Life In Castle Hills Magazine December 2021

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Contents BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT 15 Knead to Thrive Massage: Where Your Massage is Custom ARTICLES 7

5 Things To Do


5 Creative Ways to Re-gift

11 A Heart for the Community 12 Inside Community and Education 14 Fun Christmas Fact 20 10 Hot Places to Spend New Year’s 22 Dancing with Our Local Stars 26 Fashion Guide 2021 28 Christmas Game For The Family 31 Lewisville ISD Staff Spotight of the Month



CASTLE SPIRITS Boosting Your Spirit

Cover Image: Castle Spirits Staff: Devon, Tony, & Alondra



Publisher of Murray Media Group,

Publisher & Editor Scott & Kelly Murray




s I sat at the kitchen table to go over a few lastminute details before giving the OK to publish this month’s issue, I couldn’t help but peer over at my husband, Scott. We were in Utah celebrating his 50th birthday and had just finished a big meal with friends and family. He had this huge smile on his face — like a kid in a candy store. “What are you smiling about?” I asked with a laugh. “It was just a really good night,” he said. “Now we’re both hard at work again.” We were just kids when we got married and started our publishing journey all those years ago. And I can’t tell you how many times this same scenario played out where one or the both of us would be burning the midnight oil at the last minute, desperately trying to make sure everything was perfect before going to press. I wouldn’t change any of it. And neither would Scott. I bring this up because, well, it’s the holiday season, and I’m feeling extra grateful. I’m grateful for my 50-year-old hubby, who has been the best business partner I could ask for — and an even better husband and father. I’m also grateful for the friends and family who refuse to miss a single celebration. No matter how busy we all get with “life,” we never let anything get in the way of holiday traditions. Lastly, I’m grateful for the ability to reflect on so many great memories. It’s been a fun ride, and the best part is that it is far from over.


Managing Editor Jana Melton Sub-Editor Bobbi Byrne

Editor & Writer Steve Gamel


Caylie Howard, Diane Ciarloni Jade Kensington, Jean Eisenmann Leena Duwadi, Mark Miller

Advertising Inquiries


Graphic Designers Michele Cunningham-Scott Cayla Thompson Arynn Tomson Caleb Tynes


Miranda Longoria Photography Your Candid Memories Photography What’s That Guy’s Name? Photography by Guy T Live Beautifully Photography


Life in Castle Hills invites reader feedback, story suggestions and general comments. Email All submissions become the sole property of Murray Media Group.

Editorial Inquiries Call 972.899.3637 or email Address: 3513 Yucca Dr., Ste. 200 Flower Mound, TX 75028 Life in Castle Hills 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. Life in Castle Hills 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. © 2021 Murray Media Group

Thanks for reading our latest issue!

Sincerely, Kelly Murray

Things 5TO DO

UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATER CONTEST A great way to spice up a Christmas Party is by adding in an ugly Christmas sweater contest. Each guest can either buy new, use an oldie but goodie, or even create their own. And the uglier the sweater the funnier it is. This is a fantastic way to liven up any party. You could even have a festive prize for the winner.



A fun Christmas Party activity to do with your friends is to decorate Christmas cookies. Everyone at your party is sure to have a ball designing the festive treats. Not to mention the delicious snacks they’ll make after. If you’re not a baker, no worries! There are tons of local businesses that will sell them to you to decorate.

Do you ever debate on the best gifts for your friends to exchange at a party? Why not make it a game and do an ornament exchange. Each guest can pick out a cute ornament that they’d like to bring and add to the fun of the party. It’s always fun to play and everyone leaves a winner.

WRAPPING PARTY Is there anyone out there that waits until the very last minute to wrap their Christmas gifts? Why not have a lastminute wrapping party? Have all of your friends get together for an evening of food, drinks, and last-minute gift wrapping. Having fun with your friends will make the task much more enjoyable.

