Dianne Kaseta from The Event Shoppe is here to give you her best advice about how to throw a great summer shindig! 

Dianne KasetaQ: What’s special about a summer party?

A: As the weather warms up, summertime lends itself to wonderful open-air parties and unique guest experiences both indoors and out. 

Q: What are some fun summer party themes?

A: Fun summertime party themes include Backyard Beach party, Down on the Farm Barbecue, lobster and clambakes or Hawaiian luaus. 

Q: Tell us about the best bash you’ve attended recently. 

A: The best bash I have attended was a Great Gatsby themed event. The 1920s art deco theme was carried throughout from the invitation, to the decadent menu, incredible decor, lively music and tasty champagne. 

Q: What are some tips to keep a party’s budget manageable? 

A: The food and beverage selection is generally the most expensive, so think through specifics like service options and pricing structure (a la carte vs. per person pricing). Specifically, plan ahead and avoid last minute, rushed impulse buys. 

Q: What is the most important element of a party? 

A: Creating a unique and memorable atmosphere is most important. If your guests are having a great time and enjoying one another, then the focus on other elements becomes a little less important. 


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Guest blogger David Hass, managing director of the local Dignity Memorial network, sheds some light on how to go about planning a life celebration for you or a loved one. 

David Hass

For many families, the summer holidays are a time to come together, honor our fallen service members and remember loved ones who have passed. These holiday get-togethers also provide an opportunity to talk with living family members about how they would like to be remembered.

In a growing number of households, folks may be surprised at what they hear: Aunt Susan wants a memorial with a catered dinner, a live pianist and wines she has hand-selected, instead of a traditional black-crepe funeral.

She isn’t alone.

One in three Atlanta residents (37 percent) said they would choose to have a non-traditional memorial or life celebration instead of a traditional funeral service, according to the Dignity Memorial National Opinion Index (NOI), which tracks opinions on the topic in Atlanta and nationwide.

As people here break with tradition, the possibilities are virtually limitless. Memorials increasingly feature live music, full catering, a bar and personalized keepsakes – with guests walking to the car saying, “I didn’t know you could do that for a funeral.”

In fact, some individuals’ memorial wishes might completely surprise their family and friends. In Atlanta, 18 percent of survey respondents said they would choose to have their remains incorporated into an ocean reef, and 12 percent indicated they would opt to have their ashes put into a capsule and released into space. Out of eight options for a preferred final send-off, “standard burial” tied for last.

The goal, say many individuals and families, is to create a personalized event that truly captures the essence of their loved one. While many people create unique, celebratory services for loved ones who have just passed, others choose to plan their own services or discuss family members’ wishes in advance. Although it may seem daunting to start conversations around memorial planning, poll data shows that most people welcome them – and women are often at the heart of the discussion. In Atlanta, 76 percent of women said their living friends and family members have had conversations about their preferences for burial or cremation, compared to just 61 percent of men. Women here are ahead of the national rate of 70 percent.

Moreover, women want to know their loved ones’ preferences beyond burial or cremation. More women than men say that having conversations about preferences beyond burial or cremation – a loved one’s wishes for a memorial or life celebration vs. a traditional funeral, for example – are extremely beneficial.

You can start a conversation by considering a few questions:

·         What is meaningful to you? Are you passionate about travel? Sports? Dancing? Family? Elements of a lifelong passion can be woven throughout a service.

·         Are there favorite foods or styles of cuisine that you’d like to share with guests? Would you like to serve appetizers, a full dinner or desserts?

·         What type of music resonates? Will it be a live bluegrass band, a solo cellist or show-tunes piped in?

·         What flowers are your hallmark? Do you favor bunches of wildflowers or are you known for your prize-winning roses?

·         Would you like to give guests a personalized memento that they can keep? A cook might share a wooden spoon with a favorite recipe, or a monogrammed golf ball would be appropriate for someone who loved to play 18 holes.

Write down thoughts on these topics and discuss them with family members and close friends. Many people also opt to talk with a funeral director about their wishes, and even pay for their service in advance, both to ensure their memorial fits their vision and to relieve their family of some responsibilities at a difficult time.

