Tuesday, 08 October 2019 16:40

Catch the Wave w/ ChefPano


Chef Pano I. Karatassos dazzles the Atlanta Best Media team at his Buckhead restaurant, Kyma

By Katherine Sauceda

P3 ChefPanoChef Pano I. Karatassos has loved to cook for as long as he can remember. The first dish he ever made with pride was a quadruple-stacked peanut butter and 
jelly sandwich for his brother, Niko, at age 4. When their mother woke up, the kitchen was a mess and the boys were covered with the sticky spreads. As a child, Karatassos loved watching Yiayia (“grandmother” in Greek) prepare traditional Grecian dishes like Youvetsi, an orzo pasta with braised lamb shanks. In the ’80s and ’90s, Karatassos witnessed his father, Pano Karatassos, take the Atlanta culinary scene by storm and create the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, which includes notable eateries such as Chops Lobster Bar and Atlanta Fish Market.

Karatassos’ career blossomed with formal chef training from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York in 1996. Under the tutelage of influential chefs, like Thomas Keller of The French Laundry (a Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star restaurant), Karatassos honed his skills in the kitchen. His path came full circle in 2001 when he returned to his fine dining roots in Atlanta to open Kyma, the Hellenic word for “wave.” The contemporary Greek restaurant specializes in mezes, meaning appetizers, and is meant to showcase the beautiful foods of Greece in a high-end setting mimicking the color scheme associated with swoon-worthy islands like Santorini. The Atlanta Best Media team recently had the pleasure of experiencing Karatassos’ culinary creations first hand.
During our 10-course tasting, restaurant mainstays prepared with Karatassos’ new line of extra-virgin olive oil and olives graced our table, including the Grilled Octopus and whole fish Lavraki. The journey began with roasted oysters topped with a Champagne emulsion and caviar, paired to perfection with a glass of Amalia Brut sparkling wine with peach and pear notes. P1 ChefPanoThe Calamari Pasta had us all whipping out our phones because we could not miss this Instagram-worthy plate. Thin-sliced calamari resembling pasta and sautéed vegetables beautifully sat in a ceramic bowl painted with a saffron yogurt spread on the inside. Though it looked like a work of art, we quickly dug in while learning that as one scoops the “pasta” out of the bowl, you should run the spoon along the inside of the bowl to capture the smooth yogurt coating the dish. No meal at Kyma would be complete without Karatassos’ Lamb Pie. The moment you take a bite of the coiled phyllo pie stuffed with lamb on top of a thick spiral of Greek yogurt, it is easy to conclude how this dish led to Karatassos’ victory against Bobby Flay on the Food Network’s hit show, “Beat Bobby Flay” this past August.
P2 ChefPanoOur culinary journey drew to a close with the Blueberry Galo pastry accompanied by a dollop of mahlepi ice cream. Per Karatassos’ recommendation, it was paired with a dessert wine made with the unique Malagouzia grape, which was once nearly extinct, for extra sweetness. You might not be fortunate enough to have this executive chef’s masterpieces on your table every night, but you can do your best to imitate them. Karatassos put his passion to paper with “Modern Greek Cooking,” his inaugural cookbook dedicated to authentic, approachable meals. 
But if you don’t feel like whipping up a recipe at home, simply make a reservation at Kyma and Karatassos will be happy to do the cooking for you.
Details: 3085 Piedmont Rd., Atlanta; 


Monday, 07 October 2019 16:35

Making Sense of Metastatic Breast Cancer

Patients, doctors, and specialists talk treatments, support, and staying positive

P1 BreastCancerGiven the massive amount of attention breast cancer receives, most people have a basic concept of the disease. But many may not know the
difference between breast cancer and metastatic breast cancer. While there are similarities, it’s those differences that deserve their own fair share of attention.
The Basics In the simplest of terms, metastatic breast cancer is cancer that has spread beyond the breast. “The most common places for breast cancer to spread
are to the liver, lungs and bones,” says Amelia Zelnak, MD, MSc, medical oncologist at Atlanta Cancer Care at Northside Hospital Cancer Institute.
Ewssentially, the cancer cells migrate beyond the breast cancer into the bloodstream, traveling to other areas of the body. “These cells would have escaped prior to detection of and surgery for the early stage cancer, but they are so small that they cannot be detected,” Dr. Zelnak says. “If these cancer cells are able to survive while circulating through the body, they can then begin to grow in other places such as the liver, lungs and bones.”

P2 BreastCancerMetastatic breast cancer (MBC) is diagnosed as an advanced cancer, known as stage 4. As such, very few initial breast cancer diagnoses are MBC. In fact, according to Damien Hansra, MD, medical oncologist with Cancer Treatment Centers of America®, Atlanta, and member of its Breast Cancer Center, says, based on population studies, of the 250,000 breast cancer cases diagnosed each year, just 6% of those cases present with stage 4, or MBC. Therefore, the majority of MBC cases
are diagnosed following an initial early-stage breast cancer diagnosis.
Unfortunately, a large number of MBC diagnoses are found in African-American women, who are 40% more likely to die of breast cancer than Caucasian women. A number of factors contribute to this high rate of diagnosis. For instance, some studies show there are lower rates of African-American women getting screened via mammograms combined with lower rates of following up on those screenings, Dr. Hansra says. “Some studies show they also are less likely to receive chemotherapy after surgery,” he says. This could be due to inadequate health insurance and/or the lack of access to healthcare. Studies are ongoing.

