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Avondale Estates Christmas Tour of Homes and Holiday Market

WE ARE EXCITED that our Christmas Tour will once again be in the homes. Our 30th Annual Christmas Tour will take place on Sunday, December 11, from 3 p.m until 8 p.m. with the holiday market also open from noon until 6 p.m.

Six homes representing the various styles of architecture in our city will be featured for the tour. Lindsay Forlines’ home was built in 1918 on historic Rockbridge Road before Avondale Estates was even begun! Originally a one-story house with assorted renovations through the years, the home was purchased by Forlines, who kept it from being torn down by developers. Once purchased, the house was essentially gutted and a bedroom and powder room were added! Forlines grew up in Avondale Estates and this is her third Avondale home on the tour!

Avondale Tour of Homes 2

The Avondale Holiday Market is back! There will be a full in-person market for the first time in three years on December 11 from noon to 6 p.m. at the Avondale Community Club. The 2022 market will include most of the favorite artisans selling their hand-knitted scarves, pecans, jewelry, photography, bird feeders, smoked salmon, jams and ornaments. Come support our market vendors and finish off your Christmas shopping list with one-ofa-kind gifts. While you are there, enjoy soup and sandwiches at the Holiday Market Café.

You may purchase pre-sale tour tickets at Finders Keepers Consignment or Garage Door Studio for $15 or online at bigtickets.com for $20. On the day of the tour, tickets will be for sale for $20 at the Avondale Community Club. Small busses will be available for the tour from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Contact Margaret at mplcvl@aol.com to sign up for a spot on a bus. In another year filled with loss and change, let’s end 2022 in Avondale Estates with light and hope for a New Year!

Margaret Lunsford, Tour of Homes Committee avondaletourofhomes.com.

After living in Avondale for four years, the Parker Family moved around the corner to their 1931 “Dutch Colonial” on Berkeley Road that had been renovated by previous owners, and the family has been there almost three years. With three children, they love to decorate with a wide variety of themes – from modern with a sparkling white tree in the front room to their more traditional tree in the family room.

Mirrin Reagan, who grew up in Druid Hills, was “pulled into this wonderful neighborhood” by her dear friend Jen Newman in 2016.
Purchased as a 2 bedroom, 1 ½ bath modern cottage built in 1950, Mirrin expanded it to a 3 bedroom/two bath home and added a sunroom in the back. The “Children’s Tree” in the sunroom is decorated with ornaments made by her children over the years.

Bill Elek’s 1965 Dutch Colonial has undergone many changes and renovations during the 21 years Bill has lived there and features tables and other woodworks by Dick Parry and stone works by Jason Smith of Smithworks. Many of Bill’s Christmas decorations have been passed down by his parents.

The Galpins’, built on Majestic Circle in 2013, is an upscale mountain home based on a floor plan named The Amicalola Cottage. It was Mary and Dave’s dream house, and Dave did much of the building! An interesting feature is the differing ceiling shapes and heights which, allows for the 20-foot Christmas tree in the living room. Dave also built the creche that will be on display!

Kathy and Bruce Barlag moved to Avondale Estates in 2020 to be near family and found a “speck house” on Wynn Drive that they were able to “tweak” the design of to meet their needs and wishes. Their transitional farmhouse-style home is beautifully furnished and will be decorated with traditional Christmas decorations.

In addition to the featured homes, the city will be “lit up” along every street, in the Avondale Estates Business District and in the plazas around town.

A Love Letter to 2022

What Brings Us Joy in Decatur

by M. Mattingly

ON THE CUSP OF ringing in a new year, we can’t help but to look back on experiences we cherish and what we hope to carry forward with us. As we hopefully formed positive new nrelationships and perspectives in 2022 and embraced life with new focus, we gravitated toward those things that rejuvenate the mind and spirit – what brings us joy. Here are just a few of those joyful things we enjoyed all year.

People-watching on patios.

There are several local outdoor spaces we have particularly enjoyed this year, complete with heaters and fire pits that provide the warm, glowing ambience we’ve come to adore.

If you haven’t discovered the Decatur insider’s spot — down the alley behind restaurants The Brick Store Pub, White Bull and 246 — you’ve got something to add to your night-out calendar. Other restaurants with patios of note include Leon’s, with its two patios perfect for people-watching, and the covered patio at Taqueria del Sol. Our favorite local brewery patios include Three Taverns on New Street and Wild Heaven in Avondale. Both have lively atmospheres with music and on site-brewing and are dog-friendly.

Immersing ourselves in natural beauty. We basked in the natural beauty around us in 2022, refreshing our minds and spirits. Walking in the nearby Woodlands Garden’s natural piedmont forest or Lullwater Park’s preserve by the Emory campus is just what we need on a regular basis.

The Atlanta Botanical Gardens cultivates natural beauty for us to explore all year long, and their end of the year celebration, Garden Lights, Holiday Nights, has become a favorite tradition. And, at just a two-hour drive from Decatur, one of our favorite day trips or weekend destinations is Highlands, North Carolina. Each season, the scenic drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains awes us with spectacular vistas and layers of color.

Enjoying our community with festivals and events.

Outdoor festivals and events benefiting our community gave us something to look forward to and celebrate. In Decatur, as soon as one festival or event ends, another is surely on the way!

Favorites this year included the Oakhurst Porchfest and the Decatur Arts Festival. Amplify Decatur’s Music Festival also continues to be a good time — and this year, the organization donated $50,000 to Decatur Cooperative Ministry.

Another on our list is the Decatur High School Homecoming Parade, reminding us of our own youth and giving us a chance to cheer on the next generation.

‘Planting’ ideas in our homes.

Bringing the green freshness of the outside in is a passion we won’t give up. Transporting plants and clippings from your garden – or a neighbor’s — can breathe life into any room.

Professionals like Lush Plant Co. in Oakhurst can help you design and fulfill your indoor oasis dreams. For even more lively bountiful color, Les Fleurs Partout — translated as flowers everywhere — creates gorgeous arrangements for all occasions and by subscription weekly, biweekly or monthly.

Find them at lesfleursdecatur.com. If you have something from your own 2022 list that brings you joy, and you’d like to share it, please tag us on Instagram!

To Give is to Receive

Local organizations to support this season and beyond

By M. Mattingly

WHEN WE POUR INTO OTHERS, our own cups are filled. Leaning into local organizations with purpose can fill your heart with gratitude and joy. The adage “it is better to give than to receive” rings true. When we give, we often receive so much more, as our eyes are lifted to deeper understanding, perspective and awareness. Honoring the privilege to support organizations that help others and contribute to the community has an impact on those we are assisting and on us as well.

