Spencer Wyckoff - Atlanta Sprint Spartan Race - BSA 0516Spencer Wyckoff’s foray into the reality-TV world of “American Ninja Warrior” is, as he describes it, “a combination of fate, good timing, old friends and talented people.” For Spencer, the opportunity to appear on “American Ninja Warrior” was about more than just beating the show’s signature swinging, swatting and slippery obstacles, it was about sharing the story of his sister, Carden Wyckoff, with as many people as possible.

Carden suffers from facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD). The brother–sister team are committed to spreading awareness about FSHD and generating the focus that could help find a cure. After completing a piggy-back version of the Atlanta Sprint Spartan Race for a second year in a row, Spencer decided he was up for a new challenge to help spread the word about FSHD. With encouragement from Travis Harkey, owner of CrossFit North Atlanta, Spencer filled out a very long application and created a video that shared the real reason why he wanted to join the cast. Soon after, Spencer received a call and was told he was going to have a chance to appear on the show.

Surrounded by friends and family, Spencer tackled the course to kick-off the show’s eighth season and achieved his ultimate goal—telling his sister’s story. The ANW producers connected with Carden’s struggle and reached out to the siblings to learn more about her FSHD journey and how it motivated Spencer’s ANW adventure.

Spencer and Carden spent a day with a film crew, showing them what life is like for Carden and others who struggle with FSHD. Nearly 1 million people worldwide battle the disease, which slowly deteriorates the muscle strength of sufferers. Primarily affecting the face, shoulder and arm muscles, FSHD eventually attacks all the smooth muscles in the body. For Carden, everyday tasks can be challenging and frustrating. Currently there is no cure or treatment for FSHD, which is why research and awareness created by organizations such as the FSH Society are so crucial.

While the Wyckoffs are unsure just how much of their story will be featured on “American Ninja Warrior,” they are grateful for the opportunity to spread the word.

“A great story can take you from the couch, wondering [what] it would be like to be [in the] national television spotlight in under three months. Each one of us has a story to tell.  The sooner you start that process, the more your fire will start to burn. The more people your story impacts, the hotter your fire will burn,” Spencer reports on his blog.

Details: spencerwyckoff.com

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Alexander - Sawyer Photography - BSA 0617Diane Alexander, MD, FACS
Artisan Plastic Surgery  |  Facial Plastic Surgery

Sixteen years ago, Dr. Diane Alexander made the groundbreaking move of co-founding Artisan Plastic Surgery, the first all-women-physician plastic surgery practice in Atlanta. For Dr. Alexander, performing procedures means more than simply improving a patient’s appearance; it helps them create a positive shift in how they view themselves and how they feel about their appearance. Developing these personal relationships, along with the combination of medical analysis and hands-on skill, is what originally drew her into the world of plastic surgery. Her own practice has now grown into one of the largest of its kind in the country, allowing her to help countless women look and feel their best at every age.

“My emphasis in my practice is really on health. … And that’s what I love about the work that I do—we try to enhance beauty from the outside in and the inside out.”

Details: artisanplasticsurgery.com

 

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We certainly know that people all over Atlanta are living their best lives over the age of 40, because we hear their stories of personal growth and giving back to others each year during our Over 40 & Fabulous! contest.

This year, we engaged an Over 40 & Fabulous! Advisory Board of experts on topics including volunteerism, fitness, hair care and cosmetic procedures. They provided professional advice on how they got into their fields, and how they’ve grown throughout their careers and personal lives to help inspire us to live our best lives as well.

Check out the editorial contributions from Dr. Diane Alexander of Artisan Plastic Surgery at bestselfatlanta.com or by watching the video below.

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Kevin Avery - Sawyer Photography - BSA 0616

Atlanta radio host Kevin Avery, 49, inspires legions of fans each day on his “Kevin and Taylor in the Morning” show with Taylor Scott on 104.7 The Fish. His infectious positivity conveys the loving heart of a devoted husband and father of four. Spontaneous, soft-hearted and sometimes silly, Kevin celebrates his love of faith, family and fun.

