Pure Pork AwesomenessIn Chef Kevin Gillespie’s newest cookbook, Pure Pork Awesomeness, he shares 100 recipes solely dedicated to his favorite meat. This former Bravo “Top Chef” contestant educates readers about different breeds of pig and their personalities, as well as how to make a more conscious decision when selecting pork. He explains the difference in color and flavor so that you can select – and then, with the help of his recipes, cook – the best pork you’ve ever had. Andrews McMeel Publishing will release the book nationwide at the end of this month.

Details: $29.99, andrewsmcmeel.com

Posted in Best Bulletin | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Maher_cred North Fulton Anesthesia AssociatesDr. Patrick Oliver Maher from North Fulton Anesthesia Associates answers a reader’s question about general anesthesia.

Q: I have to go under general anesthesia for a procedure. Is there anything I can do to make sure I stay safe?

New research found that the most frequent malpractice claims are related to teeth damage, death and nerve damage. To lower risks, patients should develop preoperative questions for their doctor. For example, ask about eating, drinking and taking medications or supplements before surgery. Patients should also provide their doctor with family medical history, allergy information and a list of medications, vitamins and supplements they take.

Posted in Best RX | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Jason + Chris_Heidi GeldhauserGeorgia’s craft brew game recently welcomed a new player: Second Self Beer Company. Founders Jason Santamaria and Chris Doyle released their beers this past fall, focusing on fresh ingredients like blue ginger, lemongrass, cinnamon, cloves, cocoa nibs and more. Each beer comes with suggested food pairings listed on their website, and you can try everything firsthand at their tours and tasting on Fridays at 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m.

Details: 1311 Logan Circle NW, Atlanta, GA, (678) 916-8035, secondselfbeer.com

Posted in Best Bulletin | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Guest Blog by Spencer Wyckoff

Before the Race

Three ordinary people set out toward the Georgia International Horse Park on Saturday March 7, 2015 around 7:00am.  Our bellies were full of steel cut oats and maple syrup – fuel for the day’s main event – the Atlanta Sprint Spartan Race.  The crew: Dani Pasierb, Carden Wyckoff, and Spencer Wyckoff were listening to Barbell Shrugged’s episode #147, where they showcase Tony The Fridge – an ordinary man doing extraordinary things.

quick aside:  Tony the Fridge raises money for curing cancer through running ultra marathons with a large 42kg fridge on his back.  There are so many pearls of wisdom in this particular podcast with Tony, however my favorite part is when he speaks about the two other voices inside his head.  1 voice says he’s done enough, it’s ok to stop, go ahead and pat yourself on the back.  The other voice says no, keep going, don’t stop ever, do more do more do more.  During the races, Tony tells his interviewers “I take both of these (subconscious) voices, and I tell them to shut the $&%# up.”  From what I can tell, Tony is a master of getting into a mindset that solely focuses on things that matter in the present – focus on breathing, focus on each step – over and over again – he paints this picture of laser like focus when doing his races.


Back to the Tale of the Piggy Back Spartan Race… So we arrive around 8:00am, an hour before our start time (or so we thought).  The venue resembled a large music festival type event, with lots of people, vendor booths, dj booth, course obstacles, and mud… yes LOTS of MUD.  We each became instantly excited and a bit nervous about what we were getting ourselves into.

We pull into handicapped parking, and found a spot in front of a dumpster that honestly probably wasn’t even a spot until we made it one.  We step outside, take a deep breath of fresh air, and realize – it’s chilly outside, low 40’s chilly… this is going to get interesting.  “Ok, we ready to do this?” I ask Dani and Carden.  We agree, and then I assume the position that I will be assuming for the bulk of this day – I squat down in front of Carden, she gracefully falls over on top me, and we take the form of a brother/sister piggy back.  Just like Tony racing with his fridge for cancer, we raced to take a stand against Muscular Dystrophy – FSH MD in particular.  If you’re interested in supporting Carden’s cause – check this out.

