The scoop on what’s new around town 


GMO OMG ArtworkYou’ve likely heard buzz about genetically modified foods, whether from a news segment discussing GMO labeling laws, from a health-conscious friend or during your own research about healthy eating. But amid all the hype, you may have missed GMO 101. What are GMO plants and foods, really? How do they affect the environment and our health? Why are companies genetically modifying plants in the first place? These questions and more are answered in the documentary GMO OMG, which recently became available in Target locations across the country. Coming from director Jeremy Seifert, who simply wanted to know what he was feeding his young children, this documentary will get you up to speed and make you an informed consumer on the topic of GMO ingredients in food.

Details: Target stores nationwide,

No Bartender Required

Bottle +Cocktail Pine Jal

For this year’s holiday parties, enjoy a cocktail without spending time mixing ingredients. Native Atlantan Elizabeth Wiltgen has launched Jane St Vodka Soda, a carbonated mixed drink that combines vodka with fruit juice and agave nectar. Right now, the brand offers four delicious flavors: original with lime, Grapefruit Meyer Lemon, Pineapple Jalapeno and Peach Peppercorn, which are available throughout Atlanta. Starts at $15.99.

Details: Available throughout Atlanta liquor stores,

Drink Up 

All MilksA new line of organic cold-pressed juices has hit the Atlanta scene. Bamboo Juices, led by CEO Kelley Sibley in collaboration with the chefs at local Serenbe Farms, offers unique juice mixes such as Cinnamon Yam, Red Pepper Melon, Sweet Fennel and more. But if a veggie juice isn’t your thing, Bamboo Juices also offers organic almond milk mixes. The almond milks have indulgent flavors such as Vanilla Mint, Honey Turmeric and Deep Chocolate, and each one is packed with protein. Try Bamboo’s juices or milks by the bottle or as part of a cleanse to reset after the holidays. Starts at $8 per bottle.

Details: Available at Serenbe or through free home delivery,

Track It

WeGo_Hybrid_Product ShotWhen a fitness tracker offers more features than usual, you might expect it to go up in price. That’s not the case with the new WeGo fitness tracker from EB Sport Group. Like other leading brands, this fitness bracelet connects to your smart phone and tracks sleep, calories burned and motion throughout the day, and even doubles as a watch. The difference? This brand’s trackers start at just $30. WeGo also offers a clip-on tracker alternative to the bracelet that can be worn on your waistband or pocket. Check out your options at Sports Authority and Dick’s Sporting Goods locations.


Healthy at Home 

child_with_thermometerKids usually don’t consult the clock before getting sick, but thanks to MedZed, they can receive medical attention even when the pediatrician’s office is closed. This new at-home pediatric care service addresses flu, allergies, fever and more for kids ages 2 to 17. The process includes a phone consultation with a MedZed pediatric nurse or pediatrician and a house call to examine and diagnose your child. The practitioner will call in any necessary prescriptions, give you a follow-up phone call and keep your regular pediatrician in the loop. The service costs a flat fee of $150.


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Warm Gingered Sweet Potatoes

Chef Megan McCarthy, a healthy lifestyle consultant and the Edible Garden Chef at Atlanta Botanical Garden, loves to share fast, fresh ways to enjoy local, seasonable produce. When the temperature drops and you crave warming, nurturing foods, Chef McCarthy recommends turning to sweet potatoes. Especially in cold season, sweet potatoes can deliver just what the doctor ordered; a load of vitamins A, B and C that you can access in just a short cooking time. Boiling or steaming sweet potatoes are your best bet for saving loads of cooking time as well as reducing the effect on your blood sugar. This recipe also includes a bit of natural fat, which creates a satisfying dish, and fresh ginger for a pop of liveliness.


4 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

4 cups water

1-inch fresh ginger root, peeled

½ cup coconut or almond milk

2 tbsps pure maple syrup

1 tbsp extra-virgin coconut oil

1 pinch sea salt

Freshly ground nutmeg to taste

½ cup pecans, toasted


Peel and dice sweet potatoes and place in medium saucepan. Add water to cover and cook on medium high for about 10 minutes or until fork tender. Drain sweet potatoes.

In food processor, pulse peeled ginger root to mince. Add cooked sweet potatoes, coconut milk, maple syrup, coconut oil, sea salt and nutmeg, and pulse until smooth consistency.

In dry sauté pan, lightly toast pecans over medium high heat until fragrant. Garnish sweet potatoes with toasted pecans to serve. Makes four servings.

–Courtesy of Chef Megan McCarthy,

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Land Rover pic, cred Biltmore EstateIn autumn, the Biltmore House’s views of the Blue Ridge Mountains transform into a vibrant array of fall foliage, but that’s not the only reason Atlantans head to Asheville. The Biltmore’s Outdoor Adventure Center now offers off-road driving lessons from the Land Rover Experience Driving School. The lessons cover the basics of driving off-road, such as steep ascents, descents, side tilts, log crossings and rock crawls, and the drive can be customized to your level of skill and comfort. If you don’t want to be in the driver’s seat, let an expert driver take the wheel while you enjoy the views from the passenger’s seat. Prices vary based on course selection.

Details: One Lodge St., Asheville, NC, 800-411-3812, 

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Dr. Christopher Killingsworth from Atlanta Aesthetics answers a reader’s question about mommy makeovers.

