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DECEMBER/JANUARY 2020-2021 Dining & Entertainment Issue


NOW OPEN Corinth - Hickory Creek - Shady Shores - Lake Dallas








27 Organizing with Cloud Nine Organizing BUSINESS SPOTLIGHTS 11 Grilling Enthusiasts Now Have Their Own Haven with Grill This BBQ

15 The Goddard Difference Continues To Be A Way Of Life For Lake Cities Students with The Goddard School

ARTICLES 08 12 Tips For Hosting Holiday Guests Like A Pro

12 Inside Community & Education 18 To Protect. To Serve. To Care. The Pink Patch Project

19 Foodie Friday DFW: Motor City Pizza 20 DIY Budget Friendly Coasters 22 Farm Life At its Finest 25 12 Days of Gratitude 26 Don’t Skip This COVID Christmas 28 Find It. Buy It. Love It. 30 Christmas Traditions & Why They Are Important






NOW OPEN Cover Image Angelina’s Don Louis Building


Publisher of Murray Media Group, kelly@murray-media.com

Publisher & Editor Scott & Kelly Murray



Holidays & CHEERS TO 2021!


hat a unique year it has been, to say the least! From shutdowns to quarantine and eLearning, the year 2020 is one most of us are excited to leave behind. December has always been a month of reflection. A time to look back on the highs and lows of the last 12 months. To say there were challenges would be an understatement for most of us. Yet, through it all, I believe our community grew stronger and our families closer. For some, the shutdown brought a chance for them to focus on what’s most important and gave them more time to spend with their family. For many local business owners, it meant shifting gears and traveling a very scary path of the unknown. As we start to ponder our New Year’s resolutions and how we’re going to make 2021 better than this year, I urge you all to reflect on 2020 – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Regardless of whether or not you nailed all of your 2020 resolutions, I’d be willing to bet that you still learned and grew in ways that you never expected this year. I know I did. That’s what I love about life – you never know what the next day (or in this case, the next year) is going to bring. It’s the unexpected challenges that help us grow the most. One of my favorite sayings is “Progress always involves risk. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.” – Frederick B. Wilcox Enjoy your family, cherish your friends, always be kind, laugh often, and make the best of the bad days - and years!

Managing Editor Jana Melton Sub-Editors Bobbi Byrne Alisha Tran

Writers & Editor

Steve Gamel, Brooke Ezzo, Diane Ciarloni, Jean Eisenmann, Jade Kensington, Caylie Howard

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Lake Cities Living invites reader feedback, story suggestions and general comments. Email artwork@murray-media.com. All submissions become the sole property of Murray Media Group.

Editorial Inquiries Call 972.899.3637 or email editor@murray-media.com www.Murray-Media.com Address: 3513 Yucca Dr., Ste. 200 Flower Mound, TX 75028 Lake Cities Living is published monthly by Murray Media Group. Some articles and/or content may be sponsored by advertisers. Opinions expressed in articles or advertisements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the publisher. Lake Cities Livings is not responsible for omissions or information that has been misrepresented to the magazine. Advertisers and its agencies assume all liability for advertising content. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted without the permission in writing from the publisher. © 2020 Murray Media Group

Wishing you and your families the best! Happy Holidays & Cheers to 2021!

Sincerely, Kelly Murray 6 | LAKE CITIES LIVING | DECEMBER 2020



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by Contributing Writer

on’t let the stress of hosting guests, parties, and dinner this holiday season get you down. Whether you’re playing hotel for a few guests or hosting the entire Big Day, it’s understandable to worry about all the little things that can go wrong. We’ve got 12 tips for hosting holiday guests like a pro.



1. Create a Timeline

the essential items for your family as well.

so that nothing jumps out at you. Your

small things like making sure all of the

5. Write A Welcome Note

a trial run of the Big Day. Make a list of

your guests feel at home with a kind little

is best to do these things.

the house. You can write down where to

2. Cook Ahead

shop. Write down your WiFi password or

A plan will help lower your stress levels timeline can include the big things like

when to pop the turkey in the oven to the Christmas lights are on. You can even do everything you need to do and what time

It’s a hassle to check the oven a million times and try to whip up some dessert

while tending to guests. You want to enjoy your time with them, so cook as much

ahead of time as possible. You can make soups that are easy to freeze, no-bake

desserts, or put together your main dish the day before Christmas.

Guests just mean there are more people with their literal hand in the cookie jar.

How sweet is a handwritten note? Make

note. You can help them with tips about find extra toiletries or the closest coffee

instructions on how to use your remote for the electronics.

6. Take A Deep Breath

Remember to breathe. You’re the host,

so people understand you’re under a lot

of stress. Take a moment to sit down and

3. Clean Out The Guest Closet

chill out. Drink a glass of wine or take a

things all over your floor. Make space

for them in a closet. Some of your guest

7. Go For The Details

random thing in your house, so it’s a great

flowers in your guests’ room. Play soft

extra room.

their bed. All of these little touches will

Your guests might not want to throw their

closets might be used to stash every

time for you to de-clutter and give guests

4. Stock Your Pantry

bath. No one is going to get mad at you

because they can’t find the toilet paper or they can’t find the milk in the morning.

