The Consumer Innovation Center has relocated, upgraded and is still paying people for their opinions…right here in Dunwoody!

by Audra H. Anders for The Aha! Connection

By now you have likely figured out that the “Perimeter Target Shopping Center” is now called Ashford Lane and keeps improving every day!  The Consumer Innovation Center used to be next door to HobNob and caddy corner from Superica but they’ve simply moved around the corner between Crunch Fitness and the new Hall at Ashford Lane. … Read More »

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Meet the Founder of Farmhouse Realty – Brandon Adkins ~ Local, Honest & Grateful

by Audra Anders for The Aha! Connection

About two years ago I started hearing about Farmhouse Realty but had no idea where in the world they came from.  Their social media was amazing, and I happened to recognize a couple of their faces as people I’d seen at Dunwoody United Methodist Church.  As it turns out, while the founder, Brandon Adkins, was teaching a Sunday School Class at DUMC my youngest son was the youth volunteer for Casey Drake’s Vacation Bible School Class.  I love the small town/small world connections experienced while living in Dunwoody! 

Peggy and I sat down recently with Brandon over coffee and tea at Crema.  Peggy recognized him immediately from their time together as DUMC Preschool and Vanderlyn parents and we quickly eased into a lovely conversation about all our common connections.  I noticed right away that Brandon seems very kind, loves his boys, and his heart is on fire for our Dunwoody community.

Let me tell you a little about Brandon.  He has three boys…Ben (12), Will (10) and Sam (6).  Brandon was raised in Cobb County, has graduate and undergraduate degrees from UGA, and began his illustrious 11-year career at KPMG as a CPA.  While at KPMG his industry of focus was…real estate.  Brandon even had the amazing opportunity to spend 3 years in Australia with KPMG.

When he moved back to the states, he spent a year in Atlanta and a year in Boston working with KPMG’s private equity clients.  In 2010, when his first son was on the way, he chose to settle in the Dunwoody North neighborhood primarily due to the awesome Brook Run Park across the street.  He started his family there and spent many hours at the park and getting to know Dunwoody, GA.

Brandon fell in love with Dunwoody, decided to put roots here and basically spent the next three years shopping for his dream house.  Brandon’s face lit up when telling Peggy and me about studying/watching every home listing, every bus stop, every neighborhood, every park during the search for his forever home.  In 2011, Brandon left KPMG to be an interim (short term) stay-at-home dad until he could find the right childcare fit.  As it turns out….Brandon was the perfect fit as a stay-at-home Dad for SIX YEARS until he made his next career move.

As the boys grew older and didn’t need full time childcare, Brandon was anxious to get back to work.  However, he wanted the flexibility to be with the kids after school, on school breaks, etc.  He has always been interested in Real Estate, so he started out slow by first obtaining his real estate license.  In 2017, Brandon joined Keller Williams and was mentored by fellow Dunwoodian, Michael Culver.

Brandon was successful right away.  In fact, he sold his first house a mere 17 days after obtaining his license, which at the time was a  Keller Williams Atlanta Perimeter Rookie record!  When we asked Brandon why he has been so successful, he claims it was not the CPA/Masters/KPMG experience but more likely his success has been fueled by the network he made as a stay-at-home Dad.  The master’s degree and consulting experience are the cherry on the top, but the many referrals, his co-workers, office manager and clients are all a result of his being a Dunwoody Dad.

He told us about his first listing.  The home was in The Branches and a competitor was also there even though the owners had stated they wanted to do a “for sale by owner” and weren’t interested in listing with a realtor.  Brandon boldly knocked on the door to introduce himself and forged a relationship with the owners.  He used his CPA background to show this owner why he would list his house at a certain price which happened to be higher than others had suggested by $100,000.   The owner rolled the dice on Brandon and ended up with multiple offers and sold over list price.  Brandon feels he has a skill set advantage when it comes to real estate….and that is PRICING.  But ultimately he believes his biggest advantage is his and his team’s network around Dunwoody.

