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besttself Atlanta’s “go-to” guide for health, beauty and happy living!

November 2015



Tai Chi Fun

Give a Little, Get a Lot

A visit with a local master p. 24


How to be a holiday volunteer p. 39

Tasty Top


MustHaves in your Makeup Bag

Reducing your diabetes risk through diet p. 33

Judy Blume Comes to Town

New beauty tips and products p. 51

And other book news p. 22

Say No to GMOs this Thanksgiving Organic, local options p. 20

EXPERT CONNECT A Gentler Approach By Assia Stepanian, MD, FACOG p.47

Jump-starting Health By Ekan Essien MD,MPH p.48

Preventing Diabetes: Know The Risks


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Prissy Tomboy


Atlanta entrepreneur blends girly with gritty p. 27 10/20/15 5:18 PM


Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon, 5K, One Mile, 50m Dash November 26 – Turner Field 2


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Register at atlantatrackclub.org



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Before and after photos of actual patients – Courtesy of Alan M. Gardner, MD



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bestselfatlanta.com Follow us on


Best Self Atlanta magazine uses soy-based ink and is printed on 100 percent recyclable paper. Our print partner, Newpoint Media Group, recycles all excess paper, printing plates and any other recyclable materials used in the printing process.

Inquiries and submissions regarding advertising and editorial should be directed to the address above. Best Self Atlanta does not knowingly accept false or misleading advertising or editorial content, nor does Publisher assume responsibility should such advertising or editorial appear. Readers are encouraged to notify Publisher when they suspect false advertising. Best Self Atlanta reserves the right to edit editorial for clarity and space availability. No content i.e. articles, graphics, designs and information (any and all) in this publication may be reproduced in any manner without written permission from Publisher.


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contents NOVEMBER 2015

Get a lot

Give a Little,

Volunteering throughout the holidays


A Prissy Tomboy

Entrepreneur Tracey Pearson makes a difference to Atlanta girls p. 27

In every issue 10 From the Publisher

25 Fun Calendar

12 Coming Next Month

51 Best Beauty

Best of 2015 issue and more

14 Contributors

Meet the writers, photographers and experts in this issue

17 Best Bulletin

The scoop on what’s new around town

18 Best Advice

Integrative Health FAQs

Big fun in the city

Old black magic, 4 must-haves for your makeup bag and more

53 Best Fitness

Fitness tips, trends and techniques

57 Best Health

Hidden dangers for diabetics

59 Best Events

Great photos from the Kaiser Permanente Run/Walk

20 Best Bites

60 Reader Resources

22 Best Books

61 Give-Back Guide

24 Best Fun

62 My Best Self

How to have a very natural Thanksgiving New books from Judy Blume, Ted Koppel and Josh Levs! Tai Chi Fun!



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A complete guide to our advertisers by business category Charity events and volunteer opportunities Lynn Stallings, community theater and film mentor


Tasty Top 10

Type 2 diabetes risk-reducing foods p. 33

On the cover Featured on the cover: Tracey Pearson (Prissy Tomboy) Photography by: Dan Sawyer (Sawyer Photography)

Photo courtesy, L to R: Moving in the Spirit, Sawyer Photography

Try Something New!


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Thank You


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Saturday hours available FREE vein ultrasound screening every day!

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Sandy Springs


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expert connect

Health, beauty and life enrichment topics brought to you by Atlanta experts Jump-starting Health By Ekan Essien MD,MPH

Take the first step on your weight loss journey with InshapeMD’s HCG weight loss program, and avoid the health risks associated with obesity and weight gain. p. 48

Preventing Diabetes: Know the Risks

A Gentler Approach

Dr. Ellin explains risk factors, symptoms and treatment options associated with the disease that affects more and more Americans each year. p. 49

See how Dr. Stepanian is bringing a gentler approach to the world of gynecology with minimally invasive techniques. p. 47

By Richard Ellin, MD

By Assia Stepanian, MD

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from the publisher

Free eBook!

Try Something New this Holiday Season! We often place a lot of importance on our physical appearance during the holiday season. We want our hair, nails and skin to look their very best and that makes us feel good. Another way to feel good and look great is to do something different…something new. The real keys to staying youthful and vibrant are a curious spirit and the willingness to be open to new things…even during the holidays! Unfortunately, with the packed schedule of the holidays approaching, this month might feel like bad timing for new adventures. It’s actually the ideal time, though! Taking a break from the hustle and bustle and try something just for you. It will rejuvenate your soul and spirit. This in turn will give you the energy to make your holidays better than ever for you and those you love.

Sherri Adair, Publisher sadair@bestselfatlanta.com

My Best List for Trying Something New

Selecting the right cosmetic dentist can be a difficult and confusing process,

but choosing the right one is a crucial decision with ramifications on your looks and self-confidence that could last a lifetime.

The Spruill Arts Center – If you want to try it, the Spruill Arts Center probably teaches it. From ceramics to painting to perfume making to blacksmithing, the classes at Spruill are a great way to dabble in any new art form. The classes that are especially intriguing me this month are the “Handmade Holidays” jewelry-making classes! This is a great way to create a gift while you learn a new skill!

In this eBook you will find key topics covered such as:

Details: SpruillArts.org

• Things you need to know in order

Tara Simons Studio – My daughter took lessons here and now it’s my turn! Located in Smyrna, but servicing the entire metro Atlanta area, Tara Simons Studio is a “pitch perfect” place to get musical! Learn guitar, piano or voice techniques. Tara Simon is a professional singer, songwriter and vocal coach who became widely recognized as a top finalist on the second season of the X Factor. She’s also performed for celebrities like Sugarland, Britney Spears, Justin Bieber and L.A. Reid. Details: TaraSimonStudios.com Pound Fitness – The entire staff of Atlanta Best Media is trying out this new workout. Invented by drummers, this workout has you moving to the beat while creating the beat with rhythm sticks (aka drum sticks.) Contact the Concourse Athletic Club to find out about upcoming classes and pick up the December issue to find out what we learned.

• How to understand a doctor’s

credentials (a MUST if you want a dream smile!), to make an informed decision,

• Before and After pictures of Do’s and Don’ts with explanations and analysis, and

• Countless more insider tips! To download this free eBook, just visit AtlantaCenterforCosmetic Dentistry.com or scan the code below with your smart phone.

Details: Concourse Athletic Club 770-698-2000.



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WHY DO PEOPLE TRAVEL THOUSANDS OF MILES FOR ONE OF OUR SMILES? THE ATLANTA CENTER FOR COSMETIC DENTISTRY, founded by Dr. Debra Gray King in 1987, is one-of-a-kind haven for your smile transformation. World-renowned for enhancing the smiles of many celebrities, it has also transformed the lives of thousands of people from all walks of life, from doctors, to soccer moms, to business executives and beauty queens. The transformation process here is performed quickly, with lots of pampering, and minimally invasive techniques. Your smile and oral health are very important. If you have been thinking of enhancing your smile, you owe it to your self to seek out the best. After all, your smile is not the place for on-the-job training. To get optimal results, it takes a well-trained, experienced doctorartist. Dr. King is one of only a few dentists in the world to be an Accredited Fellow, which is the highest level of competence in the prestigious American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. She also has been extensively sought out as an expert on dental trends in the media, including CBS, CNN, Fox News, The Doctors, Extreme Makeover, Entertainment Tonight, The Wall Street Journal, Time, InStyle, Vogue, Glamour, and USA Today. To arrange a consultation, or for more information, please visit our website or call. You will love your new smile!

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from the editor The Best Self Atlanta staff wishes to thank Jayne Hallock for serving as Interim Editor for this month’s issue. Thank you Jayne for all your help. We will miss you and wish you best of luck with your fancy shmancy new job:)

Come Join Us at These Great Fall Events November 7 31st CHOA Strong Legs Run - Visit our Best “Selfie” Photo Booth and run with us to celebrate the 31st annual run for this great cause at Turner Field. choa.org/stronglegs November 7 Mustache Dache - Don your ‘staches for this awesome event that raises awareness for Men’s Health and Prostate Cancer prevention. mustachedache.com

Affordable, convenient healthcare. • Care for the whole family — 18 months of age and up. • Open 7 days a week.

November 14 Diabetes Run Walk – Join the American Diabetes Association in stamping out diabetes with food, music and family fun. stepout.diabetes.org November 26 Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon & 5K Join thousands of runners and walkers as they earn their turkey dinner at this annual Atlanta Track Club event. atlantatrackclub.org

Flu Shots available

• No appointment necessary. • Common illnesses, SPORTS, camp and DOT physicals, vaccines, health screenings, and much more.

Annual “Best of 2015” Issue!

Inside Select Stores

You nominated, you voted and you chose the Best of 2015!

