VanGuard Property Inspectors’ Soiree

Brenda and Phillip Graham, the proprietors of VanGuard Property Inspectors, LLC, based in southwest Oklahoma City, recently served as hosts for a customer appreciation party/soiree.

February 2018 Around Town

Sponsors are being sought for Full Circle Adult Day Center’s fundraising event to kick off its building campaign, the Bubbles & Brews Gala. Members of the public also are invited to attend the gala, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday, March 30, at the Embassy Suites Hotel & Convention Center, Norman.

‘The Big Read’

When it comes to the “best of” in the local library scene, not much is a bigger deal on a yearly basis than the Pioneer Library System’s participation in The Big Read.

Mary’s Story

[Editor’s Note: Mary Pointer Blankenship, senior vice president at Republic Bank & Trust, is serving as the 2018 Go Red for Women chair, a program of the American Heart Association whose mission is to encourage women and their families to take action and live a healthier life. February is National Heart Month.]

Holiday Happening

On Dec. 7, the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History in Norman hosted its popular yuletide event, Holiday Happening, featuring live music, photos with Santa Claus, special holiday activities with the museum’s education department, and a scavenger hunt for elves hidden throughout the museum galleries.

2 Years and Counting

With this issue, we celebrate the start of our third year. It’s not overstating the matter to say a LOT has happened in this short time.

Nicole Jarvis MD Winter Gala

Young Onset Parkinson’s patient and competitor on American Ninja Warrior Jimmy Choi was guest speaker at the Sixth Annual Nicole Jarvis MD Parkinson’s Research Foundation's Winter Gala at the Embassy Suites. Some 600 guests attended, resulting in over $300,000 being raised in 2017 to benefit Parkinson’s research and local services.

WRC Gala

Nearly $15,000 was raised at the WRC Gala in early December. The gala is an annual fundraising and awareness event hosted by the Women’s Resource Center, which provides emergency shelter, advocacy, court advocacy, safety planning, forensic exams, a Domestic Violence Education Group, counseling, prevention education and community education. Visit

Best Of

 Benvenuti’s Ristorante  105 West Main St.Norman, OK 73069  310.5271

Made From ‘Scratch’

Scratch Kitchen and Cocktails takes the craft of cocktails to a level not often found in Oklahoma, making dozens of syrups and liqueurs in-house and using only fresh-squeezed juices. In the kitchen, Scratch makes nearly everything from, well, scratch, from the ketchup and mayonnaise to the stocks and sauces. Whether dining in their historic building or attending an event at…


As we were working on compiling this “Best Of Cleveland County” issue, I found myself pondering over about what the word “best” means to me and to others.

Giving Abandoned Dogs and Cats

There’s no doubt about it; our pets are a part of our family. But the love and compassion we show them begins before we bring them home. When a new puppy or kitten is purchased from a breeder or at a pet store, another animal without a home is passed up. Lack of widespread spaying and neutering means there will…


Wowzer! Another new year is underway, and with it comes the opportunity to start anew, whether that means kicking off a new fitness and health regimen or taking up a new skill or hobby such as yoga or learning a new language. Did you make any resolutions for 2018, and if so, what?

Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art’s Silver Soiree

Silver Soirée, the annual fundraiser for the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, was held Oct. 20 at the Rail House in Norman. This year’s event raised funds for the museum’s School Bus Fund, which helps cover transportation costs associated with Oklahoma school field trips to the museum.

January 2018 Around Town

Fine Print! Posters From the Permanent Collection, an exhibition that explores how posters work to sell audiences on products, people and ideas, opens Jan. 26 at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art on the University of Oklahoma Norman campus.

‘Choose Homemade’

Being a family on the run doesn’t mean having to sacrifice taste, time together, or health. In fact, the staff of the Oklahoma Nutrition Information and Education Project, founded 15 years ago to improve the health of Oklahoma families through nutrition and physical activity, believes their “Choose Homemade” initiative shows you can have it all. This initiative emphasizes the importance…

Eighth Annual Day of Kindness

Noble McIntyre of McIntyre Law, with assistance from member lawyers of the Oklahoma Association for Justice, Lawyers Fighting Hunger and the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, hosted the Eighth Annual Day of Kindness at his office on Nov. 16, distributing 2,500 turkeys and providing hamburgers and drinks to thousands more. 