We’ve highlighted a few of the purposeful organizations in and around our community that are changing lives.

Womens Center

Legacy Decatur

Legacy Decatur grows programs, partnerships and resources that create and support a positive legacy for Decatur. This includes their role as the managing entity for Decatur’s 77-acre Legacy Park, where they work closely with the city to promote environmental preservation, historic preservation, inclusive community, recreation and housing for those who need it most.

To volunteer, join a Trees Atlanta forest restoration workday every second Saturday of the month. To make a tax-deductible donation, visit LegacyDecatur.org/give.

Friends of Refugees

Friends of Refugees’ vision is for refugees to flourish in their new home. They do that by meeting need with opportunity in three key areas: health and well-being, education and employment. As more refugees settle in Georgia, demand for their programs increase and opportunities to serve abound.

Becoming a partner and friend of refugees means providing support to their growing community. Join them by donating to the “give to the greatest need” fund to support these endeavors.

Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence

The pandemic has led to an increase in domestic violence in Atlanta’s homes, and domestic violence homicides in Georgia increased nearly 50% in 2021.

“There is no more urgent time to get involved with an organization working to end domestic violence,” says Jean Douglas, executive director of the Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence in Decatur. Women’s Resource Center provides direct services to impacted families, community education and prevention services with children, so that the cycle of violence does not continue into the future.

Those in need of services can reach out to the organization’s crisis line 24/7 at 404-688- 9436. Learn more about ways to donate and volunteer at wrcdv.org.

Decatur Performs

City Schools of Decatur boasts awardwinning performing arts programs, both at BHMS and DHS. In support of the students, faculty and volunteers, Decatur Performs was organized in 2017 as a federally recognized nonprofit organization to help these programs expand and grow.

Through acting, chorus, musical theater, tech theater and orchestra, more than 500 students, led by six faculty, are exploring the depths of human suffering and the heights of artistic expression. Be a part of this culture-making community through financial support, attendance at productions and concerts and in-kind giving. Visit decaturperforms.org to learn more.

City Schools of Decatur’s Parent Teacher Associations and Organizations (PTAs and PTOs)

At Decatur public schools, parent organizations step in directly to provide additional volunteer and financial support for student events, teacher grants, special projects, classroom needs and more. Creating opportunities to lift and enhance the educational experience of students in the community through giving financially and volunteering time makes a meaningful impact on schools, educators and students.

To find out how you can help, go to csdecatur.net to find Decatur’s public school directory, and look for the PTA or PTO link. Furnish with Love According to Kathleen Kelly, Furnish with Love founder and board chair: “As a Decatur resident, I knew that Decatur’s spirit of caring and giving would make it the perfect location for Furnish with Love. Furnish with Love is a nonprofit organization that supports families who have recently transitioned from housing insecurity and are working hard for a better future. We do this primarily by upcycling donations of furniture and decor as we design comfortable and functional homes where families thrive. During this season of giving, we invite you to the Hive (in Decatur’s Old Depot District) where a community of volunteers has fun while busily changing lives.”

To tour, volunteer, give furnishings or donate funds, reach out to info@furnishwithlove.org, or find them at furnishwithlove.org.

Decatur Performs 6

Furnish w Love
Friends of Refugees 3

 

Legacy Park 1
Decatur Performs 4

Eat, Drink, Be Merry

Whip up winning dishes and cocktails by our favorite local chefsn in the comfort of your home

ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS about the holidays is the food. ‘Tis the season for parties and get-togethers centered around delicious, indulgent fare. Even now, I am daydreaming about slices of perfectly roasted turkey, crispy brussels sprouts, warm homemade pies and beautiful charcuterie boards overflowing with sweet and savory goodies. If you’re hosting a fête this winter or contributing to a potluck, here are a few recipes from our favorite Decatur restaurants that are sure to impress your diners.

Iberian Pig Andy

IBERIAN PIG DECATUR’S LAMB LEG

by Chef Andy Peterson

“This dish has turned into one of those items that I’m afraid to ever take off our menu because they’ve become so popular. If they ever go away, it’s going to break some hearts!”

› How would you describe this recipe in 3 words? Savory, craveable and hearty.
› Why did you choose to share this specific recipe? Lamb leg is one of my favorite braised meats and is easy to do in a crock pot at home!
› When do you like to make this recipe and how often do you make it? I love having these on a cold fall evening at home, or when we get together to celebrate the holidays.

For the Piquillo Rellenos
5 pounds lamb shoulder, boneless,
2 inch cubed
1 cup onion, small dice
1/₂ cup carrots, small dice
1/₂ cup celery, small dice
1/₄ cup garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/₂ cup red wine
3 ⅓ cup meat stock
1 can of piquillos

For the Sachet
1 bunch thyme
1 bunch rosemary
4 each bay leaves

In a braising pan, sear lamb shoulder until golden brown. Remove lamb shoulder from pan and add mirepoix. Add tomato paste. Let toast and slightly brown. Add garlic. Deglaze pan with red wine. Let reduce. Add meat stock and bring to a simmer. Add sachet. Add lamb back to the pan.

Cover with mirepoix and stock. Make sure liquid comes up ¾ of the way up. Braise in oven 325 degrees for 2 1/₂ to 3 hours. Let cool in braising liquid. Remove meat and vegetables from braising liquid and shred together. Reserve liquid. Stuff meat into piquillos.

For the Romesco
2 yellow onions, chopped
3 1/₂ red bell peppers, chopped
1/₄ can San Marzano tomatoes, not strained
¾ cup whole garlic cloves
¾ cup hazelnuts
¾ cup sliced almonds
1/₂ ancho chilies, stem and seed removed,
rehydrated
2 tbsp Pimenton Picante
¼ cup Pimenton Dulce
½ cup blended olive oil and canola
¼ #10 can Piquillo Peppers strained
Sherry Vin to taste

Large dice onion and bell pepper. Toss peppers and garlic cloves into 1 cup of the blended oil. Roast at 450 degrees on high fan until you begin to see char, stirring every 5 minutes. This should take about 20 minutes. You are looking for nice caramelization. Add tomatoes, piquillo, both pimenton dulce and picante, ancho in and stir well. Roast another 5 to 8 minutes. Add your nuts on top and spread evenly. Roast another 5 minutes. Place everything into a food processor and emulsify in blended oil. If you are looking for a smoother texture, blend in Vitamix after food processor. Add salt, pepper and vin to taste.

