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.


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

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 

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

Dr. Hugh Flax from Flax Dental answers a reader’s question about how medications can affect your dental heath.

Dr. Hugh Flax 1


Q: Can certain medications affect my dental health?

A: Your overall health and your oral health are closely linked. This means all of your health care providers need to know which medications you are taking. For example, patients taking bisphosphonates, a common class of osteoporosis medication, are at a higher risk of developing jawbone decay during tooth extraction or implant, which can lead to jaw fractures or tooth loss. A bone turnover blood test can verify if you are at risk for complications. If you are at risk, you may need to delay procedures or take a drug “holiday” prior to surgery.

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

Gazpacho is basically a liquid salad consisting of finely diced, super fresh vegetables and tomato juice served as a cold soup. Made with vine-ripe tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, garlic, olive oil and a splash of good vinegar, this delicious soup has been popular for centuries.



- 5 cups tomatoes, diced

- 3 cups tomato juice, ice cold

- 2 cloves garlic, minced

- 1/2 red onion, diced

- 1 large cucumber, diced

- 1 bell pepper, diced

- 1 zucchini, diced (optional)

- 2 tsp. fresh herbs (oregano, thyme, basil, cilantro, or parsley), finely chopped

- 1 tbsp. sugar

- 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

- 3/4 tsp. smoked paprika

- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)

- Salt and black pepper to taste

- Extra Virgin olive oil, for drizzling

- Sour cream (optional)

- Fresh croutons (optional)


In a food processor or blender, combine the minced garlic with half the red onion, half the cucumber, half the tomato, half the zucchini, half the celery, half the tomato juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, spices, herbs of your choosing and a dash of salt. Pulse until all ingredients are blended well and mixture has a speckled, colorful texture.

Pour into a large bowl and add the rest of the tomato juice. Add the remaining onion, cucumber, tomato, zucchini and celery. Stir and check seasonings, adding salt if needed.

Chill soup for several hours before serving, or add a few ice cubes to chill more quickly. Ladle into a bowl and garnish with your favorite topping, such as a dollop of sour cream, croutons, chopped cilantro, a sliver of fresh avocado or even a scoop of fresh crab meat. Serve with slices of grilled bread.

- Courtesy of Atlanta food blogger Denise Romeo of We Like to Cook!, www.welike2cook.com 



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

Dr. Louis Prevosti from Vein Atlanta answers a reader’s question about cankles.

Dr. Louis Prevosti Best RX: Vein Atlanta

Q: What is causing my cankles? 

A: Well-defined ankles yield a contour that is pleasing to the eye, and lack of this desirable contour is sometimes called “cankles.”  This can be caused by excess subcutaneous fat in the lower calf and around the ankles. Another cause is swelling from lymphedema or venous insufficiency. Cankles can also manifest due to heart, kidney or endocrine problems. Lipedema is yet another cause of cankles. Depending on the cause, you can shed excess pounds, tone up the calf muscles, have a fat-removal procedure such as liposuction or seek proper treatment for swelling from a qualified physician.

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

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

No MSG here! With the new restaurant arrival Doc Chey’s Dragon Bowl, “Chinese take-out night” is now a healthy option for you and your family. The restaurant offers bowls piled high with seasonal vegetables and adventurous ingredients inspired by Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai and Vietnamese flavors. bowl_introThe restaurant won’t serve fountain drinks, instead opting for organic ices teas and craft sodas, sweetened with cane sugar, rather than corn syrup. What’s more, Dragon Bowl will minimize food waste by focusing on seasonal, local ingredients and will use take-out packaging that is 100 percent recyclable and even compostable. Head to Emory Village for a meal that can be healthy for both you and the earth.

Details: 1556 N. Decatur Road, Atlanta, GA, (404) 378-8188, www.dragonbowlatl.com 

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

The Inspiration – “The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” If anyone is qualified to talk about living the life of your dreams, it’s Oprah Winfrey, who rose from a life of poverty to a life that influences millions. These words of wisdom are just a snippet of the inspiration she will bring to us next month when “Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend” kicks off its national tour right here in Atlanta. Oprahs the life you want weekend

The Schedule – The weekend begins when the Philips Arena doors open at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, September 5. The event itself runs from 7 to 9 p.m., during which time Oprah will personally share her story and her message. On Saturday, September 6, Oprah’s hand-picked speakers will take the stage from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., including Iyanla Vanzant from OWN’s “Iyanla: Fix My Life,” “Eat, Pray, Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert and pastor Robb Bell.

