Thursday, 26 December 2013 19:47

How to Choose An Advisor

I often hear from potential clients – "When should I hire an advisor?" I will leave that topic for another article. Once I know I need an advisor, how do I choose an advisor? This is a large part of your financial plan. Here are some tips on helping you choose an advisor.

Advisors come in many forms – fee-only, fee-based, and commission. The first step is to discover which type of advisor you wish to retain. The second step is to ask people you trust if they have a referral. If you are not comfortable with this, you can go on LinkedIn and search and see how many people you know are LinkedIn with a certain advisor. You can also look at the advisor's biography on his or her website. The second step is to check This website offers a way for you, the client, to review if the advisor has any disciplinary actions against him or her. Next you should call the advisor and speak to him or her briefly on the phone and get to know them. Finally, meet with the advisor. I recommend meeting at their office so you can get to know the advisor better, and for the advisor to get to know you better. Preferably this is a complimentary meeting. Make sure you ask how the advisor is compensated.

At this point you should ask yourself: 1) Do I trust this advisor?;

2) If something happened to me and/or my spouse would I want this person on our team?;

3) Do they seem knowledgeable?; and

4) Do I feel comfortable with them?

If you are looking for an advisor take your time and find the right fit for you and your family.


Securities offered through Triad Advisors, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC.


Laura K. Schilling, JD, CPA, CFP(r), CSA

Financial Innovations, LLC |
5555 Glenridge Connector, Suite 200 | Atlanta, Georgia 30342
(404) 459-2828 | (404) 459-2829 fax | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Laura Schilling isn’t your typical Financial Planner. She is also a world traveler who has been to Asia, Africa, Europe, and Israel.  Laura is an active member in the community, a mother of two, and a champion for each of the working mothers she employs.  As principal and founder of Financial Innovations, LLC, she staffs her firm with stay-at-home moms who work from where they can meet the needs of their clients around the globe.


HUHDoes a Doctor Need a Board Certificate in Surgery to perform Hair Restoration Surgery?

Absolutely not. Did you know that in order to be a "hair restoration surgeon" in Georgia, one requires only a medical license? There are no formal surgical training certificates, nor a Board Certificate in any medical or surgical specialty required whatsoever. For example, a psychiatrist is permitted to add hair restoration surgery to his or her practice, buy some surgical instruments, and have a technician perform hair restoration surgery procedures in their office. Hair restoration technicians have literally zero professional training requirements. They are very often hired to perform the actual hair restoration surgery, while the doctor needs only to be on the premises. It happens every day.

Is it Important to Check Your Doctor's Credentials?

Absolutely. You should feel perfectly comfortable asking your doctor if he or she has earned a recognized Board Certificate in a surgical discipline. The surgical training background and experience among hair restoration surgeons in the United States varies dramatically. Dr. Ken Anderson, MD, is the founder of the Anderson Hair Sciences and Research Center, a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to providing exceptional hair restoration surgery results to both men and women, with an emphasis on artistic concepts, patient comfort, and natural, permanent results. He relies on his seven years of surgical subspecialty training in Otolaryngology (Ear, Nose, and Throat surgery), as well as in Facial Plastic Surgery, in addition to years of formal training in the fine arts to bring his patients outstanding hair restoration surgery results. He is a Diplomate of both the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, as well as the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, and performed over 2,500 surgical procedures on the face and head before he performed his first hair restoration procedure. He has limited his practice exclusively to hair restoration surgery for over 10 years. Call for a complimentary consultation with Dr. Anderson to discuss options for treatment of your hair loss.


The Anderson Hair Sciences & Research Center
The Medical Quarters
5555 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd., Ste. 135 | Atlanta, GA 30342
(404) 256-4247  |

Dr. Anderson is a double-board certified Facial Plastic Surgeon who has confined his practice solely to hair restoration for over a decade. After 7 years of surgery training in facial plastic surgery, in 2003 he entered the field of hair restoration in Beverly Hills, California. Dr. Anderson is the first and only hair restoration surgeon in Georgia to offer the very latest in cutting edge surgical robotic device, the ARTAS Robotic Hair Restoration Surgery System.

Save early and automatically – and keep an eye on the clock

Saving for retirement requires as much discipline as watching your diet or exercising regularly. But if you learn to delay immediate rewards – whether they're bagels or baubles – you'll be in better shape for a retirement that's both physically healthy and financially sound.

First step, make it easy for yourself by contributing to an employer plan that automatically withdraws from your paycheck each week or establish a monthly direct deposit into an IRA to build your savings without extra effort. Also, consider the amount and source of any additional savings;

  • Using a raise to increase your retirement savings
  • Earmarking bonuses for one-time savings deposits
  • Setting aside part of your tax refund in an IRA

Second, choose the right kind of savings vehicle. Popular options include:

  • 401(k) s and other employer-match programs, which are usually the first choice, for those who employer offers such plans
  • Retirement accounts for the self-employed and traditional IRAs, which may give you a deduction that lowers this year's tax bill
  • Contributions to a Roth IRA, which don't lower taxes now but do allow for tax-free, qualified distributions

In case of a change in employers, determine how to handle existing retirement savings. Options include:

  • Leaving retirement money in the former employer's plan depending upon specific plan rules
  • Moving the funds into the new employer's plan if that's an option
  • Transferring the money into an IRA
  • Taking a cash distribution

Keep in mind that funds withdrawn or otherwise not rolled over within 60 days into a qualified plan or IRA are subject to tax and penalties and can really eat into the balance of an account that took hard work and delayed gratification to build.


For more information about tax planning and retirement, contact our article contributors Gary Newell, Scott Martin, Mary Zoellner or any H&R Block tax professional at one of our offices below.

Satellite Blvd | 770-921-2200 | 3360 Satellite Blv, Ste 13, Duluth, GA 30060

Dunwoody | 770-396-9218 | 4768 Ashford Dunwoody Rl, Ste 200, GA 30338

Merchants Walk | 770-509-1820 | 4235 Merchant’s Walk Drive, Ste 150, Marietta, GA 30068

Buckhead | 404-237-2355 | 2900 Peachtree Rd NW, Ste 204, Atlanta, GA 30305

Northpoint | 678-277-9465 | 7855 Northpoing Parkway, Ste 302, Alpharetta, GA 30022

Thursday, 26 December 2013 18:45

Managing ADHD in Teens

How do the hormonal changes of adolescence affect ADHD in teenagers?

ADHD symptoms include distractibility, poor concentration, hyperactivity and irritability. During teenage years, as hormonal changes emerge, ADHD symptoms may worsen. To compound this, if a teenager is mercury toxic, chances are their endocrine system (which regulates hormones) is disrupted, which can cause or contribute to further neurological and behavioral disorders.

ADHD-in-teensWhat are the health benefits to teens who manage ADHD without medication?

The advantage of managing ADHD naturally means that any nutritional deficiencies such as decreased essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals are balanced through proper nutrition. Also, food sensitivity and toxic metal testing will reveal any allergies/sensitivities and toxicity, which through elimination, will increase immune system function and achieve better health.

What are some common side effects in teenagers who manage their ADHD symptoms with stimulant medications?

Research has confirmed that stimulants like Ritalin, Adderall and Concerta along with being highly addictive, can sometimes lead to feelings of hostility and paranoia. These stimulants affect the central nervous system, causing increased blood pressure and heart rate, and appetite suppression. It can even produce painful headaches, insomnia and depression.

What are the health ramifications for teens with ADHD that goes untreated?

Teenagers who go untreated (with no natural intervention) not only suffer from substandard health due to nutritional deficiencies and toxicity, but also find that impulsivity and poor judgment are compounded as they get older. Statistics show an increase for alcohol and drug abuse and school expulsion.


Natural Health Atlanta

Locations in Alpharetta, Dunwoody, Lawrenceville & Marietta

Phone: 678-892-6865

Most Insurance Plans Accepted

Marcia Williams, ND specializes in treating ADHD, gastrointestinal disorders, heavy metal detoxification, allergies and cardiovascular disease.

Losing weight and being healthy was more than just a personal goal for Sandi Porter. "After I lost weight 12 years ago, I knew I wanted to help others," she says. So Porter decided to parlay her love of everything fitness and health-related into a career as a trainer, though soon it wasn't enough. "I realized I didn't want to just be a trainer. I wanted to change lives, so I began my own company, Start With The Inside." Beyond her expertise as a trainer, Porter rounded out her education by going back to school and studying sports nutrition and physical therapy. "These certifications gave me the tools to work with my clients and their needs." In addition to Start With The Inside, Porter also started Gwinnett's Losing It! program, a 12-week weight loss program in a team format. "I don't want someone to lose pounds and then gain it back," she explains. "I want to get to the nitty gritty of what the real issue is and how that affects your ability to lose weight and live healthy."