Located inside Kroger: Athens • 700 US Hwy. 29 North • (706) 715-3746 Bonaire • 774 GA Hwy 96 • (478) 988-5711 Carrollton • 1355 S Park St. • (678) 664-3293 Cartersville • 51 N. Morningside Dr. • (770) 606-5212 Dacula • 505 Dacula Rd. • (678) 407-8750 Dallas • 455 Nathan Dean Blvd. • (770) 505-3837 Gainesville • 1931 Jesse Jewell Pkwy. • (470) 252-3191 Jefferson • 1685 Old Pendergrass Rd. • (706) 387-7637 Newnan • 1751 Newnan Crossings Blvd. E. • (678) 423-5854 Peachtree City • 564 Crosstown Dr. • (770) 282-2944 Smyrna • 3240 S. Cobb Dr. SE • (770) 433-3447 State Bridge • 10945 State Bridge Rd. • (770) 619-2066 Stone Mountain • 1227 Rockbridge Rd. • (770) 413-1476 Sugar Hill • 6001 Cumming Hwy. • (678) 546-4062 Suwanee • 400 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. NW • (770) 831-3857 Warner Robins • 3094 Watson Blvd. • (478) 971-2324 West Cobb • 3600 Dallas Hwy. SW • (770) 420-9170



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Coming in December

Find out this year’s winners online at bestselfatlanta.com and get to know them in our December issue. Features: Lifestyles of the Empty Nesters Today’s communities promote aging well while having lots of fun. Check out Best Self Atlanta staff’s experience with Concourse Athletic Club instructor, Marianne Baker. Together we tried a fun new fitness workout, Pound Fitness. AND Our Give-Back Guide…tons of ways to volunteer For more of everything, go to bestselfatlanta.com bestselfatlanta.com


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Madison James is the afternoon drive personality on B98.5, a blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and a featured reporter for the TV entertainment magazine “Hot Topics” on WSB-TV. Most recently, Madison was named Fitness Ambassador for the Atlanta BeltLine. She has a genuine passion for empowering people to live their best life. Read her fitness pick in Healthy Lifestyle on the Go on p. 53.

Amy Meadows is a veteran freelance feature writer and president of Green Meadows Communications, LLC. She has written more than 1,500 articles for local, regional and national consumer and trade publications and contributed to more than a dozen hardcover pictorial books published about cities and communities around the country. Her first children’s picture book, “Emma’s American Chinese New Year,” earned a 2012 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award and a 2013 Independent Publisher Book Award. Read her article on p. 27

Nicole Letts is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Raised in the South and currently residing in Atlanta, Nicole specializes in content creation for independent brands. In addition to managing social media for several clients, Nicole also writes the lifestyle blog, Probably Polka Dots, where she champions small business, discusses southern style, and dabbles in between. Read her article on p. 39.



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Amy Begley is the head coach of Atlanta Track Club, which is the second largest running organization in the United States. She competed in the 2008 Olympic Games in the 10,000m and placed sixth in the 2009 IAAF World Championships in the same distance – with a personal best 31:13. This makes her the eighth-fastest American woman in history. Her 5,000m personal best is 14:56. Begley finished her professional career with six national titles. p. 55.

Morgan A. McLaughlin McFarland is an accomplished writer of both fiction and nonfiction. A professional editor, Morgan has also taught writing courses locally in addition to online developmental editing and writing coaching. She has lived in the Atlanta area for 30 years, where she has been active in the natural living and literary communities. Read her article on p. 33.

David Martin, RN, is the CEO and president of VeinInnovations, which he founded in 2002. It is the first facility of its kind in Atlanta to offer every available technique for treating venous insufficiency and varicose and spider veins. VeinInnovations has five physicians plus locations in Sandy Springs, Johns Creek, and Midtown Atlanta. They offer minimally invasive, office-based treatments using the latest RFA and laser equipment. Saturday hours available. Read his article about vein health on p. 57.

Photos courtesy of Richie Arpino, Ben Robi Photography, Rose Limb, Kash Ashley, Nicole Letts, Steve Carrell, Sawyer Photography


Jessica Dauler is the founder of JessicaShops.com, a guide to the best deals, savings and trends in and around Atlanta. Well known for her popular segments on Atlanta radio such as Q100’s “The Bert Show” and Star 94 Mornings, she has also been a regular feature on CBS, HLN, CNN and the Travel Channel. Read her weekly Deal Spotter column in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and her favorite pick of the month here in Best Self Atlanta on p. 17.


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Exotic Textiles

Travel-inspired, elegantly patterned (and named after a children’s tale starring a magical rabbit), the Roberta Roller Rabbit brand carries textiles of all kinds. Everything from duvet covers to tunics, gifts, and accessories, all with whimsical patterns and bright colors. Owner Roberta Freymann handpicks and works with designers all over the world to create the brand’s custom pieces. The brand will soon open an Atlanta flagship store (with a unique theme that reflects the store’s architecture) in the Westside Provisions District location. Details: 1198 Howell Mill Road, Building B, Suite 400, robertarollerrabbit.com

Dinner With a Side of Art Pick the brain of Museum of Design Atlanta’s latest sculptor and installation artist Jamie Burmeister at an Art Over Dinner event. This monthly dinner invites 40 guests to wine and dine with a MODA artist. Every dinner features a seasonal meal created by a local chef and farmers, along with creations by local winemakers and brewers. This month’s dinner will center around current and future incorporations of 3D printing in the world of art and correlate with MODA’s current 3D Printing the Future show. Details: Tickets $75, serenbe.com

Photos courtesy of (top left) Roberta Roller Rabbit, (top right) Museum of Design Atlanta, (bottom right) Brrr!

Bubbly and British Bubble tea may have been created in Taiwan, but it has become an international sensation. London-based Bubbleology is bringing its popular authentic bubble tea across the pond. Flagship cafés are set to open at Lenox Square and the Mall of Georgia later this month. The cafés will offer 12 milk teas and 10 fruit teas that can be combined to create your own one-of-a-kind concoction crafted by a specially trained “bubbleologist.”

Pick of the Month Just can’t cool off? Check out the new product, Brrr! — it’s the “cool”est launch in women’s ready-to-wear and accessories. Brrr! is an Atlanta-based, female-owned fashiontechnology company with a new cool-touch fabric made with secret ingredients.

Details: bubbleologusa.com

Food at the Speed of Uber The perks of living in a big city are endless, especially when it comes to the latest launches. Transportation company and rideshare app Uber, which redefined taxi service in the 21st century, is now redefining the meaning of food delivery with UberEATS. UberEATS is simple. Open the app, enter the location delivery, browse featured dishes from the best local restaurants nearby, then follow the meal on its way to you, all with the app’s signature quick cash-free system.

It’s moisture wicking, super soft, offers SPF protection and is permanently cooling. Perfect for anyone who is always hot, going through menopause, traveling, or just wants to stay cool. The Coolwrap looks like a scarf and can be worn numerous ways or choose other products that include tops, dresses and pants with more items for children and home launching this later this year. Prices start at $78.  Available exclusively at Neiman Marcus.   3393 Peachtree Rd NE, in Lenox Square Mall. Jessica Dauler jessicashops.com

Details: ubereats.com bestselfatlanta.com

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10/20/15 2:53 PM

bestadvice Can I Benefit from Integrative Medicine? TASNEEM BHATIA, MD



Atlanta Center for Holistic and Integrative Medicine

Avicenna Integrative Medicine/ Avicenna Allergy and Asthma

Vitality Project

In layman’s terms, how would you define “integrative health”?

How did integrative health gain popularity in the U.S.?

Can integrative health techniques help children too?

What role does massage play in integrative medicine?

What role can integrative medicine play in weight loss?

Integrative medicine takes a whole-person approach to healing. It combines the best health options from multiple systems and vantage points of medicine to give a wellrounded perspective on any given health issue. It’s a “deep dive” into a person’s current health concerns, history, and nutritional factors, as well as mental and physical health.

Philosophically, the concept of integrative medicine is not new — many applications dating back across millennia. These notions of “holistic” healing and wellness are experiencing a renewed interest as consumers become increasingly frustrated with the limitations on their current care.

The situation regarding children’s health in the U.S. is currently quite grim. (Hang in there with me, there’s good news at the end.)

Integrative medicine focuses on the mind, body, spirit connection to encourage overall, sustainable wellness. Therapeutic massage stimulates healing through its direct, positive effect on immune functioning. It has a complementary impact when combined with other integrative practices.

The body functions as a complex biochemical “equation” with many inputs and outputs. Integrative medicine reads this chemistry and can help address the root causes of weight gain.



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KYRIN DUNSTON, MD, FACOG Progressive Medical Center

Atlanta School of Massage

In 2005, the NIH (National Institute of Health) stated that this generation of children is predicted to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. A 2009 study by the Environmental Working Group found that the average baby in the U.S. has over 200 measurable toxins in their blood at birth — plastics, pesticides, flame retardants, heavy metals and others. No wonder our children struggle to be healthy without medications! An integrative approach addresses these underlying causes of poor health. The good news? Because children build new cells so quickly as they grow, they typically respond beautifully to nutritional and detoxification programs!

I believe massage to be an essential component of any holistic program that fosters health and wellness. In fact, we’re currently working with Emory University to help prove these benefits through a series of clinical trials studying the biological effects of massage therapy in three specific areas: boosting immune systems, decreasing anxiety and reducing fatigue in breast cancer patients.

Nutritional and hormone imbalances, as well as toxicity can often be the problems. The solutions live in vitamins, minerals and herbs combined with TLC (therapeutic lifestyle change).  Using a customized and comprehensive integrative medical weight loss plan can help you finally obtain the healthy body that you desire.