The website www.dignityatlanta.com also offers more inspirational ideas for personalized tributes, as well as a free booklet on planning a life celebration.



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The scoop on what’s new around Atlanta 

Become a Citizen Farmer 

Farmer D

If you drive past Farmer D’s store on Briarcliff Road, you’ll see raised beds full of thriving veggies out front. Walk into any Whole Food in Atlanta and you’ll see Farmer D’s organic compost for sale. Now you can find Farmer D’s products in the bookstore too! With the release of “Citizen Farmers: The Biodynamic Way to Grow Healthy Food, Build Thriving Communities, and Give Back to the Earth,” Daron “Farmer D” Joffe brings his expertise out of the store and into your hands. Learn what plants butterflies and bees prefer, find tips for starting a community garden and discover how green your thumb really is. 

Details: www.farmerd.com 

Get the Life You Want! 

Oprah The Life You Want Weekend

Ever since Oprah Winfrey’s iconic talk show went off the air, we’ve missed her insight in our living rooms each afternoon. Thankfully, she keeps the inspiration coming on the Oprah Winfrey Network, and now she’s bringing her life lessons right to Atlanta! On September 5 and 6, “Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend” visits Philips Arena as the first stop on Oprah’s nationwide tour. The weekend features a personal talk from Oprah on Friday night, followed by a Saturday full of encouragement, connection and learning from her hand-picked speakers. These leaders include “Iyanla: Fix My Life” star Iyanla Vanzant, “Eat, Pray, Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert and renowned physician Dr. Deepak Chopra, among others. Book your tickets now for what promises to be a weekend of growth, self-improvement and fun, Tickets start at $99. 

Details: www.oprahweekend.com 

The Doctor is In


The doctor will see you now – right on your phone. AskMD, a free app for iPhone, can help you collect and store your health information in one convenient place. You first answer a questionnaire about your symptoms, medications and health history. AskMD can then track your symptoms, provide a personalized assessment of the cause and even recommend doctors qualified to treat you. This app comes from Sharecare, an Atlanta-based online health platform co-founded by Dr. Mehmet Oz. 

Details: www.sharecare.com/askmd 

Get Active! 

KP Corporate Run Walk

The annual Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk steps off from Turner Field on September 11 this year. Leading up to the event, you have the opportunity to gather your co-workers and participate in the Get Active, Atlanta! eight-week training program, which begins on July 14. Olympian Jeff Galloway has prepared training schedules for both runners and walkers, and each registered participant can join in on Saturday morning, Wednesday evening or Thursday evening training sessions at Phidippides. Register today as an individual or with a corporate team.  

Details: www.kpcorporaterunwalk.com

Convenient Crafts

Georgia Crafted

Despite every intention to shop local, sometimes it’s easier just to swing by Target. Not anymore! The monthly subscription service Georgia Crafted lets you sign up for a monthly delivery of four to five products made by Georgia artisans. Local bath products, music, stationary, art and even food arrive right to your front door. Try one month for just $29.99. 

Details: www.georgiacrafted.com 


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Best Self Atlanta’s editor Flannery Keck talks about the newly opened Chow Bing in Buckhead, which offers a healthier Chinese food option to Atlantans.

I used to really love Chinese food. Nearly every week during college, my friends and I walked to a little hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant around the corner from our dorms to pick up a cheap, easy, tasty dinner. Chow bing Fast forward a few years—I rarely eat Chinese food anymore because I have no idea what goes into it. Where does the meat come from? Was it humanely raised? And what was all the discussion about MSG a few years ago? I decided it would be safer to steer clear altogether.

But now my taste buds and my health-conscious mind are ready to enjoy Chinese food again at the new location of Chow Bing. Located right in the Disco Kroger shopping center, Chow Bing is not only convenient, but it assuages all my prior concerns about the cuisine. Gary Lin, the owner, began this restaurant with the intent to offer dishes that are true to the heart of Chinese cuisine: “Fresh protein, vegetables and healthy rices,” he states. “This is what Chow Bing delivers in a fast, affordable setting. We are excited to showcase ‘responsible Chinese food.’”