What was the inspiration behind starting Start With The Inside?

My inspiration started with my coach from 12 years ago, David Greenwalt of Leanness Lifestyle. He taught me so much about healthy living and how to make these changes a part of my lifestyle, not just for 12 weeks. I added the emotional aspect of this program because of the emotional struggles that I see my clients go through in trying to lose weight and live healthy.


How did you start Gwinnett's Losing It! program?

The first season of Gwinnett's Losing It! began in January 2011. I had been teaching corporate workshops and working with clients on an individual basis and wanted to find a way to reach more people and also provide accountability for those people. Participants meet with me once every four weeks for a progress report, meet as a team every four weeks and participate in a weekly conference call and weigh-in. During the 12 weeks, the team has lessons on nutrition, weight training and cardio, emotional obstacles, and dealing with trigger foods, family and work situations.


What has been the best part about starting these two weight loss programs?

The best part is seeing peoples' lives change, the amazing changes in their health, getting off medications, losing inches and becoming more confident. Our worst setback was the economy, when people could not afford the program but needed to do it. Our fee is $249 for 12 weeks, and that was an investment for people. When I wanted to give up, I didn't because people would ask me to continue.


Who inspired you professionally?

I love older fitness pros who did so much for this industry – Charles Atlas and Jack LaLanne. I met Robert Kennedy and Tosca Reno, and they were a huge inspiration to me.


What was your first job in the fitness arena?

Believe it or not, I taught aerobics in the 80s. [I wore] a headband, spandex and all. I taught part time at local YMCA while I went to college. I loved those classes!


Best advice for weight loss?

Go to a professional. Start with small changes. Educate yourself and learn how to make permanent changes, not temporary fixes. Learn to listen to your inside voice.


Best way to balance home life and work?

Planning is key. I take my rest days seriously. I plan workouts and meals so that eliminates stress. My family is key. I make time for them, and my schedule revolves around them. I invest in monthly massages and weekly Epsom salt baths to take care of my body.


Who are the people who help you be your best self?

My husband of 22 years, my kids who inspire me every day, my clients who motivate me to never give up and my wonderful massage therapist!

We reached out to 10 of the city's top fitness and health bloggers to find out what's hot for the new year. Each of them weighed in on the current trends they use to stay healthy and active. These women are not only bloggers, but also distance runners, mothers, vegans, dietitians and yoga instructors. Thousands of readers and fans follow these bloggers' daily advice about new activities to try and ways to stay healthy around the city, and now you can too.


MadisonMadison James
Fitness advocate

"When I was approached by the AJC with the opportunity to share my lifestyle message, I jumped at the chance. As a NPC National Figure Competitor and former Division I Collegiate athlete, I wanted to take my workout to the next level and get ahead of the curve early. I want to challenge people, no matter what their level is. The main focus is to set a goal and keep working till you finish. I hope to share my daily life as a message of a lifestyle, not a diet. If I reach one person, then it is all worth it."

The Blog:
Atlanta's Mad About Fitness –

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – As a former athlete, I find this is an effective way to train in a small amount of time and burn lots of calories. This involves short bursts of activity (like running or doing squats), followed by a short period of rest or recovery.  A great workout in 30 minutes! HIIT can be done anywhere, that's the cool thing about it. My favorite place is Piedmont Park. The beautiful view of the city is a great distraction when I get tired doing hill sprints.

Functional fitness – Great workout that uses real-life activities like climbing stairs to build strength, balance and flexibility.  I call it thinking out of the box. And it's great for older adults getting into fitness, too. For functional fitness I see the gym as my playground! You will catch me at L.A. Fitness in Buckhead.


AshleyAshley Evans
Registered dietitian

"I was inspired to start my blog as a way to keep in touch with my friends and family and to talk about exercise and nutrition. Little did I know that I would find my true passion. After the wonderful feedback and furthered interest, I decided to return to school to become a registered dietitian so I could not only write about what interested me but also so I could practice in the field as a credible source. On my site, I hope to deliver information that will help keep my readers healthy physically, mentally and spiritually."

The Blog:
The Gypsy Dietitian –

Tabata Bootcamp – This high-intensity interval training only takes four minutes to complete (20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest, repeated for a total of eight sets) and provides more cardiovascular benefits than jogging for one hour.

Yoga – Yoga offers various forms of mind and body connection, and it releases stress while increasing flexibility, posture, mental focus and mood.

AMRAP (As Many Reps/Rounds As Possible) – As many reps of a particular exercise (or rounds of many exercises) are completed until muscle failure. I tend to lift weights more these days and am a member at Anytime Fitness so that I can squeeze in a workout no matter what town I might be in.


AlexaAlexa Lampasona
Competitive distance runner

"I started blogging about food and fitness in college when I learned to cook for myself and raced in our triathlon club. I am a competitive distance runner and love to share my running adventures, healthy eating recipes and tips for an active lifestyle."

The Blog:
Life with Lampasona –

Group runs – These are a great way to build accountability and meet active friends. I never notice how far we've run until I look at my watch and see it's been five miles! My favorites are Highland Runners off Highland Avenue and Phidippides in Ansley Mall.

A plus is their monthly raffles – one time I won a free pair of shoes.

Hot yoga – I am one of those people who needs to break a sweat to feel like I've gotten a workout, and hot yoga does the trick! I go to Red Hot Yoga Studios on Miami Circle. The high temperatures really stretch out your muscles, and after the amount you sweat, you feel cleansed.

Home workout videos – My roommate and I do P90X and Insanity. After doing the same video so much, I mute the sound and watch television while doing the workout so it feels like I'm changing up my routine.


HaleyHaley Chura
Professional triathlete

"My triathlon coach, Matthew Rose, inspired me to start blogging as a way to chronicle my triathlon adventures. Hopefully my stories inspire people to try the sport or maybe just provide an occasional laugh!"

The Blog:
Haley Chura –

Dynamo Masters Swimming – My top fitness trend pick is definitely Dynamo Masters Swimming. The zero-impact, total body workout is great for all ages and abilities. And the camaraderie is hard to beat! (For details see


LatrinaLatrina M. Patrick
Certified holistic health coach

"My blog promotes the benefits of following a plant-based diet. In particular, how plant food Reduces the Onset of Cancer and Kills Sickness (ROCKS). I started the blog because I'm a vegan and wholeheartedly believe in the Hippocrates statement, 'Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.' By reading my blog, people will learn how to achieve a lifestyle of optimal health from a holistic approach. I focus on the mind, body and spirit. Most importantly, I emphasize how to make living a healthy life practical."

The Blog:
Plant Food Rocks –

Tabata Bootcamp –
This high-intensity interval training boot camp focuses on quality, not quantity. In as little as six minutes a day, you can burn five times more calories after your workout.


KristinKristin Gilbert
Fitness instructor at exhale spa

"My best friend, Scottie (a.k.a. Kim), and I (a.k.a. Bella) decided to write our blog together to help raise awareness about cleaner ways of living to help prevent disease, illness, behavioral problems and overall maintain good health. We post reviews of nontoxic products, give easy, healthy recipes as well as fit tips and have guest bloggers and occasional events.  We love helping others find ways around all the junk out there that's harmful to our health."

The Blog:
Pure Health Girls –

Core Fusion – I love barre classes, specifically Core Fusion! It builds long, lean muscles and core strength. You can repair and prevent injuries with this type of strengthening. It combines ballet, Pilates and yoga to build a supple, youthful body for years to come.


DonnaDonna Burke
Fitness advocate

"I studied exercise science, concentrating in athletic training and learned a lot about sports injuries and how the body works. I'm a science nerd with a fashion side, hence the name Yoga In Heels. My blog is a fitness fashion blog that helps you dress your body type so you look good, feel good and use the extra confidence to work harder toward your goals."

The Blog:
Yoga in Heels –

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – Short bursts of high intensity burn more calories and build more muscle. I love this because I can cover the same distance as a three-mile run, but in five to 10 minutes less time.

Barre – Low-impact, but intense with small muscle movements. It changes your body entirely! Svelte in Brookhaven will be the go-to studio in the new year.

15K races – Longer than your average race, but completely doable for anyone who isn't an avid runner. I see this distance getting very popular, especially with the Hot Chocolate Race this month.


Tiffany-WhitneyWhitney Carlson Online coach and personal trainer

Tiffany Staples ACE-certified personal trainer and aerobics instructor

"We were inspired to begin blogging about eating clean after changing our lifestyles. It's easy to say you are going to do something but hard to stick with it. We wanted to inspire anyone looking to make a change in their life to do so with the help of their partner and to, of course, consider eating clean. We post recipes, educational articles, workouts and tips for making living the clean eating lifestyle accessible to all those who want it!"

The Blog:
He & She Eat Clean –

Surf Set Fitness – Get that beach body even if you don't live at the beach! It's an amazing functional core strength and full body workout you can do at home that continues to challenge you and you don't get tired of.

