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Cobb Life

Mayl 2014  Volume 10, Issue 4 EXECUTIVE PUBLISHER


Lee B. Garrett V.P. ADVERTISING Wade Stephens


Mark Wallace Maguire LAYOUT AND DESIGN

Stacey L. Evans, Mark Wallace Maguire CONTRIBUTORS

Joan Durbin, Stacey L. Evans, Lindsay Field, Michael Pallerino, Jennifer Hafer, Meredith Pruden, Michael Venezia PHOTOGRAPHER


Erin Gray, Jeff Stanton PHOTO ASSISTANT


Whitney Betts A D V E R T I S I N G S TA F F

INDEX OF ADVERTISERS Aqua Guard Basements Art-Tiques Atlanta Communities Atlanta Fine Homes - Jim Glover Atlanta Lyric Theatre Blackwell's Jewelers Brawner Hall Brumby Chair Canton Arts Festival Children's Healthcare of Atlanta COBB EMC Cobb Hardware Compassionate Care Ministries Cumberland Diamond Exchange Debbie Redford All Around Atlanta Realty Dermatology Consultants Diamonds R Forever E. Smith Heating & Air Fleming Carpet Fresh n Fit Gaines Park Senior Living Ginn - Demestihas Golden Rugs Harry Norman Henry's Louisiana Grill Hodge - Army Navy Indy Style Salon Johnson Ferry Baptist Julep's Home DĂŠcor Kennestone Dental Design Life Grocery Manders Dental Marietta Antique Mall Marietta Greek Festival Marietta Podiatry Marina Bay

50 46 50 46 66 44 62 70 10 3 51 72 14 33 63 58 68 71 29 54 65 64 24 67 25 40 24 17 10 16 6 66 12 11 16 63

Marlowe's Tavern 27 Mavis Anderson 65 Mayes Ward - Dobbins Funeral Home 73 Marietta Daily Journal 70 Medford - Peden Funeral Home 59 Mikel Crowley 40 Milestones 64 Miracle Method 62 Mt. Bethel Christian School 15 Mt. Paran Christian School 32 Nasca - Moore 64 Night Vision Outdoors 75 North Cobb Spine & Nerve 55 Northside Hospital 5 Northside Physician's Group 31 Northside Hospital Sleep Center 36 Outrageous Interiors 13 Parc @ Piedmont 14 Pearl's Spa 12 Pinnacle Orthopaedics 9 Plastic Surgery Center of the South 37 Presbyterian Village 69 Rogers - Halcik 64 Roswell Street Baptist 4 Shrine Circus 47 Skin Cancer Specialists 21 Sterling Senior Living 45 Sue Hilton 71 Superior Plumbing 2 The Bottoms Group 7 The Framery 37 Vespucci's 25 Wellstar 76 West Cobb Funeral Home 41 White Rabbit 67 Winnwood Retirement 20




Stephanie deJarnette, Dawne Edge, Paula Milton, Charlene Kay, Katelyn Ledford, Audra Pagano, Liz Ridley GRAPHIC DESIGNERS



Dave Gossett I N F O R M AT I O N

Cobb Life magazine is published nine times a year by the Marietta Daily Journal and distributed to more than 30,500 homes and businesses. SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES

To subscribe, visit our website at or email ADVERTISING

To advertise, contact Wade Stephens at 770.795.4001 SUBMISSIONS

Please send all editorial correspondence to



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W H AT ’ S I N S I D E features 18 WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Angela Reign spirals up the charts 30 LESSONS FROM MOM Cobb women share what their mother taught them 34 GEAR FOR THE GIRL ON THE GO We’ve got you covered with items to make life easier for the busy woman 38 COOKING UP STYLE At home with Cobb’s super chef Johnnie Gabriel


56 MODERN MUSINGS Three Cobb business women share their thoughts

22 SPICE Mother’s Day brunch ideas 42 HEALTH AND WELLNESS Meet Cobb’s Derby Darlins 48 HOME Perfecting the patio

On our cover: Marietta residents and friends Ginny Knox Rainey, Lettie Primeaux and Hayley Hedrick.

52 WINE Reflecting on the winter storm 60 TRAVEL East Texas promises a satisfying trip

in every issue FROM OUR STAFF
















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I am woman, hear me roar — with laughter What defines a woman? We are certainly bombarded every day with messages about how we should define ourselves — what we should look like, how we should dress, how we should behave, how we should parent, how we should diet, how we should feel, what rules to follow, which ones to break and what lipstick to wear while we’re doing it. All this talk about leaning in and leaning out just makes me want to lean back and take a nap. Just thinking about everything we’re supposed to be and do is exhausting. The truth is women encompass so many definitions today that trying sum us up in one sentence is futile. But if I had to name one thing that most women have in common? A predisposition for giggling — that beautiful bout of uncontrollable laughter, that audible expression of sheer joy. Not to say that men don’t occasionally erupt into fits of giggles, but women surely win the trophy for frequency and intensity. Any time women are gathered together and chatting, it’s probable at any given moment a burst of shoulder-shaking guffawing will overtake the group. We squeal and jump around with delight when reunited with old friends. Or when we find to-diefor shoes. Even at the office, when a joke or situation tickles a woman’s funny bone, the shrieks of laughter come rolling out. And then there’s the more reserved yet still animated cooing of ‘awwww!’ in reaction to photos of adorable animals or babies. Laughter is one of the key ways in which we bond and communicate. Talking, which female friends can do for hours — the deep conversations, venting, sharing secrets, overanalyzing everything — is vital too. But when I think about my closest friendships, what sets those relationships apart — in addition to trust — is how often and soon we spiral into gigglefests. It doesn’t matter if you are sad or angry, or even if there is tension between two friends in the group, by the end of the night you are barely able to speak and your stomach muscles are hurting from giggle spasms. You laugh most with those you are closest to because you have more fond memories of escapades together, more inside jokes, and they ‘get you.’ You’re more likely to let loose with someone you feel comfortable with. Only the besties (and perhaps a few bystanders) are witness to the tear-inducing, mascara-running, doubled over on the floor, snort-filled laughter. As for giggling with strangers, laughing forms an instant connection — it’s a way to relate to one another. It’s a beautiful energy. Perhaps laughter is testament to the deep bonds women form, the value we place on those relation-

ships and the way we nurture them. Women are communicators, and having best friends that you can tell anything and everything to is essential. (Though with a really close friend, all you have to say is ‘girl’ in a particular way, and they understand it all). Your besties are always there to lift you up when the world seems to be dragging you down. They cry with you, hold your hand when you’re afraid, believe in you and remind you that you are special and unique. And loved. A bestie will give you a hug so strong that your bones might break. And if they do, she is there to help repair the fractures. A true friend, especially a Southern woman, will feed you when you can’t eat. Basically, our besties are like surrogate mothers. This theme runs throughout our Her issue. You’ll find profiles on businesswomen, roller derby athletes, home features and daughters paying tribute to their mothers. The subjects vary, but at the heart of all is the importance women place on forming close relationships. The Derby Darlins story especially exemplifies how women of all stripes come together and form a bond over a common passion. The ‘Leading Ladies’ article highlights local leaders who have strong, supportive friendships. The stereotypes of catty women persist, yet in my lifetime I’ve experienced far more women helping me than fighting against me in business and in social situations. I think it’s time we shake off and move beyond that nasty stereotype. TV shows like ‘Real Housewives’ play into the catfights, but if you look closely, there is actually more teamwork and support among the stars — it’s just that the fights get highlighted and replayed (and I think, more often than not, are scripted). Yes, women can be emotional and we are going to wrangle sometimes. Can women be catty? Mean girls? Sure. But we can also be pretty forgiving and understanding. Most women would rather let it go and laugh together again (after a five-hour talk about our feelings on what transpired, of course). And speaking of letting it go, ‘women are too emotional’ is another phrase we need to drop. Sometimes it’s important to keep emotions in check, sure, but strong feelings shouldn’t always be seen as a weakness. Emotions are what ignite passion, motivate change, compel you to extend a helping hand and stand up for what’s right. Emotion is also what sets off the giggles. And that’s what makes the world a better, more joyful place. Stacey L. Evans



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meet some of our contributors Therra C. Gwyn was born and raised in England, followed her taste buds to the American South, stuck a fork in and stayed. After working in professional theater, TV and film in Atlanta for 16 years she decided to sit down and write. Her articles have appeared in Mental Floss magazine, Creative Loafing, Encore Atlanta and the Native American Times, among other publications. She's the former publicist for Peter Tork of the Monkees, in addition to editing his advice column, "Ask Peter Tork." Therra is the proud mom to four rescued dogs, two rescued cats and five urban chickens.

Jennifer Hafer is an award-winning writer and editor whose articles have appeared in several local and national publications. A former journalist, she has won numerous awards for deadline reporting, feature writing and advertising copy. She now works in public relations, garnering local and national publicity for her organization, including coverage by "USA Today," "Diverse Issues in Higher Education" and "The Chronicle of Higher Education." She and her husband live in Hickory Flat with their two daughters.


Cobb Life May 2014

Lindsay Field, who moved to Cobb from Southwest Georgia a little over three years ago, has more than 10 years of experience in writing for both newspapers and magazines. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the Marietta Daily Journal and its special editions, as well as other local magazines featuring the lovely men, women and organizations that make Cobb such a wonderful community to live in. In her free time, she enjoys sewing, navigating her way around a tiny kitchen, and finding creative ways to keep a 3-year-old little boy entertained, without breaking the bank.

Food has been on Joan Durbin’s mind for as long as she can remember. In high school, faced with taking either French or Spanish for a language credit, she opted for French because she thought it would come in handy later for reading menus. Growing up in a Midwestern family in which garlic, herbs and spices other than salt, pepper and the occasional onion rarely made an appearance in the womenfolk’s cooking, Joan was flabbergasted and delighted to discover a whole spectrum of new flavors once she went away to college. She more than made up for lost time by embracing exotic ingredients and foodstuffs that gave her grandmother and mother the vapors. In her 20s, Joan adopted the kitchen as her favorite room in the house and spent ensuing decades attempting and often succeeding in creating edible meals. In the early years, she was the only one of her friends who preferred to throw a dinner party than a kegger. Moving from Ohio to South Florida to metro Atlanta, and traveling up and down the East Coast, Joan has picked up a passing familiarity with a wide variety of cuisines, regional specialties and cooking procedures. She lives quietly in East Cobb with a passel of dogs and cats and one sometimes exasperating but well-meaning man who retired and took up cooking as a hobby.



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Michael A. Venezia is the Corporate Director of Education for United Distributors Inc. He is also Adjunct Professor of Hospitality Administration at Georgia State University. He lives in East Cobb with his wife Patti, who recently retired as an ESL teacher at Wheeler High School. His hobbies include collecting wine corks which currently number more than 5,000, and traveling to food and wine destinations in search of those “gastronomic marriages made in heaven.“

Atlanta native and long-time contributor Meredith Pruden is a ravenous technophile, social media fanatic, word nerd, finicky foodie, landlocked surfer and scuba diver, and an avid traveler raising a cheeky, soccer playing teenage son. When she's not busy acquiescing to her wanderlust, chauffeuring her son to games or appeasing her gluttonous appetite (for food and for life), Meredith enjoys getting paid for being herself—a rebel raconteur. She has been an integral member of the editorial launch teams for several magazine startups and has been published hundreds of times as a feature journalist with specific expertise in lifestyle and popular culture. Her styling and writing work has appeared in “Cover Magazine,” “Rolling Stone” and on “,” among others. She has been a part of numerous award-winning publishing and marketing teams and, in 2011, was named one of “Atlanta's Top Creatives” by “CommonCreativ Magazine.”

