Monday, 24 November 2014 17:04

A Helping Hand at Home

What signs indicate that home care may be helpful to someone experiencing memory loss or dementia?

The usual indications for home care are when the family caregiver is no longer able to care for themselves due to the constant care demands of their loved one. Other indications are when the family is having difficulty handling behavioral outbursts, maintaining their loved one's personal dignity, or managing the physical demands of transfers.

What are the benefits to using a home care company versus managing care on your own?

Caring for someone with dementia feels like a never-ending day. By using a professional company, the person with dementia benefits from professional input and training, and the family caregivers have a safety net of respite relief with the professionals.

140219 thesprings058How are CaraVita caregivers trained to comfort and support dementia patients?

All our caregivers take The Virtual Dementia Tour by Second Wind Dreams, an eight-minute experience that simulates having dementia. By using this experiential approach, the caregiver is uniquely prepared to empathize and assist someone with dementia.

Our training also addresses the following six areas: dementia's effects on brain function, the stages of dementia, how to prompt a person with dementia to complete everyday tasks, how to recognize dementia-related behavioral changes, how to organize a functional schedule for the patient, and how to maximize interactions by getting to know the person's life story. This training helps caregivers aid the person with dementia in performing daily activities and engaging in favorite pastimes.

What qualifications do CaraVita caregivers possess?

I always say you cannot train a heart. We hire those who have a heart for caregiving, are empathetic and are certified nursing assistants. If they are not certified, we offer our CaraVita Academy, which is a state-licensed C.N.A. training site, and eight hours of dementia training and coaching.

How does a daily routine benefit those with dementia?

A reliable routine minimizes the wandering and anxiety associated with short term memory loss. CaraVita caregivers help their clients through a functional schedule that includes waking at a time they desire, moving through old routines of dressing, eating, personal care, enjoying favorite pastimes and winding down with regular routines prior to bed.

What resources are available to both family members and dementia patients?

CaraVita has monthly Dementia Training classes, and we offer the services of a Dementia Specialist, geriatric care manager, nurses, therapists and social workers. Our website, the Georgia Alzheimer's Association and are also great resources.



Beth Cayce
CaraVita Home Care

For the past 15 years, Beth Cayce has been providing in-home care to more than 16,000 seniors throughout the Metro Atlanta area. Cayce's vision in founding CaraVita Home Care was to utilize the strengths of a seasoned health care team to coach in-home caregivers and families in best practices of senior care. Her team of geriatric care managers, nurses, therapists, a social worker, and dementia specialist not only provide support to CaraVita's 200 in-home caregivers, but also provide consulting and management services to regional senior living communities. For this work, Cayce was awarded a Life Time Achievement/Leadership award
by GSLA.

Sponsored by: CaraVita Home Care | 648 Mimosa Boulevard | Roswell, GA 30075
Phone: (770) 643-1712 |



Monday, 24 November 2014 16:37

Social Security: Your Questions Answered

Clients commonly ask the following questions about Social Security:




a. Before full retirement age - $15,480 or else the benefits are reduced.

b. The year of full retirement age - $41,400 or else the benefits are reduced.

c. After full retirement age – no reduction in benefits based on earnings.

Most likely up to 85% of the income that you collect will be included in your taxable income. This does not mean an 85% tax rate!



a. "Phase In" Strategy

b. "File & Suspend" Strategy

c. Early Election vs. Full Retirement

d. Spousal benefits


No, you should contact an advisor to review your specific facts. Your age, your spouse's age, and your incomes are some of the main factors the advisor will need to know.




c. Meet with your financial advisor. This information is based on 2014 figures. You should consult your financial and tax advisors prior to making decisions.

Securities offered through Triad Advisors, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC.



Laura K. Schilling, JD, CPA, CFP®, CSA
Financial Innovations, LLC

Laura Schilling isn't your typical financial planner. She is also a world traveler who has been to Asia, Africa, Europe, and Israel. Laura is an active member in the community, a mother of two, and a champion for each of the working mothers she employs. As principal and founder of Financial Innovations, LLC, she staffs her firm with stay-at-home moms who work to meet the needs of their clients around the globe.

Sponsored by: Financial Innovations, LLC | 6111 Peachtree Dunwoody Road, Suite F101 | Atlanta, GA 30328  |  Phone: (404) 458-0065 | Fax: (404) 393-3063 | Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. |


Monday, 24 November 2014 16:19

Facial Liposuction

Options for a Youthful Jaw Line
One of the most important features of a good looking face is a smooth, well-defined jaw line. If someone has never had a clearly defined jaw line, or has lost it due to the aging process, there are several options available to help get that chiseled look.

Younger patients are often great candidates for facial liposuction. This is the permanent removal of fat cells and it is much more predictable than external lasers to "melt" fat. Facial liposuction is performed through small incisions behind each ear and under the chin. Younger patients generally have excellent skin tone so the skin reshapes to the new, enhanced contour. The procedure usually takes between 30-45 minutes to perform. It can be performed under local or twilight anesthesia depending on patient preferences.

DSC 5382For the in-between patient who has some puffiness under the chin and jaw line but has skin that is beginning to relax, ThermiRF can be combined with the liposuction procedure. Many different skin tightening procedures currently exist. It is important to note that they are limited in their effectiveness by how much energy can be passed through the skin, without causing the skin to burn. ThermiRF is an exciting technology in which a probe is inserted under the skin and is capable of delivering a custom amount of radio frequency energy for the patient. Since the probe is placed under the skin, more energy can be safely delivered creating new collagen and tighter skin. Patients can have these procedures performed in the office under local or twilight anesthesia. ThermiRF of the face and neck generally takes about 45 minutes. When combined with liposuction, the procedure lasts about an hour.

For the patient who has loose facial skin resulting in jowls or fullness in the neck, a facelift is generally the most appropriate procedure. As the face ages, many of the layers (bone, fat, skin) are involved. For many patients, the face loses the youthful, triangular shape and becomes more square. Often liposuction is performed as part of the facelift to help sculpt these areas. The supporting layers of the face are tightened and the excess skin is permanently removed. This procedure typically takes 1.5 – 2 hours to perform under a twilight or general anesthesia.

The best solution for each individual patient begins with a consultation. Please mention this article to receive a complimentary consultation.



Q & A with Dr. Maloney

What is facial liposuction?
As adults, we do not grow more fat cells. Our existing fat cells swell as we gain weight, and shrink as we lose weight. Facial liposuction is the permanent removal of fat cells. The procedure can be performed alone, or in conjunction with a variety of other procedures such as chin implants, nose surgery, eyelid surgery, or facelift surgery. Facial liposuction generally provides a dramatic improvement in the appearance of the neck and jaw line.

Who is a candidate for facial liposuction?
Typically, younger patients are the best facial liposuction candidates due to their good skin tone. Facial liposuction is also an excellent choice for men and African American patients due to the fact that their skin is thicker and the procedure is performed using small incisions.

Rhinoplasty with Facial Liposuction









AwardsDr. Maloney is an award-winning, internationally recognized, double board certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon. He is the founder of the world-renowned Maloney Center for Facial Plastic Surgery located in Atlanta. Dr. Maloney is a National Trainer for Allergan, the maker of Botox Cosmetic,® Juvederm,® Voluma,® and Latisse.® He instructs doctors from all over the world on the latest facial cosmetic surgery procedures and has been regularly featured in national media including Discovery Health, The Learning Channel, CNN Headline News, ABC News and more.

