Nothing perks people up like pets. It’s hard not to smile when faced with a wagging tail, a cute trick or a crazy costume, so all of these elements make for the perfect fundraising event. On September 6, local charity group Sweetwater Mission is hosting the first Marietta Mutt Strutt, a dog parade open to canine participants of all sizes.

At 10 a.m. on that Saturday, join an expected 1,500 attendees at Marietta First United Methodist Church. Registered dogs strut their stuff in the parade beginning at 11:30, an costumes are encouraged. Your dressy dog could win in categories such as Pet/Owner Look-Alike, School Spirit, At the Movies and others. If your pup isn’t crowd-friendly, enter them in the “People’s Choice Award” category by posting a photo on the Marietta Mutt Strutt Facebook page. Costume contest winners receive prizes from Costco, which include new dog beds.strutt

In addition to the parade, the Marietta Mutt Strutt offers plenty of other activities until 3 p.m. Swing by the Bone Bar to scoop up free treats for your dog, and cheer on the participants in the adorable Dachshund races. Shop at any of the 60 vendor booths while enjoying the day’s soundtrack of live bluegrass music performed by the Cherokee Cut Ups. If you’re considering adding another pup to your pack, visit the eight local rescue groups who will be there with adoptable dogs.

Parking and admission are free, and registration to walk your dog in the parade begins at $20 per dog and rises to $30 on the day of the event. The proceeds go to Sweetwater Mission, the newly named partnership of Our Father’s Hands and Christian Aid Mission Partnership, which supports homeless and low-income neighbors by providing clothes, food, education and other crucial resources. And their good work doesn’t stop there – with this event, they’re spreading smiles to everyone who attends this four-legged day of fun.

Details: 56 Whitlock Ave., Marietta, GA, (770) 241-4302, 

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Each school day, 46 children are diagnosed with childhood cancer. With a numbers like that, you would expect that funding for childhood cancer research would be abundant, but that isn’t the case. Only 4 percent of the federal cancer research budget is allocated to childhood cancer research. rally_primary_2spotAfter experiencing childhood cancer first hand, the families of Walton High School came together to form the Rally Foundation in 2005. Since then, the foundation has gone nationwide and has given more than $5.25 million in research grants and funded 75 cutting-edge projects and fellows.
One of their projects is called “Ryder’s Research.” Ryder is another Walton student who was diagnosed with a brain tumor when she was only two years old. Considering the lack of research done for childhood cancer, Ryder had no choice but to undergo chemotherapy that was meant for adults. She recovered from her cancer, but still has to experience unpleasant and unpredictable after effects.
For several years, Ryder and her family raised money to find better chemotherapy options for children. From that determination and strength, Rally in the Valley was created. Rally in the Valley is a unique 7 X 7 ladies lacrosse tournament, hosted by Sportabella sportswear, which will take place September 6 and 7 in Raider Valley. A portion of the proceeds from the tournament go to fund “Ryder’s Research.” The public is encouraged to attend the tournament and cheer on the teams as they “shoot out cancer.”

Details: 1590 Bill Murdock Road, Marietta, Ga,, 

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Just because it’s fall doesn’t mean that the garden slows down! Sign up for the Organic Farming and Gardening course at Cane Creek Farm, taught by Farmer Lynn Pugh. Best Bites Atlanta Putting to use her farm experience and background in biology and plant pathology, Pugh guides students through the basics of crop planning, soil biology and organic practices. All levels of experience are welcome in this class, and you’ll soon recoup the $475 registration cost by growing your own groceries. This fall, the course dates include September 13 and 27, October 11 and 25, and November 8, 15 and 22.

Details: 5110 Jekyll Road, Cumming, GA, (770) 889-3793,, 

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Marriage and family therapist Shatavia Thomas, DMFT, NCC, LMFT, is here to give you her best advice on how to have a full life with an empty nest!

shatavia thomas


Q: What emotions can parents expect to feel when their kids are out of the house?

A: Some empty nesters may feel lonely, bored, sad and/or anxious. Others may feel a sense of relief or pride. Many may feel excited about reinventing themselves.

Q: What challenges may arise during this time?

A: For so long, their lives have revolved around their children. Now parents may struggle with regaining a sense of identity and purpose. Likewise, reconnecting as a couple may shed light on relationship concerns overshadowed by parental responsibilities.

Q: How can parents support each other emotionally? 

A: Ask for help and accept support when in need. Stay active and connected. Prioritize self-care.

Q: How can parents give appropriate emotional support to their children?

A: Parents can encourage independence and maturity by showing that they are confident in their abilities. Be a listening ear, but let them resolve their own roommate sagas, employer or professor conflicts and relationship issues. Just as you did when they were infants, let go so they can take a few steps on their own. Otherwise, they may not realize they can get back up on their own when they stumble or fall.

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A Capella Book‘s Courtney Irene Conroy is here to give you her best advice on how to hit to books this summer.

Courtney Irene ConroyQ: What upcoming titles should people be sure to read? 

A: Matthew Thomas’ upcoming title, “We Are Not Ourselves,” is a sprawling debut about a young Irish-American girl’s coming of age. I’m also really looking forward to Lena Dunham’s “Not That Kind of Girl” and to “Bad Feminist” by Roxane Gray.