Michael J. Pallerino is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a number of local and national publications. Over the past 25 years, he has won numerous awards, including the Jesse H. Neal Editorial Achievement Award, recognized as the Pulitzer Prize for business-tobusiness magazines. While in the sports product industry, his monthly columns generated national attention from “USA Today,” “The Wall Street Journal,” “ESPN Magazine,” “Sports Business Journal” and “BusinessWeek,” among others.

Stacey L. Evans was born with a fervent curiosity streak, which triggered her interest in journalism and eventually drove her from a small South Georgia town to the ‘big city’ of Atlanta. With a journalism degree in tow, she jetted off for an escapade in London— which she believes gives her the right to use words such as ‘bloody,’ and ‘knackered’ with authority—and then wandered around the retail and restaurant world until finding a home at “Neighbor Newspapers” and “Cobb Life.” Now she spends her days writing, designing, brainstorming and assisting with photo shoots. She also serves as editor of Cobb Life’s “Brides” edition. An avid nature lover, she spends countless hours trekking or cycling through the wilderness, stretching out on river rocks to read, marveling at whatever creature crosses her path, contemplating the clouds and staring up at the stars. “Born and raised in Atlanta, Sam Bennett started photography in high school and continued at the University of South Carolina, where he majored in Visual Communications. His work has previously appeared in several publications including the Marietta Daily Journal, Dawg Post, Score Atlanta, and Johns Creek Herald. He also owns Cutting Edge Images, Inc. that specializes in portraits, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Weddings and Event photography. He has served as a coach and umpire, acquired a black belt in Taekwondo, and possesses a deep passion when rooting on his USC Gamecocks.”

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parties April 5 was a beautiful day and the spring weather was the perfect backdrop for a couples’ bridal shower honoring Lauren Fierman and Wayne Iddins at the Marietta home of Lauren and Todd Hughes. Friends and compiled by family Sally Litchfield heaped welland staff wishes upon the radiant couple, but the real star of the event was the ‘cue.’ Hughes, former Auburn linebacker, enjoys competing in regional barbecue contests. For the party, he put his con-

siderable talent to work, personally preparing a mouth-watering feast of smoked chicken, ribs and brisket with a side of secret recipe bitecha’ sauce. Both Laurens, who’ve known each other since middle school, are 2003 graduates of Marietta High School. The betrothed are looking forward to their May 2014 wedding; meanwhile matron-of-honor Hughes and her husband are eagerly awaiting the birth of their second son, this summer.

celebrations Some things never change. Charlene Atkins and Bob Gill met at the Varsity more than 50 years ago. They started dating, visiting the Varsity many times over the years. They still enjoy going to the Varsity, especially after one opened at Town Center Mall. The Gills married on March 22, 1964 at Grace Methodist Church in Atlanta. In honor of their 50th wedding anniversary, their children Candy Cook and

Bart Gill asked, “What’ll ya have?” The Varsity — of course! Candy and Bart hosted an anniversary celebration at the Towne Center Varsity where they decorated the party area with balloons, photos and memorabilia. Charlene wore a gold and diamond necklace given to her mother, Gladys, by her father, Austin, on their golden wedding anniversary on June 19, 1982. The Atkins family was well represented by Babe and Bill Byrne, Anne and Gary Atkins, Harriett and Gene Atkins, Jennifer and Bill Atkins along with daughters, sons, nieces, nephews and in-laws. Others attending the celebration were: Bart, Christy, Bailey, Brock and Bentley Gill, Jimmy Chambers, Paula and Jerry Cofield, Candy, Casey and Dylan Cook, Kim Curl and Seth Curl, Tony Garner, Hope and Hayden Langston, Reba and Phil Machue, Kay and Jim Moss, Ashley McCade, Earline Pettet, Susan Reynolds and Doug Watkins.



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In March, a dedication of the Charyn Darby Healing Garden was presented at Taylor-Brawner Park in Smyrna. The Charyn Darby Foundation converted an unused portion of land at TaylorBrawner Park into the Charyn Darby Healing Garden to continue to help beautify Smyrna. Darby was a prominent Smyrna businesswoman who owned North Georgia Trophy and Engraving. She was active

in numerous civic and nonprofit organizations including Keep Smyrna Beautiful. Darby was also devoted to Vision Rehabilitation Services of Georgia serving as Board Chair for six years before her death. She was the organization’s largest donor and her foundation still supports the organization. Darby died in 2009 after a battle against cancer. Darby loved helping

people, and she was a proud citizen of Smyrna. Trustee of the Foundation Phil Benedict delivered remarks and was joined by trustees Joan M. Stuart and Jean B. Wilson. Assisting in making the project a reality were Gretchen Musser, RLA, Elements of Land Design, Stan Hula, Hula Landscaping, and Mayor Max Bacon, City Council members and staff.

[corrections and amplifications] In the March issue, we misidentifed Jim Nash as the husband of Libby Horne. Nash is Mrs. Horne’s son-in-law and married to Mrs. Horne’s daughter Merrill Nash. Cobb Life regrets the error.

[arts and culture] Kennesaw actor debuts on the ‘big screen’ A Kennesaw actor is starring in a new dark comedy bromance marking the feature film debut of director/writer/producer Sarah Smick. “Friended to Death” stars James Immekus of Kennesaw as well as Ryan Hansen (“Veronica Mars”) and Zach McGowan (“Black Sails”). The film came to Kennesaw for a week-long run at AMC Barrett Commons in early May. “Friended To Death” charts the extremes to which a desperate Facebook junkie will go in order to figure out who his true friends are. Laced with satire, this tongue-in-cheek bromantic comedy tells the story of obnoxious Los Angeles parking enforcement officer Michael Harris (Hansen). After being fired from his dream job and ditched by his best friend (McGowan), Michael begins to question whether anyone would care if he died. So with the help of his pushover former co-worker Emile (Immekus), Michael does what any social media-obsessed loner would do: He fakes his death online to see who will show up at his funeral.

May 2014 Cobb Life




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news & noteworthy [automobiles] New Camry features more spunk and style Shaken by the advances of newer, sportier rivals, the Toyota Camry is trying to shed its vanilla reputation. The redesigned 2015 Camry, unveiled last month at the New York International Auto Show, is longer and wider, with a large, aggressive grille and chiseled sides. Toyota says it changed every exterior piece but the roof. The Camry has been the best-selling car in the U.S. for the last 12 years, supported by loyal buyers wedded to a dependable family car. But Toyota acknowledges that tastes have changed, and buyers of midsize cars want more style, comfort and performance to go with the reliability. U.S. Toyota division chief Bill Fay said the company started redesigning the Camry almost immediately after a new version went on sale in 2011. Fay said the company knew it needed a more daring style after competitors like Hyundai and Ford offered newer, more striking designs. "Everyone was raising the stakes a bit. We had to make sure we could keep this competitive," Fay said. Inside the updated Camry, which goes on sale in the fall, there are softer materials and a wireless charging system. The body is stiffer and the suspension and steering were retuned for more responsive driving. Even the carpet and side mirrors were redesigned to make the car quieter. The changes will help the Camry defend its turf, which has been increasingly challenged by rivals. The Honda Accord, redesigned for the 2013 model year, narrowed Camry's fullyear sales lead to 41,000 cars last year from 73,000 in 2012. The Nissan Altima and the Ford Fusion each had bigger percentage sales gains last year than the Camry. What's more, the new Mazda6 breezed past the Camry's fuel economy numbers. And even luxury makers like MercedesBenz have introduced new cars that sell for under $30,000 — right in Camry buyers' price range. It didn't help that Toyota's reputation was hurt by a series of recalls in 2010. The Camry has never regained the 15 percent share of the midsize car market it held before the recalls. It controlled 13 percent of that market in 2013, with total sales of 408,484, according to Ward's AutoInfoBank.



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The midsize rivals are competing in a shrinking market. Young families and aging Baby Boomers are flocking to small SUVs like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, which offer more space and competitive fuel economy. Midsize car sales have fallen 8 percent so far this year, while small SUVs are up 20 percent, according to Kelley Blue Book. In that kind of market, no one can stand still. Hyundai, which brought the midsize segment out of the doldrums with the racy 2011 Sonata, which went on sale in 2009, introduced a new Sonata in New York Wednesday. The 2015 Sonata has ditched the sharp creases on the sides that polarized buyers in favor of a taut, refined look to match the upscale Genesis sedan. The new Sonata, which goes on sale this summer, has many new features, including Apple's CarPlay system that lets drivers control their Apple devices through the car. - from the Associated Press

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hat’s next? We’ve got a major summer issue coming in June featuring Cobb’s best wings, ice cream ideas, summer style, exclusive cars and more. Have a story idea? How about an event for our SCENE section? Just email us at cobblifemagazine@ And don’t forget you can follow us on facebook.



• Podiatric & Diabetic Clinic • Physical Therapy Department Dr. Glyn E. Lewis Dr. Donald R. Powell Dr. Matthew G. Butler Physical Therapist

• Corrective Surgery for Bunions and other Foot Deformities • Sports Injuries

Marietta Podiatry Group

165 Vann Street | Marietta, GA 770-422-9856

g ideas summer dinin UNE! COMING IN J



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Photogrpahy by Houston Smith and Shawn Evans

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During our tenth year of publication, we are catching up with former people who have been featured in Cobb Life. Join us as we go on this journey of





Since we last spoke with Cobb’s Queen of Country, Angela Reign has remained busy. Here’s the scoop.



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on’t look now Cobb County, but America’s “up-and-comingsee-her-now-before-you-can’tget-a-ticket” country music star might just be somebody you swear you saw when, you know, you could still get a ticket.

Let’s call it what it is country music fans

– Angela Reign is on a roll.


Cobb Life May 2014



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Over the past year, the former highpowered management consultant turned country music songstress-onthe-rise was named “Best Female Country Artist of the Year” (2013) by the Georgia Music Awards, had 10 original songs air on mainstream radio and signed with Premier Records in January. The Los Angeles record company is distributing her latest album, “Reckless Kind,” in more than 110 countries and through 750plus online retailers, including iTunes and Amazon, among others. Her current roll complements what has been as good a start as any aspiring musician could ask for. Her band was a finalist in Hard Rock’s International “Battle of the Bands.” They were recognized as one of the five best local rock bands by CBS Atlanta (the only female-led band on the list). They opened for country music star Rodney Atkins in front of 30,000 people in Reign’s childhood hometown of Cincinnati. And they headlined the Coca-Cola Fan Stage at Atlanta Motor Speedway this past Labor Day. “It has been an exciting year with so many great highlights since we last spoke,” Reign says. “The radio play of my original music continues to hit the mainstream radio and the live performances have gotten bigger and bigger. And what about that “Best Female Country Artist of the Year” award? “I’m still in awe. I’m so very thankful for the fans and industry support that made it possible. When they called my name at the Red Carpet Award Ceremony, it didn’t even register that I’d won. A member of my band had to tell me to go up on stage to accept the award. There is so much amazing talent in the state of Georgia. To be recognized by the fans and by those in the industry as the best in my field is an unbelievable honor.” With so many musical miles already logged, Reign continues to set her sights on what’s ahead. In May, she is releasing her latest single, a dance remix of her widely popular radioaired single, “Cowgirls Do.” She is joined on the song with Se’von, the Georgia Music Award winner for “Best Hip Hop Artist of the Year.” The duo has done trial releases of the

song in some major clubs to great response. In addition, she is in the studio working on her next single, “Lovers In Trouble” a powerful ballad Reign admittedly is anxious to release. These days, Reign finds her inspiration in the place where musical success begins and ends – the fans. “The music world is an incredibly tough business. It has long hours, mentally and physically demanding work, and no clear rules for success,” she said. “It would be easy to be discouraged or to choose to follow an easier path. But the fans keep me going. Every day that I get feedback from fans from around the world I am inspired to continue this journey. Where will it take me? I don’t yet know, but I’m excited to find out.”

