Epilepsy Awareness: Aim For Zero

Epilepsy Awareness: Aim For Zero

According to epilepsy.com, around 65 million people in the world live with epilepsy. Of those 65 million, over half reside in the United States, and it is estimated that a staggering one-third of those diagnosed suffer from uncontrollable seizures because no available treatment works for them. Although this disorder is invisible to the eye, it is one that affects 150,000 new people every year, and that is why we must be aware of it. Like most brain injures, the vast majority of cases of epilepsy are caused from abnormal or excessive brain activity, which can develop upon birth or later in life. The most common symptom is seizures. People who live with epilepsy may suffer from fatigue, muscle spasms, fainting, amnesia, pins and needles, anxiety, depression, and so much more.

This condition is most common in children and the elderly, but can affect those of all ages. Common causes may include genetic influence, head trauma, infectious diseases, prenatal injury, and developmental disorders; however, you are at more of a risk for developing epilepsy if you have dementia or seizures during childhood. About 1% of those with epilepsy are often more at risk for a sudden or unexpected death, particularly those who don’t receive treatment for their seizures. Furthermore, if someone seizes for more than five minutes, they are more likely to suffer from permanent brain damage or even death.

As the month of November passes, it is important to keep those who live with this disorder in our prayers and raise awareness for their cause. It is important to speak up, speak out, and give whatever we can to organizations such as the Epilepsy Foundation so that trained professionals can continue to provide therapy and treatment to those in need.

One person who has done an exceptional job at representing this community is up-and-coming author, McCall Hoyle. Her book, The Thing With Feathers, follows the story of Emilie, a teenage girl with epilepsy, as she navigates public high school and learns to accept herself for who she is. This novel is a great for parents, teachers, young adults, and teens if they want to get an inside look at what its like to live with this condition or are just searching for their new favorite YA read.

Join me, Mrs. Hoyle, and so many others by supporting those who live with epilepsy. Donate at the link below!


Morgan Champion is an ambitious North Forsyth High School senior who believes in the power of serving others, reaching for her dreams, and having a positive attitude—no matter her circumstances. Besides writing for “Cumming Local,” Morgan enjoys volunteering at her church, at the Forsyth County Peer Court, and at various clubs and organizations throughout her school.

To read more about Morgan and our other contributing writers, click here

Where To Find Christmas Trees in Forsyth County {2017}

Christmas Trees in Forsyth County

Christmas Tree Farms & Purchases in Forsyth County {2017}

It’s beginning to look a lot like CHRISTMAS!!!  Tree lots are opening up and Forsyth County Christmas Tree Farms are getting ready for us too!  Whether you want to cut one down yourself or just pick out a perfect one – we can help you out!

There are several locations for Christmas tree farms & purchases in Forsyth County that you can visit – everything from a real farm where you select & cut your own own tree to the local Home & Garden store where you don’t!  You can take a fun holiday experience or even help a local high school with their fundraising efforts.

When picking a Christmas tree in Forsyth County, there’s a little something for everyone!

Here’s our round-up of places to find a Christmas tree this year:

(Please note – we will be adding to this list as more information becomes available from other places in Forsyth)

Christmas Tree Farms in Forsyth County:

Kinsey Family Farm Entrance

Kinsey Family Farm:  My family has been going here for several years – both in the fall and winter months.  It’s a beautiful farm with a great staff & team!  If you want to have the full experience and a great farm holiday atmosphere, you need to go here! Kinsey Family Farm is family owned and operated. It’s about 20 minutes North East of Cumming. You can sip on hot chocolate while roaming around their outdoor barn looking at Christmas trees, homemade wreaths, and garland that are made from their tree trimmings.  Roast marshmallows over the fire pit, take a hayride and more! You have the option of cutting down your own tree on the farm or picking one out that’s already been cut. This is a great place to go no matter your age and what you’re looking for, they have it all! What my family loves about Kinsey Family Farm is when you make a purchase of a Christmas tree – you get a Kinsey Family Farm ornament.  Every year they make a new one, so start or continue your collection today!  Check out this guest post about a reader’s visit to Kinsey Family Farm

2017 Christmas Season opens Saturday, November 18th.  Click here for hours & more information(note:  Closed Thanksgiving Day)
Bottoms Christmas Tree Farm

Bottoms Christmas Tree FarmHere is another great Christmas Tree Farm located in Cumming, GA. With over 1,500 trees ready for the Christmas 2017 Season – there is a great collection of choose & cut trees!  They also offer a variety of homemade breads, jams & jellies, wreaths, ice cold drinks & more!  My kids LOVED seeing the farm animals and playing corn hole while we shopped.  It’s a great environment for the whole family!  Check out this guest post about a reader’s visit to Bottoms Christmas Tree Farm.

2017 Christmas Season opens Saturday, November 18th:  Click here for hours & more information (note:  Open Thanksgiving Day, but closed every Sunday)

Christmas Tree Purchases in Forsyth County:

  1. Big John’sBig John’s is a 60+ year old Atlanta tradition, family owned and operated. They serve the Atlanta metropolitan area with fresh Christmas trees, wreaths and roping, along with stands, ornaments and more!  There are two Forsyth County locations –  Suwanee (3651 Peachtree Parkway
    Suwanee, GA 30024) and Cumming (503 Lakeland Plaza Road
    Cumming, GA 30040). Opens Thursday, November 16th.  Click here for more information and click here for a coupon.
  2. Pike Family Nursery: Our local Pike Family Nursery is located at: 6050 Bethelview Road. They’re busy bringing in all of their beautiful Christmas décor to help you decorate inside or outside of your home. You can also get beautiful poinsettias and rosemary trees.
  3. Lowes: Located off of Marketplace Blvd.
  4. Home Depot: Located off of Marketplace Blvd.

What a wonderful Christmas season it is! Light up the tree, make memories, and enjoy the time with your family and friends!

Disclosure – we have provided a list of where to get your special Christmas tree with links and contact info. We give you the links and contact info for a reason. Please check with the company before heading out to them. We would hate for you to bundle your family just to find out they are not open yet. Enjoy the Christmas season!

