Dr. Starla Fitch from Love Medicine Again and Eye Consultants of Atlanta answers a reader’s question about how to make the most of your time with your doctors.

starla fitch


Q: How can I make the most of the time I have with my doctors? 

A: Bring a complete list of your allergies, medicines and dosages, either by writing them down, taking photos of the bottles on your phone or bringing them to the appointment. Start a health journal for each member of your family, and write down your top three concerns. Bring that journal to the appointment and make notes to help you remember what the doctor said. If you don’t understand, ask. Never feel embarrassed or shy about asking for clarification about something the doctor says. The best health care is when the patient and the doctor are on the same page.

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

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It’s Time To Get Organized’s Leslie Walden is here to give you her best advice on how to get your home organized now that you are an empty nester!

Leslie Walden


Q: How can parents reorganize areas of the house now that the kids are gone? 

A: Wait a bit before you reorganize closets and rooms. Give yourself time to evaluate your priorities and lifestyle, and consider what will make the most sense. A guest bedroom? A workout room? An office? The Georgia Chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers can help.

Q: How can parents reorganize their schedules when the kids are out of the house?

A: Sort out the types of new projects you will want to participate in. On a calendar (paper or electronic), put in your working hours, meetings and other fixed obligations. Then you can fill in the remaining time with your new projects.

Q: What are some tips for adjusting to the new schedule? 

A: Stay busy. Plunge into new activities. With evenings and weekends free, there is more time to do these things and more space to do it in.

Q: Is there anything parents should avoid doing with all this free time? 

A: Yes. Avoid thinking and talking about the kids 24/7. Keep reminding yourself that you raised your child or children to be independent. You have achieved your goals. Enjoy your newfound freedom.

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The scoop on what’s new around Atlanta 

Seasonal Skin Care

anna apotheca

Eating seasonally can improve your health and digestion, but don’t stop there! Try changing your skin care by the season too. Local wellness and skin care line Anna Apotheca offers Seasonal Ayurvedic Apothecary Kits to address your seasonal needs inside and out. The kit’s new fall edition combats the cool, dry air of autumn with a purifying facial serum, a detoxifying French green clay mask, a moisturizing aloe facial toner and more. The kit also includes two natural teas with ingredients such as lemon balm, chamomile and dandelion to help the drinker stay grounded and warm in the cooler months.

Details: 887 W. Marietta St. NW, Unit M-107, Atlanta, GA, www.annaapotheca.com 



Best Self’s Healthy Living Expo 

kp blog

On September 11, join Best Self Atlanta and 16,000 Atlantans at this year’s Healthy Living Expo. This event brings together the city’s health, beauty and fitness experts to kick off the annual Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk. Visit the expo tent adjacent to Turner Field for prize giveaways like free beauty treatments, consultations, fitness classes and health screenings. Also, don’t miss the fun group workout demonstrations and the chance to post it all on social media from the TapSnap photo booth. The event kicks off at 4:00 p.m. See you at the race!

Details: www.bestselfatlanta.com, www.kpcorporaterunwalk.com 



Is Your Cleanser Clean?

Owners Lamond and Wagoner

Owners Lamond and Wagoner

Fig & Flower, an eco-beauty and skin care boutique, recently opened in Virginia Highland. The store offers a huge selection of natural makeup, hair care, skin care and even home care products like laundry detergent and air freshener. The owners, Sara Lamond and Blair Wagoner, hand-pick every product carried in the store, excluding any that contain common toxic ingredients like aluminum, parabens, phthalates, sulfates and more. Want to truly overhaul your personal products? Try their Beauty Bag Cleanout service, during which Wagoner and Lamond will evaluate your current products and make custom recommendations for safer options.

Details: 636 N. Highland Ave., Atlanta, GA, www.shopfigandflower.com 



A Rockin’ Run 

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When you run or walk, do you find yourself changing your speed to match the beat of your music? Ditch that habit with MatchMe, a new feature of the smart phone app RockMyRun. MatchMe adjusts your music to your speed, not the other way around. When you start your workout, just select a playlist, and the app’s sensors will match the music’s tempo to your steps per minute. Rock on, runners!