Sponsored by: The Maloney Center for Facial Plastic Surgery | 6111 Peachtree Dunwoody Road, Building E, Suite 201 | Atlanta, GA 30328 | Phone: (770) 504-6243 |



Monday, 24 November 2014 16:02

Five Tips to Curb Holiday Weight Gain

December is finally here and so are many of your favorite holiday treats! You've worked hard this year, and this month just seems to be the appropriate time to enjoy great food and wonderful company. But the big question is, how do you have fun and enjoy those tasty holiday treats without gaining weight? Well, it's possible! Execute these five easy tips and start the New Year without the extra holiday weight gain.

1. Stay active

For many, fall and winter months are the two seasons where people seem to taper off on their workout routines. Step into the New Year without the weight gain by going to the gym, popping in your favorite workout video or attending exercise classes regularly.

Aim for three to four days of cardio and two to three days of 20-30 minutes of weight training. When you finish, you will be glad you did!

0012. Monitor your weight

Treat this month like any other when it comes to your fitness regimen. First, determine whether or not you would like to maintain your current weight or lose a few pounds. Usually December is the perfect time to maintain your current weight while you enjoy the holiday celebrations.
Second, be sure to weigh yourself and track your weight weekly to keep those unwanted pounds off.

3. Be selective with what you eat

It's common for food to be the focus of holiday gatherings. In order to avoid overeating, eat regular healthy meals throughout the day and use this holiday season as the perfect time to engage in good conversation, games, dancing and other festive activities.

For dessert lovers, choose only one serving of your favorite dish to satisfy your sweet craving. Taking several bites of all desserts will only significantly increase your calorie intake.

4. Decorate your desk with fruit

Some of the best treats during the holiday season are just within arm's reach either on your desk, your co-workers' desks or a common area in the office. In order to distance yourself from any possible holiday weight gain, keep fresh fruit handy instead.

5. Send leftovers home with the guest after the holiday celebration!

It's quite OK to enjoy your favorite foods during the holiday season, but the key is to never over indulge. The macaroni, sweet potato casserole, dressing, red velvet cake, pound cake and banana pudding taste so good, but these high-calorie foods should only be enjoyed in moderation.

And while the thought of eating leftovers for a few days after the party sounds great, these high-fat/high-calorie foods will only work against you. When hosting a party, be sure to send the leftovers with your guest. With all of the food out of the house you will avoid those holiday pounds and start the new year with a bang!
Happy holidays, and cheers to a healthy and fit holiday season!

Lisa Tanker-Potts
Fitness and Lifestyle Expert


Lifestyle and Fitness Expert

Lisa Tanker-Potts is the owner of Boutique Body Fitness Studio located in the Grant Park District of Atlanta. Lisa is considered the guru of fitness for women seeking to enhance their lives through fitness and has helped thousands of women achieve healthy lifestyles and get the physique of their dreams.

BnALisa's trademark is her positive attitude, warm energy and her expertise in training women of all ages. Lisa's upbeat spirit and ability to make every client feel exclusive has quickly propelled her to be a top sought after fitness trainer, speaker and lifestyle expert.

After earning a Master of Business and Master of Health Administration and working eight years in pharmaceutical sales industry, Lisa decided to follow her passion for helping women to get fit and healthy and became a fitness trainer.

Lisa has been a regular guest on CBS Better Mornings Atlanta, on the Jennifer Keitt 104.1FM Show and on the Atlanta Journal and Constitutions Lifestyle Blog. Lisa has also been a featured speaker at the BGR National Convention, Transforming Women Entrepreneurs Conference and the Jennifer Keitt Empowerment Conference.


Sponsored by: Boutique Body Fitness  |  650 Hamilton Ave SE, Suite D  |  Atlanta, GA 30312
Phone: (678) 568-9217  |



Monday, 24 November 2014 15:54

Sexual Health

Aging is inevitable, and if you are lucky, you will live a long, happy and sexually healthy life. Gone are the days when the thought of our aging parents was accompanied by a loveless, sexless, grumpy duo in rocking chairs. Today, more mature members of the population are more active than ever, both physically and sexually. They continue to take on new challenges and this includes demanding that medical advances keep up with their healthy sexual appetites.

It is true that along with aging, the ovaries transition and make less and less estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Along with these hormonal changes come decreased libido and vaginal changes that can lead to vaginal dryness, thinning of the tissues and extreme discomfort during intercourse.
These, along with other things, such as changes in body image, can lead to difficulties and major challenges in maintaining healthy sexual relations as we age.

Thanks to medical advances leading to improved health care, as well as a baby boomer generation that refused to take the changes associated with aging "lying down," we arrive at a wonderful place, where the world is your oyster when it comes to available options to combat what was once felt to be inevitable.

Below I will cover a few options for women:
There are many hormonal and nonhormonal options available.

Nonhormonal options for the vaginal changes associated with menopause like vitamin E and olive oil can be used to perform perineal massage.

Don Quai, Evening Primrose, Valerian Root, Chasteberry, Black Cohosh and Maca Powder can also be used to combat the changes of menopause, which can lead to a less satisfying sexual experience.
Osphena is an oral nonhormonal medication taken daily to effect changes in the vaginal tissues which ease vaginal dryness and the painful intercourse that can accompany aging.

Hormonal Replacement Therapy - This subject can alone take more than the space and time allowed in this article to cover. They can be delivered in a number of ways: pill, patches and topicals for systemic relief of symptoms, and vaginal remedies for local relief of symptoms.

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy is extremely popular as it provides a more customized approach to deliver depleted hormones. A type of bioidentical hormones known as the pellet can do away with decreased libido, boost energy, eliminate mental fogginess, increase lean body mass, enhance mood and reverse the vaginal symptoms associated with aging.

Vaginal Rejuvenation is a series of cosmetic procedures to help get your vagina in the best condition possible. Any of these procedures can, according to your wishes and desires, correct surgically (or medically using fillers and PFP) many vaginal or labial concerns expressed by women.

Maintaining your health is the most important personal step you can take to maintain a healthy sex life. This includes a healthy diet, getting plenty of rest and keeping chronic conditions under the care of a physician.

Exercise has been associated with increasing your "feel good" hormones associated with libido. Weight loss can enhance your inner confidence and give you a sexual boost.

Open communication with your provider in a nonjudgmental and nonintimidating environment is very important to your ability to feel comfortable discussing this sensitive issue.

A stable and loving relationship is extremely important to maintaining a healthy sex life.

Call the professionals at Innovative Women's HealthCare Solutions to discuss both hormonal and nonhormonal options and other healthy lifestyle changes you can make to make your later years hotter than ever. At Innovative, we believe that with aging, the best is yet to come.


Melinda Miller-Thrasher, MD, FACOG
Innovative Women's HealthCare Solutions (IWHCS)

Buckhead, Midtown,and Smyrna/Vinings

Melinda Miller Thrasher is a native of NYC and attended Cornell University, Mt. Sinai and NYU for her residency training. Her expertise includes fibroids and minimally invasive surgical procedures to treat fibroids. She is on staff at Emory University Hospital and Piedmont Hospital. Dr. Miller-Thrasher has been selected as one of Atlanta's Top Doctors each year since 2009 as listed in Atlanta Magazine, one of the Gynecologists You Love (Essence Magazine) and she is a Patients' Choice Award recipient. She is also a member of the WebMD medical review board. Her new book, "The Innovative Women's Guide To Managing Fibroids Without Hysterectomy" will be available in late 2014.