How to Surprise Your Loved Ones with a Trip this Holiday

How to Surprise Your Loved Ones with a Trip this Holiday

It’s Christmas morning. The kids run to open the gift you’ve left for them under the tree. And their eyes sparkle as they realize it’s exactly the thing they asked for! Success! All the price matching, parking lot navigating, crowd fighting, and box wrapping was completely worth it!

Fast forward 6 months . . . you find their Christmas treasure under their bed, broken and forgotten.

After repeating this year after year, it’s understandable that parents start to get disillusioned about the value of gifting their kids’ wishes at the holidays. There must be another way to make the holidays special and memorable.

Here’s an idea: gift your family with a fun trip this holiday. Laughing and learning together, experiencing new things, are great gifts to your children. A trip will give your family the opportunity to create lifelong memories together. And better yet surprise your loved ones with a trip this holiday season!

Giving a trip to your family is so easy. Follow these four simple steps over the coming weeks to check this off your holiday shopping list:

  1. Consider where you’d like to go.

Is there a place you’ve always wanted to show your family? Do they have hobbies that could be developed at a certain place? Have they really enjoyed a certain unit in Social Studies about a place you could visit? Are they really into a certain movie or YouTube channel? Considering a trip from the kids’ point of view can open up new and different destination options.

  1. Determine a budget and time of year.

When thinking about your budget, consider how much you would usually spend for holiday gifting. Also, think about the cost of your typical family vacation. Then develop a price range that you’re comfortable with.

Many families are tied to the school calendar when they consider when to travel. In Forsyth County, Fall Break in September is a gift to families looking to travel off season. A long weekend over President’s Day is also a good option for Forsyth County families. Of course, if your family isn’t tied to the school calendar, consider traveling at a time when others will be in class.

  1. Call a travel agent.

A good travel agent will be able to take all your thoughts and considerations and help you shape them into a great trip, often at no additional cost to you. Some agents specialize in a particular destination, while others offer general assistance with the travel industry. Not sure who to call? Look for agents in your community who will understand specifics of your local needs.

**Need an agent who specializes in Disney and Universal destinations? Email me at jessica@travelmation.net.**

  1. Present the gift.

It’s still fun to have that Christmas-morning moment, so presenting the gift to your family can be very exciting.

  • Purchase something that will be used on the trip and wrap it for the big reveal. Ask your travel agent if your destination offers a special way to let the family know about the big trip.
  • If your trip is more than a couple weeks in the future, wrap a paper chain countdown to help keep the excitement for the trip alive. Hang the chain some place where everyone will see it and every day tear off one link in the chain until it’s time for your trip.
  • Tie a postcard to the string of a helium balloon, and then wrap the balloon in a big box. When the kids open the box, the balloon will float out and the card will show them where they’re going.

As an Authorized Disney Travel Planner, and a mom to two tween boys, Jessica has fully experienced every thrill attraction and enjoyed everything Star Wars at Walt Disney World. She knows how to save the day with the Marvel heroes at Disneyland. And she knows the award-winning service and relaxed fun aboard the Disney Cruise Line. Plus, outside of Disney destinations, she’s even cast a magical spell with Harry Potter in Universal Studios. And she loves helping other families create magical memories of their own.

Need an agent who specializes in Disney and Universal destinations? Email me at jessica@travelmation.net.

Don’t Seek More Willpower: Change The Game!

Don’t Seek More Willpower: Change The Game!

We eat too much, we drink too much, we have credit card debt, we don’t workout enough, and we’re social media addicts.

Oh willpower, where art thou?

Most of us are constantly searching for willpower, for self-control, for a way to become mentally stronger in one area of life or another. The questions we most often struggle with when it comes to willpower are the HOW and WHERE? How do we find this willpower? Where do we find more self-control?

In his book Willpower, psychologist Roy F. Baumeister argues that willpower is like a muscle: It can get tired and break down, but you can also make it stronger by training it right.

So how do we train it right?

In his book Barking up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is Mostly Wrong (highly recommended, by the way), author Eric Barker presents a unique view about how to train yourself to develop more willpower:

Turn life into a game!

A great example of this is Walter Mischel’s famous marshmallow theory (http://www.newyorker.com/science/maria-konnikova/struggles-psychologist-studying-self-control).

Basically, he did a study where kids were promised two marshmallows if they could resist eating one. Many couldn’t resist the sweet treat, but those who avoided the urge to devour a marshmallow didn’t actually display the extreme willpower you might have thought. Instead, these kids changed the game by doing things such as making up a story in their minds that the delicious sugary marshmallows were actually puffy clouds and didn’t taste good anyway.

The point is only to say willpower and self-control are only needed if you feel a struggle. You don’t enjoy your work, so you feel a struggle to work harder. You don’t love the pain of getting your heart rate up, so you struggle to motivate yourself to go to the gym.

But when there is no struggle, you no longer need to muster more willpower. The kids who convinced themselves the marshmallows weren’t marshmallows didn’t feel the struggle. They didn’t need willpower.

If you think about it, it makes sense: If I put a delicious, warm peanut butter cookie right out of the oven in front of you when you’re super hungry and craving sugar, there might be a struggle. BUT, if you’re deathly allergic to peanuts, chances are you’re going to choose life over the treat and you it won’t require any willpower or self-restraint to avoid eating the cookie.

This is Barker’s exact point: His solution is to turn turn various things in your life into a game. This will stop you from feeling a struggle, he says, and you’ll no longer need to stress out about finding more willpower.

His logic can be applied to all areas of life, like fitness and your job, but also to the more mundane, boring things we need to do like housework—tasks we often think require a ton of willpower.

Dreading doing the dishes? Challenge yourself to finish the dishes in less time than you did the night before and suddenly it almost becomes fun (or you end up with half-washed dishes if you’re too competitive).

Barker explained good games have necessary criteria: They are winnable, they have rules, and they provide feedback so you always know where you stand.

One of the reasons games work, he said, is because they allow you to celebrate small wins along the way. (In fact, data shows that life satisfaction is much higher for those who experience a steady flow of minor accomplishment as opposed to those who only express interest in major accomplishments. This might be part of the reason AA is so successful).

The point is: The small wins in life keep us moving forward in all facets of life.

