When Mike and Teresa Collins, then living in the Boston/D.C. area, decided they wanted to move to Norman, where Mike has fond memories of growing up, they lucked out in at least two ways. One, they found a reputable custom builder—Alan Cheshier with Muirfield Homes—who was able to successfully and smoothly transform their ideas of their “dream” home into a real home. Second, they found a site upon which to build in the core of Norman, not far from the university campus—a feat they both still marvel about. You’ll find photos of their Florida-style home in this issue’s Open House.

Looking for a different way to add pizzazz to one or more rooms in your home? A local interior designer shares with our readers some new techniques in faux finishes, with which walls can be transformed to take on the look of stone, marble, brick, concrete—even wallpaper. Three faux finishes are shown, along with tips on how to achieve “the look” through coordinating accessories. Fun stuff!

In Culinary Creations, you’ll find a recipe for a healthy, yet hearty dish called Kushari. Yuyu’s chef and co-proprietor Aya Hamad notes that she first tasted it at the age of 12 during a visit to Cairo. It was sold on the streets in a plastic bag; to eat it, you had to puncture the bag and squeeze it into your mouth. Today, Kushari is one of the Egyptian and Lebanese dishes found on the menu at Yuyu’s Cozy Corner in downtown Norman, along with an assortment of coffees.

As we move into the spring and summer months, many of us begin planning road trips. One of my favorite destinations is the tiny cobblestone community of Medicine Park and the nearby Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Now the site of numerous music festivals, Medicine Park is rich in history. Did you know that it once was the playground for many of the state’s rich and famous—and notorious—among them Will Rogers, Wiley Post, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, as well as Al Capone, Bonnie and Clyde, and Pretty Boy Floyd? There’s lots to do in and around Medicine Park, making it an ideal road trip destination.

You’ll also read about a new gym that offers high-energy, interval-driven classes that are backed by science and where members are known by their first name and a metro nonprofit whose motto is “Fighting Hunger…Feeding Hope.”

As always, publisher Jimmy Darden and I invite you to share your thoughts with us about the magazine on our Facebook page or through email.