Assemble the dish
Place stuffed piquillos in a pan and cover ¼ the way up with the reserved braising liquid. Reheat in a 400-degree oven until warm on the inside. Spread romesco on the base of the plate.

Remove the piquillos from the oven and plate over the romesco. Ladle a few spoonfuls of the hot liquid over the piquillos. Finish the plate with some nice olive oil, fresh greens and sea salt.

Iberian Pig

DOUBLE ZERO’S CAULIFLOWER ANTIPASTI

by Executive Chef Zachary Lanier

“Our cauliflower has been a fan favorite for years! Bagna cauda is a very traditional sauce from Italy used for dipping and coating many vegetables. The spiced yogurt adds the creamy, soothing feeling to counter the flavorful bagna cauda. Cauliflower works as the perfect vessel to carry these two delicious sauces and bring together a fan favorite dish.”

› How would you describe the recipe in 3 words? Savory, balanced and craveable.
› Why did you choose this recipe to share? Guests ask for and request how to make this recipe the most.
› When do you like to make this recipe and how often do you make it? This is an every other day recipe for Double Zero. It’s ordered a lot!

Bagna Cauda
1 small can anchovies
¼ pound butter
1 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Pinch of chili flakes

Place all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and blend. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spiced Yogurt
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon toasted, ground fennel
1 teaspoon toasted, ground coriander seed
1 bunch of parsley
1 bunch of basil leaves
Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Cauliflower
(one head cut into bite-sized pieces)

In a large pot, place about 3 inches of oil (vegetable or canola) over high heat. Bring to 350 degrees. Fry cauliflower until light brown on all sides. Or, in a countertop deep fryer, bring oil to 350 and fry until light brown on all sides.

Assemble the dish
Once cauliflower is removed from heat, toss in Bagna Cauda until coated. Place spiced yogurt on the bottom of the serving dish or keep on the side for dipping.

Double Zero

Double Zero Chef ZACH

BRICK STORE PUB’S STRIP STEAK SANDWICH

by Chef Eric Ottensmeyer

“An unexpectedly delicious win… This dish began as an entree that became a sandwich and a side dish! If I’ve learned anything about what our guests crave at Brick Store Pub, it always comes back to our sandwiches. In the case of the Strip Steak, this is a cut that does not typically find itself front and center in the sandwich realm. However, we found a cut and technique that fit our menu perfectly.

The steak marinade is based on the flavors of the classic Bistecca Fiorentina, heavy with olive oil, rosemary and garlic. I was introduced to this technique during my time at Rathbun’s Restaurant, where a similar marinade made the flat iron steak an instant classic.

Beyond the steak itself, the hero roll from Alon’s bakery is not to be counted out as a star of the dish. We first used these beautiful bread rolls for pressed style sandwiches, but found them absolutely magical when served fresh or lightly toasted. Ashland Farms pea tendrils, truffled chevre and our own vinegar peppers bring it all together!”

Brick Store Pub

Marinated steak
7-ounce portion of steak (We suggest a striploin.)
For the marinade, combine one part garlic
and one part rosemary immersed in EVOO,
then processed into a runny paste.
(We use Vitamix.)
Marinate steak for 3-6 hours.
Cook to medium temperature.

Horsey ’yo (2 quarts)
5 cups mayo (We use Duke’s.)
1 1/₂ cups prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt to taste
Blend and season to taste.

Truffled Goat Cheese (1½ quarts)
24 ounces fresh goat cheese
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 ounces sour cream
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons truffle preserves
1 tablespoon dried dill
In a food processor, process the first
3 ingredients until smooth. Add in remaining ingredients and process until combined.

Vinegar Peppers (2 quarts)
8 red bell peppers, stemmed,
seeded & julienned
1 cup garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 cups white wine vinegar
3 cups water
Combine peppers and garlic in a 2-quart container. Bring vinegar and water to a boil together.
Pour hot brine over peppers and garlic.
Properly cool, label and date.

Assemble the dish
Assemble the sandwich on a French baguette — we love Alon’s “hero” roll, which is essentially a baguette. Spread the truffled goat cheese on one side of the bread and horsey yo’ on the other side. Top with vinegar peppers, and enjoy!

Brick Store Pub Chef Eric

GINGERSNAP SOUR

by Kimball House Beverage Director and co-owner Miles Macquarrie

Miles

“As the name indicates, this was inspired by a gingersnap cookie, which I love during the holidays, and I also have had great ones with almond flour, which is why I think the almond orgeat makes sense.”

“I think the combo of baking spice, anise, whiskey, and some heat from the ginger balanced out by a creamy mouthful from the orgeat and the refreshing spike of lemon juice makes this a shoo-in for the holidays! We’ll have it on the Kimball House menu in December for sure!”

1 ounce Bottled in Bond or 100 proof bourbon
1/₂ ounce Cognac
¾ ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed and strained
1/₂ ounce orgeat
1/₂ ounce ginger syrup* (To make, mix together
equal parts ginger juice and 1:1 simple syrup.)
1 teaspoon absinthe

Shake with ice and strain over a large rock of ice, and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

303 E Howard Ave.
Decatur, GA 30030
kimball-house.com

WHEELHOUSE CRAFT PUB AND KITCHEN’S SCOTT BOULEVARDIER

by owner Stefanie Macken

“Scott Boulevardier is our take on the old fashioned. The warm spiciness of the drink is perfect for the fall and winter seasons. It’s a boozy cocktail that evokes a holiday spirit.”

¾ ounce Old Forester Bourbon
¾ ounce Tattersall Bitter Orange Liqueur
¾ ounce sweet vermouth
Blend and pour over ice.

1479 Scott Blvd.
Decatur, GA 30030
wheelhousepubdecatur.com

Wheelhouse Pub

Wheelhouse Pub 2

THE WHITE BULL’S SBAGLIATO

by Chef Pat Pascarella

“I chose it because it’s refreshing, and it translates to the mistake. And I’m big on failures bringing out the best in everything.”

1 1/₂ ounces sweet vermouth
1 1/₂ ounces Campari
1 1/₂ ounces Prosecco

Served up: Add vermouth and Campari to a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir to combine and chill. Strain into Champagne flute. Top with prosecco and stir again.