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Mother’s Day ma d e e a sy

BRUNCH Up close with a few of Cobb’s favorite spots for this tradition By Joan Durbin Photography by Sam Bennett and Erin Gray



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Do you think you could find a mother who wouldn’t want this on Mother’s Day? Good luck. We enjoyed it too. French toast — with a signature twist — from Copeland’s of New Orleans.



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or a knock-em-dead presentation and staggering selection of goodies, swing by one of the two Copeland’s of New Orleans locations in Cobb for the Sunday Jazz Brunch. As big fans of Louisiana cookin’ as well as live music, we headed for the Kennesaw Copeland’s on a recent Sunday. Not really knowing what to expect, we were gobsmacked by what we found: a multi-level buffet of platters, chafing dishes, carving boards and bowls full of tantalizing dishes that had our taste buds salivating in anticipation. Want breakfast? There are fluffy soft scrambled eggs, Cajun eggs Benedict, French toast, waffles, bacon, three kinds of sausage, cheesy grits, biscuits, muffins, home fried potatoes and a build-your-own omelet station with an extensive array of ingredients to add. Many more items are lunch-oriented, ranging from salads to fried fresh fish, honey ham, standing rib roast, peel and eat shrimp and Big Easy standards like jambalaya and red beans and rice. A dessert station features a chocolate fountain with fresh fruit for dipping, lemon squares, Copeland’s special pra-


Chef Juan Trejo builds fresh to order omelets for customers.

line cookies and more. A la carte items from the menu also can be ordered if the bountiful buffet is too daunting. An order of beignets, New Orleans’ signature fried dough dusted with powdered sugar, is always appropriate. We also can recommend eggs Sardou, a Creole dish of poached egg, spinach, artichoke hearts and hollandaise sauce. “All our food is made fresh in our kitchen. We don’t bring in anything premade or frozen,” said Copeland’s Kennesaw general manager Phil Gabet. “The chefs create from scratch.” Copeland’s opens on regular Sundays at 10 a.m. and a jazz group begins performing at 11 a.m. Copeland’s does not take reservations, and by 11:30 a.m. there can be a 20-minute wait for a table. Brunch price for adults is $21.99, $15.99 for seniors and $9.95 for kids. Mother’s Day will see an 8:30 a.m. opening and expanded buffet with more items like grilled fish, steak and chicken dishes as well as more desserts. Prices for this special brunch are $28.95, $24.95 and $9.95.



Right, perfectly cooked eggs Benedict served on top of a crab cake and biscuit is a delicious combination. Above, beignets are a customer favorite at Copeland’s.

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COPELAND’S OF ATLANTA 1142 Barrett Parkway, Kennesaw (770) 919-9612 3101 Cobb Parkway, Atlanta (770) 612-3311

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Chef Seth Trafford, of East Cobb, relaxes by the fireplace with a plate of Aspens Raw Kale Salad and Spiced Peel & Eat Shrimp with cocktail sauce. Above, smoked salmon croquettes with Beurre blanc and green onion.

ASPENS SIGNATURE STEAKS 2942 Shallow ford Road, Marietta (678) 236-1400 3625 Dallas Highway, Marietta (770) 419-1744 few miles east on Shallowford Road, Aspens Steakhouse also has a fine buffet waiting for Sunday guests. Executive Chef Seth Trafford has been here just a short time, but he’s made his mark. Take, for example, a classic like beef pot pie. Trafford makes his with trimmings from the restaurant’s famous prime rib and criss-crosses the top with housemade puff pastry, amping up both quality and flavor of this American favorite. Macaroni and cheese is glorified with three cheeses, including goat cheese, which adds zestiness. Of particular note are croquettes made with salmon smoked in house and mixed with chunky mashed potatoes, sour cream, chives and homemade bread crumbs, served with minced green onion and beurre blanc. The smoky tinge to the fish elevates this version way above the norm. Trafford has moved the kitchen in the right direction by making everything possible from scratch, even the country sausage. The difference really is evident. Before, for example, biscuits here were blah. Now, made with buttermilk the old-fashioned way, they are delicious, crisp on the outside and moist inside. It’s little details like using rosemary from Aspens’ own bush for the roasted rosemary chicken that are impressive. Other herbs used in their cooking are harvested from a small garden planted for the purpose. Tri-tip sirloin is on the carving station, and as one would expect in a restaurant known for its beef, the meat was juicy, tender and flavorful. Quiche of the day when we visited was Parmesan cheese, caramelized onion and cherry tomato. Brioche French toast was downright addictive, as were perfectly made cinnamon sugar beignets paired with real vanilla whipped cream. Trafford, who was opening sous chef at east Cobb’s popular Seed restaurant, also spent time in the kitchen at Atlanta’s nationally praised Bacchanalia and four years as executive chef for Whole Foods. Those refined culinary sensibilities are reflected in one of the buffets newest offerings, a refreshing, crunchy and thoroughly tasty raw kale salad. Buffet price is $20.95 for adults, $10.95 for kids ages 6 to 12, and $5 for ages 6 and under. Aspens does take brunch reservations.


Homemade frosted doughnuts at Chicken and The Egg include vanilla glazed, chocolate and strawberry.

otor on over to Chicken and the Egg’s Sunday brunch in West Cobb and prepare for a first-rate experience. As usual, owner and chef Marc Taft offers a cornucopia of delights from which to choose. A firm believer in sourcing ingredients as organically and locally as possible, Taft starts out with only the best components and runs a from-scratch kitchen. Recently, he started making his own doughnuts for the brunch menu, and they are a fine addition to the a la carte menu. If biscuits are more your speed, try his tender buttermilk biscuits with sorghum butter, housemade preserves or sausage gravy. You’ll be hooked. Taft’s omelets are terrific. A customer favorite, the garden omelet is chock full of fresh veggies and jack cheese, with enough flavor to make even nonvegetarians smile. But I can’t say enough about his imaginative eggy combos. The bayou omelet is outrageously good: shrimp, chicken and Louisiana tasso ham mixed with bell peppers, onions, tomatoes and cheese, served with bacon or sausage and a biscuit. Bubba’s Benedict is biscuits, bacon, hash brown casserole, scrambled eggs and country gravy with bacon or




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Right, a garden omelete has spinach, thyme roasted mushrooms, tomatoes, roasted red pepper, Vidalia onions and melted Monterey Jack cheese, accompanied by a biscuit and bacon strips. Left, Chef Mark Taft.

CHICKEN AND THE EGG 800 Whitlock Avenue, Marietta (678) 388-8813 sausage on the side. And a good old cast iron skillet breakfast of scrambled eggs, biscuits, roasted potatoes, Vidalia onions, mushrooms and gravy is Southern to the core. Of course, there’s French toast. Two versions, actually, both starting with challah bread soaked in cinnamon and vanilla batter before being fried in butter. One has cream cheese and strawberry compote; the other sorghum butter and maple syrup. As much as I love the French toast by itself, when Taft pairs it with his signature fried chicken, it is a sublime match. The chicken, in this case, boneless renders, is double brined, first in citrus and saltwater, then buttermilk, before being lightly breaded and fried. With maple syrup and the French toast, you have heaven on a plate. Not feeling breakfasty? There are a couple of burgers on the brunch menu. I still dream about the double stacked patties of grass fed beef adorned with Taft’s fried green tomatoes and pimiento cheese, bacon and tomato jam tinged with aromatic spices. It is one of the most craveworthy burgers I have ever had. Prices are in the $9.50 to $12 range, with a children’s menu for $3 and $4. Mother’s Day brunch will also have some special items on the menu.

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ast but not least, you’ll want to check out Muss & Turner’s in that section of southern Cobb affectionately known as “Smynings.” This gem has been going strong since 2006, first with lunches, then dinner, and now brunch. It’s not an extensive menu, but every item on it is indicative of M&T’s dedication to culinary excellence. “We don’t want to do 40 different things. We’d rather have just a dozen or so, concentrate on them and do them very well,” said Executive Chef Dameren Parenteau. He has put brunch in the capable hands of sous chef Chandler Cottingham, whose menu and execution is brimming with the verve and vitality we’ve all come to expect from this much-lauded, hip little eatery. We’re not talking complicated fine dining here, although you get the impression Cottingham could accomplish that with ease if called to do so. What you get is simple, delicious, satisfying food, made with top quality ingredients and cooked with care. On a recent Sunday the weather was pleasant enough to commandeer one of the outdoor patio tables. We shared an order of perfectly fried catfish, luxuriously creamy stoneground Logan Turnpike grits and a beurre blanc with notes of pink grapefruit, orange and lemon. The whimsically titled Buck Nasty’s Morning After gets its name from a regular, whose favorite lunch was the


The Buck Nasty's Morning After features smoked brisket, Nueske's bacon, fried egg, dijon, pickles and tobacco onion rings. Below, Berry Coffee Cake with Greek yogurt, orange zest, blueberries, strawberries, and honey.



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Chef Chandler Cottingham of Marietta holding the Berry Coffee Cake.

MUSS & TURNER’S 1675 Cumberland Pkwy SE #309, Smyrna, GA 30080 (770) 434-1114

house smoked brisket sandwich. One particularly bleary-eyed Sunday, that regular asked for the same brisket, but with the addition of bacon, a fried egg, pickles and onion rings. It’s an admittedly robust combo that can induce a happy food coma, but I can attest to the fact that it’s also totally delicious. There are plates such as kippered salmon with red onion, capers, pickled green tomato and cream cheese, and a kicky huevos rancheros with fresh salsa and Mexican queso fresco, as well as a few sandwiches and sides, all house made. I couldn’t leave without sampling the fresh berry cobbler, made that day with blueberries and strawberries. Complemented with thick Greek yogurt kissed with orange zest and honey, this is a marvelous example of just how good unfussy, straightforward food can be when it’s well thought out and prepared by a talented chef. Nothing on the a la carte menu is more than $15.93, with most items in the $10 to $13 range. Sides are $1.93 to $5.93. On Mother’s Day, M&T will be serving a buffet.

MISS ONE? Do you have a favorite brunch spot that we didn’t mention? If so, tell us about it. Just email us at mmaguire@ or post on our facebook page.



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we ask four Cobb women to share with us

W hat I learned from

my mother Kelli Stewart,

Executive Director, L.E.A.D. (Launch, Expose, Advise, Direct) Acworth resident Being raised by my Grandmother – Amy Lou Faust – naturally, I’m an old soul. While I consider myself a newer model (I’m only 35), I have lots of miles on me because I had to grow up pretty fast. My father was not a consistent figure in my life, and my mother was in and out of it. She endured a long struggle with drug addiction that I am overjoyed to say she is finally winning. She has been sober for more than six years and is such an inspiration to me. I'm going to convince her to write a book one day. To many, this story may already sound bleak, but as I look back over my life I know I got the best part of the deal. My Grandmother was a very strong, smart and compassionate person. She said many simple, yet profound things to me growing up in Crawford, Ga., a small rural town about 30 minutes east of Athens. If I had to create a Top 10 list of advice that she gave me, the one at the top would be: “When you get in trouble, don’t wallow in it.” Like I said, simple yet profound. The first thing I realized was that trouble, obstacles, dilemmas, etc., in life are inevitable. This piece especially is directed to me because I am a bit of a perfectionist. Whenever I make a mistake or endure a negative consequence, my initial thought usually is, “I should have known this” or “Why didn’t I think to avoid this?” She also told me that it’s not good to think so highly of yourself, like you're above making mistakes. That would be No. 2 on my list. The last part is where I get my determination from. Wallowing in or relishing in trouble may sound crazy, but for some people it actually gets them the help they need. Unfortunately, that perspective often yields an entitled individual who thinks the world owes them something just because they’re breathing. In the 18 years at my Grandmother’s side, I can’t recall a single time when she let trouble overthrow her. She always picked herself up, dusted off and forged ahead. I am sure this is where I get my determination from (some may call it stubbornness), but all in all it has served me well. - as told to Michael Pallerino



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Katie White of Marietta and her mom Kay Dowis of Tampa share their knowledge of the Bible.