The Weighted Hula Hoop – This is a throwback to your childhood. The weighted hula hoop whittles your waist but also can challenge your arms and legs depending on the exercises you do with it.


DaliaDalia Kinsey
ACE-certified health coach and nutritionist

"When I completed my studies in nutrition and started my coaching service, I noticed that an overwhelming number of people believe that eating healthy is out of their reach because of time constraints. My focus is helping busy people find a way to make balanced nutrition an effortless part of their lives. My blog is a great resource for anyone who has found that success in other areas of life has started to crowd out wellness practices like eating balanced, plant-focused meals and exercising."

The Blog:
Eating Beautiful –

Mind-body weight management – Traditional diets tend to fail a large segment of the population. Practices that encourage tuning in to the body are more likely to bring long-term success.

Plant-focused nutrition – Eating large amounts of minimally processed high fiber foods takes the complexity out of trimming down.

Meditation and yoga – These classes help to increase your awareness of your own body, making it easier to read hunger signals and feed your body appropriately. I practice Vipassana meditation and also attended a 10-day silent retreat in Jesup, GA to study the method. I also use Kundalini Yoga DVDs at home, and Kashi Atlanta is my favorite Atlanta resource for both yoga and meditation workshops.



Jessica-DaulerJessica Dauler (
Saving is always in style

Fitness Pick of the Month

I was recently invited to try Orangetheory Fitness when they launched in Atlanta, and even better for me, in Sandy Springs. My friends in New York and Los Angeles love this place, and even though the classes sounded tough and competitive, I was up for the challenge to reach the "Orange Zone." The class structure is a one-of-a-kind, group personal training workout broken into intervals of cardiovascular and strength training, burning up to 500 to1,000 calories in a 60-minute session. What makes this workout different and highly motivating is each person wears a heart monitor so he/she can follow their heart rates on TV screens throughout the session, with the target goal of reaching the "Orange Zone," resulting in the Orange Effect — a.k.a. maximum fat burning for up to 36 hours post-workout! Grab your free first class pass on their website,

Jessica Dauler
For more info visit
For more info on Jessica visit

Thursday, 26 December 2013 15:49

Know the Facts about Bariatric Surgery

Most of us know that a healthy diet and regular exercise can decrease our risk of developing obesity-related conditions like heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes, but for a select group of people, bariatric surgery is the only way they feel they can combat their extreme obesity. And while some may view these procedures as "the easy way out," most clinicians agree that bariatric surgery is anything but simple. It is major abdominal surgery, and its success depends on a complete lifestyle change and a commitment for life.

Your Surgical Options - Learn the Differences

"Bariatric surgery is a blanket statement for many different operations," explains Dr. Kevin McGill, a bariatric surgeon with Buckhead Bariatrics. "Now there are several operations that we do – some make the stomach smaller, and some change the way your body absorbs food."

Gastric-BypassThe most common bariatric procedure is gastric bypass because it generally poses fewer complications than other weight loss surgeries. This involves the creation of a small stomach pouch through a process called "stomach stapling." The new, smaller stomach pouch is then disconnected from the first part of the small intestine and reconnected to a lower part of the intestine. As a result, food passes directly from the stomach to the lower part of the intestine, bypassing the small intestine, so fewer calories are absorbed.

Other common types of weight loss surgery include adjustable gastric banding, or "Lap-Banding." For this procedure, the surgeon places a silicone ring around the upper stomach, and the ring's tightness can be adjusted by injecting saline to fill up the band or removing saline to loosen it. Another procedure, called sleeve gastrectomy, reduces the stomach to about 25 percent of its original size, leaving a "sleeve," or tube-shaped stomach.

Other-BariatricAs with any procedure, it's important to discuss with your surgeon which option is right for you. "For Type 2 diabetics, gastric bypass is generally the best option because you get significant control of diabetes," says Dr. Scott Steinberg, bariatric medical director at DeKalb Medical Center. "The second choice is usually sleeve gastrectomy. The Lap-Band was popular for a while, but it's fallen out of favor because of long-term side effects like reflux, and it drives maladaptive eating behavior – patients tend to favor starches, sweets and soft foods that go down easily. We see much better long-term results with gastric bypass and sleeve."

The average cost for a gastric bypass procedure can range from $18,000 to $35,000, while the average cost for adjustable gastric banding ranges from $17,000 to $30,000. Health insurance providers including Medicare and, in some states, Medicaid, are beginning to cover some or all of the costs of surgery if medical necessity is established by your doctor and if you meet the National Institutes of Health requirements.

Who Does Bariatric Surgery Benefit?

"Bariatric surgery benefits a very select group of people," Dr. McGill says. "We're taking care of people who are at least 100 pounds overweight. All of my patients are professional dieters. The problem is they gain it back, and the likelihood that they keep off more than 10 percent of their weight is miniscule."

According to Dr. Michael Williams, president of the Laparoscopic & Endoscopic Surgery Institute in Alpharetta, there are very strict guidelines for bariatric surgery candidates, and patients go through a multidisciplinary assessment prior to any procedure. "People who have a body mass index of 35 with associated illness, or body mass index of 40 without any associated illness may be good candidates," he says. "People with severe medical problems which place them at a high risk of death from general anesthesia and individuals with severe cognitive limitations or psychiatric conditions that limit their ability to follow a post-operative program should not have the procedure."

What To Expect

"There is no way to sugarcoat this," Dr. McGill says. "This is major abdominal surgery." Dr. Steinberg says that patients are on a liquid diet for the first two weeks after the procedure, and then they move on to soft food. In addition to a challenging post-op period, like any surgical procedure, this one has associated risks. Nearly 10 percent of patients have complications such as wound infections and bleeding after surgery, though according to Dr. Steinberg, the most common side effects post-op are nausea, bloating and constipation.

Northside Hospital bariatric specialist and nurse Debbi Spamer points out, "Since most of the surgeries are done laparoscopically, the recovery period is short." For most people, any post-surgical pain is minimal. "Most patients are walking within a few hours of surgery." Patients may even be back to work in as little as one to six weeks, though she cautions, "It usually takes about three months before the patient learns to deal with a smaller stomach and what they can and cannot eat."

Regular check-ups are also required for every patient. "Each patient who commits to this operation is committing to a lifetime of follow-up with us," Dr. McGill says. "We see them every three months for the first two years, then annually for the rest of their lives."

The Best Possible Outcome

The best outcome with bariatric surgery begins with finding the right surgeon. "The hospital should be a Center of Excellence in bariatric surgery and have all the necessary equipment," Dr. Steinberg says. "We've been using the da Vinci Robot because it has enhanced control – in the right hands, it's a very effective tool." Dr. McGill also recommends finding a surgeon who has been fellowship trained and is a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

Barring any complications, most bariatric procedures today are done in two hours or less with just five small incisions, but the real work begins once the patient leaves the hospital. "Over 90 percent of patients keep the excess weight off," Dr. Steinberg says. "Ten to 15 percent will gain weight after surgery due to diet non-compliance. But for most patients, this is a highly effective treatment. Your body's normal function is to perceive hunger, but the surgery alters your hunger cycle, so it's much more effective."

The majority of a patient's weight loss typically occurs in the first 10 months post-surgery, and often their obesity-related health issues disappear too. "Many co-morbidities such as hypertension, diabetes and sleep apnea either go away or improve," Spamer says. "This is not about looking better – it is about improving one's health." Dr. McGill agrees. "What gets me excited is taking care of diabetic patients and seeing their diabetes go away," he says. "Physically they are transformed, but you watch their health problems go away too – they are living a very different, healthy life."

Editorial Resources
Kevin McGill, MD -

Buckhead Bariatrics,
Debbie Spamer, RN - Northside Hospital,
Scott Steinberg, MD - DeKalb Medical Center,
Michael Williams, MD - Laparoscopic & Endoscopic Surgery Institute,


Weigh Healthier
Atlantans do the work and drop the pounds


TinaTina Tait

Decatur resident Tina Tait, 43, considers herself a "fat-thlete." She's always been active, running in marathons and 5Ks, but has never managed to keep off the weight until now. Since she had bariatric surgery in January 2013, she's lost over 112 pounds. "I had a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, which is a relatively new procedure where 85 percent of my stomach was removed," she explains. "Unlike gastric bypass, the sleeve leaves the intestines intact. It was done laparoscopically, and I had five tiny incisions that were visible."

Tait's surgery was performed by Dr. Charlie Procter at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital, and she was fortunate to have no complications during her recovery. "I have only 13 pounds to my doctor's goal weight for me of 125 pounds, which puts me at a normal BMI," she says. "Because I have a much higher activity level than most, Dr. Procter thinks I might even get to my ideal body weight, which is 110. (I'm only 5 feet tall)."

