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Family Lifestyle News Magazine March 2018


Our Town onthly




Get started with top-quality home painting NOW!

Get started withPainting top-quality home painting NOW! • Exterior & Interior

Publishers/Editors Linda Demery & Lori McLinden

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Our Town is published and direct mailed monthly to prestigious homes in the West Cobb Area. Opinions expressed by the editorial staff are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher. Our Town reserves the right to edit and or reject any editorial or advertising content. Our Town is not responsible for errors in advertising beyond the cost of the space or for the validity of claims made by advertisers. Entire contents copyright 2018 by Our Town. Reproduction in whole or in part is forbidden in any media without prior written permission from the publisher.

Our Town Monthly

Karen Roberts

1000 Avenue, 109Whitlock Anderson Street Ste. 320 Suite 109 PMBGA 14130060 Marietta, Marietta, GA 30064

Karen Roberts Photography

Contributing Writers Jeff Bailey

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678-337-7844 Fax: 678-337-7825

Jacques Herring

Mark Orler

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James Floyd Kelly


Tara Hanover Amber Burckhalter





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Our Town

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Our Town


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march calendar of events KINDERMART SPRING CONSIGNMENT SALE: Friday, March 9th, from 9:30 – 11am. Saturday, March 10th, from 9am-Noon. Smyrna First United Methodist Church, 1315 Concord Rd in Smyrna. Save BIG $$$ on children’s clothes, swimsuits, toys, baby gear, strollers, car seats, books, sporting gear and much more! Many items ½ price Saturday. ALL 4 KIDS CONSIGNMENT SALE: Thursday, March 8th from 9:30am – 8pm, Friday, March 9th from 9am – 6pm, and Saturday, March 10th, from 9am – 1pm. Cobb County Civic Center, 548 South Marietta, Parkway in Marietta. for more information. CCC MOPS CHILDREN’S CONSIGNMENT SALE: Cumberland Community Church (across from Aldi), 3110 Sports Avenue SE, Smyrna, GA 30080. Friday, March 16th from 9:30am – 7pm, and Saturday, March 17th, from 9am – 1pm. Strollers are welcome, many items half price on Saturday. PINE STRAW SALE: Boy Scout Troop 11 will be selling pine straw for 2 weekends. March 17th & 18th and March 24th & 25th, Saturdays 9 am - 4 pm / Sundays 12 noon - 4 pm. Pick up and delivery available. $4.50/bale, pick up and $5/bale for delivery. Tilman United Methodist Church, 940 Concord Rd. SE in Smyrna.

Spring is Coming

NEIGHBORS CAN HELP YOU GET READY! • Seeds & seed starting supplies • Soils & amendments • Custom built garden boxes & planters • Backyard chicken supplies


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FREE ESTATE PLANNING BREAKFAST WITH ALEX GAINES LAW Alex Gaines is a Smyrna-based mom and estate planning lawyer working with families of all kinds to protect their loved ones with holistic estate planning. March 31st at 10am in this FREE, informative and empowering class, Breakfast and childcare is provided to all who register. Location: 3101 Cobb Parkway, Suite 124, Atlanta, GA 30339 (inside of ROAM Innovative Workplace). Reserve your seat at www. VININGS NINTH BUSINESS EXPO MARCH 20:  The Vinings Business Association will host its ninth annual Business and Food EXPO from 4:00 pm -7:00 pm at the Hotel Indigo Atlanta Vinings Hotel, 2857 Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta, GA 30339.  Admission and parking are free and the event is open to the public. Over 30 exhibitors will be featured with information on Vinings-area businesses, restaurants and events. There will also be free food samples, door prizes, drawings and giveaways, including restaurant gift certificates and a cash bar. Exhibit tables may be available if pre-registered, $125 members, or $195 non-members welcome, all information is listed on the website, or contact CITY OF SMYRNA EASTER EGG HUNT: March 24th from 10am – 1pm. The annual Easter Egg Hunt is moving locations. This year the eggs will be hidden at the Smyrna Community Center in the grassy area along Atlanta Rd. There will be inflatables, food vendors, pictures with the Easter Bunny and more! There will be four separate age divided hunts. The 3 and under hunt will begin at 11am. 4-5 year old hunt at 11:30am, 6-7 year olds at noon, and 8 – 10 year olds at 12:30pm. If you have an event for the Our Town Calendar, please e-mail us at Listings are free, but space is limited! Deadline for calendar submissions is the 15th of the month for the following month’s issue. Solution:

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Our Town

WellStar and Mayo Clinic. WellStar and Mayo Working together. WorkingClinic. for you. Working together. Working for you.

As a proud member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, WellStar Health is evenof closer to achieving ourNetwork, vision of WellStar world-class As a System proud member the Mayo Clinic Care healthcare. Through thiscloser innovative collaboration, doctors Health System is even to achieving our visionWellStar of world-class healthcare. Through innovative collaboration, WellStar and doctors have special access tothis Mayo Clinic knowledge, expertise have special to Mayo Clinictoknowledge, expertise and right resources whileaccess patients continue receive care delivered resources while patients receive careWellStar delivered right here, close to home. And continue now withtoeven more locations here, close to home. now with even more WellStar locations working together with And Mayo Clinic, you get peace of mind working together Mayo Clinic, you get peace of mind knowing that we arewith here for you. knowing that we are here for you.

Innovation. World-class care. WellStar. Innovation. World-class care. WellStar.

ForFor more information, more information,please pleasevisit visit ForFor physician referral, please call 770-956-STAR (7827). physician referral, please call 770-956-STAR (7827).

WellStar Health System, the largest health system in Georgia, is known nationally for its innovative care models, focused on improving

WellStar Health System, the largest health system in Georgia, is known nationally for its innovative care models, focused on improving

quality and access to healthcare. WellStar consists of WellStar Medical Group, 240 medical office locations, outpatient centers, health parks,

quality and access to healthcare. WellStar consists of WellStar Medical Group, 240 medical office locations, outpatient centers, health parks, a pediatric center, nursing centers, hospice, homecare, as well as 11 inpatient hospitals: WellStar Atlanta Medical Center, WellStar Atlanta

a pediatric center, nursing homecare, well as 11 inpatient hospitals: WellStar Atlanta MedicalWellStar Center, West WellStar Atlanta Medical Center South, centers, WellStar hospice, Kennestone Regional as Medical Center (anchored by WellStar Kennestone Hospital), Georgia

Medical Center South, WellStar Regional Center (anchored by WellStar Kennestone WellStar West Georgia Medical Center, and WellStarKennestone Cobb, Douglas, NorthMedical Fulton, Paulding, Spalding Regional, Sylvan Grove and Hospital), Windy Hill hospitals. As a not-for-

Medical Center, and continues WellStar Cobb, Douglas, Fulton, Paulding, Spalding Regional, Sylvan Grove Windy Hill hospitals. As a not-forprofit, WellStar to reinvest in the North health of the communities it serves with new technologies andand treatments. profit, WellStar continues to reinvest in the health of the communities it serves with new technologies and treatments.

We believe in life well-lived.

We believe in life well-lived.


Ruthie Evans moved to the Smyrna area with her family in 2011 when she and her brother, Preston, joined their older sister, Avery at Whitefield Academy. Now 18 years old and a senior at Whitefield, Ruthie is full of anticipation of what her future holds. At a very early age, Ruthie developed a love for music – more specifically musical theatre. As a young actress, Ruthie enjoyed performing with several community theatres in the Atlanta area. One of her most memorable roles was staring as Madeline in the original cast of “Madeline’s Christmas” with The Atlanta Children’s Theatre at Horizon Theatre in Little Five Points.