Photos (left to right) Atlanta Center for Holistic and Integrative Medicine, Atlanta School of Massage, Progressive Medical Center, Avicenna Integrative Medicine, Natural Health Solutions

These all factor in when symptoms of disease and illness present themselves. Treatment looks different for each individual based on his or her needs. Rather than rejecting one system of medicine over another, the focus is on integrating care to bring patients to the center — or heart — of their issues. It is the future of medicine.

During the explosion of medical science and technology, less invasive treatments such as nutrition, botanicals, meditation and massage became somewhat neglected. Now, these natural techniques are being rediscovered with great enthusiasm. Integrative medicine represents this convergence — optimizing individual patient care through a diverse approach to healing.



10/20/15 4:06 PM


Photos (left to right) Atlanta Center for Holistic and Integrative Medicine, Atlanta School of Massage, Progressive Medical Center, Avicenna Integrative Medicine, Natural Health Solutions

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10/19/15 9/21/15 5:26 3:39 PM

bestbites Just Say No to GMO Turkey! Shop Locally Thanksgiving to make sure they’ll arrive on time for the big dinner. Prices range from $75 for 8-12 lbs., $100 for 12-16 lbs. and $125 for birds 16.1lbs or heavier. Details: 22775 Highway 27 in Bluffton, GA, whiteoakpastures.com

Organic Cranberry Sauce Recipe If you serve organic turkey, don’t ruin it by dumping a bunch of chemical-laden cranberry sauce on it! Instead, try this delicious recipe from OrganicAuthority.com.

The Thanksgiving dinner shopping frenzy can turn grocery stores into horror movies, complete with angry mobs and fighting for one’s life. This Thanksgiving, cross the biggest item off your list with ease by having a White Oak Pastures farm turkey delivered right to your door. These award-winning free-range turkeys are raised humanely and with the utmost of care at this local family-owned farm. (By choosing these local birds, you’ll be ‘disinviting’ antibiotics, hormones, arsenic and chlorine to your Thanksgiving as well!) Turkeys can be ordered through the farm’s online store and will be shipped a week before

Combine 1 cup (200 grams) of sugar with 1 cup (250 mL) of liquid (water, citrus juice, whatever you prefer.) If you’re using alcohol, use no more than 1/3 of the alcohol in the liquid component. Bring the sugar and the liquid components to a boil in a saucepan and add 4 cups (12 ounces) cranberries and a touch of orange zest. Bring to a boil and wait for the first cranberries to start bursting. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, or until all of the cranberries have burst. Allow to cool to room temperature, then place in the fridge to gel.

A Delicious Drift

Why Should You Go Vegetarian?

Atlanta chef Doug Turbush is adding a new restaurant to his East Cobb assortment, which already includes Seed Kitchen & Bar and Stem Wine Bar. The latest addition, Drift, will be a modern fish house and oyster bar and will feature creative and sustainably fished seafood creations from American lakes, rivers, streams and oceans. The restaurant will host a rotating selection of oysters, raw bar specialties, meat prepared with a wood-burning grill and housemade desserts.

According to The Vegetarian Times, about 7.3 million Americans are vegetarians. Why so many? There are a ton of reasons to go vegetarian, and not all of them are purely ethical. Here are a few hard facts about how vegetarianism can be good for our bodies — and for Mother Earth!

Details: The Avenue East Cobb, 4475 Upper Roswell Road in Marietta, driftoysterbar.com



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• Vegetarians are about 40 percent less likely to develop cancer than meat eaters. • 75 percent of our topsoil has been depleted primarily due to growing animals to feed people. • It takes over 2,500 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef versus the 49 gallons it takes to produce a pound of apples. Food for thought? (Source: Huffington Post/Catskill Animal Sanctuary) Details: tammystokeslifestyle.com bestselfatlanta.com

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Beloved author Judy Blume discusses her nearly thirtieth novel with Greg Chagnon, a former columnist for the AJC.“In the Unlikely Event” tells the story of how three generations of families, friends and strangers learn to cope with the unexpected curveballs of life, both good and bad.

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To the delight of thousands of book lovers, the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta is back with its twoweek long book festival. Meet, greet and take a peek into the minds of some of America’s favorite authors. Here are some author visits you won’t want to miss. Visit atlantajcc.org for more information.

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After being denied parental leave, Josh Levs became an advocate for working fathers. Levs discusses – with Nadia Bilchik, CNN editorial producer and president – his book “All In: How Our Work-First Culture Fails Dads, Families, and Businesses--And How We Can Fix It Together.” In it, he explores what exactly fatherhood means in today’s world, shatters stereotypes and demonstrates how everyone can be “all in.“

Ted Koppel Nov. 22, 7:30 p.m. An America without electricity isn’t just a possibility; it’s one hack away from becoming a reality. Investigative reporter Ted Koppel will discuss with Dana Barrett (host of “The Dana Barrett Show”) his stunning exposé. Koppel discusses the federal government’s lack of preparation for what could be one of the biggest threats to modern American society…an attack on our power grids. bestselfatlanta.com

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bestfun Tackling Tai Chi By Alexandra McCray I’ll be honest. Used to be – when I heard the words “Tai Chi” – I’d have visions of slow-moving people in a serene field. I didn’t exactly think “dynamic workout.” But this ancient Chinese tradition, originally created for self-defense, turned out to be more of a physical and mental workout than I ever expected! During a recent Team Activity Day with the Best Self team, I had the chance to experience this firsthand with a “Chen Taiji Quan“ Tai Chi class taught by professor Florin Szondi. The first, and arguably most interesting, thing professor Szondi taught us was that the word Chi means energy. And that Tai Chi centers around releasing that energy to flow through you and to utilize it to its fullest potential. Just like those of us who scoff at the thought of yoga being a workout because of its slow pace, I soon realized the most strenuous part of Tai Chi isn’t the physically exertion. It’s the making of slow, controlled and thoughtful movements…all while allowing oneself to relax physically and mentally while floating from move to move. In a world where we are constantly going, going, going, it’s refreshing to do a workout that doesn’t involve mindless repetitive motions. Instead, Tai Chi unites the mind, body and spirit into a workout that is refreshingly different. Maybe those “serene people in the field” are onto something. Maybe the next time you’re looking for a mind-clearing workout, you should consider something with a slower pace instead of hitting the same old trails or weight room. I know I sure will.

Meet the Master: Florin Szondi Our instructor for the tai chi class was Florin Szondi, who has a long history of athleticism and study of the martial arts. Szondi was born in Romania and first explored traditional sports like swimming, which he did for six years as a child. He became so adept at handball that he became a member of the Romania Handball National Team. He also studied several martial arts, first Japanese Jiu Jitsu and then Goju Ryu Karate.

Photography by Brian Reeves

Eventually, he found his way to Chinese martial arts, a path he continues on to this day. He first studied Wushu-Kung Fu and then became certified as a Professor of Chinese Martial Arts by Beijing’s Wushu-Kung Fu National Research Institute. Along with a few other instructors, he brought this knowledge back home and founded the Romanian Martial Arts Federation. He won hundreds of medals from 1990 to 2000 in national and international sparring competitions, including a Grand Champion title in the USA in 2001. In 2000, Szondi shifted focus to Chen Taiji Quan, the style of tai chi he teaches now. After five years of study, he was officially accepted as a disciple of Grand Master Zhu Tiancai. Again he brought that learning back to Romania and founded the Romanian Chen Taiji Quan Association in 2010. Clearly, lifelong learning is a passion of his. He says, “After years and years of efforts of defining ourselves, we discover that true freedom is beyond any expectation and learning is just a way of being.”



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10/20/15 4:07 PM

fun Events

Join Best Self Atlanta at these events MJCCA Book Festival Nov. 5-22 This two-week long fall book festival will feature over 40 authors, book signings, panel discussions, a community read and family events. atlantajcc.org

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“The Dinner Detective” Interactive Murder Mystery Nov. 7 Enjoy a tasty four-course dinner while interacting in this fun murder mystery game. thedinnerdetective.com

“Timbuktu” Screening and Director Q&A Nov. 7 One of Africa’s most celebrated modern film directors will host a free viewing of his 2015 Academy Award Nominated film “Timbuktu” about extremist Jihadist Islam. france-atlanta.org

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Atlanta Pet Expo Nov. 14 You and your furry friend will both love this year’s pet expo, featuring giveaways, entertainment, obedience demonstrations, vet FAQ’s and more. atlantapetexpo.com

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Impractical Jokers Nov. 20 The cast of the hit show “Impractical Jokers” comes to Atlanta and promises lots of laughs. ticketmaster.com

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Atlanta Half Marathon & Thanksgiving 5K

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Nov. 13 -15 Celebrate magical fantasy at this fan convention. Love movies and shows like “Harry Potter”, “Lord of the Rings,” “Once Upon a Time” or “Supernatural”? Then you’ll have a great time at this twoday convention. conjurationcon.com

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Nov. 26 Earn your Thanksgiving dinner by running this popular holiday race through the heart of downtown Atlanta. atlantatrackclub.org

Insane Inflatable 5K Nov. 28 This 5K isn’t your average obstacle course! Forget climbing over walls and crawling through the mud. At this 5k, you’ll run, climb and bounce through extreme inflatables to the finish line. insaneinflatable5k.com bestselfatlanta.com

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she had to find a way to change the minds of those impressionable young women. She wanted them to know what it was like to be empowered by sporting pastimes. She wanted them to find their adventurous spirit and experience the confidence that comes with living a healthy and active lifestyle. She wanted them to learn how to disconnect from the need for social media validation and build their self-esteem from within. She wanted them to start exercising at a young age so it would become part of who they are—not an unpleasant chore later in life. So she took action and founded Prissy Tomboy Athletics in March of 2014.