To keep herself in check, Tait tracks everything she eats in My Fitness Pal. "I eat around 800 calories a day – sometimes as much as 1,000 – mostly protein and then vegetables or carbs if I have room," she says. "I drink most of my vegetables in a green smoothie, which is the easiest way for me to get them in. I weigh and measure everything, even though my stomach tells me when it's time to stop."

Today she says her life no longer revolves around food, and she's become the athlete she's wanted to be her whole life. "I'm no longer carrying an extra person with me, and it's opened up a whole new world," she says. "I train[ed] for the Atlanta Thanksgiving Day half marathon, and I even joined the Atlanta Track Club!"


SilvieSylvie Hamel

Sylvie Hamel was overweight from the time she was 13, but it was witnessing her mother's struggle with weight and subsequent loss of mobility that motivated her to make a change in her own life. "I knew I would be in that position in 15 years if I didn't act soon," she says. "I hadn't developed diabetes yet, but I was on cholesterol and high blood pressure medicine. I weighed 283 pounds before surgery."

After meeting Dr. Kevin McGill, Hamel knew she was in good hands with him and the staff at Piedmont Hospital for her gastric bypass surgery in May 2010. "My surgery was performed five weeks prior to my retirement from UPS," she says. "The first day of my retirement was the first day I could exercise, and after that I was in the pool every day for six weeks. I gave my metabolism and weight loss a boost, not only because I was losing fat, but because I was exercising at the same time. I lost 120 pounds over 12 months. I've since regained about 12, so I'm working with a nutritionist now to get back on track. But I'm nowhere near as morbidly obese as I was before."

Since her surgery, Hamel says her life has undergone a complete reinvention. "I take salsa lessons, I shop for clothes (and enjoy it!) and I date, which I didn't do for a long time," she says. "A lot of people see the surgery as the easy way out, but it's not. You've got to do the work. It's a tool, but it's not a miracle. With work and dedication, it's the only way I could have achieved this. It saved my life."


DianaDiana Oates

At 267 pounds, Diana Oates was a self-proclaimed food addict. "Food and the couch were my best friends," she says. "My body began to break down. My husband began to shake me throughout the night, saying I stopped breathing in my sleep." During a visit to her primary care physician, Oates was referred to a sleep study. "I stopped breathing many times," she says. "After returning to my primary care physician for the full results of the test, his words were very clear: You need to do something about your health."

In February of 2009, Oates elected to have adjustable gastric band surgery with Dr. Scott Steinberg at DeKalb Medical. "When I entered his office, I saw two life-size [before and after] posters on the wall," she says. "On that day, I set one of the biggest goals of my life. I said I wanted to be on his wall."

Since her surgery, Oates weighs in at 133 pounds. "I went from not exercising at all to now having a love for it," she says. "I now exercise six days a week, and I'm also a certified personal trainer. I love working with others and showing them the road of this journey. So many people have no idea what weight loss surgery can do. I am the face of weight loss surgery. I took back my life, and I can enjoy all that life has to give."


HaroldHarold L. Harris, Sr.

For the last eight years of his 21-year run in the Air Force, Harold Harris was on the weight management program. He was spending as many as four hours a day in the gym but could not lose the necessary weight. Then in 1993, he had the first of three heart attacks. "My doctor told me that my weight was a problem," he says. "I was put on weight loss medication with no success, so I started discussing surgery with my doctors."

The final straw came in 2012 when his car broke down and two of his grandsons were walking him home. "After only a few feet up the hill, I fell back down, hurting only my pride in the process," Harris says. "I knew then if I wanted to spend some quality time with my grandchildren, I would have to do something to improve my health."

Harris was 276 pounds when he was admitted to Atlanta Medical Center for gastric bypass surgery with Dr. Miguel del Mazo in June of 2012. "Today my weight is consistently between 170 and 178, dependent on my exercise program, which has started to level out at four times a week," he says. "Medically, the improvements are beyond my every expectation. My [Type 2] diabetes is now being controlled by diet and exercise and has been that way from the time I woke up in the hospital. My blood pressure medications have been cut twice since the surgery, as well as my cholesterol medication being cut in half. I no longer suffer from sleep apnea or acid reflux. My heart has shown vast improvement." Harris even jokes that at his last stress test, his physical stamina was so high that his doctor simply stopped the test, which shows just how far he has come.


GwinnettMedicalFeatured Resource:
Center for Weight Management at Gwinnett Medical Center - Duluth

With a 12,000-square-foot facility and a board-certified, Harvard-trained surgeon, the Center for Weight Management offers bariatric patients support before and after surgery. They are an American College of Surgeons Level 1 Accredited Bariatric Center committed to helping their patients achieve long-term success. See ad p. 42

A blitz is coming and it doesn't involve football players. Beginning in December, Juvéderm Voluma,™ the newest, FDA-approved filler, will be commercially available. It's certain to be "hot" news everywhere from hair salons and physicians' offices to the entertainment media. In order to be an educated consumer, what do you need to know about the newest addition to the Cosmetic Surgeon's toolbox?

volumaBA00What is it?
Juvéderm Voluma™ is the first and only filler approved in the U.S. to correct age-related volume loss in the cheek/mid-face area. As we age, the cheek area in particular loses volume which makes the skin flatten out resulting in drooping and sagging of the mid-face. It's not enough to "fill" the resulting deep lines. However, if the volume is replaced, a lifting effect occurs which smooths out the lines, lifts the skin, and provides a natural, refreshed appearance. The correction is instant, without surgery, and generally little to no downtime.

Juvéderm Voluma™ is a hyaluronic acid like the original Juvéderm. However, Voluma's proprietary manufacturing process produces a smooth gel that flows easily, with a thicker consistency that aids its lifting properties and the duration of its effects. Optimal correction can last as long as two years.

Who can use it?
As a national trainer for Allergan, the makers of Juvéderm Voluma,™ I was fortunate to be one of the first physicians in the U.S. to receive Voluma, before it became commercially available, and offer the benefits to my patients. This consideration was due to the fact that I am a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon who has many years of experience in both surgical and non-surgical aesthetic solutions. My advice to those looking for a Voluma injector would be to maximize the potential for a good outcome by seeking out a board-certified cosmetic surgeon certified by Allergan.


Brian Maloney, M.D., F.A.C.S.
The Maloney Center for Facial Plastic Surgery

(770) 804-0007

Dr. Maloney is an award-winning, double board-certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon. He is a National Trainer for Allergan. He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a Diplomat of the National Board of Medical Examiners. Dr. Maloney's artistry and specialized approach has resulted in regular features on, ABC News, Discovery Health, TLC, and CNN Headline News. He can be reached at 770.804.0007 or online at


Tuesday, 03 December 2013 18:01

Best of 2013 Facebook Contest Winners

Fitness & Weight Loss

Best Large Fitness Facility

Adrenaline Group Xercise

This facility offers a variety of classes and training options to keep your heart pumping, like Zumba, hot yoga, CrossFit and more.


001-dumbellsBest Small/Medium Workout Facility

North Point Fitness

Having been in business for 20 years, this facility has cultivated quite a following, offering their members services such as personal training, team training, nutrition, massage therapy and golf fitness.

Greatest trainers you will find anywhere! Can't imagine a more caring group of people who are there to help you achieve your goals, whatever those may be. – Debbie B.

Best New Gym

Rowbot Fitness

This unique indoor rowing gym uses the Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing machines that are designed to approximate the motion of rowing on the water. The technique uses every major muscle group to burn up calories.

Excellent workout, amusing and informative instruction! – Walter A.

Best Workout

Pure Barre

Classes at Pure Barre are total-body workouts that utilize a traditional ballet barre to strengthen and tone you from head to toe.


002-JeffBairdGroupCroppedBest Personal Trainer

Jeff Baird

Jeff is a former national competitor and instructor in martial arts who earned his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in 2004. He owns and teaches at Chaos Conditioning.


Best Yoga Studio

Lift Yoga Therapy

This studio offers different styles of yoga classes based on your personal needs, goals and abilities. Classes include Lift Yoga Flow, bodyART Fitness Yoga and even a kids' yoga class.

Love this studio! The instructors and classes are amazing. – LeeAnn R.

003-yogaBest Yoga Instructor

Cindy Olah

Cindy received her yoga certification in 2002 and opened Sacred Garden Yoga in 2003. She has led yoga retreats in Georgia, North Carolina and Peru, and she teaches multiple times per week at her studio.

Thank you Cindy for being your true authentic self, helping myself and others realize our true potential! – Lisa S.


Best Pilates Studio

Absolute Pilates

They offer mat classes, Reformer classes, chair classes and even barre classes to help you achieve your fitness goals.

Absolute Pilates is a friendly and warm place to get fit. The instructors are excellent. – Rose W.