Facing Everyday Life
P3 BreastCancerYou would think breast cancer patients who receive a MBC diagnosis would know what to expect given they have been diagnosed with breast cancer before. However, that’s not always the case. For Liz McLaughlin of Cumming, she thought she had beat breast cancer after her initial diagnosis in June 2009. “I thought I had licked it because it was eight years later,” she says. “I’m a very positive person, so I was shocked.”
Now 62 years old, McLaughlin, who recently spoke at the Greater Atlanta Metastatic Breast Cancer Conference hosted by Susan G. Komen Greater Atlanta in May, was diagnosed with MBC on her 60th birthday. “They did not prepare me for the fact that it could spread,” she says. Her scans showed she had six new tumors, and her treatment plan included chemotherapy and letrozole hormone therapy. Right now, the cancer is not growing, but it’s not dissipating either. As such, it’s always present. “You think about it all the time,” McLaughlin says. “There are so many things around you that remind you of it.” These include monthly blood work, regular scans, and everyday life, such as trying to avoid contracting an infection due to low white blood cell counts.

Imagine the effects of living with MBC as a young parent. That’s exactly the life Rebekah Howerton of Roswell leads. The 36-year-old mother of a
12-year-old son was originally diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer at age 31. She underwent surgery and was declared cancer-free. Within six months, though, the cancer was back and it had spread. “I didn’t understand what metastatic breast cancer was,” Howerton says. “We [breast cancer patients] are not educated on what that means. It took a year to accept the diagnosis.” She’s undergone eight surgeries, including a dual craniotomy this summer, 19 rounds of radiation, and daily treatment drugs. “Ongoing treatments for MBC often require time off from work and navigating the complex world of Social Security Disability Insurance. There’s quite a buzz in the breast cancer community about H.R. 2178, a bill proposing to eliminate the SSDI automatic six- to 12-month-plus waiting period to start receiving benefits,” Howerton says. “I’ve been able to use my paid vacation time to transition back to work after being on short-term disability, but this is still very challenging for MBC patients to navigate. Most MBC patients I know are unable to work and I consider myself lucky to have a career to go back to,” she adds. None of these battles stop Howerton from living her life. “Your treatment is indefinite,” Howerton says. “It’s living with it.” And that’s what she does. She continues to work at her job in public relations, but she is also focused on  having experiences and building traditions with her son.“He’s taught me a lot,” Howerton says. “He builds me up. We’re this dynamic duo. A lot of that is my driving force to keep going. He keeps me focused.”

P4 BreastCancer2Today’s Treatments
When treating MBC, surgery can be a first step, but ongoing treatment involves a variety of options usually dictated by the type of breast cancer. Clinical trials also play a role in treatment, as ongoing research reveals more information about breast cancer. “There are new clinical trials adding molecular therapies,” Dr. Hansra says. “We’re examining patients’ tumors to find a weak link in the armor to attack it.”
Of course, palliative and supportive care are vital in MBC treatment, too. “It’s extremely important because you’re living with uncertainty,” says Kimberly Curseen, director of outpatient supportive care at Emory Healthcare. “How you process that is important to how you do. It’s really difficult to live fully in a state of fear.”
Palliative and supportive care includes support groups, financial and estate planning, access to social workers, counseling, nutritional guidance, physical therapy and more. “Managing MBC affects all the areas of your life including physical, emotional, social, professional and spiritual,” says Karen Whitehead, MS, LCSW, CCH, psychotherapist at Karen Whitehead Counseling who also works with TurningPoint Breast Cancer Rehabilitation. “Alongside your medical team, it can be beneficial to talk with others who can help you adjust and thrive in all areas of your life. Support groups and individual counseling are available to help you get back to living your life.”



Monday, 07 October 2019 16:15

MyBestSelf Lauren Simmons


It’s all in the numbers for Lauren Simmons—more specifically—the number two, which you could say is a significant one for her. Two years ago, at the age of 22, the Marietta native and Kennesaw State University graduate became the youngest and only full-time female equity trader, for Rosenblatt Securities, on the New York Stock Exchange. The role also made her the second African-American woman in history to serve as a full-time trader. Thankfully, things have changed since the first woman
started working on the floor in 1967, like the creation of a women’s restroom.

Though her signature trader jacket had to be tailored to fit (the item only comes in men’s sizes), the former genetics student has handled stepping into a world dominated by men with ease. Here she talks breaking glass ceilings, the movie being made about her life, and staying centered.

By Melanie PreisP1 MyBestSelf Lauren Simmons

While you job hunted in New York, you created a vision board and read self-help books to maintain a positive attitude. What other tools did you utilize to create the right headspace?
Meditation. My mediation practice started in college and stemmed from a desire to change my mindset. One day, I sat down in my dorm room and just sat in stillness. I loved how I felt during and after. I felt in control of my life and at peace. From there, I have continued the practice. My stress management comes from yoga, Pilates, and mediation. I try to stay in a routine so I can be centered and focused.
How does it feel to be the youngest and only full-time female equity trader on Wall Street for Rosenblatt Securities?
When I first came to the trading floor, I really do not believe anybody thought I was going to pass the Series 19 [the exam all floor brokers must pass to receive their badge], which has a 20% pass rate. But I did it! I did it for me, to prove that I could do it and thoroughly shocked the men on the trading floor. Hopefully, my story will encourage women as a whole to join finance, not just the trading floor. The numbers of women versus men [in this industry] are staggering.
What advice do you have for women working in, or trying to get in, male-dominated fields?
Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself. You were hired because they thought you were capable. I encourage you to do the job and do the job to the best of your ability. Often, women get in their heads and have imposter syndrome. Your biggest critic will always be yourself. When you let that go, you have the ability to achieve greatness in your role.
Tell us more about the movie being made about your life?
I am working with AGC Studios and am currently one of the executive producers. It will tell my life story and feature actress               Kiersey Clemons. I am excited for her to share my message on a larger platform.
You currently live in New York, but what do you miss most about living in Atlanta?
Georgia will always be home. I especially miss its weather during the blustery winter months here. Sweet tea—it’s not a thing in New York.
And grass—I love to hike and be outside. New York is a concrete jungle, and I don’t get to experience it as much.
What helps you be your “best self?”
One of the books I rely on is “The Universe Has Your Back” by Gabrielle Bernstein. I reread it often when I’m in doubt, and it helps me be a better me, and reminds me to let things go.
To follow Lauren’s journey, visit https://instagram.com/lasimmons.



