The best fitness advice around town! Joshua Jarmin, owner and trainer at Blueprint Fitness answers a reader’s question about fat-burning.

Q: How do you recommend I kick-start fat-burning when I first wake up?

A: I recommend you eat protein (preferably red meat) and a source of fat (i.e. avocado, almonds and so on) when you wake up. The protein will start the process of protein synthesis to help heal damaged cells from the previous day’s training session, and the fat will tell your body’s neurotransmitters to use fat as energy instead of carbs. Drink either water or coffee (no sugar added) to help get your body going.

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Love those Pumpkin Spice Lattes? Add another seasonal drink to your repertoire this fall when Urban Tree Cidery opens in just a few weeks. Atlanta’s first cidery is about 4,500 square feet and is located in Midtown’s Westside neighborhood. They will offer two traditional ciders and seasonal creations that they produce onsite. The cidery will also support Atlanta through community programs such as Concrete Jungle and Trees  Atlanta. Follow them on social media @UrbanTreeCider for the latest details about grand opening events!

Details: 1465 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta, GA,

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By Alexandra McCray


Food lovers have the chance to dine at some of the best, and brightest, restaurants in the Highlands at affordable prices during Highland Restaurant Week. To kick-off the week, I had the opportunity on behalf of Best Self Atlanta to tour and sample a few dishes from restaurant participants.

Highland tap was up first on our tour. This cozy, tucked away restaurant has been calling Atlanta home for over 20 years. When it first opened, its six-beer tap was once unheard of; the restaurant has since expanded to 22 taps. If you’re not much a beer drinker I suggest giving one of their classic cocktails a try, especially the side car martini. Pair it with one of the restaurants famous steaks and you’ll truly get the full Highland tap experience.

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Murphy’s, otherwise known as the brunch lover’s paradise, was our second stop. Though we didn’t get a chance to try their famous brisket or bloody marys, getting a taste of their popular three cheese flatbread more than made up for it, with pecorino, aged gouda, parmesan, mission figs, prosciutto and arugula, this isn’t your everyday flatbread. The Atlanta staple started by a former Georgia State University student also hosts wine tastings every Tuesday. You can even shop their handpicked collection for a bottle to take home.

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Going Coastal, which prides itself on being your friendly sustainable restaurant, offered up a Cajun inspired combination of shrimp and corn chowder with 22 spices, and a sweet and savory beignet. I must admit it was my favorite stop of the night. If you’re craving a fall cocktail be sure to ask their mixologist to whip you up a Harvest Moon, with tequila and apple cider.

We curbed our sweet tooth and capped the night at Paolo’s Gelato. Their Nutella gelato and custom cannoli fillings will have you dreaming of Italy. Plus your furry friend can get in on the deliciousness with their pet gelato.

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These are just a few of the restaurants that will be participating in Highland Restaurant Week! To see the full list, menu and prices visit

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Choice of Three Fajitas

Tex-Mex lovers rejoice! The beloved Rio Bravo restaurant, which was an Atlanta favorite in the early ’90s, is being reincarnated in Sandy Springs as Ray’s Rio Bravo restaurant. Located just down the road from Ray’s On the River, the new restaurant will serve up traditional Tex-Mex cuisine dishes featuring fresh ingredients and homemade tortillas prepared with the famous “El Machino” tortilla press. Longtime fans can enjoy old favorites whipped up with secret formulas and all new menu items, including signature margarita and lunch specials.

Details: 6700 Powers Ferry Road, Sandy Springs, GA, (770) 612-2829,

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Atlanta Magazine Physician Profiles 2011

Dr. Mike Majmundar, of Northside Plastic Surgery, answers a reader’s question about MM Lifts.

What is the MM Lift?

Unlike traditional techniques using fillers that make you look puffy and plump, the MM Lift directly addresses the facial aging problem by nonsurgically lifting the descended tissues. This revolutionary lift adds volume to volume-deficient areas throughout the face (in front of the ear, over the cheekbone, under the cheekbone, on the jaw bone, etc.) while avoiding the puffy look around the mouth and under the eyes that so many people have come to find unnatural.

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Whiskies of the World takes place in Buckhead this month featuring whisky tastings, educational seminars and more than 200 whiskies from around the globe. On the evening of October 23, the expo launches with the tastings of whisky from Scotland, Ireland, Canada and more – even places as near as Tennessee and as far as India and Japan. The evening also includes food pairings and cigars to complement the experience. Tickets start at $120.

Details: Grand Hyatt Hotel, Atlanta, 3300 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta, GA, 

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Madison's pick pic

Fitness expert Madison James shares her healthy lifestyle on the go pick of the month.

Now that the weather has cooled down bit, now might be the time to try something new. I love to train outside. Have you tried bike riding? There are lots of great trails and paths in the Atlanta area. Before you strike out, make sure you have the right gear. I came across this brand of bike helmets called Nutcase. They make great bike helmets that allow you to show your personality. Nutcase makes fun helmets for youth and adults, and prices range from $50 to $70. I purchase mine at my local REI store. Check out their website and find where you can get your cool bike helmet.



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Dhar, Damian

Dr. Damian Dhar, of North Atlanta Dermatology, answers a reader’s question about lice.

Lice are going around my child’s school. What should I know about them?

Lice are tiny parasitic insects that reproduce by feeding on your blood. You can get lice by coming into contact with either lice or their eggs. Lice can’t fly or walk on the ground, but they are easily spread – especially by schoolchildren – through close personal contact (sleepovers, athletics) and by sharing belongings like hats, helmets and brushes. Lice can live for one to two days off the body. Despite good personal hygiene, you can still get lice and unless properly treated, lice can recur. Usually you can get rid of lice by using nonprescription shampoo that’s specifically formulated to kill lice.

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Javellana, Eileen_cred The Longstreet Clinic, PC

Dr. Eileen Javellana, of Center for Weight Management at Gwinnett Medical Center, answers a reader’s question about weight loss.

What is the number one pitfall for women who want to lose weight and keep it off?

We don’t take it seriously enough. Our culture portrays obesity as just a cosmetic problem, when it’s really a disease with whole body health implications. It’s also seen as a sprint: really, it’s a marathon. Think of yourself as an Olympic athlete in training. Success means developing repeatable habits of thought and action. Invest in a knowledgeable coach, psychological support and the proper tools. Put your health first. You’re worth it.

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House of Payne Personal Training doesn’t just focus on health and fitness in the gym, they truly change the lives of their clients by teaching realistic healthy lifestyle habits. From helping Tomika Smith believe in herself and keep pushing towards her goals, to helping Joy Tacadena find creative solutions for healthy meals on the go and how to get your training in while traveling, to being a part of the team that helped Corey Trocheck, wife, mother of two and dog trainer get back into physical exercise after losing her mobility from a spinal fusion, 2015 has truly been a year of inspiration and change for their clients from the inside out. See their stories below for yourself.
Latoya Wilkerson – Change from the inside out

Jennifer Croff – Creative healthy cooking


Deborah Lee and Tim Robinson – Prepping as a team


Joy Tacadena – Healthy on the go part 1


Joy Tacadena – Healthy on the go part 2


Joy Tacadena – Healthy on the go part 3


Corry Trocheck – Back and better than ever


Veronica Robinson – Be your own inspiration


Tomika Smith – Just take the first step

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