Love is in the details. Put out some fresh music or put a spare phone charger by make a big impact.

pantry. Stock up on the essentials. Throw

8. Break Out The Nice Stuff

Buy some late-night snacks like crackers

big guns. This means the Christmas china

More guests means less food in your

in some cereal and frozen breakfast items. or goldfish for grab-and-go. It’s also

important to stock up on liquids like water and coffee. Remember to stock up on


The holiday meal means bringing out the

that’s been in your family for ages, the real silverware, and those linen napkins that

you so carefully ironed once in your life.

Eat in your dining room that you only use once a year.

9. Plan Cleaning Tasks

You don’t want to be vacuuming right

when guests come to your door. Knock

out a little cleaning each day. You might dust one day, clear the clutter the next,

then change the towels the next day. You don’t need to do everything in one day.

10. Remember The Last Things

Before guests arrive, make sure to tie up

all of the loose ends. This means lighting candles throughout the home, turning

on your music, and making sure the ice

bucket is filled. You can set out beverages and put appetizers in the oven. Check the

bathroom to ensure there is enough toilet paper and hand soap.

11. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help You’re the host, but you can ask for help. Ask family members to step in to help fill the ice bucket or cut fresh flowers.

Don’t turn down a guest when they offer to bring a dessert. You don’t have to do everything on your own.

12. Have Fun

Sit back and enjoy your company. The best part of the holidays is getting

together with loved ones. Enjoy your

family and friends during this glorious

season, and celebrate yourself for hosting such a great event.




Business Spotlight

Grilling Enthusiasts Now Have Their Own HAVEN by Steve Gamel


anner Hill and his brother David Buenrostro admit that they were a little worried about the future of their grilling business, Grill This BBQ Supply, when the coronavirus pandemic first hit in March. After all, these were difficult times, and purchasing a new grill or the finest rubs and sauces likely wouldn’t be top of mind for many people. They couldn’t have been more wrong. What was already a popular concept grew beyond their wildest dreams — so much that they moved from the shared facility they’d been in for six years and opened their own storefront in Highland Village. “The reverse happened,” Tanner said with a laugh. “We’ve been the busiest we’ve ever been.”

Grill This BBQ Supply has always been your one-stop BBQ, grilling, and smoking headquarters, featuring everything from grills and smokers to must-have accessories and locally-made, awardwinning rubs and sauces. They also design and build outdoor kitchens. But what was once a smaller facility located within Outdoor Living Pool and Patio near Guyer High School is now its own storefront — and triple the size of what it used to be.

that he and David are just as much grilling enthusiasts as their clients are. “David loves interacting with our clients and getting to know them. I’m sort of in the background helping to advertise and set up events like cooking classes, amateur BBQ competitions, and more.” He added, “For those people who have been to our old store, this new one is huge. They should check it out.”

The extra space has opened up a whole new world of possibilities. Not only does Grill This have perhaps the biggest selection of grills and supplies in North Texas, but several new events are in the works to add even more value for their customers. This includes everything from cooking classes to amateur BBQ competitions. It’s as unique a grilling experience as you will find under one roof. “We started this as a hobby, and it just grew from there,” Tanner said. He said

940.484.4745 | GrillThisBBQ.com | 200 Marketplace Ln., Ste. 205 Highland Village, TX





SIMPLE RECYCLING CURBSIDE PROGRAM On November 12, Simple Recycling—the Hickory Creek area’s curbside collection program—has been discontinued effective immediately. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the reuse and recycling of textiles has been impacted dramatically in many ways. A free alternative to home pickup can be found through www.DonateStuff.com, which supports The Military Order of the Purple Heart.


Bob Williams, founder of Ranch Hands Rescue Counseling Center and Animal Sanctuary has added another piece to the recovery puzzle by opening the first long-term safe house in the country exclusively catering to male abuse victims. Bob’s House of Hope will be open in early 2021. To help, Denton County Sheriff Tracy Murphree presented the organization with a $25,000 check from his drug prevention program. To learn more about the program or to become a partner, visit www.RanchHandsRescue.com. photo courtesy of Bob Williams


ANTHONY PATTI SIGNS WITH MERCER UNIVERSITY Congratulations to Lake Dallas High School student-athlete Anthony Patti who signed his national letter of intent to continue his academic and soccer career with Mercer University, a private institution in Georgia. Anthony is the first Falcon to sign a letter of intent for the 2020-2021 school year. photo courtesy of Anthony Tosie 12 | LAKE CITIES LIVING | DECEMBER 2020

Lake Dallas ISD has earned the Government Finance Officers Association’s Excellence in Financial Reporting Award, an honor it has received every year since 1992. The award is the “highest form of recognition in government accounting and financial reporting,” according to the GFOA. www.LakeCitiesLiving.com


3, 2, 1, LIFTOFF Sun., Dec. 20 | 7-8pm | YouTube event Join the Lake Dallas Public Library for a presentation by NASA Ambassador Mark Guillette as he speaks on the past, present, and future of space rockets. There will be an interactive live chat, and a Q&A available throughout the presentation. Log in five minutes before the start time, and Mark know the library sent you! Look for the live event at www.YouTube.com/user/MJGuillette.

