Urban Perform and Mercedes-Benz USAIn underserved communities, it is easy for health issues to run rampant. That’s when Atlanta-based nonprofit Urban Perform steps in. The organization seeks to decrease obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes by helping to increase the activity levels of those who live in areas like the Westside. Urban Perform also provides accessible and affordable safe spaces to exercise and offers eight classes a week. It is in need of certified fitness and wellness instructors to volunteer to teach these group fitness classes. Recently, the Greatness Lives Here campaign by Mercedes-Benz, recognized Laura Pritchard-Compton (pictured in white), Urban Perform’s founder, for making a difference. A short video highlighting the nonprofit can be seen on the Mercedes-Benz USA
Facebook page.

Details: 128 Vine St. NW., Atlanta; urbanperform.org

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Garnish and GatherImagine being able to whip up dishes developed by some of Atlanta’s most talented toques. With Garnish & Gather’s Be the Chef program, you can. The meal-kit delivery company, which uses locally sourced and organic groceries, partners with culinarians who offer up their very own fresh recipes for you to make at home. Now through January, look out for recipes from Whiskey Bird and Upbeet.

Details: garnishandgather.com

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Dr. WhitakerDoes facial plastic surgery only help people regain lost youth?

There is a misconception that plastic surgery is about vanity and superficial appearance. It’s more than that. Ultimately, it’s about increasing a person’s self-esteem, confidence, health and success. It’s not necessarily about the physical transformation. It’s more about the difference it makes in somebody’s life.

 What makes people more beautiful?

There is a science behind beauty. Beauty serves an important function. In our primitive brains, beauty is a shortcut to gauge health. It’s also a way to attribute positive qualities to attractiveness. This is a “halo effect,” the idea that one standout beauty trait is reflective of an individual’s overall personality. If we look at pictures of someone who is deemed more attractive, we automatically attribute positive qualities to them and assume that they are more successful. I tend to believe that is where attractiveness matters. Looking your personal best is the most important thing you can do. Not only does it impact how you feel about yourself, but it also impacts your interactions and relationships with others.

 How important are first impressions?

What is really important about a first impression is that it happens at a subconscious level in a matter of seconds. Little things like a warm smile can leave a more positive first impression. Makeup can make you look more youthful and frame the eyes. All of these things can elevate your first impression. To take your first impression to the next level, consider Botox®, injectables, and facial plastic surgery procedures. These options can help you gain confidence, which is a very attractive quality and will ultimately enhance your first impression.

Are people turning to facial plastic surgery procedures so they can look better on social media?

I want everyone that comes into Atlanta Face & Body to look more beautiful in every decade of life. With social media, there is much more awareness of the subtleties of appearance. I see a lot of patients who come in and tell me that they don’t like the way their jaw and neck contouring looks on social media. So, these are not necessarily aging changes, but more their underlying anatomy. There are ways we can contour the jawline and neck with minimally invasive procedures. We can tighten the skin and stimulate skin collagen to create a more smooth and contoured look.

Are men considering facial plastic surgery procedures these days?

I see more and more men than I used to. I think society is more accepting of doing something for yourself and that shows with men. They are more practical. They want to stay competitive both in society and the workplace. Most men are concerned with the neck area and their facial profile. There are a range of procedures that men tend to gravitate toward. Mainly, my male patients look to Botox®, Kybella, injectables, and a range of facial plastic procedures.

 Specials 1

Elizabeth Whitaker, MD, FACS,

Double Board-Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Elizabeth Whitaker received her medical degree from Duke University. She did her residency training at Emory and completed her facial plastic surgery fellowship at Tulane where she trained with Dr. Calvin Johnson, an internationally known facial plastic surgeon. She served as the Chief of Facial Plastic Surgery at Medical College of Georgia before moving back to Atlanta and into private practice. The seasoned doctor has performed more than 4,000 face-lifts and is one of the most experienced facial plastic surgeons in the field.