Details: www.rockmyrun.com 



Home Away From Home 


When you’re recovering from surgery, whether it is heart surgery, cancer treatment or even a cosmetic procedure, there’s no place like home. Unfortunately, few people have a chef or a nurse at home to aid the recovery process. Salude, a new care facility in Suwanee, bridges that gap – it’s a place to recover that is homier than a hospital but includes the perks of extra help. Salude has room service, concierge services, a nutritionist, a chef, therapists and medical professionals  on staff to ramp up your recovery. With such attentive care, you’ll be back on your feet in no time.

Details: 601 Northholt Parkway, Suwanee, GA, www.salude.com 

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Get Vaccinated

The numbers of cervical cancer deaths have dropped dramatically – almost 70 percent- since 1955, but it is still a concern for women today. According to Dr. Margarett Ellison from North Fulton Women’s Oncology, “Nearly all cervical cancers are caused by infection with particular strains of the human papillomavirus.” This sexually transmitted virus now has an FDA-approved vaccine, which is recommenced for both males and females before the onset of sexual activity Even those who are already sexually active may still receive some benefit from the HPV vaccine. A young caring doctor

Make the appointment

Regular Pap smears  and HPV tests can detect and analyze precancerous cells. Dr. Giuseppe Del Priore, the national director of gynecologic oncology at Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Southeastern Regional Medical Center, recommends, “Pap smears and HPV tests for women between 21 and 65 should be scheduled once every one to three years.”

Follow Up 

If your doctor detects and removes precancerous cells, you may encounter some difficulty with conception afterward, says Dr. Mark Perloe from Georgia Reproductive Specialists. “There is a significant risk of a weakened cervix,” he says. “Your physician should monitor cervical length, and if it appears to be shortened, a cervical cerclage stitch may be placed to reduce the risk of early delivery.”

Ask your doctor about these tests and procedures that can help maintain your cervical and overall health.

Editorial Resources: 

Giuseppe Del Priore, MD, MPH, Cancer Treatment Centers of America 

Margarett C. Ellison, MD, MHA, FACS, FACOG, North Fulton Women’s Oncology 

Mark Perloe, MD, Georgia Reproductive Specialists 

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Nothing perks people up like pets. It’s hard not to smile when faced with a wagging tail, a cute trick or a crazy costume, so all of these elements make for the perfect fundraising event. On September 6, local charity group Sweetwater Mission is hosting the first Marietta Mutt Strutt, a dog parade open to canine participants of all sizes.

At 10 a.m. on that Saturday, join an expected 1,500 attendees at Marietta First United Methodist Church. Registered dogs strut their stuff in the parade beginning at 11:30, an costumes are encouraged. Your dressy dog could win in categories such as Pet/Owner Look-Alike, School Spirit, At the Movies and others. If your pup isn’t crowd-friendly, enter them in the “People’s Choice Award” category by posting a photo on the Marietta Mutt Strutt Facebook page. Costume contest winners receive prizes from Costco, which include new dog beds.strutt

In addition to the parade, the Marietta Mutt Strutt offers plenty of other activities until 3 p.m. Swing by the Bone Bar to scoop up free treats for your dog, and cheer on the participants in the adorable Dachshund races. Shop at any of the 60 vendor booths while enjoying the day’s soundtrack of live bluegrass music performed by the Cherokee Cut Ups. If you’re considering adding another pup to your pack, visit the eight local rescue groups who will be there with adoptable dogs.

Parking and admission are free, and registration to walk your dog in the parade begins at $20 per dog and rises to $30 on the day of the event. The proceeds go to Sweetwater Mission, the newly named partnership of Our Father’s Hands and Christian Aid Mission Partnership, which supports homeless and low-income neighbors by providing clothes, food, education and other crucial resources. And their good work doesn’t stop there – with this event, they’re spreading smiles to everyone who attends this four-legged day of fun.

Details: 56 Whitlock Ave., Marietta, GA, (770) 241-4302, www.sweetwatermission.org 

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Each school day, 46 children are diagnosed with childhood cancer. With a numbers like that, you would expect that funding for childhood cancer research would be abundant, but that isn’t the case. Only 4 percent of the federal cancer research budget is allocated to childhood cancer research. rally_primary_2spotAfter experiencing childhood cancer first hand, the families of Walton High School came together to form the Rally Foundation in 2005. Since then, the foundation has gone nationwide and has given more than $5.25 million in research grants and funded 75 cutting-edge projects and fellows.
One of their projects is called “Ryder’s Research.” Ryder is another Walton student who was diagnosed with a brain tumor when she was only two years old. Considering the lack of research done for childhood cancer, Ryder had no choice but to undergo chemotherapy that was meant for adults. She recovered from her cancer, but still has to experience unpleasant and unpredictable after effects.
For several years, Ryder and her family raised money to find better chemotherapy options for children. From that determination and strength, Rally in the Valley was created. Rally in the Valley is a unique 7 X 7 ladies lacrosse tournament, hosted by Sportabella sportswear, which will take place September 6 and 7 in Raider Valley. A portion of the proceeds from the tournament go to fund “Ryder’s Research.” The public is encouraged to attend the tournament and cheer on the teams as they “shoot out cancer.”