Saturday, November 7 was a beautiful day for a run and the turn out for The Hero Run 2020 was incredible. Benefitting The Lake Cities Spirit of Christmas, the run raised monies to go toward the unadopted angels from the angel trees to ensure that every child gets a Christmas they deserve. Thank you to the community for coming together and meeting the needs of others. photo courtesy of Kammie Savidge

TEXAS CULTURAL TRUST PURPLE STAR CAMPUS DESIGNATION Three Lake Dallas ISD schools – Lake Dallas elementary, middle and high schools – have each received the Texas Education Agency’s Purple Star Campus Designation, making them the only schools in the region to earn the honor that supports military-connected students and their families. TEA awarded 106 schools with the designation for the 2020-2021 school year, the first year of the program. www.LakeCitiesLiving.com

The Texas Cultural Trust awarded Corinth Elementary School music teacher Valeria Gulino a first-year teaching grant for arts access, placing her among 14 educators in the state to receive the award and the only educator in Denton County to earn the funding. Congratulations, Ms. Gulino! photo courtesy of Anthony Tosie DECEMBER 2020 | LAKE CITIES LIVING | 13




Business Spotlight

The Goddard Difference Continues To Be

Lake Cities Students


by Steve Gamel

t was June 2019, and the Goddard School of Corinth had only been open for a few weeks. But by that point, it was clear owner Elizabeth Aune and her staff were setting a new standard for education in Lake Cities. Naturally, that trendsetting mindset carried over into how they approached health and safety for every smiling child who sat in their classrooms.

safety guidelines. The close and trustful

That all-encompassing approach — known as ‘The Goddard Difference’ — continues to serve families who put their trust in the school every day, as they’ve managed to educate uninterrupted throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

very chaotic world.”

“We’ve been able to stay open thanks to our very rigorous health and safety measures,” Elizabeth said. “We continue to find other ways to add additional layers of protection, and we’ve also taken the time to further develop programs or activities to help our children cope with disruptions.”

Goddard’s safety measures are numerous, including a four-stage state-of-the-art

sanitizing process. Temperature checks

are administered in the front lobby, where they also do drop-offs and pick-ups. They invested in a sanitizing machine with UV light to clean and protect

“Every child is unique, and we embrace that in the way we teach...”

She added, “Our children need to get back to normalcy and building on cognitive development and social interactions.”

anything a child or teacher comes into contact with,

including blankets, chairs,

books, and other materials.

A separate company comes

out and sprays an anti-

microbial agent on all surfaces.

“One of the main issues that came

partnership between the school and the parents enabled the school to meet the needs of the children and family and

provide some sense of normalcy in a The Goddard School is an early

childhood learning center for kids as young as 6 weeks old to 6 years old.

Their proprietary program consists of

STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) fueled by a play-based

curriculum where children are encouraged to discover their interests through play.

This unique learning style works because it grabs a child’s attention, caters to their individual needs, and encourages them to embrace education.

“Every child is unique, and we

to light during our COVID crisis is the

embrace that in the way we teach,”

childcare,” Elizabeth said. “Our school

place. I look forward to every family

families by following stringent health and

The Goddard School of Corinth.”

importance and need for high-quality

Elizabeth said. “It’s such an amazing

was able to stay open and support our

getting this magical experience at

940.278.2020 | CORINTH www.LakeCitiesLiving.com




NOW OPEN by Diane M. Ciarloni | photos courtesy of Angelina’s




sabel Velez and husband, Louis, are members of a family that oozes at the seams with entrepreneurial success.

Their story began nearly 40 years ago when namesake Angelina, Louis’ mother, took the initial step toward fulfilling her dream of a quality restaurant chain with a menu of her personal recipes. Her delicious Mexican dishes were first offered in The Colony, shifting her dream almost immediately to fast- forward. She expanded, buying two acres for a 310-seat capacity location. While that was happening, she opened restaurants in Flower Mound and Lewisville. Incredibly, all the restaurants flourished. Angelina gave the Flower Mound site to her daughter and son-in-law, Tina and Arturo Vargas. They changed the name to Cristina’s, though they still serve classic Mexican food and now have 14 current locations. The Lewisville (Main Street) location was given to Angelina’s eldest son Louis Jr. He and wife Isabel, a dynamic entrepreneurial spirit who fit smoothly into the family, kept the parking lot filled while simultaneously opening a location in Corinth 13 years ago. Then, in the


summer of 2019, a fairytale began unfolding for them at 101 Baize Blvd. in Hickory Creek. They visited with Hickory Creek city officials as well as the Small Business Development Center in Corinth. The result was a $200,000 land credit used with a $3.4-million project loan for a new, two-story, 8,500-square foot restaurant with beautiful amenities and plenty of client-pleasing extras. A spacious, upstairs patio overlooks Hickory Creek’s expanding vistas. An elevator makes it easy to skip the stairs. An expanded menu caters to a broad variety of taste bud preferences, including spinach quesadillas and more for non-meat eaters. And, of course, Angelina’s award-winning margaritas are readily available wherever you are in the restaurant! The Corinth location, far from being abandoned, is already changing to a comfort food venue named Pop’s Kitchen, still owned by Louis and Isabel. Heavy rains last winter and COVID-19 delayed completion of Angelina’s Hickory Creek debut, but it’s now safe to say the mouth-watering can begin within the next 90 days.