CHRISTMAS MOVIE MARATHON Who doesn’t love a good Christmas movie? And there are so many to choose from. Whether you’re a fan of the classics, animation, or even the newer releases, with a Christmas movie marathon everyone will enjoy the party. Don’t forget the festive holiday movie theater snacks!





by Caylie Howard | photos courtesy of Rob Veal, President and CEO of Heart of the City


t’s not uncommon for people to fall on hard times, especially in the last two years. No matter what the circumstances may be, the struggle is still the same. In times of need, it can be difficult for people to reach out and ask for help for themselves and their family. Many people have a fear of being judged or being looked down upon simply because of their difficult situations. At Heart of the City, they truly do care for the people of their community and they make it their mission to treat every person that walks through their doors as a valued member of society.

Heart of the City truly does try to meet all of the community’s needs. They offer food supply, clothing, and life counseling on how to get out of the situation these people are in and better their lives. “Heart of the City is a big umbrella and under that are three different major programs. One is the Farmers Market Food Pantry, the second is Graham’s Totally Free Clothing, and the third part is called Thrive where we do life skills coaching.” Rob Veal, President and CEO of Heart of the City, said. Heart of the City was born in 2019 and the nonprofit just celebrated 2 years of giving quality help service to the community in need. However, the idea of Heart of the City came to be in 2009. “It took me, personally, about 10 years to be able to get into a position where I had the time to do this. So in January of 2019 I stood in front our church and said, ‘God’s leading

me to start this and I need two people to help’ and a couple of senior adults in their seventies say ‘we’ll plug in and help’,” Rob said. The first thing that Heart of the City did was hold a free clothing giveaway. “Everyone has extra clothes in their closets, so everyone brought clothes and we gave them to the community and that’s how we began to establish links in the community,” Rob said. A couple of months after their free clothing giveaway, the nonprofit began to raise funds for an office expansion. “In four different dinners we raised $42,000 to remodel our building and make the food pantry,” Rob said. “October 28th, 2019 was our first day to serve,” Rob said. The goal for the Farmers Market Food Pantry was to serve around 200 to 300 families a month. But then

Heart of the City has designed their facility to make each person that walks through their door feel like they are getting a true, high end shopping experience. When you step into the Farmers Market Food Pantry, you truly feel like you photo Courtesy Rob Veal are walking| through a grocery store. When you walk through the Door of Hope in Graham’s Totally Free Clothing, you feel as if you are strolling through a local boutique. Every experience you have at Heart of the City is made to make you feel valued and important, which is just one of the things that make Heart of the City such a special part of our community. Heart of the City Lewisville is located at 2021 N. Mill St., Lewisville TX 75057. They serve all of south Denton County. To learn more about Heart of the City and how to volunteer, visit

Heart of the City truly does try to meet all of the community’s needs. They offer food supply, clothing, and life counseling on how to get out of the situation these people are in and better their lives.


A Heart

for the Community

COVID hit. “The whole world shut down, but we never did. We actually reprogrammed everything and started serving at people’s cars, and when we did that, were serving an excess of 250 families every Saturday. We exponentially grew,” Rob said.



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COVID-19 VACCINE REGISTRATION OPEN FOR CHILDREN 5-11 YEARS OLD The FDA and the CDC have now authorized and recommended Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccinations for children ages 5 through 11 years old. Denton County is now allowing parents and guardians to register their applicable children for their COVID-19 vaccination at a Denton County Public Health (DCPH) clinic. Photo Courtesy of

CASTLE HILLS CELEBRATES ANNEXATION Castle Hills was recently annexed into the City of Lewisville. Chris and Clay Bright were the developers of this annexation and were the first to have the vision for the community of Castles Hills in 1982. After a lot of planning and dedication, their vision has come to life. The official annexation was celebrated with a private event at the Clay Bright Memorial Plaza. Photo Courtesy of Castle Hills Facebook page


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DR. ROGERS ANNOUNCES HIS RETIREMENT IN JANUARY 2022 Lewisville Independent School District’s Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Kevin Rogers, announced his intention to retire. His retirement will be effective as of January 31, 2022. Dr. Rogers has spent his entire 36-year public education career with the Lewisville Independent School District. The LISD Board of Trustees has begun their search for the district’s next superintendent. Photo Courtesy of