So the next time you’re procrastinating doing your taxes, going to the gym, or meeting a deadline at work, change the game by turning it into a winnable game.

Jill Thornton is a mother of two, wife, and gym owner. Her passion for helping others is infectious!  She channels her passion for fitness from her athletic background as the co-owner at Cumming Strength and Fitness located just west of downtown Cumming. To learn more about Jill, click here.

Connect with Jill and Cumming Strength & Fitness: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter 

Christmas Light Shows Forsyth County: 5+ Shows To See

Christmas light shows in forsyth county and cumming ga

Christmas Light Shows Forsyth County & Cumming GA: 5+ Shows To See

Stay close to home and make some great memories with some Residential Christmas Light Shows Forsyth County!  These local, shows won’t break the bank AND they’re for great causes as well!  As with all events listed on our website, these are subject to change especially due to weather.  We encourage you to follow the event on Facebook or the website provided, if applicable, for most recent & accurate information.

Christmas in Castille:

Location:  4220 Tivoli Way, Alpharetta GA 30004 (Forsyth County)
Date:  2017 Schedule:  December 1st – December 23rd
Time:  Thursdays – Saturdays, 6pm to 9pm
Details:  Christmas in Castille is a free animated Christmas light display showing more that 57,000 lights synchronized to music.  Pull up and enjoy the spectacle of lights in stereo.

Like Christmas in Castille on Facebook
Visit Christmas in Castille Online

Ashebrooke Night of Lights:

Location: Ashebrooke Subdivisions – Bethelview Road (between Kelly Mill and Hwy 20)
Date: TBD
Time: TBD
Details: Visit Ashebrooke Subdivision for the 12th annual “Night of Lights” –  the residents of Ashebrooke light up their streets and their homes with luminary bags & candles to put on a great display of lights in an effort to help raise money for a worthy cause.  This year’s beneficiary is to be announced soon. In the meantime, read about one of the famous homes in the neighborhood for amazing lights – Forsyth County’s Gingerbread House.

The community is invited to drive through the streets of Ashebrooke & enjoy the lights. There is no charge. However a bucket is set up for donations.

Click here for more information about Ashebrooke’s Night of Lights

Happy House in Cumming:

Location: 5455 Young Deer Dr Cumming GA 30041
Date & Time: The Christmas lights are on daily from 6pm until 10pm from now til January 1. They will also have an open house on December 21 from 6pm-8pm for viewers to see the decorations inside their home.
Details: Happy House has 100,000 + lights and named Happy House by the children in the neighborhood. No fancy music or wild flashing lights more like an Old Fashioned Christmas enjoyed by young and old.  

Lanier Islands Christmas: 

The annual fun is back with a new rate and celebrating the 25th year!

Location:  7000 Lanier Islands Parkway, Buford GA
Date:  November 17th – January 3rd
Time: Nightly 5pm to 10pm
Details: Like many great traditions, we mixed a little old, with a little new to bring you best light show ever! On this 25th anniversary we’re bringing back the ’12 Days of Christmas’ display. After a two-year hiatus, the 13-display attraction returns better than before. You can sing holiday tunes with your family as you drive pass each sparkling light display. ’12 Days of Christmas’ joins the long list of much-loved displays such as Santa’s Elves at Work, ‘the North Pole Express, Jack & the Bean Stalk, Wizard of Oz, ‘the Poinsettia Candelabra, the Icicle Tunnel, the Carousel, and so many more! Be on the lookout for the massive ***NEW*** 65-foot Universal Christmas Tree at the clock tower roundabout. It is truly a sight to see!  Click here for more information. 

Holiday Springs Lights

Location: First Baptist Church Holly Springs – 2632 Holly Springs Pkwy, Canton, GA 30115
December 1st – 23rd (Planning on these dates, i’ll update if they change)
For more details you can check their Facebook page at any time. They are working on the set up of the light show right now. It’s the light show that used to be at Cagle Family Farm.

Website | Facebook

Northside Hospital Forsyth – Celebration of Lights

Location: Northside Hospital Cherokee (450 Northside Cherokee Blvd.
Canton, GA 30115)
Date: December 1st
Time: 6pm
Details: Each year, Northside Hospital honors those affected by cancer with the lighting of giant Christmas trees atop its campuses in Atlanta, Alpharetta and Cumming, and a free community celebration at Northside Hospital-Forsyth. Each of the 48,000 lights on the three Christmas trees can be purchased and designated in honor or memory of family, friends and physicians. {Please note the location change for the 2017 celebration.} 

To make a secure tax-deductible donation or to download an order form, visit https://give.northside.com/lights.

Dawson Junction Subdivision

Location:  121 Switchman Lane, Dawsonville GA 30534
Date: Sun – Thur 5:30- 10pm and Friday & Saturday 5:30 – 11pm
November 24 – December 23rd
Details: Tune your radio station to 107.7 to make the light show start.

Click here to see a short video 

No Animated Light Shows This Year:

Red Hawk Christmas

Update: According to their Facebook page, they will not have a show this year.

Here’s the message they posted:

“I want to start off saying Thank You to those who have come out to see our show in recent years. Unfortunately some things have come up this year and as a result we will not have a light show this year. We hope to return in 2017 bigger and better than ever.”

Location: 173 Aplomado Lane W, Dawsonville, GA
: An Animated Christmas Light Show in North Georgia. This year they have 12,000+ lights timed to several Christmas Carols. The show is Free and any donations will benefit KARE for Kids. A local non-profit who gives local children in need the Christmas they deserve. Check here for more details.

Blink Midwinter 

Details: According to their Facebook page, they will not have a show this year.

Here’s the message they posted:

“Blink Midwinter is on an indefinite hiatus. Not saying we’ll never be back, but it’s not on the radar any time soon. May your 2017 be merry and bright!”

Looking for more LIGHTS??

For lights around the Atlanta area, be sure to check out this round up of 25 Sparkling Christmas Light Displays Near Atlanta from our friends at 365 Atlanta Family.

Did we miss any of your favorites? Feel free to leave a comment below to share with all of us!