940.321.1133 | angelinastexas.com | 101 Baize Blvd. • Hickory Creek, TX

Open: Mon-Thur 11a-9p • Fri-Sat 11a-10p • Sun 11a-8p | Bar menu only Friday & Saturday 10pm-12am






by Diane Ciarloni | photos courtesy of Hickory Creek Police Dept social media

he Seal Beach Police Department in California wore pink patches on their uniforms for the first time in 2013. They proved tough guys really do wear pink, while simultaneously underscoring Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“We raised nearly $4,000 and it was a total surprise when we brought her to the station for the check. We were really proud of our efforts and it made us feel good to care for a member of our community.”

The Irwindale Police Department, also in California, shared the baton in 2015. They raised $20,000 through the sale of those now familiar pink patches. Next to jump on board was the Los Angeles Police Chiefs Association, along with 25 local agencies. Today, there are hundreds of partner agencies and partners from police, sheriff, fire, EMS and federal departments stretching worldwide. It’s a warm example of people who already serve reaching out an extra hand. Hickory Creek, Texas’ police department showed up with its pink patches in 2019. It was investigator Matti Loughry who

presented the idea to Chief Carrie Dunn. “He told me to run with it,” she said, “so I did.” The Pink Patch Project focuses on the fight against breast cancer and offers support to the breast cancer research organizations. The primary goal is to elevate awareness for the need of early detection and treatment. The money raised in Hickory Creek through the sale of patches and shirts was earmarked for someone in the Lake Cities Community currently engaged in a fight against breast cancer. “We reached out to Facebook to ask for nominees,” continued Loughry. “We were given four names. Our first thought was to split the money between the four, but


we later decided to focus only on the one, Jera Clark, out of the four who is currently battling the disease.

Loughry and her colleagues learned a lot from their work in 2019 and, this year, they were better equipped to deal with such critical areas as promotion and spreading the word through social media. As a matter of fact, they feel comfortable enough to take on added tasks. According to Loughry, the HCPD plans to change and broaden its focus in 2021. “In April, we intend to support Autism Speaks. One of the really exciting things about this project is there are a lot of training programs available to help the police better understand how to deal with autistic people, if and when necessary. We’ll turn to domestic violence in October and work with Friends of Denton County.” Loughry, married to a member of the Lewisville PD, joined Hickory in 2017. She has already become a tremendous asset for the community she protects, serves, and cares for. www.LakeCitiesLiving.com


Motor City Pizza: Foodie Friday DFW

CITY PIZZA by Jay Marks | photos courtesy of Foodie Friday DFW


ave you ever had an authentic, Detroit-style pizza before? We hadn’t until local restaurateur, Greg Tierney, cooked us up a few when we visited his new operation, Motor City Pizza, currently operating as a pop-up out of the Seven Loaves Catering kitchen off Business 121 in Lewisville. Greg is a native of the Detroit area, so this is the pizza he grew up eating with his family. And with the recent news of numerous Detroit-style pizza operations starting up in the Dallas market, Greg knew it was time to come out of retirement and introduce his version of a truly ‘Authentic’ Detroit Pizza. So, what makes a Detroit-style pizza special? Well, we learned there are a lot of different things! From the way the dough is prepared, to how it’s proofed, to how it’s

cooked in the deep-dish style pan, to all of the toppings used on top and the order in which they’re placed. Detroit-style pizza actually has sauce on the top which we really love because you get to taste how truly fresh and delicious it is. Other unique-to-Detroit pizza toppings include Brick cheese from Wisconsin and a specific type of curling, crisping pepperoni that’s used in all Detroit-style pizzas. The result is a pizza with a light and fluffy crust with crisp, buttery edges that has an incredible amount of fresh toppings, cheese, and sauce loaded on top. And Greg and his team aren’t just making this stuff up on the fly. Three years ago, before his daughter was born and his pizza dream took a backseat, he and his

GM actually flew up to Detroit to learn from World Champion pizza maker, Shawn Randazzo. In addition to their delicious pizzas, Greg is also continually introducing new salads to the menu. Some popular salads you’ll want to try include the Motown Salad and the Greektown Salad. So, what’s the best way to get your hands on some of Motor City Pizza’s food? You can order on their website or Facebook page for curbside pickup. Or you can order through UberEats for delivery. But keep in mind, since they are a pop-up, they are currently only operating on Friday and Saturday evenings. So if you want to try it, plan accordingly! What are you waiting for? Hurry and head online to order your pizza today!

972.724.2540 | JayMarksRealEstate.com jay@jaymarksrealestate.com 1013 Long Prairie Rd., Ste. 102 | Flower Mound, TX 75022





COASTERS by Caylie Howard | photo courtesy of Caylie Howard


re you looking for a sentimental holiday gift that won’t break the bank this season? Look no further! These coasters are absolutely perfect! Here is a list of supplies that you will need.