Trainers Confessions

For years, becoming more physically fit has topped this nation’s list of New Year’s resolutions. Of course, the next consideration is how to go about achieving that goal. So, we recently asked three area fitness trainers the question, “What do you wish you’d known before you began your fitness journey?”

Women of Influence Banquet

Benvenuti's Ristorante was the elegant setting for Cleveland County Lifestyle's Women of Influence dinner and reception Oct. 17. Nine of the 12 recipients, along with spouses and their nominators, attended the elegant dinner, which featured a keynote address by University of Oklahoma head softball coach Patty Gasso. 

Active Readers

A longtime source for exercising the minds of readers through LITERALLY millions of pages of material, the Pioneer Library System also is giving its customers multiple opportunities for physical fitness.

Brunch With Chef Bayless

Chef Rick Bayless, star of the PBS show “Mexico: One Plate at a Time,” was the guest of the Pioneer Library System Foundation for a fundraising event Nov. 5 at the Norman home of Dr. and Mrs. R.J. Langerman. He was joined by Chef Patrick Williams of Flint Restaurant.


At the beginning of a new year, many of us look for ways to remake ourselves into happier, healthier individuals. We resolve to lose or gain weight, become more physically fit, or begin a new hobby, interest or other endeavor to keep our minds sharp.

CASP’s Be Fit Club

Childhood obesity is a growing problem across the nation, and Oklahoma is no exception. Excess calorie intake and physical inactivity contribute to obesity, which is associated with some of the leading preventable chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.

The Wines of Winter

 Welcome to 2018!  Although I drink year-round (who are we kidding? I drink week-round, sometimes day-round), drinking in the wintertime seems somehow more satisfying. Cold weather calls for hardy wines, and hardy wines are my second favorite “hardy” thing (shout-out to Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy). But unlike many '70s TV shows, my wine picks for winter can be consumed…

CROP Walk Raises Funds to Fight Hunger

More than 400 people from area churches and civic groups took steps to fight hunger Oct. 22 during the Cleveland County CROP Walk to Stop Hunger. The 34th annual charity walk raised approximately $18,500 to support Food & Shelter Inc. and the international relief efforts of Church World Service.

Oh So Good!

Mike Sikes, owner of Oliveto Italian Bistro in Moore, where “neighborhood dining meets Italian bistro,” kindly agreed to share with our readers the recipe for one of the fine dining establishment’s favorite dishes, Pepperoni Pizza, along with the recipe for one of their signature cocktails, the Flirtini, that would pair well with this dish.


Looking back, it’s difficult for me to believe all that I have accomplished in only nine months at Orangetheory Fitness Moore. Although I’ve always enjoyed an active lifestyle that included hiking, bicycling, coaching my boys’ football practices and other sports and outdoor/indoor activities, and considered myself in moderately good shape, OTF’s unique system of interval training, which provides members with…

Exhausted All the Time?

T here’s an old slogan that’s been floating around for years that states, “My get up and go has got up and went.” That’s arguably true for most Americans, living as we do in a fast-paced culture where many people spend their days gulping Red Bulls, sitting in front of a computer and getting by on far less than eight…

Season’s Greetings

With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I hope you’re taking time out to enjoy this special time of year. Perhaps you’re dreading those trips to the mall, where you’ll battle for space with other stressed-out shoppers, all still searching for the ideal gifts for those on their shopping list. (Tip: peruse our first-ever Holiday Shopping Guide…

Mix on Main

Turnout was robust for the third annual Mix On Main, held Oct. 21 in Norman. Hosted by The Main District, the event features local 
businesses promoting the continued renaissance of one of Norman’s premier corridors. The event includes live music, food trucks, 
beer/wine gardens and outdoor family fun.

December 2017 Around Town

Engelbert Humperdinck’s fairy tale opera Hansel and Gretel will take the stage at the Reynolds Performing Arts Center on the University of Oklahoma Norman campus this holiday season.

Republic Bank & Trust After Hours

On Nov. 17, Republic Bank & Trust hosted Business After Hours at its Downtown Norman Banking Center for 
Norman Chamber of Commerce members. Approximately 200 guests attended the event.

Spike’s Spooktacular Fall Fest

Hundreds of costumed families from across the region attended Spike’s Spooktacular Fall Fest, sponsored by Yelp OKC, Oct. 26 at the 
Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. They enjoyed an evening of spooky tunes, face-painting, costume contests, crafts with the museum’s education department and a museum-wide scavenger hunt.