Grand Opening of New Multi-Brand Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins Restaurant

Excitement Brewing in Cumming with Opening of New Multi-Brand Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins Restaurant

Grand Opening Celebration to include Free Coffee for a Year for First 50 Guests on Saturday, November 11; Dunkin’ Donuts to Salute Veterans and Active Duty Military with a free donut no purchase necessary on Veterans Day

Dunkin’ Donuts, America’s favorite all-day, everyday stop for coffee and baked goods, along with Baskin-Robbins, the world’s largest chain of ice cream specialty shops, will celebrate the grand opening of its new multi-brand restaurant in Cumming at 5470 Bethelview Road on Saturday, November 11 from 10AM to 2PM.

To celebrate the grand opening, the restaurant will host with a ribbon cutting ceremony and will reward the first 50 customers with free coffee for a year beginning at 10AM. Additionally, the event will feature a 99-cent medium hot or iced coffee offer, 99-cent kid’s ice cream scoop offer, coupons for discounted Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins menu offerings and more. With the grand opening scheduled on Veterans Day, the location will also participate in Dunkin’ Donuts’ nationwide salute to veterans and active duty military by offering them a free donut, no purchase necessary.

The new 2,400 square foot location will be open from 5AM to 10PM seven of days a week and employ approximately 20 crew members. The restaurant can accommodate seating for 28 guests indoors and eight guests outdoors. It also features a drive-thru window for even greater convenience for busy people on the go, soft comfortable seating, flat-screen television and free Wi-Fi.

The new Dunkin’ Donuts in Cumming will keep people energized with the brand’s beverage offerings including high-quality, freshly-brewed Hot and Iced Coffees, Cold Brew and Rainforest Alliance Certified™ Dark Roast, along with a Rainforest Alliance Certified™ espresso lineup featuring Americano, Cappuccino, Espresso, and Hot and Iced Lattes and Macchiato. Dunkin’ Donuts will also serve a full menu of Premium Hot Teas, Coolatta® frozen beverages, delicious donuts, bakery goods and sandwiches that pair perfectly with the brand’s coffee beverages.

Baskin-Robbins will offer its wide selection of delicious ice cream flavors, including classics like Mint Chocolate Chip, Pralines ‘n Cream and Jamoca® Almond Fudge, as well as a new Flavor of the Month every month. Baskin-Robbins will also feature custom ice cream cakes, ice cream sundaes and flavorful frozen beverages, including Milkshakes, Smoothies and Cappuccino Blast® frozen drinks. Baskin-Robbins’ ice cream cakes can be customized with a guest’s favorite ice cream and cake flavor combination and can be ordered in-store or online at BaskinRobbins.com/OnlineOrdering. Baskin-Robbins custom ice cream cake orders are available for pick-up within 24 hours of ordering.

With Dunkin’ Donuts’ On-the-Go Ordering, members of the DD Perks® Rewards Program can place their Dunkin’ Donuts order in advance using their mobile phone, speed past the line and go straight to pick up when they get inside the store. Guests can also pick up their mobile order at the drive-thru. Guests can place a mobile order up to 24 hours in advance, then simply confirm via the Dunkin’ Mobile app when they are at the restaurant and ready to pick up their order.

Amin Premjee, of Cuppa Coffee Inc., is the Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee for the new restaurant in Cumming and currently operates three total restaurants throughout the Macon DMA.

“We are proud to serve the people who live and work here in Cumming, and look forward to becoming a popular destination and an everyday routine for guests looking for high quality coffee, snacks, and ice cream treats delivered fast in a friendly environment and at an affordable price,” said Premjee.

Dunkin’ Donuts is America’s favorite all-day, everyday stop for coffee and baked goods, selling more than 1.9 billion cups of hot and iced coffee and espresso-based beverages per year and approximately 2.8 billion donuts and MUNCHKINS® donut hole treats combined globally per year. Today, there are more than 12,200 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants worldwide in 45 countries, including more than 8,800 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants across the U.S. and more than 3,400 international restaurants.

In 1945, Baskin-Robbins was founded in Glendale, Calif., by two ice cream enthusiasts who shared a dream to create an innovative ice cream shop that would be a neighborhood gathering place for families. Today, guests at more than 7,800 Baskin-Robbins shops in more than 50 countries visit to sample from the more than 1,300 flavor creations available in its ice cream flavor library. Baskin-Robbins offers guests its wide range of hard scoop ice cream flavors, along with custom ice cream cakes, delicious frozen beverages, ice cream sundaes and take-home frozen treats.

To learn more about Dunkin’ Donuts, visit www.DunkinDonuts.com and follow @DunkinGA on Twitter.

To learn more about Baskin-Robbins visit www.baskinrobbins.com or follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/baskinrobbins) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/baskinrobbins).

About Dunkin’ Donuts
Founded in 1950, Dunkin’ Donuts is America’s favorite all-day, everyday stop for coffee and baked goods. Dunkin’ Donuts is a market leader in the hot regular/decaf/flavored coffee, iced coffee, donut, bagel and muffin categories. Dunkin’ Donuts has earned a No. 1 ranking for customer loyalty in the coffee category by Brand Keys for 11 years running. The company has more than 12,400 restaurants in 46 countries worldwide. Based in Canton, Mass., Dunkin’ Donuts is part of the Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: DNKN) family of companies. For more information, visit www.DunkinDonuts.com

About Baskin-Robbins
Named a top ice cream and frozen dessert franchise in the United States by Entrepreneur magazine’s 38th annual Franchise 500(r) ranking in 2017, Baskin-Robbins is the world’s largest chain of ice cream specialty shops. Baskin-Robbins creates and markets innovative, premium hard scoop ice cream, a full range of beverages, and a delicious lineup of desserts including custom ice cream cakes, the Polar Pizza® Ice Cream Treat and take-home ice cream quarts and pints, providing quality and value to consumers at more than 7,800 retail shops in 52 countries worldwide. Baskin-Robbins was founded in 1945 by two ice cream enthusiasts whose passion led to the creation of more than 1,300 ice cream flavors and a wide variety of delicious treats. Headquartered in Canton, Mass., Baskin-Robbins is part of the Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: DNKN) family of companies. For more information, visit www.BaskinRobbins.com.