Small foam paint brushes

Mod Podge (I would recommend using Glossy)

Any photo or print of your choosing

Ceramic tiles (you can get these at Home Depot for less than 25 cents a piece)

Mod Podge Acrylic Sealer

Scotch felt pads

White scrap book paper

DIRECTIONS Step 1: Print your photos onto a sheet of white scrapbook paper. You would like them to be 4x6 in dimension.

Step 5: Smooth the picture out to get rid of any air bubbles. Be sure to be very gentle with this step to avoid any tears.

Step 2: Fit the photos to the tile and trim them as needed.

Step 6: Apply another coat of Mod Podge on top of the picture. Mod Podge sometimes leaves visible lines when applying. I’ve found that using strokes in back and forth directions helps to create minimal lines.

Step 3: Paint a layer of Mod Podge to the tile. Step 4: Lay your picture onto the tile. You’ll want to be very careful with this step. Once the paper has touched the Mod Podge, it will be difficult to pick back up without ripping it.

Step 7: Let it dry over night Step 8: Once your coasters are completely dry, apply your Scotch felt pads to the back of the tile.

A fun way to gift wrap these is to stack them all together and wrap them with a festive ribbon or bow. This is the perfect, meaningful gift for this holiday season. It is sure to bring joy to anyone who receives it.





At Permaculture Pastures, the Smiths created an environment where they raise their animals naturally — outside, in the fresh air, with a diverse smorgasbord of microorganisms available, and being moved to new, sun-sanitized pasture each day. Doing so eliminates the need to give them antibiotics, vaccines, medicated feed, or specialized GMO feed.

Farm Life



by Steve Gamel

photos courtesy of Permaculture Pastures

They offer pasture-raised meats such as beef, pork, chicken, and lamb. They also have free-range eggs, all-natural salsa, goat milk soap, local honey, beeswax candles, native Texas pecans, and locally-sourced holiday gift sets. Beyond customers being able to pick up inperson, Permaculture Pastures offers home delivery in Flower Mound, Lewisville, Highland Village, Double Oak, Argyle, and Trophy Club.

They dreamed of growing their own food


yan and Addison Smith have a cute-as-a-button little boy named Cohen. And at 2 years old, sweet Cohen can tell you almost anything you’d want to know about every cow, sheep, pig, and chicken on his mommy and daddy’s 160-acre farm in Sunset, Texas. He knows where eggs come from, and rather than beg to watch cartoons on television, he doesn’t have to twist his parents’ arms long enough to get them to take him outside to pet the animals. “We feed the animals together, we collect eggs together, we mow pastures together,” Ryan said with a laugh. Ryan is also the owner of David Ryan Salon in Flower Mound and Trophy Club. “We get to do all these things as a family, and our son experiences it all. We’re always together — and we’re hardly ever indoors.” Being the outdoorsy types was a big reason why Ryan and Addison traded their 5-bedroom home in Argyle for a quaint 2-bedroom house with all the land they could hope to have. Since they were both Cohen’s age — and long before they had ever met — their dream was to be farmers, ranchers, or homesteaders in some way. They dreamed of growing their own food, connecting with nature, and getting away from the hustle and bustle of normal life. It may have taken longer than they planned, but here they are as the proud owners of Permaculture Pastures.


“When you bring a person a product that exceeds their expectations, they will stay with you forever,” Addison said. “Our animals are healthier, which means the food they provide is better for you. You’re not eating a pig that ate


Cohen can tell you almost anything you’d want to know about every cow, sheep, pig, and chicken GMO corn for its whole life. There is a conventional way, and there is this way. And this way is better for you.” Ryan agreed. “We are helping create good quality food for people,” he said. “I could go to the grocery store and buy the cheapest ground beef and be fine. For someone else, that might make them completely sick. So, they turn to someone like us, and they appreciate it. We have some customers who drive over an hour to see us.” To create this dream, Ryan and Addison had to start from scratch. When they first found the property, there was a landfill 40 yards behind the house. Besides being buried in trash, the pastures were

abused to the point of being almost beyond recovery. Even neighboring ranchers told them there was nothing they could do but reseed the grass. All the ponds were dry and had leaks that would typically be sealed with expensive chemical compounds. Instead of seeding, fertilizing, spraying, and dumping chemicals in the ponds, they began to work with the animals to repair the property. They rotated chicken tractors throughout the pastures to fertilize, spread cow manure, and eat the seeds of weeds. Cows were in small mob grazing sections, which forced them to eat some weeds, trample the rest, and quickly move to a new section to allow grass to recover. Pigs worked at clearing under trees and tilling up gravely and rocky sections of pasture

to allow for new areas of grass to develop. After that, they were moved to live in the ponds, which they quickly began to seal. In just one year, they saw a diversity of species of grass and wildlife drastically increase. The land began healing. And as a byproduct of managing the earth well, they got to enjoy and share the highest quality meats and eggs available. “For us, this is very personal,” the Smiths said. “Our son has a lot of complications with his ability to process and digest highly processed foods. Monoculture farming and the willingness to sacrifice quality for quantity have resulted in an epidemic of people who suddenly cannot process things that humans have been able to eat for centuries: milk, wheat, etc. Our son, not to mention several other members of our extended family, are among those affected by this epidemic. When we switched his diet to clean foods and foods that we raised ourselves, he was a different child almost overnight. He is no longer in pain every night; he doesn’t suffer from sensory overload and can better navigate things cognitively and emotionally. That is how we can say with complete confidence that we will continually be striving to create cleaner, healthier foods and that we will not ever come to a point where we decide the extra work involved with our methods is not worth it. We are all in.”