Details: Atlanta Face & Body Center, 3200 Cobb Galleria Pkwy #205, Atlanta, GA 30339, atlantafaceandbody.com, 678.888.3223

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Ponce City Market Gift CardStill need stocking stuffer ideas? Ponce City Market now offers property-wide gift cards. Foodies can treat friends to an Italian meal at Bellina Alimentari and fashionistas can bless their besties with a card to leather goods company, Cobbler Union. Consider holiday shopping done!

Details: 675 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE., Atlanta; poncecitymarket.com

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GiftsAlli Allen, co-founder of Second Helpings Atlanta, has launched a new charitable giving platform named PlanetGive. Whether it’s for the holidays, a birthday, or a wedding registry, online users can create a profile page and list the causes they support. Friends and family can see the profile page and charities the user cares about and make a donation in their honor. Members can even create a Circle of Giving with their comrades. Receive birthday notifications and garner charitable gift ideas with this standout system.

Details: planetgive.org

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Barry's BootcampSultry lighting, floor-to-ceiling mirrors, fast-paced pop songs—it’s easy to mistake the new 5,233-square-foot Atlanta location of Barry’s Bootcamp for one of the city’s hottest nightclubs. A reported favorite of Carrie Underwood, each class is divided into spurts of treadmill intervals and resistance training to maximize fat loss. For a tone tush, sign up with Steven Ridges on Tuesdays for a butt-and-legs-focused sweat session.

Details: 305 E. Paces Ferry Rd. NE., Atlanta; barrysbootcamp.com

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GIRL, YOU GOT THIS - BluHazlLaticia Rolle is more than just Shaquille O’Neal’s fiancée. The Atlanta-based beauty is an inspirational speaker, blogger, and now author. In partnership with her sister, D’Ana Rolle, the creative forces behind BluHazl.com have released their first book, “Girl, You Got This: The Glow Up Guide to Loving Yourself & Your Tribe.” Give it a read for nutritious recipes, exercise ideas, and positive affirmations.

Details: amazon.com

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Sawyer PhotographyIt is hard to believe the new year is around the corner. I have been thinking a lot about this upcoming year. For the first time in a long time, I have decided to make this year about me.

That’s right! I am going to give myself permission to be selfish in 2018! I mean this in a good way. It’s time to turn the focus inward to self-care, self-love, and self-worth. Sometimes we get so focused on taking care of everyone else or so passionately immersed in our work, we forget that if we don’t value our own health and well-being now, we may not be in a position to care for others in the future.

This is something I’ve lost sight of for a while. If you feel like I do and are ready to renew, refresh and reinvent yourself, you’re in the right place.

This “Best of 2017” issue has everything you need. From fitness to health checkups, dental upkeep, back pain solutions, cosmetic enhancements, and beyond, you have the best of the best in Atlanta right here at your fingertips. These professionals and businesses are here because thousands have given them their stamp of approval.

Join me and make 2018 the year of you! Don’t apologize for it either. After all, your family and friends will directly benefit from you being your best self.

Here are a few of the places and people that help me be my best self on a regular basis.

Best Two-Hour Attitude Adjustment

Concourse Athletic Club

I’m not kidding when I say this place is like a third home to me. I have worked out here since the early ‘90s. Suzanne Cypert and her team have established more than just a top-of-the-line fitness facility, they’ve created a place to retreat from the day-to-day. It’s a great place to be social but to also go for alone time. A quick 30-minute workout, followed by a leisurely steam and shower, and then a healthy drink (the fruit-filled Club Smoothie) and bite (grilled chicken salad) take me to my happy place every time. concourseclub.com

Best Make-My-Body-All-Better Massage

Elements Massage-Buckhead

When the aches and pains can’t be ignored, I visit the Elements Massage near my home and office at Chastain Park. Chuck McNulty is a miracle worker! elementsmassage.com

Best Media Besties

Christine Pullara, Tom Sullivan, and Nyssa Green

Our friends at 11 Alive “Atlanta & Company” are amazing. This great show highlights so many of our favorite people and places in the city. These media professionals are at the top of their respective fields. We are honored to work with them to provide helpful information, support great causes, and have fun! 11alive.com/atlanta-and-company

NEW! Partners in Health

As part of the “Year of You” we are excited to announce that we have partnered with the city’s leading experts to deliver even more health-focused content to you. Not only will you receive high-quality information, but you will also know where to go for solutions to a variety of health issues. From back pain and gastrointestinal disorders to dental care and physical fitness, we, along with our 2018 Partners in Health, will help you nurture your body from the inside out. Meet them all in the February/March issue.