Served on the rocks: Fill an old-fashioned glass with ice. Add vermouth and Campari and stir. Top with Prosecco and stir again. Garnish with an orange slice.

123 E Court Square
Decatur, GA 30030
whitebullatl.com

Chef Pat White Bull

Chef Pat cocktail

CALLE LATINA’S PISCO SOUR

by owner Paul Vinces

“I like it because it’s almost like a margarita but smoother,” says owner Paul Vinces.

2 ounces pisco brandy
1 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
1/₂ ounce simple syrup
1 egg white

Add pisco, lime juice, simple syrup and egg white into a shaker and dry-shake (without ice) vigorously. Add ice and shake again until well-chilled. Strain into a chilled Nick & Nora glass. (Alternatively, you can strain it into a rocks glass over fresh ice.)

406 Church St.
Decatur, GA 30030
callelatinadecatur.com

Calle Latina

Gifts to Make Your Thought Count

Shop Locally in Decatur This Season

THE TIME OF THE YEAR is here to spend our hard-earned money on the ones we love the most. This retail gift guide is complete with a full round-up of all the trending products for everyone in your life. We’ve covered every aspect of your gift buying this year — from the
fashion lover to the home lover to the outdoors lover — so your loved ones are sure to be surprised when they open your gifts.

Gifts for the Home Chef

› The Holy Sheet and Big Chill set from Great Jones is the perfect gift for those who love to experiment in the kitchen. This sheet pan set can withstand extreme temperature and is easy to clean with nonstick technology.

› The Iconics Essential Kitchen Tools by Nordstrom. This gift holds the kitchen essential kitchen tools you need to chop,
slice, stir and whisk your way around the next great meal!

› The Automatic Pan Stirrer from Uncommon Goods is a gift that even the most advanced cooks likely won’t have. Like nothing we’ve seen before, place it in your pan with any simmering or low-heat liquid, set the timer and do the other million things you need to do while it magically stirs for you!

Gifts for the Home Chef

Gifts for the Generous Host

› The Matilda Goad and Co Cocktail Shaker from Anthropologie. For the friend who loves hosting parties and gettogethers, this cocktail shaker is sure to step up their bar cart game while it gives retro energy but is a modern staple.

› The Versailles Playing Card Set by Johnathan Adler will polish up your game night with gold-flecked cards and retro designs. The set has two standard decks inside a sturdy drawer box with a magnetic closure.

› The Piano Cocktail Glasses by Sophie Lou Jacobson can take any cocktail to the top tier. These glasses were inspired by the New York gilded age of jazz. The set comes with two glasses and stainless steel garnish skewers.

Host

Gifts for the Sustainably Minded

› The Rene Gloves by Mara Hoffman is perfect for this winter season and leave less of an impact on the planet than is generated by creating them. The fabric is made from 100% climate-beneficial wool, meaning it cuts off more carbon from the atmosphere than is generated in the ranching process that produces the wool.

› Dossier Fragrances for men and women are the perfect gift for your planet-friendly friend. This environmental alternative to luxury perfumes won’t break the bank, and you can feel good knowing they are vegan and cruelty-free.

› The National Geographic Gecko Black Canvas sneakers by Cariuma. Cariuma is a B Corp-certified Brazilian shoe company known for its eco-friendly sneakers. Cariuma explains that their shoes are designed to highlight two endangered species, the Madagascar Gecko and the Green Turtle. Each shoe is built to last, made from organic cotton, sustainably sourced rubber, cork, and recycled plastics.

Cariuma’s Pair-for-Pair commitment means the brand will plant two trees in the Brazilian rainforest for every pair you buy.

Gifts for the Sustainably Minded

Gifts for the Workout Lover

› The Landon Carryall Duffle bag by Dagne Dover is perfect for transporting all these gym lovers’ essentials. With a laptop pocket, a shoe bag, an air mesh zip pouch, and a detachable key leash, this bag will supply every need before you hit the gym. Plus, it’s 100% vegan.

› The Theragun Mini by Therabody is the perfect pocket-sized partner. Compact and miniature, this Theragun is the most agile massage device that goes wherever your workout lover does. $179 on sale right now.

› The Owala® Freesip® Water Bottle is the trendiest stainless steel water bottle on the market right now. Triple-layer insulation and trendy colors make it a perfect fit for your workout friend.

gifts

Gifts for Nieces and Nephews

› This personalized wooden piggy bank is from a creator on Etsy called DrapleaWoodworks. We all remember our first piggy bank, well this one is way cooler.

Gifts for Nieces

Fill Your Self Care Cup This Fall

These local businesses will nourish your mind, soul and bod

WHEN I THINK ABOUT

the meaning of self care, I am reminded of flight attendants’ instructions to put your own oxygen mask on first before attempting to help those around you. My takeaway: it is essential that we take care of ourselves first, so that we can show up for our spouse, children, friends and community. Too often, self care gets tossed to the wayside because we are dividing limited time between career, family, social life, hobbies and more. But if we don’t designate time to nourishing our minds, bodies, and souls, we are likely to burn out.

In the spirit of self care, we’ve culled a list of Decatur businesses and services that will help you to prioritize wellness and integrate it into your daily routine. We even asked these local business owners how they practice self care, in case you need some tips.

Gain New Perspective with Therapy and Life Coaching

Nicole Miller, MS, LPC, NCC
Psychotherapist & Prepare/Enrich Trainer
Inner Edge Counseling, LLC
470-485-3828
inneredgecounseling.com

Therapy offers a variety of benefits to patients, including a safe, non-judgmental environment and an objective individual to help you accomplish a variety of goals and outcomes, according to Local Psychotherapist Nicole Miller. It also gives patients a greater understanding of self, increased relationship satisfaction, stress management, increased mood, reduced anxiety, improved communication skills and development of effective coping mechanisms for emotional awareness and regulation.

“Therapy helps individuals understand themselves on a deeper level, develop greater emotional awareness, make meaning of lived experiences and can ultimately help to create meaningful and intentional lives, relationships and careers,” says Miller, who says she wanted to become a therapist after seeing the benefits of therapy in her teenage years, following her parents’ divorce. Today, watching her clients’ transformations and seeing them achieve their goals, create change and experience breakthroughs in their lives is her favorite part of her job.

“I was drawn to helping others move through difficult chapters in their lives in order to promote effective coping strategies and make meaning of their circumstances,” she adds.

How do you engage in self care?