We are helping create good quality food for people www.LakeCitiesLiving.com




12 D AYS

Gratitude OF


ith the holiday season upon us, it is a time of reflection as well as a time for gratitude and giving thanks to God for His grace and mercy. In celebration of the Christmas season, we decided to change up the 12 days of Christmas a little this year:

12 DAYS OF GRATITUDE On the first day of Gratitude, we are thankful for the support our Denton

County residents as we all work together to help each other through the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the second day of Gratitude, we are thankful for the $147 million Denton

County CARES Act funds from the U.S.

Department of Treasury, which helped us assist many Denton County residents. On the third day of Gratitude, we are

thankful that we have been able to help

more than 3,500 households from being homeless during the pandemic.

On the fourth day of Gratitude, we are thankful for being in Denton County,

where we continue to see record-breaking growth with companies bringing more job opportunities.

On the fifth day of Gratitude, we are

thankful we could help more than 1,600

businesses across the county with $35.7 million in grants to help them recover losses.

On the sixth day of Gratitude, we

are thankful for our Denton County

Public Health team for the 10,100 free www.LakeCitiesLiving.com

COVID-19 tests they have provided, the contract tracing they continue to do,

by Denton County Commissioner Precinct 3 Bobbie Mitchell photo courtesy by Commissioner Bobbie Mitchell

On the ninth day of Gratitude, we are

thankful to United Way of Denton County and our many non-profits who have

worked together to help our residents, using more than $1.6 million in grants from Denton County CARES.

and the 30,500 call center calls they

On the tenth day of Gratitude, we are

nurses, medical technicians, physicians,

who have helped pass out much-needed

have taken. We are also thankful for the and other medical professionals for the many hours, days, weeks, and months they have been caring for us.

On the seventh day of Gratitude, we are

thankful for our Emergency Services first responders who have provided more than 1.27 million masks, hand sanitizers,

gloves, gowns, face

shields, and cleaning kits to county offices,

area first responders, communities, and long-term care

facilities. We are

also thankful for first

responders who have

thankful for all of the many volunteers

food and clothing or assisted someone in staying in their homes.

On the eleventh day of Gratitude, we are

thankful for the collaboration among all of our federal, state, counties, municipalities,

It is a time of reflection as well as a time for gratitude and giving thanks to God for His grace and mercy.

been on the front lines throughout this year.

school districts, colleges,

and universities to ensure we could continue to serve

the public. On the twelfth day of

Gratitude, we are thankful for who we are, what we have, and for our family and friends.

Denton County offices will be closed on

Tuesday, Dec. 24, for Christmas Eve and

On the eighth day of Gratitude, we are

Wednesday, Dec. 25, for Christmas Day

than 20,000 25-lb. boxes of fruits and

New Year’s Day. Please feel free to visit

hams as part of $2.6 million in food we’ve

information, send us an email or give

thankful that we could provide more

as well as Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2021, for

vegetables as well as 12,000 turkeys and

our website at dentoncounty.gov for

given to families in need.

us a call.


Don’t Skip T H I S


CHRISTMAS by Jean Eisenmann| photo courtesy of Jean Eisenmann


, for one, refuse to let a pandemic cheat me out of celebrating Christmas. I want to dash through the snow and have Jack Frost nip at my nose (oh, yeah, we’re in Texas). Okay, then I’m going to jingle all the way…as soon as I find out what that means, and if it’s legal. In other (lyric-free) words, I want the full holiday deal.

Don’t get your tinsel in a tangle at the

ribbon, and with a circle-backslash symbol

midst of COVID-19. The calendar says ‘tis

‘em smooch on their own thresholds.

thought of letting your heart be light in the the season, and we need more than ever to be merry and bright. Right this very

minute. Whether we have a little or a lot, Christmas is cause for celebration. This year, my husband Van and I are inviting

friends over, but you’d

better not pout, and I’m

telling you why. Because we’ll be paying strict

attention to complying with COVID-19

safety measures. This will not be a treetrimming party. It

wouldn’t be sanitary for

displayed prominently on the front. Let We decided to skip having a sit-down dinner this year. Dishes have to be

passed around the table, each piece

collecting germ-ridden


everyone to touch the ornaments. Can you imagine how difficult it would be

to wash tinsel before packing it away?

Mistletoe will be hung by the front door

because it’s traditional and festive. But no

puckering and blending of saliva particles. Solution: the bough will be encased in a clear plastic bag tied with a cheery red 26 | LAKE CITIES LIVING | DECEMBER 2020

fingerprints until the plates’ patterns are

unrecognizable. My

thought was to place

In a box. Now the search is on for holiday condiment packets.