Killingsworth, MD, Chris_cred himself

Q: What makes a woman a good candidate for a mommy makeover?

A: Women experience a number of changes to their bodies after childbirth. They may notice a loss of fullness to their breasts and a change in shape. Also, the stomach may develop loose skin and an abdominal bulge that exercise just will not help. A good candidate for a “mommy makeover” experiences these changes and wants to restore her breasts and abdomen to their pre-baby condition. She needs to be relatively close to her goal weight, in good health and ready to put herself first for a short time after the procedure.

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Christie Carden York from Century Travel & Affiliates is here to give you her best travel advice for the holidays.

York, Christie_cred Christie York


What are the toughest parts of holiday travel?

Availability and inflated rates. The Caribbean in particular is incredibly popular, and many hotels will have severe minimum night requirements (up to 14 nights) that you have to adhere to. Add on the fact that rates can be double that of any other season, and you’ve got a challenge when everyone wants the same type of destination.

How can people overcome those challenges?

Plan early and think outside the box. There are gorgeous places in California that are still in the low 70s during the day. Alternatively, head somewhere cool and enjoy the wintery weather, such as a ski destination.

What are some tips for traveling with family or in large groups?

Don’t over commit and run yourself ragged trying to see or do too much during this time of year. Keep some downtime in place to just be together.

What are your favorite places to visit during the holiday season?

London, Paris and Washington, D.C. are absolutely gorgeous during the holidays. If I am itching for warm weather, I’ll head to southern California.

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Dr. Edmond I. Griffin from Dermatology Associates of Atlanta answers a reader’s question about the latest technology to tighten aging skin.

Griffin, MD, Edmond_cred practice name

Q: I’m looking for a non-invasive way to tighten my aging skin. What’s the latest technology?

A: We recently added the advanced Infini™ skin tightening system by Lutronic® to our selection of services that address familiar skin concerns such as loss of elasticity, hyperpigmentation and acne scarring. The system features two flexible hand pieces that allow for precise targeting with the unique combination of supercharged micro-needling and radiofrequency technology. These work together to volumize and rejuvenate skin while stimulating collagen production to produce tighter and more toned, refined skin.

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Golda Kombucha FPO 1After the heavy food of the holidays, you may feel the need to balance your belly back out. Probiotics are a great way to promote healthy digestion, and they can be found in kombucha, a fermented tea. This drink packs all the benefits of probiotics and is easy to incorporate into your daily diet. Try Golda Kombucha, brewed by local Melanie Wade, who follows her 92-year-old grandmother’s recipe. She brews flavors such as Hibiscus Oolong, Strawberry Mint or Pear Ginger, and you can find them at Nuts N’ Berries, Dolce Vegan Bakery, Candler Park Market and Little Vinyl Lounge for just $4 per bottle.


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Jessica Shops Pick of the Month

jessica shops

Want to make healthy eating easier on your wallet? Stretch your grocery budget at Whole Foods Market with these tips.

Start by picking up the Whole Deal value guide found in front of the store or online, which includes coupons and budget-friendly recipes. As you shop, look for 365 Everyday Value items from the company’s private label brand, which offers quality products at competitive prices. Save 10 percent whenever you buy a case (six or more) of an item, which can be mixed and matched – and yes, this offer is also valid in the wine department! Scoop your own grains and nuts from the bulk bins, which allow you to buy the exact right amount. Take advantage of the salad bar’s new all-you-can-fill option for $12.99. You can also join the Kids Club so your kids can enjoy a free snack while you shop.

And if you’re dissatisfied with any of their products, simply keep your receipt and return the item.

For more info on Jessica, visit


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Dr. Keith M. Dockery from Buckhead ENT answers a reader’s question about sinus and migraine headaches.

Dockery, MD, Keith_need cred

Q: Is it a sinus or migraine headache? 

A: Sinus headaches could have associated eye, cheek or forehead pressure and pain. They might also be accompanied by some nasal congestion and postnasal drip. Migraines often have a preceding aura, involve one side of the head or face, or may even make one sensitive to light and sound. Sometimes migraines might be brought on by a sinus-related issue, so a complete ENT and neurologic exam and appropriate imaging will help in making the diagnosis.

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Career coach Hallie Crawford is here to give you her best advice on how to request holiday time off.

Crawford, Hallie 2_cred Sara Speert Photography

How should employees request holiday time off?

Give them plenty of advance notice. Set a time to chat about it with your boss, as opposed to asking while passing the hallway.

What should employees avoid doing when asking for time off?

Don’t be vague about the time frame, and don’t ramble on about where you’re going. Focus on when you’ll be gone, how long, and have a plan for how your work will be handled in the meantime.

Is it important to look like a team player and avoid taking holiday time off?

You don’t have to completely avoid taking time off – everyone needs a break and balance in order to work effectively. To look like a team player, it’s more about asking for the time (not demanding it), doing so in advance (not last minute), and asking for it in the right way. If this is a busy time of year for your industry, you may stick around for the holiday but take time off before or after.

How can employees fully disconnect during the holidays?

Have a plan for yourself. Leave your phone in the hotel room during the day, turn it off at night – whatever you need to do to truly unplug.

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