Sponsored by: Innovative Women’s HealthCare Solutions  |  Phone: (404) 549-1327  |  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   |


Monday, 24 November 2014 15:18

Tailor-Made Treatment for Atlanta’s Kids

Driving kids to and fro is a routine activity for metro Atlanta parents. That said, most moms and dads don't trust their children's safety to the standard adult-sized car seat. They carefully make sure they have the right seat for the right age, size and weight.

That's because parents know that whether it's an infant's five-point harness or a 9-year-old's booster seat, the right fit could save their child's life.

The same principle holds true when children need surgery because of enlarged or infected tonsils and or adenoids, says Dr. James Thomsen, Medical Director of Otolaryngology (ENT) at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

Having a tonsillectomy can be straightforward – it's the second most common pediatric surgery, with more than 500,000 performed each year in the United States.* But straightforward does not mean without risk. And the best way to reduce risk is to make sure that pediatric patients have access to the equipment and expertise tailor-made for them. "Children are not little adults," says Dr. Thomsen. "And when you're dealing with anesthesia, surgery, or nursing care, you really want a medical environment that has the experience and tools to deal the unique issues of children."

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, the only dedicated pediatric hospital in Georgia, can offer such specialized care, with multiple sizes of equipment and precise levels of treatment designed for kids. Breathing tubes and dosage, for example, for anesthesia is highly precise because Children's has to be able to adjust from a 4-pound preemie to a 250-pound 17-year-old athlete with a sport injury.

Children's also offers "kid-focused care," including child life specialists and therapy dogs to help make the entire family as comfortable as possible.

Of course, the most important reason parents should ask for a pediatric-trained surgeon is the same reason they have the right car seat – to prepare for a day when things are not routine. Pediatric-trained surgeons have gone through special training to care for kids. And, because Children's handles such a high volume of cases, there is little that its pediatric medical teams have not seen – providing a safety net of knowledge if something goes awry. "We can deal with simple problems in complex children – children who have multiple health issues," Dr. Thomsen said. "And we can deal with complex issues in healthy children." The vast majority of kids never need such extraordinary care – just like they might not need the multiple locks that keep them snug in their car seat. But if a child does need a tonsillectomy or an adenoidectomy, Dr. Thomsen wants to remind parents they always have a choice. "Be empowered. Be a good advocate," he says. "And ask and expect the specialized pediatric care your child deserves."

Medicine 1-2-3

1. Tonsils are located on the sides of the throat, and adenoids are located inside the breathing passage in the back of the nose.

2. A tonsillectomy removes the tonsils, and an adenoidectomy removes adenoids. Typically, the procedures are done because of chronic infections or sleep apnea.

3. More than 500,000 tonsillectomies – the second most common pediatric surgery- are done each year, although that number has drastically dropped within the past decade. Adenoidectomies are often done in tandem with tonsillectomies or alone to treat nasal obstruction, chronic sinusitis or decrease the nose as a trigger for recurrent ear infections.

*Cullen KA, Hall MJ, Golosinskiy A. Ambulatory Surgery in the United States, 2006. National Health Statistics reports no. 11, revised. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics; 2009.

Sponsored by: Children's Healthcare of Atlanta | Phone: (404) 785-4676 |


Friday, 21 November 2014 20:54

Andi and Josh: Atlanta’s Best Love Story

When ABC's "The Bachelorette" featured Atlanta native Andi Dorfman for its 10th season, we at Best Self Atlanta eagerly tuned in. Not only was Andi an assistant district attorney in Fulton County before the show, but by the end of the season, she was engaged to the baseball-playing bachelor from Brookhaven, Josh Murray. The two seemed very much in love, but as is the way with reality TV, the camera doesn't tell all. Josh and Andi sat down with Best Self Atlanta to give us the full picture of their life together now that the cameras have stopped rolling.

Talk of the Town
As soon as the final episode of "The Bachelorette" aired in July, Josh and Andi hit the town together and haven't stopped. Andi says her favorite part of sharing a city is showing Josh around, since he originally hails from Tampa, Florida. "I love taking him to new restaurants," she says, particularly Decatur's unique offerings. "Our date night spots are usually somewhere good to eat. We eat sushi probably twice a week."

001-SidebarWhen they want a night in, the couple regularly enjoys downtime with Andi's family. "We see my family probably once a week. I grew up having dinner with my family every Sunday," she says, a tradition they do their best to continue. "Our travel schedules don't always allow it, but I'd say we see them once a week on average, which is really nice for us."

Their time together in the same city has helped them get to know each other even better than they could on the show. Before now, Andi says, "I didn't know what a clean freak he is!" And Josh has learned plenty about Andi too. "I have learned that she's a tremendous cook, that she can't fall asleep at night unless she's watching TV, and that she likes to sew her clothes constantly – she's great with designing things."

001-ANDIEnJOSHWorking It Out
Andi hasn't returned to work yet – their busy schedules make a 9 to 5 nearly impossible right now – but she says, "I miss my job and being a lawyer. It's something I would like to go back to once everything settles down." Her role as an assistant district attorney always felt like a logical fit, chosen while Andi was in law school at Wake Forest. "I like to think that the career chose me," she says. "I was in law school, and I worked for the DA's office one summer and was just like, 'This is it for me.' I had a great boss who took me under her wing, and it was a no-brainer."

Part of the perfect fit, Andi says, was that the job allowed her to serve the community she grew up in. "At times it was hard because you don't always see an immediate impact of your work, but over time, it becomes more and more apparent." Plus, the varied daily schedule kept her on her toes and intellectually stimulated.

002-SidebarHer demanding career and top notch education even equipped her for her experience on "The Bachelorette" by honing "my BS meter," she laughs. "I think my education helped me to be as practical as possible in what could be perceived as an impractical situation." The one thing it couldn't prepare her for, though, was the media attention. "I think, unless you grow up in that lifestyle, nothing can prepare you for it."

Despite their busy schedules and media attention, Josh is moving forward with the next steps in his own career. From baseball player to financial advisor, Josh now leads a team in direct sales with a company called AdvoCare, which caters to athletes and other health-conscious consumers. His interest with the company originally began through his brother

Aaron Murray, former Bulldogs quarterback who was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs this year. "Once Aaron became an endorser for AdvoCare after he graduated from UGA, I decided to start trying some of their products," Josh says, which range from herbal cleanses and supplements to energy bars and workout recovery drinks. After feeling their positive effects, Josh wanted to help spread the word. "The most enjoyable part of working with AdvoCare is that I see people's lives being changed for the better each and every day," he says, as they begin to live healthier, more active lives. "There is nothing more rewarding than helping others. It makes me a happy man."

For Better or For Worse
That desire to help others, along with their newfound place in the spotlight, has positioned Andi and Josh to take their philanthropy to the next level. In the months since "The Bachelorette," the couple has appeared at Jeffrey Fashion Cares, The Pink Agenda's Toast to a Cure and many more national and local charity events. These opportunities have only stoked their enthusiasm for giving back. Josh says, "We love helping with underprivileged children and trying to make the world a better place for them to live."