“I enjoy taking walks with my husband in nature, strength training and kickboxing. I feel my best when I am listening to my body in terms of the activities I engage in, the foods I consume, and the energy I surround myself with. Most recently, I have been focusing on curating environments that promote peace, emotional grounding, and honoring my personal boundaries,” says Miller.

Other ways that Miller works to nurture her mind, body and soul is by being mindful of what she eats, which means trying to eat gluten-free. “I also nourish my body by maintaining personal boundaries, which enhances my relationships with myself and others. I nourish my mind through reading, continuing education and learning new skills. Finally, I nourish my soul through practices of spirituality, connecting to God and prioritizing rest.”

To connect with Miller,
visit inneredgecounseling.com or
on Instagram, @inner_edge_counseling

Patrice J. Williams, MBA
Facilitator, Consultant, Professor,
Life Design Coach
470-222-5950
patricewms.com

Life design coach and consultant Patrice J. Williams helps her clients utilize design thinking and strategic planning to create a happier and more fulfilling life. “I build the bridge between where people currently are and where they want to go by helping clients remove the barriers to life and career fulfillment. The goal is to empower individuals to align with the most authentic version of themselves and, as a result, design their lives to first identify and then achieve their version of success. I work diligently to create spaces for people to witness themselves through the lens of personal authority over their lives, regardless of their professional position, and I provide the tools to create the experience they envision,” says Williams.

What are some of the benefits of having a life coach?

“So often, we forget that we utilize mentors and coaches in almost every area of life except life itself. In our working lives, we look to our supervisors to help us build performance plans to reach our professional goals. In our active lives, we look to our personal trainers to help us reach our body goals. Teachers coach our children academically. Pastors, rabbis, and spiritual leaders help us amplify our relationship with the divine. Life coaching is essential to ensure people are able to balance all of these life’s components to ensure a life they love – a life where our desires get to be just as important as our duties. There is no handbook to life, but my profession is the closest thing to helping people author their own handbook, holding them accountable for staying true to themselves and their goals and helping them meet and exceed their vision for their bestlived life,” Williams notes.

Even at a young age, friends would gravitate to Williams for her advice. After graduating from Spelman College with an undergraduate degree in psychology, Williams became a substance abuse counselor, assisting female offenders at Lee Arrendale State Prison with discovering and implementing new, healthy ways of understanding themselves, engaging in healthy relationships with others and reintegrating into society on positive terms.

“I knew from the moment that I started that job that I had found a key factor and favorite component of my life’s workhelping people realize that, no matter the circumstance or situation, we have the agency to chart our path forward and find success on our terms. From there, I have had the pleasure of coaching hundreds of individuals, leading retreats, facilitating workshops and teaching a course, ‘Designing Your Life,’ at Spelman College,” says Williams.

While most of her events, talks and workshops are commissioned by schools, organizations, families and groups, Williams recently joined her friends, Kristen and Renee, for their monthly wellness retreat, which is open to the public. This fall, she is looking forward to hosting her own retreats and workshops.

How do you nourish your mind, body, and soul?

“I nourish my mind through reading books, listening to podcasts and enjoying conversations with people whose perspective may be similar or different from mine. I nourish my body by having a dance party with myself, putting my feet in the Chattahoochee River, staying active in the gym or my Peloton and long bubble baths. I nourish my soul through remembering to breathe and to experience every ounce of life as a gift. I try to remember to laugh as much as possible and find ways to do the little things that bring me joy,” she shares.

To schedule a discovery call for one-on-one life
coaching, group coaching or any facilitation
services with Williams, visit patricewms.com

Elevate Your Soul in Nature

Woodlands Garden
932 Scott Blvd.
Decatur, Georgia 30030
404-373-2222
woodlandsgarden.org

Getting in a workout while experiencing nature’s peaceful beauty ranks high on many people’s lists for self care. Fortunately, Decatur is home to the beautiful Woodlands Garden, which provides “fresh air, a break from the hustle and bustle of life, a quiet space out of the traffic to take a breath, reduced stress, increased heart rate and a natural space to appreciate seasonal changes,” shares Kate McAlpin, executive director of Woodlands Garden.

“The mission of Woodlands Garden is to preserve … an urban sanctuary to educate and engage the community in the natural world. The goal of this free public garden is to provide a natural respite for those seeking quiet solitude in nature, while also providing organized wellness programs that help facilitate a connection to the natural world. Many visitors stroll the mulched paths daily to increase their heart rate and lower their stress with each step. Other visitors find a bench in the bird sanctuary to watch pollinators hunting out native plants,” she adds.

This fall, Woodlands Garden is hosting a new series of programs, focused on health and wellness in nature. Among the experiences offered are outdoor yoga and qigong under the tree canopy on the Garden’s Lawn; Forest Bathing Walks, an immersive experience engaging all five senses and led by a certified Forest Therapy Guide; “Music in the Garden” performances (returning to the Pavilion on Sundays in October); exploration of the wonders of the Woodlands, led by expert Tyke Hikes; and the “Fairies in the Garden” exhibit with a hands-on labyrinthbuilding workshop, hosted by PaintLove. To learn more about these programs and how to register, visit woodlandsgarden.org.

What is your favorite aspect of Woodlands Garden?

“Gardens are obviously beautiful to visit, and they provide something new to experience in each season. Woodlands is no different — the combination of piedmont native plantings mixed in with non-native ornamental specimens provides beauty and inspiration for what will grow well in our own backyards. However, my favorite aspect of Woodlands is the people involved, who help keep this unique treasure thriving. Once the private residence of the Morse family, who gifted the seven-acre property to the community as greenspace, this tremendously generous gift will preserve the garden for generations to come. The nonprofit has a small staff who rely on leadership from an involved board of directors, community supporters who donate to support the mission and the most hardworking group of volunteers who help to maintain the garden. The people involved with Woodlands Garden, past and present, are the lifeblood of the organization and my favorite aspect of working at Woodlands,” says McAlpin.

So, how do you like to nourish your mind, body, and soul?

My perspective on self care has changed as I have become a mom. With two little girls, I find peace while playing in our home garden and getting out for hikes in Atlanta’s diverse green spaces. My alone time is limited, so I jump at any chance I have to quietly wander the trails at Woodlands while at work—being able to step away from my desk to appreciate the emerging mayapples in spring, hear an owl call on my lunch break or capture the golden fall leaves of the ginkgo is how I nourish my nature-loving self on a regular basis.”