Has your perspective on turning 40 changed?
Today, 40 is definitely younger in terms of lifestyle, attitude and interests. But, time truly flies and kids grow up in the blink of an eye. My oldest going off to college was a big shock to me. I savor the time with our three high-school daughters. The song “Don’t Blink” reminds me not to miss the good stuff!

How do you stay fit and healthy?
I’m a dedicated gym rat, doing a lot of HIIT training, but my real love is the road bike. The guys at Cycology Bike Shop in Hiram have been fantastic supporters of all of my crazy cycling dreams. My trainer, Max Nazaire at Fit2DMax, challenges me to be my best physically, mentally and spiritually. He has become an incredible blessing in my life.

Who supports you in being your “best self”?
I am nothing but the sum total of those who have influenced my life. My best accomplishment is by far my 27-year (and counting) marriage with my wife, Tracy—my partner and best friend. Our church family at St. Teresa’s helps me stay grounded. And, of course, my co-host of 17 years, Taylor Scott. She always challenges me to keep growing as a broadcaster and a person, and show the “welcoming heart of God” every day.

What’s your favorite way to give back to the community?
My job gives me the privilege to be involved with charities like MUST Ministries, Cross International and Food for the Poor, for whom we’ve worked for over 15 years. We have raised over $2 million for their efforts in the Caribbean, helping build fishing villages all over Jamaica.

In 20 years, I would LOVE to still be in broadcasting, still connecting with and encouraging people. If not that, then I’d love to be a Walmart Greeter. I’m not kidding. I’d get to interact with lots of people every day and bring a smile to their faces … perfect.

How do you maintain some life balance?
It’s a constant battle of priorities, but I continue to learn the ways to identify things that are going to be the highest, best use of time and have the greatest impact.

Do you have advice for those not yet over 40?
Life is an unfolding adventure no matter what age. Don’t get wrapped up in what society tells you; focus on being the person that God wants you to be and you’ll be fulfilled. That’s what we want at any age, isn’t it—fulfillment, joy, contentment and a sense of purpose. So ignore age, embrace YOU!

To see the complete list of 2016 Over 40 & Fabulous! winners check out the June digital issue.

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Cherise and her husband, Brent at the 2010 Bike MS: Atlanta Peach Ride.

Cherise and her husband, Brent at the 2010 Bike MS: Atlanta Peach Ride.

When Cherise Mlott donated to the Bike MS: Atlanta Peach Ride one summer, she had no idea that just one year later she would be completing the ride herself—and facing her own multiple sclerosis diagnosis.

After receiving her MS diagnosis, Cherise made a personal commitment to go from struggling to walk to embracing a sport she had never tried before—cycling. Between grappling with finding her balance at stops and then heading straight for a bridge with slats perfectly sized to allow bike tires to get caught, Cherise’s first ride was rocky to say the least. While most would have been ready to call it quits, she was determined not to let MS beat her and she definitely wasn’t going to let this race beat her either. A little bloody and bruised, she crossed her first Atlanta Peach Ride finish line in 2001 and felt an immense sense of accomplishment. Fifteen rides later, she’s still going, now faster and stronger than ever. Her years of riding have taught her a few lessons that have helped make each year’s ride better than the one before.

Spoke Notes

Start strong: Get the right equipment (i.e., a road bike instead of a mountain bike).

The right fit: Have your bike adjusted to fit your stance. It can make all the difference in your ride.

Build endurance: Stick to a training program that allows you to work up to the mileage you’ll be completing on race day.

Get comfortable: Not only on your bike, but also on the route you’ll be riding, so you can be prepared.

Stay sharp: Add a small mirror onto your helmet to keep an eye on what’s coming up behind you.

Learn the rules: For safety and communication purposes, make sure you know the rules of the road for biking.

 

Stay hydrated: Remember to drink that H2O!

Countdown: Look forward to race day and what you are about to accomplish.

Pass it on: Take a novice under your wing and help them cycle more.