Look how cold Dani looks – haha

So we go to check in – and find out our race start time is at 10:30am as opposed to 9:30am which we originally thought.  So, nearly 2 hours early, we had to painfully wait for our turn to race – the tension started to build.  We purchased some shirts and watched some of the elites finish their races with jumping over a big bonfire and splashing into the final mud pit.  We were getting anxious, and cold, so we went back to the car to warm up and mentally prepare.  After some time, conversation, and failed attempts at streaming pump up music over crappy cellular service, we made our way to the start line for the 10:30am heat.  In fact, to get to the starting line, you have to first scale a 6 foot high wall… our first obstacle.  Knowing that we were going to encounter a bunch of these, we found this was the perfect way to start our journey.  Dani hopped over the wall first, then I lifted Carden over it and placed her in Dani’s arms.  From there I jump over the wall myself, and Dani hands Carden back to me.  Boom – first obstacle overcome.

Mile 0-1:

The time has come.  We’re in a heat of a couple hundred able bodied people who were chomping at the bit to start this adventure, and we were just 3 ordinary people out of that group.  There was a very fast talking hype man who greeted our group, led us through a few AROOS!, and blazed through the risks and liabilities at lightning, Twista-like pace.  Spartans Ready?!?! GOOO!!!  Our pack begins to move, 99% of them running and jogging ahead, leaving us in the back of the pack.  We weren’t racing for personal records today, our purpose was extraordinary though – help Carden complete a Spartan Race in the face of her muscular dystrophy.  Since she is not too sturdy on her feet, the only way to accomplish this was through a piggy back ride.  So there we were, at the back of the pack, taking our first steps forward as a team on a mission.

The first mile we encountered a good bit of obstacles – the first was 3 or 4 giant mud / water pits.  Carefully, we stepped through the sludge and came out ok.  There was a moment where I almost completely lost my footing and fell over with Carden – that would have been a really bad sign only 1/4 mile into a 3-5 mile race… but we kept the balance and kept forging on – mud entirely in the shoes.  Next obstacles were high, uneven logs to climb over.  We were able to lift Carden over each of these obstacles and make it happen – no burpess for us yet… Then we reach our first BIG obstacle – the high wall triplet.  The high wall triplet is a series of three walls increasing in height.  The first wall was probably 7 feet, next 8.5ft, finally 10ft.  We managed to get Carden over the first 7 footer, yet the 8.5 and 10ft were asking a little too much.  Dani and I knocked out Carden’s 30 burpee penalty for each of the two walls she couldn’t scale.  Yes, there is a 30 burpee penalty for each obstacle a racer does not complete, no exceptions, so that was par for the course.  The first mile finished with some cross country trails through the woods.

Mile 1-2

The second mile started to encounter more hills and obstacles.  Most of the elements Carden could not complete on her own, so Dani and I were doing burpees – a good bit of them.  We started getting some notice from our fellow racers – a bunch of “Can I have a piggy back too?” remarks started flying around more often, usually just in passing.  Some of the elements we faced were a 3 sided rock climbing wall, a large monkey bar set, and some 2-3 story high obstacles to climb up, over, and down from.  My body was starting to feel the weight of Carden, however I was in a pretty good place mentally, focusing carefully on each step, and taking each obstacle as it came without being overwhelmed by the magnitude of it.  One “obstacle” they had during this phase of the race was a memory section.  You had to stare at a giant board of codes and memorize the 7 digit number sequence and passcode that corresponded to your race # – you were going to have to remember this towards the end.  When I saw the 2 mile marker – there was a moment I thought, thank you God, there is only ~1 mile left to go.  This is after all a 5k right…?

Mile 2-3

Mile 3 started off with some GIANT mud hills and ice cold water pits – 5 or 6 of them in total.  Unfortunately, we knew we were’t going to be able to scale these with Carden, so after getting through it, covering ourselves in mud, and knocking out the 3 burpees – we smeared mud all over Carden so she could wear that muddy feel of the race.  It was during this obstacle too, that we made our first friends – The Latino Ninja Guardian Angel Twins.  These guys didn’t speak a bunch of English, but they did wear Sub-Zero like Mortal Combat masks, and they took notice of what we were doing and began to knock out some of Carden’s burpees with us.  They always seemed to be in our peripheral for the remainder of the course, hence the term guardian angels.  Mile 3 was particularly rough – we encountered a bunch of hills, a grueling obstacle with a large bucket of rocks, and several others.  For me, it was getting through the hills that was the toughest part – we’ve made such great progress thus far – just keep moving forward.