Katie White, Stay-at-home mom Marietta The short, simple phrase that comes to mind when I think of advice my mother gave me is to “be faithful.” I grew up hearing the phrase as a farewell from my grandmother. My aunts, uncles and mother still say it to one another and have passed it down as a family motto. As my mother tells it, my grandparents were married shortly before World War II and soon thereafter my grandfather was deployed overseas with the Army for the next five years. Their letters during their time apart always closed with the phrase “be faithful.” Their 54-year marriage gave mean-

ing to the phrase. The words now are above the front door in our foyer. My mother taught me that being faithful to God, my family and myself was more important than any accomplishment I could achieve. She taught me the importance of staying true to my faith, whether as a student in school, as an attorney in front of a courtroom, or as a mother at home with my children and foster children. So when my children leave for school in the morning, I hand them their backpacks, give them a hug and remind them to “be faithful” to who they are. I pray that I can give as much meaning to those words as my mother did. In the end, those words carry the meaning of being faithful to what God wanted us to be and to always live a life filled with integrity. - as told to Michael Pallerino



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By Davia Rose Lassiter Marketing Manager, KSU, College of Continuing and Professional Education Powder Springs resident If you ask anyone about my mother, Rosemary Lassiter, I’m sure they will agree that she is a survivor. She truly lives by her own rules. The beat of her drum is a mix of strength, humor, boldness and independence. To those who know her, her challenges might have looked like mountains. To her, those mountains were pebbles at some times, boulders at others, but never something insurmountable. Even if it was a Mount Everest-sized issue, she tightened her climbing gear and kept going. Growing up with a mother like this has taught me to live in the present, learn from the past, and keep moving forward. Even when I thought my personal struggles were overwhelmingly impossible, she was the gear that reminded me to keep going. She’s made me into a better woman because of it, and I constantly learn from her. - By Davia Rose Lassiter

Michelle Tillis Registered Nurse, Cobb Peds Emergency Department & Team Lead for the Wellstar Connect project Marietta resident When I was asked what life lessons I learned from my mom, I thought to myself, “No problem.” What I didn’t realize is how could I possibly narrow it down to just one? During her life, everything that my Mom gave our family has been a lesson. Of course, there are the tangible lessons every good Southern mom teaches her daughter: How to cook, how to plan and host a party, how to multitask until the cows come home, etc. These are useful lessons indeed – ones that I hope I am teaching my daughters. But there are also the character shaping lessons, like how you

pursue your dreams and goals even when the cards seem stacked against you. My mom taught me to always believe in myself. “You can be your biggest enemy or your biggest cheerleader,” she said. “Stand up for what you believe in, even if you are the only one standing.” Throughout all of the lessons, the importance and love of family is the overarching theme that resonates most with me. My mother always led by example on giving love and forgiving easily. In the end, resentment and anger only serve to destroy us. I am so grateful for the wonderful example I have been blessed with, and hope that these valuable lessons are carried on throughout our generations to come. - as told to Michael Pallerino



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For the treasured moments, a photo booth on the go! We all have snapshots of our day to day on the internet, but there is still something about holding a printed photo in your hand to marvel at. The Polaroid Z2300W 10Megapixel Instant Print Digital Camera gives you the best of both worlds instantly. Photos can be downloaded to your social media platform of choice, and your favorite shots can be printed within minutes. Want to edit them first? No problem, the camera has built-in cropping, color and border options. The 2-inch by 3-inch prints are smudge-proof, water-resistant and tearresistant and feature a sticky back for extra fun. It also records 720p HD videos. The compact size makes it portable so you can send friends and family home with pictures of their own. ($179.99)

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for the girl on the go

For today’s career woman, after-school chauffeur, party planner and weekend warrior, here are a few items to keep you organized, streamlined, refreshed and having fun. Maybe you’re working up a sweat in the gym, or feeling dehydrated after running sidelines between soccer practice and dance recitals. Cascade Ice’s organic sparkling flavored water adds a little sizzle along with a blast of hydration, to remind of you of the sweet little surprises in life. They come in four flavors: Mixed Berry, Lemon Zest, Citrus Twist and Lemon Lime. And how does zero calories, sweeteners and sodium sound? Available at Kroger.

Have business to conduct while waiting out baseball practice or need a YouTube video break between classes? The Trego Bag serves as a portable workstation for iPad users. This sturdy bag has a removable case that swivels, bends and folds, putting your iPad exactly where you want it, and then holding it there for you, even while you are walking. It’s like having an extra set of hands made just for your iPad. Trego also has space for your phone, keys, keyboard, wallet, stylus and more. At home, Trego sits comfortably on your stomach, allowing you to relax and use your notebook without propping it up. ($59.99 at



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The Monkey Mat is the absolute solution to creating a clean floor anywhere you explore. It’s a must-have item for any excursion from airport layovers, spontaneous picnics, outdoor festivities, and everything in-between. It’s for the young and younger when you’re faced with a questionable surface that you just can’t imagine sitting on. It’s stylish and available in an array of colors, and packs away with a simple fold and tuck back in its pouch. The Monkey Mat is sustainable and reusable, made from washable superior strength nylon mixture material. It’s for all your little monkeys and the notso-little ones too! ($19.99 at

When you’re on the run ... For working out, when you need a moment to jam out, or a way to drown out surrounding noise:

Applying a facial mist throughout the day will not only cool you down instantly, but will also give your skin a moisture boost, leaving it feeling revitalized and looking radiant. This invigorating Hydrating Rosewater Toner by Clairvoyant Beauty is a perfect pick-me-up when the midafternoon slump hits. Especially great if you’ve been out in the sun, this toner has skin-softening and aromatic properties to help soothe irritation and smooth skin. Formulated with distilled essence of Rosa Damascena and firming Aloe Vera juice, you’ll be amazed at how refreshing a little spritz can be. It’s also infused with Bulgarian Roses, giving it a clean and romantic scent (also great for date night!). Clairvoyant Beauty products are free of parabens and have not been tested on animals. ($24 at

Another spray to try: jane iredale Balance Hydration Spray is formulated specifically to help balance skin’s oil production and pH. Orange essential oil, orange peel extract, grapefruit peel extract and algae extract calm and feed the skin. It sets minerals and is 100% natural. ($27 at

Beats Studio Wireless This plush set of over-ear headphones puts you in a cocoon with its noise-canceling technology, which works even if you just want padded silence. The sound is crisp and the bass is deep. It’s an outstanding way to bliss out during a noisy commute. It also works as a headset for phone calls. ($380) Or for a more convenient sound on the go, try the Super Mini Portable NFC and Bluetooth 3.0 Wireless Music Receiver by Hapurs Technology. The world’s first innovative super mini portableNFC and Bluetooth 3.0 wireless music receiver overcomes all cable connection restrictions, providing users with convenient control of music, handset and tablet. Designed to be wireless, it supports the connection with all Bluetooth devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, PCs, MP3s and others. It makes the music streaming faster, easier and more stable. You can wirelessly enjoy the music on stereo home audio or your 3.5mm earphones by simply connecting them to the receiver. The inline controls and built-in MIC give you the ability to quickly play, pause, skip tracks, and answer/end/callback calls whenever needed. ($49.99)

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To stay fitness and health conscious while out and about or working up a sweat: The Basis Health Tracker captures heart rate patterns, motion, calorie expenditure by activity, multiple sleep stages, including REM—even perspiration and skin temperature. Basis auto-detects if you’re walking, running or biking, and adjusts accordingly. The band captures data 24/7, analyzes it, then suggests small steps in your daily routine to help you create healthy habits. You get instant feedback right from your wrist—continuous heart rate measurement, activity level, duration, and calories burned. Get detailed sleep data, including REM sleep, deep sleep, light sleep, toss and turn count and more with the Basis Android, iOS and web applications. ($199 at

Sometimes a Swiss Army knife just won’t cut it. The Pocket Monkey by Zootility Tools is a 12-in-1 gadget constructed of hardened stainless steel and serves a variety of everyday and specialty functions (bottle opener, flat-head screwdriver, phone kickstand, wrench, letter opener, orange peeler, ruler and more) perfect for impromptu projects anywhere they may arise. Weighing only one ounce, and TSA-compliant, this functional tool fits easily into a credit card slot in a wallet, purse or pocket. ($12 at


Cobb Life May 2014



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After the gym, a vigorous bike ride or run, or just a long day: KORA Organics products contains premium quality ingredients for your skin to survive in the sun. In particular, we recommend: •Exfoliating Cream ($58): Containing a unique blend of organically grown Oat Flour and Bamboo to gently buff away dead skin cells, this cleanser helps to reveal a smoother, softer complexion. This exfoliant is filled with essential oils to nourish and cleanse the skin and is gentle enough to be used on all skin types. •Luxurious Rosehip Body Oil ($64): A carefully blended powerful treatment, combining Noni Extract and Organic Rosehip, this body oil provides the skin with a rich source of antioxidants and essential fatty acids to prevent damage to the skin tissues. Available at

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For on-the-go in style: The sleek, 2014 Cadillac ELR coupe is not only sexy looking, it’s a plug-in vehicle that's capable of traveling for hours without stopping. It also has the best of both worlds for drivers who don't want to worry about finding a place to recharge batteries — it carries with it a fourcylinder gasoline engine. So when the electric power is depleted, the ELR switches seamlessly to the onboard engine and can, therefore, travel well over 300 miles. Standard equipment includes dual-zone, automatic climate control, remote keyless entry and keyless start, suede microfiber ceiling material, rearview camera, outside heated mirrors, 20-inch wheels, rain-sensing wipers and premium Bose 10-speaker audio system. The ELR also includes Cadillac's CUE touch screen for ventilation and audio controls, among other things, and Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and audio streaming as standard equipment. The striking ELR exterior, which is similar to that of other Cadillacs, has flat fascia panels in the grille, and the back of each outside mirror has a "stripe" that glows green as the car charges. Production of the ELR is limited to fewer than 5,000 annually. (Starting manufacturer's suggested retail price, including destination charge, is $80,990)

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At home with Cobb chef, author and entrepreneur

Johnnie Gabriel

Sstyle outhern

By Meredith Pruden Photography by Sam Bennett



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Southern belle extraordinaire, regional cuisine cookbook queen, pastry savant and Gabriel’s founder, Johnnie Gabriel seems a giant wrapped within the body of a petite dixie diva. The female equivalent of a modern day renaissance man, this Marietta resident is at once charming, passionate and charismatic—traits that shine through in her cooking, her business and her new home. Gabriel moved into her new condo in January after mulling over the purchase for nearly a year. Like some of the furniture in her three bedroom, two bath home located only a few blocks from her store, she bought it from a friend. “When he first showed me this place in spring [2013], I wasn’t ready,” she said. “I used to live on Church Street and thought I’d miss the sound of the train and cars, but I don’t.” Once the decision to relocate was made, Gabriel enlisted friends Ann Phillips, Nancy Hunter and Gail Re’ to help move and decorate her new abode. “I normally do my own home thing, but it was a busy time of year,” she said. “A couple of friends from Sunday school love to do, have a little business and said they’d help. I didn’t have to buy anything. They just told me where to put everything and what colors to paint. It was so easy. I probably would have done the exact opposite, but they gave me such good guidance I don’t want to change a thing.” Now, four months later, Gabriel said she loves the serenity, space and light of her new home, which is perfect for entertaining. “I love to entertain,” she said. “The living room and sun porch give me

1459 Field Park Circle | Marietta, GA 30066 | 770-528-0300

MIKEL S. CROWLEY | 770-312-6478 • Senior Marketing Consultant • REO Advisor • Residential and Commercial • Accredited Relocation Specialist


Cobb Life May 2014

plenty of space. I love that my kitchen is open all the way through to my great room, so when I’m cooking we’re all together.” Although the kitchen and space to entertain her family and friends, including daughters Laura and Stephanie, were huge selling points, according to Gabriel, the open floor plan also easily accommodates her “found” treasures, including a friend’s dining room table, a unique chimney cabinet, a trunk with the words “Bake Cocoa” featured prominently across the front and a pair of vintage channel back chairs, which she found at A Classy Flea and had recovered to better match her interior decor. “I like eclectic and a little dramatic,” she said. “I buy pieces I love and then find a place for them, but invariably it seems to work. It’s so much more fun that way. If you can’t leave it in the store because you love it so much, you’ll treasure it from there on out. I love taking individual items and bringing it all together to mesh. It’s like clothing. I want to love a skirt and love a blouse and then make it work.” And work it does. Just like her sweet treats at Gabriel’s and delectable recipes with a dash of Southern flair found in her three popular cookbooks. “I just cannot believe I’m so blessed with friends and family and am here in a place I love,” she said. “I just want to pinch myself surrounded by all these blessings from God. He just said it’s time for it all to come together, and it’s time for me to be peaceful and happy and serene.”