This cause is particularly dear to Andi's heart too. She says, "I have seen firsthand the effects of at-risk youth in regard to crime, education and overall well-being. It's really important to give those children an opportunity to live a great life and to contribute in a positive way to our community." Andi says she also wants to help empower other women. "As a woman who was taught to be independent, I know how important it is for women to have careers and have the tools to be independent."

These days, founded on the common priorities of caring for the health of their community and themselves, their relationship is going strong. The couple will soon be scoping out the Atlanta real estate market to find a place they – and Josh's English Bulldog – can all call home. As they look back on their whirlwind year and ahead to a 2015 that will bring a wedding and maybe even an addition to their family, Andi says those shared values are the key to their relationship's success. She says, "No matter what or who comes into our life, at the end of the day, we are a team."


Friday, 21 November 2014 20:30

Caring for Aging Parents

These days, your mother struggles to remember small parts of her daily routine. Maybe your dad seems like himself, but he can't manage the daily task of cooking dinner. Or perhaps your parents are still doing great on their own, but they need some backup navigating the financial side of retirement.
No matter the details, the common denominator is an aging parent. Not only is this stage of life new for them, but caring for them is new territory for you too – after all, you're used to them having the answers.

To help you navigate your new role and your parents' changing needs, we've compiled a list of local resources that will come in handy. Their informative websites and top notch services can ensure that you and your parents get the care and support you need.

Your parents need . . .
In-home care. Your parents are still fairly active, but they could use an extra hand with errands or housekeeping.

Reach out to . . .
Synergy HomeCare. This organization provides non-medical home care. They can help with things like meal preparation, housekeeping, medication reminders and transportation to errands. They can also provide pleasant conversation and companionship, which are helpful for overall well-being and quality of life. Details:

Your parents need . . .
An accessible home. Sometimes your parents may require modifications to their existing living space or additions, such as ramps, in order to be able to maneuver the house more easily.

Reach out to . . .
A Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS). The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) worked with AARP to develop a training designation for remodelers and contractors: the Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS). These specialists can do a room-by-room assessment of your parents' home and make recommendations for modifications, such as increased lighting, additional railings, walk-in bathtubs or showers, ramps and even home elevators.
Details: Visit and browse the NAHB CAPS directory, which lists more than 50 certified specialists in the Atlanta area.

Your parents need . . .
Transportation. Past a certain point, it's safer to let someone else take the wheel, but you aren't always free to drive Mom or Dad. It helps to have an extra car and an attentive driver to get your parents to their errands or a special occasion, like a family wedding, and safely back home.

001-SidebarReach out to . . .
Atlanta Senior Assistant. Karen Adams created Atlanta Senior Assistant solely to provide companionship and chauffeur services for seniors in the Atlanta area. Many other care organizations may include transportation among their offered services, and the National Center on Senior Transportation can provide additional information and creative solutions.

Your parents need . . .
Healthy meals. Rising food costs, a lessened appetite and even simple forgetfulness can cause seniors to miss out on healthy, regular meals. Even if they do eat regularly, studies show that on average, seniors get too many of their calories from fat, alcohol and added sugars.

Reach out to . . .
Project Open Hand. This charitable organization provides freshly cooked, nutritious meals and snacks to a variety of clients, including seniors. Whether your parents need a specially formulated menu (such as the diabetic menu, the dialysis menu, the low-fat menu or a variety of meatless menus) or standard meal options, Open Hand offers many choices. Clients can also customize the number of meals they receive: as few as two per week, and as many as 21. Your parents may qualify for Open Hand's free services, but if they are not eligible, Open Hand does offer an option to pay for the service and still enjoy the convenience and nutritional benefits.

Your parents need . . .
Hearing or vision services. When your parents consistently ask you to repeat yourself, respond with shorter answers than normal or struggle to carry on their usual telephone conversations, they may be struggling with hearing loss. Additionally, risk of eye conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration all increase with age.

Reach out to . . .
Georgia Council for the Hearing Impaired (GACHI). Through this statewide nonprofit organization, seniors can receive special equipment to make their telephones more hard-of-hearing-friendly. Find out if your parents are eligible and apply online.

Omni Eye Services of Atlanta. Specializing in the treatment of age-related vision problems, this practice is full of board-certified surgeons and optometrists who can ensure that your parents will be in experienced hands.

002-SidebarYour parents need . . .
To stay engaged. Several local therapeutic practices can keep seniors mentally active and help them cope with the transitions of aging.

Reach out to . . .
Happy Tails Pets. Since 1991, Happy Tails has been taking volunteers and their pets to Atlanta senior centers for animal-assisted therapy and activity. The organization's president, Linda Bolterstein, shares, "We have experienced firsthand the incredible effect that pet therapy has on that population." Throwing a ball for a puppy can help with motor skills, brushing a cat can help with coordination, and the cheerful presence of any pet can help combat depression and loneliness. Details:

Mindful Transitions. Beyond the needs of social engagement, seniors also need a chance to process the transitions of aging. As with many life changes, aging can prompt feelings of worry, depression, low energy, grief and more. Mindful Transitions is a group practice that provides counseling of this type to seniors. "Once clients begin services, we typically see them become more involved in their new communities with peers and activities, and their families report improved mood and general well being," says Linda Jalbert, the practice's owner. A physician's order is not necessary to set up a visit with a therapist, and Medicare covers more than half of each session.

000-Bogey-Rugby-WorkingYour parents need . . .
Financial support. Updating documents and protecting assets in today's technological world can be a challenge.

Reach out to . . .
Financial Innovations, LLC. Owner Laura Schilling offers a senior scam and identity theft seminar to arm seniors against today's frequent online scams. She can also guide you and your parents through a discussion about their investments and Last Will and Testament so you stay informed.

Your parents need . . .
You to understand what they're going through.
This transition is tough on them too, particularly if one or both of your parents has Alzheimer's or dementia.

Reach out to . . .
Second Wind Dreams. This organization offers a Virtual Dementia Tour, which guides you through completing simple tasks that simulate the challenges of dementia. Using the loss of fine motor skills, increased confusion, pain of arthritis and other difficulties, the virtual
experience will show you just how tough it is to be in a senior's shoes. Once you understand firsthand, you can approach this phase of life and your new caregiving role with more compassion, patience and love.

Atlanta Home Care Partners, Inc. This full-service, family-owned and
operated non-medical home agency's area of expertise is caring for those who have been diagnosed with cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer's disease.

Your parents need . . .
You to take care of yourself. No matter how much help they need during this phase of life, they're still your parents, which means they want you to be happy and healthy too. The task of caring for dependent family members takes a mental, emotional and physical toll, so don't neglect your own needs during this time.

Reach out to . . .
Illumination Counseling and Coaching. Latasha Matthews, LPC, offers the Adult Children of Aging Parents Support Group beginning this month. The group will meet in person each month and will also offer an online webinar to discuss coping strategies, uncertainty about the future and other challenges that come hand in hand with the shifting roles of caring for your parents. The cost is just $25 per class.


Editorial Resources
Atlanta Home Care Partners –
Atlanta Senior Assistant –
Financial Innovations, LLC –
Georgia Council for the Hearing Impaired (GACHI) –
Happy Tails Pets –
Illumination Counseling and Coaching –
National Association of Home Builders –
National Center on Senior Transportation –
Omni Eye Services of Atlanta –
Project Open Hand –
Second Wind Dreams –
Synergy HomeCare –

Friday, 21 November 2014 20:11

Get to the Core of Back Pain

From dull muscle aches to severe, sharp pains, issues with your back or neck can be extremely uncomfortable – even debilitating. According to the Mayo Clinic, back pain is the second most common reason Americans visit our doctors, and we spend an estimated $193.3 billion annually trying to treat it. The good news? The right types of exercises can have you walking tall in no time.