Mile 3-4

Thank the Lord – we just saw the 3rd mile marker.  That means we’re in the home stretch right? A 5k is 3.1 miles – so we should be nearing the finish line!  Well this is technically a Spartan Sprint – which is loosely described as 3-5 miles after some more research… eh just another minor obstacle we took in stride.  At the time, we didn’t know it, but we were actually coming closer to our greatest obstacle yet.  We started scaling down a very steep hill.  We were getting very worried that we might not be able to continue, but some fellow Spartans began volunteering their help and guided us down to the bottom of it.  Ok, can it get much tougher than that???  Well yes, it can.  After traversing the bottom of the hill, we began to approach another, steeper version of that same hill we just climbed down – however this time everyone was climbing up it…  It get’s nearly vertical towards the top…

spartan-race-woodsI’m scared.  Carden’s scared.  Dani’s scared.  We’re all scared.  We’re looking for a way out, there is none – only at the top of this hill or go back – and we weren’t going back.  So we made the decision to scale this 3 story mud mountain using just cargo nets, ropes, and the help of other Spartans.  It started at a gentle incline, but soon got to be incredibly steep.  If I lose my footing now, Carden and I will fall nearly 3 stories, taking out other people behind us in the process.  There was no option for failure.  Step by step, we make our way up the mountain, and once I scaled over the top to safety let out this primal, celebratory roar.  People were amazed at what they just witnessed.  A few people even called me their hero and kept racing – it was an inspiring moment, a moment where I felt all my personal mental and physical barriers shattered.  I haven’t been the same since.  But no time to pop champagne yet… we still had plenty of race to run.  At this time, we had two local guys, Chase and Brandon, join our team and they helped us for the remainder of the race – thank God for those guys.

Mile 4-5

Here we are, the home stretch – the final mile.  Back is sore, feet are tired, we are all completely covered in mud and grime, yet we can hear the music playing and can feel the energy of the finish line.  Some of the obstacles we took on included climbing over tall gymnastics-like bars, carrying atlas stones, and throwing spears at hay targets – quick glory moment, I went 2 for 2 on the spear throw so Carden didn’t have burpees to do for that one, no big deal :)

All of this was leading up to the final 250 yards of the race, which was 250 yards of all obstacles.  One of the standouts was a 60 yard, barbed wire space that you had to crawl under in the ice cold mud.  Carden was determined to get this one done, despite her immobility and lack of upper and lower body strength.  Without assistance, she made it 45 of the 60 yards herself before fatigue finally set in.  We pulled her through the remaining 15 yards, and she triumphed.  Unfortunately, this triumph came at a cost… The ice cold mud had put her into a pre-hypothermic state.  She was frozen to the bone and shivering uncontrollably.  We got her off the course and called for medical assistance.  A medical team came over and wrapped her in solar blankets and correctly suggested that she go to the medical tent to heat up.  But if anyone knows Carden, they know that she wasn’t up for this option – not until the race was finished.  So I got her on piggy back one last time and walked through the remainder of the course, dodging the final few obstacles and going ahead without our teammates.  Time was of the essence here and Carden was potentially heading towards hypothermia.  Upon finishing, there were no flashing lights, no post-race interviews, or photo finishes.  Simply the knowledge that we conquered an incredible challenge and took a stand against muscular dystrophy and FSH together and that with a great team you can achieve a seemingly impossible goal – that’s what Spartans do.  AROO!

Just so everyone knows, Carden was able to recover after the race and warm up. Here she is with her completion medal and a big smile.

If you’re interested in supporting Carden’s cause and fundraiser for a cure… navigate to our Go Fund Me page.  I believe this won’t be the last time we set out for an incredible challenge like this.