Covid became a reality and suddenly Brandon was back home again running virtual school for his three sons.  He still sold houses, but the market was stagnant.  Once the market started getting stronger again, Brandon realized that he wanted to be an entrepreneur and to lead his own team.  He felt a need to share what he had learned with others, so he obtained his Broker’s license, created Farmhouse Realty, and hired smart, savvy people he had gotten to know during his years as a stay-at-home Dad. 

When asked why he chose the company name “Farmhouse”…Brandon indicates it came out of a sense of place/identity.  He wants it to truly be a local business. The farmhouse is the Dunwoody “icon” and is also a name that works well outside the community while still giving a direct nod to Dunwoody.

When I asked Brandon:  “What is different about Farmhouse Realty?”  He immediately responded with the following three words:  LOCAL | HONEST | GRATEFUL  Brandon says the Farmhouse team always defaults to these three words during the entire buying or selling process.

According to Brandon, the hardest part of real estate is getting people to hire you as their agent.  He doesn’t pursue random leads because he wants Farmhouse Realty to stay a “boutique” firm where referrals, connections and relationships drive business.  Brandon wants to be an advocate for Dunwoody and shows that by supporting many local events/teams/charities.

Brandon also knows Georgia lakes, so has helped lots of Dunwoody folks with land and lake houses.  He’s your guy if you desire a lake house….he recently helped Billy Payne and his son find an AMAZING Lake Oconee home (off market) via his Georgia lake home connections.

Earlier I mentioned I sensed Brandon is “on fire” for our community.  I wasn’t wrong.  After our chat,  I learned Brandon earned a “Dunwoody Citizen Commendation” in 2014 for heroically helping a Dunwoody Police Officer put handcuffs on a suspect in his neighborhood.  The officer struggled with the suspect and injured his wrist and ankle in the process.  He was unable to get his handcuffs out of his handcuff case and Brandon saw what was happening and stopped to help.

Stay tuned for more information about other members of the Farmhouse Realty team in the months to come!

Brandon Adkins, Farmhouse Realty
CPA, Owner, Managing Broker
678-983-4747 (cell)

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Meet Audra’s friend Laura – thoughtful, smart, successful adoptive mom of two!

by Audra Anders for The Aha! Connection

Back around the time I first started The Aha! Connection, I received an email from Laura Schilling inviting me to lunch at Panera in Dunwoody.  I didn’t know her, but she sounded nice and wanted to get to know me because she thought our newsletter was great for the community. … Read More »

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Let’s get to know Karen Cannon

by Audra H. Anders for The Aha! Connection

I met Karen many years ago at Foodie Patty’s 40th birthday celebration at Houston’s.  Needless to say, we’ve been friends for quite awhile now.  However, when I get together with Karen in my AHA! mode, we typically only chat about all things real estate.  When I sat down with her last week, I had to twist her arm a little to let me share a more personal side of her career story.

Karen would rather talk about her people though, like how excited she is to have recently added Erin Brachman to the KCR team.  Erin brings over 16 years of experience and loves the KCR “work hard, play hard” team environment.  In fact, their entire team and spouses were going fishing the following day for their annual fly-fishing trip to the famous Soque River hosted by one of her favorite closing attorneys, Larry Feldman.

Karen and her husband, Anderson, met almost 30 years ago when she was living in Buckhead.  At the time, she was working for ExecuTrain and Anderson owned a remodeling company.  Karen worked 8 years for ExecuTrain in sales and marketing then moved onto a position in sales for Gartner, an IT research and consulting firm, for the next 7 years.  Anderson began flipping houses while he and Karen were dating.

Newlyweds: Anderson and Karen

Anderson and Karen married in 2000 and, less than two years later, along came Trice…then Ella two years after that.  While the kids were babies, Karen felt the need to get out of the corporate world and was hoping to find a job with some flexibility and better suited for a new mom raising a family.  Looking back, she now laughs that she once thought real estate was anything less than all consuming!

Anderson suggested she get her real estate license so she could sell his renovated flips and see if a career in real estate might be a good fit.  After getting licensed in 2003, it did not take long before Karen started pursuing other people that needed her help.  Karen gained more and more clients and then sold a listing in her neighborhood (The Branches) and that’s when her real estate business began to take off.