According to Georgia.org, our state ranks No. 5 in the U.S. for the highest number of women-owned businesses. 
Women-owned enterprises are booming, and with industry leaders like the ones in this article, we can only imagine that 
female-helmed firms will continue to thrive. Here, 10 of Atlanta’s female entrepreneurs offer insight into their 
career paths and advice for dreamers everywhere.

Helen Ngo

P1 WE Helen-NgoHelen Ngo says she started Capital Benchmark Partners, located in Sandy Springs, because she, “Saw a need for one-on-one financial planning for younger women, especially those who are just starting off in their careers and who didn’t really have much guidance or accessibility to a financial planner.” And so her company was born. Six years later, she helps women, primarily between the ages of 30 and 45, navigate all of the significant life changes that happen within that window of time. Think tackling student loan payments, purchasing a first home, and even getting married and merging finances—that means encouraging women to go after big dreams and big checks. “My mission is to inspire more women to want to make more money, and know that it’s OK to talk about that. To just open up dialogue, but also help them manage their spending and savings.”

What is one word that describes your 
entrepreneurship journey?
Tenacious. You have to be pretty relentless and tenacious about promoting yourself and putting yourself out there. A lot of people think entrepreneurs just open the doors and people start pouring into your shop or your business, and you make money, but that’s not true. Being an entrepreneur is all about your ability to generate money and bring in business. That has everything to do with marketing and how you position yourself and even the way you talk. A big part of it is being relentless and not taking ‘No,’ for an answer. To me, when somebody says, ‘No,’ I always think of it as, ‘No, not right now.’ https://capitalbenchmarkpartners.com

Judy Mozen

P2 WE Judy-MozenHaving been in the business world for 43 years, Judy Mozen, founder and president of Handcrafted Homes, Inc., has several incredible notches on her tool belt. Her Roswell-based company led the restoration of the home of Asa Candler, the founder of The Coca-Cola Company, and her team has been the recipient of a number of industry awards including National Contractor of the Year wins from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). However, Mozen says one of her most rewarding career accomplishments was being the fourth woman ever elected as national president of NARI. “The leadership roles I’ve held in the industry have given me a platform to affect change by promoting more inclusion and diversity,” she explains. Getting involved in professional organizations is one of Mozen’s tools for success, and she advises that those looking to also break glass ceilings do the same. “When I first began in this industry, I was so busy establishing a business that I waited until later in the game to become active in professional associations and local nonprofits.
If I had a do-over, I would have applied to Leadership Atlanta, joined nonprofit boards, and become certified with NARI earlier. Getting involved in the community creates valuable connections with others and keeps you current.”

What do you hope your legacy is?
I hope to impact the construction industry on three different levels. First, I have strived to reintroduce the remodeler to the consumer as a trusted professional: someone who is reputable, insured, and certified. Second, I would like my influence nationally to encourage other remodelers to promote diversity in their hiring practices. Finally, I want women to know that this is an exciting and rewarding profession in which they have the opportunity to excel.

Michelle Falconer

P3 WE Michelle-FalconerAs the founder of Bailey & Hunter Realty, Michelle Falconer has learned how to roll with the real estate punches. She bought her first house at 19 and her first investment property at 20. “It was an empty shell,” she recalls. Little did she know, that shell of a home would launch her passion for real estate. “Twenty-three years later, I’m still doing it,” she says enthusiastically.
Bailey & Hunter Realty specializes in working with investors to help them find and manage investment properties. “It’s the largest investment you’ll probably personally make,” says the mother of four who resides in Southwest Atlanta. “And no matter if you’re buying a house to live in or [to use] to make a profit on, it’s still an investment, and you need to treat it as such.” Over the years, Falconer has met hardships head on, including the Great Recession. “When the market changed, property management became what everybody needed. There were all of these houses with no owners in them, so we became a hot commodity because we were already in that space. We became the largest minority, female-owned property management firm in the Southeast.” Talk about turning lemons into lemonade.

Why is it important to you to inspire other women entrepreneurs, whether
or not they’re going to be in your particular field?
When you’re an entrepreneur, you’re figuring it out as you get to it. So it’s invaluable to learn from other people’s mistakes and to share with them your successes.

What do you hope your kids learn from you as a business owner? I want them to learn that your life is a book, and there are different chapters. You can have long chapters, and you can have short chapters, but you can write whatever you want on your pages and start a new chapter whenever you want.