Q: Which lesser-known authors should people get to know?

A: Lesser-known authors, Atlanta edition: Josh Russell and Blake Butler. Start with Russell’s “A True History of the Captivation, Transport to Strange Lands, and Deliverance of Hannah Guttentag: A Novel” and Butler’s “Nothing: A Memoir of Insomnia.”

Q: What book format do you prefer to read? 

A: Recently, I’ve been listening to some things on tape, especially at the gym. I listened to Walter Kirn’s “Blood Will Out,” chillingly narrated by Stephen Bell Davies, and it was excellent.

Q: How can someone pick a winner in the bookstore? 

A: Ask one of the employees for the best or worst book they’ve been reading. If a book is disliked enough to inspire invective, there might be something to it. Just don;t go by book jacket design. This only works with wine labels.


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Labor Day weekend invites plenty of outdoor enjoyment, even through something as simple as sidewalk chalk. Marietta’s annual Art in the Park festival now includes The Chalk Spot, an opportunity for kids to let their creativity go wild – within three square feet of pavement, that is. art in the park mariettaOn August 30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., registered children will receive a 30-count box of chalk, a goodie bag and the chance to create a chalk masterpiece that will remain on display through the rest of the weekend. The $10 registration price for the event benefits the art club of Marietta High School.

Details: Glover Park, 50 N. Park Square, Marietta, GA, 

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Dr. Hugh Flax from Flax Dental answers a reader’s question about how medications can affect your dental heath.

Dr. Hugh Flax 1


Q: Can certain medications affect my dental health?

A: Your overall health and your oral health are closely linked. This means all of your health care providers need to know which medications you are taking. For example, patients taking bisphosphonates, a common class of osteoporosis medication, are at a higher risk of developing jawbone decay during tooth extraction or implant, which can lead to jaw fractures or tooth loss. A bone turnover blood test can verify if you are at risk for complications. If you are at risk, you may need to delay procedures or take a drug “holiday” prior to surgery.

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Gazpacho is basically a liquid salad consisting of finely diced, super fresh vegetables and tomato juice served as a cold soup. Made with vine-ripe tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, garlic, olive oil and a splash of good vinegar, this delicious soup has been popular for centuries.



- 5 cups tomatoes, diced

- 3 cups tomato juice, ice cold

- 2 cloves garlic, minced

- 1/2 red onion, diced

- 1 large cucumber, diced

- 1 bell pepper, diced

- 1 zucchini, diced (optional)

- 2 tsp. fresh herbs (oregano, thyme, basil, cilantro, or parsley), finely chopped

- 1 tbsp. sugar

- 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

- 3/4 tsp. smoked paprika

- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)

- Salt and black pepper to taste

- Extra Virgin olive oil, for drizzling

- Sour cream (optional)

- Fresh croutons (optional)


In a food processor or blender, combine the minced garlic with half the red onion, half the cucumber, half the tomato, half the zucchini, half the celery, half the tomato juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, spices, herbs of your choosing and a dash of salt. Pulse until all ingredients are blended well and mixture has a speckled, colorful texture.

Pour into a large bowl and add the rest of the tomato juice. Add the remaining onion, cucumber, tomato, zucchini and celery. Stir and check seasonings, adding salt if needed.

Chill soup for several hours before serving, or add a few ice cubes to chill more quickly. Ladle into a bowl and garnish with your favorite topping, such as a dollop of sour cream, croutons, chopped cilantro, a sliver of fresh avocado or even a scoop of fresh crab meat. Serve with slices of grilled bread.

- Courtesy of Atlanta food blogger Denise Romeo of We Like to Cook!, 



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Dr. Louis Prevosti from Vein Atlanta answers a reader’s question about cankles.

Dr. Louis Prevosti Best RX: Vein Atlanta

Q: What is causing my cankles? 

A: Well-defined ankles yield a contour that is pleasing to the eye, and lack of this desirable contour is sometimes called “cankles.”  This can be caused by excess subcutaneous fat in the lower calf and around the ankles. Another cause is swelling from lymphedema or venous insufficiency. Cankles can also manifest due to heart, kidney or endocrine problems. Lipedema is yet another cause of cankles. Depending on the cause, you can shed excess pounds, tone up the calf muscles, have a fat-removal procedure such as liposuction or seek proper treatment for swelling from a qualified physician.

Do you have questions for our doctors? If so, please email them to 

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No MSG here! With the new restaurant arrival Doc Chey’s Dragon Bowl, “Chinese take-out night” is now a healthy option for you and your family. The restaurant offers bowls piled high with seasonal vegetables and adventurous ingredients inspired by Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai and Vietnamese flavors. bowl_introThe restaurant won’t serve fountain drinks, instead opting for organic ices teas and craft sodas, sweetened with cane sugar, rather than corn syrup. What’s more, Dragon Bowl will minimize food waste by focusing on seasonal, local ingredients and will use take-out packaging that is 100 percent recyclable and even compostable. Head to Emory Village for a meal that can be healthy for both you and the earth.

Details: 1556 N. Decatur Road, Atlanta, GA, (404) 378-8188, 

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