That is also about the time Anderson got pulled into the “family business”.  Karen was still working her corporate job and needed Anderson to help with the growing real estate business.  His building background was a perfect complement to Karen’s sales skills.

When they got their real estate license, they originally hung it with a no-name, hands-off brokerage and set up an office in their basement.  They named their “team” Karen Cannon Realtors because it sounded more like a company and, Karen jokes, Anderson was adamant that they would sell a lot more houses if she were the “face” of the business, not him 🙂  Karen did what Karen does – sell.  Anderson helped clients work through inspections and get to closing but also designed the KCR logo, signs and did all the marketing back then too.

After a year, Karen left the corporate bliss and went full-time with real estate.  Anderson did too and, in 2008, got his broker license with plans to start their own firm.  Later that year, Karen Cannon Realtors, Inc. was established and, as they say, the rest is history.

Why is Karen so successful?  She credits follow-up skills, tenacity, and the ability to connect with people and the drive to help them…exactly the things that made her successful in the corporate world.  She’s extremely hard working and always willing to go the extra mile and still loves the art of every deal.

Karen and Patty

We segued for a moment to reminisce about the amazing human who originally introduced us…Patty Parker Moncrief AKA Foodie Patty.  Karen reminded me that she spent every Friday with Patty and their kids when they were younger.  Karen and Patty’s youngest children and oldest children were the same ages.  A perfect match.  Patty (the life of any party) would introduce her around.  Patty, other neighborhood friends, soccer friends, Austin friends helped spread the news about how awesome Karen was to work with and their business continued (and still continues) to grow and grow.

Now you can find them nestled between Marlow’s Tavern and First Watch in Dunwoody Village.  Karen and Anderson’s kids are practically grown.  Trice is thriving at Georgia College while getting a business degree and as a member of the bass fishing team.  He is planning for a career in sales.  Ella is in her first year at UGA studying finance and sports management but reportedly misses the fun real estate stories!

When not working, Karen and Anderson love to be on the lake with family and friends.  It’s their respite from the craziness of real estate.  Their kids love water skiing and wake boarding.  Now that they are empty nesters, they are also enjoying more traveling and weekends in Athens cheering on the Dawgs.

L-R…Anderson, Trice, Ella & Karen Cannon

I’m sure we will continue to see exponential growth from the KCR team…and I’m happy to have been able to give you a little sneak peek into how it all started.  

Karen Cannon Realtors
1317 Dunwoody Village Parkway #103
Dunwoody, GA 30338
(770) 821-6365
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The Woodhouse Day Spa is a World Class spa right in our own backyard!

by Audra Anders for The Aha! Connection

Last week I had the pleasure of stopping by the Woodhouse Day Spa for a tour with Khyshan Perlman (Franchise Owner) and Ashley Croft (General Manager).  A wonderful whiff of magical spa scents welcomed me when I walked in the door.  The combination of all the varieties of specialty products create an aroma that you just want to bask in…for hours!… Read More »

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The Davis Academy Launches New Community Parenting Initiative…….Nurture

In celebration of its 30th anniversary, and as a commitment to the greater Atlanta community, The Davis Academy is launching a new community initiative called Nurture.  After three decades of developing extraordinary educational experiences for its students, the school is thrilled to offer special programming and resources that will engage, connect, and support families with young children throughout greater Atlanta. … Read More »

Meet Shannon Durieux from The Suits Team of Keller Williams Realty

Shannon Durieux, The Suits Team

by Audra H. Anders for The Aha! Connection

Peggy and I set lofty goals to get out and meet with many of our clients in 2022!  As the year is winding down we have a few more on the calendar and, although scheduling has sometimes been difficult,  once we sit down for a client interview it turns into so much fun.  Last week, Shannon Durieux and I had a coffee date at the Dunwoody Village Starbucks.  Before the hour was over we were having a blast figuring out our MANY mutual friends and finding it impossible to believe our paths had not crossed before.  Turns out her oldest son was on my 2019 Spring Break trip!  I was in the DHS 11th grade “boy house” and her son was the guest of the younger brother of one of the 11th grade girls in the “girl house” next door…such a small world!