Posted in Best Cause | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

James, Madison 2_cred Ben Robi PhotographyIt’s almost time to break out those spring clothes! I have a simple exercise that will get you toned and ready for shorts in no time: the walking lunge. It’s my favorite move to target the thighs, butt and core. Let’s start lunging!

1. Stand tall with your feet together, shoulders back and hands by your side or on your hips – whatever makes you feel comfortable.

2. Take one step forwards with the right leg, making sure to keep that core tight, and sink down until both knees are at a 90-degree angle.

3. Push off the back leg and bring the feet together. Do the same move with the other leg, moving forward with each lunge.

To prevent knee strain or injury, make sure your front knee does not go past your big toe during any lunge. Start slow with 10 to 15 reps, rest and repeat three times. As you get better, challenge yourself by adding hand weights and increasing your reps. You’ll be ready in no time to show off those sexy legs and tight tush.

Posted in Madison James' Fitness Picks | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Paleo Snack Bites, pic 1With just a touch of sweetness, this bite-sized snack can really hit the spot without derailing your healthy eating plan. The healthy fats and omega-3s in the walnuts and coconut can help recharge your mind and keep you focused. Landria Voigt, a nutritional consultant at the Atlanta Center for Holistic and Integrative Medicine and b logger at her site “Stir It Up,” offers this recipe and many more in her recently published book “Super Paleo Snacks.”


2 large apples, chopped

1 cup raw almonds

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

2 tbsp coconut palm sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp sea salt

3 eggs

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp butter, melted


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a food processor, blend the apples, almonds, walnuts, coconut, coconut palm sugar, cinnamon and salt until the apples and nuts are chopped into small pieces.

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, vanilla and butter. Add the nut/apple mixture to the bowl and stir well. Use a tablespoon to scoop the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and flatten just slightly with your hand to shape. This should yield about 20 bites. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until lightly browned along the edges.

 Courtesy of Landria Voigy, stiritup.me, atlantaholisticmedicine.com

Posted in Best Bites | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

IMG_6418 high resMolly Hopkins and Cynthia Decker from Livi Rae Lingerie are  here to share their insight and best advice on how to make the years over the age of 40 some of your best.

What healthy message do you most want to share? 

Molly: Livi Rae Lingerie specializes in bra fit for bust health. We fit women from all walks of life, all shapes and sizes, and we also help clients that have had mastectomies and lumpsectomies due to breast cancer.

How do your services help people in their 40s, 50s and beyond feel their best? 

Cynthia: When I hit 43, it started to sink in that my body was changing. Women come in that are in that situation too, and we let them know that they’re beautiful. Everybody goes through this, and we can relate.

Does self-esteem affect the bra-fitting process? 

Molly: It does. We’ve seen young girls that are concerned with underdeveloped breasts or they’re fuller than most girls in their class. We pride ourselves in building self-esteem. We call it “giving the gift of life” because we lift your spirits and your breasts.

What do you love most about the work you do? 

Cynthia: We really are a no-judgment zone. We help everybody whether you’re a transgender man, a woman who’s pregnant or a child that’s developed due to hormones or obesity. We don’t turn you away.

Posted in Best Advice | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

By Laura Carson Miller

BSA - March Best Beauty ImageHarness Plant Power

Struggling with dry cuticles? Try Aloe vera juice. Aloe vera strengthens skin’s moisture barrier, helping it hold on to moisture for longer. Mix a drop or two of Aloe vera juice in with any regular hand lotion to step up your moisturizing game in a flash! You can pick up a bottle at most grocery stores.

DIY Dry Shampoo

If you color your hair, you know that every day you skip a suds-and-water shampoo is a day you’re prolonging your rich, glossy color. To extend the life of your color or even refresh your hair after a workout, try dry shampoo. It’s super simple to create your own dry shampoo at home with these recipes:

For brunettes - Mix 1/2 cup of organic cornstarch and two to three tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder. The darker your hair, the more cocoa powder you can use.

For redheads - Mix 1/2 cup of organic cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of cinnamon.

For blondes - Mix 1/2 cup of organic cornstarch and three drops of the essential oil of your choice, such as chamomile or lavender.