Andreia Guilmet

P4 WE AndreiaGuilmetThirty-four. That’s the number of Brazilian Wax by Andreia salons there are throughout the Southeast. Andreia Guilmet founded her first salon in 2005 after spending five years making house calls and working out of her home. Since then, she has continually added more locations to her empire. Guilmet says her secret sauce (besides her proprietary wax) is hard work and generosity. “Everything that comes to me cannot stop with me; it must flow through and continue to bless others.” As an emigrant from Brazil with less than $500 in her pocket when she arrived, Guilmet had to overcome everything from navigating red tape to learning a third language, but the East Cobb resident says throughout those challenges, one thing remained steadfast—her faith. “I believe all successful entrepreneurs and business owners must have faith. The reality is that there are day-to-day challenges out of our control that present themselves and must be navigated. When one realizes that it is not possible to control every situation, you begin to rely on faith. It is my faith in God that keeps me and my business moving forward.”

What advice do you have for building a team that contributes to a brand’s success? Everyone has their own set of strengths and weaknesses. You have to be patient and trusting while tapping into everyone’s individual strengths. I respect my team members and give them space to grow, both personally and professionally. Watching them evolve over the years fills my heart and makes me proud.

What do you want fellow entrepreneurs, especially female entrepreneurs, to know about the beauty industry? The beauty industry is endless; there will always be opportunities for an entrepreneur to enter the market and fill a need. But women have a unique opportunity to cater to a different clientele, that men are unable to cater to. Over the past 10 years, we have seen more and more multimillion-dollar companies being founded, owned, or operated by women. Inspiring the younger generation is very important, and I believe we should all strive to be fruitful and productive in order to leave a legacy behind.

Carrie Wright

P5 WE Carrie-WrightThere are few things more inspiring than a woman who has successfully been in one field for 20 years, only to make the switch to follow her dreams and create an equally successful endeavor in another. That’s the case for Intown Salt Room’s Carrie Wright. Wright’s first path had her leading marketing initiatives for internet, media and hotel companies, but patience would bring her to her second passion: wellness. “When I started my entrepreneurial journey of opening the first salt room in Atlanta, dry salt therapy, also known as halotherapy, was basically a trend in the spa industry. My first two years of developing the business plan involved a lot of phone calls and internet searches to find research, resources, and vendors to learn more about the operational and business side of dry salt therapy. It was during my research that I saw the opportunity to create a stand-alone salt room offering a private experience for dry salt therapy, as well as an experience for meditation with sound therapy,” she explains. Now, she notes how far she’s come. “The proudest moment so far is celebrating Intown Salt Room’s 1-year anniversary. The first year is the hardest for any new small business, and I’m humbled that I made it through my first year of business.”

What challenges did you face when starting your business?
Surprisingly, finding the space and ordering the custom Himalayan salt for the décor was easy. However, as the first stand-alone salt room inside of the perimeter, there were obstacles regarding how to build out the space to incorporate the salt. It was also difficult to find a local contractor and architecture firm willing to take on a first-of-its-kind project in Atlanta.

How do you support other local entrepreneurs, especially women entrepreneurs?
Collaborating with local entrepreneurs, especially women entrepreneurs, is essential for how I’m able to generate awareness and grow my brand. Support has included co-hosting events, creating unique instructor led-experiences, exclusive product bundles and curated wellness experiences as well as studies with test groups on the benefits of dry salt therapy and meditation with sound therapy.

Lisa Marshall

P6 WE Lisa-MarshallIn the 10 years since Lisa Marshall founded her Alpharetta-based business, Multisport Explosion, a triathlon training program held at facilities around
metro Atlanta, she’s watched her high-performance team (the only one of its kind in Georgia) expand not only in size but also in caliber of athletes. In fact, the team finished the 2019 season with a No. 3 national ranking led by teens who have been with Marshall since the beginning. “The athletes that performed so well all season have been with us since we started this program in 2010. They were 7 to 9 years old. They bought into our philosophy and have become some of the top youth and junior triathletes in the country,” Marshall explains. The road to success hasn’t always been easy, especially in a male-dominated industry. “As a strong-minded and passionate female, I’m often referred to as ‘aggressive’ or ‘difficult.’ All the while, if a strong-minded and passionate male coach was to say, act or behave in the same manner, he’d be called a ‘powerful’ and ‘passionate’ coach. It’s a double standard for women coaching any sport at a high level.” Despite the challenges, Marshall says she hopes to inspire her athletes to be diligent and determined. “I want them to learn that hard work does pay off. If they put in the time and effort, they will see the results, and I want them to apply this to everything they do—from sports, school, relationships, and beyond.”

How do you decompress?
I work out. I still train by swimming, biking, running and lifting weights like I have for 25 years when I started participating in triathlons. I just don’t compete anymore. I have made the switch from being a competitive athlete to being a motivated coach. I have to stay in shape to keep up with these young athletes! I also like to escape to the beach or lake just to be near water and be still.

Glenett Hannah

P7 WE Glenett-HannahA former soldier in the U.S. Army and participant in the Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) Atlanta program, Glenett Hannah says her first love is giving back to veterans. She is a licensed clinical social worker with a degree from Columbia University, and she found that she connected to veterans and their families in a way that others didn’t. “A lot of people do not understand veterans and all that they go through, and a lot of people do not even understand what the families go through. I knew that was my niche,” she explains. Along with the tools, connections and support she received from V-WISE Atlanta, the Stone Mountain local got the final push she needed to begin her business when doctors found a blood clot in her lung in 2015, and then again in 2017. “I thought that was God saying, ‘This is it. This is your path to becoming your own boss.’” Since launching Hannah Innovative Solutions, a consulting firm providing mental health counseling, administrative support, and training development, two years ago, Hannah has specialized in holistic counseling for veterans and their families as they reintegrate back into civilian life from the military. Through methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy, Hannah is able to provide a safe space for her clients to be open about their issues. “One of my most rewarding moments was when a 70-year-old Vietnam veteran was able to release the trauma, guilt, and tormenting thoughts and nightmares he had from serving. After a few sessions, the veteran broke down and said, ‘Why did I live when so many of my friends died in front of me?’ It choked me up to see how the darkness of war had consumed him and how being able to release the past allowed some sunshine to enter back into his life. I can’t even imagine the trauma he carried all those years,” Hannah says. “This is why I do what I do for veterans and their families.”