Woodlands is a welcoming place to visit, volunteer or host a special event. The Garden recently launched a Tribute Tree program as a lasting way to recognize family, friends and events that have touched lives while supporting the canopy of the Garden. For more information, visit woodlandsgarden.org.

Love Your Body with Nutrition and Skin Care

Nuts ‘n Berries Healthy Market
2118 North Decatur Road
Decatur, Georgia 30033
404-254-0330
nutsnberries.com

What you fuel your body with is so important, as it affects how you function, which is why we love independently owned Nuts ‘n Berries Healthy Market. Their two stores tout organic and non-GMO groceries and produce, the largest variety of vegan and gluten-free items in Decatur and the largest variety of quality supplements in metro Atlanta to fill nutritional gaps in any protocol. And did we mention they have kombucha on tap?

“We provide hope for each member of our community that true health is possible through education, personalized nutrition and targeted supplementation,” says Mari Geier, owner. “We encourage our neighbors to feed their minds with brain-supporting supplements, like omegas and lion’s mane mushroom extracts, and rest their souls by learning about stress-reducing activities, as well as foods and supplements that support adrenal health.”

The Nuts ‘n Berries staff are experts in health and wellness and are passionate about helping customers find the root cause of any issue and work to develop individualized protocols that fit customers’ lifestyles. “It is our goal to conquer all the noise around what’s truly healthy and get down to basics that we can all understand,” says Geier.

Some of the benefits of patronizing Nuts ‘n Berries are that they’re affordable and frequently mark down everyday products like milk, bread, cheese and lunch meat. Each month, they release a flyer advertising great deals and place entire brand lines on sale. “We’ve built our foundation on providing the community with the healthiest, freshest options, with tons of local brands. Just look for the ‘Smart Buy’ tag on the shelf or grab a flyer at the front of the store.

“When you shop at Nuts ‘n Berries, you are not only supporting our small business, you are also uplifting local farmers, vendors and our dedicated employees. Nuts ‘n Berries is leading a new organic revolution to a greater understanding of the flaws in our food system, how that impacts our lives and health and how, as a community, we can come together to create a better future,” Geier adds.

Over two decades in business, Nuts ‘n Berries has won several awards, including Best Health Food Store (2021) and Best Supplement Store (2020) in Atlanta by Best Self – voted on by customers. Nuts ‘n Berries also hosts free events, like Hemp Fest, which attracts over 1,000 attendees. To see what they’re planning, check out the “Upcoming Events and Workshops” tab on their website. “We are so excited about our Fall Wellness Festival at our Brookhaven location, on September 10, from 4 to 7 p.m. We are offering an open house during the entire event with experts on site to answer questions and offer free consultations. Attendees can take advantage of an amazing holistic healing opportunity at 5 p.m. — a full hour of guided meditation and breathwork, followed by a sound bath demonstration. We’ll be announcing our soon-to-be-opened Holistic Healing Center at this event! Nuts ‘n Berries will have an entire center dedicated to holistic, functional health with lab tests, supplement consultations, foot detox, infrared saunas and access to a network of holistic healing specialists.”

This fall, Luna CBD will host their famous “The Luna Experience” as four pop-ups – the first two are on September 16 in Decatur and September 30 in Brookhaven at 7 pm. Attendees will participate in Elevated Painting, led by Atlanta artist @BadMonaLisa, while enjoying free Delta 8 or CBD, infused lattes and a few surprises from the brand.

So, how do you nourish your mind, body, and soul?

“As the owner of several businesses and a mom of a second grader, self care can be challenging. I have to prioritize movement every day, eating right and sleeping at least six hours a night. If I am well, I can better support my community and my family. So, I work out regularly using the Peloton app and hike at least twice a week, and I started running again. I would live outside if I could! I also try to eat as many organic veggies as possible every day. And when I can’t eat perfectly, I fill the gaps with whole food supplements, daily minerals and healthy doses of functional foods like medicinal mushrooms and hempbased CBD,” shares Geier

AYA Medical Spa
431 W. Ponce de Leon Avenue
Decatur, Georgia 30030
470-816-6165
ayaskincare.com

When you look good, you feel good, which essentially translates into a happier you. For your cosmetic needs, AYA is here to save the day. The award-winning medical spa offers an array of cosmetic treatments, from laser treatments, body contouring, injectables and hair restoration to aesthetician services and medical-grade skin care products for men and women.

vegetable salad

Offering services performed by highly trained professionals, AYA uses the safest and most effective laser treatments available in today’s market. Among the lasers offered is Halo, a hybrid fractionated laser that treats everything from sun damage, fine lines, wrinkles and discoloration to scars, vascular lesions and enlarged pores. Safe and effective for all skin types, tones, and all areas of the body, Halo is different from other resurfacing lasers because it uses ablative and non-ablative wavelength technology, which results in faster healing times (downtime is typically seven days), fewer complications and better results.

AYA also offers several pregnancy-safe products and procedures for expectant mothers who are experiencing melasma, acne and stretch marks. For expectant mothers with fine lines and/or expression lines, AYA recommends Revox Line Relaxer twice daily. If you’re interested in smoothing out the appearance of wrinkles, stretchmarks and scars, SkinPen Microneedling is another amazing treatment that helps promote collagen production and enables skincare products to penetrate your skin.

And there’s DiamondGlow, a quick skin resurfacing treatment that exfoliates the skin, cleanses and infuses serums that treat dry skin, acne and more. DiamondGlow provides immediate results without downtime for recovery. Certain chemical peels are also safe during pregnancy. While AYA follows the recommendations provided by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, they recommend checking with your OBGYN before getting a treatment or adding a new product to your beauty regimen.

AYA also offers facial fillers from top brands like Juvéderm, Sculptra Aesthetic and Restylane, which are used to address facial volume loss that occurs naturally with aging. An experienced injector will assess your face and address your concerns, then tailor injections to help you achieve a more youthful look. To book your appointment, visit ayaskincare.com

The Game of Life

New program offers real-world advice and guidance for high school students

THERE ARE FEW TASKS in life more stress-inducing than applying to colleges or determining what career to pursue as an adult. Figuring out “the next step” — especially for those students who are the first in their families to go to college — can cause anxiety, stress and inaction at the time in a student’s life when there are lots of deadlines and decisions to make. Having an adult “coach” whose role is to support and guide them could make a big difference for students’ future success.