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DID YOU KNOW? What began out of necessity has grown into something of an empire. Gabriel recently released her third cookbook, How to Cook Like a Southerner, and opened a second Gabriel’s location at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. “I was having a big time playing tennis and eating lunch at the country club, but the good Lord took an old nasty recession and changed the way I thought,” she said. “Now, I look back and think what if I hadn’t opened Gabriel’s. God took something I thought was a disaster and turned it into a blessing.”

DECORATING TIPS >Paint interior doors and mantles a dark glossy color, like the black in Gabriel’s home, to contrast lighter walls and create visual interest. >Paint door frames the same color as the surrounding wall but in a semi gloss paint to provide distinction without contrast. >Paint ceilings a couple of shades lighter than walls to create a more open, expansive feeling. >If you’d like to partake of Ann Phillips’, Nancy Hunter’s or Gail Re’s services, call Gabriel’s Desserts to get in touch, (770) 427-9007.

At West Cobb Funeral Home, we have been committed to serving the families of our community for the past 18 years. Recently, we have renovated and added a tranquil pavilion which adjoins our spacious family reception room. See why more families are choosing our home, our services and our facilities.



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Dolce Vita “Dolce Vita means sweet life in Italian, so it is both a nod to my heritage and a statement of how it feels to be able to play roller derby.” Also known as: Dina Casso of Marietta Derby number: 7 Position:Jammer/Blocker Outside of derby: Massage therapist and yoga instructor When did you first become interested in roller derby? I saw my first Roller Derby bout in Atlanta four years ago and was inspired by the athleticism and empowerment of the sport. How has derby impacted your life? It has forced me to push myself beyond what I think is possible for myself. Prior to get-

ting involved in roller derby I had never played a team sport, so I wasn't sure what to expect when I started. My teammates have become my family and I am so grateful to be involved with such a phenomenal group of women. Fitness routine: Practicing three days a week definitely helps to keep me in shape, but it is important to do additional training outside of practice. I currently teach yoga and also try to get in some time to cycle or skate outdoors for extra endurance.

As she leads a practice session, Dina Casso, aka Dolce Vita, appears to be a veteran of the sport. She has command and confidence as she instructs the other players in technique and strategy. They listen to her intently, with respect. But Casso’s journey into the world of derby began less than two years ago. And, prior to derby, she had never played any team sport. But two years of total dedication and passion for the sport will quickly transform a rookie into a pro. The Derby Darlins practice three times a week, and play games from February to October. When she’s whizzing around the track on game day, Casso’s love for the sport is evident. “[I feel] an intense rush of energy. As Nigel from Spinal Tap would say, I like to take it ‘up to an eleven’ when I'm playing,” she said. “The best and most challenging thing about roller derby is that five seconds before a jam starts when you're figuring out how to organize chaos and break through the pack. That's when time stands still and magic happens.” Though she’s fierce when she’s focused on the win, Casso also injects playfulness into the game and practices. “I'm the resident interpretive dancer/jazz hander and enjoy making my teammates laugh on a regular basis,” she said.



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r e t ska s l r i g Both fierce and fun, Marietta’s Derby Darlins take girl power to the next level

Modern day roller derby may just be the ultimate ‘girl power’ sport. It can be fierce. But it’s also fun, friendly, and with its clever names and costumes, flamboyant. It’s empowering just to watch. Though the sport is gaining popularity again since its revival in the early 2000s, team members of Marietta’s Derby Darlins, which formed in 2011, still get many puzzled looks when they mention they play. And then there are those who remember the sport from the 60s and 70s. Back then, the game was often more akin to a hyper-exaggerated and choreographed wrestling match, but with scantily clad women duking it out on skates. “Years ago I think they had planned moves and would throw girls over walls, but it’s not like that anymore,” said Michele Ambio, who has been on Marietta’s Derby Darlins team since 2012. “We make

Princess of Pain

By Stacey L. Evans Photography by Sam Bennett

strategies against other teams, we know what they are good at and then we train to beat that.” There’s still blocking and pushing and sometimes a fall that makes spectators hold their breath — who knows where oncoming skates might hit the fallen, or what pileup may occur— but the aggression is typical of any full-contact sport, not scripted for entertainment purposes. Sure, derby girls get riled up to face off against the rival team for the bout, but also have respect and admiration for their opponents. They still inhabit a relatively small corner in the sports world, so the bond

Yoda Lady Who



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Yoda Lady Who

“My dad is from Switzerland, my mom is from Germany … I thought it would be nice to use the German background and the announcer has fun with it too.”

Also known as: Michele Ambio of Kennesaw Outside of derby: Works in the library for Marietta City Schools/ Real Estate agent Number: 70.3 — The distance, in miles, of a half iron man, which is the longest race

As Michele Ambio watched the Derby Darlins play at the Civic Center a year and a half ago, her first time seeing roller derby, her heart pounded and she felt an immediate adrenaline rush. “My eyes popped out and I looked at my husband and told him, ‘I have to do this’— there was no question,” she said. At the time, she had recently lost weight and quit smoking. She began her transformation to a healthier lifestyle with 5Ks, cycling and boot camps, but something about roller derby quickened her pulse. It enticed


Cobb Life May 2014

she’s completed so far. Fitness routine: Runs every Sunday morning and fits in biking, swimming and boot camps when she has time. “You really need to be well-rounded everywhere. Adding running to your routine does make a difference on skates.”

her as a new challenge. Though it is a time-consuming commitment for a mother of three, her husband and sons (ages 17, 16, and 12) are very supportive. “Sometimes laundry is behind,” she said. “There are five of us and we are quite active so going to all these sporting events piles up like crazy.” But it’s all worth it when she laces up those skates, and hears her husband and sons cheering her on. “I think they are proud of me,” she said. “For the average mom, I think I’m a tough cookie.” That toughness that derby girls

embody is what attracted her to the sport. “It’s a little bit dirty. This is a high contact sport, and it is a little bit aggressive. I’m assertive, but have never been aggressive. [But] when you get hit and get knocked down the adrenaline just hits your body and all of a sudden it’s like ‘oh now it’s on!’ It’s instinctive. And then you can use that adrenaline rush the rest of the game.” But it’s the fun and family spirit that her committed. “I like the teamwork and it’s family like,” she said. “The focus is a sport and we take it very seriously as a sport. But it’s a combination of it being a show also. It’s fun; we have a blast. There is so much energy out there. You’re excited to get out there and skate and you really want to put the skills you learn to use.” And that’s something she doesn’t plan to give up anytime soon. “For me, I don’t see an end. I think I would have to be injured and not be able to do this again. I plan to do it until I can’t.”



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that’s shared, even among the opposition, is strong. The game is explained before each bout for newcomers. There are many rules, but the basics of the game are: Each team has five players on the track, including a “jammer”— the person who scores points. Each “jam”— or matchup— lasts up to three minutes. The women skate in the same direction around a flat track, and the jammer scores points by lapping members of the opposing team. Teammates attempt to help their own jammer break through the pack while obstructing the opposing jammer — in effect, playing both offense and defense simultaneously. “It's organized chaos at its finest,” said Dina Casso, aka Dolce Vita. “When that whistle blows and you approach the pack, all bets are off, and it becomes a test of endurance and determination.” While the game itself is riveting to watch, the fun aspect enhances it that much more. Women choose their own derby name, usually a clever play on words either menacing or cute. And while they have uniforms, they are allowed to accessorize as they wish. Many choose to wear something that exemplifies their derby name. Ambio, aka Yoda Lady Who, for example, wears a German-inspired dress. With those bold names and fierce skating moves, outsiders may get the impression roller girls are the tough, aggressive type. And while they are no doubt tough in that ‘We Can Do It!’ way, and aggressive as needed, their personalities tend to run the gamut. While there is a certain je ne sais quoi quality about roller girls, they come from all walks of life. “You have college girls and some are grandmothers,” said Ambio. “You have tattoo artists, people who work in the libraries, an engineer, chemists…. To have that many women get along, being that different, is really fun. And we’re all working together for the same thing — we want to win, we want to get better together.” The Marietta Derby Darlins is open to any woman (18 or older) to try out, no experience necessary. In fact, many derby athletes start out with no skating skills. They just happen to see a game or a poster and something beckons them. “You just hear the calling — like a superhero,” said Katherine Erb, aka Princess of Pain. Before official tryouts, the team members coach those interested in joining through all of the basics — starting with stopping and learning how to fall correctly.

The Marietta Derby Darlins learn technique at a practice.

Interested in joining? You can find the Darlins every month at Sparkles, where they skate, socialize and recruit. (Check the website for dates and locations). “Don’t be intimidated,” said Erb. “When you come to your first practice you see that nobody is judging you and everybody wants you to succeed.” Information:

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Jim Glover Group, Inc. If you are selling your home, I am dedicated to using every possible marketing tool needed to get your home sold. My goal is to provide my clients with a superior level of service and resources to make informed decisions with your real estate purchases. As a Cobb native, my network and knowledge of the metro Atlanta area proves beneficial in purchase and sales transactions. As a member of The Luxury Home Marketing Institute, I am constantly networking with area agents and affiliates. • Fifteen Years Experience • Coauthor, Marietta 1833-2000 • Sixth-generation Mariettan • Cofounder, Marietta Pilgrimage Christmas Home Tour

Office: 404.974.4420 | 3290 Northside Parkway NW | Suite 200 | 404.835.9600 © MMX Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Street in Saintes-Maries, Van Gogh, used with permission. Equal Housing Opportunity. Each Office Is Independently Owned And Operated.