Photo by Prissy Tomboy

Designed to promote athleticism and adventure for preteen and teen girls, Prissy Tomboy is a lifestyle brand and online community that provides girls with the inspiration, knowledge and resources they need to keep them healthy, active and empowered. For Pearson, the name of her company was a no-brainer. “My parents always called me a prissy tomboy as a kid,” she muses, recalling how she personally found the balance between being feminine and athletic.

In her personal life, those skills helped her cope with obstacles like her parents’ divorce and her mother’s bout with a serious illness. In her professional life, she tapped into her internal sense of

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“For girls, the athletic title gets stripped away if they don’t succeed right away. And soon enough, they’re going to believe that they’re just not athletic.

competitive team sports have gotten today. If you haven’t started playing a certain sport by the time you’re 4, then you’re not going to be able to start when you’re 14. You really have to start at a young age. But you don’t have to compete to be an athlete. The goal is to get out there and try different adventures.” To that end, Prissy Tomboy’s aim is to introduce girls to as many different sports as possible, from archery, golf and Jiu Jitsu to rock climbing, mountain biking, surfing, snowboarding and BMX. Initially, the company partnered with athletic institutions and organizations to offer an array of free clinics and events at various times throughout the year.

“They may be scared at first. But we put them all in the same shirt. We say, ‘Let’s go do this together.’”

During her teen years, while her friends began dropping extracurricular sports either because they lost interest or felt they weren’t good enough, Pearson stayed the course, successfully engaging in all kinds of athletic activities. By maintaining her athletic edge, she was able to develop invaluable skills and an innate drive that have helped her in countless ways throughout her life.


motivation to establish a successful career in the beauty industry and open her own salon with her husband, Erik. Whenever she needed comfort or guidance, she could turn to sports and her lifelong healthy lifestyle. And she wants today’s girls to have that same experience.

I wanted to change that culture of thinking,” Pearson says. “Once that non-athletic label is gone and these girls come out of their shell, the world lights up for them.” The key, according to Pearson, is to help preteen and teen girls understand that they don’t necessarily have to play competitive sports to be an athlete. With so many adventure sports out there, there truly is something for everyone. Pearson explains. “While talking to teen girls, I realized how

The clinics gave participants the chance to check out a sport that interested them without having to make a long-term commitment. “I would talk to parents who were so frustrated. They would say, ‘She tried soccer and hated it. It was like pulling teeth to get her to finish the season. We spent thousands of dollars on a sport she doesn’t even like,’” Pearson notes. “With Prissy Tomboy, they were able to try out sports. They could just get out there and have an adventure.”

Pearson traveled throughout the southeast to speak at schools and in communities so she could explain first-hand the community resources available to preteen and teen girls. She launched an online community for Prissy Tomboy Ambassadors, which recognizes girls for their athletic dedication—often in male-dominated sports—and gives them a forum to share their success stories with and become role models for their peers. She also developed a line of Prissy Tomboy apparel and accessories. And over the last 18 months, the Prissy Tomboy concept has become a bona fide movement. BEST SELF Atlanta



10/20/15 4:22 PM

“We are giving girls what they need, and we are really excited about where we are heading,” Pearson says. The evolution of the brand has led to the development of the new Prissy Tomboy Adventure Club Pass, which

begins in January of 2016. For just $150, participating girls will get six months’ worth of athletic opportunities, scheduled every weekend with the help of community partners throughout metro Atlanta.

A Mom on a Mission As the mom of two boys, ages 8 and 14, Pearson wants her children to understand the importance of an organization like Prissy Tomboy. Pearson explains, “When my son entered middle school, I saw what the girls were going through. The images in the media today show girls that are either over-sexualized or airheads. And girl characters on television are so dramatic or mean girls. With all of those representations, there were so few strong girls. It made me wonder how my boys were looking at girls.” Prissy Tomboy is helping her change the conversation. Pearson observes, “I want to show my boys that they can help change the culture of how boys look at girls. I want them to respect women and what they’re capable of. And I’ve seen a huge change in them myself. Now, when a commercial comes on that shows a girl engaged in sports, they’ll say, ‘Mom, it’s a Prissy Tomboy!’ And I love that.”

The sports offered will include rock climbing, rowing, jazz, hip hop, yoga, golf, paddle boarding, kayaking, roller derby, volleyball and a host of other options. The program also includes a film clinic so participants can learn to create their own sports documentary, as well as an entrepreneur clinic so girls can learn to become effective business leaders. The class options will change every six months and give members the chance to find the perfect athletic fit. “We are always wondering how we can inspire girls. How we can empower girls,” Pearson observes. “And I love when we get girls together into these kinds of classes. They may be sports they’re unsure about. They may be scared at first. But we put them all in the same shirt. We take down the labels and the barriers. And we say, ‘Let’s go do this together.’ And they go from being scared to smiling and being so happy. It’s so empowering. Right away, they see that they can do it. I see the change happen in them so quickly. They realize that they shouldn’t be afraid of things in life.” That shift in perspective is exactly what Pearson wants every preteen and teen girl to experience. “I want girls to know that adventure needs to be part of your life,” Pearson says. “There is so much out there in the world. And so much comes from travel and being in nature and experiencing other cultures. You need perspective on how big the world is. You need to see the world from the top of a mountain. You need to go to the ocean. The things you remember in life won’t be playing a video game for eight hours or being on social media all the time. That’s not how you create wonderful memories. You have to go out there and have an adventure. Those are the things that will stay with you forever.” So much has happened—and changed— for Prissy Tomboy in such a short amount of time. And Pearson is ready to move full steam ahead into the future with her brainchild. Ultimately, the goal is to launch the Adventure Club nationwide, beginning with southeastern cities like Jacksonville, Savannah and Nashville. Pearson also hopes to take



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10/20/15 1:55 PM

Mark Your Calendar

Photo by Prissy Tomboy

In April 2016, Prissy Tomboy will hold its highly anticipated inaugural 5K fundraiser. Plans are being made now, so be sure to keep an eye on prissytomboy.com for more information. advantage of her love of California, where she spent summers growing up, and bring Prissy Tomboy to the west coast. She even hopes to expand the Adventure Club to include opportunities for adult women, with such options as skydiving and motorcycle riding. No

matter where the road leads, the mission will remain the same. “We want to maintain our focus on empowering girls. We never want to take away from that. We want to figure out how we can break teen girls out of their shells and make it awesome,” Pearson concludes. “I

want girls to have faith in how strong they are. And as a community as a whole, we need to have faith in them too. We need to teach our youth how to live a happy and full life. And when our girls have that confidence and that peace of mind, they will be able to live a truly healthy lifestyle.”


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Tasty Top 10 Type 2 Diabetes Risk Reducers


by Morgan A. McLaughlin McFarland

or those at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, dietary changes can often play an important role in controlling blood sugar, reducing risk and improving overall health.

The prospect of completely changing eating habits can sound daunting. When we seek to decrease our chances of getting diabetes by changing our eating habits, we often fear the worst. We assume we’ll be stuck with a boring, flavorless diet that revolves around the things we can’t eat, rather than the things we can.


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Not true! A blood sugar-friendly diet can actually be full of color and flavor, especially if you include these ten tasty risk-reducers:

Black or Green Tea Finding out you’re at risk for Type 2 diabetes may mean saying goodbye to sugary sweet tea. But black and green tea can stay on your daily menu! Clinical research confirms what many cultures have long known – that tea can have a significant positive impact on health. One Japanese study found a 33 percent reduction in the rate of Type 2 diabetes among adults who drank six or more cups of green tea daily. Don’t care for green tea? Black tea also offers protection

from diabetes. In 2012, a study of 50 countries’ tea drinking habits found that regularly drinking black tea reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes across populations.

coffee actually contains more caffeic acid, the coffee component that provided the most protection for pancreatic cells, than caffeinated coffee. Just be wary of artificial coffee creamers, which often contain large amounts of saturated fat and added sugars.

Coffee If tea isn’t your cup of, well, tea, coffee also offers significant health benefits for those looking to decrease the risk or severity of Type 2 diabetes. Some studies have shown that drinking four cups of coffee a day may decrease the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by as much as 50 percent. The components in coffee—caffeine, caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid—protect the insulinproducing pancreative cells from damage. For those concerned about ingesting that much caffeine, never fear: decaffeinated

Dark Chocolate When it comes to chocolate, then the darker, the better. (At least if your goal is to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.) Cocoa contains natural antioxidants called flavonols, but not all cocoa flavonols are created the same. The flavonols found in dark chocolate, called cocoaoligomeric procyanidins (CPs), can reduce the risk of diabetes. CPs also curb weight gain, which further lowers the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

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In one study of the effects of dark chocolate, the subjects continued to maintain their weight or even lose weight despite a high fat diet. Not only that, but their ability to tolerate glucose actually improved, leading to a lowered risk of Type 2 diabetes. For a satisfying treat that also provides some protection against diabetes, skip sugary white and milk chocolate and instead enjoy the rich, bittersweet flavor of a high-cocoa dark chocolate.