With that goal in mind, Decatur Education Foundation is launching a new program this school year: the FOCUS Prep Program. FOCUS (Finding Opportunities to Create yoUr Success) Prep will pair ninth through twelfth grade students with adult volunteer coaches who will help these students explore their options, set goals and achieve them. DEF has partnered with College Avenue Consulting, which will host student workshops, train FOCUS coaches and assist high school seniors in writing college essays and submitting applications.

The Game of Life

Do you want to help a Decatur High School student to the finish line and beyond? DEF is looking for adult men and women who can volunteer two to three hours per month and commit to help their students for the 2022-23 school year, from August until May.

The FOCUS coach’s main goal is to provide accountability to the student(s). Throughout the program, students will be assigned tasks that correspond to their goals. FOCUS coaches meet monthly with their students to check in and guide them, answer questions and encourage them.

“There are a lot of expectations put on our high school students before you even consider the college application process,” says DEF Director of Programs and Partnerships Marie McCollum. “We see a need among our high schoolers for a little extra guidance and encouragement.

We think a solution might be a concerned adult who can answer questions, keep them on task and cheer them on. We hope that FOCUS Prep will not only help students meet their goals and find their paths, but that it will help alleviate some of the stress that our students are experiencing.”

Adults interested in volunteering as a coach can find the link under the FOCUS Prep Program, at decatureducationfoundation.org/ mentoring. Coaches will be required to pass a background check.

Decatur Education Foundation is an independent nonprofit with a mission to help every Decatur student reach their full potential. If you’d like to learn more about DEF and how you can support Decatur’s kids by contributing your time or donation, please visit decatureducationfoundation.org.

 

Need a Seasonal Glow Up?

AYA Medical Spa is here to help

IT’S FALL, which is a great time to think about looking your best for art events, parties and the upcoming festive season. We spoke to the experts
at Aya Medical Spa and learned all about Halo, a cutting-edge new laser to perfect your skin, plus their men’s aesthetics options — because glow
ups aren’t just for women!

 

Laser Precision

Introducing Halo

Halo is a hybrid fractionated laser, meaning it is two laser wavelengths firing on your skin at the same time. One wavelength works in the deeper layers of the skin, or dermis, to help stimulate collagen and elastin, and the other wavelength works superficially to resurface the outer layer, or epidermis, of the skin. Because of this, Halo allows the practitioner to fully customize the treatment to the patient’s needs.

How is Halo different from other resurfacing lasers?

Halo is different from other resurfacing lasers because is uses ablative and non-ablative wavelength technology. It uses the best of both systems, which results in faster healing times, fewer complications and better results.

Who is a good candidate for Halo? What does it treat?

Halo is a safe and effective treatment for all skin types and tones. It treats everything from sun damage, fine lines and wrinkles to discoloration, scars, vascular lesions and enlarged pores.

What is the downtime for Halo?

The down time for Halo is typically seven days. Immediately after treatment, you will have a sunburn-like sensation that typically lasts up to two hours. The first two to three days post-treatment you can expect mild to moderate swelling and redness. The skin will also begin to develop a sandy texture. This is the MENDS — microscopic, epidermal, necrotic, debris — forming. These will slowly exfoliate off over the course of five to seven days.

When is the best time of year to get a Halo?

Halo can be done year-round, but is perhaps best in the fall and winter, when it is easier to be sun safe.

How often should I get Halo?

Depending on your skin type and concerns, typically one Halo is enough for glowing results! We recommend one Halo a year to maintain results.

What pre-treatment and post-treatment products should you use?

Before treatment, we ask that you have no prolonged sun exposure, no use of antibiotics and no self-tanner. There are several products that we recommend that you use pre and post-treatment to maximize results and speed up healing time. These include AYA Skincare Skin Soothe, TNS Essential Serum and Revisions DEJ Face.

What areas of the body can Halo treat?

Halo can treat all areas of the body including face, neck, chest, arms, stomach and legs

Fact or Fiction?

AYA Men’s Aesthetics Debunks a Few Skin Care Myths

Myth: Men can’t benefit from aesthetic treatments.
It is a common misconception that only women can benefit from the various treatments that we offer. Anyone who has skin and is aging should be prioritizing their skincare regimen. This begins with your at-home skincare routine and transitions into your treatment plan in our office.

Myth: Botox/Dysport will make me look fake, frozen or like I have spocked eyebrows.
Neurotoxins are targeting the dynamic muscle movement that, over time and repetition, leads to deep facial lines and wrinkles. While we can elevate the brow as we commonly do for women, the treatment plan and goal for men is different. We strive to cater each treatment plan to the individual to achieve their goals. Because we individualize each treatment plan, we are able to provide a natural look by adjusting the number of units you may need.

Myth: Facial filler will make me look more feminine.
Facial fillers are used to address facial volume loss that naturally occurs with aging. Therefore, if you are aging, you are likely a good candidate for filler. Yes, that means men can benefit from addressing their volume loss with facial fillers. An experienced injector will assess your face and tailor your injections to enhance your masculine features and achieve a more youthful look.

Myth: I don’t need botox or filler, therefore I don’t need any aesthetic treatments.

First, if you are older than 30, you likely could benefit from botox injections to prevent further aging. Secondly, if you are not ready to take the plunge into botox or facial fillers, we offer several other treatment modalities men are great candidates for, including laser hair removal, prp for hair loss and facial rejuvenation, microneedling and laser therapy for sun damage and skin aging.

The truth is, men age just like women — therefore, we can all benefit from a customized consultation to identify and address your skincare concerns.

 

October Artist Spotlight

Crysta Luke discusses the healing power of art

 

WHEN YOU LOOK AT one of Crysta Luke’s abstract paintings, you can feel it tug and stir, pulling you to a place you want — and maybe need — to go. It’s that bit of magic you can feel welling up inside; your breath quickens, and you must see more.

To make colors and forms ripple and dance and push emotion through the canvas — these are her gifts. A Decatur resident and Georgia native, Luke is both a mother and a painter. She is inspired by nature and wildlife, frequent – ing Hawk Hollow, the Eastlake Gardens, the Lake Claire Land Trust and the Atlanta Botani – cal Gardens, of which she is a member. She glows about her Oakhurst neighbors and their “beautiful, well-considered spaces,” while her own backyard sanctuary is filled with songbirds and owls. She is also inspired by “whatever is emotionally going on in life or in the world.” Luke creates both large and small formats, but regardless of the scale of each work, you can feel the depth to which she contemplates her inspiration and that moment of joy or grief — events she calls “the striking and pro – found,” worthy of processing into art.