PICTURES WITH SANTA If you are planning to attend the Lewisville Independent School Districts’ production of A Christmas Story the Musical you will also be given the opportunity to have your photo taken with Santa Claus. This is a great event for the whole family. You can enjoy the entertainment of a fantastic musical while making memories of meeting Santa. It’s a fun time for all who attend. Photo Courtesy of Lewisville High School Facebook page


DEDICATION FOR NEW DENTON COUNTY COURTHOUSE Denton County recently held a dedication as well as a grand opening for the new Denton County Administrative Courthouse. The new facility is located at 1 Courthouse Drive just off Loop 288 in Denton. This new facility not only consolidates the administrative staff of the county but also allows for the expansion of the county’s judicial system. Photo Courtesy of

DENTON IMPLEMENTS IMPROVED ECOMMENT FEATURE FOR MEETINGS Denton has now implemented an improved electronic comment feature for its public meetings. This streamlines the process for commenting on individual agenda items. This new and improved system is extremely userfriendly and can be accessed on the Public Meetings & Agenda page at Photo Courtesy of

LISD OFFICIALLY OPENS OUTDOOR LEARNING CENTER Lewisville ISD Outdoor Learning Center (LISDOLA) recently celebrated the grand opening of its new outdoor learning center with an official ribbon cutting. LISDOLA is made up of 84 acres, which were supplied by the U.S. Department of Education in 1995. The new addition of their outdoor learning center includes four classrooms, six total learning areas, and three outdoor patios. Photo Courtesy of

ADOPT AN ANGEL Lewisville High School is hosting Adopt an Angel. The school is encouraging the residents of Lewisville to consider adopting an angel or even making a monetary or gift card donation. ABC donations are also appreciated. You can pay with cash, Zelle, or money transfers by using If you want to make a large donation, please contact for a tax identification number. Photo Courtesy of




Business Spotlight


Where Your Massage is Custom by Caylie Howard


ften times when you schedule a massage, you leave feeling good for a moment but it’s not long before you’re feeling the need to return. It’s common to receive those “cookiecutter” massages, where every massage and client is treated the same. At Knead to Thrive Massage, Marisa Bruce offers customizable massages for each and every person that walks in her doors.

When you choose Knead to Thrive Massage, you’ll leave feeling better in every sense.

There are a lot of things that go into creating a customizable massage. “Every massage is going to be different. Not every person needs the exact same thing. I focus on each person’s specific medical issue,” Marisa said. Many massage therapists do what they want to do and fail to focus on what their client wants. That’s one of the many reasons that Marisa at Knead to Thrive Massage is so special. “I actually listen to my client’s wants and needs,” Marisa said. Marisa takes her massage experiences one step further by being a licensed medical massage practitioner. At Knead to Thrive Massage, you won’t receive a regular spa experience. “My massages are more medical than what you would get at a normal spa,” Marisa said. Marisa offers services such as Swedish massage, Deep Tissue massage, Medical massage, as well as prenatal massage. She

is also certified in cupping, Himalayan salt stones, and aromatherapy. When you choose Knead to Thrive Massage, you’ll leave feeling better in every sense. “I like to make people feel better and I like being a part of their healing process, mentally and physically,” Marissa said. Marisa has made it her mission to make her space a welcoming and safe environment for each and every one of her clients. “I’m a very welcoming person. I want people to feel comfortable when they come to me,” Marisa said. “Everyone deserves equal care.”