Andrew, Shannon, Alex, Jason & Mary Durieux

Shannon is one of those rare people who is actually from Atlanta.  She and her husband (Jason) were high school sweethearts at Duluth High School and have raised their family in Brookhaven within walking distance of Murphey Candler Park.  They have two boys and a girl plus a Great Dane named Tucker and a chocolate labradoodle named Cory.  Shannon’s oldest son, Alex, is a freshman at The University of Tennessee.  Her middle child, Andrew, is a sophomore at St. Pius and her daughter, Mary, is currently in middle school at Intown Community School.  Her husband is a residential contractor and owns AMA Contracting Services.  How cool is it that he can do all of her home inspections?  Plus, being married to a contractor gives Shannon a unique eye for understanding possibilities for home renovations for her clients.

Before deciding to become a realtor, Shannon graduated from Georgia State with a business degree.  She started out in the business world as a Buyer for MGM Studios.  Once her children entered the picture, she took a ten year hiatus.  When she was ready to get back to work, she took the advice of a friend and earned her Real Estate license and began working for Keller Williams in 2013.

Madalyn Suits’ son and and Shannon’s son are friends so it was only natural for Shannon and Madalyn to chat about real estate while watching their kids play ball.  About a year after working solo, Shannon joined The Suits Team and it has been a great match.  Shannon’s role on the team has mostly been as a Buyer’s Agent but she works her own listings as well.   Shannon completes around 40 transactions each year typically in Brookhaven, Dunwoody, Johns Creek, Alpharetta, Peachtree Corners, Smyrna and her hometown of Duluth.  

I asked Shannon to tell me what is unique about her approach to Real Estate.  I was not surprised to hear her say that referrals have been an enormous part of her success.  She has gotten at least one referral from every sale…that is truly amazing!   I can see why thought as she’s personable, patient, and a “hand-holder”….she loves when clients become new friends. 

I also asked Shannon to tell me what she’s experiencing with the recent changes in the real estate market.  She said from a buyers perspective we are back to negotiations, inspections, and closing costs, which had all but disappeared last year.  For sellers, Shannon says: “Don’t wait to list your home if you need to move!”  Selling is typically taking more time in today’s environment, so if you are definitely needing to move, go ahead and put your home on the market.

Toward the end of our discussion we couldn’t stop talking about all of the friends we have in common.  I love to make friend connections.  During my short visit with Shannon, I surmised she is dedicated to her clients and has a do what it takes and do what is right attitude.

I also found out The Suits Team is looking for talented Realtors to expand their high producing team.  Their team is all about relationships.  If you are interested contact

If you are considering selling your home or buying a new one let Shannon know!

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What can an interior designer do for you? Audra’s conversation with Linda Rickles

by Audra Anders for The Aha! Connection

Peggy and I sat down with Linda Rickles over coffee and tea at the Dunwoody Village Starbucks last week.  Peggy and I have very little experience with interior design and agree this was one of the most interesting client interviews we’ve done!

Let me tell you about Linda Rickles:

Linda was born and raised in Massachusetts and is a Boston University graduate and took continuing education courses at Harvard.  … Read More »

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Karen Cannon introduced us to Hudgins Property Group and you’ll want to know why!

by Audra Anders for The Aha! Connection

Recently Karen Cannon invited Peggy and me to see a section of The Branches neighborhood that we didn’t even know existed. There’s a row of beautiful new homes built by Hudgins Property Group on land acquired in 2017 with Karen’s help from Colonial Pipeline.  I had no idea there was vacant land anywhere in Dunwoody, particularly in the ever-so-popular Branches neighborhood.  

Denese and Andrew Hudgins have been married for 19 years and have worked together 10 of the 19!  Andrew, a Georgia Tech engineer, is the builder and Denese is the very talented designer. Be sure to visit their website to see all of the beautiful homes they’ve built together in our community.  Some have been renovations, some new construction and others have been homes that were torn down and re-built.  They have 3 active children, a 14 year old boy and 12 year old twins (boy & girl).  Watch the video we created to see the beautiful HUGE yard these kids are blessed with on Trailridge Court.