What were some of the barriers you faced when launching Hannah Innovative Solutions?
I had no clue what it would take to start a business—from the kind of entity it would be to the accounting and legal advice I needed, there was so much to learn. Not to mention, the crucial questions I needed to ask myself such as, ‘Who needs my services and why? What makes me different from all the other counseling services out there?’ And most of all, ‘Is this really something I want to do? Am I doing this for me?’

Cyndi Sterne

P8 WE Cyndi-SterneYou could say Cyndi Sterne’s career has been peppered with perseverance. Through name, location, and concept changes, Sterne has managed to forge ahead. “Every business has challenges, some within our control, such as customer service, quality, and location, and some we can’t control like the economy, competition, and trends,” she explains. “You can’t let the obstacles overcome you. You have to keep going and find different ways to make your business succeed.” And succeed it has. Sterne’s company, Yes, Chef! Culinary Events (formally named Hal’s Kitchen) located in the Belle Isle Square in Sandy Springs, hosts everything from corporate team-building outings and private events, to rentals for television and movie production staff, and visiting chefs. She credits her success to her supportive spouse and children, her employees and her desire to make each customer’s experience exceptional. However, she also notes that maintaining a work-life balance has been a bit of a learning curve that she’s only recently mastered. “It’s a challenge to remind myself to work ‘on’ the business instead of ‘in’ the business. A lot of my time is actually spent hosting the events, teaching classes and working with vendors. I have to remind myself to set aside time every day to make sure that I am continuing to grow the business. Also, setting boundaries. About four years into the business, I stopped answering the phone after 5:30. As Yes, Chef! Culinary Events has boomed, it has been important to set aside time to focus solely on my family.”

Who is your mentor or entrepreneurial role model?
Sara Blakely is amazing! I admire that she talks about her fears, her family, and is supportive of other female artists and businesses owners.

How do you decompress?
Spin, baby, spin! I love the spin classes at Life Time Athletic, Sandy Springs. I’ve reconnected with old friends, made new friends, and a little bonus is that it has been a great place to network and promote Yes, Chef! Culinary Events. The best part, though, is an hour of time just for me.

Peiru Kim

P9 WE Peiru-KimPeiru Kim’s career launched like most young adults. She was a Georgia Tech grad and employed by a national real estate developer for over a decade. However, when the market took a turn for the worst, Kim found herself doing some soul searching. “I thought long and hard on what to do with the next chapter of my life.
I have always dreamed of owning my own business and have always been drawn to the beauty industry since I was a little girl. With a young baby in tow, I knew I wanted to start my own business and decided to pursue my dream.” The Buckhead resident purchased the Atlanta Sugarcoat business in 2010 and launched her second career. “I made a commitment to create the ultimate nail salon. I envisioned myself as a customer and asked what I would want my beauty destination to look like. I enrolled in nail and esthetics school to learn the ins and outs of the beauty industry,” Kim says. Today, nearly 6,000 women and men flock to her five Sugarcoat locations monthly for a luxurious nail care experience. Kim isn’t slowing down anytime soon either, she plans to open two more salons in 2020.

Who is your mentor or entrepreneurial role model?
The entrepreneur that I look up to the most is Sonny Kahn of Crescent Heights. He was the chairman of the real estate development firm that I worked for. He emigrated from Israel and worked as a taxi driver and mechanic before getting into real estate development. Meeting him, working for his company, and learning of his life story at the beginning of my career really impacted me and made me a believer that through faith, hard work, and persistence, anything is possible. He is a great man of faith, who is full of kindness and love and gives endlessly to his employees and the community.  

Kim Wilson

P10 WE Kim-WilsonWalking through her sprawling Buckhead store, which began as a vegetable stand, you’re likely to find Kim Wilson stocking the latest treats from area bakers or putting together thoughtful gift baskets with bubble baths and mugs for local teachers. She often has a smile on her face, bounding from one customer to the next. But it hasn’t always been as easy as Wilson makes it look. “Starting a business is such work. I had to look past the daily obstacles and be persistent to reach my goals. It’s taken me 10-plus years to build my business—everything from my customer base to relationships with my vendors, it all takes time and perseverance,” she says. Knowing how much work goes into starting a business, Wilson is doing her part to pass it on. “We provide female entrepreneurs a platform to develop and showcase their brands. We currently support over 20 women-owned-and-created businesses that sell products at Lucy’s Market. I regularly meet with new vendors who want to test packaging and receive feedback from customers and who are looking to expand a product line. I want to support other women the way that I was supported when my business was beginning.”

What are some of the greatest business obstacles you had to overcome?
One of my most memorable challenges was balancing a job that required me to be up and out of the house before dawn. I would meet farmers at the market before my children woke up and then have them sit between crates of fresh produce as I drove them to school.
Another obstacle was trusting that success would come from all of my hard work. I had to trust my instincts when other people thought I was crazy.


Wednesday, 25 September 2019 17:51

October / November 2019 Digital Issue

October / November 2019 Digital Issue

Thursday, 05 September 2019 15:57

Voting Form

Voting is now open! Participate in Best Self Atlanta's Best of 2019 Contest by voting for your favorites now through Sept. 20. Contest Rules: You may only vote once per day. Create your own user feedback survey

Wednesday, 07 August 2019 16:36

"Best of 2019" Category List


Nominations: Aug. 15-30

Voting: Sept. 5-20

Contest Rules
Businesses may only compete in a maximum of two categories.