Best Pilates Instructor

Megan Fields

Megan, a nursing student at Kennesaw State University, has over 200 hours of training with a Pilates Method Alliance certified teacher trainer. She teaches at Launch Awareness Yoga Centre.

Megan is the best ever! – Felicia B.

004-bikeBest Indoor Cycling Studio

Energy Lab

This indoor cycling class uses CycleOps Pro 400 Indoor Cycles which offer the rider control over the power, slope and gearing of the bike for a challenging workout.


Best Indoor Cycling Instructor

Jeremy Levison

A graduate of the University of Arizona, Jeremy began his passion for fitness spending countless hours hiking and biking. He has been a fixture in the indoor cycling community for over six years. When not in the Flywheel studio, he can be found riding the streets of Atlanta.

This man has done the impossible. He has made me not only like to exercise, I love it, I look forward to it, and I count down the time until I get to go to class again. Yeah, he is that good. – Jennifer W.

Best Zumba

Dance Stop Studios

With both dance and fitness classes to choose from, this studio offers up many different ways to break a sweat and stay in shape.

Nobody does Zumba better. The most fun you will ever have! Thanks Omega for all the fun! – Lesley S.

Best Group Fitness Class

Complete Chaos

This unique interval training class aims to keep people motivated with a full-body workout that includes strength and cardiovascular training.

Great workout! – Lynn G.

005-barmethodBest Group Fitness Instructor

Ashley Watt

Ashley is an owner and partner at The Bar Method. The technique used at The Bar Method has its foundation in physical therapy, and it combines dance conditioning with interval training to strengthen and elongate your muscles. Catch Ashley's classes several times a week in East Cobb.


Best CrossFit Gym

CrossFit Atlanta

This CrossFit gym began with Saturday afternoon meet ups in the fall of 2005 in the backyard of Dan MacDougald. Today they still have a huge following.

I have known Dan through rugby and CrossFit and can't recommend his operation highly enough. Definitely worthy of accolades among fitness alternatives. – Glenn B.

Best CrossFit Instructor

Gaby Sanjurjo

In addition to being an instructor at CrossFit AGX, Gaby is an International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) certified personal trainer and a former Naval rescue swimmer.

I know Gaby's level of dedication and effort. He is extremely knowledgeable and helpful. – Gabriel N.

Best Martial Arts/Boxing Gym

Knockout CrossFit & MMA

This 12,000 square foot facility offers strength and conditioning equipment as well as a multitude of different fitness classes like boxing and mixed martial arts.


Best Martial Arts/Boxing Instructor

Dhiego Lima

Originally from Brazil, Dhiego is a professional mixed martial artist who teaches at American Top Team Gwinnett. He is a Jiu-Jitsu purple belt.


Best Place to Rock Climb Indoors

Stone Summit Rock Climbing & Fitness

Stone Summit, the nation's largest climbing gym, has walls extending 25 feet to 60 feet high to challenge both your strength and mind.


Best Place for Kids Fitness

DYNO Fitness & Training

This unique fitness facility offers a space where young athletes can practice and hone their skills on an indoor turf field. Kids can also get homework and SAT tutoring before or after a workout.


Best Place to Buy Outdoor Gear/Shoes

Half Moon Outfitters

Since 1993, Half Moon Outfitters has provided the community with gear for kayaking, rock climbing, backpacking, hiking, trail running, surfing, travel and more outdoor adventure.


Best Place to Buy Running/Walking Gear

Big Peach Running Co.

Make sure to check out their online calendar of events to see when the next fun 5K, 10K or 30K race will be going on.


Best Cycling Shop

Cannon Cyclery

Started by Curtis Henry in the summer of 2007, they provide many different mechanical and fitting services for cyclists of all levels.

Great shop, great expertise to get you out and keep you out on the road and in the competition! – Trevor B.

006-CGBest Boot Camp

Camp Gladiator

Inspired by their experience on the NBC show "American Gladiator," owners Ally and Jeff Davidson founded Camp Gladiator as a motivating and challenging boot camp for people of all ages and fitness levels.

Hands down the best workout, the most fun and the best value! – Amber D.

Best Over 40 Rec Sport League

O.G.L. (Over 40 Guys League) for Basketball

Since its inception, the O.G.L. at the Concourse Athletic Club has grown from four teams to 23 teams offering fierce competition, laid-back physical activity and everything in between.


007-bbBest Place to Hike

Sweetwater Creek State Park

This 2,549 acre Georgia state park, located in the New Manchester area of east Douglas County, is named after Sweetwater Creek which runs through the park.

Such a beautiful setting! I love walking upstream on the rocks out in the creek - so fun! - Patti S.

008-beltlineBest Place to Run/Walk

The Atlanta BeltLine

This sustainable project is providing a network of public parks, multi-use trails and transit by re-using 22 miles of historic railroad corridors circling downtown and connecting 45 neighborhoods to each other.


Best Weight Loss Program

Good Measure Meals

Not only do they provide a fresh portion - and calorie-controlled meal plan, but 100 percent of proceeds from Good Measure Meals go to the nonprofit Open Hand.

While it's great for helping you lose weight responsibly, it is also a well-balanced meal option. I love all the tasty gourmet choices! – David R.

009-paddleBest New Outdoor Sport or Activity

Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP)

This fast-growing sport is a fun way to get fit on the water.


Best Triathlon Club

Atlanta Triathlon Club

If you are thinking of participating in a triathlon, this club offers a variety of unique training opportunities for the beginner to the advanced athlete on a monthly basis.

A nominator said: "Incredible support staff, coaches are fantastic, supportive, creative, fun. Go to a Monday night swim at Mercer University with coaches Matt and Ryan-you will be a great swimmer, have a kick butt time and love them!"

Best Running Club

Atlanta Track Club

Whether you want to learn about all the upcoming races or simply volunteer at one of their many events, there are plenty of ways to get involved and get fit.


You also cast lots of votes and gave love to:

Pilates Instructor

Katie McNeight at Stability Pilates & Physical Therapy,


Pilates Studio

Body Awareness,


Weight Loss Program

Citron Nutrition,


Place to Buy Running/Walking Gear

West Stride,


Boot Camp

Fitness Revolution Roswell,


Indoor Cycling Instructor

Lynn Goldstein, Stellar Bodies,


Yoga Studio

Yoga Collective,


Indoor Cycling Studio



Group Fitness Class

ValeoFit 1000,


CrossFit Gym

CrossFit Breaking Boundaries,


Life Enrichment

Best Place to Play Tennis

Blackburn Tennis Center

This center offers 18 lighted hard courts, a staff of highly trained tennis professionals, a fully stocked pro shop with Nike apparel and shoes, a 48-hour stringing service and a variety of tennis accessories.


010-PatrickShell3_IHCCBest Tennis Instructor

Patrick Shell

Patrick graduated from Auburn University and has been with Indian Hills Country Club since 2011. He has 11 years of experience in the tennis industry.

Pat brings passion, energy and tons of experience with him to the court every single day. He's way better than Andy Roddick. It's not even close. – Ryan T.

011-golfBest Place to Play Golf

Atlanta Country Club

Originally designed by Willard C. Byrd, the course is built adjacent to historic Sope Creek and Confederate paper mill ruins from the Civil War era.


Best Road or Trail for Cycling

Silver Comet Trail

This fun, family-friendly trail is a free, non-motorized trail that runs through Smyrna, Georgia to central Alabama.


012-cometBest Doggie Daycare

Puppy Haven

This dog daycare offers plenty of room for your furry friends to have fun. Services include overnight dog boarding, dog grooming and retail services.


Best Dog Park

Brook Run Dog Park

This park is located in the Liane Levitan Park at Brook Run in Dunwoody. The dog park is roughly four acres, with completely fenced-in areas.

013-dogNot only is this the best dog park, but the dog park patrons are the best here, too. The dog park association is very proactive in keeping it clean and safe for dogs and "parents." – Nancy W.

Best Pet Store

City Dog Market

This pet store is committed to offering healthy, all-natural foods, toys and products for cats and dogs. They also have wash stations for owners who want to give their pets a quick and easy bath.

Absolutely the best! - Susan M.

Best Groomer

Uptown Pups

Uptown Pups not only provides grooming services, but also fun pet products, foods, treats, pet toys and more.

This is the best pet boutique in Atlanta. The groomers are great and they do not crate which reduces the stress on your pup. - Debby B.

Best Local Vet

Paces Ferry Veterinary Clinic

This full-service small animal hospital has been serving the community since 1971. They offer comprehensive medical and surgical care for cats and dogs.

I have been a client for 13+ years and cannot say enough good things about Paces Ferry Veterinary Clinic. The practice and the people are friendly, caring & professional. - Christopher C.

Best Park

Chastain Park

From tennis to horseback riding, art fairs to concerts, this green space in Buckhead offers a variety of ways to enjoy the outdoors.