Nido Cafe: 5 Reasons To Go For Dinner This Weekend

Nido Cafe: 5 Reasons To Go For Dinner This Weekend

I believe I have found your treasured hiding place for a perfect night out in Forsyth County. You may have heard of Nido Cafe in Vickery Village as a coffee and breakfast location. But, did you know they also serve dinner and lunch? Since they opened, I’ve been a big fan of Nido’s Almond Milk Latte and Protein Plate Breakfast. I’ve also enjoyed the Avocado Sesame Crab Salad for lunch many times. To be honest when it came to dinner, I just didn’t think of Nido. That is until two weeks ago! My husband and I enjoyed a date night on Saturday in this modern day farmhouse.

Today, I’m urging you to take a chance on finding your treasured night out location right here in our community at Vickery Village. Nido means “to nest or find a hiding place or den.” Join me and allow Nido Cafe to be your nesting place with friends and loved ones!

My 5 reasons for recommending you to go experience dinner at Nido Cafe are below in no particular order…

The Perch

Isn’t that a pretty view!? When we went the weather was in full fall mode It was in the 60’s with a nice breeze. Which was the perfect evening to experience the perch. This perch overlooks the middle of Vickery Village. It has two comfy couches, piped in relaxing music, and a water feature to help make it a private place to enjoy. Because it was the two of us, I quickly moved next to my husband. We enjoyed eating, laughing and talking in this peaceful private environment.

The Tapas

What I love about tapas is the opportunity to try a bunch of things on the menu. You don’t have to commit to one item for your dinner. And with so many decadent tapa choices we had a hard time choosing just a few.

Here’s where we landed:

  • Crab Cakes: Two jumbo lump crab cakes on basil cream sauce.
  • Country Paella: Chicken, ham, tomatoes and chorizo slow cooked in saffron rice
  • Steak Chimichurri: Tender sliced steak w spicy chimichurri and spinach.

Check out the Tapas menu by clicking here.

The Dessert

The dessert at Nido Cafe is absolutely Heavenly. For our desserts, we shared a Chocolate Crepe topped with Bananas and the Nutella & Peanut Butter Fondue.  As you can see in the photo – the fondue came with graham crackers, strawberries, apples, bananas, marshmallows, and fresh pound cake. We ate every bit of this and honestly didn’t want it to end. Such a perfect way to wrap up our night. Aren’t you hungry now reading all this? I’m ready to eat there again now!

Find out what else is on the dessert menu by clicking here. 

The Coffee

The coffee at Nido Cafe is served all day long. Nido’s Almond Milk Latte is my personal fave. However, tonight I wanted to try something new. I ordered the Pumpkin Spiced Latte and Greg got the Nutella Latte. We had both of these made with almond milk instead of whole milk. A few words I would use to describe these coffee drinks would be: smooth, creamy, flavorful, and exceptional!

The Atmosphere

Like I said before, I have eaten break and lunch at Nido many times. Every time I’ve eaten there the service has been great. And I just like the feel you get there. You truly feel like you are in a big city restaurant but I’m only 15 minutes from my home. The atmosphere at Nido Cafe is different than anything we’ve experienced. And we like it. We like it a lot. And we think you will too!

More About Nido Cafe:

We all like to eat. Not just eat though, we like to escape and feel like we have left the country for a few hours. Food and wine can take you on a journey. We like that journey. It makes us happy when Atlanta traffic gets us down. So we look for a place to roll in, tell stories that likely aren’t true and laugh until its time to go home. So we built this place because we want to hang out here. Somewhere cool.

At Nido you can experience something different and cool. So – come for breakfast and have a strawberry, basil and brie sandwich. Or maybe come for lunch and have lobster stuffed mushroom caps and a Spanish white wine. You could also come for dinner and have lamb lollypops with a red wine from Rioja that makes your toes curl. Or maybe just maybe you want hot ooey gooey chocolate chip cookies with a shot of ice cold milk. The point is you just need to get here for one reason or another. Once you get here you will understand what its all about. We can wait to serve you!

Address: 5755 Clarion Street, Cumming, GA 30040
Phone: 678-341-9695

Connect Online: Facebook | Instagram

7am -5pm Monday & Tuesday
7am-9pm Wednesday & Thursday, Friday & Saturday
8am-5pm Sunday

Rachael Walkup has lived in North Georgia all her life. Since 2006 – The Walkup family has made Forsyth County their home. Along with being a wife and mom, Rachael is an avid blogger, social media expert, and owner of CummingLocal.com. Her time is spent promoting local events and small businesses in North Georgia.  With a background in Marketing and Sales, coupled with her experience in Project Development and Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Rachael offers consultations and classes to help clients reach their fullest potential.

Disclosure: Nido Cafe provided us with three tapas, two desserts, and two coffees. All opinions stated in this article are 100% my own.

Holiday House {2017}

Holiday House {2017}

Each year in Forsyth County, hundreds of parents struggle to make the holidays special for their families.  Join us this year, as we invite you to bless these families by contributing to the 3rd Annual Holiday House.  The Holiday House is a place where parents can shop for gifts for their children.  This year’s event will take place on Thursday, December 14th- Saturday December 16th.  How can you help? The Place of Forsyth County has three ways to help – donate, sponsor or volunteer.


We are seeking donations for all ages.  We ask that all items donated are new, except for good condition used bicycles and gaming systems.

Some ideas to generate donations:

  • Put a donation box in high traffic area in your business.
  • Offer a % off on an item or service in your business.
  • Bring a toy, get a raffle ticket to win an item or service of your choice.
  • Purchase a gift card and automatically have a free one donated to the Holiday House.
  • Match toy donation with a financial contribution to Holiday House.
  • Collect stocking stuffer bags for ages 0-18.
  • Collect or provide gift wrap, tape, bows, and ribbons.
  • Provide food, drinks, and volunteers in the kids and volunteer hospitality rooms.

Sign up to donate supplies needed for the event: http://bit.ly/HHtoydrive


Sponsorship opportunities are also available. If you prefer to offer a financial contribution, you can contribute to The Place of Forsyth County and indicate “Youth.” If you are interested in donating to the Holiday House, please email HolidayHouse@theplaceofforsyth.org or you can call at 770-887-1098.