Dates Those at risk for Type 2 diabetes know that sugar is usually a no-no, so they instead turn to artificial sweeteners. But many artificial sweeteners carry their own mild health risks and can leave behind a bitter aftertaste. Instead, consider dates and date sugar! Dates provide a naturally sweet alternative to high GI table sugar. Loaded with important nutrients like potassium, iron, calcium, manganese and copper, dates are also an excellent source of dietary fiber. They contain anti-inflammatory tannins.

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Apples An apple a day may not keep the doctor away, but apples and other fruits high in quercetin—a naturallyoccurring plant flavonoid—can reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

A study of Finnish men found a 20 percent reduction of Type 2 diabetes risk, along with a Dr. Angelo decrease in Sambunaris the rate of cardiovascular disease and some cancers. Quercetin may also help fight Alzheimer’s disease and improve respiratory health. Quercetin is found in berries, leafy greens, raw onions and, of course, apples.

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If you want all the health benefits of quercetin, make sure to also eat the peel, which contains the quercetin, along with much of the apple’s fiber and other nutrients. Remember that fiber also plays an important role in controlling blood sugar, making apples a fantastic go-to snack. bestselfatlanta.com

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sprinkling some on apple slices or mixed berries or adding a dash to a smoothie or other sweet treat for an extra boost of diabetes protection!

while 16.2 percent of the at-risk placebo group developed Type 2 diabetes, no participant in the curcumin group developed it. This versatile spice deserves further study and a place in your spice cabinet.

Lingonberries, Blueberries, and Grapes Apples aren’t the only fruit with the power to reduce the risk of diabetes. Several varieties of berries have a positive impact on diabetes risk. A 2014 Swedish study suggested that lingonberries can help control weight and maintain blood sugar, even in the face of a high-fat diet. That’s well worth another trip to IKEA! Another study showed a decrease in Type 2 diabetes in those who ate regular servings of whole fruit, particularly blueberries and grapes, which are also high in quercetin. Loaded with antioxidants and vitamins, these small fruits pack a huge nutritional punch, and they’re easy to prepare. Toss them in a smoothie, mix with a whole grain breakfast cereal or snack on them whole; just be sure to include the quercetin-rich outer peel for maximum health benefit!

Cinnamon Speaking of spices, cinnamon adds additional flavor to blood sugar management. Regularly including cinnamon in your diet helps maintain a healthy blood sugar level and reduces the risk of complications from diabetes and cardiovascular disease. One study found that one to six grams of cinnamon daily significantly reduces blood sugar, as well as reduces triglycerides, LDL cholesterol level, and total cholesterol level. Cinnamon can be integrated into prepared dishes or taken as a supplement. Try

Cutting back on fat, sugar and processed carbohydrates doesn’t have to mean eating bland, tasteless food. In fact, many spices actually offer additional health benefits for those at risk for diabetes — thus providing an opportunity to try new and exciting dishes from around the world.

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Editorial Resources Brooks Kent, MS, RDN, LD, CDE, WellStar Diabetes Educator – www.wellstar.org

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Turmeric, a bright yellow spice used to boost the color and flavor of foods from curry to mustard, can also help prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes in at-risk individuals.


Many of the same foods that help reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes—such as chocolate, whole fruits and black or green tea—have been shown to elevate mood and improve alertness. A happier, healthier you can start with just one bite or sip, and it’s never too late to start!

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Curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, aids in lowering blood sugar and decreasing insulin resistance. One nine-month study of curcumin in at-risk groups found a significant reduction in the onset of Type 2 diabetes in the group taking curcumin;

Twenty-nine million Americans have Type 2 diabetes, and 86 million more are pre-diabetic — at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. While no magic bullet can guarantee pre-diabetes won’t develop into full-blown Type 2 diabetes, changes in diet and exercise can dramatically decrease that risk. Incorporating fun, delicious foods into your daily routine can not only improve your health, but also your outlook!

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Give a Little, Get a Lot How to Volunteer Throughout the Holidays


By Nicole Letts

ontrary to every TV ad you’ll ever see, the spirit of the season isn’t about purchases, presents and parties. It’s about giving and, specifically, giving back.

It’s especially about giving back to Atlanta communities and neighborhoods we hold near and dear to our hearts. After all, as The Grinch Who Stole Christmas reminds us, “What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more?” Whether you are looking to donate canned food or winter coats, or to volunteer for a few hours or a few days, we’ve got a comprehensive round-up of organizations giving back to Atlanta communities this holiday season in a major way. Take a look at the list, find an organization that speaks to you and gather your friends and family to volunteer. The list covers events starting as early as November 1, so there is plenty of time to get involved. Embrace the holiday spirit and enjoy the season of giving!


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On-Going Efforts that Stretch Beyond the Holiday Season Angels Among Us Pet Rescue

Volunteers decorating mailboxes for the Ashford Park Friends of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Maibox Brigade.

Mailbox Brigade

NFCC Holiday Program

Nov. 1 - Dec. 4 Ashford Park Friends of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

Nov. 7 - Dec. 19 North Fulton Community Charities (Warm Coat Drive, Senior Baskets, Santa Shop and others)

Ashford Park Friends is one of more than 37 community “Friends” groups that support Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta through volunteer opportunities, fundraising events and special service projects. This year, Friends’ events will benefit family support services, patient family services, research and more. Ashford Park Friends will be continuing a holiday tradition of decorating mailboxes where 100 percent of the funds raised will be donated directly to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

North Fulton Community Charities’ mission is to provide assistance to underprivileged families in the North Fulton area. Join other North Fulton county residents as they come together for a season of service with NFCC.

For a $40 donation, mailboxes will be beautifully adorned with fresh holiday greenery and a festive bow. Volunteers from the Ashford Park Friends group will be decorating the mailboxes while children of volunteers may help in the process by gathering greenery and assisting in decoration. Times vary, but decorating will take place in the Ashford Park neighborhood. To join Ashford Park Friends, visit www. facebook.com/groups/AshfordParkFriends

North Fulton community charity volunteers hard at work!


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Join Angels Among Us Pet Rescue, Inc., a 501(c)(3), non-profit, volunteerbased organization dedicated to rescuing dogs and cats from high-kill shelters in North Georgia. Volunteers can work from home making phone calls and/or working in databases, or can transport dogs and cats from shelters to veterinary offices through the state. Additionally, Angels Among Us is always in need of supplies for the animals; especially for the puppies and kittens. Volunteers must be 16 years of age and complete the online volunteer application. www. angelsrescue.org

Atlanta Community Food Bank The Atlanta Community Food Bank donates more than 60 million pounds of food each year utilizing over 15,000 volunteers. The organization’s mission is to fight hunger with education and empowerment, and a variety of volunteer projects are available every week with ACFB. Volunteers can work starting as early as 8 years old, so this opportunity can involve the whole family. www. acfb.org/volunteer

Trees Atlanta Volunteer with Trees Atlanta’s weekly Saturday projects. This hands-on, “dig in the dirt” activity is a great way to meet new friends and get to know more about the community while also helping make it a better place to live. Volunteers are needed Saturday mornings from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.. Volunteers meet in a different neighborhood in Atlanta for tree planting, tree care or forest restoration projects. Sign-up to volunteer today. www.treesatlanta. org/volunteer/sign-up/ BEST SELF ATLANTA



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Volunteer opportunities range from receiving donations to organizing events and assisting with cleanup. To volunteer with NFCC, volunteers must be at least 13 years of age. Groups of teens 16-18 must have an adult chaperone for every group of four. An adult must accompany teens under the age of 16, and children under the age of 13 are not allowed to volunteer at this time. Times vary on each event, but all activities take place at the Holiday Distribution Site: 1175 Northmeadow Pkwy., Suite 110, Roswell, GA 30076. To register to volunteer, visit www.nfccholiday.org

2015 Home for the Holidays Designer Showhouse Nov. 20 - Dec. 13 Southeastern Horticultural Society

national and locally acclaimed designers will transform this home!) A portion of the funds raised from the event will benefit The Children’s Learning Gardens at the Southeastern Horticultural Society, a membership organization dedicated to furthering the knowledge of the horticultural industry throughout the region. The Southeastern Horticultural Society (SHS) is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to promoting the knowledge, art and enjoyment of horticulture throughout the Southeast. The 2015 home, located at 1150 West Garmon Road, Atlanta, GA 30327, will be open to the public for tours Thursdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. For this event, volunteers are

needed while the home is open for tours to help direct guests and answer questions. Volunteers must be 21 years of age or older. For more information, visit www.atlantaholidayhome.com.