In lieu of glove party favors I’ve chosen

mini Christmas stockings, each one stuffed with a pocket-sized hand sanitizer bottle in a popular holiday scent. Nothing says Christmas like the lingering smell of eggnog on your hands.

This is the first Christmas ever that we’ll be serving fruitcake. It was made five years

ago, well before COVID-19, and therefore should be safe for human consumption. If guests grimace at the sight it’ll become a door prize, and the lucky recipient’s new

doorstop or their kid’s science experiment.

colorful gloves in

Our final plan is to roast chestnuts on

at each place setting

tradition, but to sterilize them

party favors, and

All in all, it can be a holly jolly – though

Christmas patterns

an open fire. Not for the taste, nor the

under the guise of

before eating.

then emphasize that everyone needs to

wear them throughout dinner, as it adds

to the festivities. Van pointed out the

awkwardness of maneuvering plastic

utensils while wearing woolen gloves.

Says a man who’s tried it never. Hey, I said gloves, not mittens, bless his heart.

Instead, we’re going with “box dinners.”

You know, like box lunches, but…dinner.

uncommon – Christmas. Whatever you

make of it, remember that through good times and bad, it’s a wonderful life we

live in this great country. And it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Whether

you’ve been naughty or nice, just don’t

be a humbug during the holidays. Make this a December to remember, not for

the pandemic, but for the good tidings,

comfort and joy we bring to each other. Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas, y’all.


Organizing: Ask The Expert


Pantry Some Love by Crystal Nerpel, Owner of Cloud Nine Organizing


itting around the kitchen table with my family is something I absolutely love. It’s a chance to reconnect and destress. No matter what we’re eating I call it soul food; being together during mealtimes feeds the soul.

Being an organizing expert means I start thinking about the meal way before it gets put on the table. For me, all meals that feed the soul start with an organized pantry - showing your pantry a little love will only make those family meals that much sweeter. MAKE SPACE FOR EXTRA INGREDIENTS:

This time of year you may be baking and cooking more often for loved ones. That means you’ll have additional baking and cooking ingredients on hand. Keep all those extra ingredients organized with these 4 pantry organizing tips: •

In addition to saving space, you’ll be able to see how much you have before heading to the grocery store.

Move packaged dry goods into clear, airtight, rectangular containers. In addition to saving space, containers keep the mess under control and keep food fresh longer. Remove packaged snacks (i.e, granola bars and fruit snacks) from boxes and put them inside small bins.

Store round bottles and jars on lazy susan turntables. You’ll be surprised by how much easier it is to grab what you need when you use a turntable. Start buying fresh or frozen vegetables. Canned foods are sometimes the biggest culprit of pantry clutter, and have less nutritional value than the alternatives.

SAVE TIME BY QUICKLY FINDING WHAT YOU NEED: Cluttered pantries cause frustration, and frustration can snowball into other negative effects; like an otherwise easy dinner prep turning into an annoying ordeal. When you can find your ingredients quickly, you may have just saved yourself a 20 minute trip to the grocery store. Family dinnertime should be the part of the day you look forward to the most, not the part of the day you dread because it’s just another chore.

SAVE MONEY BY SHOPPING YOUR PANTRY: This is something many people do not do: Look at what you actually have on

hand before you make a grocery list and head to the store. Buying extra food doesn’t sound like a big deal, unless it becomes a habit and you start accumulating food-clutter. An overstuffed pantry makes it difficult to see what you really have on hand. Eventually, when you do find the hidden cans, bags or boxes of food you may have to throw them out because they have expired. MAKE IT A WEEKLY HABIT: Friday evening, the pantry will look different than it did Monday morning. This is an area of the home that is constantly changing because we are always eating our food and buying new food. Make it a habit to pay attention to your current stockpile and straighten up the pantry on a weekly basis. Taking a few minutes to straighten and rearrange will only make life more pleasant as you are baking those holiday cookies or simply planning the next day’s family meal.







by Caylie Howard

very year, you promise yourself you won’t wait until the last minute to do your holiday shopping or buy that perfect holiday outfit, but once again, it’s the week before Christmas and you’ve gotten nary a gift. Don’t panic! Before you go into a desperate shopping frenzy, check out these local area businesses. We are sure you’ll find everything you need with time to spare, and nobody on your list will know you procrastinated (again).

clothing, shoes, accessories, fragrances, and home décor. This boutique also offers an amazing selection of gifts such as candles, mugs, and satin eye masks.


Beasley’s has been a family-owned and operated business since 1948. Turning a family heirloom into a custom piece of your very own comes naturally to them. On top of being experts in fine jewelry, they also offer a fabulous women’s boutique that is all about love and glamour. This boutique is located at 177 W. Main Street in Lewisville.