Cobb Life May 2014

Princess of Pain

Katherine Erb wanted a name that showed both her sides. She’s girly, she loves pink, unicorns and doting on her Chihuahuas, but she’s also tough and packs a powerful punch as a blocker. Also known as: Katherine Erb of West Cobb Outside of derby: KSU student majoring in health and physical fitness Number: 10, her favorite number and date of dad’s birthday First experience with the Derby Darlins: I went to newbie night at Sparkles to see if I even liked skating. I was like Bambi on skates, crawling off the floor to get on the carpet to sit. It was very pitiful but something inside just said ‘I want to do this.’ The best thing about derby: It’s like you’re almost famous. It’s your time to shine. All eyes are on you and your team. You have fans cheering for you. It’s nice to be on a team where you have to work together. I love that it’s really hard but it’s achievable if you work. It makes me prideful thinking of where I started and seeing where I am now. How she gets pumped for a

game or practice: On the way there I like to listen to electronic dance music. I like songs that are rap but with a Skrillex feel. That gets me so excited. Or I’ll get a caramel macchiato from Starbucks and that will help. Fitness routine: Intense Crossfit workouts several times a week

The way she confidently whips around on pivot stops, you would never guess Katherine Erb was crawling on the floor during her first practice because she had no idea how to stop or turn. Though she had some experience in figure skating when she was an adolescent, Erb hadn’t put on skates in years when she saw a poster for Derby Darlins tryouts. But the uniqueness and intensity of the game called to her, so she decided to give it a try. Despite the shaky start, her determination prevailed. With the help of teammates, she built up her skills. Soon, it was time for her first game. Her family and friends were all there, and she was a nervous wreck. “I literally was thinking ‘is it too late to quit, can I just not do this?’ … It’s like high adrenaline mixed with scared and nervous and you’re thinking ‘gosh, I’m gonna trip or something.’” After a few jams, her confidence began to build. Then she hit a girl out of bounds on the opposing team. “It was an illegal hit, but that’s when all the fear just drained and the empowered ‘bad ass’ kinda rose in. I wasn’t scared anymore. I just wanted to win.” Don’t let the pink rhinestone helmet and bubbly personality fool you into thinking she’s an easy target — the girl can dead lift 300 lbs and is a solid blocker. “I’m a brick house. I may not be fast but if you try to hit me, I’m pretty much not going to go over,” she said. Her past athletic experience as a softball player and shot put and discus competitor comes into play, as does her vigorous crossfit training. “I used to be super shy and unathletic,” she said. “Before I got into high school I went to fat camp and that’s when I started to be more outgoing and I started loving sports.” Being a Derby Darlin is empowering, Erb says, and she appreciates the diversity and friendliness of the team. “You get to be yourself and be quirky and weird and everybody... they don’t really judge you. Everyone is respectful and just accepts you for the way you are,” she said.



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At this Cobb home, staycation is not a bad word, but a way to describe spending time in

the great

OUTDOORS By Jennifer Hafer Photography by Sam Bennett



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Paige Parsons, right, relaxes on her porch with her dog, Norman. The porch-patio-deck combination offers a variety of ways to relax including a fireplace. Bottom, the Parsons children include, from left, Riley, 9, Nancy Clare, 7, and Tripp, 5.



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Two years ago, Paige and Rustin Parsons decided they wanted a stone patio in their backyard. That simple decision turned into a three-room renovation project that transformed their backyard into an enviable outdoor living space. “Before our kids couldn’t walk barefoot on the deck for fear of getting splinters in their feet,” Paige said. “We would grill outside, but that’s all we did; we didn’t linger.” What was once a glass-enclosed sunroom off the kitchen that connected to a small deck became an enclosed breakfast nook with a door leading to an enclosed porch with a fireplace, leading onto a stone patio complete with a fire pit. “The renovation totally changed how we spend time in the house,” Paige said. “It’s really an extension of the house, which is wonderful.” The Parsons’ renovation was done by Marietta-based Synery Outdoor. According to owner Brian Walsh, when he first started in 1990, a lot of his business consisted of building decks, and a few screen porches. “The projects have gotten bigger and bigger over the years,” Walsh said. “The decks are getting smaller and the porches are getting larger with amenities like a fireplace.” Depending on the size of the job and the materials used, porches and screen porches can cost anywhere from $20,000 $50,000. For an extra $8,000 to $9,000 a homeowner could add


Cobb Life May 2014

a fireplace to the porch, while an outdoor fireplace can cost between $7,000 to $10,000. “The additions add much more than extra things to the house, they extend the living space,” he said. “We’re designing something that should become their favorite area of the house.” And, that’s certainly the case for the Parsons. “We’ll wrap up in blankets and watch the TV that’s over the fireplace on the porch; last year we used it 10 months out of the year,” Paige said. “It also gives us a bigger space for gathering when we entertain.” The Parsons’ backyard has become such a hit, their friends and neighbors have even used it in their absence. “Shortly after the renovation was complete, we went sailing and as soon as our cell phones came back in service, we had texts from about 20 of our friends who were having a party in our backyard,” she said. “They had a party to keep our yard company while we were gone.” Whether they’re using their outdoor living space for relaxing, eating dinner outside, cuddling with the kids in front of the TV or entertaining, Paige said if her family ever moves from their Marietta home, recreating their outdoor living space would be a requirement. “Spending time out there reminds us of the relaxation we feel when we’re on vacation,” she said.



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A bonsai tree adds to the tranquility of the deck. Below, a look at the backyard patio toward the deck.

Do you know of an interesting Cobb home? Let us know. Just email us at mmaguire@ cobblifemagazine. com

May 2014 Cobb Life




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onitnhee w road By Michael Venezia Photography by Sam Bennett



January 28th, 2014 will long be remembered as the day mother nature brought metro Atlanta to its knees. The crisis unfolded quickly and the perfect storm’s impact on the city’s and the region’s ability to handle the enormous volume of cars on the hazardous interstates and surface roads were catastrophic. In a few hours the lives of hundreds of thousands of people would be forever changed. Where you were and whether you attempted to travel to a destination proved to be either a success or failure based on critical decisions. As you know, the combination of sleet, rain and snow with temperatures in the teens created enough havoc on the highways and by ways to go down in national weather history. For several days we were extensively covered in the media. We were literally frozen in time. 11:45 a.m. Tuesday

I was preparing for a 1 p.m. meeting at our offices in Smyrna which is located off the East West Connector, a short distance west of Highlands Ridge. Our delivery operations team had been receiving calls from our drivers reporting hazardous conditions on the major interstates, the perimeter and on intown roads. By 12:45 p.m. after alerting our drivers to come back to Smyrna, our 1 p.m. meeting was cancelled and I soon departed to travel the 10 miles home. After crossing the bridge on the East West Connector I encountered several icy patches that were beginning to impact travel. A slow moving procession of vehicles finally reached South Cobb Drive. With Atlanta Road in view I decided to travel home by taking Cumberland Parkway through Vinings. The hilly nature of the road especially by the Home Depot near Paces Ferry made for additional challenging road conditions. 3:30 p.m. At this time I would usually be at Georgia State University preparing for my class and wine tasting. (Wow a snow day in Atlanta!). The radio, traffic and weather reports were extremely

pessimistic and it soon became clear that my trip home would be more dramatic than first thought. 4:45 p.m.

Once reaching Cobb Parkway and Akers Mill Road the sight before me was surreal. Abandoned cars, trucks and large commercial vehicles littered the intersection, however my BMW made it across this large road. My desire to continue the drive home was extinguished when I saw the welcoming lights of the Cobb Energy Centre and the Galleria shining like a welcome beacon guiding me to sanctuary. I eased the car into a space at the Embassy Suites Hotel, relieved that the tension and stress of driving was over. It was when I stepped out of the car I realized that the conditions were extremely dangerous and that it was only going to get significantly worse. The Embassy Suites receptionist, with honest regret in voice and expression, informed me that the property was sold out due to several large conventions and meetings in the Cobb Galleria Centre. After a call to my wife Patti to share with her my dilemma, we both agreed it is much better to be out of the car and off the road. Sadly, we would not be enjoying a glass of wine together on this arctic-like night. With briefcase in hand and iPhone at the ready, I walked across Akers Mill Road toward the Galleria Plaza. In both directions Akers Mill was an endless line of cars barely moving in the frosted glaze of ice and snow. The Galleria Plaza was deserted and the only sound was the wind and snow. Glistening ice formations in the fountain reflected the street lights and the large façade of the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel appeared as out of a dream, more reminiscent of a north eastern snow scene rather than a Cobb County, Georgia landscape. The warmth of the lobby embraced me as I entered and approached the busy reception. The business traveler is a major room contributor to the Renaissance brand of luxury hotel properties, and I was informed that the hotel had been booked for quite some time due to the conference at the Galleria Centre. In the atrium, I observed a gentlemen who was clearly a hotel employee. His name was Parker Ebbs and he informed me that he was the front lobby manager.



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After a brief conversation I appealed to him for his assistance and he suggested that I go to the bar for a glass of wine and he would be back to me if a room became available. In less than 15 minutes he advised me that due to the travel issues with incoming flights at the airport an anticipated check- in cancelled and he would offer me the room. In addition he gave me the corporate rate, a generous gesture on this overbooked night.

cepting their fate were enjoying tranquility glasses of Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon at the Renaissance Waverly in the Cobb Galleria Centre. The enormous hospitality of the Waverly staff will be remembered by all who spent the night there on January 28, 2014.

7:00 p.m.

Before turning down the duvet I looked out from the window of my room onto I-285 and gazed at the endless trail of red brake lights and blue emerging flashing signals. It was apparent that for many the long night was just beginning.

The entire lobby bar and Medici Restaurant were three deep and it was evident that the staff were doing their best to keep up with the food and beverage demands of the increasingly hungry and thirsty guests.

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January 29th , 2014 7 a.m.

8 p.m. The hotel set up a buffet which relieved the kitchen of having to serve the a la carte menu plus immediately fed the famished and the weary. The most visible wine at the bar was a cabernet sauvignon with a distinctive label showing galloping horses. It was being offered by the glass, but by this time many people opted to purchase a bottle as it certainly expedited the service process. The bartender was able to briefly explain that the product is called 14 Hands and it is produced from grapes grown in The Columbia Valley of Washington State. The Renaissance Hotel Company has selected this brand as a house Cabernet Sauvignon selection and it is served throughout their properties in the USA. It is deep ruby in color, richly textured yet soft and supple. A perfect wine to enjoy on this long winter’s night. All the TVs in the bar were locked on to the unfolding weather drama playing outside these comforting walls. Snow-bound travelers ac-

As the sun began to illuminate the landscape, I looked out over the frozen Galleria Plaza. My sixth floor room gave me a unique visual perspective on the traffic congestion which lasted well into the day. As the elevator descended to the lobby I met again travelers who I saw last evening at midnight. Many of them were wrapped in blankets, heads on pillows, curled up on available floor space. The Renaissance Waverly’s housekeeping staff provided them with comfort and refuge in this most unusual winter storm. This hotel will be remembered by those who shared the warmth of the hotel and the kindness of the staff for many years to come.

14 Hands Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley, Washington State Named for the wild horses that inhabited the vast flat plains of Eastern Washington, their relatively compact and resilient body bred for strength and resilience was similar to those who weathered the storm on January 28, 2014.



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Three dynamic business leaders share what they look for in a best friend, how they manage stress and what it means to be a modern woman

leading ladies


Lettie P ri meau x Management Consultant at Allscripts Corporation Lives in: Marietta Family: Married to Alan Primeaux


What does it mean to be a woman in 2014?

Being a woman in 2014 means you are able to juggle many balls and keep them all in the air at the same time. It can be exhausting but very rewarding at the same time.

What are you most proud of?


My professional achievements, and the fact I have run 32 marathons.

3 56

Cobb Life May 2014

What would you tell yourself 20 years ago if you could?

Your parents are right and don’t worry too much about what others think about you.

4 On your most STRESSED OUT days, what do you do to keep it together? Music is a must for me while working from home or during air travel. Just having music in the background somehow keeps me from getting stressed. I have

been known to break out the Christmas music in July on a really bad day! And when I am traveling, on a really bad day Starbucks is my reward that always helps me relax.



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What qualities do you value most in a best friend? Kindest and honesty. The two wonderful women I have the honor of sharing this cover with exemplify these two qualities every day. I am so blessed to call them my dearest friends. When you find special women, friends who possess both of these qualities, you just know it is going to be a special relationship — one that will last a lifetime.




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L e t t i e P r i m e a ux

Excluding parents, who has had the greatest influence in your life? I would not be the person I am today or have the

success I have without a very special teacher in my life, Peggy Harmon. She saw potential in me that no one else ever had, and Mrs. Harmon believed in me and encouraged me to find my voice. She helped me gain the confidence to overcome any obstacle. The most important thing she taught me was that all things are possible with hard work. I am forever grateful to Mrs. Harmon for her patience, guidance, and for kicking my butt when I needed it.


What do you usually splurge on? Most of my friends know I

have a serious shoe and purse addiction. On a bad day, if my music or Starbucks does not work, a new pair of shoes will!