The Hudgins chose their particular home location because of its unique lot at the end of the street with a huge yard and open space across the street.  They build every home like they would live in it, never cutting corners, and always improving from home to home.  One unique practice Andrew is very proud of is spray foaming the entire house before installing the drywall.   This creates superior insulation in all of their homes.  Denese focuses on the design of each home.  She keeps functionality in mind for all of her designs….in fact, their newest project, 5208 Hidden Branches Lane, contains a “prep kitchen” because this is one room she and Andrew wish was in their own home.  In case you are wondering, a prep kitchen is an additional space that is accessible from the main kitchen.  Its main purpose is to support the focal kitchen, acting as the working space whilst concealing the more practical kitchen elements from the main kitchen design.  5208 Hidden Branches Lane is elevator capable with a built in shaft, three floors, a front and back covered porch, phenomenal technology upgrades and are over 5,000 square feet.

I’d like to formally thank my friend Karen for introducing us to Andrew & Denese Hudgins of Hudgins Property Group.  Karen has worked with them exclusively for 10 years and has sold all of their properties.  They have an extraordinary working relationship and we wanted to help spread the word about how amazing they are!  Contact Karen if you would like to know more about either of these two beautiful homes for sale!

Karen Cannon Realtors
1317 Dunwoody Village Parkway #103
Dunwoody, GA 30338
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Robin Blass ~ Bringing Real Estate & Family Together!

by Audra Anders for The Aha! Connection

Robin Blass

Robin invited me over for a chat at her Ashford-Dunwoody office last week and it was so nice to just sit and catch up for a while in person.  I had not been to her new office in Harry Norman’s Dunwoody location … they are in such a convenient location at the dead end of Ashford Center Parkway and Ashford Dunwoody Road.  I had never even crossed the road there in my 20+ years in Dunwoody but I’ll be back!

I learned a couple of interesting facts about Robin that I didn’t know before.  First, she’s related to one of my son’s very best friends and I had never put that connection together before…and I’m ALL about making connections!  Secondly, after high school graduation she moved to Atlanta from Jacksonville, Florida to pursue a career as an X-ray technician.  While studying at Emory University, she changed her career path, obtained her Real Estate license, and has been a Realtor since she was twenty years old!   

Robin and her husband David have three grown children, Jennifer, Lauren and Matt.  She also has a 6 year old granddaughter, three year old twin grandsons, another three year old grandson and a 7-month old granddaughter.  All the grandchildren live in Atlanta and Robin spends as much time as possible with them.  She’s lived in the same Sandy Springs house for more than twenty years and loves it.  The grandkids love it too…especially the pool!

Colleen Papciak, Director of Operations/Listing Manager
Lorena Theiler, Transaction Coordinator

Both of her daughters have worked with her in the past.  Lauren has continued to work with her and now they are part of the same team at Harry Norman, The Robin Blass Group.  The rest of their team consists of Colleen Papciak, Director of Operations/Listing Manager and Lorena Theiler, Transaction Coordinator.  Robin is extremely complimentary of her staff.   Their excellent camaraderie creates a great work environment.

Robin seems to have found the perfect work/life balance.  She admittedly likes to be “in control”  and “stay busy” but the great relationship she has with her staff means they experience a lot of positive give and take.  Robin truly loves her job and doesn’t mind working 7 days a week because she knows she always makes time for friends and family each day. 

Robin’s Family Captured at Palmetto Dunes on 18 Aug, 2022 by Amia Marcell


Because her job makes her happy, she prides herself on being an excellent problem solver and making sure her clients are happy.  This can be tricky since in a down market, some real estate agents say the only real motivators for people to sell or seek property are the three D’s: death, divorce and debt….which are not happy occasions.  Regardless, Robin’s goal is for everyone at the closing table to be happy.  Most of her business is from referrals and past customers…which is a good sign she’s keeping her clients happy!!!