Farmer Chow's Salad at Chow Bing

Farmer Chow’s Salad

I first tried the “Build a Bing Platter” option for dinner a few weeks ago. I started with a base of lo mein noodles, which always used to be my favorite. For my protein, I added tofu. Gary told me they have a dedicated tofu fryer, so vegetarians, your tofu is safe from being cooked with meat! I also added mushrooms, peanuts and pickled carrots to the mix. All together, it sounds like a weird combination, but I loved it! My husband and I also tried the bubble tea—I had mine with soy milk, but you can also make them “boozy” by adding liquor.

Since that first night, I won’t tell you how many times I’ve been back for lunch or dinner. And one of the best parts? I can still bank on Chinese food being a cheap, easy meal—just one that I don’t have to sacrifice health in order to enjoy.

Check out Chow Bing online at www.chowbing.com, and tweet us @BestSelfAtlanta or me @FlanneryKeck to tell us what you ordered!

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Dr. Mark Beaty from Beaty Facial Plastic Surgery answers a reader’s question about how to get rid of those stubborn saddlebags. 

Dr Mark Beaty

Q: I am in pretty good shape and work out, but I can’t get rid of my hips, otherwise known as saddlebags. What are my options other than surgery or liposuction? 

A: This is a great time to ask that question, as CoolSmooth, a new applicator created by CoolSculpting, can reduce fat in the outer thighs, hips and upper abdomen with no needles, surgery or downtime. During a one- to two-hour treatment, CoolSmooth delivers precisely controlled cooling to unwanted fat cells. Several weeks after the procedure, cooled fat cells begin a process called “apoptosis” and begin to shrink and disappear. The body will gradually eliminate the cooled fat cells, reducing the thickness of the fat layer. 

Do you have questions for our doctors? If so, please email them to editorial@bestselfatlanta.com 

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All aboard! On July 13 and July 27, enjoy the scenery of Lake Lanier while tasting delicious wines, The Lake Lanier Wine Cruise Series sets sail from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., giving you plenty of time to sample each wine and the delectable appetizer paired with it. Lake Lanier Wine Cruise SeriesPlus, you’ll have the chance to mingle with industry professionals and winemakers themselves. Tickets are $60 per person or $110 per couple, and additional dates are available through the summer and fall. If you’d rather sip a different spirit them wine, reserve your spot on the October 19 “Cigar & Scotch Cruise.” No matter the date, you’ll be sipping in style aboard the 85-foot island Princess yacht. 

Details: (770) 945-8787, www.lakelanierislands.com 

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Street food has come a long way from the signature New York City food cart hod dog. Atlanta street food festival Come experience the variety of incredibly sophisticated cuisine at the Atlanta Street Food Festival on July 12. On this Saturday in Piedmont Park, you can enjoy a kimchee sesame-salad slider from Yumbii, pumpkin ravioli from Ibiza Bites, Asian food with a Southern twist at Viet-Nomie’s and more. If you’re having trouble deciding what to order, download this year’s new Atlanta Street Food Festival app and peruse menus, as well as the entertainment schedule from local bands. Adult tickets are $10.50, and children  12 and under get in for free. 

Details: www.atlantastreetfoodfestival.com 

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Fur Bus Founder Trey Humphreys is here to give you his best advice about how to throw a great summer party. 

Trey Humphreys


Q: How does music contribute to a successful party? 

A: Music is the backbone of any party. There is no such thing as a party without music – that would simply be a meeting or horribly boring gathering. 

Q: What was the music like at the best bash you’ve ever attended? 

A: I attended the TomorrowWorld Music Festival last year in Georgia, which consisted of a billion DJs playing electronic dance music (EDM). The energy was insane, and I danced for hours even though I was clearly the oldest person there. 

Q: What are some tips to keep a party’s music budget manageable? 

A: Music on a budget s a phone or iPod playlist and some speakers.  A DJ will run you about $300 per event or $100 an hour as a rule of thumb. 

Q: If someone could pick only a handful of songs to play at a party, what would you recommend? 

A: Check out the app Fitradio, which has various types of DJ sets you can listen to for ideas, or find good Spotify playlists. For example, the playlist called “Today’s Top Hits” created by Spotify is a crowd pleaser. Thank me later, you partying fiends. 

