From all the latest expert advice to an intimate interview with Atlanta Falcon’s football player Tony Gonzalez and his wife Tony Gonzalez, Best Self Atlanta Magazine’s December issue is packed full of fun, inspiration and joy – just like the upcoming holiday season!

Sometimes it’s helpful to get ideas from others when you are taking inventory of what areas you hope to improve in your life. To that end, Best Self Atlanta Magazine asked the experts from the Best Self community for some great health, fitness, beauty, money and life enrichment tips that you can take with you into 2013.

Some standout advice not only comes from local experts, but also from Best Self Atlanta’s cover story featuring Atlanta Falcons player Tony Gonzalez and his wife, October. Despite hectic schedules, this dynamic couple sets aside time to spend together and always puts family first. Afterall, isn’t that what this time of year is all about?

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One Smart Muffin

Since she was a teenager, founder of Frannie’s Gluten Free Muffins Frances Shaw has been dealing with fibromyalgia, a gluten intolerance. Due to her health, she had to leave the Savannah College of Art and Design, and was homebound for a year.

She used this time to create flavorful “allergy smart” muffins. These fluffy treats are free of gluten, dairy, nuts, soy and yeast, eliminating most food allergy concerns. Loaded with health benefits, they are made with organic fruits, vegetables and antibiotic-free eggs.

Details:
Your local Kroger supermarket, www.FranniesGlutenFree.com

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By Intisar Seraaj-Sabree

Nonna’s Holiday Kitchen Cooking ClassGet into the swing of cooking spectacular Italian holiday meals with Chef Linda Harell of Cibo e Beve. With Chef Harrell’s Nonna’s Holiday Kitchen cooking class, picking up that spatula and cheese grater to top off your creation will be as easy as boiling water.

Come out to Cibo e Beve (4969 Roswell Road, Suite 245, Sandy Springs, GA) Nov. 17 from 1-4 p.m. and learn to make easy Italian holiday recipes.

Learn tricks to make any beginner cook or experienced chef make the perfect Italian inspired spread. Attendees of Nonna’s Holiday Kitchen will learn to make delectable cuisine including, a fig and Ricotta crostini appetizer, Italian herb turkey, chestnut and sage dressing and Italian Anisette cookies.

Tickets are $40 per person. Call Cibo e Beve to be a part of Nonna’s Holiday Kitchen. For more information, call (404) 250-8988 or visit www.ciboatlanta.com.

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This fun and informative workshop held Dec 7-9 is for married and unmarried couples alike. Lead by Imago founders Harville Hendrix, PhD and Helen LaKelly Hunt, PhD, this two-day workshop is based on the theory and exercises described in the best-selling book “Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples.”

This event is an intensive two-day workshop for couples to rediscover the joy and spiritual potential of being together.

Proceeds raised from this workshop will benefit Imago Relationships International; a 501c3 public charity consisting of an Institute, which trains relationship therapists, develops marriage-counseling programs, and offers couples workshops.

Your $1000 fee covers the cost of the event and materials for one couple (overnight hotel accommodations are not included). Since proceeds for this event will benefit the research fund at Imago Relationships International, $600 of your fee can be considered a charitable contribution for income tax purposes.

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By Addie Balenger

Instead of traveling down to South America to trek with llamas, simply visit the historic High Hampton Inn and Country Club located in Cashiers, N.C. Less than three hours from Atlanta, the inn offers its guests several opportunities to bond with these shaggy four-legged creatures.

Every Thursday and Friday during the summer, llamas accompany hikers and serve as golf caddies. They make the ideal hiking companion, carrying picnic baskets, blankets and provisions as walkers make their way around Cherokee Campgrounds or around Hampton Lake up to the top of Rock Mountain. If you enjoy golfing, reserve a llama as your caddy. Fitted with a special harness to carry golf clubs, a llama does its job well, with feet shaped in such a way that they do not damage the grass. While a llama caddy may not be able to help you with your game, at least you won’t have to worry about them judging your stroke!

During the evening, attend a meet-and-greet with the llamas at the inn’s Rock Mountain Tavern. Visitors have a chance to include a llama in the family picture and create a unique trip keepsake to show off to friends for years to come.

The llamas at High Hampton Inn are not ordinary llamas. Previously featured on “National Geographic Adventures,” “BBC” and “Animal Planet,” these animals are owned and raised by Mark English, who has experience raising llamas at his family’s farm in Brevard, N.C. Intelligent, sociable and calm-natured, these domesticated creatures are suitable friends for family members of all ages.