Awesome place for running! – Cathy K.

Best Charity Running Event

Shamrock 'N Roll Road Race

The annual Junior League of Atlanta's Shamrock 'N Roll Road Race includes runners, walkers, kilts, strollers and dogs that come together to help raise funds to train and educate the membership of the Junior League of Atlanta for effective community service.


Best Local Festival

Chastain Park Arts Festival

The Chastain Park Arts Festival is a two-day celebration of the arts presented by Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces.

As an artist I can say that Chastain Park Arts Festival is not only my favorite show but also the best art show in Atlanta.– Rosa R.

014-wineBest Local Vineyard

Chateau Elan

This luxurious getaway spot in Braselton has everything you need to relax – spa, winery, golf courses and more.


Best Bookstore

Bound to be Read Books

This independent neighborhood bookstore specializes in good quality used, new and discount books.

Friendly and knowledgeable staff! Love to come in here and check out the variety of titles. – Luke S.

015-booksBest Music Venue


Catch such acts as Panic! At The Disco and The Wanted next year at this famous local concert venue.


Best Cooking Classes

Cook's Warehouse

This gourmet store and cooking school has four convenient locations in Midtown, Brookhaven, Decatur and East Cobb as well as an online store for the professional and budding chef.


Best Financial Counseling

Laura Schilling

Laura Schilling's Financial Innovations is a financial planning and wealth management firm that offers a customized, caring approach to their clients' financial well being.


Best School

International School of Skin, Nailcare & Massage Therapy

This local school offers programs for nail care, massage therapy and esthetics. The school also provides a full line of spa services to the public at school prices.

ISSNMT gave me the foundation I needed to pursue my goals and execute my dream of being an entrepreneur. – Yolonda C.

Best Hypnotherapist

Brighter Tomorrow Hypnotherapy

Valerie Cobbin, who attended the Sylvia Browne School of Hypnosis, offers hypnosis services to help with weight loss, smoking, relationship development and self-improvement.


016-dancersBest Dance Studio

Ballroom Dance Clubs of Atlanta

Teaching in Atlanta since 1985, this award-winning studio is the place to go for fun, professional instruction of everything from the Waltz to the Cha-Cha.

Great place to learn to dance and to meet new friends! Lots of fun! – Susan K.


You also cast lots of votes and gave love to:




Local Vet

Brookhaven Animal Hospital,


Doggie Day Care

Dog Days Atlanta,



Little Shop of Stories,


Beauty & Anti-Aging

Best Hair Colorist

Mitchell Barnes

Mitchell Barnes of Carter Barnes Hair Artisans has 30 years of experience in the hair salon industry and is known for creating beautiful hair color and great looks for any occasion.


Best Hair Salon for Blowouts


This new "blow dry bar" concept was created to offer a simple service: just blowouts for only $40.


Best Hair Extensions

White Salon & Spa

The creation of Max Sanchez, a stylist with over 20 years of experience, this salon offers hair, skin and nail services.

​My experience with White Salon & Spa was incredible. A truly unique gem and by far the best salon experience I have ever had! – Camilla R.

Best Hair Salon

017-hairBob Steele Salon

With several locations throughout the city, this salon offers a friendly environment with many different hair care services.

I've been going here for years. Great colorists, stylists and overall customer experience! – Joanie C.

Best Place for Waxing

European Wax Center

Since 1975 they have been offering their waxing services to men and women. They take care of unwanted hair from brows, underarms, backs and more.

Best place I have ever gone! – Gordon M.

018-scissorsBest Men's Grooming

American Haircuts

They offer men's haircuts, hot lather shaves, straight razor neck shaves and, at the end of each haircut, a signature hot towel treatment. Their first shop opened in 2005 in Roswell, followed by a Midtown location in 2008.


019-harryBest Hair Stylist

Harry Wood

Harry is a leading stylist and educator for Van Michael Salons, and he has been in the business for over 20 years.,


Best Place for Sugaring

Defined Sugaring Studio

These natural-ingredient hair removal services are performed by sugaring specialists who are Georgia licensed estheticians. Services are available for teens, ladies and men.

A wonderful place to feel mentally and physically beautiful without the stress! Complete Southern comfort! – Marquita N.

Best Place for Eyebrows

Authentic Beauty

With over five years in the community, this one-stop beauty spot has been recognized nationally in magazines like Allure.

Best brows and makeup anywhere! Plus Aly and the rest of the ladies are so fun! – Angela S.


020-Bonny-DomotoBest Esthetician

Bonny Domoto

Bonny earned her esthetics license from the Atlanta Institute of Aesthetics and began her career working in dermatology. Today she works with Dr. Benjamin Stong at Kalos Facial Plastic Surgery as the primary medical esthetician and laser technician.

Bonnie is amazing! She is the most knowledgeable about having amazing looking skin! – Angela M.

Best Plastic Surgeon

Brian Maloney, MD

At The Maloney Center for Plastic Surgery, Dr. Maloney spends one-on-one time with each patient to ensure the best outcomes for their surgical or non-surgical procedures.

I can't imagine a more skilled facial plastic surgeon than Dr. Maloney. He works wonders! – Anne T.

021-lipstickBest Makeup Artist

Julian Reynolds

Julian has over 14 years experience in the retail cosmetics industry. He has done makeup for TV, print, stage and NYC fashion week. He also has extensive experience with numerous cosmetics and skincare lines.


Best Botox and Filler Injections

Marc E. Yune, MD

Dr. Yune is a double board-certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon with Aesthetic Specialty Centre. He has been featured on CNN, NBC and Discovery Health Channel, among others.

Dr. Yune is an excellent plastic surgeon! His professionalism is beyond reproach. He comports himself in a professional manner and is kind and understanding. – Heather K.

Best Facial

Sol Oasis

This spa offers relaxing and pampering treatments. Treatments are designed to accommodate just one person at a time, providing a more tranquil experience.


Best Laser Hair Removal

The Fountain Laser Hair Removal

This center begins your treatment process with a free consultation to create a personalized program and treatment schedule to meet your goals.

Leah Wansley [medical esthetician] is the best! – Imelda R.

Best Eyelash Extensions

Rika Anamayatana

After attending cosmetology school, Rika entered the beauty industry in 2011. She specializes in all forms of high-end, semi-permanent eyelash extensions at White Salon & Spa, including glamour lashes and mink lashes.

Rika is the best. – Pranee N.

022-RikaWhiteSalon1Best Local Skincare Products

Sally B's Skin Yummies

Founded in 2005 by Sally Larsen, this line of skincare and makeup products avoids toxic ingredients and instead provides customers with a natural, safe, eco-friendly option.

Love Sally B's! Great company, products that are safe and healthy for your skin, and the customer service is fantastic! – Lea Ann O.

Best Permanent Cosmetics

Michael Lynch

As a medical esthetician and makeup artist with over 30 years of experience, Michael is an accomplished laser technician. He currently works at the Aesthetic Specialty Centre and the Beauty Bar of Buckhead.,


Best Microdermabrasion

Gardner Dermatology & Med Spa

This practice treats everything from acne to hair loss, as well as providing spa treatments like peels, oxygen facials and CoolSculpting.

No question, the nicest and most caring people always. I love Dr. G., and the results are always terrific! – Bonnie F.

Best Mani/Pedi

Gallery Spa of Historic Roswell

This spa offers a full range of services like massages, facials, microdermabrasion, anti-aging light pulse therapy, peels, men's facials and waxing, detoxifying and exfoliating body treatments and more.


You also cast lots of votes and gave love to:


Alicia Nicely, Aesthetic Specialty Centre,


Hair Salon for Blowouts



Hair Stylist

Tina Coluccio, Area 4 Hair Salon,



Renew Laser & Cosmetics,


Health & Wellness

024-eyeBest Place to go for Eye Health

Thomas Eye Group

Since 1974 this full-service eye care center has been providing a variety of eye care services to their patients including routine eye exams, LASIK, as well as medical, surgical and cosmetic services.


025-pareBest Eye Doctor

Dr. Richard Pare

Dr. Pare joined the North Fulton Eye Center in 1993 and was board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology in 1996. He served as the Section Chief of Ophthalmology for the North Fulton Regional Hospital for several years and is currently on staff at the Northside Forsyth Hospital.

Dr. Pare is the most knowledgeable, kindest, patient, and all around wonderful ophthalmologist in the South! - Maryleigh H.

Best Podiatrist

Perry Julien, DPM

Dr. Julien specializes in the medical, biomechanical and surgical treatment of the foot and ankle with an emphasis on sports medicine of the lower extremity. He is the co-medical director for the Peachtree Road Race and Atlanta Marathon.


Best Physical Therapy Center

One on One Physical therapy

With a team of physical therapists, massage therapists, Pilates and Gyrotonic Fit instructors, as well as state-of-the-art equipment, they offer a wide range of treatment options.