The Robin Blass Group
Harry Norman, REALTORS®
4848 Ashford Dunwoody Road
Atlanta, GA 30338
(404) 495-8233


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Discover Dunwoody ~ Thinking Ahead for OUR Community

by Audra Anders for The Aha! Connection

We have City of Dunwoody, Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce, the PCID, Create Dunwoody, Discover Dunwoody, and so many countless other  organizations with similar names.  Does the average Dunwoody citizen have any idea what all these organizations do?  Since Discover Dunwoody has almost an entirely new staff, Peggy and I visited their offices to meet the new folks and gain a better understanding of their mission.… Read More »

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The Whitney Agee Team from zero to Chairman’s Circle Gold in 18 months!

by Audra Anders for The Aha! Connection

The Whitney Agee Team is the #1 medium size team in the Dunwoody Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices office!

Whitney resides in Dunwoody and has built her team from zero to Chairman’s Circle Gold in a  year and a half!   Chairman’s Circle Gold is top 3% out of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nationally.   When I learned about this, I was intrigued so decided to stop by and meet her.  As I approached Whitney’s glassed in office, I noticed she was meeting with a beautiful young pregnant woman that literally appeared to be about to POP out a baby!  I waited outside for them to finish their conversation and overhead so much sweet concern from Whitney as if she was herself, about to be the grandma (she’s way too young BTW!)  As it turns out, the beautiful mom to be was Audrey Lane, and her C-section was scheduled for two days later.  She had just stopped by the office to fill in her mentor on last minute work and plans for the baby.

Whitney seems to be in her element when helping mentor new agents.  She says all of her team has great nicknames for her all centering around her being like their “Work Mom”.  She’s relatively new at Real Estate herself, having obtained her license towards the end of 2018.  She briefly worked in Fayetteville, Georgia where she accumulated $3.3 million dollars in sales during her FIRST year as an Agent.  In October of 2019, she moved about 40 miles north to be near her family in Dunwoody.

Once moving to Dunwoody’s Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices office, she was excited and ready to meet new agents.   She loves to collaborate with others and kept meeting agents and thinking how great it would be if they were on a team together.  While based in Dunwoody, she had clients all over metro Atlanta and was so busy she was afraid many of the leads she collected would be lost.  So at the very end of 2020 she approached Sally Moore, her boss/Broker, with what she was afraid would be a “crazy idea”.  Sally loved the idea and the rest is history.  Whitney’s team has typically consisted of the newer agents in the Dunwoody office.  In 2021, her team accumulated $23 million in sales.  They are projected to reach $50+ million dollars for 2022.  Whitney is in the top 3% of a network of 55,000 agents worldwide.

Whitney’s role is to provide leads and guidance to the members of her team.  She practices going through homes with her teammates and teaches them how to be educated on everything to do with the sales/purchase processes.  She even helps them with their paperwork!  The joy she experiences watching her agents become successful is extraordinarily fulfilling.  In fact, Whitney mentioned she loves the hard and difficult situations and seeing her agents and/or new homeowners reach their goals after turning hard situations around.

I laughed when Whitney mentioned she may as well be a contractor.  She apparently wants to know the ins/outs and corners/crevices of every single square foot of any home she’s working with.  Even if there’s a tiny crawlspace, Whitney dives in to investigate and inspect.  Why does she does she do this?  Because she would never let someone buy a home that she wouldn’t personally purchase herself.  In fact, she told me about personally finding a “wood destroying fungus” in the crawlspace of a home one of her clients wanted to purchase.  Because Whitney found the problem early, she was able to have the seller get it fixed without her clients having to pay! 

One of her favorite types of clients to work with are first time home buyers.  She loves being a part of making their home ownership dreams come true.  Watching the light bulbs go off in their heads when they finally do the math on renting vs. buying is satisfying.  Whitney loves to share these happy experiences with her agents and their clients.

Not just anyone can join Whitney’s team.  They have about 10 people now and Whitney suggested her team is best only for motivated new agents who really want to learn and be successful.

When I asked Whitney why homeowners would want to hire her team she responded; “We provide focus on whatever the clients’ goals are.  That is the single motivator….working hard behind the scenes while focusing on and helping clients reach their real estate goals.”  She really cares more about getting you in the right home than anything else.  Want to meet her team?  Click here to see the people Whitney loves working with every day!  Fun fact:  Apparently you can also find most of the team working out together at Onelife Fitness Perimeter.