Holiday Tree Greeting Card Elves Nov. 26 - Dec. 25 (Mon. - Fri. only) Trees Atlanta Trees Atlanta is a nationally recognized nonprofit citizens’ group that protects and improves Atlanta’s urban forest by planting, conserving, and educating. Each holiday season, Trees Atlanta seeks office volunteers (also known as “elves”) to assist with mailing Holiday Tree Greeting Cards. For every holiday tree greeting purchased, Trees Atlanta sends a card to

The Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles 2015 Home for the Holidays Designer Showhouse is the Atlanta design community’s favorite wintertime tradition, and this year’s no exception. (Twenty



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volunteers to become engaged community leaders. Throughout the year, CCC plans fun events and festivals for children living in homeless shelters and offers teen volunteers direct and meaningful community outreach opportunities.

located at 3180 Peachtree Rd, Atlanta, GA 30305. For further information, visit www.prumc.org/local-outreach/

This opportunity is perfect for families with teenagers hoping to get involved during the holidays. Rally your teenagers and join Amy’s Holiday Party in providing over 800 children living in 40 shelters around Atlanta with a fun-filled holiday celebration. Over 300 teen volunteers participate in the event each year and help guests enjoy a DJ dance party, carnival games, craft projects, pictures with Santa, lunch and snacks and best of all a Toy Store with over 3,000 gifts. Volunteers in grades 8 - 12 are welcome. Volunteers are asked to register, and time and location details will then be provided. To register, visit www.cccprojects.org

Amy’s Holiday Party

Joyous Toys Store

Volunteers throwing a fun “Amy’s Holiday Party” for kids living in shelters.

the friend, family member or associate of the purchaser’s choice. Each card tells the loved one that a one-year old tree is being planted in their honor through Trees Atlanta’s NeighborWoods program. As always, volunteers hand-address the envelopes to recipients for a personal touch. Volunteers ages 16+ are welcome to participate. Plan to meet at Trees Atlanta Kendeda Center: 225 Chester Avenue SE, Atlanta, GA 30316. For more information, visit www.treesatlanta.org.

Dec. 6 Creating Connected Communities Creating Connected Communities’ mission is to provide life-enhancing programs to underserved children by empowering teen

Dec. 7 - 11 Buckhead Christian Ministries For more than 28 years, Buckhead Christian Ministry (BCM) has worked to prevent hunger and homelessness for

Christmas Kindness Dec. 5 - 9 Peachtree Road United Methodist Church Christmas Kindness is a Peachtree Road United Methodist Church ministry that offers a dignified way for Atlantans in need to share the joy of Christmas. At this annual event, parents select from a variety of coats for all family members, appliances for their family to share and toys to give to their children. Individuals from area shelters and housing agencies shop for basic necessities such as coats, shampoo, toothpaste, lotion and deodorant for their own use, and every shopper receives a wrapped Bible. Volunteers ages 16+ are invited to participate on December 5-8 while on December 9 from 3-6 p.m., elementary aged children can volunteer, too. Times vary for each day, but all activities take place at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church bestselfatlanta.com

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The fun, fabulous ‘Joyous Toys Store’ event with Buckhead Christian Ministries! BEST SELF ATLANTA



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hospitality suite while they wait to shop, access to a personal shopper to help them select multiple gifts for each child and complimentary gift wrapping before they leave. Members of the community can volunteer to register families in the weeks leading up to the store or volunteer at the store itself. Volunteers must be 19 years of age to participate. The Joyous Toys Store event takes place Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday – 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Thursday – 9:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. ; Friday – 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon at Peachtree Presbyterian Church, 3434 Roswell Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30305. For more information, visit buckheadchristianministry.org/events/ joyous-toys-store/

The Holiday Store Another smile brought to you by The Holiday Store, from Moving in the Spirit.

Dec. 12 Moving in the Spirit

local people facing life-changing events such as job losses, reduction in work hours or medical problems. Joyous Toys is a store that provides gifts for children of all ages,

Moving in the Spirit is an awardwinning nonprofit that transforms the lives of Atlanta’s children and teens through the art of dance. Programs


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combine dance instruction with leadership and mentor opportunities for a diverse community of young people, encouraging them to overcome the obstacles they face each day and reach their highest potential. All year, Moving in the Spirit’s 250 students earn merit points for meeting class commitments and personal goals. At the Holiday Store, they use their hard-earned points to “buy” gifts for their families and loved ones. Volunteers donate gifts, set up the store, wrap presents and serve as personal shoppers to the dancers. Moving in the Spirit welcomes volunteers ages 14 and beyond. Holiday Store hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and all volunteer activities take place at Moving in the Spirit: 750 Glenwood Avenue Atlanta, GA 30316. For more information, visit www.movinginthespirit.org/ holidaystore2015/

Happy shoppers choosing gifts for their loved ones at the Holiday Store.

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We are happy to announce our new satellite office in Cumming opening on November 9th across from Costco.

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s a child, Assia Stepanian, MD, knew that she would make a difference in the field of medicine. The daughter of two renowned physicians, the Moscow-raised founder of Atlantabased Academia Women’s Health & Endoscopic Surgery has brought a wide variety of Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery (MIGS) options to patients in metro Atlanta and devoted herself to sharing her specialized knowledge with physicians worldwide. An active member of the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists (AAGL), she proudly follows in the footsteps of her mother, Dr. Leila Adamyan, who developed some of the most advanced techniques in the practice of MIGS. Dr. Stepanian is committed to wholistic and compassionate care and sees how such an approach changes both patients and physician’s experiences. Q: WHAT IS MINIMALLY INVASIVE GYNECOLOGIC SURGERY (MIGS)?

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with early recognition and successful treatment of the disease are, in my opinion, the keys of our patients’ long-term health. With early recognition of and attention to gynecologic diseases and the risks in their development, the least degree of the intervention will be required. The more we know about minimally invasive approaches in treatment, the more open will we be as physicians to intervene earlier. It is hard for physicians and patients to believe that minimally invasive surgeries can be offered even to patients with very advanced states of gynecologic conditions.

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ExpErt ConnECt

Jump-starting Health

By Ekan EssiEn M.D.,M.P.H The temperature is falling, the leaves are turning colors and the holiday season is right around the corner. Unfortunately this season is also associated with weight gain triggered by overindulgence in sugarladen desserts, fattening holiday dishes and libations. The good news is that it’s possible to enjoy the holiday season and not “size up” at the same time. It’s not just about aesthetics, either! Most people do not understand how being overweight or obese can negatively impact their health. Excess weight is a major risk factor for: • Heart disease • Stroke • Diabetes • Osteoarthritis (highly disabling degenerative disease of the joints) • Cancer (Breast, colon and endometrial) A healthy approach to your daily lifestyle can make a positive impact on your health. You can also reduce the chances of developing new – or exacerbating existing – diseases. This can all be done without necessarily needing to eliminate your favorite foods or desserts. You just need to become educated and empowered to make healthy but manageable dietary and physical activity choices. The HCG weight loss program is an excellent way to jump-start your journey towards healthy weight management and wellness. The current marketplace is filled with a myriad of “quick weight loss” gimmicks that are unproven, ineffective, unsustainable and potentially unhealthy. Those programs can lead to inadequate and unsustainable weight reduction and potentially harmful weight fluctuations. The InShapeMD program is both safe and effective. It’s designed to promote significant initial weight loss and successful long term weight management. The program consists of a protein, vegetable rich calorie controlled diet, injections of

human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), activity or exercise goals and guidance and education from the office team. Because one size does not necessarily “fit all” the HCG program can be modified for each patient to ensure maximum results. The InShapeMD team is there to assist you every step of the way.

work, physical exam, diet and personalized exercise plans. Don’t let the holiday season get the best of you. Call InShapeMD today and start your journey towards wellness.

For those of you simply looking for some healthy lifestyle guidance, we also offer comprehensive health assessments and wellness programs. These include blood

Fit 4 Life

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Preventing Diabetes: KNOW THE RISKS Twenty-nine million—that is the number of Americans living with diabetes, and more than eight million of them don’t even know it, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Chances are you have a family member who is diabetic, and those chances are multiplied if you are a minority.

Richard Ellin, M.D. Kaiser Permanente Alpharetta Medical Office Dr. Richard Ellin is board-certified in internal medicine and practices at the Kaiser Permanente Alpharetta Medical Office. He completed medical school and his residency at Emory University. Read more about Dr. Ellin at kp.org/medicalstaff. Did you know that Kaiser Permanente offers free healthy living classes to the public? If you have been told you have pre-diabetes or a family history of diabetes and want to learn your risks, register for our Preventing Diabetes class. This one-session class will help you understand what puts you at risk and how to take control of your future. Visit kp.org/classes for details or call 404-364-7117 and leave a message.


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So, what exactly is this disease diagnosed in nearly two million adults each year? Diabetes develops when there are abnormally high glucose or sugar levels in the blood, and it can lead to heart disease, blindness, amputations, and even death when not managed properly. But research has produced promising findings—a healthy lifestyle can cut your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for an estimated 90 percent of diabetes cases.



RISK OF DEVELOPING THE DISEASE? A family history of diabetes increases your risk of developing both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. While it is unclear how to prevent Type 1 diabetes, research shows that obesity is a leading risk factor for Type 2 diabetes. Lower your risk by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet.