Sherri Adair, Publisher

sadair@bestselfatlanta.com

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Former Buckhead schoolteacher, Michelle Hodgson, created the nonprofit Children Helping Children (CHC) in 2008 for one reason—to teach kids how to give back.

“What we like to do is highlight what makes each kid special, whether it’s music, art, math or writing. We use it as a way to get them motivated to give that particular thing back,” Hodgson explains.

One of the most empowering aspects of the organization is that it gives children the opportunity to lead. Every spring, applications become available for kids (ages 12 to 16) to be a part of the organization’s Junior Board of Directors. In May, the Senior Board of Directors select 12 applicants from drastically different backgrounds (including being homeless or being the child of a National Basketball Association player) to fill the coveted spots.

Michelle Hodgson (back row, middle) and the 2017 Children Helping Children Junior Board of Directors at the 2017 Little Hands, Big LOVEFEST event.

Michelle Hodgson (back row, middle) and the 2017 Children Helping Children Junior Board of Directors at the 2017 Little Hands, Big LOVEFEST event.

From there, the junior board members are given the rundown on other philanthropies CHC has supported in the past including Kate’s Club, Camp Sunshine, and Emmaus House. Hodgson explains that the junior board members are also given an opportunity to research other Atlanta-based 501(c)(3) charities that benefit children. The goal is that the kids will connect with one of the causes or a specific nonprofit. Each child then reaches out to the executive director of his or her chosen organization to find out what its wish list needs are.

Using this information, they get to work creating hands-on projects that will benefit the nonprofits they’ve selected. These tasks could be anything from a food can drive to collecting toys and therapy materials. The projects comprise CHC’s signature fall event, Little Hands, Big LOVEFEST, which was held on Oct. 29, 2017, at Piedmont Park. Here, visitors go from tent to tent and get involved with each activity.

Following the festival, the children’s term as a board member comes to an end and they embrace the status of mentor. Hodgson’s ultimate hope is that they will take what they’ve learned and become stewards of service for the rest of their lives.

(L – R, top row) Tanner, Philip, Nora, Didi, (middle row) Eliza, Justin, Myles, Bhuami (bottom row) Ellie, Aidan, Riley, Kate.

(L – R, top row) Tanner, Philip, Nora, Didi, (middle row) Eliza, Justin, Myles, Bhuami (bottom row) Ellie, Aidan, Riley, Kate.

Apply to be on the Junior Board of Directors

In the spring, kids ages 12 to 16 can fill out the one-page application (which includes strategic questions to gauge their level of interest in community service) for the opportunity to be a part of the board.

Assemble and Donate “Be Well Bears”

Help stuff teddy bears that will be distributed to children in need and local nonprofits.

Get a Group Together

CHC has year-round programming to bring its Compassion Curriculum for children to schools, neighborhoods, and churches.

To learn more, visit chcatlanta.org

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Ten Thousand Villages Atlanta - Zemirah Robinson, Juliet WhiteYou don’t have to travel the globe to help an international artisan in need. Simply take a trip to Ten Thousand Villages Atlanta. Since 1993, the store has offered fair-trade gifts, jewelry, clothing, home décor, and more from creators in 37 countries. By paying the crafters a living wage, they are able to afford housing, education, and health care. Locally, volunteers are needed to assist the nonprofit with store display set up, social media, outreach, and more. Volunteer open houses are held every second Saturday of the month from 10-11:30 a.m.

Details: 1056 St. Charles Ave. NE., Atlanta; tenthousandvillages.com/atlanta

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