Berkshire Hathaway Home Services The Whitney Agee Team
5481 Chamblee Dunwoody Road
Dunwoody, GA 30338

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Here’s why EVERBODY I know goes to Briggs Vision Group for their Eyes!

by Audra Anders for The Aha! Connection

I met Dr. Erick Smith while we were both students at Auburn University and we have remained lifelong friends.  Fast forward and I now find myself in that stage of life where my arms are suddenly not long enough to allow me to read the fine print especially if the lights are dim. … Read More »

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How Atlanta Academy Started and How Awesome it is Today!

by Audra H. Anders for The Aha! Connection

In 2000, right about the time I was becoming a mom for the second time, Angela Naples didn’t realize it, but she was about to be one of the founders of Atlanta Academy. My family moved from Brookhaven to Dunwoody right before the start of the school year in 2002.… Read More »

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Audra’s Chat with Kerry Arias about Cooking, Sneaky Dogs, Moving Kits, Finding her Dream Job and more!

by Audra Anders for The Aha! Connection

Sitting down with my friend Kerry Arias is always a joy.  You may remember last year when I made the connection: From Cutie Pies to Residential Real Estate with a stop or two in between – Audra’s chat with Kerry Arias.  

Last week I had the pleasure of dropping by her office right in the middle of Dunwoody Village (think walking distance to NFA, Fresh Market, Bar{n} and more!) and so obviously we eventually detoured from real estate to food. Before we jump into some of Kerry’s favorite recipes, let me tell you about the rest of our conversation.

So many people I know, including Kerry, are dropping their first kids off at college.  Her daughter just began her collegiate career and her son is a junior at Blessed Trinity.  Empty nesting is close at hand for Kerry and she’s about to celebrate her 60th birthday.  She doesn’t look a day older than 41!  Last year when we chatted she was just starting her real estate career.  Now, a little more than a year later the first thing she said to me was “I should have done this ages ago!”

I can see how much she loves her job all over her face and in her body language.  She’s a people person in the people business.  She loves helping people!  Whether it is investing, buying, selling or renting that her clients are looking for she’s all in.  Actually, Kerry is the first realtor with whom I’ve discussed renting.  Over the past two years she’s helped several executives relocating to Atlanta and they often want to rent first to get a feel for Atlanta before purchasing.

In fact, just this month she held a two-hour open house for a rental property in Alpharetta near Avalon.  After the open house she received 12 applications!  The current tenants are paying $1,650/month but the new lease negotiated by Kerry is for $1,950/month!

Kerry is constantly finding ways to learn and improve.  In fact, she told me every morning while getting dressed and ready for the day she listens to podcasts.  Some of her favorites are Ninja Selling, Institute for Luxury, and Sherri Johnson.  I can just see Kerry walking around getting ready, brushing her teeth and stopping to write notes on her note pad as she hears things that pique her interest.

She told me a funny story about clients recently relocating from Savannah.  They were touring a townhouse in Buckhead but had their two big dogs with them.  It was a hot day so they decided to leave the car running with the dogs in the car while they toured the home.  They were inside the gated community so not worried about car theft.  The humans all went inside and Kerry left the couple to tour on their own.   Kerry looked out the window of the home and the dogs were having a big time playing and running around in the yard!   They had rolled down the electric windows and escaped the car!  Kerry quietly opened the front door and ushered the dogs inside.  As the couple descended the stairs from touring the top floors, they were greeted happily by their sneaky doggies…It’s a good thing Kerry “met” the dogs on this tour date because she was able to quickly realize that her new canine friends were a bit over the HOA’s weight limit for dogs.  Kerry proactively worked out a dog meeting with the HOA president to get a special stipulation approved for her clients and they are now happily residing there!

Kerry does a few things for her clients that I’ve never heard of….If they have pets, she brings a goody bag for the pets on move in day.  She also purchases all the moving boxes for her clients and includes a moving kit with a box cutter, tape, markers, etc.  How cool is that?  She says it just helps take one more thing off her client’s to do lists and she loves to help.