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Ruthie’s time with the Whitefield Dramatic Society has been full of performance opportunities, as well. In her freshman year, she stepped outside of the musical theatre bubble, and with the help of her teacher and mentor, Jessica Bonnem, took on the role of Puck in William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for which she took home the Best Actress award at the GHSA One Act Play regional competition. She most recently played the role of Reno Sweeney in Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes”, but the role that will always be dearest to Ruthie, is that of Millie Dillmount in “Thoroughly Modern Millie”. The show earned Whitefield a 1st place title at the GHSA regional level, and 2nd place at state. Ruthie once again brought home the best actress award at the regional level. The troupe also performed “Millie” at the 2016 Georgia Thespian Conference at the historic Springer Opera House in Columbus. In January, Ruthie had the honor of performing at Feinstein’s/54 Below in New York City at a showcase for young adults called Before Broadway. She was one of 15 actors chosen in a nation-wide search to perform for some of Broadway’s best. Looking forward, Ruthie is excited to study musical theatre at the collegiate level, and then perform professionally one day. Outside the arts, Ruthie enjoys cooking, traveling, and spending time with her dog, Ranger.






feature photographer

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photographer since she opened her studio in

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Offer valid only at Smyrna location. Not valid with any other offers. Expires 3/31/18.

1996. She attended Kennesaw State University

Karen Roberts has been a professional

to pursue a degree in Studio Arts. Photography has always been Karen’s passion as she mixes her flair for staying and fashion into her work. Her studio is composed of tow levels, a natural light studio and a gallery where photos can view


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PAGE 8 For Advertising Information Call 678-337-7844 •

newborns, children, families, and high school seniors. She has been nationally and internationMorning America. Karen currently resides in her two Maltese dogs who have become models themselves.

Our Town

Spinal Surgery: Best for Your Backbone? by Jeff Bailey, RadioMD Staff Writer Chronic neck and back pain can be excruciating. When you’re suffering, every remedy to ease the pain and return to regular activity is on the table. You may even consider spinal surgery. But, going under the knife may not be necessary. As Dr. Scott Boden, Director of the Emory Orthopedics & Spine Center at Emory Healthcare explains, “Over 90% of spine-related problems usually resolve on their own or with a non-operative treatment. Relatively few people actually need to get into the hands of a surgeon.” Radiating pain down the arms or legs that doesn’t resolve in a relatively short period of time is a fairly solid indication you should speak to a doctor about surgery. New weakness or numbness in the limbs is also a concern that may be resolved surgically. Very few people who have non-radiating back pain may need a surgeon.


Recovery depends on the age and health of the patient, as with any invasive procedure. A younger patient can return to work within three or four weeks after a simple discectomy. Some athletic and physical activity can be resumed after six to twelve weeks. Spinal fusion could require months of recovery before the patient can resume normal, daily activities. The bone may need six to nine months in order to heal before exercise or sports can be pursued. Physical therapy is a routine part of the recovery process. Many patients can work on stretches at home in lieu of office visits.

Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center is now open in Smyrna at 3903 S Cobb Drive, SE, Smyrna, GA, 30097.

It’s best to exhaust non-operative spinal treatments first. Then, get a second opinion from a spinal surgery specialist to determine candidacy.

Herniated Discs A common back problem for individuals under age 50 is a herniated disk. “With a herniated disc, the soft cartilage that acts as a shock absorber -- the ‘cushion’ between the spinal vertebrae bone -- protrudes out and pinches a nerve root,” explains Dr. Boden. If the patient cannot resolve the issue with non-operative treatments, she may be a candidate for spinal surgery. The herniated piece of disc cartilage is removed through a very small incision. This alleviates the pressure or pinching from the nerve, eliminating the radiating pain in the limbs. The spinal canal gradually grows narrow as one ages, which can result in nerve root pinching. This may mandate surgery in those over 50. Surgery may involve a larger area of the spine to relieve nerve pressure. “If the spine is unstable, it may require fusing two or more bones together to prevent them from excessive motion,” advises Dr. Boden.

To make an appointment, call 404-778-3350 Gold Provider orTop visit in Patient Satisfaction Nationwide *To listen to an interview with Dr. Scott Boden, Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Emory University School of Medicine and Director of the Emory Orthopedics and Spine Center at Emory Healthcare, please follow this link:

“Grow Your People, Grow Your Business” by Jacques Herring

Moving you closer to your potential one interaction at a time.

Are you reviewing your strategies for growth, competitive advantage, or perhaps you are looking for the next big idea that is going to differentiate what you offer? Whether you are a Startup or large business, to remain competitive, it is important that the products, services, or experiences that you provide meet and exceed your customer’s expectations. As these things are important, a focus on growing your people through recognition and development, could be the real difference maker in the experience your customers receive and achieving success!

RECOGNITION Happy and engaged teams are more productive, committed to the goals and take better care of your customers. In today’s competitive environment, a recognition program that engages your team can take you from simply providing goods or services, to a motivated team that creates an experience that inspires a customer’s decision to return. How you made them feel the last time your business was called upon, could be the difference maker!



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We help Executives at the Manager, Director, VP level and start up businesses identify the priorities to success, remove obstacles to peak performance and implement a plan for immediate impact! We provide tailored solutions in Leadership and Strategy that moves you forward; One step closer to your potential.

Recognition programs can be small in nature and scale as your business grows. For an effective recognition program, everyone should participate and it should be tied to behaviors and performance to support your goals. Next, establish the method recognition to be captured. Examples could be: Hand written notes, Great Job cards, or employee of the month awards. Also, determine how the recognition will be shared? Will it be one on one, managers meetings, or a daily employee huddle? Lastly, be consistent and maintain energy with the recognition, to support it moving from a program to a culture. To support, long term benefits of a great recognition program, the next step to growing your business is the development of the employees.


Please contact us for a free complimentary session to see how coaching can help you achieve your professional and personal goals. • • 678-332-7251

To build upon the culture of recognition, it will be important to have a focus on the development of your employees. A plan to increase the effectiveness of your employees will only continue to build upon their engagement, strengthen the ability to improve the customer experience and position you for growth. Development plans for employees should not be complex, but easy for them to understand exactly what they are working on and why. The most common type of development plans focus on the following: 1) Improving current performance 2) Providing experiences to work in other areas to create flexibility for the business 3) Delegating tasks that stretch their skill set to grow with the business and take on a leadership role, 4) Growing a current leader to lead the business in expansion. To support the focus on developing your employees, it will be important to create a check in process to see how things are going. This is a great time to recognize the work they’ve done and make changes as needed. In closing, success in achieving your business objectives will be dependent upon a variety of factors. The right strategies, products and services are all very important in achieving success. However, by establishing a culture of recognition and development, your people can be the difference that sets you apart from the competition in the experience they create for your customers!


For support in accelerating the development of your teams, please visit to see how we can help. For Advertising Information Call 678-337-7844 • Our Town

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Our Town

march what’s cookin’?

Irish Kitchen Prayer Bless us with good food, the gift of gab and hearty laughter. May the love and joy we share be with us ever after. Amen

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day treat yourself to the flavors of Ireland with a delicious Irish Coffee and one of our all time favorite dishes - Shepherd’s Pie.

How To Make Irish Coffee Makes 1 drink 6 ounces Hot, freshly brewed coffee 1 teaspoon Granulated sugar 1 teaspoon Packed brown sugar 1 1/2 ounces Irish whiskey Freshly whipped cream 1. Preheat your mug, and then fill with coffee: Pour hot water into a mug or heatproof glass to take the chill off. Pour out the water. This will also prevent your glass from cracking. Fill the mug about 3/4 full with the coffee. 2. Add sweetener: Add the granulated and brown sugars and stir until fully dissolved. 3. Add Irish whiskey: Add the whiskey and stir to incorporate. 4. Top with whipped cream: If using lightly whipped cream, pour it slowly over a warm spoon onto the coffee, being careful not to break the coffee›s surface. This takes some practice. A more foolproof way to not break the surface is to whip the cream a bit more and dollop it gently on top. Drink while hot! Lightly whipped will give you a frothy cream collar on top. If you want to pile the cream high, you’ll need to whip it to medium-stiff peaks.