Fitness/Weight Loss Section


Best All-Around Athletic Club

Best Athletic Club Pool for Laps and Lounging

Best Boutique Fitness Studio

Best Fitness Facility on a Budget

Best Personal Training for Executives and Celebs

Best Facility for Competitive Tennis Training

Best Facility for Learning the Basics of Tennis

Best Family-Friendly Fitness Center

Best Fitness Facility for Singles Ready to Mingle

Best In-Home Personal Training

Best Luxury Locker Rooms/Changing Area

Best Fitness Facility for Moms

Best New Workout Craze and Where to Find It

Best Workout in Nature

Best Personal Trainer

Best Personal Training Facility

Best Fitness Facility for Golden-Agers

Best Traditional Yoga Class

Best Cycling Store for Instruction and Equipment

Best Hiking Store for Instruction and Equipment

Best Rock Climbing Store for Instruction, Gear, and Group Outings

Best Running Store with Instruction and Great Group Runs


 Hair/Nails Section


Best Blowouts

Best Place for Men's Hair Replacement/Restoration

Best Place for Women's Thinning Hair Treatment

Best Salon for African-American Hair

Best Hair Salon for Guys

Best Hair Salon for Women

Best Place for Expert Laser Hair Removal

Best "Ouch-Free" Waxing

Best Luxe Nail Salon


 Makeup/Brows/Eyelashes Section


Best Studio for Bombshell Brows

Best Place for Gorgeous Eyelash Extensions

Best Agency/Artist for Event-Ready Makeup

Best Place for Permanent Makeup

Nonsurgical Facial/Body Treatments Section


Best Place for Nonsurgical Body Sculpting

Best Place for Natural-Looking Botox

Best Place for Fabulous Fillers

Best All-Around Med Spa

Best Place for Nonsurgical Facial Rejuvenation (microneedling, microdermabrasion)

Best Studio for a Golden Glow without the Sun

Best Place for Feminine Rejuvenation

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Thursday, 01 August 2019 20:08

Bringing Healthcare to Bali


An Atlanta fitness icon is making healthcare accessible in one of the world’s poorest communities.P1 Bricks Bali

The serenity of the Indonesian island Bali has long been treasured by Tony de Leede (above), the wellness entrepreneur that brought Australian Body Works, among other popular fitness companies, to Atlanta. Partnering with his wife, Sue, the two are now using their business knowledge for humanitarian efforts to help the people of their beloved tropical paradise live longer and healthier lives.

Taking On The World

In a way, the Balinese people gave Tony his start in business. As a 20-something, the Sydney, Australia native developed his first successful venture with a clothing business importing pieces from Bali and the Philippines.

On the other side of the world, fate smiled on Tony as a two-week stay in Atlanta morphed into 20 years. During those decades, he founded the hugely successful Australian Body Works (ABW) fitness club chain, capitalizing on the growth of the city as it paralleled with the growth of the health/exercise industry. He served as an envoy for the Australian team during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and continued that relationship in 2000 when the Olympics headed to his hometown of Sydney. Later that year, Tony sold ABW and returned to Australia, continuing his career in fitness by helping build one of the largest fitness club chains in the world, Fitness First Australia, and later transitioned into boutique wellness brands and digital content. Those boutique brands include luxury resort retreats such as Gwinganna in Australia and Hotel Komune in Bali, smaller targeted studios, specialized fitness venues (like Club W), and virtual studios. These business shifts illustrate the unwavering commitment Tony gives to understanding lifestyle trends and encouraging people to find their own path toward healthy living.

P2 Bricks BaliBali Calls
As Tony streamlined his business focus, he and Sue enjoyed more time visiting Bali and found themselves often discussing priorities for their next phase of life. “We both wanted to leave a mark on this world,” Tony muses. The stars aligned in early 2014 when Tony and Sue met another Australian couple in Bali who founded a health-focused charity. That couple, Sue and Ray Bishop, had been looking toward their own retirement years when they fell in love with the Balinese people and recognized their dire need for better local health resources, founding the Bali Sehat nonprofit health initiative in response to that calling. Their efforts spoke directly to the heart of the de Leedes, who soon joined forces with the Bishops to champion this cause.
Bali Sehat (which is Bahasa Indonesian for Healthy Bali) provides healthcare and education to villagers, many of whom live on less than $100 a year, in the poorest regions of East Bali. “This community lives on the side of a volcano,” Sue de Leede explains. “There’s limited education and no contraception. People can die from what would otherwise be simple infections.”
The de Leedes began supporting Bali Sehat’s work financially and collaborating with the Bishops to create opportunities to expand its impact. “Our initial involvement was by way of sponsoring the ‘Healthy Days’ that the foundation conducts four to five times a year. They get a group of volunteer doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, etcetera to go out to a remote area in the region and administer medicine, advice or even perform minor operations for the day. Typically, they see between 200 to 400 local villagers,” Tony explains. Sue de Leede notes that it takes some patients hours to walk to the Healthy Days location to access the clinicians.  

Today, Bali Sehat functions from a small clinic facility with a two-room school next door. “We want to help break the poverty cycle through education,” asserts Sue de Leede, “help the people here [get jobs] in the tourism industry. So far, close to 100 people have graduated and become employed.”
While the clinic space has certainly helped Bali Sehat serve more villagers than it could through Healthy Days events alone, it still does not meet the needs of the more than 7,000 patients that seek its services. That is why the Bishops launched the Bricks for Bali initiative toward the end of 2018 to raise funds to establish a larger clinic/small hospital with enhanced services and facilities. “This new space will be able to serve more patients with equipment, a maternity section, dental services, an emergency department, separate male and female wards, and the ability to get patients to a major hospital should they need it,” Sue de Leede confirms.

Through an online donation link on the Bali Sehat website, patrons can fund construction costs. Those who donate $100 will have their name and business name engraved onto one of the bricks that the new facility will be built with. “The Bricks for Bali campaign has currently raised close to $50,000.
Sue and I have already purchased the land and the total cost of this small hospital will be around $400,000. We obviously have quite a way to go but our commitment is to fund whatever the shortfall is, however, we would love to see people step up and buy more bricks,” says Tony.

P3 Bricks BaliListening To The Heart
For Sue de Leede, the involvement with Bali Sehat awakened a fervent interest in medicine. She watched the medical staff and volunteers as they threw themselves into each task, ready to find solutions and treat any patient who appeared. She listened to their challenges and applauded their devoted efforts … and imagined herself doing the same. So, at age 46, she began studying to become a doctor. “It’s something I’ve always thought about, but life happened around me,” she confesses. That is, until she decided to make it happen. “There was a year of premed curriculum, now I’m about three years into the program,” she says. “Then, I’ll work at a hospital for a year as a general practitioner and after that I plan to work in Bali and at other refugee camps.” She credits the Bali Sehat team and their patients as the inspiration for her leap of faith, noting that everyone has some type of hurdle to overcome in life, whether physical or circumstantial.
As Tony and Sue work alongside the Bishops to make the Bricks for Bali campaign a success, they look forward to furthering the nonprofit’s overall growth and aid. In the future, it is planned for the de Leedes to become even more involved with the operational aspects of the organization. “These are beautiful, joyful people,”
Sue de Leede praises of the Balinese residents, “and we are so excited to see this unfold.”

P5 Bricks Bali 



Thursday, 01 August 2019 16:03

The Foundation of Foot Care


For most of us, we never think about our feet until there’s a problem. Maybe it’s something small like a blister, or it could be more serious like pain when walking. Simply put, most of us don’t take proper care of our feet until it’s too late for straightforward solutions. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. By giving our feet some tender loving care each day, they will reward us by staying healthy and attractive.
An Ounce of Prevention
There’s a whole host of problems that can affect our feet and can be avoided with a bit of preventive care. “Preventing common medical foot issues frequently comes down to common sense measures such as maintaining good footwear,” says Matthew J. Reschly, MD, of North Atlanta Dermatology. Improper footwear is often cited as the cause of conditions such as ingrown toenails, corns (when skin becomes hard due to pressure and friction), and bunions.
A bunion is a bony bump on the side of the foot, near the joint at the bottom of the big toe. This develops when the bone or tissue moves out of place. Bunions can be caused by an array of factors, including abnormal foot mechanics and anatomy, such as being flat-footed, having joint hypermobility, and inflammatory joint disease. Since bunions are a chronic problem that can worsen over time, as people age, they are likely to be affected by them. “Any shoe that is a flat, has a tight toe box, or has an overly high heel is bad for overall foot health and function,” says Richard Kaufman, DPM, of Ankle and
Foot Centers of Georgia - Roswell and Piedmont Atlanta Hospital.
Tik Pau, MD, a Gwinnett Medical Center-affiliated physician and primary care provider with Gwinnett Medical Group’s Bostock
Family Medicine advises avoiding shoes that are undersized, have pointed-toes that constrict feet, are narrow, and have a heel height of more than 2 inches.
An orthotic (shoe insert) can also be helpful in keeping bunions and hammertoes at bay. Hammertoe is a common foot deformity that causes an unusual bend in the middle joint of a toe. It typically occurs because of soft tissue injury, inflammatory arthritis, neuromuscular disorders or trauma like stubbing, jamming or breaking a toe, notes Dr. Pau. “These conditions [bunions and hammertoes] are biomechanical in nature, so wearing an orthotic that stabilizes your hindfoot [back area] can prevent the abnormal mechanics that lead to their formation during gait while walking,” says Dr. Kaufman.
When it comes to selecting an orthotic, there are three options—over-the-counter brands such as Dr. Scholl’s®, medical-grade orthotics, and custom orthotics. “Pure over-the-counter orthotics do not actually correct abnormal foot mechanics, which is what you should really be looking for in an orthotic,” Dr. Kaufman adds. P1 Foot Care
While custom orthotics are his ideal recommendation, medical-grade inserts, such as ones by Redi-Thotics® and Powerstep®, can be purchased at a podiatrist’s office or on Amazon but have a limited lifespan of around six months, and are not best for people with high arches.
For those with active lifestyles, one of the most common causes of foot and heel pain in adults, plantar fasciitis—is a medical issue to watch out for. Plantar fasciitis is characterized by pain in the plantar region (the middle part of the bottom) of the foot that worsens with walking. “Possible risk factors for the development of plantar fasciitis include obesity, prolonged walking or standing on hard surfaces, prolonged jumping, flat feet, and having high arches,” says Dr. Pau. The condition can be prevented and treated by stretching the plantar fascia and calf muscles, avoiding flat shoes and walking barefoot, using shoe inserts, and decreasing physical activities that are suggested to be causative or aggravating (e.g., excessive running, dancing,
or jumping).