Knead to Thrive Massage truly is a one-ofa-kind experience. With Marisa’s passion, drive, and commitment to give every person customized care, it’s easy to see why Knead to Thrive Massage is held in such high regard. The Realm at Castle Hills 4400 TX-121 3rd Floor, Suite 331 Lewisville, TX 75056 469.799.9502 (texting preferred)


2540 King Arthur Blvd #110, Lewisville, TX 75056 | 972.899.0906 | 16 | LIFE IN CASTLE HILLS | DECEMBER 2021

It’s not uncommon for our regulars to come to the store and be greeted with their preferred spirit, wine, or beer waiting for them at the counter

boosting your spirit by Caylie Howard | photography by Live Beautifully Photography


t’s not often that you walk into a liquor store and instantly feel at home. That’s one of the many things that make Castle Spirits such a special treasure. The entire staff at Castle Spirits is passionate about providing the best customer service in the business. “We genuinely care about our customers,” owner Devon Amsterdam said. “We offer a level of service that you can’t find anywhere else.” Devon, Tony, and Alondra really do go above and beyond to ensure that each customer that walks through their door feels comfortable and at home. They strive to provide an incredible shopping experience every time they come in. “We really get to know our customers,” Devon said. At Castle Spirits, they take the time to build relationships with their customers. They take the time to understand their wants and needs. Whether you’re looking for a great holiday present for your boss, or you’re looking for the perfect gift for your best friend of ten years, the staff at Castle Spirits will make sure that they recommend the ideal product that serves your intended purpose. And one of the greatest parts of receiving one of the staff’s recommendations is that you know that it’s a quality product that

they truly believe in. “We will only recommend you a product that we enjoy ourselves or that we’ve gotten positive customer feedback on,” Devon said. The shelves at Castle Spirits are filled with nothing but the absolute best products on the market, which is why the staff at Castle Spirits is so confident in what they’re selling. And not only is the store filled with quality products, but you will also find that the shelves are always stocked. Making sure that the store is always filled with their customers’ favorite products is just one of the many things that Castle Spirits does to offer the best customer experience. “We do a lot to make sure that our customers are happy,” Devon said. Devon actually takes the time to listen to what his customers want and about the products they are passionate about. Devon recalled a customer that had come in and passionately expressed his displeasure in the store’s variety of wine that they carried. Instead of getting upset with the customer DECEMBER 2021 | LIFE IN CASTLE HILLS | 17

and ignoring his opinion, Devon actually went above and beyond by reaching out to this customer personally to understand his passions about wine and used that knowledge to expand their collection. Because of this customer’s passion and immense knowledge as well as Devon’s recognition of a great opportunity, every customer now benefits from the expansion of the wine variety throughout the entire store. Castle Spirits is all about making its customer’s quality shopping experience the most convenient that it can be. Castle Spirits might be a small store, but they genuinely try to offer everything that their shoppers desire. They will also custom order a product if they don’t carry it on their shelves. To add on to how accommodating the staff at Castle Spirits tries to be, they have also started offering a delivery service. They have made the process of enjoying your favorite spirit even easier by simply ordering off of their Google and Apple apps or their website. With most deliveries, you will be able to sit back and enjoy your purchase within an hour. It’s the small details that make such a big difference, and Castle Spirits truly understands that. “We’ve recently started adding music to the store. Most people won’t notice that, but it matters to us for the people that will notice it,” Devon said. Another small detail that sets them apart in a big way is that they always have quality products ready to taste. Every time you visit Castle Spirits, you know that you will be treated like family. Not only will you be introduced to the finest products on the market, but you will also experience a quality customer experience that you won’t find in any other store. It’s safe to say that you’ll never regret the decision to choose Castle Spirits.







Luckenbach is a fun place to dance your way into the New Year. At the Luckenbach Dance Hall, you can enjoy the town’s New Year’s festivities, such as live music, dancing, and even a midnight toast! 2. SOUTH PADRE ISLAND If you’re looking for an exciting New Year’s Eve experience, look no further than South Padre Island. With the small town’s fireworks that light up the sky along with their many events and parties, you’re sure to have a fantastic New Year’s. 3. AUSTIN Our state’s capital always rings in the New Year in style. You can experience the amazing fireworks over Ladybird Lake. And Gatsby House at the Omni has a roaring 20’s party! It’s always a good New Year’s Eve when you choose Austin.


4. GRUENE The famous Gruene Hall is a must when it comes to ringing in the New Year. They have live music, dancing, food, and champagne to toast. However, due to New Braunfels liquor laws prohibiting alcohol sales past midnight, Gruene celebrates the New Year at 11 pm.