A salt shaker or a used spice jar with a perforated plastic dispenser makes it easy to apply your DIY dry shampoo. For best results, apply to roots and let sit for two minutes, and then use your fingers to massage the dry shampoo into your scalp. Finally, turn your head upside down and brush thoroughly to make sure the dry shampoo is distributed evenly. Then take a moment to admire yourself in the mirror!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA5 Tips to Master Your Mascara

Not surprisingly, many women consider mascara their “desert island” beauty product. Alyson Hoag, owner of Atlanta’s Authentic Beauty, shared these tips for mastering the art of mascara:

1. If your lashes are relatively straight, begin by curling them.

2. To apply, look up and wiggle the brush along your lashes as you apply in upward motions. Use as little mascara as possible on this first pass.

3. Look down and apply on top of the lash.

4. Repeat this process on the other eye and do another coat on each.

5. Before the mascara dries, you can use a lash comb to separate your lashes if needed without pulling them out.

Details: Authentic Beauty, 4674 Roswell Road, Atlanta, GA, (404) 849-0443, myimagejourney.com

HollyBeth Organics beauty mist picPlay Misty for Me

HollyBeth Organics’ newest product is a USDA Certified Organic Body Mist, a daily mist beneficial for body (and hair) and packed with delicious nourishing goodness. Cucumber hydrosol boasts vitamins and antioxidants to hydrate and reverse inflammation. Neroli hydrosol, known for its ability to improve skin’s elasticity, tightens pores and brightens complexion. Grapefruit essential oil, with its high Vitamin C content and antioxidants, is both antibacterial and antiseptic. With each use, skin is refreshed, soothed, hydrated and lightly perfumed.

Details: HollyBeth Organics, 659 Auburn Ave. #211, Atlanta, GA, (404) 549-7403. hollybethorganics.com


Posted in Best Beauty | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

By: David Martin, RN, CRNFA

Get Younger Looking Legs As they do every year, spring and summer fashions will draw a lot of attention to the legs and ankles. How can you knock 10 years off the look of your legs, especially when you’re standing or sitting all day, chasing children or dollars – or both?

Exercise. Movement will increase the flow of blood and lymph to help prevent ankle swelling. You’ve heard it before: park far away and walk, take the stairs and make an extra lap around the grocery store.

Raise your feet. Even just for 15 minutes, raising your feet six to 12 inches above your heart will relieve some swelling and re-energize you.

Skip the salt and sugar. Salt makes you retain fluids, putting extra pressure on your veins. Sugar increases the risk of obesity and Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to poor circulation.

Stop smoking. Nicotine and all the related chemicals in cigarettes – even the new “smokeless” cigarettes – wreak havoc on your vascular system, including the veins in your legs.

Find support. While it is still chilly, look to support socks and stockings to help with circulation. Come summer, support athletic wear helps boost blood flow back to the heart and helps reduce swelling.

Treat varicose veins. Varicose veins, spider veins and their underlying cause, venous insufficiency, add age to the look of your legs and make you feel older due to the pain and fatigue. Men and women – especially athletes who participated in contact sports or people who have varicose veins in their families – are often surprised by how much younger they look and feel following treatment on their veins.

Posted in Best Health | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

IMG_6880 high resMadison James from B98.5 FM is here to share her insight and best advice on how to make the years over the age of 40 some of your best.

What healthy message do you most want to share? 

When it comes to getting healthy, people put so much pressure on themselves and set expectations so high. I just want people to focus on moving and being active.

How does fitness help people in their 40s, 50s and beyond feel their best? 

You can get started at any age! You just have to work out smarter, not harder. Try things that are low impact, like water aerobics, dancing or riding bikes and walking on the BeltLine.

What role does food play in overall health and fitness?

You have to eat good, real foods. I tell people, “Whatever is working for you, go with it. But is it something you can do for the rest of your life?” Can you drink shakes for the rest of your life? I’m going to go with “no.” It’s about a lifestyle and learning to eat in moderation.

What is your favorite workout? 

Any workout I can do in 30 minutes – I’m in and out three times a week and then call it a day.

Posted in Best Advice | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment