Monday, 11 June 2018 15:22

2018 Over 40 & Fabulous! Winners

Forty and beyond is looking better than ever thanks to our
2018 Over 40 & Fabulous! contest winners. From medicine to media, volunteerism to fitness, our winners reflect the energy and enthusiasm that makes this season of life extra special. Meet them all—and the contest's Advisory Board members—on the following pages.

 

 

Winner
Lynne McDonald

Lynne McDonald, 49, wears many hats as a writer, editor, artist, and business consultant. The Type 1 diabetic is determined to never let her illness prevent her from living life on her own terms.

What is your favorite way to work out? I love to dance. Give me a good song and I don't care how tired I am.

01 Lynne-McDonald--9x12What is your favorite healthy meal? My son and I love to make a delicious and healthy version of ice cream with frozen bananas, cherries and dark chocolate chips.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community? I am a Development Committee Member and Co-chair of the PR/Marketing Committee with Camp Kudzu, which is an organization dedicated to educating and supporting children with Type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is when your pancreas fails to produce enough insulin. It's a complex problem to have while you're also figuring out who you are. Becoming Type 1 diabetic as a teenager was a struggle for me and I ended up doing some damage until I started learning more about nutrition in my 20s. I hope to shorten that learning process for the campers, be a role model and show them that they can do anything they want.

I'm also on the board of Hands Across Atlanta, an organization working to improve the lives of homeless people in our community. Marcus Acosta, the nonprofit's president, has been organizing volunteers at Hurt Park every second Sunday of the month. It's a great way for everyone, including children, to get involved in charity.

What advice do you have for someone who isn't yet over 40 and fabulous? Look at who you want to be in 10 or 20 years and be that person now.

What is your favorite getaway? I absolutely love going up to Asheville. My perfect day would be to go hiking, go to the River Arts District, and then come back and be pampered at The Spa at The Omni Grove Park Inn.

Name something on your bucket list. I want to learn how to fence.

Who are the experts/professionals who help you be your best self? Christa Burton, who is an artist, model and friend, is my fashion and beauty expert. She makes beautiful jewelry. Salon Brookwood is a fantastic hair salon in West Cobb. I always walk out feeling gorgeous. Maryan Aiken is a powerhouse promoter. Denise Jackson is an amazing art curator and consultant. Dr. Jonathan Ownby is my go-to endocrinologist at Atlanta Diabetes Associates. And Michel Fontaine, the CEO of TransacXion Technologies, is one of my biggest cheerleaders and gets me to step outside the box and get uncomfortable. He hired me to create a go-to-market strategy for his finance technology company.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years? I don't know. Maybe there will be a Sexy Over Sixty contest then!

 

Inspiration Award
Lisa Mohager

02 Lisa-Mohager-IMG 0004 8-favorite-6x10Once a single mother on public aid, Lisa Mohager, 41, turned her obstacles into opportunities. Today, she empowers thousands of women through her health and fitness business, The Drab to Fab Life.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment? Picking myself back up when my life seemed hopeless. As a bankrupt and overweight single mom, I made the decision that enough was enough.

In 2009, while working full-time as a secretary, I decided to start my own online marketing company in the health and fitness industry. At the time, I had no idea where the opportunity would lead me. I honestly only hoped to earn an extra $100 or so a month just to help keep food on the table for my daughter and I. There were so many times I would come home from work to find the power or water turned off or a foreclosure/repossession notice on my door. Through my business, I quickly discovered my purpose in life—helping other women find hope again. I lost 60 pounds. After moving my daughter and I to Atlanta, I met and married the love of my life, Paj.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community? My grandparents always taught me that it's a greater blessing to give than to receive. I volunteer at Senior Services North Fulton and have worked with the Atlanta Community Food Bank, as well as Junior Achievement. Currently, I am an Image Consultant at Dress for Success Atlanta.

What inspired you to do this particular kind of charity work? Dress for Success is very near and dear to my heart. As a young, single mom I used to live in public housing and was on public aid. I know the feeling of wanting to get ahead but not knowing where to start. To help support and encourage women who may be in a similar situation that I was in, is an incredible opportunity.

What is your most embarrassing moment? While working full-time, I was also attending night classes for my bachelor's degree. I would often freshen up my makeup while driving to class. One day, I was running extra late and when I walked in, my girlfriend quickly pulled me aside. I had accidently grabbed my black eyeliner instead of my lip liner!

What is your favorite book? "Awaken the Giant Within" by Tony Robbins. I read it for the first time about 10 years ago. I was struggling to find my place in the world. I always knew I was meant for more and this book really helped me to take control of my life.

 

Give-Back Award
Danielle S. Beverly

03 Danielle-Beverly-IMG 0010 8-favorite-6x10As a co-founder of The Eric R. Beverly Family Foundation, Danielle S. Beverly, 44, is committed to making sure breast cancer patients have access to the care they need.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment? Beating breast cancer three times by the age of 33. I was 29 the first time I was diagnosed, 31 the second time, and I was 36 weeks pregnant when I received a third breast cancer diagnosis. The biggest blessing—a beautiful, smart and amazing daughter who is now 10 years old—came out of the third diagnosis.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community? I am very passionate about the underserved breast cancer community. Throughout my battles with the disease, my husband, Eric, and I were very fortunate to be able to focus on my treatment while not having to concern ourselves with how we would pay for it and keep a roof over our heads. Unfortunately, that is not the case for many individuals.

In 2006, we founded The Eric R. Beverly Family Foundation. We work to help people diagnosed with breast cancer, and their families, keep the lights on, keep food on the table, and get them to treatment. Nobody should have to choose between going to work or receiving care.

Name something on your bucket list. My husband is a former Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions player, and I played college basketball. So it's probably no surprise that most of my bucket list items are sports related—like completing the Grand Slam in tennis as a spectator. I am a sports junkie!

 

Brenda Hall, DDS, MD

04 Brenda-Hall--IMG 0001 19--6x10Being a strong role model for her 14-year-old daughter is priority No. 1 for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon, Brenda Hall, DDS, MD, 45. The travel enthusiast also has a heart for animals.

What is your favorite healthy meal? I'm a simple girl. One of my go-tos is Dave's Killer Bread toasted with avocado.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community? I donate my time to care for the oral needs of the majestic animals at Zoo Atlanta and the Georgia Aquarium. ... I also fundraise for and donate my time and money to animal rescue groups, particularly for pit bulls. The main one I support is Friends to the Forlorn Pitbull Rescue, Inc. They are the largest and most committed group to this breed that I have ever heard of. Studies estimate that up to 1 million pits are euthanized per year, or 2,800 per day.

Name something on your bucket list. Traveling through Europe, Asia, and South America and living with families there and getting to experience their cultures for months at a time. I spent time in Russia with my family, as well as local families, and that was an amazing experience. I learned so much more about the culture and the day-to-day lifestyle and philosophies than if I had stayed in a hotel in a large city.

Who are the experts/professionals who help you be your best self? Nutrition guru Michael Bronte, hair balayage wizard Ron Massey, Karen Filos Hair and Makeup Design, chiropractor Dr. Edward Cordovado, dentist Dr. Dina Giesler, coach Chris Romano, holistic health coach Dr. Lauren Polivka, medical esthetician Lauren Bays, lash expert Rin Sangmalee, Juan Dowling at LaVida Massage in East Cobb, and Skin Matters.

 

Craig Michael Logan, MD

Wisdom isn't the only thing that has come with age for Craig Michael Logan, MD, 47. The Chief of Radiology for The Southeast Permanente Medical Group of Kaiser Permanente has learned to love himself just as much as he loves others.

05 Craig-Logan-IMG 0003 17-favorite--6x10What is the best thing you've learned since turning 40? Perseverance pays off. I'm the first person in my family to finish college. During my medical training, I worked up to 120 hours a week.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community? I have packaged medical supplies for MedShare with my Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. brothers for eight years. We have assisted in packing tens of thousands of pounds of surplus medical equipment destined for multiple underdeveloped countries. I have also served on committees for March of Dimes, the Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program, and more. In the past, I have volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, Hands On Atlanta, and SafeHouse Outreach.

Name something on your bucket list. I want to see the great apes in Africa. A few years ago, I went on a mind-blowing safari in South Africa, and got within 20 yards of a wild male lion. I'm hooked on wildlife.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years? In 20 years, I will be spending my retirement traveling the world. I am committed to expanding my mind with new life experiences and ideas. Part of working toward that goal is meeting people in new places and learning from different perspectives.

 

Dawn Skok

06 Dawn-Skok-IMG 5786--6x10Master stylist and colorist, Dawn Skok, 40, is a fighter. After winning the battle against cancer 13 years ago, she now throws punches at poverty and sex trafficking through her volunteer efforts.

What is your favorite way to work out? I love weight training, which I have done since the age of 13. Pushing myself, staying healthy, and feeling strong mentally and physically are all very important to me.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment? Surviving cancer! In August 2005, I was diagnosed with an 'incurable' viral form of cancer and given six to nine months to live. My daughter was 3 months old at the time. I made the firm decision to make my health a priority and fight the cancer so I could be alive and healthy to raise my daughter.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community? Hands-on volunteering and donating salon services to various charities, women's conferences, Lou Gehrig's disease events and the Charity Guild of Johns Creek are my favorite ways to give back. I have participated with Fashion for Freedom, for victims of sex trafficking in Atlanta. I have volunteered at Meals By Grace and local churches for food distribution. I have also spent time at City of Refuge.

What is your favorite quote? "I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples." —Mother Teresa

What advice do you have for someone who isn't yet over 40 and fabulous? When we forgive, love and cherish ourselves, it is then that we can conquer anything in life.

 

Tracye Hutchins

07 Tracey-Hutchins-MG 5568--6x10CBS46 News anchor Tracye Hutchins is more than just a pretty face. When she's not in front of the camera, she's putting in work by serving others. The avid gardener, 49, can be found mentoring today's youth and supporting local nonprofits.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment? My daughter is by far the best thing I've created and molded. Now that she's 20 and out on her own, I'm confident that she has the tools to find her way and create her own success.

What is your favorite book? "Traveling Light" by Max Lucado. It's an inspirational book about how to let go of the baggage we carry around from day to day—like worry, fear and doubt. It's a quick read that gives me hope when life gets a little rough.

What is your favorite way to work out? Working in my yard. I can get a full-body workout by clearing leaves, pruning trees and planting shrubs. And I see immediate results ... at least in my yard!

What is your favorite way to give back to your community? I've worked with Doggies on the Catwalk for the last seven years. The event helps support Canine Assistants. I've had an opportunity to see the great work they do to provide services for people with disabilities. I'm also proud of the work I do with community organizations like the Boy Scouts of America [Atlanta Area Council] and the countless area schools I work with to read to students and act as a mentor.

 

Marquetta J. Bryan, Esq.

08 Marquetta-Bryan-IMG 0006 11--6x10Marquetta J. Bryan, Esq., 42, uses her legal skills and writing talents to help others find their voice.

What is your favorite healthy meal? These pizza-stuffed mushroom bites prepared by raw vegan chef, Crystal Shae. They are amazing and by far, my favorite!

What is your favorite way to give back to your community? I understood very early in life that I was blessed to be a blessing, and that I had a responsibility to give back and make life better for others. Accordingly, I founded the nonprofit Girls Speak, Inc., which is committed to helping girls develop the power of their written and oral voice.

I am also a board member of and involved with many initiatives including the DeKalb Symphony Orchestra, the Georgia Legal Services Program, Leadership DeKalb, American Cancer Society Georgia, American Diabetes Association® [Georgia], Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project, and Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta. I have been a member of the Junior League of Atlanta, Inc. for over nine years and have held leadership roles the majority of that time. I also volunteer regularly with the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation and the Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta.

Where do you go for "me" time? To my journal. One thing I have learned in my 40s is to not be apologetic about my emotions or who I am. Without fail, writing improves my mood and leaves me feeling calm, centered and capable. It also allows me to examine my feelings and be honest with myself.

 

Maryam Aytac

09 Maryam-Aytac--IMG 0007 20--6x10Owner of four Café Istanbul locations, Maryam Aytac, 43, is proud to lend a helping hand to anyone in need, especially those coming to America in search of a better life.

How would your friends and family describe you? Fun and busy. My schedule is always jam-packed with family, friends, and work responsibilities. But at the end of the day, I manage it all pretty well.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community? Community and giving back are huge parts of my life. I am Persian and moved to the U.S. when I was 6. My parents had to build our beautiful life from nothing. That is why I now dedicate my extra time and resources to any refugee family that needs help starting their new life in America. I work closely with the International Rescue Committee and the Refugee Women's Network to help collect clothing, kitchen items, furniture, money and more for families that are arriving.

What is the best thing you've learned about yourself since turning 40? I have become so much more confident in the woman that I am, and the choices I make every day for myself, my family and my community.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment? My family and my children. I live for them.

What is your favorite book? "The Secret" by Rhonda Byrne.

What is your favorite way to work out? I love to go walking and to do yoga.

What is your favorite getaway? I love going to Europe and Istanbul, in particular.

 

Lisa Gabrielson

10 Lisa-Gabrielson--IMG 0008 8--7x10Lisa Gabrielson, 49, hit her career stride later in life and couldn't be happier about it. As the owner of Lisa Gabrielson Design, she gets to put her passion to work day after day.

What is the best thing you've learned since turning 40? It's never too late to figure out what you want to do when you grow up. Although I always had a love for interior design, it took me a few decades to finally make it my career. There is a time for everything—studying, raising children, making mistakes, trying new things—and if you follow your passion, work hard, stay positive and never give up, success and happiness is possible at any age.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community? I donate to charity events chaired by friends, such as ShamRockin' For A Cure, which raises money for those with cystic fibrosis. And recently, I started mentoring young interior designers. I am a self-taught designer, so much of what I know has been learned through the school of hard knocks. It is gratifying to assist them on their journeys, and hopefully make things a little easier for those with talent and drive.

What inspired you to do this particular kind of work? My children, actually. They are embarking on a new chapter in life and are looking for internships and mentors. It is up to our generation to help pave the way for younger folks.

What is your favorite way to work out? Yoga, hands down.

Name something on your bucket list. An African safari for my 50th birthday and riding camels in Morocco for my 51st. Traveling is my favorite thing to do!

 

 

 

 

11 FAB FIVE

 

Tammy McGarity von Nordheim

11 Tammy-von-Nordheim-IMG 0009 8--favorite--6x10As a mental health therapist and the owner of Tammy McGarity Photography, 48-year-old Tammy McGarity von Nordheim helps people realize their inner and outer beauty every day.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment? Pushing through the pain of a broken tibia and relearning how to walk while completing my graduate schoolwork and finishing with all A's would be one major accomplishment.

Professionally, starting a women's empowerment group called Girl in the Glass and a nonprofit called iEmpower Me, Too have allowed me to pour into others a sense of "self" that they had been unable to see for themselves. ... Also, being a self-taught photographer and having clients cry tears of happiness as I show them the essence of who they are through my lens gives me great joy.

Marriage and parenting are two of the most complex relationships you can have. Being married for 18 years and raising two amazing girls while furthering your education and running three businesses is not for the weak. There have been many days of exhaustion, but I am passionate about what I do and I love my family.

 

Kenisha Q. Coleman

12 Kenisha-Coleman-IMG 0008 3---favorite--6x10Orangetheory Fitness head coach Kenisha Q. Coleman, 41, maintains her youthful energy by staying active and encouraging others to chase their dreams.

What is your most embarrassing moment? Splitting my pants back in college while I was dancing my heart out.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community? I recently found a new church home at Victory World Church and have begun participating in the youth and fitness departments, which are two areas that mean the most to me.

What inspired you to do this particular kind of charity work? I really wanted to work with teens because I have one. I also know how vital it is for them to have positive examples around in an effort to keep them from becoming a negative statistic. I want to show them that their dreams may not be "traditional" but that does not mean that they are unattainable, especially if they are willing to put in the work.

It was also important to me to volunteer with the fitness ministry so that I could assist people through their journey.

 

Leila Taylor Jankowski

13 Leila-Jankowski--IMG 0009 15--6x10Leila Taylor Jankowski, 43, founded the online resource Grit & Soul to enhance the mind and body. As a yoga instructor and public servant, she has found purpose through action.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community? I recently served as a small group leader for high school ministry for four years. During that time, I also led several groups of high school students on mission trips around the world serving at-risk women and children. 410 Bridge, based in Alpharetta, is my favorite charity to support and serve with. They do so much incredible work in Africa and Haiti.

What inspired you to do this kind of charity work? I overcame a childhood that was littered with trauma. By the grace of God, I was able to thrive and I believe that there was a reason I overcame it—to serve others. I never feel more alive, whole, or connected than I do when I'm serving. It's been life-changing and very healing.

 

Kamran L. Kurani

14 KamranKurani LolaLandPhotography 2018 headshots DSC 0928The son of immigrants who came to America with less than $200 to their name, Pizza Hut franchise owner and investor Kamran L. Kurani, 42, cherishes every opportunity he is given and always makes giving back a priority.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment? My two sisters have grown up to become wonderful adults and one has made me the proud uncle of two beautiful kids. At a young age, my father passed away and I had to step into a parental role.

What is your favorite way to work out? I've tried many workouts but none fit me better than Jiu-Jitsu. It is an intense full-body workout and the technique requires as much mental activity as it does physical. It has played a powerful role in my life.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community? Giving back is a huge part of my life. I am blessed to be where I am today and sharing with others is a joy of mine. There are five organizations/missions that I truly believe in. These include the program iMentor, wellness nonprofit Park & Roll, international community assistance organization Aga Khan Development Network and the Aga Khan Foundation National Walk/Run, and Thanksgiving Love Feast where my family and team give out free meals during the holiday.

 

Mia Van Wagenen

15 Mia-Van-Wagenen-IMG 0014--2--6x10As a busy wife, mother and the founder and CEO of MVO Marketing, Mia Van Wagenen, 47, loves her fantastically full life but also believes in the importance of balance.

What is the best thing you've learned about yourself since turning 40? In your 20s, things are often overwhelming. In your 30s, you figure out who the best people to learn from are so by the time you're in your 40s, you know how to get it done. I feel both professionally and personally, I use my experience to look for solutions every day and learn from both successes and failures. I never say, "I can't," anymore.

How do you maintain the balance between self-care, family and work responsibilities, and giving back? Prioritizing the most important things that need to be done, which means sometimes letting other things go. Oh, and wine.

Who are the experts/professionals who help you be your best self? I love Blo Blow Dry Bar at Shops Around Lenox for my hair, Nyssa Green for my makeup when I need to look extra pretty, Orangetheory Fitness for a quick workout, and my amazing team for producing all the great work we do at MVO Marketing.

 

16 PublishersPick

Laura Janelle Downey

16 Laura-Downey-IMG 0003 5-6x10Laura Janelle Downey is every woman. The 40-year-old magazine editor is just as meticulous about every word that you'll find on the pages of Atlanta Best Media's eight publications as she is about her other leadership roles. Giving each task 110 percent, she puts her heart into everything she does.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment? My career, hands down. I've worked at People, Southern Accents, ForbesTravelGuide.com, Essence.com, been a magazine journalism professor and more. It's a dream come true.

What is the best thing you've learned about yourself since turning 40? I love to love people. And should they not love me back, I have learned that I am strong, I am soft, I am shy, I am funny, I am happy, and sometimes I am sad but one thing is for sure—I will always love again—I am unapologetically me.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community? I do a lot of volunteer work through Mount Paran Church, like feeding the homeless at SafeHouse Outreach. And for the past two years, I have led short-term mission trips to India and Indonesia, which upon returing to the U.S., helps me be a better servant for my community.

What is your favorite way to work out? I love running through my Midtown neighborhood. People-watching, perusing street art and breathing the fresh air invigorates me.

What advice do you have for someone who isn't yet over 40 and fabulous? Live every day in the moment and help others along the way. There is no greater joy than to bless someone and not expect anything in return.

 

 

Divorce is not a word society usually associates with the idea of triumph. In fact, it's more closely associated with experiencing a death in the family. While the emotions aren't easily eluded, we can offer a little guidance from several industry professionals to make it better. With their expert advice, divorce can be a fresh start, a chance to move your family in a new direction and redefine who you are individually, as they help us navigate the mental, spiritual, financial and legal battles that ensue. The encouragement is that everything really can turn out all right ... perhaps sooner than you might think.

We've decided to divorce ...Where do we start?

Kelley Linn of Transitions Resource, LLC DBA-Transitions Resource Divorce Mediation Center says, "First, a couple should learn about the multiple methods of divorce in order for them to make an informed decision about which will be the right one for their family."

P1Linn explains that there are two main components to a typical divorce decree—financial and custodial—the financial aspect of dividing marital assets and debts and the [plan for] being co-parents to children after divorce. "At our center, we prepare the couple for mediation by first bringing in a financial expert to show the family what a fair and equitable division of their assets is. It's important to equip them in advance to be able to negotiate," Linn says. "Then they have the mediation session to fine-tune that and create a comprehensive parenting plan that works for the entire family. The attorneys then convert their mediated agreement into legal settlement documents and file them with the courts."

Having both spouses under one roof, learning everything about the process and about what's fair and what life can look like after a divorce can do two things—one, keep the family out of the court process, and two, save the family both time and money.

Melissa Davis Strickland, founding lawyer at Buckhead Family Law explains, "A divorce is one of the most important financial transactions of your entire life. You need to know exactly what the state of your financial affairs is, and if you don't have that information, you and your attorney can get it during the divorce process. Once both parties have equal access to financial information, it's a lot easier to figure out how to equitably divide assets and debts and determine the appropriate amount of child support and alimony, if applicable. You need to have a very clear picture of your financial situation both now and moving forward, because in most cases what families can afford to do separately looks very different from what you were able to afford to do jointly."

On the nonfinancial side, Strickland advises couples to really take their children into consideration. Custody and parenting plans may look different for every family, but stepping back and evaluating what works best for your children is what ensures its success in the future. While your marriage has ended, you will always be parents of your children together.

What do I look for in a lawyer?

According to Strickland, "You need to find somebody who clearly understands what your goals and expectations are, and who is going to communicate with you and provide realistic advice as to the likelihood of achieving those goals. It is important to find an attorney that you feel comfortable speaking openly with. Divorce is very emotional. You're talking about very personal issues. You need to find somebody who's able to walk you through this process and explain every step to you, advocating and working for you. Someone who makes sure you understand your rights, that you know what you're entitled to, explains what the likely outcome of each scenario is, and also what that's going to cost you along the way, so that you can avoid surprises in what is already a very uncertain time."

P2What if I'm the only one who wants to get a divorce?

Unfortunately for many couples, this is actually more common than an amicable split. And more unfortunately, for the spouse who doesn't want a divorce, they don't have a choice. Legally, if a spouse wants a divorce, they will get it.

"The spouse not wanting the divorce needs to understand that they do not have the choice to remain married," Linn says. "They only have two choices: one, to work with their spouse to get a fair and equitable settlement, or two, spend time, a lot of negative energy and use a lot of hard-earned family funds to fight it, even though the divorce will be granted anyway."

Linn explains that in order to achieve the best possible outcome for both spouses, it is in the second spouse's best interest to do what they can to cooperate. A lack of cooperation may have an impact on the family funds that will be divided after divorce, because it can get expensive to fight over terms. The good news here is that often, in a mediated divorce, the spouse who wants a divorce is usually considerate in what they are willing to do for the spouse who doesn't.

"A mediator can help the spouses understand their choices, envision their possible outcomes and help them mediate a fair settlement that both parties will uphold down the road because they made the decisions about the settlement terms, not someone else," Linn says.

Psychotherapist Annie M. Garry, MSW, LCSW and former president of the Georgia Society for Clinical Social Work adds that, "While friends and family can be a huge source of comfort, they cannot be objective. A therapist can provide an objective and rational perspective that is needed to stay out of the power struggles of a high conflict divorce, diffuse the intense emotions it generates, and arm the person with the skills needed to work through the difficulties of the divorce."

How are we going to get through it?

"Although one's specific circumstances are unique, there is a typical sequence of emotional and practical issues that divorced people usually go through," Garry says, adding that individual therapy can help one to work through the vast array of feelings and turmoil that can accompany those stages.

In terms of the benefit therapy can have on the family as a whole, Garry says, "When a divorce involves children, therapy can be extremely important for couples to make sure they understand how this change is impacting their kids." She notes, "We want to create an atmosphere where they're not traumatizing their children or putting them in the middle of what's happening between two adults."

Therapy as a couple bears the goal of figuring out how to be co-parents, and gaining the tools needed to help them deal with their intense feelings and the adjustments to come. Working together with a therapist can also teach you how to resolve conflict in diplomatic ways. There are also many group therapy options available locally that allow members to exchange ideas, offer support and share encouragement with others who are going through divorce.

How can I get back to normal?

When the divorce is finalized, it can be challenging to figure out what to do next and how to adjust to a new routine. "You're left with your family to piece together in the best way you can. This is why we work so hard on financial agreements and spend so much time on developing parenting plans in my office because it's really important that you have a plan that works for your family, and that you get it right," Strickland says.

She offers her clients advice and support based on her own experience, saying, "Having been through the process personally, I think it's hard to start living outside the habit of being married. I'm certainly not a therapist, but I tell my clients to just try and move forward one day at a time, to focus on yourself and think about it as a time to rediscover yourself, your interests, your goals, your friendships, and your career." Strickland adds, "Remember that you're not defined by your divorce. It doesn't mean that your relationship was a failure, or that you've failed in life, it just means that this chapter is closing and you're going to move your life and your family forward in a different direction."

 

Resources

Annie M. Garry, MSW, LCSW, Atlanta Center for Wellness, AtlantaCenterForWellness.com, VisionsANew.net

Kelley Linn, Transitions Resource, LLC DBA-Transitions Resource Divorce Mediation Center, DivorceMediationCenter.org

Melissa Davis Strickland, Buckhead Family Law, BuckheadFamilyLaw.com

 

Thursday, 31 May 2018 20:32

June / July 2018 Digital Issue

June / July 2018 Digital Issue

 

2018 Over 40 & Fabulous! Contest.

over40 2018 FACEBOOK 2

I was a mom twice over and I was not feeling like I was "supposed" to feel. Our family schedule had fallen into place, both of my boys were healthy, and my work was back on track. Yet, I couldn't get over the sense that I wasn't doing things correctly. I felt out of sorts. Everything should have been a certain way, and it wasn't. And then my very wise therapist said something that has stuck with me to this day: "You have to stop 'shoulding' all over yourself."

 

By Amy Meadows

 

It was an aha moment. The kind Oprah Winfrey has talked about for years. So much of the pressure I felt was self-imposed—yet based on the way I thought I "should" be parenting because of what I saw all around me. And it was difficult to find my way in a sea of messages about what I "should" be doing. So I couldn't find a way to really celebrate the mom I had become. Maybe you can relate? Whether you have small children, teenagers or young adults who are getting ready to leave the nest, it can be challenging to embrace your own parenting style. Fortunately, it can be done.

We've asked moms in the metro area to share their insights about the most challenging parts of this roller-coaster ride called motherhood. Their stories and revelations about some of the most talked-about topics in mother circles today just might help you find your way to championing the mom you are.

 

Personalize Your Parenting Style

Oftentimes, your parenting style comes from a combination of sources. And in many cases, you find yourself doing the opposite of what you've known or what you expected you would do. The key is to find what works best for you and your family.

SB"I knew what I didn't want to do. And I think that's really valuable. Knowing what you don't want is often more powerful than what you do want because parenting is always going to be this unknown. We're parenting our children for a future that is faster than we can even imagine. We don't really know how to prepare them. We might as well be launching them into space. We have no clue what's coming up [for them], so we have to give them a firm but flexible foundation. If you're too rigid, the second there's a crack, they will tumble." –Katherine Michalak, mom of three boys, ages 17 and 14 (identical twins)

"My pediatrician gave me the best advice: don't read parenting books. A lot of it is in you—use your instincts.

Don't do what everyone else does. Instead, parent by instinct and the reaction of your children. We're more traditional, so for us, rules are standard. But we see the importance of parenting children differently. There are different ways to handle situations for a social child versus a nonsocial child. Whatever you do needs to fit the child, and you adapt that over time." –Melanie Frady, mom of an 8-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son

P1"It's important to remember that all moms have their own individual struggles and are trying to do their best. Be confident in yourself, have faith in your decisions, and trust your gut. You don't have to be perfect to be an amazing mom, you just have to love your family." –Teri Xerogeanes, mom of a 12-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son.

 

Avoid the Comparison Trap

It's very easy to fall into the trap of comparing everything you do as a parent to someone else, thanks in large part to the presence of social media in our lives. Yet, those comparisons can be inaccurate and also detrimental to your psyche.

P2"Everything online is curated. And there are useful and not-so-useful components to comparing ourselves. If the way someone is doing something lines up with your values [and you want to do it too], then that can be viewed as 'useful peer pressure.' But the other side of it just feeds into the sense that we're not doing something right." –Dana Goldman, LPC, NCC, of Stone Cottage Counseling, mom of a 3-year-old daughter

"I would go on playdates, and I just didn't connect. I would come home defeated every time. I would look at people who were doing things like making homemade bread every day, and it felt like such a competition. I cut out mom groups and playdates. As a mom, I had to stop comparing myself to everybody else. It's still hard to this day. But I read a lot of self-help books to help me find my inner strength. I have to look at what makes me and my family strong." –Melanie Frady

Tackle Mom Shaming

The idea of "mom shaming" has come to the forefront in recent years, with the term becoming a very common one as women discuss their parenting choices with others. It's important to know how to deal when you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation.

P3"At first, I did attach myself to a [child-rearing] philosophy, which is very natural and child-led parenting ... But [I found that] any group attached to a certain way of doing things will have a group mentality that says, 'We all do it this way.' You'll contend with judgment. If you're not 'doing it correctly,' someone may reject you or shame you or correct you. I was at a playdate, and [my son] was upset. I wanted to leave, and a mom came to me and said, 'You should stay and allow him to cope.' The way she delivered her message was so undermining to me and my instincts. I knew this [playdate] wasn't crucial. And I immediately knew that I couldn't be part of anything that makes me feel like I'm doing something wrong. So I separated myself from that." –India Powell, mom of a 4-year-old son

"I think it's OK to engage someone if it's personal. If someone is speaking in generalities, you can roll your eyes and walk away. But if they look at you directly and say something about you as a parent or about your child, you have—and maybe I'm feisty—an obligation to you and your child to validate your point of view. If it's online, people feel emboldened to say something using a keyboard that they would never say in person. I've found that it lessens the older [your children] get. Moms are more active and vocal in the toddler, elementary, and early middle school years. But
puberty becomes the great equalizer. Nobody makes it through puberty unscathed. We're all in the trenches. People learn slowly but surely to keep their own counsel. If you're online, you'd better be ready. Karma will keep you in check." –Katherine Michalak

Take Care of Yourself

P4Taking care of yourself as a mother can mean so many things, from taking time out for yourself to chasing your own dreams. Whatever it means to you, it's actually a key element of motherhood.

"For many parents, being told to make time for yourself can increase anxiety. You're already feeling behind and there may be real barriers and challenges to making time for yourself. It's easier said than done. But I always think about when you go on a plane with a child, and they say to put your own oxygen mask on first. We have to provide ourselves enough oxygen to be present for our kids. For those parents who feel guilty about making time, remember that tending to our own needs can actually benefit our children." –Dana Goldman, LPC, NCC

"You need to spend 30 minutes a day finding a way to understand yourself. That's one of the most important parts of parenting. And it's whatever that means to you—exercising, journaling, meditation, prayer. Just 30 minutes. You won't solve world problems, but you'll be checking in with yourself. You have to have something for yourself before you can share it with someone else." –Katherine Michalak

"Studies show that the more time working mothers spend taking care of themselves, the better their children are both emotionally and physically. Moms are the motor that keep the family machine running smoothly and that's why it's so important to make time to take care of yourself. Whatever it is that makes you feel good—do it! As the saying goes, "When mama's happy, everyone's happy!" –Teri Xerogeanes

Resources
Melissa Keane, LACP, NCC, MelissaKeaneCounselor.com
Stone Cottage Counseling, StoneCottageCounseling.com

Cosmetic dentist Dr. Bahar Nia is one to watch. As the owner of the state-of-the-art Buckhead Cosmetic & Family Dentistry, patients come first with her personalized philosophy of care.

 

By Katherine Michalak

 

From an early age, Dr. Bahar Nia took a keen interest in her father's dental practice, hovering around him, watching his skilled approach and hoping to follow in his footsteps. Once she turned 18, she decided to pursue her college education and work toward her dental degree. Having family and an affinity for Atlanta, she started taking courses at Georgia State University (GSU) and Georgia Institute of Technology. She and her husband, Frank, met while both students at GSU, but she completed her undergraduate work in Houston, near her sister. The couple were back together again for dental school at the University of Pennsylvania and she followed up studies there with a residency at MD Anderson Cancer Center back in Houston.

SBYet, something about Atlanta kept pulling her back. By 2008, she and Frank settled here and together established a dental practice that would grow into multiple offices throughout the metro area. As the couple started their family, Bahar began to shift her perspective about her career trajectory and committed to opening her own cosmetic dentistry practice. The sole focus of the newly renovated Buckhead Cosmetic & Family Dentistry is to provide exquisite, concierge level patient care. "I want to create a lasting impression for patients. No one will ever be treated like just a number or name in the appointment book. This practice has the latest technology and a beautiful spa-like aesthetic in a convenient location, but what's most important is connecting with my patients so that I can anticipate their needs."

P1While nurturing her relationships with other seasoned dentists, Bahar is poised to lead the way in creating beautiful smiles through modern cosmetic dentistry. This approach is sure to attract not only families but also the likes of sports superstars and local celebrities.

For Bahar, creating long-term personal relationships with her patients helps her bring them the best possible care. "I have a holistic approach. Treating the whole patient gives insight into a variety of problems with symptoms that show up in the mouth and teeth—grinding, sleep apnea, and nutrition," Bahar says. She feels honored by the trust her patients have in her and respects the challenges that might lead them to her office door. "For me, cosmetic dentistry really isn't just 'cosmetic' at all. These are life-changing improvements, which bring new confidence to people. That's extremely important."
It was key for Bahar's office to be close to her house, the schools her two daughters attend, as well as to be central to the community. "We love this area. We spend a lot of time with the girls at Chastain Park, at the tennis center or amphitheater for concerts and festivals. We are huge fans of Bartaco, Superica, and Rumi's Kitchen."

With one daughter at Da Vinci International School and one at Atlanta International School (AIS), Buckhead Cosmetic & Family Dentistry's location also gives her the flexibility to continue actively volunteering at the schools. "The annual gala at AIS is something we really enjoy; every year focuses on a theme from a different country and this year, it's Morocco."

 

Over-the-Counter or Professional Treatment?

When to choose expert care...

So what does a top cosmetic dentist recommend for everyday care? Turns out, many of the drugstore items work quite well. "I am pro over-the-counter products such as Sensodyne® ProNamel® and I love Philips Sonicare," Dr. Bahar Nia reveals. However, she warns over-the-counter whitening products won't measure up to professional because the formulations are too different and cannot give "the wow factor as most patients wish." She feels the same about night and sports guards, noting "the over-the-counter products are of a one-size-fits-all mentality ... not comparable to one that is custom made by taking a mold of the teeth." For serious problems, such a malocclusion, crowded teeth, heavy staining, or dental trauma, Bahar advises concentrated professional attention by a cosmetic dentist with an artistic eye to give phenomenal results.

BuckheadDentistry.com, 316 Pharr Rd. NE., 404-400-0400.
The content for this article is brought to you by Buckhead Cosmetic & Family Dentistry. 

 

When it comes to breast cancer awareness, some worry the intended message about the cause becomes obscured in the "pinkification" of everything from jewelry to shoes. This is one of the reasons Susan G. Komen has unveiled a new name for the annual
Susan G. Komen Greater Atlanta Race for the Cure, which will now be called the Susan G. Komen Greater Atlanta More Than Pink Walk. The change reinforces the notion that the movement is not about a color, but a proactive call to do more in the fight against breast cancer.

 

 

Go Beyond the Pink
Susan G. Komen's four pillars represent the organization's work
toward its mission to end breast cancer.

At the More Than Pink Walk on May 5, participants will be immersed in the nonprofit's four pillars of emphasis. Funds raised will provide services to those who cannot afford them and support cutting-edge research to advance Komen's goal to reduce the number of breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in the U.S. by 2026.

The title is also intended to bring attention to the resources Komen offers and the hands-on work it does. Below, meet five Atlanta women and men who have been directly impacted by Komen's key pillars.

SB2SB
Research

Research

An assistant professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology,
Dr. Susan Thomas develops cancer immunotherapies and explores their potential to combat breast cancer. Immunotherapy is emerging as a powerful new way to treat cancers that are impacted by the immune system, like breast cancer. Susan G. Komen provided a $450,000 grant to
Dr. Thomas and her team to provide the support needed to advance this exciting research and achieve new breakthroughs in breast cancer. The grant was also awarded to develop nanotechnology, which works by aiming the powerful drugs directly to where they are needed so they will work better with fewer side effects. Thanks to Komen and Dr. Thomas, this local research will have a global impact.


Care

CARE

In 2014, Delphyne Lomax remembered that it was time for her mammogram. Recently divorced and without insurance, she was lost as to where she could go for this essential check. Fortunately, she went to the Center for Black Women's Wellness and received a free screening through a mobile mammogram clinic funded by Komen Atlanta. A few days later, Delphyne received the devastating news that she had breast cancer. Luckily, it was caught early. This experience drove her to encourage her friends and family to get screened. Her sister listened, got a mammogram and was also diagnosed with breast cancer. They underwent chemotherapy and radiation together and both defeated the disease. Today, Delphyne is a Komen Atlanta advocate among the metro Atlanta African-American community.

 

CommunityCommunity

Susan and Jim Hannan exemplify the metro Atlanta community spirit as Komen Atlanta supporters, volunteers and advocates. Susan lost her mother to breast cancer when she was 21. In her honor, and to build a better future for their three daughters, Susan and Jim are committed to working toward a world without breast cancer. As an influential business leader in Atlanta, Jim is heavily involved in grassroots and corporate fundraising. Susan is the immediate past president of the Komen Atlanta Board of Directors. Together, Susan and Jim hope to encourage the community to take action and fundraise for a cure.


Action

Action

President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta from 1992 until 2017,
Janice McKenzie-Krayton has always had a passionate, philanthropic drive. When she was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996, she underwent lumpectomy surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Eight years later, Janice was diagnosed again, and in 2013, she received her third breast cancer diagnosis. At this point, Janice decided it was time to become a megaphone to tell her story that cancer doesn't have to be a death sentence. She got involved with the Komen Atlanta Board of Directors and immediately found her calling in educating the African-American community. Recently retired, Janice has committed her time to Sisters of Promise, a group of Komen Atlanta volunteers dedicated to lowering breast cancer mortality for African-Americans in metro Atlanta. Janice and the Sisters are taking action every day to educate the community and provide affordable access to breast cancer services.

 

Thursday, 29 March 2018 15:24

2018 Partners in Health

John-F-Arnold--MD-MBA

 

 

 

 

 

MEDICAL IMAGING
John F. Arnold, MD, MBA
OutPatient Imaging (OPI)
John F. Arnold, MD, MBA, is a board-certified radiologist specializing in Nuclear Medicine. He earned his medical degree at the University of Tennessee School of Medicine and completed a residency in Diagnostic Radiology at the Methodist Hospital. He completed a fellowship in Nuclear Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Arnold is also an MQSA certified Mammographer. Read article here. OutPatientImaging.net

 

 

Alpesh-D-Patel-MDMEDICAL IMAGING
Alpesh D. Patel, M.D.
OutPatient Imaging (OPI)
Alpesh D. Patel, MD, received his medical degree from the Emory University School of Medicine in 1992, followed by a residency in diagnostic radiology at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. In 1998, he completed a fellowship in neuroradiology at the Emory University School of Medicine.

Dr. Patel practiced diagnostic radiology with basic interventional radiology in Radford, Virginia before joining Georgia West Imaging in 2001. Dr. Patel currently serves as a committee chairman at Tanner Medical Center. Read article here. outpatientimaging.net

 

Ho-N-Lin-MDMEDICAL IMAGING
Ho N. Lin., M.D.
OutPatient Imaging (OPI)
Ho N. Lin, M.D. received his medical degree from Medical College of Georgia in 1996, followed by a residency in diagnostic radiology at the Medical College of Georgia, which he completed in 2000. He serves as president of OPI. Read article here. outpatientimaging.net

 

Marly-N-Dows-Martinez-MDSPINE AND BACK CARE
Marly N. Dows-Martinez, MD
Resurgens Spine Center
Marly N. Dows-Martinez, MD, received her medical degree from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans. She completed her residency in Rehabilitation Medicine at Emory University in Atlanta, and she completed her Pain Medicine fellowship at Georgia Regents University in Augusta. Dr. Dows-Martinez is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Read article here. Resurgens.com/Spine

 

 

Eugene-Hurwitz-MDALLERGY AND ASTHMA CARE
Eugene Hurwitz, MD
Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia
Dr. Eugene Hurwitz is a well-established board-certified allergist and the founder and medical director of the Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia. Dr. Hurwitz has practiced in metro Atlanta for over two decades and is on the staff of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Wellstar, Piedmont and Tanner Hospital. Dr. Hurwitz sees both children and adults with a variety of allergy, asthma, sinus and immunologic problems. Prior to entering private practice, Dr. Hurwitz was a nationally known researcher at the Centers for Disease Control where he conducted research in the area of viral diseases and asthma. Read article here. CAAGeorgia.com

 

Scott-D-Miller-MDMen's Health
Scott D. Miller, MD
WellStar North Fulton Hospital
Men's health advocate
Dr. Scott Miller is an innovative surgeon with one of the largest and most diverse experiences in laparoscopic and robotic urology in the Southeast. As one of Georgia's best surgeons, Dr. Scott Miller is guided by one consistent philosophy: focus solely on patients' special needs and perfect the techniques necessary to deliver the best possible care. He believes that when patients have a better understanding of the conditions they are facing and how to improve their overall health, they have a chance to improve their quality of life. Read article here. ScottDMillerMD.com

 

David-Martin-RNVEIN HEALTH
David Martin, RN
VeinInnovations
David Martin, RN, is the president and CEO of VeinInnovations, which he founded in 2002. As Atlanta's first dedicated vein care practice, it offers every available minimally invasive technique to treat venous insufficiency and varicose and spider veins. With four locations and five physicians, VeinInnovations is a preferred provider for every major insurance company and is the place to "get your legs done" with little or no downtime. Read article here. VeinInnovations.com
Sandy Springs ~ Midtown ~ Johns Creek Southside

 

Karen-Foley-FITNESS
Karen Foley
Windy Hill Athletic Club
As the general manager of Windy Hill Athletic Club, Karen Foley considers it her mission to help members achieve their fitness goals, no matter how big or small. A fitness enthusiast herself, Karen loves to bike, cross-train and play tennis. She encourages members to focus less on sticking to a tedious exercise routine and more on working out in a fun environment however they like to move. With world-class indoor and outdoor tennis courts, swimming pools that rival those of Five-Star hotels, state-of-the-art fitness equipment, and social events for the whole family, Windy Hill offers members a place to practice a healthy lifestyle and the coaching team to help them do so. The club's promise is "to inspire you through movement, community, and personal attention," which Karen lives by every day. Read article here. WindyHillClub.com

 

Grattan-Woodson-MD-and-April-Secen-LMAWOMEN'S HAIR LOSS
Grattan Woodson, MD, and April Secen, LMA
HairRegen
Grattan Woodson, MD, a native Atlantan, focuses his professional efforts on assisting women navigate the rigors of menopause. He has assembled a dedicated team of specialists to assist women regrow lost hair; restore and conserve sun-damaged skin; and reduce excess body fat while restoring lost muscle, joint cartilage, and bone mass. April Secen, LMA is his senior aesthetician responsible for hair and skin restoration and conservation. Secen utilizes advanced imaging technologies to diagnose and monitor diseases affecting hair and skin and uses efficacious topical therapies and microneedling to treat these disorders. Read article here. HairRegen.net

 

Nirav-R-Patel-MDGASTROENTEROLOGY
Nirav R. Patel, MD
Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates
Nirav R. Patel, MD, is a board-certified pediatric gastroenterologist with Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates. Dr. Patel sees patients in Alpharetta, Marietta, and Sandy Springs. He evaluates and treats all types of digestive and liver diseases and has a special interest in inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, chronic constipation, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and eosinophilic esophagitis. A University of Georgia graduate, Dr. Patel completed his medical degree at St. George's University School of Medicine in Grenada, West Indies, and fellowship in pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill-Cornell Medical Center in New York. He is also fluent in Gujarati. Read article here. AtlantaGastro.com

 

Patricia-Sanchez-MDGASTROENTEROLOGY
Patricia Sánchez, M.D.
Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates
Patricia Sánchez, M.D., is a board certified gastroenterologist with Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates and sees patients at the Johns Creek location. She evaluates and treats all types of digestive health and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a disorder that involves chronic inflammation in the digestive tract and includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. A native of the Dominican Republic, Dr. Sánchez completed her medical degree at the INTEC School of Medicine in Santo Domingo, residency at the Cleveland Clinic in Florida, and a fellowship in gastroenterology at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. She speaks Spanish, French, and Italian. Read article here. atlantagastro.com

 

Jill-Golsen-DMDDENTAL HEALTH
Jill Golsen, DMD
Golsen Family Dentistry
A native of Florida, Dr. Golsen attended the University of Georgia, and received a Bachelor of Science as well as a DMD from the Medical College School of Dentistry in 1993. Dr. Golsen was a clinical instructor at Perimeter College School of Dental Hygiene and past president of the Georgia Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. She is also an international trainer for Kreativ air abrasion technology, where she trains dentists from all over the world on the technology. Dr. Golsen has been practicing for 24 years in Alpharetta. Dr. Golsen has two sons. One is a first-year Vet Med student at the University of Georgia and the other is a senior in high school. She is also a seven-year breast cancer survivor! Read article here. GolsenDental.com

 

Tuesday, 27 March 2018 19:52

2018 Spring/Summer Good-For-You Getaways

 

Great Destinations in the Southeast to Rejuvenate, Relax and Have Fun!

 

By Jennifer Colosimo

 

Life's busy calendar keeps us occupied, so it's no surprise the vacation bug hits more than once a year. A little time away from everyday life does wonders for the soul. It refreshes you, relaxes you, and helps you refocus on what's important—your health, family and friends.
The Southeast offers plenty of ways to escape within a half-day's drive from Atlanta. Whether unwinding for the weekend or seeking a week of adventure, here's your road map for where to go and what to do when you get there.

 

P1Live The Lake Life

Perhaps most well visited by Atlantans is the massive Lake Lanier with lake life classics like high-end residences, rentable water sports and wide channels for larger-than-life boats.

Find a bevy of marinas and boat rentals with plenty of parking at Lake Allatoona. Its 12,000 acres of lake offers lots of water fun. For more entertainment, enjoy 14 parks for day trips and camping, family-friendly cabin rentals and restaurants to refuel for more fun in the sun.

Sharing borders with South Carolina, Lake Hartwell has plenty of swimming, fishing and recreation, rivaling perhaps Georgia's best-kept lake secret all the way at the other end of the map. Built in 1925, Lake Blackshear sparkles near the Florida line as a water sport lover's paradise and a freshwater fishing destination.

Just outside of Athens, Georgia and located in historic Greene County, visitors of Lake Oconee can choose to stay in adorable accommodations in town to explore the history still preserved, or book a suite at an upscale resort. The region offers cozy campgrounds, access to plenty of on-the-water activities, a renowned food and wine festival, outdoor concerts and more.

P2Whether jumping off the roof of a boathouse on private, pristine Lake Burton, water skiing between North Carolina and Georgia on blue-green Lake Chatuge, or taking a dip in Lake Rabun, these northern lakes offer postcard-worthy snapshots, and plenty of fun things to do.

Perhaps most picturesque is the crystal clear aquamarine waters of Lake Blue Ridge. This family-friendly area offers access to picnic and campsite accommodations, plus a home base for bike rides, easy shoreline hikes, fishing, kayaking, paddleboards and more. Spend a day hiking, antiquing, visiting wineries and popping into unique eateries.