Paying Tribute to…


From Benvenuti’s Ristorante

The holidays are upon us, and for many, that means precious time spent in the kitchen, preparing meals, desserts and cocktails for sit-down dinners, parties large and small, and of course, drop-in guests.

How to Make a Ribbon Wreath

This is a great way to repurpose ribbons from past Christmases, making an elegant decoration for your holiday celebration. Coordinate colors with your Christmas theme or with your home’s interior design to create a festive and stylish seasonal design. Have fun and be creative!

Holiday Happenings

Question: What do penguins, golden anniversaries, holiday music, Santa and thousands of books have in common?

Norman Arts Council

When you think of the holiday season, what comes to mind? Do you have visions of sugarplums dancing in your head? Or how about a beautiful rendition of “White Christmas” playing while you browse a local gallery opening? What would the holidays be without the arts? The Norman Arts Council makes sure your holiday season is filled with one-of-a-kind sounds,…

Amanda Wells

When Amanda Wells first began creating pottery some 20 years ago, she had no idea that a then-unknown phenomenon called social media would make her an “overnight” sensation.

2017 Holiday 
Shopping Guide

This holiday season, say goodbye to big-box-store gift certificates. Forget those boring old men’s ties. Instead, keep your dollars local and purchase thoughtful, personalized gifts for your family and friends that show you really care and that are sure to be enjoyed and cherished. We've included gift ideas to fit even the most 
discerning person on your shopping list in this,…

5 Financial ‘To-Do’s’

The holiday season can be a really big project at our house. Menu planning, shopping, school programs … it can be a whirlwind of activity. I have found that some proactive planning is the key to my preparations and getting all those important things accomplished. It also helps me stay fiscally responsible and keeps my budget realistic.

A Time to Cook, 
to Eat and to Give Back

Do you love to cook? It seems that most people can be divided into two camps: those with a real passion for cooking, and those who prefer to just reap the rewards of their labor! I admire those with the desire and talent to lift cooking into an art. In these pages, you’ll read about Norman resident/entrepreneur Agi Lurtz who,…

November 2017 Around Town

Women of the South recently added $100,000 to their charitable organization endowment fund through the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. The check presentation was made by Erica Stone, 2017-18 president, during the organization’s annual membership kickoff Aug. 25 at the Wheeler Ferris Wheel / Wheeler District in South Oklahoma City.

The Guitar Man

Beautiful as it is, the lure of the Oregon coast wasn’t enough to keep veteran Farrel Droke from his Oklahoma roots. After two years away, this past August he and his wife, Julie, returned to their longtime hometown of Norman, settling happily into a post-retirement routine that includes lots of music.

Workin’ Out to Boogie Beats

During Orangetheory Fitness Moore’s recent ’70s Day, members worked out to some boogie beats. Members also recently participated in the Moore War Run benefiting Moore High and Westmoore High students!

Voice of the Heartland Competition

Promising young vocalists recently took part in the vocal competition "Voice of the Heartland" at the Southwind Hills Event Barn in Goldsby. The competition, created in 2015, doubles as a fundraiser to benefit the educational programs of the Sooner Theatre and 
The Studio of The Sooner Theatre of Norman.

Global Citizen Awards Gala

Two individuals with ties to Cleveland County were among those honored during the recent Global Citizen 2017 Awards Gala, hosted by the World Experiences Foundation, headquartered in Norman. The event, featuring multicultural entertainment, was held Nov. 9 at the Embassy Suites Downtown in Oklahoma City.

Giving Back to the Community

Noble McIntyre of McIntyre Law, with the assistance of the incredible support offered by over 100 member lawyers of the Oklahoma Association for Justice, a group composed of plaintiff attorneys across the state who have dedicated their careers to helping people injured as the result of another’s negligent conduct, has raised more than $500,000 over the past seven years to…

Nancy A. Brown, D.O.

If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis or one of the other musculoskeletal diseases/systemic autoimmune conditions commonly referred to as rheumatic diseases, you know how important it is to have a doctor you not only respect, but one with whom you feel comfortable.

From Machine Gun Kelly to the OKC Bombing

Machine Gun Kelly. Timothy McVeigh. Names like these are indelibly printed on the American psyche. Others, like Roger Dale Stafford or Gene Leroy Hart, are less familiar. All played crucial roles in some of Oklahoma’s worst examples of criminal infamy, recently documented by Kent Frates in his book, Oklahoma’s Most Notorious Cases.