5. GALVESTON Galveston always shows up to impress on New Year’s Eve. From the Downtown Lanterns to Lights in Saengerfest Park you’re sure to have a rocking good time. And you can’t

forget the fantastically good times at Midnight in the Gardens New Year’s Eve Gala at Moody Gardens! 6. DALLAS Dallas is full of lights and good times on New Year’s. Unfortunately, it looks as if the city’s

annual celebration Big D NYE won’t be making its grand come back. But there’s no need to worry. Dallas is known for its amazing parties and festivities on every corner. 7. SAN ANTONIO If ‘Celebrate San Antonio’ isn’t on your bucket list to experience, it should be. The festival offers live music, amazing entertainment, as well as the best food that San Antonio can offer. And you won’t want to miss their midnight firework show! 8. FORT WORTH Fort Worth always offers a cowboy good time on New Year’s. Billy Bob’s Texas and Bar

Louie always go all out with their New Year’s Eve parties. Fort Worth is the best place to ring in the New Year with all of your favorite people.

10. GRAPEVINE Kick-off the New Year Gatsby style at Hotel Vin in Grapevine. You can enjoy a five-course meal, drinks, and a night of “gambling”, with wonderfully fun live music to dance to. And you can’t forget the champagne toast at midnight! You’ll have a ball in Grapevine for New Year’s Eve!

9. HOUSTON Houston is a sure-fire way to have a good time ringing in the New Year. With all of the parties, galas, and festivities that take place all over the city, you’re sure to find the perfect place to watch the ball drop with all of your favorite people!






by Caylie Howard | photos courtesy of Marci Pritts

nited Way is committed to bettering and assisting Denton County through multiple events year-round that aid in the overall mission to give back. This year, United Way is celebrating 10 years of its annual event, Dancing with Our Stars. And once again, the organization is giving back to the community one dance at a time.

twinkle toes,” said Kristin Jones, United Way’s Director of Development.

This friendly dance competition is the centerpiece of United Way’s UNITED tribute entertainment. Dancing with Our Stars features fun, well-loved

individuals from our local community nominated by our beloved Denton County residents. Each volunteer's

participation helps United Way raise awareness and funds to assist and properly serve children, families,

Veterans, the homeless, and individuals affected by mental illness.

One of the special events at this annual gala is the unveiling of the Dr. Bettye

Myers Humanitarian Award. This special award is dedicated to one Denton

County community volunteer who has been an active community leader and is selfless with their time and financial

resources. “The recipient is purposeful in helping others and promoting

human welfare and has been actively engaged in the community with a

service record of longevity,” Jones said. “They are caring and compassionate and inspire others in service for the

good of the community. The honoree demonstrates persistence toward

improving and transforming lives within the community. The recipient has a

long-standing history of working with the United Way and our network of partners for the good of the community.” Dancing with Our Stars started as

This gala is easily Denton County’s

celebrate local businesses and

the widely popular and hands-down

a thank-you event. It was a way to

the people of Denton County who selflessly give back throughout

the year. And it didn't take long for

officials to notice that it was taking off.

most anticipated event. It features

favorite event, Dancing with Our Stars

competition, which showcases a group of voted-in community volunteer dancers.

United Way’s signature gala

The event hosts 10 dancing pairs.

year and honors the local companies,

Woman's University’s Associate

celebrates successes from the past

employees, and community leaders

who made those successes possible.


These pairs train tirelessly with Texas Professor of Dance, Gladys Keeton.

“She turns our amateur dancers into

Past recipients of the Dr. Bettye Myers

Humanitarian Award have been Denton County Judge Andy Eads, Mayor Chris Watts, Ellen Painter, Bobbie Mitchell,

Bill Patterson, Mark and Debbie Merki, Stan Morton, Joe and Jane Mulroy, as well as Dr. Bettye Myers herself. This

award has been presented since 2013. The 10th annual Dancing with Our

Stars event will be held on Saturday,

January 15th. You can purchase tickets and tables for this event online at tribute.