“My work is part of my self care. If I didn’t express myself creatively, I don’t want to know what I would be like,” she admits with a chuckle. “Allowing yourself to be creative gets you out of whatever pain or suffering you are in, to some extent. It can be very grounding, and the tactile experience can be therapeutic.”

Luke is enormously grateful for her upbring – ing – her mother was a gardener and her father an engineer — and she credits both her parents for providing the encouragement and guidance to

October Artist Spotlight

 

October Artist Spotlight
pursue her lifelong artistic passion. With her parents’ blessing, Luke made the leap from pursuing a business degree to enrolling at the Savannah College of Art and Design, where she earned a bachelor of fine arts in painting.

To anyone who is considering how to begin an artistic path, she says, “the important thing is to start and not to worry about the end result. People want to experience art – and that is always a beautiful thing.”

Crysta Luke’s art can be found and com – missioned online at crystaluke.com and also viewed in person and purchased at Sustain – able Home Goods in Ponce City Market or at Balance Design in Candler Park.

 

Stars Aligning

Decatur’s performing arts scene will lift your spirits and inspire you

STORYTELLING, THEATER, MUSIC, SONG – all of these we know to be inspirational, healing and powerful. We can all relate to a performance humming through an audience, knitting a connection with the experience itself.

Fortunately, we live in a community that embraces creativity; many notable artists and musicians call Decatur home. The City of Decatur’s Arts Alliance enriches our daily experience with downtown’s outdoor sculpture installations, busking street musicians, annual festivals and musical performances in Decatur Square. What some in our city may not know, however, is that just down the street from the Decatur Square and the infamous Eddie’s Attic — where musical legends like John Mayer were discovered — there is another performing arts venue bursting with talent. Introducing the Decatur High School Performing Arts Center, home of stars in the making.

The Decatur High School Performing Arts programs include musical theater, drama, chorus, orchestra and band. All have captured our attention recently, with last year’s musical Matilda making headlines at the prestigious Georgia Shuler.

Awards. The show’s multiple Shuler Award nominations last year included Best Overall Production, an honor given to only six Georgia high schools. This coveted nomination allowed the Matilda cast to make a red-carpet debut and perform live on Georgia Public Broadcasting at the Cobb Energy Center for the Shuler Awards Show in April 2022.

Stars Aligning

Lorelei Calder, then a junior at DHS, took home the award for Best Supporting Performer after she and fellow classmate Bridget Blanchard were nominated among only 12 students in the state. The show also received three honorary mentions, including Best Costumes, Best Leading Performer and Best Direction. Now, after the fanfare of last year, a new season of performances is upon us — the culmination of hard work by teachers, students and parents — and the stars are aligning again.

These stars include the teachers themselves – one is the current director of the DHS musical theater ensemble, Raven Owen-Beyer. While this is her second year at DHS, Owen-Beyer has been teaching musical and technical theater for the past 15 years and says of her transition to City Schools of Decatur that she is “fortunate to work at a school with amazing colleagues who collaborate and work as a team.” She is quick to give credit to the former musical theater director, Amy Rawlins, and current music director, Dr. Elise Eskew Sparks, for beginning the musical theater program in 2016. Her gratitude also goes out to department colleague Kate McNeil and DHS history teacher Chris Davis as being integral to their team.

Owen-Beyer adds that the kids are her primary inspiration, and you can hear the excitement in her voice when she says, “there is so much joy in watching them every day, watching them grow, and seeing them have an aha moment. There is nothing like it.”

She also believes they have a program designed to encourage kindness and empathy, meeting one another where they are. In fact, they call themselves a “theater family,” and Owen-Beyer says that she has seen students be transformed — though she’s swift to point out, “while it’s not a magic wand, performance has therapeutic value.”

Stars Aligning

Students who participate in the performing arts programs at the high school learn other valuable skills, including public speaking, confidence and collaboration. The student-led productions enable students to shine both onstage and off, with tasks including set design, sound system management and costume creation. After high school, a number of the students will take these experiences even further, pursuing performance art or production at a higher level.

Lorelei Calder

“I’ll always find a way to work with community theater groups and choirs,” says Calder, adding that she plans to pursue a BFA in musical theater, as she is now submitting college applications. Of her DHS experience to-date, Calder beams, “I’ve enjoyed every aspect of my work with the DHS musical-theater program, from classroom work to musical productions. My teachers have been passionate, brilliant and inspiring.” When asked how the skills she has learned through the performing arts programs have had an impact on her personally, she says, “I’ve always been a bit of an introvert. Theater has allowed me to get out of my own head and focus on stories, perspectives and experiences other than my own.”

Even while the DHS Performing Arts are achieving great things for students and the community, funding for these programs is often uncertain. Like many schools, budgets are stretched, squeezed and balanced between much needed programs, and organizations like the Decatur Education Foundation and booster clubs step in to fill the gaps. For much of the Decatur High School Performing Arts, the assisting nonprofit organization is Decatur Performs. A completely volunteer and parent-led organization, they facilitate fundraising and help with administrative work to support the performing arts shows, concerts and competitions throughout the school year, in both Beacon Hill Middle School and Decatur High School. Pam Galenkamp, president of the organization, applauds the programs at both schools, calling the teachers “top-notch and brilliant.” Of Owen-Beyer she says, “she creates moments on stage that are magical.”

Galenkamp insists that the effects of the performing arts, whether you are part of the production or in the audience, are profound. “There is a connection made between the performer and the audience member. Performing arts have a way to reach down to the places we often neglect or want to push down and get away from. Sometimes you see a comedy — and, as I always say, laughter is the best medicine — and you can laugh and get away, but sometimes it’s pain. I’ve seen it with our students and even my own children: theater and music can be transformational – a safe place they can be.”

For younger students who are entertaining an interest in performing arts, this year’s production of The Sound of Music will audition younger cast members for special roles. Galenkamp encourages these students and those of every age to come see the shows, as she says this may be where you get “bitten” and inspired by the performing arts.

To experience the magic of the arts in Decatur, you have to get involved, and lucky for you, the Decatur High School Performing Arts scene comes alive this time of year. We are looking forward to this year’s event line-up — including musicals in the fall and in the spring — with historically sold-out performances, you won’t want to wait to get tickets. You can find schedules of Decatur High School Performing Arts events and information on how to become a patron or sponsor of Decatur Performs at decaturperforms.org.

The musical this winter will be “The Sound of Music” and the musical “9 to 5” this spring.