Know Your Pain
Back pain is a complex, individual experience, but it's generally classified in one of two categories: acute or chronic pain.
Acute pain: pain lasting less than three to six months. It is the most common type of back pain and can often be traced back to a single event causing tissue damage.

Chronic pain: pain lasting longer than six months. Causes typically include arthritis, degenerative disc disease, herniated discs and untreated or improperly treated acute injury.

001-Gina-MinyardPreventative Solutions in Atlanta
One of the best ways to prevent back and neck pain is to keep your back muscles strong. Weight loss can also help relieve pressure and strain. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends participating in back strengthening and stretching exercises at least two to three times a week to prevent back pain.

But if you have an existing injury or are already in pain, what can you do? Atlanta spine specialist Dr. Krystal Chambers recommends light stretching, especially if your injury is a simple strain. "Once the pain is gone, then strength training can be introduced," she says. Dr. Chambers also recommends preventative core strengthening to protect the spine from further injury.

So whether your goal is to resolve or prevent back or neck pain, stretching and core strength are your best bets, and you can find classes to help right around the corner.

Straighten Up
It seems simple, but good posture can work wonders for relieving pain. Gina Minyard, co-director of Yoga Collective in Atlanta, believes in the power of stretches found in alignment-based yoga. This approach works to balance and align the musculoskeletal system, and that alignment "is the basis for recovering from chronic tension and establishing good posture long term," she says.

002-SidebarTo that end, Yoga Collective offers "therapeutic alignment" classes that help you understand and achieve a natural spinal curve. This means the head sits over the shoulders, which sits above the hips. The tops of the thigh bones stay back over the center of the ankles, and abdominals support the front to stabilize the core. Shoulder blades stay drawn toward each other and slightly down to support healthy neck alignment. If you find you need more targeted help for your pain, Yoga Collective offers specialty yoga workshops for low back and neck pain.

For instant relief, Gina suggests lying on your back with a yoga block under the upper back and some support under the head. From here, lie with the arms by your sides, palms up, letting the upper back and chest open over the block. This can clear up neck, upper back and even lower back tension in about five minutes.

003-svelte-high-res-3Hit the Bar
Well, the barre. Studios offering barre workouts have been springing up all over Atlanta, and for good reason: this fitness program incorporates low impact, isometric movements to strengthen the entire body. Because of the emphasis on small, safe motions, barre workouts are an excellent option for those with pre-existing back and neck issues.

Pure Barre, a studio with 12 Atlanta-area locations offering these workouts, encourages a "neutral spine" throughout their classes. By keeping hips "tucked under," any major curve of the lower back is removed, improving posture and alleviating any strain. "Many of our clients spend much of their day hunched over computers. Our teachers are trained to correct each client's form hands-on to ensure proper alignment throughout class," says Katy Bayless Gibson, teacher and owner of Pure Barre's Virginia Highlands location.

This is a particularly good option for people of all pain levels or fitness levels because numerous modifications are offered for each exercise. That means even if your back hurts, you can work toward better alignment and less pain while getting a great workout.

004-IMG 3380Just Keep Swimming
"A body in motion is less prone to chronic back and neck pain," says Kathleen Butcher, the director of Concourse Athletic Club. She says, "Movement is key. A body at rest will not only stay at rest, but also stay in pain." With this in mind, Concourse Athletic Club offers aqua classes and deep water classes. These options, Butcher says, "are a great way to allow the body to move freely in an immersed and supportive medium with minimal impact to the joints. Deep water classes add an extra core-strengthening component to them."

Many local YMCA locations, LA Fitness locations and other fitness centers also offer Aqua Zumba, which brings the fun, upbeat movements of Zumba to the much lower impact environment of the pool. No matter which class you choose, the resistance of the water adds an extra element to improve your fitness over time.

Call in the Experts
If you are suffering from chronic neck and back issues, or have suffered a recent injury with pain lasting over a week, you may want to consider a visit to a rehabilitation specialist or orthopedist. If you are looking to become an active participant in your recovery and are hoping to avoid spinal surgery, check out options such as Resurgens Orthopaedics, whose team of physiatrists specializes in treating spine pain without surgery.
Thankfully, simple strains can usually be treated at home with rest, ice, heat and over-the-counter medications for pain and inflammation. But as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so never underestimate the power of staying active, eating healthy food, staying hydrated and getting plenty of rest. Taking care of yourself in general is the first step to taking care of your back and neck pain.


Editorial Resources
Kathleen Butcher, Concourse Athletic Club –
Krystal Chambers, MD, Resurgens Orthopaedics –
Katy Bayless Gibson, Pure Barre Virginia Highlands –
Mayo Clinic –
Gina Minyard, Yoga Collective –
U.S. Department of Human Services –


Friday, 21 November 2014 16:40

2014 “Best of 2014” Contest Winners



 After more than 1,500 nominations and 47,000 votes, you have chosen this year’s best!






Best Large Fitness Facility
Adrenaline Group Xercise
With a dedicated, experienced team and a variety of fitness offerings – from CrossFit and Les Mills classes to Zumba and their own AGX classes – this facility has it all.


Best Small/Medium Fitness Facility
Sports Fitness Experience
Located in Roswell, this facility includes free weights, functional training equipment, a cardio area with treadmills, a running track and a turf field. Plus, they offer a variety of personal training opportunities and unique fitness

"Julian and his crew are awesome!" – Debbie B.

001-BallsBest Rec Sport League
Atlanta Sport and Social Club
Tap into your competitive side by joining a basketball, softball or kickball team. You can also compete in sillier sports such as "bubble soccer," cornhole and even bar games.

Best Workout
Cardio Dance Funk at Dance It Off
You don't have to be a ballerina to enjoy a workout at Dance It Off. This Sandy Springs studio invites all adults to get moving in classes such as Zumba, lyrical dance, tap, and this calorie-blasting class taught by studio co-owner Jason Cohen.

"[Jason] turned my two left feet into a dancing set of feet that can keep up with
his routines!" – Brenda T.


Best Personal Trainer
Justin Davis
Justin Davis trains clients at Atlanta's Inman Park location of Snap Fitness, which provides 24-hour access to cardio equipment and free

"Great trainer. He watches and makes sure you do the movements correctly, and he can modify exercises if you have certain conditions that would be injured during a movement." – Zachary J.

002-BootCampBest Boot Camp
Minister of Muscle
Led by certified personal trainer and sports nutrition consultant Vincent Casey, this Marietta-based boot camp program trains everyone from beginners to advanced athletes. Boot camps are open to adults, third through fifth grades, and sixth through 12th grades.

"Nobody brings it like the Minister!" – Trenna B.

Best CrossFit Gym
CrossFit Perimeter
Open all week in Sandy Springs, this gym boasts seven coaches with over 25 years' combined CrossFit experience. They can adapt the workouts to any fitness level.

003-CrossFitBest CrossFit Instructor
Nicole McMinn
Nicole teaches CrossFit classes and hosts Weekend Warrior events with CrossFit Breaking Boundaries, a CrossFit gym located in Roswell.