Donate financially online: https://www.myregistry.com/organization/Holiday-House-Cumming-Ga/948475

All contributions go to families in Forsyth County. With your contributions, you can help bring holiday joy and spirit of the season to those in need.

Business Sponsor Options:

  • Angel Sponsor ($1,000):   Sponsor provides toys, decorations, gift wrap, shopping supplies for the Holiday House. (Sponsor logo on t-shirts, Name and Logo on banner, Photo Booth with logo backdrop, Press Release, Social Media, and special recognition at the event.)
  • Snowman Sponsor ($500): Sponsor provides toys, decorations, gift wrap, shopping supplies for the Holiday House. (Sponsor Logo on banner, Photo Booth with logo backdrop, Press Release, Social Media, and special recognition at the event.)
  • Candy Cane Sponsor ($250): Sponsor provides toys, decorations, gift wrap, shopping supplies for the Holiday House. (Photo Booth with logo backdrop, Press Release, Social Media, and special recognition at the event.)


Making Holiday House a success takes a lot of volunteers! Volunteers are needed to qualify families, set up, work during the event, and clean up after. Bilingual volunteers are always a big value add to the event.


Sign up here: http://bit.ly/HHvolunteer

The Place of Forsyth County:

logo-3The Place of Forsyth County is a local nonprofit that has passionately serving residents of Forsyth County since 1975. The Place assists resident families with essential needs in difficult times.


Connect with The Place of Forsyth Online: Website | Facebook

Next Generation Focus: Power to Dream

Next Generation Focus: Power to Dream

Four afternoons a week, plus Saturdays, the halls of Grace Chapel Church fill with noise and laughter. Kindergarten-age through middle school kids come through the door with their backpacks on their back and smiles on their faces.

“I got a 100 on my test today!” says one beaming little boy, and a teenager gives him a high five. This is Next Generation Focus—a nonprofit that “equips the next generation of leaders by providing educational and financial resources, as well as mentoring support,” and that could well be considered the hidden gem of Forsyth County.

“As a PTA volunteer and teacher’s helper at my daughter’s school, I saw first-hand how many children were struggling with literacy under teachers who were too stretched to help,” says Amy Sol, the founder of Next Generation Focus. “When a teacher told me that some of the kids never held a pair of scissors or a crayon because their parents could not afford a preschool program, my heart broke.”

For Sol, the turning point came as she listened to her pastor’s sermon one Sunday. “He challenged the congregation to attempt something so great that it was doomed to fail unless God was in it,” she says. The next thing she knew, Next Generation Focus had been born. NGF has two main programs: SmarterMe® Saturday, and SmarterMe® Afterschool Academy.

“The goal of Next Generation Focus’s SmarterMe® Program is to improve academic achievement of at-risk students in grades K-8 in the core academic content areas of reading/language arts and mathematics,” Sol says. She adds that both Saturdays and weekdays focus on reinforcing reading and math skills, and that both programs charge a small registration fee to families involved in order to maintain commitment.

Next Generation Focus is for any child who needs a little help in school. “Though many of our students come from low-income families, students from every walk of life are welcome,” says Sol. “The cost is just the $65 registration fee, but low cost does not mean low quality—the quality of instruction is high because certified teachers who are familiar with the school’s rubric develop the curriculum.”

In addition to the certified teachers, Sol also highlights NGF’s high school volunteers.

“We intentionally recruit teen volunteers to tutor children in grades K-8, thereby allowing youth to serve youth,” Sol explains. “It’s a great way to get service hours for Beta Club, but more importantly it’s a fantastic opportunity to make a real contribution to society.” She adds that the benefits are mutual: “Both teen tutors and their students benefit tremendously from their relationships with each other. Having great role models is important for young children, and for a teen tutor, the impact of seeing firsthand how they are improving a child’s life is immeasurable.”

As a teen tutor myself, I know firsthand what she means. “I had lots of friends in my old country,” one little boy tells me one day in his heavily accented English. “We had a lot of fun playing. They had the same language as me; I don’t know how to say their names in English. I had to come to the USA when I was six. It took, like, ten years to get here, and I miss my friends.” He looks downcast. But then he perks up. “I have lots of friends in the USA already, too!” I’m left marveling at his resilience. Another little girl says, “I can’t decide if I want to be a scientist or a teacher when I grow up.”

“Who says you can’t be both?” I suggest. She beams. By showing kids God’s love, by offering them teen role models, by helping kids succeed in school, NGF offers its kids something else—something that’s very important. It gives them the power to dream.

Next Generation Focus is always in search of more teen tutors and more certified teachers, and they always welcome more kids. If your child needs help, especially during the crucial early grades of K-3, please contact us at info@nextgenerationfocus.org.

You can read more about NGF and its programs at www.nextgenerationfocus.org.


Hailey Hudson is a young author, blogger, and freelance writer who happily calls Cumming home. When she’s not pursuing her careers in writing or children’s ministry, she’s playing fastpitch softball, obsessing over Harry Potter, or snuggling with her beagle puppy, Sophie. Learn more by following her blog.

Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday Gift Guide 

Are you ready to SHOP LOCAL & GIVE LOCAL this holiday season?  We’re hoping to make the process a little easier for you.  We’re excited to have the following business sponsors and affiliates supporting this year’s 2017 Holiday Gift Guide!

Nourish your body, mind, and soul..from bath bombs to body scrubs, all AmaZenSkin products are handcrafted using all organic ingredients. Choose your products based on your mood. Don’t see the scent you are looking for? That is OK. “Just let us know and we will be happy to accommodate with any special orders. We treat our customers like family and want you to be happy with your purchase. Be sure to spread the love by referring friends and family.”

All of the AmaZenSkin products make terrific gifts. Contact Amazen Skin at amazenskin@gmail.com to schedule your complimentary consultation for AmaZen holiday gift sets. Have a Namaste Day!

Shop the online catalog here: www.amazenskin.com


*Special Discount for Cumming Local Readers – Use promo code MEETUP at checkout to schedule pickup and avoid shipping charges

Bliss Birth Services is a Birth and Postpartum Doula, Placenta Encapsulation, Breastfeeding basics, and Cloth Diaper Loan Mentor.