Renowned for their soft wool, llamas are related to camels and have a long history in South America as pack animals. Reserve your adventure with a llama at the High Hampton Inn today. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and celebrating its 90th season, the inn will not disappoint. In addition to golfing and hiking with llamas, the inn offers tennis, spa services and a 35-acre mountain lake for swimming, boating and fishing. And in case you were wondering, these other activities do not include llamas.

High Hampton Inn, 1525 Hwy. 107 S., Cashiers, N.C., (800) 334-2551, pro shop (828) 743-2450, www.highhamptoninn.com

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Patients and employees of the WellStar Health System community may be getting a surprise visit from a local Olympian very soon.

Fayetteville, GA native and 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist Triple Jumper Christian Taylor has partnered with WellStar to share his motivation for healthy living throughout the WellStar five-county service area.

Taylor hopes to make a difference in his community by sharing his advice and knowledge about leading an active lifestyle.

Details: (770) 956-STAR, www.wellstar.org.

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By Intisar Seraaj-Sabree

Toss out that fast food and enjoy get some slow-cooked grub. Slow Food Atlanta will host Georgia Jaunt, an overnight food excursion through Georgia’s regions, Nov. 10-11 on White Oak Pastures (22775 Highway 27, Bluffton, GA).
Georgia Jaunt will feature some of the best dishes from each of Georgia’s region that will have you gassing up the car for a road trip across Georgia.

Grab your overalls and boots. Georgia Jaunt will feature a tour of White Oak Pastures’ processing facility, an authentic county party and bonfire, a tour of the Green Family Farm’s cane fields and syrup production operations, and dinner prepared by chef Robert Lupo of Leon’s Full Service. Don’t lick your fingers too quickly. Breakfast, lunch and dinner cocktails will also be provided.

For more information, please email slowfoodATL@gmail.com or visit www.slowfoodatlanta.org.

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By Intisar Seraaj-Sabree

Lift Up Atlanta is lifting up the less fortunate of Atlanta during Thanksgiving, once again. Help Lift Up Atlanta with their Thanksgiving Food Drive to provide homeless low-income families of Atlanta with Thanksgiving baskets.

The trees of autumn are not the only beings that can turn a new leaf. It is always the right season for giving, but now is the time where families gather and give thanks for all of their blessings. Help give the less fortunate more to be thankful for with Lift p Atlanta during their Thanksgiving Food Drive.

If you or your business would like to donate goods for the Thanksgiving Food Drive contact (678) 245-4622 to arrange a pickup or email atliftupatlanta@yahoo.com or you can make a financial donations at www.liftupatlanta.org. All donations will be picked up on Nov. 15.

For volunteer information, visit www.meetup.com/lift-up-atlanta/. For more information about Up Lift Atlanta’s efforts, visit www.liftupatlanta.org.

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Pretty Powerful

World famous makeup artist Bobbi Brown seeks to empower women through her new book,“Pretty Powerful.”

This book is part makeup manual and part inspirational stories, as Bobbi interviews real women, athletes and celebrities about what beauty means to them.
She also gives step-by-step tips for how to achieve a flawless look. $29.95

Details: Your local Barnes & Noble, www.prettypowerful.bobbibrowncosmetics.com

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If you’re ready to engage your core and have some fun at the same time then SurfSET Fitness is for you! Sherri’s Best List in October first announced the arrival of one of the newest exercises out there and now SurfSET Fitness has finally come to Atlanta this month.
You don’t have to be a surfer to enjoy this unique exercise as it’s more about balance then being in the water.

Sherri first discovered this new fitness trend on the television show, Shark Tank. SurfSET Fitness was one of the ideas that was pitched and won a deal with investor Mark Cuban. Using a stand-alone surf board, the “rider” gets all the benefits of surfing, like core strengthening and improved balance, without being in the water.

Check out this surf-inspired workout program for yourself this week at Bodyplex Atlanta Downtown. Make sure to sign up for your class time on Wednesday, Nov. 7 or Thursday Nov. 8.

If you’re a trainer interested in learning more, make sure to sign up for the Tier I Trainer Certification Course at Bodyplex Downtown. TRAINERS: Use Discount Code ‘SCSURF’ on the checkout page for 15% off.

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