Best Chiropractor

Austin Cohen, DC

Dr. Cohen received his doctor of chiropractic degree from Life University and is currently a structural chiropractor at Corrective Chiropractic. In his spare time, Dr. Cohen loves spending time with his wife and competing in CrossFit competitions.


026-veggiesBest Integrative Medical Facility

Atlanta Center for Holistic & Integrative Medicine

This center combines conventional and alternative medicine, offering everything from acupuncture and Ayurveda to fertility planning and cancer risk evaluation.


Best Vein Treatment

Vein Atlanta

Among other conditions, Dr. Louis Prevosti and his team treat varicose and spider veins, lymphedema, Restless Leg Syndrome and venous insufficiency.

Good staff, awesome doctor, wonderful treatment. A person could not come to a better place. Great service from top to bottom! – Stephanie C.

027-drsBest Orthopedist

Reuben Sloan, MD

Dr. Sloan is a physical medicine and rehabilitation spine physician who specializes in spine care with Resurgens Orthopaedics.


Best Hormone Doctor

Scott Isaacs, MD, FACP, FACE

Dr. Isaacs, a board-certified endocrinologist, is a faculty member at Emory University School of Medicine and the medical director for Atlanta Endocrine Associates. Author Jillian Michaels called him the "guru of all things hormonal" in her New York Times bestselling book "Master Your Metabolism."

Dr. Isaacs is ahead of his time. He is honest, connected and compassionate to his patients and their struggles. He stays on top of the research and shares his knowledge and what works. But most importantly, he is a great motivator for obtaining optimum health in a balanced fashion. - Danamarie D.

Best Naturopathic Doctor

Debra MacIntyre, ND

As a naturopath, board-certified by the American Naturopathic Certification Board, Debra has over 37 years of health experience. She practices at Natural Health Solutions.

Deb is one of the most caring health care professionals I have ever been to. She seemed "ahead of the pack" with her knowledge and her technology and she 100 percent genuinely cares about her clients. She listens. She has a desire to help people improve their health, and she is determined to make a difference. – Jenny L.

Best Integrative Medical Doctor

Maziar Rezvani, MD, FAAAAI

Dr. Rezvani is board-certified in both internal medicine and allergy and immunology. He is currently training at the University of Arizona Integrative Medicine Fellowship Program under the guidance of Dr. Andrew Weil, and he practices at Avicenna Integrative Medicine.


029-spaBest Dermatology Practice

Dermatology Center of Atlanta

Specializing in medical, surgical and customized cosmetic services provided by board-certified dermatologists, they offer numerous options to help you look your best.

Love these people. The best and most professional! – Clare B.

Best Massage Therapist

Corey Dobyns

Corey has been practicing massage since 2006. Today, Corey offers neuromuscular therapy, deep tissue, myofascial release, and Swedish massage at her practice Core Balance + Wellness.

Hands down, Corey gives the best massage I've ever had. – Sara R.

Best Cosmetic Dentistry

Atlanta Center for Cosmetic Dentistry

Dr. Debra Gray King, who has appeared on "The Doctors" and "Extreme Makeover," founded this practice in 1987. They offer a variety of services that span both general and cosmetic dentistry.

They're the best! – Kendra K.

030-ribbonBest Cancer Treatment Support

Kaiser Permanente Breast Care Center

This treatment center provides a two-hour Multidisciplinary Breast Conference for women diagnosed with breast cancer.

The center's coordinated approach is unmatched. – Cheryl B.

031-Dr-Scott-MillerBest Urologist

Scott Miller, MD

Dr. Miller was one of the first to utilize urologic laparoscopic techniques in Georgia, and he has been board-certified by the American Board of Urology since 1997. He practices at Georgia Urology.

Nothing but top notch! A pioneer in his field, and an excellent teacher. – Susan R.

Best Primary Care Doctor

Richard Ellin, MD

Dr. Ellin has been practicing internal medicine since 1985. He attended Emory University and completed his residency there.

Dr. Ellin definitely has my vote for best doctor! – Robin A.

You also cast lots of votes and gave love to:

Physical Therapy Center

Back 2 Motion,



Norman Eng, 14th Street Chiropractic,


Cosmetic Dentistry

Dr. Hugh Flax of Flax Dental,



Michael Miller from Miller Hypnosis,


Massage Therapist

Shannon Greenhill at Apogee 18,


Food & Nutrition

Best Farm-to-Home Delivery

Garnish & Gather

These meal kits make it easy to make a delicious, nutritious meal in the comfort of your own kitchen. Complete with ingredients and instructions, it's all delivered right to your door.


032-farmers-marketBest Farmers Market

DeKalb Farmers Market

The market began in 1977 as a small 7,500 square foot produce stand in Decatur. Since then, it has grown into a 140,000 square foot world market serving up to 100,000 people per week.


Best Kid-Friendly Restaurant

Bantam + Biddy

Chefs Shaun Doty and Lance Gummere opened this local eatery which features high quality all-natural pastured chicken and seasonal, organic vegetables.


033-genkiBest Food Truck

Genki Food Truck

The Genki-To-Go food truck is the perfect option for enjoying Japanese-fusion cuisine on a dime.

So, so good! – Jennifer W.

Best Pet-Friendly Restaurant

Nancy G's Café

In business for 30 years, this Sandy Springs cafe not only boasts a delicious Southern-comfort-style menu, but also an open-air patio for your pooch.


Best Health Food Store

Whole Foods Market

With a wide range of organic food options from regional producers, their multiple Atlanta locations offer regular events and promotions to support the organic food movement.


Best Vegetarian Restaurant

Café Sunflower

They serve vegetarian cuisine in their two Atlanta locations, Buckhead and Sandy Springs. Their menu offers everything from tofu entrees to veggie loaf that even the staunchest meat-lover would enjoy.


Best Juice Bar


With a variety of organic juices, teas and treats to choose from, dTox has something healthy for everyone to enjoy.

Hands down, always fresh, organic and consistent goodness in a glass! – Anne C.


You also cast lots of votes and gave love to:

Juice Bar

Kale Me Crazy,


Food Truck



The Best Self community also nominated people and places in these unique categories:

034-braBest Lingerie Store

LiviRae Lingerie

Owners Molly Hopkins and Cynthia Decker help women of all shapes and sizes find the proper bra fit and understand the health benefits that come along with it.


Best Place to Work

Commissions, Inc.

This company welcomes employees' dogs, offers in-office chef-cooked lunches each day, sponsors company outings to sports games and provides a workout room in the office.

Duane Legate, president/owner, believes in family first

so our number one core value is work/life balance. We celebrate our goals as we meet them with fun company outings. – Verdery T.

Best Dog Training

Angie Woods

Angie has been working with dogs for over 20 years. She currently operates U.S. Canine, a canine rehabilitation center in Buford, GA.

A nominator said: "Angie is the Georgia dog whisperer – she helps get you and your dog back in balance."

Best Posing Coaches

House of Payne Personal Trainers

Steve Payne is nationally recognized as an IAFS Master Presenter and Trainer. The co-owner of House of Payne Personal Training, along with his wife Rachel, is also one of the premier posing coaches in the country.


Best Pet Portrait

Emily Griffith

Emily hand paints custom portraits of your pet based on photographs.

A nominator said: "She really captures your pet's personality!"


Best Local Farm

My Dad and Me Family Farm

This farm in Powder Springs aims to produce fresh, wholesome, sustainable, healthy food for the local community.

A nominator said: "The Hammonds are committed to raising and offering truly clean and sustainable food."


Best Career Counseling

Hallie Crawford

Since 2002, Hallie has led a team of certified career coaches in helping job seekers identify their ideal career path.

A nominator said: "Hallie is a very encouraging and insightful counselor! She has great insight into techniques needed to showcase job skills, as well as positivity and aim to coach the 'whole' self."


Monday, 02 December 2013 19:45

A Life Plan for the Next 50 Years

The typical milestones of life – school, work, marriage and raising kids – are usually concentrated in the first 50 years of life. So what do the next 50 years hold for you? These days, when making plans for those years of life, you have to take a lot into account: you may not have a pension to fall back on and need to think about income in later years, or maybe you don't want to stop working and are following your passion to a new career. Planning for the next 50 years can require a bit more thought than the first 50 – you should consider your goals, your health and your monetary expectations. Mapping out your plan can seem overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be.


First, ask yourself what you want. More time to be with family? Time to travel the world? Take on a new hobby? Whatever it is, set yourself up for success by taking the necessary steps to ensure a happy and healthy road ahead.

Make Your Plan

Where do you see yourself in 50 years? Answering this basic question may require talking it over with a spouse, friend, loved one or a life coach.

