. What Do You Wear Under a Shacket? Seriously, you can wear just about anything under a shacket. When it comes to tops, choose from tees, tanks and turtlenecks to ruffled blouses and soft sweaters. This layering piece will wrap up your boho-style look with a structured spin on bohemian chic. Did we mention pairing these overshirts with our favorite one-and-done outfits are as easy as pie? These include dresses and jumpsuits Think of a women’s shacket as the MVP of layering—it can do it all. Pondering how to wear a shacket for a look that takes you from desk to dinner? We’ve got you covered. This season, wear a shacket over a turtleneck for a sophisticated look when wearing a pair of on-trend, wide-leg pants. The fitted silhouette of a turtleneck adds definition against the flow of the wide-leg pants. Elevated neutrals are on every fashionista’s mind this season. They are the perfect base for a layer ready to let your shacket shine in the spotlight. Add a slightly oversized, yet structured women’s shirt jacket in leather with complementary colors to ace your ensemble.

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Can You Wear a Shacket with a Dress? It’s a resounding yes. You can definitely wear a shacket with a dress. Add a women’s shacket over a flirty floral mini dress or a sleek sweater dress. Double down on the button-down shirt aesthetic and wear a belted shirt dress in classic pinstripes with a plaid shacket. This preppy twist to mixing prints just needs a pair of penny loafers. Our two-cents? Add the penny for good luck. As offices open back up, we’re reinventing the work dress code. The workleisure trend is on the rise, and comfort is our new priority. Work in style at the office or from home in relaxed fashion. Trying to figure out how to wear a shacket for work? A refined overshirt with a built-in belt is the perfect accompaniment to a satin shift dress and slingback flats. Add a few accessories like a pearl necklace or hair clips to stay polished and professional. With this fall trend, the world is your oyster.

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Article is compliments of Stitch Fix and written by Rory Stenback and Sheri Epps-Frederito. Visit to schedule your fix! | 29

Life & Luxury Magazine Travel

Stress Less on Your Next Family Vacation: 6 Tips for a Laid-Back Getaway A vacation is all about getting away and taking a break from the pressures of daily life. Some smart planning and the use of handy travel apps can help ensure your next adventure is a stress-free success. Create a Travel Buffer When booking your trip, plan an extra day or two on the front and back ends of your travel itinerary. This provides you with optimal time to finalize preparations, organize your packing and avoid last-minute scrambles. On the return trip, the added day gives you some cushion, so you don’t have to stress about getting back to work if there are travel delays. You’ll also have a chance to unpack, unwind and settle back into your home before diving back into your daily grind. Get Smart About Saving One easy way to take the stress out of vacation planning is to use digital resources to save time and money. An option like a sightseeing pass from Go City offers savings on attractions and activities. A single pass grants access to multiple iconic landmarks and unmissable experiences in more than 25 cities across four continents. For example, in San Antonio you can take advantage of a Natural Bridge Caverns discovery package, or in New York City, you’ll be able to access the iconic and family-friendly exhibits at the Empire State Building. Know When Less is More Overpacking may seem like a strategy for reducing stress, since you’ll be prepared for whatever comes your way. However, many travelers find the opposite is true. Packing light means you’re more agile when it comes to transportation and have fewer things to keep track of or worry about losing. An added benefit: with fewer wardrobe options, you can focus your attention where it really belongs – enjoying your destination. 30 |

Keep Plans Loose A rigid agenda only causes angst. The reality of travel is that you’re likely to, somehow or someway, get off schedule and fall behind. The ripple effect can quickly throw off an entire day, so a better bet is to keep plans flexible. With Go City’s mobile-based passes and flexible plan-as-you-go capabilities, travelers have the freedom to set their own schedules. It’s no problem if you decide to linger over breakfast on your visit to Los Angeles; the whale watching adventure will be there when you’re ready. If you decide to make a stop at the beach on your San Diego getaway, no worries. You’ll still be able to scan your pass for kayaking later that day or even following days. Prioritize Sleep and Relaxing Activities You may be tempted to make the most of every moment of your trip but allowing ample down time to rest and recharge helps keep everyone feeling fresh and ready to tackle each new activity with enthusiasm. Being tired takes the joy out of traveling, and it can lead to cranky meltdowns among the littlest travelers (and sometimes the bigger ones, too). That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to take a nap every single day, but you might consider alternating extra busy days with more laid-back activities, so you don’t find yourself running on empty. Have Contingency Plans At home, things don’t always go according to plan, so you shouldn’t expect them to when you’re on the road. While planning for your trip, do some research on backup activities you can do if your original plans fall apart. If rain hampers your day at the amusement park, knowing you can easily access tickets to the indoor aquarium or family-friendly museum nearby can save the day. Use the same mindset when planning for your accommodations and meals. Overbooking and extended wait times won’t foil you if you have alternatives in mind. Discover more ways to do what you want, when you want on your stressfree vacation at

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PROSPER - Life & Luxury Magazine | September 2021  

A Cedarbrook Media Publication

PROSPER - Life & Luxury Magazine | September 2021  

A Cedarbrook Media Publication

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