Lettie, Ginny and Hayley all agree – fabulous shoes are always worthy of a splurge!

Hayley Hedrick Interior Designer/Owner of HH Designs, LLC Lives in: Marietta Family: Married to Ben Hedrick. Three daughters, Anders (12), Mary Gunter (10), and Sadler (8)


What do you appreciate most about your female friendships and why are they important to you? The quality I value most in a

best friend is trust. I appreciate the fact that I can tell my girlfriends anything and they'll hide it away in their hearts. They are important to me because without them I wouldn't be who I am today. They are there for me, always!


What does it mean to be a woman in 2014? Being a woman

in 2014 means you wear many different "hats." For me it's Mom, wife, daughWhat ter, sister, business would you woman, school and tell yourself 20 church volunteer, years ago if service leader, just you could? to name a few. I would tell myself to listen What are to my parents. you most They're right!!!



proud of?

I am most proud of my three precious daughters.


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5 6

What are three things that help you get through a hectic day? Prayer, running, and Starbucks

What do you usually splurge on? Shoes, of course :)



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What are three important life skills and how did you learn them?

Patience, Kindness and Humility. I learned the necessity for these skills the hard way.

Ginny Knox Rainey CEO of Mills Specialty Metals Lives in: Marietta Family: Two daughters, Madeline Grace (12) and Georgeanne (10)


What qualities do you value most in a best friend?

Good friends praise you, build you up, give you light when you can’t find your way – but they are also honest with you even when you don’t want to hear it. They are there for you when times are good and carry you through the bad times. Trust, love and grace is the foundation of any good friendship.


Excluding parents, who has had the greatest influence in your life? Beyond my parents, grandparents and faith which continually mold me, my family and friends have played a critical role in my life. They are the village that provides stability, strength, courage and joy in my life. And yes you need family AND friends!


What are you most proud of?


What do you usually splurge on? If you know me you know

My girls, my family, my work, my friends, my church. I have so much to be grateful for. Blessings are plentiful, you just have to realize they are right in front of you.

this answer. SHOES. All kinds of shoes. Running shoes, casual shoes….but mostly anything with a good heel.

May 2014 Cobb Life




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Clockwise from top left: The grand Lillian Farms. Bison roam through Texas Ranch Life. Randy Rogers, owner of R Place. A field of bluebonnets (photo courtesy of Washington County Chamber of Commerce). John Elick of Texas Ranch Life grills steaks. The Blue Bell Ice Cream factory in Brenham offers tours and tastes. A room at the historic Ant Street Inn.

The birthplace of Texas is home to

BISON, BLUEBONNETS & WIDE OPEN SPACES Texas. It’s big, y’all. And the best thing about that great expanse of land — there’s plenty of space to get away from it all. That’s especially true for Brenham and surrounding cities of Washington County, in East Texas. Situated about an hour between Houston and Austin, Washington County is wide open spaces dotted with longhorns, horses and bluebonnets. As the birthplace of Texas, it’s about as Texas as it gets. It’s where bison roam and the cowboy rides from sun up to sun down. It’s also a land rich with storytellers. At the various museums and historic sites — and even the bed and breakfasts, the staff and volunteers not only shared a wealth of information, but relayed the history in a compelling manner. At the Texas Cotton Gin Museum in Burton, we were taken on a fascinating journey through the 16ton gin — the oldest one operating in the U.S. — as the guide transported us back to 1925. If you’re lucky to catch retired firefighter Charles at the Brenham Fire Dept. museum, you’ll hear many anecdotes from his decades in the department. But whoever is keeping watch over the 1923 American LaFrance Type 38 (one of only three left of its kind) and the 1950 American LaFrance trucks can divulge the story of how the fire department was born

after a brawl between residents and drunken Union soldiers left part of the town burned. Stroll down the block to the Brenham Heritage Museum and you’ll get a riveting account of how the postmaster spied on employees when the building was a federal post office. From charming bed and breakfasts to sprawling estate homes to staying at a historic home on a working ranch, Washington County can give you whatever experience you want — active, peaceful or history-filled. Or, as most likely the case, you’ll get a blend of it all.

Experience the wild west: If you want a taste of the cowboy life, Texas Ranch Life is the place to plant your boots. The ranch is home to abundant wildlife including American bison and one of the country’s largest Texas Longhorn herds. What started as a small gathering of neighbors watching cowboy John Elick herd cattle evolved into this sprawling 1,800 acres working ranch and resort. John practices the traditional methods of driving cattle, which is becoming a rarity in modern ranch life. As the crowd of spectators grew, John and wife Taunia began serving them BBQ and beer.



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Words and photos By Stacey L. Evans

“We felt blessed to live on this land and have this lifestyle with cattle. It’s the prettiest place in Texas,” said John, a former bronco rider who grew up ranching. The couple began procuring houses scheduled for demolition and restoring them on their property. Guests today can choose from among eight homes dating back as far as the 1850s. “There’s lots of history here,” said Taunia, a former barrel racer. Texas Ranch Life offers demos of ranch work and cowboy skills including roping, bronc riding and cattle herding. “Texas has vibrant ranching life but it is fading,” said John, who exudes a confident cowboy demeanor. “There are very few young men that know how to do this — the true Texas cowboy. Here at ranch life we still have that, and people want some part of this. They would like to live the life we live even if just for a weekend. Taunia and I love this. We work a lot but I think mainly we get tired from having so much fun.” Soak in the sounds of nature: If you are beckoned to a slow-paced, truly get-away-from-it-all atmosphere, Southern Rose Ranch exudes relaxation. Owners Donna and Steve Cummins con-

verted the guest house on their farm into a charming bed and breakfast. There are only two suites at Southern Rose, so if you book both you have the place to yourself. Donna’s sumptuous gourmet breakfasts are reason enough to stay there. But you’ll also fall in love with the picturesque landscape and its four-legged and winged inhabitants. The rare Belted Galloway cows are especially delightful. Chickens, longhorns and horses also wander the fields. The ranch’s hammock and a gorgeous outdoor stone kitchen with fireplace are perfect for unwinding with a good book or conversation and wine. You can also book an in-suite massage, or soak in the outdoor hot tub. Nearby Chappell Hill main street features several quaint shops. Live grand: As a child, Lillian Farms owner Barbara Segal was enamored with the cowboys congregating in the boarding homes in old western films. “I thought it was so romantic,” she said. That sparked her desire to open her own bed and breakfast one day. She designed and decorated the homes and cottages on her



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From left: A cutting demonstration at Texas Life Ranch. Southern Rose Ranch is a peaceful getaway. A Belted Galloway cow. sweeping estate, and recently began converting the former stables into elegant accommodations. Lillian Farms has a grand, stately feel that also manages to be cozy and charming. Overlooking the estate from the stables, you get a sense of how vast and open Texas is. Rolling hills stretch for miles. Ant Street Inn in dtowntown Brenham also has a grand feel, with rooms full of fine antiques. Dig deep into history: Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site, Star of the Republic Museum and Barrington Living History Farm are great places to start. The site is where delegates met to declare independence from Mexico. The museum has a wealth of artifacts and the farm is still operated as it was in the 1850s. Fun fact: Washington County is named after Washington, GA,

where most of the settlers came from. George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum is engaging and informative. It also features a replica of the oval office, situation room and speech podium where you can strike your best presidential pose for photos. Burton Cotton Gin and Museum-You could say the cotton gin kick-started the industrial revolution and the history behind this goliath machine is riveting. The one in Burton is the oldest operating gin the United States. Other points of interest: Blue Bell ice cream is unavoidable in Washington County, and that was quite alright with me. The production facilities are located in Brenham, and tours are available Monday to Friday. Fun facts: The milk from over 60,000 cows are used for one day production. Employees hand peel bananas, which are put into



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From left: Longhorns at Texas Life Ranch. Antique Rose Emporium. ice cream within 20 minutes to keep it fresh. What happens to all those banana peels? They are sent to local dairies because cows love them as treats. Antique Rose Emporium For nature lovers and gardeners, the Antique Rose Emporium is a must-see. Roaming through the gorgeous garden and nursery is like being Alice in Wonderland — there’s something magical to ooh and aah over around every corner. It mesmerizes you into a delightful mood. Owner and horticulturist Mike Shoup became interested in antique roses when a coworker discovered one growing in the wild. He took a cutting, and soon the rose began to flourish in Shoup’s organic nursery, with characteristics unlike modern roses. Modern roses have been bred for shows, but the antiques were bred for gardens, so the fragrance is more pronounced and the plants are more resilient, he said. “Fragrance is the soul of the plant, the memory, the emotion,” said Shoup. Also unlike modern roses, which are bred to look the same, Take a wine tour: Three wineries in the antique roses flourish area offer a variety of with diversity. Shoup quickly fell in tastes and several notable wines: love, and began collectPleasant Hill Winery: ing and growing a variMust try Rosso ety of these forgotten Forte, a very smooth roses. His catalog has and slightly sweet hundreds of varieties, port-style wine. which are also available Windy Winery: One of the few Texas for mail-order. www.antiquerose Wineries that use Texas grapes excluOff the beaten path: Can’t leave Texas without some BBQ? R Place is a quaint restaurant sure to please foodies and BBQ lovers.

sively. Must try their very unique spicy jalepeno wine. Saddlehorn Winery: Many quality offerings here. The Black Spanish and the Sunset, which use Lenoir grapes, are divine.

INFORMATION: Washington County Chamber of Commerce and CVB 1-888-BRENHAM

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H By Therra C. Gwyn


TASTE OF EAST COBB>> Award-winning chefs from 30 local eateries are featured at this tasty fest for foodies, now in its ninth year. Also on the menu: Jazz music, handson activities and for the younger set, a Kids Zone, giant inflatables and face painting. When and where: May 3, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Fountains of Olde Towne, Johnson Ferry Rd., Marietta. Tickets: Admission is FREE. Taste tickets $1 - $5 can be purchased on site or in advance online. All advance purchasers are automatically entered in a drawing to win a new iPad. More information: Online: DESPICIBLE ME 2>> Kicks off the city of Kennesaw’s warm weather series of movies (projected onto a giant, inflatable screen once the sun sets.) Arrive early, bring a blanket or low-back chairs and enjoy preshow entertainment. Concessions available. When and Where: May 3, Swift-Cantrell Park, Kennesaw. Admission: FREE. More information: 770.422.9714 MAY-RETTA DAZE ARTS AND CRAFTS FESTIVAL>> Annual two-day arts and crafts show featuring local, regional artists and entertainment for all ages. When and Where: May 3 and 4, Marietta Square. Admission: FREE. More information: 770.794.5601

CINCO LOCO 5K WALK AND RUN>> Benefit for Cobb County’s 126-acre Leone Hall Price Park in Kennesaw. Cinco de Mayo celebration to follow race. When and where: May 4 at 2 p.m. starting from the Brookstone Village Shopping Center, Mars Hill Rd, Acworth. More information: friendsofpricepark@ Online:


CELEBRATING Engagements • Weddings • Anniversaries ROGERS~HALCIK Mr. and Mrs. William H. Rogers Jr. of Atlanta, GA announce the engagement of their daughter, Heather C. to R. Joseph Halcik, son of Mr. and Mrs. Richard J. Halcik of Marietta, GA. Miss Rogers graduated from The Lovett School, Atlanta, GA, and Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Va. with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. She is employed by Invesco as a Marketing Manager. Mr. Halcik is a graduate of St. Pius X High School, Atlanta, GA, Georgia Tech, and Emory University with a Masters degree in Business Administration. He is employed by Georgia Pacific as a Finance Director. An August wedding is planned in Atlanta, Ga. NASCA~MOORE Ms. Kimberly Ann Nasca daughter of Robert and the late Sandra Nasca from Charleston, South Carolina and Fred Hamilton Moore III, son of Fred and Rita Moore from Rome, Georgia announce their engagement. The wedding is planned for November at the First Baptist Church of Marietta.