As a birth and postpartum doula, we provide non medical, judgement free support. Our goal as your doula is to help you prepare for your birth, feel good in the choices you make, and for you to feel supported and satisfied in your birth experience. We will strive to help you understand all of your options and provide a list of professional, reliable resources that are right for you.

Our clients can count on us to provide reliable and prompt service, Support any birth choices : whether you are wanting unmedicated , an epidural, at home or at a hospital, a planned cesarean or other choices. We look forward to building a positive relationship with you, your family, and your provider. To learn more, read a recent featured article written by Cumming Local – Premier Doula Service in Cumming GA

Website: https://www.blissbirthservices.net/

*Special Discount for Cumming Local Readers – Mention Cumming Local and receive 10% off.

Give the gift of time! We all have plenty of “things” but the one thing we all crave is more time to relax. We do all the shopping and prep work for you. Have delicious dinners your family will love on the table quickly with the Dream Dinners concept.

“We cherish and celebrate family time, and of course Mom, the one who works so hard to make it happen! This year give an original, thoughtful gift everyone will remember. Gift cards available or if “quality time” is their love language, book a time to come in together and have fun making dinner!”

Stop by during business hours or call to purchase a gift card!

Website: www.dreamdinners.com/cummingga Phone: 770.887.4141

Forsyth Academy of Performing Arts provides a creative, safe, professional environment for students to develop skills essential to the performing arts and beyond. They offer classes in musical theater, voice, choreography, acting, improvisation, and creative writing along with a wide variety of productions and performances for students to participate in including musicals like The Lion King and Mary Poppins (coming this spring!) and non-musical straight plays. They also offer homeschool enrichment courses and productions, private acting coaching, birthday parties, weekend workshops and MORE!

“We offer classes for children ages 4 and up. Our classes make GREAT holiday gifts for the students in your life! Please contact us for more details and take advantage of our special Cumming Local discount!”

Registration Link: www.forsythperforms.com

*Special Discount for Cumming Local Readers – Registration Fee waived for any Cumming Local readers. (New students only, $35 value, please enter Cumming Local in the Comment box at registration.)

Here’s A Question

Family conversations can be challenging sometimes and it can be hard to start up a conversation with your family. Around October of last year, I started looking for a list of fun family conversation starters and randomly found this treasure called Here’s A Question online. I decided to purchase this 357 page book as a gift for my kids (age 5 and 8) for Christmas. Since Christmas this book has been a staple for us. Click here to read more about this.

Purchase a copy of Here’s A Question

Just One Africa is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which seeks to inspire each individual to effect change – the change they wish to see in the world! We believe it takes JUST ONE person to make a difference, and we believe each one of us is valuable and created with a purpose!

Shop Just One Africa to find fair trade, handmade, African jewelry and accessories. 100% of your purchases fund our clean water and sustainability projects in Kenya. We thank you for shopping, and hope that you realize the value in you, the value that JUST ONE person has!

For more information visit our main site at www.justoneafrica.org.

*Special Discount for Cumming Local Readers – Use the coupon code LOCALGIFT for 15% off your order.

Looking for great kids gifts this holiday season?
Not sure what to get your child this year?
Does your niece or nephew have everything?
Does your mother-in-law need a gift idea?

We have a perfect (and easy) solution for gifts for children ages newborn to five…Kindermusik Gift Certificates!

The gift of a Kindermusik Music Class will be far more memorable than the latest toy or gadget. It is a gift that keeps on giving and memories last a lifetime! Gift certificates can be written for any amount (*Hint* One month of classes is $63; one semester of classes is $189; and one Playdate is $15) and they never expire. They can be used towards any future class or materials cost.

To learn more, visit GrowingMusicians.Kindermusik.com!

Pricing: Weekly classes cost $63 per month. Playdates cost $15. Sibling discount available.

*Special Discount for Cumming Local Readers – Mention “Cumming Local Reader Discount” when purchasing a full semester gift certificate by 12/31/17 to receive a $12 discount.

Music Authority is your shopping destination for local music! We sell guitars, drum sets, amplifies, and musical dreams! From the beginner to the seasoned musician, we have the gear you want to put into that stocking.

Not ready for the big stage? Then join us for music lessons. We offer lessons seven days each week on almost any instrument imaginable. Our professionals will teach, mentor, and help your musician define and reach their musical dreams. We offer lessons to all ages – you’re never too old to pick up that new instrument.

Music Authority has been named among NAMM’s Top 100 Music Dealers, worldwide, three years in a row. In 2017, Music Authority was named ACE Capital’s Commercial Entrepreneur of the Year. Come experience the difference excellence makes!

We offer instruments at a variety of price points. Lessons are $105 per month.

Connect with Music Authority Online: Website | Facebook

Phone: 770-886-9066 | Address: 123 Merchants Square, Cumming

*Special Discount for Cumming Local Readers – Show us this ad on your phone and we’ll give you 10% off your gear purchase, or $10 off your first month of lessons.

Give someone special the experience of Nido Cafe! When you step into Nido, you’ll feel like you are in a Spanish cafe. Try our gourmet specialty coffee drinks, enjoy our avocado toast or nutella crepes for breakfast, have a sesame crab salad for lunch, share chocolate fondue and lattes with a friend on a cold Saturday afternoon, enjoy ladies night out with wine and tapas outside on our VIP Perch or come in the evening for a romantic date night.

Our gift cards make the perfect gift and are available in any amount. Whether you want to thank a special teacher or need to show your appreciation to a big client, your recipients will thank you for your gift of the Nido experience!

Nido is also available for your holiday parties. Private and semi-private options are available depending on the size of your group. We have hosted book signings, corporate lunches, rehearsal dinners, baby showers, neighborhood socials and much more…all with rave reviews! Stop in and take a look at our beautiful space. Select from our indoor dining area or our enclosed patio for your special occasion. Our Spanish tapas menu, Spanish wine selection and our unforgettable desserts will have your guests talking about your event for years to come!