Educate yourself about diabetes, its risk factors and the preventive measures you can take today to avoid a troubling diagnosis later in life. HOW DOES DIABETES AFFECT

THE BODY? Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are the most common forms of the disease. Your body naturally produces insulin to regulate the blood glucose level. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin. The condition, which is treated with insulin supplements, is prevalent among children and teens. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body cannot respond normally to the insulin it produces. WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS

OF DIABETES? Contact your doctor if you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms: • frequent urination

• extreme hunger

• excessive thirst

• extreme fatigue

• unexplained weight loss

• irritability • blurry vision


• Keep your blood sugar (glucose) levels well controlled. Test your blood sugar to be sure it is in the target range set by you and your doctor. Take blood sugar medication as prescribed by your doctor. • Ask your doctor if you should take lowdose aspirin along with cholesterol or blood pressure medicine to help prevent heart attack and stroke. • Eat a healthy diet. The right nutrition is key to preventing and managing diabetes. • Stay or become more physically active. Try walking for 30 minutes at least five days a week. If you’re overweight, losing as little as seven to 15 pounds can make a big difference in your health.

by: Kaiser Permanente Alpharetta Medical Office | www.kaiserpermanente.org BEST SELF ATLANTA


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bestbeauty By Laura Carson Miller

That Old Black Magic What can a little black magic do for you? The healing benefits of The Black Magic Juice can range from beautiful, clear skin to better digestion. Dtox owner Shannon Slinger advises, “If you don’t have time for a Dtox Box or a 7 day Liver Cleanse and need a serious detox, Black Magic is your juice.”

The Black Magic juice at Dtox includes activated charcoal, bentonite clay, alkaline water, lemon and maple syrup. The clay also has a magnetic pull to toxins like heavy metals, impurities and chemicals and helps move them out of the body.

Photo courtesy of (top left) D Tox Black Magic, (middle left) Bebe & Bella, (bottom left) Facelogic Spa, (bottom right) Stephen Moleski

Details: Dtoxjuice.com. Available at 3 locations: Dtox Buckhead: 3210 Roswell Rd., Dtox Flywheel: 102 West Paces Ferry Rd, Dtox Piedmont Park: 1531 Piedmont Ave

Probiotic Power for Your Skin Amp your skin’s essence! Atlanta-based Bebe & Bella’s Facial Essence Stick is the perfect pick-meup for the woman on the go.  Just pop it in your purse and apply to the area around your eyes, mouth and frown lines for an instant lift.  Packed full of skin-nourishing probiotics, it immediately absorbs into your skin (even over makeup!) without smudging or leaving a greasy residue. The Facial Essence Stick also hydrates, exfoliates, and evens out skin tone – letting you keep the laughter without the lines! Details: Mybebella.com. Essence Stick $65

Smooth Skin Made Easy A new way to remove hair? Tell us more, Judy van Heiningen, owner of Facelogic Spa! Nufree is a treatment developed over 25 years ago to help plastic surgeons remove hair from a patient prior to surgery. Here are just a few reasons why Nufree is a different and effective hair removal treatment: • Nufree is NOT A WAX and never sticks to the skin. • Nufree is self-preserving antibacterial/ antimicrobial, so it’s safe, clean and germ free. • Nufree is completely BOTANICAL and safe for the entire body. • Nufree is scientifically tested and uses no animal products Details: Facelogic Spa.com bestselfatlanta.com

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No, Really… Get An Electric Toothbrush. Reason # 1 Using an electric toothbrush reduces gingivitis and removes plaque more effectively than a manual toothbrush. 48,800 bristle movements per minute deliver up to 100 percent better plaque removal along the gum line. Reason # 2  Most people brush too hard when brushing with a manual tooth brush. This causes gum recession. An electric toothbrush will alert you when you are brushing too hard. Reason # 3  The multifunctional bristle pattern is designed to clean deep between teeth, achieving superior “toothby-tooth cleaning.” These pulsating sweeping bristles have a dynamic angle to provide deep cleaning in hard-toreach areas.

4 Must-Haves In Your Makeup Bag Best known for his smoky eye technique (made famous by client Kim Kardashian!), Celebrity Makeup Artist Stephen Moleski has been featured on several hit TV shows, including E! News, Keeping up with the Kardashians, Girls Next Door, Extra and The Insider. Here are his top

four must-haves: 1. Moisturizer with SPF 2. Concealer (NARS illuminating concealer is his go-to) 3. Bronzer or blush to give skin a glow and even finish 4. His favorite peppermint plump lip balm (Pssthe helped develop it!) from Mizzie Cosmetics. Details: StephenMoleski.com BEST SELF Atlanta



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bestfitness Get Sculpted

This winter, Atlanta will be the next place Sculpthouse will call home. This national fitness studio and activewear boutique was created by fitness model turned entrepreneur Katherine Mason and doesn’t incorporate traditional workout equipment or exercise classes. Instead it turns your body into the machine utilizing the Lagree Fitness method. The Lagree Fitness method finds its roots in Pilates and combines cardio with strength training for a dynamic workout. Sculpthouse helps its clients achieve weight loss through lowimpact and calorie torching classes for men and women of all fitness levels.

Photos courtesy of (middle left) Blueprint Fitness, (top right) Atlanta Track Club, (bottom right) Madison James

Details: 3167 Peachtree Road NE, Suite Q, Atlanta, GA, sculpthouse.com

Q: How do you recommend I kickstart fat-burning when I first wake up? A: I recommend you eat protein (preferably red meat) and a source of fat (i.e. avocado, almonds and so on) when you wake up. The protein will start the process of protein synthesis to help heal damaged cells from the previous day’s training session, and the fat will tell your body’s neurotransmitters to use fat as energy instead of carbs. Drink either water or coffee (no sugar added) to help get your body going. Joshua Jarmin, owner and trainer at Blueprint Fitness

Yoga and a Cause There’s a new yoga studio on the scene. Westside Yoga offers classes that will leave everyone from experienced yogis to total beginners feeling empowered, energized, strong and balanced. On Wednesday nights, they feature a Community Yoga class, where every donation received goes towards the studio’s mission to build a well to provide clean drinking water to a community in need, through their partner Charity Water. Details: 1891 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta, GA, westsideyoga.net


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Earn Your Turkey Get up bright and early this Thanksgiving with thousands of other runners at Turner Field for the Atlanta Track Club’s Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon and 5K. Whether you’re a first time runner or an experienced racer, this race features something for you, including a 50m dash, a one-miler, a 5K and a half marathon. Bring the whole family and give thanks for your health and fitness this year before the big dinner. Make the holidays warmer for the less fortunate by bringing along a few extra clothes for the Atlanta Mission clothes drive. Details: 755 Hank Aaron Dr SE, Atlanta, GA, atlantatrackclub.org

Healthy Lifestyle on the Go By Madison James, radio/TV personality and lifestyle enthusiast

Hey ladies! Who’s a fan of burning calories while going about your everyday life? I know I’m a fan! My go-to secret is… my weight vest.  I often get emails and inquires about what I’m wearing on social media. I love to put on my weight vest while training, walking the dogs, even running errands on the weekend. Adding the weight vest allows me to add resistance training to regular everyday tasks. I stumbled onto the sleek weight vest while shopping in Walmart a few years back. Unlike other weight vests on the market, this one is very sleek and not bulky while still packing 12-15lbs. This is great for the moderate to advanced fitness levels. The Tone Fitness Vest is just under $40, and you can find it at walmart.com. BEST SELF ATLANTA



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Join by November 17 &


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* Restrictions and terms may apply. Offer ends November 17, 2015 and cannot be combined with any other offer. Š2015 Wellbridge

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3 Ways to Stay Active during the Holidays By Amy Begley, Atlanta Track Club head coach

The holidays are approaching quickly, and all of the festivity can make it hard to stick to your regular fitness routine. Holiday parties, family gatherings and shopping can take up a lot of your time, but there are some simple things you can do to make sure you don’t neglect your health.

Get Up and At ‘Em It can be tough to stick to your planned evening run or walk if you get a last-minute invite, so pick a time of day when you know nothing else will get in the way of your scheduled workout. Many people find success by working out first thing in the morning.

Photo courtesy of Joaquin Lara

Incorporate Activity into Holiday Fun Holiday fun and physical activities don’t have to be two separate things. If you get a little creative, you can keep moving while you enjoy the season. While you’re out shopping for holiday gifts or food to feed your guests, park at the back of the parking lot to force yourself to take a few extra steps. Better yet, walk or bike to the store or mall. As you select holiday light displays, choose one that you have to walk through instead of a driving tour. You can even create your own personal light show by walking through your neighborhood and checking out the decorations on nearby houses.

Find a Holiday Run or Walk Signing up for a holidaythemed race is a great way to focus on a specific goal and keep you motivated while staying in the spirit of the season. There are many races that celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, including Atlanta Track Club’s Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon. If you’re not up for 13.1 miles, don’t worry! This event has a distance for everyone, including a 5K, one mile and 50m dash.

Personal training taken to another level...

INNOVATIVE. PROGRESSIVE. PROVEN. Let us design a personalized program just for you on-site, online or on our mobile app. Go to bestselfatlanta.com to see a video message from co-owners Steve & Rachel Payne. houseofpayne_halfh.indd bestselfatlanta.com  1

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Call Today to learn more about the new effective Stem Cell Therapy for facial rejuvination and hair thinning/loss! � Fillers � Botox � Microdermabrasion Diabetes comes with so many complications: vision problems, high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, potential kidney failure and nerve damage. It truly affects the body from head to toe. On top of that, many people who suffer from diabetes also suffer from chronic venous insufficiency, creating additional risks.