GINN~DEMESTIHAS Allison Ginn and Pericles Demestihas were united in marriage on February 22, 2014 at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation. The bride is the daughter of Drs. Paul Ginn & Leisa Bailey. The groom is the son of Dr. Evan & Joyce Demestihas. Kelly Demestihas was the Matron of Honor and Allison Bray was the Maid of Honor. Bridesmaids were Sarah Bailey, Emily D’Alessandris, Eleni Demestihas, Saira Haider and Lindsay Tant. The flower girl was Mary-Katherine Ward. The Koumbaro was Alex Demestihas. The Best Men were John Wiles and 1stLt Stephen Spicher. Groomsmen were Mene Demestihas, Bert Finney, Casey Gaetano and Trent Mullins. The ring bearer was Kenneth Clay Hatcher. The Wedding Celebration was followed by a reception at the Georgian Terrace Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. Following a wedding trip to Thailand the couple resides in Atlanta.



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BRIT FLOYD DISCOVERY WORLD TOUR 2014>> The music of Pink Floyd – from the most popular songs to most obscure tunes - gets the all-out treatment in this musical sound and light show that has performed to half a million fans around the globe since the first presentation in Liverpool, England, in 2011. When and where: May 8 at 8 p.m., Cobb Energy Centre, Atlanta. Tickets: $40.50 - $60, plus fees. Available at Cobb Energy Centre box office,, Ticketmaster outlets or by phone at 800.745.3000. More information: 770. 916.2808 Online: SMOKE ON THE LAKE BBQ FEST>> An event you can smell for miles. More than 30 teams of culinary competitors will compete for $10,000 in cash and prizes and the pride of being the BBQ Grand Champion. Visit the Taster’s Tent and judge for yourself. Concert on Friday, May 9, by Sons of Sailors, a Jimmy Buffett cover band. This is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Rotary Club of North Cobb. Proceeds benefit charities in the area including the Acworth Special Needs Field, End Polio Now, Mountain Top Boys Home, The Men’s Extension, The Women’s Extension, MUST Ministries, HERO, House of Hope in Haiti and Cobb Christmas. When and where: May 9 and 10 at Cauble Park on Lake Acworth. More information: 770. 423.1330 Online: www.smokeon- GIVE ME THE NIGHT WITH GEORGE BENSON>> Jazz 91.9 WCLK/Atlanta’s Jazz Station turns 40 years old with a celebratory benefit concert featuring the multi-platinum selling guitarist and singer. The venerable Benson is known for his musical finesse and smooth vocals. There’s also a pre-concert gala with jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves. When and where: May 9 at 8 p.m., Cobb Energy Centre, Atlanta. Tickets: $30 - $125, plus fees. Available at Cobb Energy Centre box office,, Ticketmaster outlets or by phone at 800.745.3000. More information: 770. 916.2808 Online: MEGAN HILTY>> Hilty’s considerable vocal prowess brought her nationwide attention for Broadway performances as Glinda in Wicked and Doralee in 9 to 5: The Musical. On television you saw her in “Smash” and currently she’s in the cast of “Sean Saves the World.” When and where: May 10 at 8 p.m., Cobb Energy Centre, Atlanta. Tickets: $39 - $79, plus fees. Available at Cobb Energy Centre box office,, Ticketmaster outlets or by phone at 800.745.3000. More information: 770. 916.2808 Online:

STAGES PREMIER opens its NEW COBB OFFICE Drop in for a visit. We are conveniently located just 2 blocks East of the Avenues of West Cobb & 2 miles west of Barrett Pkwy. 3475 Dallas Hwy., Suite 402 Marietta, GA 30064

404-662-2300 Personal attention and the latest technology combine for a luxury experience in any price range. With over 15 years in real estate, I bring a wealth of experience to my clients. Whether buying or selling, I make sure you have up to date market information and the best care you can receive. Focused on what matters, THE CLIENT.

a better real estate experience™

Mavis Anderson Managing Broker/Owner Cobb Office Cell: 770.605.9066

Considering a Career in Real Estate? Call me! May 2014 Cobb Life




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GSO JAZZ>> Musical evening with Conyers native Sam Skelton and the Georgia Symphony Orchestra small ensemble Jazz band. When and where: May 10, 8 p.m. at the Earl Smith Strand Theatre, North Park Square, Marietta. Tickets: $10 - $28 More information: 770.293.0080 Online: MAYHEM – ATLANTA BALLET>> MAYhem in May. Get it? The Atlanta Ballet’s season closes with this highly-charged and energetic contemporary dance. Artistic director John McFall is back with his first world premiere for the ballet company in six years. When and where: May 16, 17 at 8 p.m.; May 17, 18 at 2 p.m. Cobb Energy Centre, Atlanta. Tickets: $20 and up. Available at Cobb Energy Centre box office,, Ticketmaster outlets or by phone at 800.745.3000. More information: 770. 916.2808 Online: MARIETTA GREEK FESTIVAL>> Opa! Marietta’s big fat Greek fest is three days of food, Hellenic dance, shopping and culture at the South’s only authentic Greek amphitheater. When and where: May 16, 17, 18, at the Holy Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church, Trickum Rd., Marietta.

Tickets: $4. Children under 12 admitted free. More information: 770.924.8080 MARIETTA NATIONAL CEMETERY MEMORIAL DAY CEREMONY>> More than 10,000 veterans from 23 states are buried in Marietta’s 140-year-old National Cemetery. A ceremony has been held for 65 years every Memorial Day to honor these men and women of the armed services. On May 24 at 8 a.m., the Saturday before Memorial Day, the Boy Scouts of America, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts of America and Brownies will place flags on each grave. The Memorial Day event offers patriotic music, posting of the colors, prayers, a gun salute and speakers. When and where: May 24 at 8 a.m. and 26, noon, at Marietta National Cemetery Admission: FREE. More information: 404.510.4668 CITRUS MAGIC GLOVER PARK SERIES>> The big band sounds of Douglas Cameron & His Orchestra will fill the Square, in this family-friendly, popular outdoor music series that happens on the last Friday of each month throughout the summer. When and where: May 30, 8 p.m., Marietta Square Admission: FREE. Reserved tables available for purchase: $45- $55. More information: 770.794.5601

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Multi-Million Dollar Gala


The Cobb Association of Realtors held its annual MultiMillion Dollar Club Gala at the Rennaissance Waverly in March. The event honors those with $2 million or more in residential sales. 1. From left, Marcela Handley of Lawrenceville, Robert Handley of Lawrenceville, Renee Keeble of Vinings and Adam Smith of Smyrna. 2. From left, Mary Towler, Vanessa Lohr and Susie Tillis, all of Marietta. 3. From left, Bob Ramsey of Marietta, Pat McCormack of Roswell, Todd Tucker of Acworth and Steve Allen Broker of Canton.







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Multi-Million Dollar Gala




4.David Holmes of Kennesaw and Jennifer Kare of Marietta. 5. From left, Robyn and John Zercher of Smyrna with Amanda and Tom King of Mableton. 6. Cathy Demyanek of Vinings and Page Henry of Marietta.


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Cobb Library Foundation


Cobb Library Foundation’s recent Booked For Lunch luncheon featured author Ann Hite — the voice of southern folklore, ghost stories and homegrown wisdom of generations. Hite discussed her recent and past works. 1. Marcelle David and Liza Leiter, both of Marietta. 2. Author Ann Hite of Smyrna showing off her new book, The Storycatcher. 3. Hite speaks to a full house at the Marietta Country Club. 4. Ann Hite of Smyrna signs copies of her new book.





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Cobb Library Foundation 5. Back row, from left, Sherry Withers of Smyrna, Pinky Gilbert of Smyrna, Janice Waters of Atlanta and Bette Goggans of Smyrna. Front row, from left, Lynn Ponzio of Smyrna, Marcelyn Andrews of Smyrna, Rebecca Mize of Smyrna and Mary Sellars of Vila Rica. These ladies call themselves, "Wicked Women on Wednesdays" as they've been meeting for lunch on Wenesdays together for the last 26 years. They decided to take this trip to see one of their friends, author Ann Hite, speak.



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Tribute to Women of Achievement



3 The annual Tribute To Women of Achievement was held at the Cobb Galleria recently. 1. From left, Brenda Addison, Rob Zanin and Jennifer Smith. 2. From left, Jan Taylor, Wayne Felix and Elaine Morgan. 3. From left, Kay Buckham, Hannah Grady, Deborah Ryan and Sarah Buckley



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May 2014 Cobb Life





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Tribute to Women


4 4. Sabrina Young, left, and Nicole Nurse. 5. From left, Jeriene Grimes, Deane Bonner and Lisa Cupid. 6. From left, Allan and Robin Bishop and Holly Tuchman.


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Our Family Serving Your Family Mayes Ward-Dobbins Funeral Home & Crematory invites you to explore your funeral care options at either of our locations. If you’re a United States Military Veteran, you may qualify for specific assistance programs which we can help you apply for. Veterans and civilians alike can benefit from sitting down with a Funeral Preplanning Professional to record your wishes and we are the area’s trusted experts in funeral care. For nearly 90 years, Mayes Ward-Dobbins Funeral Home & Crematory has brought comfort and peace of mind to you, your friends and neighbors.

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J ’ E AT


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No such thing as too many friends Some may say that we only have a few "true" friends in our lifetimes, but I can honestly say that I have more than a "few," and maybe even too many in someone else's eyes. I realized this recently after getting engaged. I knew where I wanted to get married, when I wanted to get married, who I wanted to take pictures and bake the cake, but when it came to selecting my wedding party, I was stuck — and not necessarily for a bad reason. It wasn't so much that I couldn't figure out who to pick, it was a question of who would I end up leaving out? I moved quite a bit as a child and in every town was fortunate enough to meet some special ladies who I still call friends today. I have a long-time friend that I met in first grade, and 28 years later we are still in each other's business, despite being separated by hundreds of miles–she lives in Houston. Another group of girlfriends, eight to be exact, I met when my family Lindsay Field moved to Tifton in 1995. And while our "little group" has expanded to 25 due to spouses and children, we still get together as often as we can (almost every month). My last group of girls are the ones I graduated from high school with. These three amigos, now four because of yours truly, were gracious enough to take me in 17 years ago while I was wandering around the gymnasium during cheerleading tryouts. We too, still get together on a regular basis. With these ladies, we've celebrated each other's wedding days and the births of children, mourned the loss of parents and siblings and even held hands while the other was undergoing chemotherapy for a second breast cancer diagnoses. Outside from my family, they are my world. They are on my speed dial and I wouldn't change that for anything in the world. So, I'm hoping that by now you understand why I'm a little

confused about who should stand by me on my wedding day. Should I pull a "27 Dresses" and have nearly 15 girls as bridesmaids, or should I pick and choose? They've all been there for me in every way, so how does one pick? I've been engaged for nearly two months now and still don't know. I guess it's one of those things I'll have to go to the good Lord about, but regardless I still consider it a blessing. Not many women can say they have so many amazing women to call rain or shine. In honor of my girlfriends, I'd like to share a hash brown casserole recipe that's been whipped up on several occasions during parties and girl weekends at the lake.

Jennifer's Hash Brown Casserole 1 large bag of hash browns 1/3 cup onion, chopped 1 stick butter, softened 8 oz. sour cream 1 can cream of mushroom soup 1/4 tsp. salt 3 heaping cups of cheese Mix all but one cup of cheese together in a mixing bowl. Spread in a casserole dish and cook in a 350-degree oven for about 45 minutes or until brown and bubbly. Sprinkle the last cup of cheese on top of the casserole the last 10-15 minutes of cooking time.



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Cobb Life May 2014  
Cobb Life May 2014  

Cobb Life May 2014