Nido Cafe | 5755 Clarion Ste, Cumming | Phone: 678.341.9695

Connect Online with Nido Cafe: Facebook | Instagram 

Read this featured article from Cumming Local for more information about dinner at Nido – “Nido Cafe: 5 Reasons To Go For Dinner This Weekend

NuSkin is heralded as “America’s fastest growing whitening toothpaste is safe & effective for the whole family!” Product users state they have seen the difference in their teeth.

Here’s a few reasons why we LOVE the product:
* Brightens and whitens teeth
* Helps remove stains
* Helps remove and prevent plaque build-up
* Provides a long-lasting smooth, clean, and fresh feel
* Has a refreshing, trademark vanilla mint flavor
* Has no harmful bleach or peroxides!

To Order – Email: ahamersley@yahoo.com Phone: 954-551-9177

*Special Discount for Cumming Local Readers – Mention Cumming Local and receive 10% off your purchase.

QB54 is the ultimate tailgating and backyard, family fun game on the planet. Owners explain QB54 as a “complete game of football built into two traditional folding chairs! Get completions, touchdowns, kick extra points, even interceptions!”

“Don’t just throw a football, throw it with a purpose: Playqb54 You get 2 game chairs, 2 sets of goal posts, carrying bag, and 1 logo football. Game chairs come in navy, red, black, camo, green.”

Website: http://www.playqb54.com

Price: $99.54 for the Complete Game Set

*Special Discount for Cumming Local Readers – To receive $20 off use the promo code qb54xmas

Here are three reasons why you want to purchase a gift from Stella & Dot– for you or a loved one!

  1. DESIGNED IN-HOUSE: Their exclusive accessories are crafted by hand by their award-winning design team in their New York and Sausalito studios.
  2. ACCESSIBLE LUXURY: A high-end experience at surprisingly affordable prices. Buyers travel the world to work directly with the finest artisans and avoid unnecessary retail store markups.
  3. CELEBRITY COVETED: Their jewelry has been spotted on some of your favorite style influencers and celebs, and in your go-to fashion magazines and blogs

Shop the online store here –> www.stelladot.com/sreesengupta

Stitch Fix – Take the guessing out of gifting clothing. With a Stitch Fix gift card, let a personal stylist select items to fit his or her tastes and wardrobe needs. Click here to purchase a gift card.

Tootsie Towels is a mom and daughter business that started years ago as a hobby.

“When I had children, we started making these adorable hooded towels to use on my own children, as well as, give as new baby gifts. They quickly became the talk of every baby shower we went to. After a few years, we decided to start selling them to friends, and in 2015 we finally opened our Etsy Shop Tootsie Towels.”

These hooded towels are great quality and the best part is they are full size towels, so your child can use them from birth through childhood; the towels are perfect for baby showers, holiday gifts, or birthday gifts. Towels can be customized, including with or without a hood. All towels come packaged and ready to give – delivery and pick-up options available. For details visit their Esty shop.


*SPECIAL for Cumming Local readers: 15% off local pick up orders. Coupon expires after 12/15/17. The promo code “CUMMINGLOCAL” will take off 15% plus the shipping fee. If you want to order more than one towel, please make separate orders. 

Click here to start shopping!

Experience the power of magic with Travelmation-exclusive promotional pricing on a Walt Disney World vacation! Soar on the back of a Banshee in Pandora: The World of Avatar. Coast on Slinky Dog Dash in the brand new Toy Story Land. And find your own “Happily Ever After” with Magic Kingdom’s new nighttime fireworks spectacular. Plus, get agency-exclusive promotional pricing for Fall Break 2018 at Walt Disney World!

Rather cruise through the tropics? A Disney cruise over Fall Break is the perfect vacation for your family! Visit either the Bahamas or Caribbean on a 3, 4, or 7-night Disney cruise out of Port Canaveral, FL. Indulge in luxurious service, delectable meals, complimentary kids clubs, and adult-only spas. Then laugh and play with your favorite Disney characters during the Halloween party. And transform into buccaneers for Pirate Night, complete with a fireworks show off the ship!

For customized planning and pricing, contact one of our local Forsyth County agents: Alison Sponaas (alison@travelmation.net), Angela Barnard (angela@travelmation.net), Jessica McKee (jessica@travelmation.net), Kathy Hill (kathy@travelmation.net), Kristen Lamm (kristen@travelmation.net), Stephen Todd (stephen@travelmation.net) or Tara Latimer (tara@travelmation.net). Our expert Disney planning services are at no additional cost to you. Travelmation is an Earmarked, Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, helping families in Forsyth County create magical memories since 2015.

*Special Discount for Cumming Local Readers – Mention Cumming Local and receive a free autograph book after your vacation is paid in full.


Christina Glawe is a licensed massage therapist in the state of Georgia and certified in Neuromuscular therapy, reflexology and chair massage. While she is Spirit-led in the healing process, her focuses are in pain relief, increasing physical abilities and overall wellness for prenatal/postnatal women, athletes, and the hard working citizen.

Visit Facebook for more information 

Pricing: $80.00 for 1 hr, $125.00 for 90 minutes, $140.00 for 2 hrs

*Special Discount for Cumming Local Readers – $10 off when you mention this ad at the time of appointment.

The Words Journal is a 6×9 journal with five customizable tabs to help you organize and categorize all your journal entries. There are 45 preprinted and 18 blank stickers included so you can label your tabs and categorize your entries exactly like you want. If you ever want to reference a journal entry, you can easily find it again! A folder is included in the back to store special items.

The cover and tabs are laminated for durability. There are 20 double-sided, lined pages behind each tab for a total of 200 pages to journal, so you can use this for a while. Journal prompts are included to help you start writing! This makes a great gift for any special person in your life that loves to journal or record special events.

“This journal was inspired by my spiritual mentor who taught me the importance of organizing my journal entries, so I could find them again. The cover was designed with a friend and has a lot of special meaning behind every detail,” explained Kimberly Mcleod, owner.

Price $23 – Order on the Etsy Store

Shipping rates for 1-2 journals is $6.65 or $13.95 for 3-5 journals. This is for priority flat rate and includes insurance and tracking. See below for a free local pick up option.

*SPECIAL for Cumming Local readers: To avoid shipping fees, use the code CUMMINGLOCAL for a pick up option.

 Do you have a local product or service you’d like added to this holiday gift guide? Click here to submit your information today!