Megan’s is a “Lifestyle Boutique” with a relaxed environment and personalized service that is sure to make for a fun time. They offer an amazing selection of women’s apparel, accessories, jewelry, shoes, and gifts. They even have a


selection of unique children’s gifts. They are located at 4081 Waller Creek, Ste.160 in Highland Village. HELLO DAFFODIL HELLODAFFODILBOUTIQUE.COM Hello Daffodil, located at 2451 Lakeside Pkwy in Flower Mound, is a trendy women’s boutique that offers on-trend




generational, on-trend women’s clothing boutique located at 5801 Long Prairie Rd., Ste 810 in Flower Mound. Their

mission is to empower, strengthen, and

celebrate women through fashion. You are sure to feel your most beautiful self every time you walk out their door. THE PALM TREE BOUTIQUE SHOPPALMTREE.COM

on tanks, shirts, hoodies, hats, bags, and more. They also allow customization on their designs.

TEXAS PATINA TXPATINA.COM Texas Patina, located at 401 N Sealy

Ave in Justin, offers an array of unique gifts and boutique clothing. Their

clothing offers sizes small through 3X.

This boutique also offers a selection of

gourmet food items just as La Casita Salsa, Addy Dady Spices and Seasonings, Texas Hill Country Olives and Oil, and Rabbit Creek Bakery Items. LA DI DA LADIDABOUTIQUEDENTON.COM This fun and funky women’s boutique offers a wide variety of trendy tops,

fashionable dresses and jumpsuits, fun accessories, and a wide variety of foot

wear. La Di Da is located at 114 N Locust St. in Denton.

BRIGHTSIDE BOUTIQUE The Palm Tree Boutique offers on trend,


affordable, high quality clothing and

Brightside Boutique in Highland Village

of gift selections such as candles, key

in the area. They also carry brands such

a fun and relaxed atmosphere located at

Clara Sun Woo, Vera Bradley, Uggs, and

accessories. They also offer a wide variety

offers the largest selection of Brighton

rings, and drink ware. This boutique offers

as Merle Norman Cosmetics, Ivy Jane,

119 N. Elm St. in Denton.

so much more. This boutique is located at

SOUTHERN ROOTS DNA SOUTHERNROOTSDNA.COM Southern Roots Dna is a unique boutique located at 211 W 5th St. in Justin. They

LUCY VOSS LUCYVOSS.COM Lucy Voss is a women’s clothing store and boutique located at 4131 Deer Creek in Highland Village. They offer a curated assortment of designer apparel and jewelry that reflects the personal style of their customers. Lucy Voss commits to custom services, smart pricing, and a sense of trust.

1400 Shoal Creek Ste. 150 in The Shops at Highland Village. JACK’S OUTFITTERS JACKSOUTFITTERS.COM

offer apparel, accessories, gifts, and

Jack’s is a lifestyle clothing store that

Direct to Garment printing and Heat

friend. They offer the latest trends in

custom made items. They specialize in

caters to men, women, and man’s best

Transfer Vinyl. Their designs are available

fashion along with the hottest brands. The


Retrievers, so they also offer unique gifts for your dog. This shop is located at 1101 Shoal Creek, Ste. 140 in Highland Village.

store owner is a dog breeder for Labrador DECEMBER 2020 | LAKE CITIES LIVING | 29


Traditions & WHY THEY ARE

I M P O R T A N T by Contributing Writer


hristmas is a time when you can come together as a family. It’s a way that you can enjoy the scents, the sights, and the food with each other and make memories that can last for years to come. Christmas is also a time when wrapping paper finds its way on the floor or when there’s just a little too much food left from a special event or meal. Traditions are something to look forward to whether they are simple or feature several components. They can also grow as your family continues to grow over the years. Here are a few traditions that you might want to consider starting with your family that are merry and bright.

THE CHRISTMAS TREE One tradition that many families look

forward to is finding just the right tree.

You can spend an afternoon visiting a tree

match as a family. If you don’t want to join

in, you can give your children a special gift on Christmas Eve of pajamas, popcorn,

and a movie so that you can sit together

farm so that you cut down the one that

and enjoy the night until Santa arrives.

can venture out to a store to find a tree

by wearing the same pajamas as a family

you want. If you don’t want a live tree, you

Another way to carry out this tradition is

that the family enjoys, spending the rest of

and taking fun pictures together.

rest of your house.


the afternoon decorating the tree and the

PA JA M A S A tradition that has gained attention in recent years is wearing pajamas that 30 | LAKE CITIES LIVING | DECEMBER 2020

What better way to start Christmas than by fixing a delicious breakfast that your

family can enjoy. You can decide whether

you want to prepare breakfast before

gifts are opened or after the excitement is over. Try to prepare a meal that includes family favorites or a sweet treat, such as

cinnamon rolls that are decorated with red and green icing.

SERVE OTHERS You can come together as a family each year to help others in need. It can be a tradition that you start a few weeks

before Christmas arrives so that you have

everything you need to give to a family or an organization. If you choose to adopt a family, find out what the children like or need as well as the parents so that

no one is left out. Spend an afternoon together shopping for the family, as it

will show your children that it can be fun to serve others. If you plan to donate

to an organization, consider supplying

wrapping paper and gift bags that can be used with the gifts as well.


Profile for Murray Media Group

Lake Cities Living Magazine December 2020