The Perks – Premium tickets not only get you great seats, but they also include an event program. Premium Plus tickets secure you early access to shopping at the event, and if you want to go all out, you can purchase a VIP package that includes a meet and greet with Oprah and the opportunity to snap a photo with her. At any ticket level, you can order a healthy lunch to pick up on-site on Saturday. And if you’re traveling or want to enjoy the event as a staycation, check out the event’s website for a list of nearby hotels providing discounts.

Enter to Win! – The experience of meeting Oprah is priceless, so of course, those VIP tickets don’t come cheap. Save some money by entering Best Self‘s The Great Life Giveaway to win two VIP tickets to the event. Winners will be announced in the September issue of Best Self, which will be available on the streets and online August 26. The Great Life Giveaway also includes a variety of prizes totaling $10,000 in value, so pick up the September issue to find out which prize you won.

Visit www.bestselfatlanta.com for details about how to enter, or go to www.oprahweekend.com to learn more about the tour. Start readying yourself for a weekend that could change your life!


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

Dr. Mike Majmundar from Northside Plastic Surgery answers a reader’s question about bio stem cell facials.

Dr Mike Majmundar Northside Plastic Surgery


Q: What is a bio stem cell facial, and how does it work? 

A: Young skin functions efficiently by self-exfoliating, repairing damage and producing collagen and elastin. But each year, the metabolism of skin cells slows down and results in our skin showing the signs of aging, including dullness, irregular texture and wrinkles. A bio stem cell facial is a way to rejuvenate skin and encourage it to function like young skin, using proteins called stem cell cytokines. In a bio stem cal facial, skin cells are stimulated to produce a balance of pro-healing, anti-inflammatory, biochemical signals that promote healing and regeneration.

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

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

How to pick lenses with the protection you need

By: Kirk Smick, OD, FFAO 

In 2013, Atlanta’s beautiful summer weather exposed our eyes to 116 days of “very high” to “extreme” levels of UV, making our city the 20th highest UV city in America. A full day outside without protection from the UV radiation can cause immediate, temporary issues such as swollen or red eyes and hypersensitivity to light, telltale signs of sunburn of the eyes. And years of cumulative exposure can cause cancer of the eye or eyelid and accelerate cataracts, which affect nearly 22 million Americans ages 40 and older. Best Health

Despite those dangers, many Americans don’t realize the harmful effects of UV light to your eyes. In fact, a recent report by The Vision Council found that only 22 percent of Atlanta adults report wearing sunglasses whey they go outside, leaving eyes at risk for the long and short-term damage of UV-related vision disorders. Also, only 47 percent of Atlantans know that UV can accelerate age-related macular degeneration and even fewer (35 percent) know it can lead to cataracts.

The best option is to start wearing sunglasses that can protect your vision health during the course of your lifetime. When buying your next pair of shades, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

See past the tint – Darker lenses aren’t necessarily better. Tint and color of sunglasses lenses has no bearing on the level of UV protection. Even clear glasses with UV treatments provide excellent protection from the sun.

Ask your doctor – Take your sunglasses to your eye doctors’s office and check if your shades provide ample UV protection measured by a special UV meter.

Look for a label – Before purchasing a pair of sunglasses, see if they have a label, sticker or tag indicating UVA/UVB protection, There are sunglasses to fit everyone’s lifestyle, and they don’t have to be expensive.

Be mindful of where to buy – Purchase from a credible source and steer clear of street vendors, online auction sites, and secondhand stores that may acquire glasses illegally, make false claims about UV protection or sell products that are not UV-protectant.




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

Assistant Program Director of the AJC Decatur Book Festival, Googie Daniels is here to give you her best advice about to pick a great book this summer.

Googie Daniels


Q: What are the top three best books released this year?

A: Emily Giffin’s “The One & Only,” Nicholas Butler’s “Shotgun Lovesongs,” and John Waters’ “Carsick.” Giffin does a remarkable job of examining the complexities of people’s personal decisions. Butler’s novel is about four men in a small town and one woman who’s meant something special to each of them. “Carsick” is actually 1/3 memoir and 2/3 fiction (and 100 percent hysterical).

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

A: Michael Pitre, who served in the Marines, has his first novel out called “Fives and Twenty Fives” about two Marines deployed in Iraq. Thrity Umringar has been published for years but doesn’t get the attention she deserves. Her latest book is “The Story Hour.”

Q: What titles will teens enjoy?

A: “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak and “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie. Also, every teenage girl should read “We Were Liars” by E. Lockhart.

Q: How do you pick a great book? 

A: I almost always ask for assistance from employees of a bookstore. They are super helpful, especially at independent bookstores like Little Shop of Stories, because they don’t just know the titles – they know the meat of the book.

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