Merry Christmas DECORATE YOUR HOME & WORK PLACE WITH CUSTOM • Mounted Canvas • Photo Prints on Acrylic • Photo Prints on Aluminum



FASHION GUIDE 2021 photos courtesy of each respective business


972.899.4060 4081 Waller Creek, Ste. 160 Highland Village, TX 75077 Festive for the upcoming season, this rose gold chevron dress designed by Veronica M, is one our favorites. The flattering neckline, long sleeves and above the knee cut makes this the perfect party dress. The dress can be worn with or without the belt tied at the waist and with a fun pair of boots. This beautiful print is also available as a top. Megan’s Lifestyle Boutique offers its patrons everything from party to casual chic clothes to lounge wear. Plus we have the perfect bags, shoes and jewelry to match. Located in The Shops at Highland Village. Come see us! Thank you for shopping small and local!





817.581.2743 2451 Lakeside Pkwy., Ste. 160 Flower Mound, TX 75022

972.539.4800 5801 Long Prairie Rd., Ste. 810 Flower Mound, TX 75028

817.965.0648 400 S Oak St., Ste. 110 Roanoke, TX 76262

Ahh, Winter! This season brings us lasting memories with the holidays, playing in the snow (if we are lucky!) and getting cozy by the fireplace. Your fashion choices can also bring you joy! If you look good, you feel good! Our Texas weather is perfect for layering as shown here. Stay on-trend while not sacrificing comfort in this tie dye pullover. Style with buttery soft black denim from our exclusive brand, Mac and Me and a trendy, chunky bootie. Don’t forget to throw on that cute pom pom beanie before heading out the door for that effortless girl-on-the-go look! Come visit mother-daughter team, Susan and Maddie, for all your winter wardrobe needs!

MadiJaks is a women’s clothing and gift boutique conveniently located in Downtown Roanoke.

The Model is wearing our Claudette Jacket, which features a removable collar for a more sleek feel and who doesn’t love a piece that’s two looks in one. We paired her gorgeous jewel green jacket with black skinny jeans and the Hearts On Fire Necklace. Skip the mall and support local for all the best pieces this holiday season. Stylish tops, custom jewelry and great gifts. Shop local, shop Briesly’s Boutique.

We offer a collection of unique, affordable, and on-trend items that are handpicked with our customers in mind. We strive to bring our customers captivating, fashionable pieces that encourage them to live with confidence. Our Adeline wrap dress is style and comfort all wrapped into one! The loose fit, wrap waist, and mid-thigh length allows you to be comfortable for your entire event and looking great while partying the night away! Pair with a pair of our white boots or heels to accent the details in the dress! DECEMBER 2021 | LIFE IN CASTLE HILLS | 27




normally given up on. I learned from a very early age that teaching truly isn’t about the content we are provided and expected to teach, but that teaching is about the privilege we have been given to guide these young minds into functioning, self-thinking adults who love and care about our world and others.

teacher SPOTLIGHT Audrey Akin, 3rd Grade Teacher at LISD STEM Academy at Polser Elementary

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A TEACHER? Both of my parents are high school teachers, and I was able to see how much of an impact they made in the lives of students whom people would have

WHAT IS YOUR MOST CHERISHED MOMENT IN THE CLASSROOM? When I taught Dual Language, I had a young student who was new to our country. She could speak and read a little in English, but she struggled with her writing. Each day during those six weeks we worked through frustrations and growth, but I knew she still wasn’t confident in herself when it came to writing. Right before our spring break, I

received a letter from her that she wrote all on her own. It was written perfectly, just like we had practiced and the joy she had in being able to give it to me was something I will never forget. I still have that letter saved at home.

WHAT DO YOU HOPE YOUR STUDENTS OR COLLEAGUES WOULD SAY ABOUT YOU? I hope my students would say that I cared for them and that they had fun! That I did my job as a teacher and helped them find

some type of love and joy in school. In the end, that is all I want for them.

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