Best Barre Instructor
Katie Otto
As the lead teacher at Pure Barre Virginia Highlands, Katie Otto guides her class members to discover their inner strength and confidence while getting fit. Katie has also toured America and China as a hip hop dancer and loves sharing her dance passion with Atlanta.

004-StabilityBest Barre Studio
SVELTE challenges clients with isometric holds, low impact movements and a vigorous pace at the barre. This Brookhaven studio offers five different class styles as well as a free community barre class once per month.

"SVELTE is the best barre studio in Atlanta! Great location, very reasonable prices, many class options and excellent instructors." – Becky B.

Best Indoor Cycling Studio
Flywheel Sports
This nationwide cycling studio has three locations in Atlanta: Buckhead, Midtown and a newly opened studio in Alpharetta. Their combination of challenging rides and upper body weight training – not to mention the motivating leader board and upbeat music – will have you fit and fly in no time.

"My second home." – Cindy L.

Best Indoor Cycling Instructor
Dani Pallo
Dani Pallo, a cycling instructor at Flywheel's Buckhead location, has had her cycling certification since 2010. She holds an industrial engineering degree from Georgia Tech and also enjoys practicing yoga.

005-YogaBest Yoga Studio
Stillness Yoga and Meditation Center
Founded by Stephanie Clement, a yoga and meditation teacher as well as a certified yoga therapist, this Marietta studio offers yoga at all levels, Grounded Kids & Tweens classes, meditation and QiGong.

"Stillness is a nurturing yoga atmosphere at all times, and it is a privilege to be able to practice there." – Gail L.

Best Yoga Instructor
Astrid Santana
Astrid teaches at studios across the Atlanta area, in private sessions, on international retreats and on outdoor adventure retreats. Her next yoga and hiking retreat takes students to Montana's Glacier National Park in August 2015.,

"You are one of the best, Astrid. Thanks for being a good yoga teacher on and off the mat." – Carrie V.

Best Pilates Studio
Stability Pilates & Physical Therapy
Specializing in Pilates and physical therapy, this studio employs fully licensed therapists, massage therapists and, of course, Pilates-trained instructors. Stability also offers private sessions and Pilates workouts on the mat, the Reformer and on the Stability Chair.

Best Pilates Instructor
Michelle Wade
As a Pilates devotee since college, Michelle loves the practice and completed her certification for mat Pilates in 2009. Catch her classes at Atlanta Hot Yoga, Total Fitness Revolution, Ember Yoga and Decatur Yoga and Pilates. She also offers private lessons.

006-ZumbaBest Zumba
Dance Stop Studios
While they offer classes in jazz, tap, ballet, hip hop, creative movement and more, it's the Zumba at Dance Stop Studios that really gets the party started. Plus, you can pay for classes on an individual basis or pre-pay for a class card with no expiration date, making it easy to maximize your moves.

"Super fun fitness classes with talented teachers. Very reasonable class fees, given the amount of caring and friendliness included as a bonus!" – Susan H.

Best Zumba Instructor
Kandice Shelton
After corporate life resulted in her weight rising to above 200 pounds, Kandice knew she wanted to change some things. She lost over 60 pounds and discovered a passion for teaching fitness. Today she is the founder of Zenergy Fitness, which offers a variety of fitness programs, including Zumba, Aqua Zumba and Zumbatomic fitness parties for kids.

"She is amazing! Her Zumba classes are a great workout." – Cozena S.

007-DBBest Group Fitness Class
Rowbot Fitness
Get a full-body workout by boating – out of the water! This unique fitness studio specializes in indoor rowing, educates you on technique and customizes the resistance for any fitness level.

Best Group Fitness Instructor
Charles Anderson
Owner Charles Anderson teaches multiple indoor rowing classes each day at Rowbot Fitness. Most recently, he and fellow rower Stephen Ebbett rowed one million meters to raise money for Open Hand Atlanta and Kidney Research UK.

008-DanceBest Dance Instructor
Desiree Nathanson
This certified group exercise instructor strives to make fitness fun for her clients by sharing her passion for health, fitness and dance. Catch her cardio dance, jazz and 80s-inspired dance classes at Dance 101.

Best Dance Studio
Dance Tonight Atlanta
Learn ballroom dance at this studio, where world champions Rex and Rachel Jones offer private and group lessons.

"Great dance floor, instructors, parties and dance lessons!" – Rita C.


Best Martial Arts/Boxing Gym
Buckhead Jiu-Jitsu
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a martial art that gained popularity in America in the 90s, is effective for self-defense and fitness. This studio, led by second degree black belt Sam Joseph, teaches the technique to women and men of all ages and also offers a Fitin45 interval training

Best Running/Walking Gear
Big Peach Running Co.
With seven locations around Atlanta, Big Peach Running Co. is dedicated to supporting Atlantans in their active lifestyles. In addition to offering a range of footwear and apparel, the store's "We Have It or We'll Get It" policy means they'll help you access any running or walking gear you need.

009-ClimbBest Running Club or Group
West Stride
Offering group runs on Saturdays, Wednesdays and special events throughout the month, this store's active running groups make it easy to start a running routine. This month alone, they'll be running the Hope for Orphans race, the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside 10K and a Holiday Red Brick Run.

"I would not be running without their knowledge and support." – Kathy G.

Best Hiking Club or Group
Atlanta Outdoor Club
Established in 2000, Atlanta Outdoor Club caters to active Atlantans 21 and up. Their hikes take them everywhere from urban Atlanta to Jekyll Island.

Best Outdoor Gear
High Country Outfitters
Gear up for your next hike, camping trip or river excursion at High Country Outfitters in Buckhead and East Cobb. And this team doesn't just talk the talk – they also host adventure trips and the annual Stand Up for the Hooch SUP race.

010-BIKEBest Cycling Shop
Atlanta Cycling
With two locations in Atlanta, Atlanta Cycling offers professional bike fittings, informed advice about cycling brands, repair and coaching services, as well as an online directory of local cycling events and groups.

Best Tennis Store

Your Serve Tennis
All of Your Serve's eight Atlanta locations provide full-service racquet maintenance and the opportunity to test a racquet at home before you purchase.

Best Rock Climbing Wall
Atlanta Rocks!
Tackle more than 12,000 square feet of climbing space at Atlanta Rocks!, where friendly and experienced staff can teach you everything from basic climbing technique and safety to the skills needed for lead climbing.

"Everyone is friendly and welcoming, so you don't have to be afraid to dive right into something new! The climbing is great and challenging." – Amy F.

Best Swim Instructor
Katy Jo Schroer
Teaching swimming to kids six months to 12 years, Katy Jo uses a gentle, playful method to help children feel confident in the water.

011-SeniorFitnessBest Kids' Fitness
Cardio Kool Kids
Founded by Amy Head, a certified group fitness instructor who holds a master's degree in social work, Cardio Kool Kids helps kids achieve overall health through kickboxing, dance and nutrition journaling. The organization commonly works with PTA and after-school programs.

"Hands down THE BEST!" – Schyler S.

Best Seniors' Fitness
ATL Silver Classix Crew
This dynamic group of dancers age 50 and up formed in 2010, proving that the spirit of dance is ageless. They keep their bodies healthy and minds sharp by performing for Atlanta's sports teams, at city festivals and more. Their director, Leslie Alison, leads their weekly practices at Dance 101.

"An amazing group of people with a super talented leader! The crew is fun and dynamic – so much fun to watch!" – Missy B.