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Citizens of Cobb County, being active and healthy this summer may benefit more than just your health! Cobb2020 is holding a social media contest that allows you to show off your favorite fitness routine. Do you love to hike, mountain bike or swim? Just snap a photo and send it to Cobb2020 for your chance to win a weekly prize. 

Cobb2020The Cobb2020 Partnership is comprised of several organizations and individuals who are dedicated to helping the residents of Cobb Country live healthy lifestyles. Cobb2020 is also responsible for the delivery of essential health services in Cobb County. Cobb2020 is made possible through the Community Transformation Grant (CTG) funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The summer fitness contest kicked off on June 16 and runs until July 31. Here is how you can enter: 

• Post a picture on Cobb2020’s Facebook or Twitter page showing a healthy workout (running, biking, hiking) or even a great workout at the gym 
• Use the hashtag #GetActiveCobb2020 on Facebook or Twitter 

Cobb2020Cobb2020 will be choosing winners randomly each week for a $10 gift card to Amazon.
There is no limit to how involved you can get—participants can enter as many times as they would like. 

There is no time like the present to get yourself, your family and your friends living a healthy lifestyle. So get outside and start snapping those pictures! 

For more information on the #GetActiveCobb2020 contest, visit cobb2020.com/en/getactivecobb2020.html





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Guest blogger Diana Hofsommer, development director for Camp Horizon, details how being a summer camp counselor can positively impact the life of a child. 

If you could positively change the life of one child in only one week, would you? Camp Horizon is recruiting male volunteers over age 18 for a mentoring Summer Camp program this July 12 through 18. Since 1982, Camp Horizon has impacted hundreds of Metro Atlanta’s most vulnerable children living in foster care. Camp Horizon

The overnight camp takes place in Rutledge, GA, at Camp Twin Lakes. Through a partnership with the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) and private foster care placement agencies, each child, aged 8 to 11, is matched with one adult mentor for an entire, life-changing week. No special skills are needed. Willingness to have fun is mandatory.

Swimming, biking, horseback riding and arts and crafts, among other things, offer campers opportunities to learn new skills and succeed. Daily self-esteem classes tackle tough topics like self-awareness, feelings, anger management, safety, and affirmation through role playing, games and puppet shows.

During the week, trust builds and friendships evolve. Many positive changes are visible within only a few days, and in time, campers begin to experience the world in a new way. Summer Camp provides campers a chance to see what is possible for themselves, not only in just one week, but in a lifetime. This is a powerful tool for victims of trauma. Camp Horizon is a place where children in foster care can just be “regular kids” and where they can be free to play and heal.Camp Horizon

Over the last eight years, I’ve mentored three little girls. I was able to help them learn to swim, ride a bike and face new challenges. I watched and cheered as they stumbled and got back up again. For many of our campers, there is no person in their lives to fill that role. For others, we represent supplemental support, which all children need and deserve to thrive, regardless of what hand they were dealt in life.

Camp Horizon’s mission is to restore dignity and hope to children, teens and young adults who have been abused and neglected, empowering them to make good decisions and lead healthy, productive lives.

Camp Horizon offers continuity year-round for campers who graduate into successive programs. At age 12, campers join the Leadership Development Program (LDP), where there is greater focus on peer interaction, group activities, life skills and community service. At age 18, they graduate into the Camp Horizon Adult Mentoring Program (CHAMPs), where dedicated mentors help guide their transition into young adulthood. Year-round outings provide further stability and consistency to deserving kids, many of whom lack this elsewhere in their lives. All programs are provided at no cost.

Camp Horizon This year, Camp Horizon has a waiting list for 40 boys and girls, but we still need three to five more men to volunteer as counselors. Being short on male counselors means that we will have to turn that many boys away from a life-changing experience.

What are you doing July 12 through 18? Volunteering with Camp Horizon might be the best week of your year.

For more information about Summer Camp and/or year-round volunteer opportunities call our program director Lea Levine at 770-891-6082 or email her at Lea.Levine@camphorizon.net. 

Check out our video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SOcpAYof7c

Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/camphorizon

Read more about us through our on-going testimonial campaign at Great Nonprofits: http://greatnonprofits.org/org/camp-horizon-inc-1


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