"A good place to start is by writing your objectives down, listing the most important goals first," suggests life coach Laura Kronen. "Having a written strategy is important in helping you live the lifestyle you desire. At first, don't focus on budget. Focus on ideas, and be as specific as you can. For example, instead of 'travel,' list 'trip to Venice' or 'African safari.' Instead of 'do volunteer work,' write down 'volunteer with my local animal shelter.'"

Kronen also suggests making a list of your sources of income and your expenses. "Start a journal depicting how you envision your life in your 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s.  Be practical: Your list should rule out the unnecessary expenses," she says. "Make sure all your financial needs are met as you brainstorm. The more descriptive you are, the more tangible your outcome will be."

Kick the Bad Habits

The next step is to kick bad habits and improve your overall health – make sure you are sound enough in mind and body to accomplish these goals you've set for yourself. It will certainly be harder to enjoy your free time if you spend half of it at the doctor's office.

"We should all strive to make each decade better than the last," says Dr. Debra Carlton, associate medical director for primary care and informatics for Kaiser Permanente of Georgia. "Being intentional about improving and maintaining your health through your middle and later years requires a plan that begins with honesty about your current state."


To assess your current situation, Dr. Carlton says to ask yourself a few simple questions:

  • What habits do you have that will affect your health?
  • Do you smoke, use drugs or overuse alcohol?
  • How are your eating habits?
  • What is your state of mind? Are you anxious, depressed or stressed?


"Once you have faced your reality, you can move on to plan for a better state of health," Dr. Carlton says. In addition, it is important to know what screenings to get annually and when to get them done. Dr. Carlton says if you are going to visit only one doctor later in life, it should be your primary care physician (PCP). "A good PCP will be accessible, listen to you and be concerned about your physical and emotional health," she says. "He or she should share with you information pertinent to your concerns, putting you in the best possible position to make good health choices."

Annual screenings should include important immunizations, like tetanus and shingles, as well as checks of your blood pressure, weight, cholesterol and glucose. Living a healthy lifestyle also includes simple changes at home, like eating more vegetables, avoiding tobacco and engaging in physical activity.


Dr. Carlton recommends the following changes to your day to day:

  • Get enough sleep. Most people need seven to nine hours per night.
  • Learn ways to deal with stress. Stress affects you mentally and physically, so managing it well can improve your health.
  • Enjoy your family and friends. Maintaining your family and social support system is key to feeling happy and healthy.
  • Be a lifelong learner. Constant learning stimulates your brain and keeps you sharp.
  • "Fortunately, most of the time, your health is under your control, so being intentional about your health will make a difference," Dr. Carlton says.


older-couple-bikesDollars and Sense

You're healthy, you're ready to get out there – but what to do about those finances? Enjoying the upcoming years can be tough if the money isn't there to support the lifestyle you want. To get started, think about what you want to do over the next few years. "The amount of savings you need is a mathematical formula based on how much income you need a month," says Karen Lee, certified financial planner. "Ask yourself, did you pay off the mortgage? Do you want to move? Do you want to travel?" Debt can hinder these plans and should be the first area you tackle the next decade.

Having a realistic understanding of your finances today and planning for the type of future you want is one of the best ways to ensure your next 50 years live up to your expectations. Unfortunately, due to the recent economic crisis, even people who were conservative with their money lost out. Many people did everything right to prepare for their future financial security – they worked hard, saved and invested, but their savings still took a big hit.

According to the latest retirement confidence survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a full 28 percent of Americans are not confident they will have enough money saved for later in life. But not all hope is lost – the future might not look exactly how you originally envisioned it, but with these tips, it can be just as bright. The obvious option is to keep working at least part-time at your current job. While you're still working, Lee points out, you can continue to fund a Roth IRA, 401K or 403b to reestablish some financial security.

But if you really had your heart set on leaving your current job, don't let a reduced savings account stop you. "Consider other nontraditional assets and passions that could help fund you later in life. Many hobbies and skills can be turned into real income," Kronen says. "Maybe you collect antiques or restore cars? Perhaps you're an accomplished pianist and can teach lessons?  Maybe you are crafty and can sell handmade products on Etsy? Take what you are good at and where your talent lies and run with it." Options like these will help you achieve a later-in-life change without retiring. Instead, you can combine the exciting change you want with the supplemental income you need.

If you do find yourself working into your later years, it will be well worth your time. According to the Center for Retirement Research, the earnings for workers in their 60s and 70s are rising faster than those in their prime working years.

older-couple-world-globeFinding Fulfillment

Keeping an active mind and body will make the next phase of your life a fun and fulfilling one. There's no better time than the present to learn a new skill, pick up a new hobby or meet new friends. Some questions to ask yourself when you're moving into your next act: What makes me happy? What will keep me happy long term? How will I continue to grow and thrive?

"As we age, our body changes, but our spirit is always youthful. Our spirit is what keeps us going," says Keisa Leprell Davis, a certified life coach. Davis, who works with a variety of people, says the best thing you can do later in life is get active, which will keep you thriving and satisfied. "Volunteer with a local organization, become active in the community or church," she says. "Find what you love and do it."

Jason Flurry, president of the National Center for College Planning, sees many people head back to school once they move out of the workforce. "A lot of people find purpose specifically at that season in their life. There are still things they want to accomplish," he says.

"The retiree is more of the non-traditional student with non-traditional wants and needs. They can reinvent themselves, and the reward of their own accomplishment can be more weighted than a paycheck." And it's never too late! Many schools offer programs for adults who want to continue learning through the years. In fact, according to the American Council on Education, adult learners have comprised close to 40 percent of the college-going population for the last two decades.

Regardless of whether or not your next 50 years contain the milestone of retirement, taking stock of your health, finances and avenues for life enrichment are crucial at this stage in the game. Use these tools to build the life you want, and turn the next 50 into the best 50.

Meet these Atlantans who are making these years their best.

The Career Changer

Tracy-Ann-UnsworthAs a single mom, Tracy Ann Unsworth knew she needed a flexible, lucrative career to provide for her family and her own future. A 14-year career as a massage therapist offered her both qualities, but as Unsworth got older, massage therapy began to take a physical toll on her. So as she entered the next phase of her life, Unsworth decided to look for work that was less physically demanding and even more financially secure. Her research directed her toward a program studying medical diagnostic sonography and ultrasound at Georgia Northwest College. She attends class three days a week, is finished by 2 p.m. each day, and will have completed the program after only 18 months. This flexible school schedule allows her to continue massage until she fully transitions into her new career in the medical field. Her new career will not only provide her with many opportunities to work with doctors, hospitals or home health care, but it will also allow her to secure her financial future relatively quickly. "There are many options for our second phase of life," she says. "It just takes a little research, understanding of what's available to us with each job, as well as creative scheduling with school." After that, the sky is the limit.

James-Judy-BrannanThe Fun-Lovers

When Judy Brannan retired from her position at Coca-Cola in 2000, she and her husband decided to leave the Atlanta area for a place "more laid back." They found an active adult community in Gainesville with more than 250 homes and plenty of neighbors to visit and enjoy.

"They offered what we thought were the elements of a fulfilled life. You can participate or not. You can keep really involved or do less if you want to. It's a place where people have common interests. We have a common bond here," Brannan says.

And Brannan does stay involved – she leads an exercise class, participates in games and water aerobics, teaches games like bridge and is in charge of the welcome committee to greet new residents. "It's a good way to give back to the community. We're grateful for being here," she says.

Jeaan-Reiss-and-ScottieThe Adventurers

Jean Reiss retired a few years ago from her role as a psychiatric social worker and, along with her good friend Sharon "Scottie" Scott, seems to have conquered the globe. "We travel a lot. We have a trip planned to Antarctica. Scottie just got back from the Amazon. We've gone to Turkey, Ireland and the Panama Canal," Reiss says. "We go through our list of places we want to see and try to look at things neither one of us has gone to, like China, India and Thailand," Scott adds.

About 10 years ago, the pair decided to start what they called "Ladies' Poker Night," a club which has nothing to do with poker, but more about trying something new or attending a new event. "It's the luck of the draw. We try to keep the events limited in terms of money and output.

One of us will come up with an idea, and we will tell everyone to meet us at such and such parking lot on a Thursday, and no one will know where we're going. We have a ball," Reiss says. So far, the group has gone to a roller derby meet, various storytelling events, the Evacuation of Jonesboro, an Elvis impersonator dinner, and a kangaroo conservation center, to name a few. "We always try to include new people and reach out to new people. The friends we've made over the years with this group have been great. We've met the neatest people," Scott says.


Editorial Resources
Dr. Debra Carlton - Kaiser Permanente of Georgia,
Jason Flurry - National Center for College Planning,
Laura Kronen - Be You Only Better,
Keisa Leprell Davis - Be You Be Now™,
Karen Lee - Karen Lee and Associates, LLC,