Best Weight Loss Program
Atlanta Endocrine Associates
Losing weight while staying healthy can feel like a delicate balancing act. Medical supervision during the weight loss process, like the kind provided by Dr. Scott Isaacs at Atlanta Endocrine Associates, can help you focus on appropriate weight loss foods and long-term weight maintenance.

"Dr. Isaacs is very caring and truly tries to help everyone reach their maximum health goals." – Karen L.


012-OpenHandThese fan faves also received lots of votes:

Best Personal Trainer – Joey Martin from Adrenaline Group Xercise
Best Barre Instructor – Jamie Roney from Pure Barre Druid Hills
Best Barre Instructor – Katie Schrier from Barre3
Best Indoor Cycling Instructor – Jeremy Levison from Flywheel Sports
Best Zumba Instructor – Omega Bickham from Dance Stop Studios
Best Cycling Shop – Peachtree Bikes





 Best Volunteer Opportunity
Project Open Hand
Sickness, old age or disability can make it difficult for people to purchase and cook healthy meals. Project Open Hand helps by delivering free, nutritious meals to community members. Volunteers are regularly used to pack meals, deliver meals and support the team at special events.

013-LifeCoachBest Life Coach
Dr. Jacquie Damgaard
With 18 years' experience helping executives and professionals live meaningful lives, Dr. Damgaard now serves as the executive director of ExecuCare, helping clients work through addiction.

"She is skilled, talented, empathetic and compassionate as a practitioner and as a person. Jacquie is the real deal. Her track record speaks for itself." – Mitch A.

Best Career Counselor
Nancy Gerber
Serving Atlanta since 1992, Nancy is an active member of the International Coach Federation. Through her coaching at Stepping Stones, she aims to help her clients balance personal and professional life, develop business skills, strengthen business relationships and deal with career transitions.

Best Financial Counselor
Laura Schilling
Laura is a Certified Financial Planner and the president and owner of Financial Innovations. She offers her clients legal, accounting and financial planning expertise while prioritizing their emotional goals for their finances too.

014-HypnoBest Hypnotherapist
Becky Shanks
Through her practice, Presents of Mind, Becky offers private sessions and monthly group hypnosis. She has helped clients overcome insomnia, food compulsions and smoking while adding more joy and abundance to their lives.

"Becky is an amazing person with the ability to bring out the positive attitude each of us needs. She is a true talent!" – Jill K.

015-DOGBest Doggie Day Care
Puppy Haven
This Brookhaven day care offers many pet perks: unleashed play, professional grooming, healthy food and 5,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor room to romp. Their website even includes webcam streams so you can check on your pup during the day.

"Hands down the best doggie day care and boarding in Atlanta. We feel like our pup is safe, having fun and loved as much as he is at home." – Allison W.

016-CityDOGBest Pet Store
City Dog Market
From its Brookhaven store, City Dog Market offers natural food, wholesome treats, earth-friendly toys and bathing stations to freshen up your four-legged babies.

Best Dog Park
Brook Run Dog Park
Located in the Liane Levetan Park at Brook Run in Dunwoody, this dog park is nearly four acres large and completely fenced in. It includes walking trails, sitting areas and plenty of mature shade trees.

Best Groomer
Uptown Pups
Launched by owner Michelle Bielen, this Vinings store caters to the unique needs of city and suburban dogs. Their grooming options include deluxe baths, mini grooms, full grooms and simple nail trims.

Best Local Vet
Apex Animal Hospital
This Austell practice opened in March, focusing on client education and communication, preventative care and diagnostics and treatment when needed. They can address health needs from your pet's first visit all the way to their geriatric care.

Best Charity Running Event
Shamrock 'n Roll Road Race
This race, put on by the Junior League of Atlanta, ran for the 10th year in a row this March. The event offers 1K, 5K and 10K options and raises funds for JLA, which invests in causes such as early childhood education and preventing sexual exploitation of Atlanta's children.

017-BodyPaintBest Charity Ball/Gala
Body Art Ball
Living Art America's annual event showcases art on living canvases: bodies. Artists paint their masterpieces on models, and the event supports The Chelko Foundation, which aims to empower women through art.

"Excellently organized and entertaining. One of the best events I've been to in quite a while." – Kiki A.

Best Local Festival
Grant Park Summer Shade Festival
The Grant Park Summer Shade Festival was held for the 12th year this August. With a kids zone, live music, an artist market gallery and even a 5K, the weekend offers something for everyone.

018-WineBest Local Vineyard
Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery
Established in 1999, this Dahlonega vineyard now produces more than 5,000 cases of Georgia wine annually. It is open for tastings, tours, gourmet dining and even weddings in the vineyard.

Best Cooking Classes
The Cook's Warehouse
With locations across Atlanta, The Cook's Warehouse offers classes on everything from cooking fundamentals to seasonal specialties. Classes may be one-time, in a series, or even taught by visiting celebrity chefs.

Best In-Town Getaways
St. Regis Atlanta
This luxury Buckhead hotel offers a range of plush rooms and sprawling suites, spa treatments, afternoon tea and holiday-themed events. Combine that with the on-location fine dining, and a weekend here may be your new favorite staycation.

Best Bookstore
Little Shop of Stories
Located in Decatur's historic square, this independent bookstore hosts weekly storytimes, book-themed summer camps such as Camp Hogwarts and Magic Tree House Camp, and even staff-led book groups for all ages.

Best Music Venue
The Tabernacle
This unique venue, which was originally a Baptist church and a nursing school in the early 1900s, will host Common, Weezer, Billy Idol and more in the coming months.

019-ParkBest School for Adult Learners
International School of Skin, Nailcare & Massage Therapy
This school focuses on turning its students into successful esthetics, nail care and massage therapy professionals.

Best Park
Piedmont Park
A quintessential Atlanta location, this park hosts many festivals, fitness events and even a farmers market each year. Its facilities include sports fields, bocce courts, fenced dog parks for small and large dogs, playgrounds and areas to swim, bike and jog.


020-ColoristThese fan faves also received lots of votes:
Best Volunteer Opportunity – Junior League of Atlanta




021-StylistBest Hair Colorist
Meredith Van Sickle
Meredith Van Sickle hails from Indianapolis, where she studied under D.J. Freed, an Aveda Global Color Master. She eventually became a color educator for the Aveda Institute Atlanta, and she is now a colorist at the Milton location of Joseph & Friends Lifestyle Salon & Spa.

Best Hair Stylist
Breana Carlyn
Breana studied at the Aveda Institute of Cosmetology, and during her time there, she won first place in Aveda's annual hair stylist competition. She now styles hair at Buckhead's Carter Barnes Hair Artisans.

"Breana is the best!" – April B.

Best Hair Salon
Aura Hair & Makeup
This salon in Historic Roswell offers each client a style consultation (complete with complimentary wine or other beverage), a scalp massage, aromatherapy and access to their Aura Color Bar of more than 500 hair colors.

"I have commuted to Aura Hair & Makeup from Midtown Atlanta for two years, and it has been worth every mile!" – Brittany M.

Best Hair Salon for Blowouts
GlowDry, which celebrated its first anniversary in Buckhead in September, specializes in blowouts, which include a wash, dry and style. Clients can add on a scalp massage or conditioning hair treatment for a visit that's both relaxing and hair-healthy.

"Love their blowouts!" – Shantel K.