Kerry recently sold a beautiful home in the Branches.  Side note…Kerry told me this house has a paper towel drawer and now both Kerry and I covet one.  Kerry looked so sad when she told me how much she was going to miss these particular clients.  Apparently they’ve moved to Amelia Island.  But Kerry won’t have to wait long to see them because she and her husband plan to visit them this fall.  I wonder if they have a paper towel drawer there?

Kerry told me she is having fun working everywhere…not just in Dunwoody/Sandy Springs.  She’s recently sold 4 houses in Cumming, discovered a neighborhood on a “beach” in Villa Rica, and she’s helping a friend’s cousin connect with a realtor to sell an estate in Notasulga, Alabama!  I believe that finding her dream job later in life helps Kerry have a fresh and new perspective.  She realizes that buying and selling homes is typically a large and emotional transaction.  She treats every client experience as a luxury experience…hence providing the moving kits and pet goody bags I mentioned before.  Her goal is to always provide a seamless experience while protecting her clients’ best interests.

Finally, she loves to cook!  This of course got my attention so I asked what she had cooked recently.  As promised, below are three of Kerry’s must make recipes.  I think I need to head to the grocery store now 🙂


Kosher salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 ounces white truffle butter (see note)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (8.82-ounce) package Cipriani tagliarelle dried pasta or other egg fettuccine
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
3 ounces Parmesan, shaved thin with a vegetable peeler

Add 1 tablespoon salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large (12-inch) sauté pan, heat the cream over medium heat until it comes to a simmer. Add the truffle butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper, lower the heat to very low, and swirl the butter until it melts. Keep warm over very low heat.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes, exactly. (If you’re not using Cipriani pasta, follow the directions on the package.) When the pasta is cooked, reserve ½ cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta. Add the drained pasta to the sauté pan and toss it with the truffle-cream mixture. As the pasta absorbs the sauce, add as much of the reserved cooking water as necessary to keep the pasta very creamy.

Serve the pasta in shallow bowls and garnish each serving with a generous sprinkling of chives and shaved Parmesan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve at once.


1 clove minced garlic
1/4 tsp. Dijon Mustard
1 tsp. Mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons of White Wine Vinegar
1/4 cup of Olive Oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 large tomato from Nell’s Produce Stand on Jett Ferry, cut into large cubes or wedges and salted
1/2 hot-house cucumber, sliced
1/2 Red Onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chiffonnades of fresh basil leaves
1/2 tray of garlic toast rounds from Fresh Market, broken into bite size pieces
Mix all ingredients with vinaigrette and serve. This is also delicious with homemade croutons using 2 cups of day-old French bread cubes sautéed in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkled with garlic salt and pepper. 


Pork Tenderloin (from Shirley O. Corriher’s CookWise cookbook)
I love this cookbook!  You can tell how often I make this dish from the stains on the recipe page!

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce (this is a Chinese barbecue sauce, you can find it in most grocery stores)
2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
3 tablespoons sugar
2 pork tenderloins, 3/4 to 1 pound each
1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons butter
6 cups cooked rice, long grain or brown
6 green onions sliced thinly

In a plastic freezer bag, mix your soy, hoisin, oil and sugar. Add the pork tenderloins and marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour and overnight is better. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Line a small roasting pan with foil, spray a roasting rack with nonstick spray, set the rack on the pan and lay the tenderloins on the rack. Place in the oven and roast for 10 to 12 minutes. Turn the tenderloins over and roast 10 to 12 minutes more. Check the temperature in the thickest portion. The center internal temperature should be above 148 degrees.

Pour the marinade from the plastic bag into a small sauce pan, add the water and bring to boil over low heat. Boil gently for several minutes, then add the butter and bring back to a boil. Let the cooked tenderloins stand for at least eight minutes before slicing. Slice thinly at a angle across the grain. Arrange slices overlapping on a bed of rice. Pour the marinade — butter mixture over the slices and sprinkle on the chopped scallions.


Kerry Arias, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties
770•605•7545 (cell)
770•393•3200 (office)