Back to Basics
Practicing good hygiene habits can go a long way in warding off foot troubles. A diligent daily scrub of the feet
and between the toes will help minimize excess skin buildup, bacterial overgrowth and fungi, explains Dr. Reschly.
After washing, be just as thorough when drying the feet, making sure to dry the area between the toes so there is no residual moisture that could lead to fungi. Once dry, follow up with a good lotion or foot balm to moisturize the feet. “If you find that you have dry skin or cracked heels, using a petroleum-containing emollient or a humectant, such as lactic acid, can help draw moisture into the skin,” Dr. Kaufman says. He notes that CeraVe® works well for tough, thick skin and Eucerin® is effective at combating overall dryness.
It’s also necessary to keep your toenails clipped and free of ragged edges. However, do not think fingernail clippers will work as well as toenail clippers.
“You should always trim your toenails straight across while still showing a little of the white part of the top of the toenail. People make the mistake of rounding the nail edges and cutting the nail too short, making them susceptible to ingrown toenails and infections,” says Dr. Matthew Ward, podiatrist with
Marietta Podiatry Group.
If you do develop nail fungus, there are multiple remedies available. “The most effective treatment for nail fungus is still to take terbinafine orally,” says Dr. Reschly. “However, there are several new treatments that do not require taking pills and monthly blood work. Three newer topical treatments include JUBLIA®, KERYDIN®, and Nuvail™, which can be quite effective if used properly every day for up to six months or one year.” He notes that over-the-counter nail fungus medication and unconventional topical applications of Vicks® VapoRub™,  tea tree oil, and soaking the feet in LISTERINE® can also be beneficial.
P2 Foot Care    
Some Final Steps
Many of us visit the gym multiple times a week, which provides ample opportunity for exposure to germs. To reduce your risk of bringing home unwanted bacteria or a virus, do not go barefoot in a gym shower or poolside and opt to wear flip-flops or sandals instead. Also, change your socks daily to keep moisture at bay. Choose socks with wicking material that wicks away sweat, along with socks that allow your feet to breathe. 
Taking care of your feet remains a crucial part of your overall health, so give it the attention it deserves. “Just remember, you only get two feet in a lifetime,” says Dr. Suzette Clements, board-certified podiatrist and owner of Flat Shoals Foot & Ankle Center. “It’s important to establish and maintain daily foot hygiene.”

Ankle and Foot Centers of Georgia – Roswell
Bostock Family Medicine
Flat Shoals Foot & Ankle Center
Marietta Podiatry Group
North Atlanta Dermatology
Piedmont Atlanta Hospital


Thursday, 01 August 2019 14:18

James A. Bailey


James A. BaileyP1 James Bailey
Caregiving is a responsibility that requires patience and compassion—it is also a role often portrayed by women. But according to the AARP Public Policy Institute, 4 in 10 family caregivers are men. There are thousands of men around the country, like James A. Bailey, who put the needs of those they love before their own on an everyday basis. Here, we highlight just one of those stories, and how this Decatur resident tends to the needs of his “brother” Larry Grant.   

By Alex McCray

How did you become a caregiver?
I met Larry Grant (who was born with a partial left hand and foot) in 1997 and invited him to church. We became friends and a few years later, I started a nonprofit called House of Refuge Ministries. Larry assisted me with this community service and later went to work with the United States Postal Service. However, we continued to stay in touch on and off over the years.
Around May 2007, I tried to get in contact with him to let him know a close friend had passed away. I couldn’t seem to reach Larry, though, and I didn’t know where he was. After making some calls, I found out that Larry was at Gwinnett Medical Center and in critical condition. He was given three to six months to live. While visiting him, I asked the hospital staff for permission to assist with his basic care. Fortunately, it was second nature to me since I am a retired Army nurse and licensed massage therapist. Also, all of Larry’s immediate family lived out of state, so I’m sure it made him feel good to have someone he was familiar with visit him on a regular basis.Larry was eventually discharged to a nursing home. I would visit him often. I saw how unhappy he was there and how terrible the conditions were. Eventually, we were able to have the paperwork completed to make me Larry’s legal guardian and he came to live with me—something I never thought would happen. Now, it’s been 12 years since the doctors gave him three to six months to live!

What is daily life like with Larry now?
Just looking at Larry, you wouldn’t think anything was challenging for him. He doesn’t talk but mostly understands what you’re saying. He has a smile to live for!
It’s all about routine. I bathe and groom him, including brushing his teeth and assisting him with getting dressed. I prepare all of his meals and cut up his food, and I drive him wherever he needs to go. He loves a road trip.
Larry also does a great job of taking care of our two little Chihuahuas, Atom and Missy.

What involvement have you had with AARP and its support programs and resources for caregivers?
It’s a great organization. My good friend, Carolyn Hartfield, does a lot with AARP and has invited me to several meetings. The meetings are informative and have made me feel special—there, the focus is all about me for a moment. The training dinners, the encouragement, and practical tips offered are all so wonderful. Statements as simple as, ‘Fix your food first, then fix the food for the person that you’re caring for’ are such great reminders to take care of myself. Sometimes I feel like I’m not doing enough and then someone will come along and say, ‘You’re doing such a great job for Larry.’

How do you recharge and practice self-care?

I belong to two meetup groups, OPALs [Older People with Active Lifestyles] and Atlanta African American Adventurers, both created by Carolyn.
I love getting out into nature and going hiking at least once a month. It refreshes me. I also like working out at the gym and swimming. Getting a full-body massage is great too. I love chocolate as well! So once a month, I’ll treat myself when we go grocery shopping at Sprouts Farmers Market and get the best healthy chocolate.

What advice do you have for other male caregivers/caregivers in general?
Care for others because you love them and don’t worry about stereotypes or what other people are thinking.


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