Details: 1590 Bill Murdock Road, Marietta, Ga, www.rallyfoundation.org, www.sportabella.com 

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Just because it’s fall doesn’t mean that the garden slows down! Sign up for the Organic Farming and Gardening course at Cane Creek Farm, taught by Farmer Lynn Pugh. Best Bites Atlanta Putting to use her farm experience and background in biology and plant pathology, Pugh guides students through the basics of crop planning, soil biology and organic practices. All levels of experience are welcome in this class, and you’ll soon recoup the $475 registration cost by growing your own groceries. This fall, the course dates include September 13 and 27, October 11 and 25, and November 8, 15 and 22.

Details: 5110 Jekyll Road, Cumming, GA, (770) 889-3793, www.canecreekfarm.net, www.georgiaorganics.org/goevents 

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Marriage and family therapist Shatavia Thomas, DMFT, NCC, LMFT, is here to give you her best advice on how to have a full life with an empty nest!

shatavia thomas


Q: What emotions can parents expect to feel when their kids are out of the house?

A: Some empty nesters may feel lonely, bored, sad and/or anxious. Others may feel a sense of relief or pride. Many may feel excited about reinventing themselves.

Q: What challenges may arise during this time?

A: For so long, their lives have revolved around their children. Now parents may struggle with regaining a sense of identity and purpose. Likewise, reconnecting as a couple may shed light on relationship concerns overshadowed by parental responsibilities.

Q: How can parents support each other emotionally? 

A: Ask for help and accept support when in need. Stay active and connected. Prioritize self-care.

Q: How can parents give appropriate emotional support to their children?

A: Parents can encourage independence and maturity by showing that they are confident in their abilities. Be a listening ear, but let them resolve their own roommate sagas, employer or professor conflicts and relationship issues. Just as you did when they were infants, let go so they can take a few steps on their own. Otherwise, they may not realize they can get back up on their own when they stumble or fall.

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A Capella Book‘s Courtney Irene Conroy is here to give you her best advice on how to hit to books this summer.

Courtney Irene ConroyQ: What upcoming titles should people be sure to read? 

A: Matthew Thomas’ upcoming title, “We Are Not Ourselves,” is a sprawling debut about a young Irish-American girl’s coming of age. I’m also really looking forward to Lena Dunham’s “Not That Kind of Girl” and to “Bad Feminist” by Roxane Gray.

Q: Which lesser-known authors should people get to know?

A: Lesser-known authors, Atlanta edition: Josh Russell and Blake Butler. Start with Russell’s “A True History of the Captivation, Transport to Strange Lands, and Deliverance of Hannah Guttentag: A Novel” and Butler’s “Nothing: A Memoir of Insomnia.”

Q: What book format do you prefer to read? 

A: Recently, I’ve been listening to some things on tape, especially at the gym. I listened to Walter Kirn’s “Blood Will Out,” chillingly narrated by Stephen Bell Davies, and it was excellent.

Q: How can someone pick a winner in the bookstore? 

A: Ask one of the employees for the best or worst book they’ve been reading. If a book is disliked enough to inspire invective, there might be something to it. Just don;t go by book jacket design. This only works with wine labels.


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Labor Day weekend invites plenty of outdoor enjoyment, even through something as simple as sidewalk chalk. Marietta’s annual Art in the Park festival now includes The Chalk Spot, an opportunity for kids to let their creativity go wild – within three square feet of pavement, that is. art in the park mariettaOn August 30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., registered children will receive a 30-count box of chalk, a goodie bag and the chance to create a chalk masterpiece that will remain on display through the rest of the weekend. The $10 registration price for the event benefits the art club of Marietta High School.

Details: Glover Park, 50 N. Park Square, Marietta, GA, www.artparkmarietta.com 

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