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SHEPHERD’S PIE P OTATO L AY E R : 3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and chopped (about 4-5 cups) 2 tablespoons butter 1/2 – 1 cup milk 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese Salt and pepper 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1 egg yolk M E AT F I L L I N G : 2 – 2 1/2 pounds ground beef, turkey, lamb, or sausage (or a combination of any) 1 cup chopped onion 2 large carrots chopped small (about 1 cup) 2 cloves garlic, finely pressed 1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper 3 tablespoons flour 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1 1/4 cups low-sodium beef or chicken broth 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 teaspoon fresh) 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary (or 1 teaspoon fresh) 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels 1/2 cup frozen peas 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese 1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch pan with cooking spray (I’ve also used a slightly smaller ceramic casserole dish with good results, too, just makes the layers slightly thicker). 2. Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with 1-2 inches of water. Add a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes or so (it will depend on how large or small the potatoes are cut) until the potatoes are tender. 3. Drain the potatoes and return to the pot. Mash the potatoes lightly. Add the butter, milk (start with 1/2 cup and add more if needed), Parmesan and cheddar cheeses, salt and pepper to taste, and garlic powder. Mash together until smooth and creamy. Stir in the egg yolk until combined. 4. For the meat and vegetable mixture, in a large 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, add the ground meat, onion, carrots, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook, breaking the meat into small pieces, until the meat is no longer pink and the vegetables are starting to soften, 5-7 minutes or so. Drain any excess grease from the mixture. 5. Sprinkle the flour over the meat and cook over medium to medium-high heat for a minute or so, stirring constantly. Stir in the tomato paste, broth, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, thyme, and rosemary. Bring to a simmer and continue to simmer gently for 10 minutes. 6. Stir in the corn and peas. 7. Pour the meat mixture into the prepared pan. Spread the mashed potatoes over the top all the way to the edges of the pan creating a seal over the meat mixture. Sprinkle the 1-cup cheddar over the top of the potatoes. 8. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the edges are golden and the casserole is bubbling. Let it rest out of the oven for 10 minutes before serving.

For Advertising Information Call 678-337-7844 •

Our Town


by Tara Hanover

Spring finally arrives this month! March 20th to be exact. This winter seemed to last forever and I was beyond bored with heavy coats, icy snow and chilly wet days. After 3 years of writing the Style Report, I am hoping you are not bored with me (fingers crossed). But just in case anyone needed a little break, I decided to go to the beauty pros, the best in the business, for their insider tips this month. (I took some note’s myself) • Styling your own hair can be frustrating as it’s often hard to get it just right. Aveda’s Artistic Director of Cutting, Ricardo Dinis, says a simple change of scenery is all you need to get those strands to stay in place. If you’ve just showered, be sure to blow-dry your hair in a room other than the bathroom. The steam and humidity from your shower may be what’s keeping you from creating the perfect coif. • Just thinking about wearing a dense concealer when it’s hot out can make you sweat. Makeup artist Mally Roncal, founder of Mally Beauty, suggests mixing your cover-up with eye cream to add moisture and create a sheerer, lighter look and feel. • Celebrity make-up artist Troy Surratt says a monochromatic look is classically feminine. So mix a bit of your lipstick (whether red, poppy pink, or coral) with moisturizer to make a cream blush and dab it on the apples of your cheeks. • “Mixing foundation with moisturizer is an easy way to lighten your coverage options if you already have a fuller coverage foundation.” — Caitlin Wooters, makeup artist • “If you’re extremely oily and don’t have face primer handy just apply a little corn starch to your skin before your foundation.” — Niki Metz, director of artistry for Jouer • “Your complexion products (foundation, concealer, etc.) should match the inside of your arm, not the back of your hand.” — Maggie Ford Danielson, Benefit global beauty authority

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• “To reduce puffiness pop eye lotion in the icebox and apply to lids before eye makeup.” — Petra Strand, creator of Pixi by Petra

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• “Apply mascara before liquid liner to create a guide for the perfect cat-eye flick.” — Sarah Lucero, global director of education and artistry for Stila


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• “Apply a nourishing balm to your eyebrows before going to bed. This will guarantee extra strength and growth—thicker eyebrows in two weeks.” — Terry de Gunzburg, founder of By Terrye op • “Apply primer all the way up into the brows so your brow color won’t budge.” — Niki Metz, director of artistry for Jouer • “If you’re not a professional makeup artist, it can be difficult to line those eyes, but then again liquid liner tends to stay on longer and smudge-free. So what I do is, I line my eyes first with a pencil liner because it’s easier to make that straight line with it. Then I go back on the line with the liquid liner. It’s kind of like coloring! The result? Your eye liner will stay on, smudge-free, and well-lined.” - Ysolt Usigan, beauty and style contributor at Huffington Post.

• “I have extremely thick tresses that get dry and frizzy during extreme seasonal shifts. I apply a conditioning hair masque and leave it on overnight, rinsing in the morning. Hair becomes angelical soft and immediately rescued.”- Amy E Goosman, author of “Wear This, Toss That!” • “For an eye look that’s defined but not too heavy, line your upper lash line with black eyeliner and the bottom lash line with brown eyeliner. This is one of my biggest makeup artist tricks for beautiful, soft eyes!”- Mally Roncal, celebrity make-up artist

Expires 4/12/18

• “Always carry Chapstick on you and never let your lips get dried up and cracked. No matter what brand or color lipstick you wear, chapped, dry lips will show and never look good.” - Anne Chertoff, freelance beauty and wedding style expert

• “A well-fitting bra is the best beauty trick there is—boost the girls in and up to look younger, thinner, and more proportioned!”- Jene Luciani. Style and beauty expert, author of The Bra Book. • “Everyone you will ever meet knows something that you don’t”- Ben Nye I love learning from my colleagues and I feel I get better just by watching and listening to them. I don’t look at it as a competition; instead I look at it as a way to grow and learn. This past year I started attending trade shows again and I realized that I came away with something from each class….either a new tip, a new tool or even things I had known or did before, but I had forgotten. Remember: Never stop learning and never stop growing and you are only in competition with the person that YOU were the day before.

Everyday get up, dress up, show up and NEVER give up!


For Advertising Information Call 678-337-7844 •

Our Town

“The meaning of Life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE In the fall of 2015, Lisa Rieves opened The Front Porch of Vinings with an eclectic mix of vintage home furnishings, décor, local and regional art, incredible lighting, locally made jewelry, hand bags and a smart selection of women’s clothing and foot wear. This small slice of heaven perfectly tucked into the heart of Vinings, quickly became a favorite shopping destination for metro Atlantans near and far. Less than three years later, Lisa is once again on the move and debuts The Front Porch Market this month. Modeled after the “General Store” from times gone by, the Front Porch Market will boast 2200 square feet of “goodness” located behind the Front Porch of Vinings. The vibe breathes a Ralph Lauren ambience with an amazing market and workshop spaces that will no doubt become one of the historic area’s favorite go-to dwellings. Grateful for her success with The Front Porch of Vinings, Lisa had no intention to conquer and expand so quickly. With a succession of events including the opportunity to purchase The Front Porch property this summer, a tenant moving out and the feeling that God was paving the way for something BIG, the idea of the market morphed itself into a vision she just couldn’t get out of her mind. Lisa explained, “My heart lives in this community, and I just felt like I could and needed to create this different and unique experience. Honestly, it has been a challenge and has stretched my abilities in so many ways, but it has also been so rewarding. I am so excited to roll out the red carpet and can’t wait for folks to visit and experience The Front Porch Market.”

T he M arket

The market definitely reminds you of the general stores of yesteryear that were a fundamental part of peoples’ lives. The merchandise mix includes cupboards brimming with locally canned jams, pickles, okra, asparagus, peach salsa and mouth watering southern staples such as grits, cheese straws and fried green tomatoes. The Front Porch Market also houses a refrigerated section with food that will just plain make you smile when you see what is in store. Lisa said, “Food is such a big part of everyone’s lives. We tend to give gifts of food for all occasions -whether they are joyous or sad. We wanted to stock the market with dishes that shoppers could take to a family that just had a new baby or a friend that’s suffered a loss or simply bring home a dish that can be served for dinner because you didn’t have time to get a meal made that day. Casseroles, savory and sweet pies, lasagnas, and soups are included in the fare, as well as, fresh/ frozen entrees to make life a little easier with delicious and healthy options.” Shoppers will also be able to put together delicious cheese boards for entertaining and gift baskets for the giving. Lisa’s creativity and taste surround the space with her trademark merchandise including much loved vintage pieces, home décor, gifts, a baby section, her favorite cowboy boots, local artist renderings and much more. Mary Jo McCutcheon, owner of Oats and Ivy will feature a Flower Bar inside the market with fresh cut flowers that you can bring home every day of the week to brighten your day or someone’s that you love. Jill Alford and Amy Griffith, owners of the popular Project Studio in West Cobb are excited to introduce their new workshop space inside The Front Porch Market. Budding artists will be able to create projects featuring hand lettering, farmhouse style, and unlimited creativity.

Come visit our brand new second location, The Front Porch Market

Additional workshops are in the planning stages (a Macramé workshop is first on the list) and are all part of Lisa’s vision designed for her clients’ enjoyment. We whole-heartedly believe that creative entrepreneurs like Lisa Rieves are what make our area such a special place to live work and play in. Please join us in congratulating her on this exciting new venture and by all means- stop in, say hello, and enjoy this market full of awesomeness!

The Front Porch Market

located directly behind us at 5 Mountain Street



is located at 5 Mountain Street, right behind The Front Porch of Vinings in historic Vinings.

A sidewalk connects the two shops and parking is very generous.

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678-424-1606 • • TUESDAY - SATURDAY 10-5 2949 Paces Ferry Road., SE • Atlanta, GA 30339 PAGE 14

The Front Porch of Vinings The Front Porch Market


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Long time friends and artists, Jill and Amy met while working as artists at a local home décor company. They discovered that working together brought out the best in both of them while they bounced ideas off of one other and were up against deadlines. Tragically, Jill lost her husband to a heart attack in 2015 and after reality set in, she approached Amy about opening up a studio sharing their artistic skills and visions with West Cobb residents. Amy, the mother of five children, was just beginning to feel the grace of some additional free time, as her children grew older, jumped at the opportunity to partner with her friend. They both look at Project Studio as a divine gift and are thankful to be living this dream and sharing their talents in a business that they love. Jill explained, “ We have met so many amazing people through our workshops. We love when we see their creativity shine through the projects that they’ve made and the smiles that show up in the studio everyday.”

on the move Jill Alford and Amy Griffith, partners of Project Studio in West Cobb are excited to announce their 2nd location in Vinings at The Front Porch Market this month. Project Studio specializes in classes that focus on creating farmhouse art and hand lettering projects in many shapes and forms (think door decorations to modern farmhouse signs). Jill and Amy believe that they were lead to the perfect collaboration with Lisa Rieves, owner of the Front Porch of Vinings as she was in the planning stages with the new market. We think that you will absolutely love every little thing that they are bringing to the tables of their workshop studio from learning to creating to shopping!

Success was in the stars from day one and Jill and Amy couldn’t be more thrilled to be expanding their business that is filled with innovation, inspiration and fellowship. Their new space in The Front Porch Market is much like the West Cobb location, an airy workshop that buzzes with activity. Class selections includes Open Studio time, Hand Lettering 101, Date Night, Abstract Flowers, Modern Farmhouse Signs, and Dip-Pen Calligraphy. Budding artists can visit their user friendly website to select and book their classes and from there the fun begins! Class projects start at $35 from their everyday project gallery and the options are so great that you’ll find yourself coming back to create more! Parties for adults and children are also available and can be booked with a minimum of 8 people. It’s a great way to celebrate a birthday or special occasion with everyone taking home a hand made art project that they can display in their home or welcome friends with on their front door. In addition, Project Studio will have an artist market on site for shoppers to choose from and custom orders are also an available option. Amy and Jill believe that there is an “artist” that lives in all of us, and the projects at the studio can be created by anyone. Amy told us, “ The studio atmosphere provides a fun, relaxing experience where friends and family gather together often working on different pieces. We take away that intimidation factor and we work with our participants with as much or as little help as they require.” Present at each workshop are 2-3 seasoned staff artists who are on hand to assist attendees.

The Project Studio girls, Jill Alford and Amy Griffith with Mary Jo and Lisa

and are forecasting more color in 2018 with perhaps a Boho twist and hints of an abstract presence, however they do believe that farmhouse style will be around for quite some time. By keeping and staying on trend, Jill and Amy intend to share their love of art in their new Vinings location for many years to come.

Get ready to be inspired and put your Creative on-

You’re going to love it! Project Studio is located in The Front Porch Market at 5 Mountain Street in historic Vinings. 678-463-8986 • Project Studio

NOW OPEN IN VININGS We are a collaborative workspace, creative environment, and artist market. Come learn, create, and shop with us! • locally owned by artists • offering hand lettering classes • art workshops • custom orders available 5 MOUNTAIN STREET directly behind The Front Porch

2 LOCATIONS VININGS & WEST COBB 678-463-8986 Visit to see our class schedule & find out more about what we do

This dynamic duo watches for trending designs through Pinterest and Instagram


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Better Safe Than Sorry

by Mark Orler

Do you have a Family Motto; a short phrase or sentence that your family uses to encapsulate a guiding principle or philosophy that drives your actions? Neither do we. Well, that’s what I thought at least. Apparently, my two oldest daughters were asked this question during a class and they filled in what they thought was our Family Motto. As a parent you are constantly providing instruction to your children, so it is a natural assumption that some of this instruction will be ingrained upon your charges and that they will glean some life-guiding principles from this birthright of knowledge. Therefore, my wife and I expected our Motto to be something like, “Put God First,” or “Do Your Best and Greatness will be Your Reward.” You know, the kind of stuff you see on kitty-posters, or on that annoying guy’s wall at the office. What we got though was, “Better Safe than Sorry.” “Can you believe that?” my wife exclaimed, “We bust our humps schooling, reminding and berating them on good behavior and goal-setting and this is the BEST both of them can come up with!?” I didn’t think it was that bad. “It could be worse,” I surmised, “they could have offered ‘You Better Clean Your Stupid Room.’” That is actually said much more often than, “Be All You Can Be”. I think I am mostly to blame for this though. My family has a long history of thinking about great mottos, but never actually voicing them…I think its genetics. My father’s grandfather came over to this country from a small village in Italy that my wife and I had a chance to visit many years ago. While there, I was struck by the massive force that ancestry plays in our lives and that the choices made by persons so long ago still resonate through our DNA-influenced actions today. During the visit we toured the town square and my eyes began to mist over when I stopped in front of a monument in the center of the Piazza memorializing the resident-soldiers killed during the Third Italian War of Independence who all shared my last name. A distant relative who we had tracked down prior to our trip was standing beside me as I pointed to the names and said, “Mia famiglia.” (My family, sniff-sniff) She laughed and grabbed my hand so that instead of pointing at the list of names on the Memorial it was pointing to the cavernous Dolomiti Mountains that surrounded the valley and said, “No, la tua famiglia scappo’ sulle colline.” Roughly translated, “No-way Jose, YOUR family ran as fast as they could to the hills.” Logically that made sense, because I would not be standing there if my great-grandfather’s name was on that marble obelisk in the square and not on an Italian cattle-ship’s manifest in 1890 headed to New York listed as “Stowaway.” So, that night I sat down with the children and told them, “Kids, I want to share with you the Orler Family Motto which was brought down from generations of our ancestors. It is ‘Meglio Prevenire Che Curare.’”

“Better Safe than Sorry.” It just sounds better in Italian.

Mark Orler is a full-time husband, father and part-time observationist. Mark can be reached at






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2860 Atlanta Rd Smyrna The American Legion Post 160

Hometown Heroes by Kelvin “Doc” Barber

Who are those familiar “Hometown Heroes” in our community and just what do they do? The American Legion was chartered and incorporated by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans’ organization devoted to mutual helpfulness. It is the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to fellow service members and veterans We’d like to shine a very deserving light on the American Legion Post 160 in Smyrna, which was established on June 20, 1942 and has been an active member of the Smyrna Community for nearly 75 years. These local veterans, citizens who once answered the call to serve for this great nation, continue to serve through out the community with open arms and hearts. These men and women who you see in the familiar blue American Legion caps are truly our “Hometown Heroes” - our neighbors and friends. American Legion members bring words of wisdom, honor and comfort to local nursing homes, hospitals and schools. They answer the calls of our wounded veterans seeking to improve their lives by helping them gain access to veterans’ benefits and services. They honor their fallen soldiers with military style burial services, which include Honor Guard performances and 21 Gun Salutes. They feed hundreds of hungry families out of their own pockets, with very few donations,


March Deal Mention this ad for a free small queso when you puchase 3 tacos!

Join us for trivia every tuesday night at 7pm from their on-site Food Pantry, which is a registered and certified Atlanta Community Food Bank. Donations of canned goods are always a welcome gift to the American Legion Food Pantry. The American Legion supports local youth programs including the Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of the USA, American Legion baseball, and local JROTC programs. They educate our youth in national and state legislation practices and how to master the art of public speaking. They promote safety, responsibility, accountability, and reliability through out the community. These men and women promote camaraderie within the community at the Post, offering veterans, their families and guests a relaxed environment easing their worries from everyday life and offer familiarity to those suffering withdrawal from the military culture. The American Legion promotes PTSD awareness and suicide prevention. They care for the community at large and they are their brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. Get to know your “Hometown Heroes” at the American Legion Post 160 located at 160 Legion Drive SE in Smyrna between the cannons. 770-436-2501 FB/ American Legion Post 160 of Smyrna

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10 TOXIC INGREDIENTS HIDING IN YOUR HOME Have you ever thought about how many products you use every day in your home? Laundry detergent, deodorant, dish soap, hairspray, makeup, nail polish remover, baby wipes, shampoo, body wash, even the food you eat.... That’s only 10 of the different products you may use on a daily basis. For many of us, there are tens or maybe even hundreds more! But the real question is, what’s IN those products? Have you ever really looked? Do you actually read ingredient labels before purchasing a product that will be used in your home, on your body, and around your family every day or do you just quick grab something you recognize that’s cheap and seems like it will do the trick? Let me tell you: I used to do the latter. When I was single, I’d thoughtlessly buy food only because it looked tasty; I’d buy products that were affordable and worked well, never considering what they were made of; I’d just use what everyone else was using, because why not? It wasn’t until I married my husband, we started a family, and I learned the importance of living toxin-free. I realized that the ingredients I choose to put on, in, and around my body MATTER. They affect my health and the health of my family, so we all deserve for me to play ingredient detective and make sure the products I’m buying for us are safe. estimates that on average it is not abnormal for an individual to be exposed to over 2 million toxins each day. 2 MILLION. Unfortunately, the reality of the world we live in is that many of those toxins come from our outside environment and are almost impossible to avoid. In a world full of endocrine-disruptors, allergy inducers, carcinogens and just downright nasty chemicals lurking here, there, and everywhere, what is possible is controlling what enters your home and making sure the products you’re choosing for your family are completely safe! I’m going to be honest with you, becoming an ingredient detective doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, practice, and commitment to really learn how to decipher the many ingredients that are in our everyday products. That’s why I want to do what I can to help you! I’ve compiled a list of 10 of the most commonly seen toxic ingredients that are hiding in personal care products, household products, and food in almost every home in America. Artificial dyes

Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives


PEGs (polyethylene glycols)




Natural flavors

Synthetic fragrance

Organophosphate pesticides

Do you see any of these ingredients in your products? Sadly, I’m sure you do. The great news, though, is that you can start making safe swaps right now! Here are some great tools to help you get started: The Environmental Working Group is a well-known non-profit organization that provides a tremendous amount of information to help you avoid dangerous products and find safe alternatives. The EWG’s Skin Deep focuses specifically on cosmetics and personal care products and will help you avoid toxic chemicals in these areas. Think Dirty is another amazing resource; an app available for free download through Apple that allows you to scan personal care products and cosmetics with your phone in order to see a safety rating, as well as specific ingredient info and data, that has been compiled from scientific studies, non-profit environmental organizations, and government agencies. This app is an incredibly helpful for anyone who is new to toxin-free living and not yet familiar with ingredients. (I personally never use a product if it rates higher than a 2 in this app!) If you’re interested in learning more about toxin-free living, specifically why these ingredients are dangerous and to get some tips for making safe, affordable product swaps, you’re welcome to join my private Facebook group, Simply Thriving Mama! We dive into all of these ingredients and more to help you figure out how to de-tox your home and make sure you’re choosing safe products. *Information taken from the EWG database Dr. Kimberly is a chiropractor, toxin-free living educator, natural mama, and co-owner of American Row House fitness studio in the Marietta Square. If you have comments, questions, or topic suggestions for Simply Thriving Mama, please email 


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24 HOUR CALL Same day sick and well child checkup appointments (770) 941-7709 Monday-Friday 8:00AM – 5:00PM Cobb Pediatric Associates is excited to announce that we will soon be moving to a new office at the Belmont Physicians Center in the Smyrna/Vinings area. We are a well established pediatric practice which has been serving the Cobb County community for 40 years. We welcome new patients! MEMBERS OF KIDS HEALTH FIRST PEDIATRIC ALLIANCE AND THE CHILDREN’S CARE NETWORK

Look for us at our new location in early summer, 2018 1060 Windy Hill Road Smyrna, Ga. 30080

CLAY ELEMENTARY PTA IN MABLETON WANTS YOUR GENTLY WORN, USED, OR NEW SHOES! Now through March 31st, Clay Elementary, a small Title 1 school, is seeking community partners to assist them in collecting gently used pairs of shoes. The PTA’s number one goal is to raise funds that they can put back into the classrooms so the children can benefit from a better experience. The funds that they raise will help teachers with supplies and teaching materials that are not covered by school budgets. They are also trying to increase the quality and quantity of the learning opportunities for their students with field trips, Stem programming and educational guest speakers. These experiences will broaden the horizons of all students at Clay Elementary.

Thank you everyone who nominated someone for the “Love Your Neighbors Project”. Nominees will be spotlighted in Our April Issue. Stay tuned!

The Clay Elementary PTA shoe drive fundraiser’s goal is to raise $3000 for these programs. To accomplish this, they need the support of every member of the community to look in their closets, and ask their neighbors, friends and co-workers to do the same. They are also looking for organizations and volunteers in the community to help them collect the shoes. The PTA has partnered with a company that will pay them by the pound for all that they can collect. The goal is to collect 300 bags of 25 pairs of shoes- this that will help them raise and meet the goal of  $3000 for the school. Think about it: There’s no selling, involved, no asking for money...  you’re just collecting pairs of gently worn used and new shoes for the PTA. Your goal may be 50, 100 or more! What happens to all the shows they collect? The footwear will be used to provide an incredible economic boost by supporting micro-enterprise in developing nations like Haiti, Colombia, India, and Tanzania. Instead of holding onto shoes you no longer wear or use, give them new life and repurpose them in the Clay Elementary PTA shoe drive! Collection bins are place at the following locations: The First Christian Church of Mableton: 878 Old Alabama Road SW, Mableton, GA 30126 Mable House Arts Center: 5239 Floyd Road SW, Mableton, GA 30126 For more information on the shoe drive visit:


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4500 West Village Place • Suite 1011 • Smyrna GA 30080 Monday - Friday 10:00AM - 7:00PM • Saturday 10:00AM - 4:00PM Sunday 12:00 Noon - 6:00PM

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60-Minute Custom Massage Session




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LaVida Massage of Smyrna 678.424.8432 In the Kroger center At the corner of Concord Rd. & S. Cobb Dr.

Tech Dad While I work and write about technology, I do try my best to take time away from it. I’ve written before about getting my boys away from their screens, and I’ve had some very positive feedback from readers regarding the need for non-digital activities. Well, let me offer up another little suggestion for those times when a child needs a break from the computer... the tablet... the phone... the TV. This idea is something my mother introduced to me decades ago (but with a few of my own little upgrades). My mom and dad are both hands-on-crafter-maker-fixer-uppers, and I never had a chance to avoid the DIY bug. For those times when I uttered the “I’m bored” phrase or got in trouble and needed some quiet time, my mom would open up her crafting closet, pull out a handful of items such as felt, string, scissors, glue, and other odds-and-ends, and tell me to get to work making something. Sometimes it was easy – “Make me something to hang on the fridge.” Other times, it was difficult – “Make your dad something to help him find his keys.” I learned quickly that fast meant going back and doing it again. Mom wanted me to think out a solution before doing any cutting or gluing. If my creation looked like I wasn’t taking the project seriously… I was sent back to start all over. (My dad did the same thing with my science projects and other special tasks, giving me access to some of the tools in his workshop to try it myself FIRST. Then he’d help where my skills were lacking… or where I could start a fire or irritate a neighbor.) Jump forward some years, and I’ve got two boys of my own who amazingly get into trouble as well as occasionally utter, “I’m bored” within earshot. My solution is similar to my mom’s, but mine is portable and I’ve got two of them… one in each boy’s closet, ready to go. I’m going to tell you how to recreate it. The solution starts with a simple 5-gallon bucket. Home Depot sells them for less than $4.00. It’s got to have a handle! While you’re there, buy a pack of paint stir sticks, too. Get your bucket and your child and then head to Michael’s or Hobby Lobby or wherever you prefer to


by James Floyd Kelly

buy craft materials. For my buckets, I went to Hobby Lobby. Take your child and your bucket inside the store and show it to one of the employees and tell them you’re here to “fill it up.” Go crazy. Start with felt and glue and tape and pipe cleaners. Toss in a pair of scissors (get an adult pair if you think they can handle it) and a bag of Popsicle sticks. Find a small package of acrylic paints (black and white paints are a requirement, and then get as many primary colors as you can) and a cheap bag of paintbrushes in various sizes and bristle shapes. Find some wiggly eyes, a bunch of beads, a ball of string and a spool of thread or two, some foam sheets (8.5x11 or larger) in a dozen colors, and some clothespins (the old-school-style and the more common variety). Push all this down and make more room in your bucket. Trust me, this stuff isn’t going to break. Grab some tiny cardboard boxes, some markers, a ruler, and some pushpins. If space permits, you might consider dropping in some chalk, a bag of glass beads, some fishing line, and a roll of duct tape. I know… it’s a lot of stuff. And the bill is probably going to hover around $50-100 or more. But I promise you that it’s totally worth it, and you’ll get dozens and dozens of hours worth of free babysitting if you put a child to work creating something with the supplies they’ve just helped you collect in the bucket. Final bits of advice: (1) Don’t always make the bucket a punishment. The bucket is meant to put a child’s brain to work and be fun (eventually). (2) Keep the bucket filled when it gets low, and you’ll always have a response for “I’m bored.” (3) Don’t expect perfection, but do show appreciation.

James Floyd Kelly is a full-time technology writer. He has written over 35 books on a variety of technologies that includes LEGO robotics, 3D printing, and programming. He lives in Smyrna, Georgia with his wife and two boys.

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Emory Healthcare

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Project Studio

Oakdale Family Dental

Atlanta Vanguard Medical associates

Salon Lotus

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Schwartz Dentistry for Children PC

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Painting Plus

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LaVida Massage

KLH Leadership Consulting

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The Little Gym of Smyrna

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Primrose School of Providence Pavilion

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Primrose School of Smyrna West

Life University

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Deborah Ratchford Real Estate

Keegan’s Public House

Barry Butler

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A two-day, two-mile celebration of the arts. Enjoy art performances, live music, food trucks, and visual installations throughout the trail, offering an immersive celebration of the arts for all ages. Marietta’s newest and most unique festival. Be there from the beginning. The City of Marietta and the Marietta Arts Council are pleased to present the inaugural M2R Trailfest, a two-day celebration of Marietta’s new Mountain to River Trail. The festival kicks off Saturday, April 14 at 3pm with a unique ribbon cutting to be held at the Marietta Visitors Bureau, the center point of the Festival. The festivities continue on Sunday, April 15, as the trail hosts additional performing acts along the trail between 12-4pm. Visual and performing arts, live music, food trucks, and public art installations stretch throughout 2 miles of the trail and offer an immersive celebration of the arts for all ages. The M2R Trailfest will stretch from Lewis Park near WellStar Kennestone Hospital, along the Marietta Square, ending in Brown Park. The juried art festival will focus on three themes: The experience of living in Marietta, health and wellbeing, and/or the history of Marietta. Public art installations will be on display during the two-day festival with select visual art installations displayed for up to 60 days. Interested artists and art groups should visit to submit an application. Presented in

tandem with the Marietta Square Art Walk is the M2R Trailfest Preview Night. Street performers, dancers, and live music will line a portion of the trail from 6pm-9pm Friday, April 6, 2018. More than 15 years in the making, the Mountain to River trail stretches from Kennesaw Mountain, continues through the Marietta Square, and ends at the City limits on Atlanta Street. It serves as the backbone for future growth of Marietta’s planned trail system, which will connect residents, pedestrians, and cyclists from across the City of Marietta. Even better, the Mountain to River Trail will connect separated trail systems from across Cobb County. A limited number of sponsorship opportunities are available, including artist and installation pairings. Funds raised will be used to produce M2R Trailfest and support the Marietta Art Council, whose mission is to enrich the artistic and cultural landscape of the City of Marietta through advocacy, education, and public art. Please visit for more information or contact

Teacher for a Day by Tara Hanover

Thanks to the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce, I had the honor to participate in the “Teacher for a Day” program. I was able to spend a day with Griffin Middle School’s Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Danielle Crump. First, I must start off by saying there is no question why she was chosen for the teacher of the year.   The only word I can use to describe her is- WOW!

One of the most inspirational educators and speakers, Mr. Ivan Welton Fitzwater, wrote a poem that contained these lines, “The future of the world is in my classroom today, a future with the potential for good or bad. The pliable minds of tomorrow’s leaders will be molded either artistically or grotesquely by what I do.” Being a teacher is a huge responsibility and one that Mrs. Crump does not take lightly, as a matter of fact she see’s it as “her calling”.  When I walked into Griffin I was unsure of what I was in for... the description of this program states: “Participants gain firsthand knowledge of the challenges and strengths local educators face on a daily basis.” I grew up in the public school system. I support the public school system. I support our administration and our teachers, but as we all know all too well- nothing is perfect. So I went in with an open mind, eyes and ears wide open. I was ready! It had been about 25 years since I had been in a middle school, I couldn’t imagine that things had changed very much but I was ready for anything.  I can’t even tell you what I was expecting but to my shock, all of the children looked so young, sixth through eighth grade, except of course a few (I am sure you remember those few as well, the random 7th grader with a full mustache). I had the pleasure of spending my day with the eight graders and regardless of how tall they were they still have sweet baby faces. They were just as I remembered (except with cell phones of course) laughing, chatting with friends and some trying to lay their heads down for one last minute of sleep before the long day really began... remember middle schoolers don’t think they need “bed times”. Throughout the day I observed the gift that Mrs. Crump has been given...the gift of being a teacher. She starts her day with a homeroom class of 34 eighth grade students. That is overwhelming in itself, but clearly not for a “teacher of the year”.  She brings order to her class and begins with a 5 minute writing warm up (even I did it), followed by some of the students sharing what they


had written. Mrs. Crump listened intently to each one pointing out literary devices they used to tell their story. I was beyond impressed with the strength of their writing and the amount of description they put into it especially since it was not for a grade. However what really blew me away was when it hit me- this is perhaps more than just a warm up, this is the way that Mrs. Crump learns what’s going on in her students lives. She put no perimeters on this “warm up”, they just write what comes to them...and a lot comes out in 5 me. Mrs. Crump runs a tight ship. She has discovered the “secret sauce” in my opinion. You tell them they can...and they will! As the day carried on I was able to put more of the pieces together from the puzzle that created this patient and caring yet firm teacher of the year. She walks in ready for anything because she never knows when a situation may occur that was out of her control yet she in charge of.  When you are teaching to the masses you clearly have students (understandably) that learn at different paces (not good, not bad). You have health issues that pop up, hormones, home situations and a number of other everyday life occurrences...and their job is to teach an assigned curriculum... These teachers are with our children for much longer than we parents are in a typical weekday. They are our partners in grooming our children and OUR FUTURE.  Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story. But every kid unfortunately doesn›t have that caring adult at home...that›s where this teacher of the year goes above and beyond the teaching. Her students are her babies, all 134 of them.  At the end of the day, kids are kids. They are all the same. Kind, sweet, eager, confident, eyes wide open to their future...until it comes to their circumstances. When you teach in a school with over 1400 students you see and hear everything- the good, the bad and the ugly. Listen, we live in a great community, with an amazing school system, wonderful administrators and terrific teachers... but we all should lend a helping hand. As King Springs K-1 Music teacher, Mrs. Chase says, “Many hands make light work”. So this was my job for one day. I took it seriously and for what it is worth here are my suggestions:  • Volunteer to be a room parent to a middle school or high school. No, you will not throw holiday parties, but the teachers need copies, supplies and support...yes the PTA does some of this, but they are overwhelmed too. Maybe even take a treat to the students just to say good job! • If the school has a Parent Facilitator (Griffin’s is beyond FANTASTIC), call them and ask what they need. More than likely they are engulfed in work that is not even in their job description and could use an extra hand. Also, they may know of a school family in need that you and the community could help. • Research and write a grant the public schools can always use the extra money. • Pay it forward. Call the school; ask if there are any outstanding lunch accounts that need to be caught up, and then post on social media for other to do it as well. • Save it Forward.  A partnership with MUST ministries was created to eliminate hunger for at-risk students in local schools so they have a greater opportunity to succeed in school and life. They provide food and toiletries to children and families in need through our campus-based food pantry program.  And when you see a teacher, administrator or any support staff in the school- thank them, shake their hand, give them a hug, a high five or buy them a coffee. They are truly some of the most important people in your and your child’s life.

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Our Town

Spring Is Springing!!! Spring is around the corner and we at K-9 Coach are thrilled! Fresh air, blooming trees and flowers, as well as perfect outdoor weather, make us and our canine friends very happy. For all that is wonderful about springtime, it is also very busy and potentially very dangerous for your beloved pups! Each year, we remind people about common springtime hazards and some precautionary steps that you can take to help keep your furry friends safe this spring.  Spring often means having friends and family over for cook-outs before the oppressive heat of summer sets in. Human Food is often poisonous to pets and so you really should employ the old “Why even risk it?” attitude. Common foods which are poisonous to pups include: Alcohol, Avocados, Chocolate, Coffee, Cooked Bones, Garlic, Grapes and Raisins, Macadamia Nuts, Onions. Cleaning Supplies are in high demand during the spring. Make sure to keep cleaners and solvents safely out of the reach of dogs (and small humans too, of course) and mop up any spills before a curious puppy puts their inquiring nose in it! During spring cleaning, many of us will empty the medicine cabinets and discard expired medications. Human Medications, such as pain killers, cold medicines, anti-cancer drugs, anti-depressants, vitamins and diet pills can all be extremely toxic to animals. Keep all medicine containers away from pets who could chew through them and be vigilant about finding and disposing of any dropped pills. Most pharmacies will have a program for proper disposal of unused medications. This winter was harsh for Atlanta standards. So, hopefully insects won’t be too bad this year! Insect Control Products including those in over-the-counter flea and tick remedies, can be toxic. Most professional pest control companies have pet-safe alternatives, but you must ask. Also, prescription flea and tick control products can be much less toxic than over-the-counter remedies. Pet owners should never use any product around pets without first reading the warnings and consulting your veterinarian. Getting the yard and gardens ready for summer often means a flurry of landscaping activities. Landscaping Products such as colored mulch, mulch made from recycled rubber, chemicals used on lawns and gardens, such as fertilizer and plant food, etc… can be deadly if ingested. Make sure to read the labels, look for safe alternatives and always follow the manufacturer direction in terms of storage and post-application contact with pets.  Laundry Items such as detergents and fabric softener sheets may have ulcerous and even fatal consequences for your dog. Highly concentrated laundry detergent packets are even more dangerous. Make sure to keep these out of reach for your inquisitive puppy.





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by Amber Burckhalter

If you are like me, you plant flowers both in and outside during springtime. Poisonous Household 7. Plants include Autumn Crocus, Azalea, Cyclamen, Kalanchoe, Lilies, Oleander, Dieffenbachia, Daffodils, Lily of the Valley, Sago Palm, Tulips, and Hyacinths among others. If you have a question about a specific plant, ask your veterinarian. and Poisons must be treated with extreme caution. Just remind yourself of why they exist! 8.Traps Even if you do not use traps and poisons, remember that your neighbors might. Dogs and cats can be poisoned if they eat a rodent who has been killed by poison (called secondary poisoning). Spring is also an ideal time to inspect and replace worn out Dog Gear & Toys. Collars and leashes 9. wear out and can break when Fido pulls on that afternoon walk! Stuffed toys and beds get holes and, let’s face it, eating white polyfill stuffing is irresistible! Rubber toys such as Kongs, tennis balls, etc... can degrade and break apart over time. So, make sure to inspect and replace. Other than warn you about their dangers, there’s not much K-9 Coach can do about cleaning supplies or landscape products! BUT, we can do something about collars, leashes, toys, etc… Every March, pet companies worldwide launch their new pet products. We search and test these products and bring them to you, our clients. And, since it is better to spend a few dollars replacing worn-out puppy gear, than thousands in surgery fees from intestinal blockages or broken bones from getting loose and running in front of a car, we do our own spring cleaning and hold our Annual Spring Clearance Sale. So, make sure to stop by K-9 Coach March 17th, 18th or 19th to check out new products, get fit for a new collar or harness, get major savings and, if you feel lucky, spin the wheel for free and discounted gifts! Enjoy the beautiful weather and be sure to take a little time to make sure everyone is ready to have fun! Established by Certified Canine Behavioral Consultant and Certified Pet Dog Trainer, Amber Burckhalter, K-9 Coach is Atlanta’s ONLY complete canine experience, providing industry-leading: Training, Playcare, Lodging & Grooming. K-9 Coach has been recognized as the Cobb County Small Business of the Year/ Voted: Atlanta Magazine’s Best of Atlanta Dog Training, Boarding & Daycare, every year since 2008. Voted: Best of Smyrna/Vinings Doggy Daycare and an Angie’s List Super Service Award Winner every year since 2011.