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Chronic venous insufficiency is a hereditary and progressive 10/13/15 medical condition wherein the leg veins, which carry bloodLotus-Medical-Wellness.indd 1 to the heart and lungs, are compromised by failed valves. These delicate one-way valves normally keep blood from flowing backward. When they fail, however, blood is able to flow backward, pooling and creating pressure on veins. This NeriumAD Age-Defying Treatment pressure often results in spider veins, varicose veins, swelling, DrAmATicAlly reduces the appearance of: pain, restlessness and itching. In extreme cases, this pressure and fluid lead to a breakdown of the tissue, and ultimately, Fine lines Before After an ulcer. This is a dangerous and uncomfortable condition for Wrinkles anyone, but for people with diabetes, venous stasis ulcers are Discoloration even more of a cause for concern than usual.

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Helping One Tummy at a Time At Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates, our Board Certified pediatric gastroenterologists care for infants, children,‘tweens, and teens with any type of digestive or liver condition, including: • Abdominal Pain • Celiac Disease • Eosinophilic Esophagitis • Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Massage Elements Massage...................................23

Cosmetic Surgery


Southern Plastic Surgery.................... 15, 40

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Vinings Surgery Center............................50



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Ballroom Dance.......................................38 Dance Tonight..........................................52

Dating Services 1 on 1 Matchmaking.................................9

Dentistry Atlanta Center for Cosmetic Dentistry....11 Atlanta Smiles and Wellness....................19 Golsen Family Dentistry............................61 Kimball Bridge Dental Commons............44 Lemons Dental.........................................31

Dermatology Gardner Dermatology & Med Spa...........5

Eat like a Gypsy.

Lotus Medical Wellness............................57 North Atlanta Dermatology.....................45


to reserve a table visit gypsykitchenatl.com or call 404 939 9840

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Thanksgiving Day 1/2 Marathon..............2

Fitness/Fitness Centers Atlanta Track Club......................................2 Concourse Athletic Club.........................54 Kangoo Club............................................56 TruAlliance Fitness....................................56

Gastroenterology Atlanta Gastroenterology........................58


Yes Indeed, Yes Indeed, LUNCH


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Hair Removal The Arches Threading Lounge...................3

Hair Restortion Anderson Hair Sciences Center................4

Hair Salon Carter Barnes Hair Artisans......................40

Hormone Replacement Body Symmetry MD....................................8 Fit 4Life InShapeMD..................................48 Harley Anti Aging Institute........................22

Hospitals Northside Hospital...............................15,35

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Integrative Medicine

Vitality Project...........................................52


Breast Cancer Association Komen Race for the Cure........................58

Midtown Neurology..................................46

Oncology Atlanta Oncology Associates..................13 GA Urology................................................34 Radio Therapy Clinics of GA....................28

Outdoor Retailers High Country Outfitters............................21

Pain Management Total Healthcare.......................................32

Personal training House of Payne Personal Training...........55 Concourse Athletic Club.........................54

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Restaurants Southern Proper Hospitality.....................60

Skin Care/Med Spa/Spas Dermani Med Spa....................................28 Fountain of Youth MD...............................25 Gardner Dermatology & Med Spa...........5 Institut’ DERMed........................................26 Jeju Sauna...............................................42 Nirvana Med Spa & Laser Center...........23 Nerium......................................................57 Prima Clinical Skincare............................37

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reader resources

journey through spain with the flavors of our spice-trade influenced spanish cuisine



thegive-back guide






Featured events

For a complete list of upcoming events, visit bestselfatlanta.com

-BACK IVE Nov. 5

Numbers Too Big To Ignore Join The Atlanta Women’s Foundation for a fundraising luncheon to support programs specifically targeted to women and girls. atlantawomen.org

Nov. 7 Moustache Dache Atlanta Whether it’s real or fake, sport your best moustache at this 5K to raise awareness for men’s health. mustachedache.com

Nov. 7 Strong legs run The 31st Annual Strong Legs Run is a family-friendly event that has something to offer everyone, and with proceeds benefiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, this is an event you don’t want to miss. choa.org/stronglegs

Nov. 12 Love is All You Need in the Red Submarine Dance the night away to hits from the 70s, 80s and 90s at Piedmont Park during this charity soirée to benefit Angels Among Us Pet Rescue, Cool Girls Inc., Operation P.E.A.C.E, Our House and KW Cares.parktavern.com/ events.html

Concert for a Cause Rock out with Plott Hounds, Dank and All the Locals at the Buckhead Theater to raise funds and awareness for Epilepsy Awareness month. epilepsyga.org

Nov. 14 Step Out Walk To Stop Diabetes Step Out is filled with music, food and more. stepout.diabetes.org

5K Suit Run Suit up for this 5k to benefit the American Cancer Society to raise awareness for prostate cancer research. 5ksuitrun.com

Nov. 17 Gateway Center’s Human Clay Benefit Celebrate Gateway Center’s mission to end homelessness for the past 10 years. The evening will not only include food, drinks and music, but also inform guests about how Gateway Center has shaped the lives of the homeless. gatewayctr.org.

Nov. 21 Autism Speaks 5K This 5k aims to raise awareness about the fastest growing developmental disability in the US: Autism. autismspeaks.org

Nov. 26 GObble JOG Thousands of people converge on the Marietta Square to run or walk and raise money for MUST Ministries. gobblejog.org

sugarloaf turkey troT

Actual Patients

Creating smiles that make lasting memories

This event is sponsored by Women’s Club of Sugarloaf Country Club Charities Inc. benefiting Rainbow Village, The Partnership Against Domestic Violence and The American Heart Association. wcscccharities.org/ turkeytrot.html

Five star turkey Trot Bring a canned food donation for Feed the Hungry Forsyth or a donation for the Humane Society of Forsyth County fivestarntp.com

www.golsendental.com 770.667.0669 3400-A Old Milton Parkway, Suite #430 Alpharetta, GA 30005 (Just East of GA 400)

THANKSGIVING DAY HALF MARATHON & 5K Come celebrate this Thanksgiving Day with the Atlanta Track Club and earn your turkey! atlantatrackclub.org

Look for this icon to find out where you can volunteer. bestselfatlanta.com

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6/11/15 11:26 AM 10/20/15 4:37 PM


By Beth Carter

t s e B f sel

Lynn Stallings is a woman of many, many talents. Throughout her lengthy career she’s been a professional dancer, a casting director, an on-set acting coach…and even a probation officer! But the role Stalling’s held for almost 35 years as the Founder and Executive Director of the non-profit Atlanta Workshop Players (AWP) has brought the most fulfillment to her life. AWP has trained over 20,000 area students in musical theater, film and television, and she’s helped launch many successful careers in Atlanta’s redhot entertainment industry. She’s even created a program called “Make A Movie, Make A Difference,” in which young students write and film their own movies.

What is the “Make A Movie, Make A Difference” program all about?

The goal is to give our young students life skills, confidence and a strong work ethic. For more than 10 months, they work with award-winning professionals from across the country to learn all aspects of movie-making: screenwriting, producing, filmmaking, promoting and acting. Kids are remarkably deep thinkers and have so much to say but don’t always have an outlet to be heard. Through this program, they spend a great deal of time brainstorming about the things that are important and relevant in their lives, and then they write film shorts, PSAs (Public Service Announcements) and documentaries that are sent to film festivals and public screenings. They’re currently shooting the first five episodes in a web series titled “What Is Your Story?” which will be complete by the end of November and launch in early December on You Tube.

How does performing help your young students stay healthy?

You began Atlanta Workshop Players with your husband, Don. What’s it like working so closely together?

Our entire family is involved with AWP, and I feel so fortunate to be able to create together. Don is an actor and filmmaker, and our precious daughter Ashlyn is an actress, writer and filmmaker. Our son Lane is a technical wizard and is in the final stages of developing a feature film project. We also love to travel the world together and going to the theatre in the West End!

When you’re not at Atlanta Workshop Players, what do you do to relax? I am powered by light. When you turn out the lights, I’m fast asleep and enjoying the ultimate state of relaxation. Other than that, I work 80 to 90 hours per week and love every minute of it.



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Photo courtesy of Atlanta Workshop Players

A performer’s body is their instrument, so they take care of theirs with good nutrition, exercise and sleep. Performers also exercise their minds through learning lines, choreography and creating new works that have great value and purpose. These students also explore challenges that are faced by young people today and tackle those issues with social responsibility. The creative process brings personal soul-searching and thoughtful contemplation.We also laugh a lot, play hide and seek and have epic water fights!


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We all want to make healthy choices. At Kaiser Permanente, you’ll get a wide selection of doctors to choose from. So you can find the one with the experience and the personality that best fits you and your needs. And if you ever change your needs or your mind, you can change your doctor at any time. Visit kp.org today because together we thrive. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Georgia, Inc., Nine Piedmont Center 3495 Piedmont Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30305 (404) 364-7000



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10/19/15 9/16/15 1:30 5:31 PM

Profile for Best Self Atlanta

Best Self Atlanta 1115  

Best Self Atlanta magazine is your resource for health, fitness, beauty and giving back to your community. The November issue checks in with...

Best Self Atlanta 1115  

Best Self Atlanta magazine is your resource for health, fitness, beauty and giving back to your community. The November issue checks in with...