Registration is open now for the Georgia Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society 30th annual Bike MS: Atlanta Peach Ride

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Rootology - BSA 0516Sneezing, congestion, runny nose or itchy, watery eyes—allergy symptoms can cloud any day. Rootology’s blend of 13 herbal extracts offers nasal and sinus support as well as relief of some symptoms … naturally. Ingredients such as Magnolia Flower, Xanthium Fruit, Cinnamon Twig and Licorice Root help to open nasal passages and relieve headaches without drowsy side effects. So silence your sniffles and enjoy time outside among the blossoms!

 

Details: rootologyhealth.com

 

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Pet SelfiePut your pet in the spotlight and snap a selfie of the two of you together for our third annual Best Pet Selfie contest. From May 15 to May 31, email your pet selfies to us or upload them to our website. Then, from June 15 to June 30, vote on Facebook for the cutest pics. The top three winners (determined by total votes on Facebook) will receive pet-pampering prizes and a cash donation to a favorite pet-related charity.

Details: bestselfcontest@gmail.com, bestselfatlanta.com

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By David Martin, RN,  President and CEO,VeinInnovations

Screen shot 2016-05-16 at 4.08.00 PM“Thank you for helping me sleep” is not the response most people think physicians hear after patients receive treatment for varicose and spider veins.  And yet, very often patients note that until they’ve had treatment, they did not know how much their vein issues were impacting their sleep quality.

Science indicates links between Restless Leg Syndrome symptoms and Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI). About 10 percent of the population suffers from an urge to move the legs during sleep, along with uncontrollable jerking and/or pain. For some, this lasts all night, leaving them unable to rest.

Sleep deprivation has been linked to congestive heart failure, depression, high blood pressure, digestive issues, and infertility. During normal sleep, stress hormones are not released, allowing the heart rate to stay at a restful level. When sleep cycles are disrupted, stress hormones wreak havoc with insulin levels; the heart is stressed, and hormones that control hunger and appetite are adversely affected.

Many people who think they have RLS—even some who are diagnosed and given medication—may be suffering from CVI. In CVI, one-way valves in leg veins have failed, whether from heredity, pregnancy, injury, or lifestyle. Without the one-way valve to stop the downward flow, blood flows backward and pressure builds in the veins. Moving the legs helps pump blood upward, relieving the pressure and pain.

If you have any symptoms of RLS, an ultrasound of your legs —with you standing up—can determine if your symptoms are caused by CVI.  If so, our minimally invasive, in-office procedures take less than an hour, and require little or no downtime. These treatments are likely to be covered by your insurance, and are also likely to bring relief, again, if the problems are caused by CVI.

The tie between lack of sleep and a host of health problems is irrefutable. If your legs keep you from getting your rest, for health’s sake, have an ultrasound of your legs. The varicose veins that keep you from wanting to wear shorts may be the cause of your sleeplessness as well as heaviness, pain, and swelling. Treatment can help you sleep, feel, and look better, giving you great legs for life, and living!

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blluemade - BSA 0516Functional elegance for every life—that is what Alex Robins and Lilly Lampe had in mind when creating their new Atlanta-based clothing brand—blluemade. Named for their love of denim, with its rich indigo color and vintage workwear aesthetic, every blluemade piece is produced here by Atlanta’s own Factory Girls. Made with high-quality, sustainably sourced Belgain linen, blluemade garments are not only durable, but also wrinkle resistant due to the quality of fibers used. This first collection features blluemade’s six signature staples, including dresses and jumpsuits.

Details: blluemade.com

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Dr. Deborah Kowalchuk - Resurgens - BSA 0516

Q:Can a lack of arch support impact more than just your feet? 

A :Flat shoes with no cushioning or arch support fail to absorb the forces transmitted to the foot with each step—which may increase the forces through your joints leading to pain in the ankles, knees, hips and back, or allow the foot to pronate abnormally causing tendon and ligament injury. Comfortable shoes with cushioning, a stiffer sole and some arch support help improve alignment and maintain the heel in neutral, which will decrease the forces through other joints,according to Dr. Deborah Kowalchuk of Resurgens Orthopaedics.

Details: resurgens.com

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