@K9CoachLLC – Facebook • K9CoachAtlanta - Instagram • @K9CoachAtlanta – Twitter

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Our Town

Michael D. Friedlander, D.V.M. Cat Care of Vinings Services

“In Your Home Pet Sitting”

Early Morning Drop-Off and Late Pick-Up Services


Top 5 finalist in Pet Sitters International “2016 Pet Sitter of the Year” award.

Pet Sitting Service

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404.792.0700 • HOURS: Monday - Friday - 6PM CumberlandAC-Jan13_Layout 1 11/29/12 1:20 PM Page 7AM 1

march pet of the month Meet Blakemore, “Blakey” for short. He is a Standard Schnauzer that loves sunny rides in the car while running errands with the family. His favorite stuffed animal is Taz & his favorite pastime is greeting neighbors in the yard as he sits under his favorite shade tree.


• Full-Service Animal Hospital • In-House Bloodwork • Late Evening & Weekend Appointments • On-Line Services • State of the Art Digital X-Ray Monday and Friday 8 - 6 Tuesday thru Thursday 8 - 8 Saturday 9 - 1 • Sunday CLOSED Become a fan of CAC on Facebook

1860-D Spring Road Smyrna - in the Spring Village Shopping Center 770.433.1414 •

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Our Town

march crossword

REAL ESTATE in OUR TOWN by Deb Ratchford

REAL ESTATE TRENDS: PAST PRESENT AND FUTURE IN SMYRNA AND MARIETTA If you’re interested in buying or selling your home, an understanding of the local real estate market can make a big difference! The value of homes change depending on a myriad of factors like location, size, and perhaps most importantly, how the market is going. Currently the housing inventory is reaching new lows, meaning prices on homes are increasing. Using these market trends, realtors use the prices of similar homes that are pending or have sold to gauge the price of a house. We’ve put together a real estate overview in order to provide you with an understanding of local trends.








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48 Then 50 Prove 52 Clod 1 Truant44 Incorporated (abbr.) 1 Truant 1 Hubbub 34 Capital of Ghana African country Catch 54 5 2 Labor 36 New Jersey’s 5 Catch 45 Has toed MARIETTA 8 Past 47 Scientist’s office neighbor 3 Sign 55 Guy 8 Past Median List Price: $340,000 Adhesives38 Arbiter 57 country 12 Curved 4 SE African 12 Curved roof 48 roof Then Price Per Sqft: $145 needs 5 Qualm59 Crossbred42 Food and Agriculture 13 Boat locomotion 13 Boat locomotion 50 Prove Median Rent Per Month:$1,632 Organization (abbr.) needs 15 Manner 6 Relief62 Left over, like Marietta is a prime location, and buyers are quickly figuring this out. The city is only 20 minutes away 52 Clod 43 Metes from Downtown Atlanta, making it an easy commute for city workers. Furthermore, Kennesaw State 15 Manner 16 Mined54metals 7 Radar echomerchandise African country 46 Most dense University merged with Southern Polytechnic State University, making it one of the biggest colleges in 16 Mined metals 8 Yellow65 toll car Elias ___, 49 sewing 55 Guy 17 Analyze Georgia. Marietta boomed with this merger, and many students and young adults find themselves flockRice broth cheese 17 Analyze 18 Doctor's 9 Lunge 57 Adhesives ing to this area. With all of these great features, this city has experienced a large amount of growth in the machine picture meal long 18 Doctor’s picture last few years. In 2013 homes averaged around $235k and 2017 has shown us prices averaging around Crossbred with the knuckles 10 Extremely 51 Serving of corn 66 Unclothed 19 Raps 59 time periods $340k. The trend seems to keep on going, and it’s estimated that in the next year prices will continue to 19 Raps with the 62 Left over, like 53 Articulate 68 Back of a coin 21 Hazards increase upwards of 3%. 11 Negative knuckles merchandise 56 One of Columbus’ Bandit Market trends set the prices of homes and forecast the future. As the two cities grow and attract new 13 Rice70 wineWhat children learn 21 Hazards 23 ships 65 Elias ___, people and businesses, buyers and sellers will both benefit in the upcoming years. In either city sellers will "Big __" 14 Plant71 trunkProtein part, with 'acid' 23 Bandit 25 McDonald's sewing machine 58 Ruin see roughly a 3% increase in their homes worth, and investors can feel safe in knowing that these cities Sap 72vegetable 26 City 20 Leafy 25 McDonald’s will keep on growing for years to come. 66 Unclothed 59 Bum “Big __”29 Wing 22 Radiation dose canal 73 Castle 60 Young Women’s 68 Back of a coin Ready to take on the market and get the most for your buck? Make sure to 26 City 24 Slang for Touch dirty hotel affectionately house 74 31 Country Christian Association contact your local real estate agent to get a jump on selling your home, or buy70 What children (2 wds.) 29 Wing 35 Tape ing a new one. For more information, visit Deb on the Web at debsellshouses. 61 Moist 75 Upon learn 26 Speak in public com, or call to get a free home analysis. 31 Country 37 houseStray 71 Protein part, with 63 Set down 27 Subatomic particle 35 Tape 39 Alliance ‘acid’ 64 Loam DOWN 28 Hurts DEBORAH RATCHFORD - Keller Williams Cityside 37 Stray 72 Sap 65 __radio 40 Fire remains 30 Curve 39 Alliance 73 Castle canal Office: 770-874-6382 • Cell: 678-570-4779 Hubbub 67 Killed in action 41 Marred 32 Hike a1mountain 40 Fire remains 74 Touch affectionately 69 MGM’s Lion 44 Incorporated (abbr.) 33 Dear 2 Labor 41 Marred 75 Upon 3 Sign 45 Has toed PAGE 26 For Advertising Information Call 678-337-7844 • 4 SE African country Our Town Scientist's office ACROSS

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Median List Price: $325,000 Price Per Sqft: $150 Median Rent Per Month: $1,475 Smyrna is a city that keeps progressing. Just five years ago the average home was worth $218k and now homes average over 100 thousand dollars more. This city has seen a rise in beautiful new construction homes, an increase in city development, and a large amount of commercial revamping! Smyrna residents will find themselves with many options for amazing restaurants and new boutiques. Furthermore, with the low housing inventory, it’s expected that prices will continue to rise over the next year. This is a great area for investors to look into, as the city seems to team with promises of higher sales in the future. Furthermore, now is also a great time to sell. With a low inventory of homes for sale, sellers will find a large market of buyers willing to negotiate.


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Our Town Smyrna/Vinings  

Smyrna/Vinings Family Lifestyle Magazine

Our Town Smyrna/Vinings  

Smyrna/Vinings Family Lifestyle Magazine