 

Take (Us) to The River

The 93-mile Toccoa/Ocoee River runs from Tennessee into North Georgia and boasts roadside rafting headquarters every few miles for experienced (or more adventurous) rafters. The river also provides plenty of can't-miss stops like the swinging bridge along The Benton MacKaye Trail.

P3The rapids of the 25-mile-long Chattooga River begin near the tristate area where Georgia meets both North and South Carolina, and is considered to be one of the best whitewater runs in the world. Another worldly nod is the Niagara of the South, or as locals know it, Tallulah Falls.

North Carolina's Nantahala River offers rafters of all ages and experience levels 8 miles of sparkling water and varying rapids to tackle, as well as exhilarating Jeep tours, hiking, mountain biking and more.

On the mainstream Chattahoochee River, find canoes, kayaks, paddleboards and fly fishing.
In fact, there are several fly fishing schools that offer courses–quite literally–on the fly. Rent cabins on the river or pitch tents in one of the campgrounds along the banks to experience nature as intimately as your party wants.

 

Toes in the Sand

Head to Georgia and Alabama's southern beaches, Florida's panhandle and northeast coastline or the South Carolina coast.

Alabama's beaches offer small-town charm with entertainment. From Orange Beach and Gulf Shores to Perdido Key, soak up the arts scene, history, adventure parks and white sand beaches. Try stand-up paddleboarding or windsurfing. End your day at the famous Flora-Bama Lounge for beachside cocktails, live music and fun.

P4Along Florida's 30A, you'll find some of the most sought-after residences for blue-green water and white sand beaches. Spots like Destin and Sandestin, Panama City Beach and Grayton Beach, Rosemary Beach and Alys Beach, Seagrove and Seaside are packed with all kinds of family-friendly adventure. Spend your days parasailing, jet skiing and shell collecting on the beach or shopping, golfing and seafood sampling in town, and at night, pack the itinerary with
Putt-Putt, amusement park thrill rides and dinner by sunset along the water.

Go east for Florida's Forgotten Coast. From retro beaches like Carabelle and St. George Island to remote stays on Alligator Point, St. Theresa and more, there's an address to book a stay on what may seem like your own private beach.

P5Nearby Apalachicola—aka the land of friendly people—is world-famous for fresh oysters served any way you can dream up, plus the charm of local shops, galleries and rich maritime history make the ambience as good as the freshly shucked delicacies.

SBAcross the state, South Georgia meets Florida's northeast coastline to offer classic beach destinations with fun, quirky towns like St. Simons and Jekyll Island in Georgia or Fernandina and St. Augustine below the state line. St. Augustine is ripe with history and small town Fernandina serves to-die-for seafood. In St. Simons, rent bikes for hours of exploring before dinner by the pier.

On South Carolina's coastline, play a round of golf on the gorgeous Kiawah Island or take an easy walk across the beach on quiet, wildlife-rich Fripp Island. Opt for adventure and take a banana boat ride or go parasailing at Myrtle Beach. Or take a sunset dolphin river cruise around Hilton Head Island.

 

Escape to The Mountains

From countless waterfalls to day hikes on the Appalachian Trail, the mountains provide bucket-list-worthy stops to schedule any vacation around.

In this region, bed and breakfasts abound, as do quiet, secluded cabins, family campsites, a handful of luxury resorts and even a casino. You can choose super, small-town vibes in cities like Blairsville, Helen, which has Tray Mountain, and Hiawassee in Georgia, North Carolina's Hayesville, Franklin and more.

Larger map dots, like Blue Ridge boast a bevy of breweries, walkable shops and eateries, plus a drive-in theater and access to plenty of river activities or day hikes. Chattanooga is a classic destination with traditional stops like Lookout Mountain, the Choo Choo, the
Tennessee Aquarium, Rock City and more.

Or visit the tiny Tennessee town of Roan Mountain and walk through its beautiful hardwood forest. In Asheville, fill your itinerary with art museums, eclectic eats, chocolate shops and countless brewery tours before or after your day spent at nearby Biltmore Estate.

 

Tuesday, 27 March 2018 19:09

My Best Self: Jennifer Webb

 

 

"Today I will put myself first. At the tippy-top of the list—the kids can get themselves up for school, I will leave the dishwasher unemptied, and the clothes unfolded," says Jennifer Webb, in an excerpt of her book, "Mom's Soul Café." When Webb penned the book in 2016, the realities of motherhood were often much more complicated than the images she saw in the social media postings of her friends. From a messy minivan to surviving summer break, the hilarious and chaotic experiences of the 47-year-old mom left her with the realization that to avoid mommy-burn out, she had to find inner peace.

P1In her book, Webb, who is also a meditation leader at the Atlanta Center for Wellness, shares how the practice of mindfulness has enabled her to be a better mother to her children and a more Zen individual.

 

By Rachel Miller

 

What motivated your journey into meditation and mindfulness?

I've always been a very spiritual person, but meditation started after I had my children, Nathan, 12, and Jessie, 10. Honestly, I wasn't taking motherhood very well. I knew I needed to approach things differently. By nature, I'm not a calm person. I'm actually very hyper and excited about life, which is great! I've never wanted to change who I am; I just wanted to become a more centered and mindful individual. I felt it would make me a more patient mother to my children.

What tips do you have for someone who wants to begin to practice mindfulness but doesn't know where to start?

I would recommend going to a guided meditation, if possible. Or listening to a recorded meditation. Find a recording that resonates with you. People say they can't sit for an hour and that is understandable. Do it for 10 minutes or even three minutes. People say they can't quit thinking, but no one said you are not supposed to think. In meditation, you think, but you come back to the breath. Mindfulness is not mystical. You don't feel totally different. You just become more aware of yourself.

In what ways can "Mom's Soul Café" inspire a stay-at-home mom or a working mom?

I've always felt like the working mom is trying to carve out time for her family. However, the stay-at-home mom is always trying to carve out time for herself. There is guilt on both ends, so you really cannot win. It truly is a personal journey because everyone needs spirituality and everyone needs a center. Everyone needs a place they can go for themselves. Sometimes, that can be a spa, but sometimes, it just has to be where you are, right in that moment.

You write about the importance of being present with your children. What is the biggest distraction you work to avoid and how?

Anxiety. Sometimes when I am with my kids for a long time, it seems like it's never enough. They want to play games over and over again. For me, it can be overwhelming and tiring. I think every mother can relate to the fact that there comes a point, when you're ready for "me" time. The reality is that children aren't always ready for that, so that's when I start to feel my anxiety. I've found that by surrendering to the moment, taking a deep breath and staying present when I may not want to be there, I'm able to be more mindful, which lowers my anxiety.

Who helps you be your "Best Self?"

Besides my children, this might sound strange, but it's authors. I love reading books on philosophy because I am living the lessons of these wise teachers. Two of my favorites are Thich Nhat Hanh's book, "You are Here" and "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz.

 

To find out more about Jennifer and her journey, go to JenniferKWebb.com.

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