Best Waxing
European Wax Center
At their locations in North Druid Hills, Brookhaven and Kennesaw, European Wax Center offers waxing for men and women from eyebrows to toes.

022-EyebrowsBest Sugaring
Defined Sugaring Studio
Using a mixture of sugar, water and lemon juice, Defined Sugaring Studio and founder Marlonda Currie serve clients of all ages, skin types and hair textures in their Buckhead studio.

"Wonderful experience; can't wait to go back!" – Cindy H.


Best Eyebrows
Lindsey Morrissey
As the lead makeup artist with Aura Hair & Makeup, Lindsey also specializes in brows and loves using her signature techniques to enhance her clients' facial features.

Best Eyelash Extensions
Sweet and Lashful
Owner Nancy Shim, a medical aesthetician, offers eyelash tinting, eyelash perms and semi-permanent eyelash extensions, as well as other services, such as permanent makeup and brow shaping.

"I had chemotherapy last year and lost all my hair, brows and eyelashes. When my eyelashes started to grow back, I went to Nancy to get extensions...they were so beautiful and masterfully done. They made me feel pretty again and gave me my confidence back." – Miaka P.

Best Men's Grooming
Mary Todd Hairdressing Company
Catering to both men and women, this studio near Old Fourth Ward goes above and beyond for the gentlemen with beard and neck trims, hot lather shaves and a custom line of shampoo, pomades and beard oils.

Best Laser Hair Removal
A New You Skin & Body Clinic
Using the LightSheer Diode Laser System at their Woodstock location, this practice's clinicians can remove hair from many parts of the body. They apply a numbing cream for clients' maximum comfort during the efficient procedure.

Best Facial
Sally B's Skin Yummies
Earlier this year, Sally B's Skin Yummies expanded beyond skin-friendly product sales and branched into organic facials. Administered by Carrie Johnson, the available treatments are B Clear, B Calmed, B Youthful, B Polished and B Transformed.

"Carrie Johnson is a phenomenal esthetician. She makes my skin looks fabulous!" – Kala E.

023-LipoBest Plastic Surgeon for Breasts
Dr. Ruth Celestin
After earning a medical degree and completing a residency program in plastic and reconstructive surgery, Dr. Celestin now practices with Georgia Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. She also serves in the United States Air Force Reserve Medical Corps as a flight surgeon, and she is fluent in French and Creole.

Best Plastic Surgeon for Liposuction
Dr. Brian Maloney
Dr. Maloney's command of facial liposuction, along with services like facelifts, ThermiRF and rhinoplasties, helps his clients enjoy a younger, refreshed appearance. This board-certified surgeon practices at the Maloney Center for Facial Plastic Surgery.

"Great doctor and love the friendly, helpful staff!" – Pat B.

Best Plastic Surgeon for Face
Dr. Mike Majmundar
At the helm of Northside Plastic Surgery, Dr. Majmundar focuses exclusively on plastic surgery for the face, head and neck. His signature procedures are natural-looking facelifts, brow lifts and even rhinoplasties with no scar. This fall, Dr. Majmundar launched a nonprofit organization called Second Chance Surgeries, Inc. to provide his plastic surgery services to children born with cleft lips or palates.,

"Fantastic surgeon who is also involved in impressive charity work!" – Niraj D.

Best Plastic Surgeon for Tummy
Dr. Stanley Okoro
Dr. Okoro is board certified and completed his surgical training at Emory University. Dr. Okoro now practices at Georgia Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery and served as the executive director for Imo Medical Mission from 2005 to 2013. He still participates in medical and surgical missions to underdeveloped countries twice per year.

024-HairBest Hair Restoration
Anderson Hair Sciences Center
Led by double board-certified facial plastic surgeon Dr. Ken Anderson, this practice specializes in hair restoration surgery. Dr. Anderson uses the ARTAS Robotic System to perform the Follicular Unit Extraction method of hair restoration, which leaves no noticeable scar.

"Why would you go to anyone else? He is the best!" – Cindy F.

Best Permanent Cosmetics
Donna Stephenson-Shepard
At A New You Skin & Body Clinic, Donna provides a variety of spa services, from facials to peels. She is also the practice's specialist in permanent cosmetics and is board certified in the practice.

"Donna is fantastic; I have been going to her for many years!" – Judith K.

Best Makeup Artist
Leslie Crowell
For an everyday look or makeup for a special occasion, Leslie at Three-13 Salon, Spa & Boutique can help. She can even pass along her expertise in an instructional session, guiding you through the best foundation, powder, colors and application techniques for you.

"Leslie is a fabulous makeup artist!" – Joyce S.

025-EstheticianBest Esthetician
Cherece Law-Taylor
The owner of Pure Aesthetics & Skin Care, Cherece is a licensed clinical esthetician with 20 years' experience in the field. She opened her practice in 2010 and offers facials, microdermabrasion, peels and more.

"I've been there many times for facials with Cherece, and I've always been 100 percent
satisfied!" – Themis B.


Best Local Skin Care Products
B'Tyli Natural Skin Therapies
B'Tyli products are manufactured in Lawrenceville and prioritize organic ingredients. President Lisa Washington and her creative marketing director Kristina Millsaps live in the Atlanta area and are dedicated to sustainable beauty.

"I love this skin care line! Amazing products! I cannot live without them." – Keegan L.

Best Chemical Peel
Dermatology Center of Atlanta
The Advanced SkinCare Center, a division of Dermatology Center of Atlanta, assesses each client's individual needs in order to select the most effective chemical peel.

Best Microdermabrasion
Julian's Cosmetics + Skincare
Led by makeup artist Julian Reynolds, Julian's Cosmetics + Skincare is located in Town Brookhaven. They offer a standard microdermabrasion facial as well as an express version and microderm treatments for the hands, decollete and back.

"Julian has been making me absolutely beautiful for the past seven years now. Julian, you're the best!" – Doreen E.

Best Manicure/Pedicure
Hammond Nails & Spa
Going above and beyond the standard mani/pedi options, this Roswell spa offers deluxe versions, gel mani/pedis and even sports pedicures.

Best Body Wrap
Spa Waverly by Village Health
Spa Waverly's 50-minute body wrap uses mineral-rich mud to hydrate and firm clients' skin while relaxing the muscles. The mud is removed with warm steam towels and can be combined with a massage.

Best Sunless Tan
Spray Studio
When you want a summer glow but don't want to take the risks of sun exposure or chemical-laden spray tans, Spray Studio is the place to be. Their water- and aloe-based tanning solution is free of parabens, synthetic preservatives, alcohols and more.

"I have been going to Alicia for years. She is the best, and her studio is impeccable." – Jenny B.

Best Overall Spa
Pure Aesthetics & Skin Care
At this spa, which opened in 2010 and moved to Dunwoody this year, Cherece Law-Taylor and co-owner Amy Anderson offer skin treatments that target aging, skin discoloration, acne, scarring and more.

"This place is pure heaven! They take such great care of you. You feel like you are a part of the family by the time you leave." – Michelle W.

026-DrGreyBest Botox and Filler Injections
Dr. Leslie Gray
Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Gray founded Dermatology Center of Atlanta in 2000. Her medical expertise and artistic eye inspire her passion for natural-looking results in each client.

"Dr. Gray is amazing. She is fabulous at what she does and is a lovely person." – Michele M.

027-PersonalStylistBest Personal Stylist
Kam Throckmorton
When you need an update, Kam can help edit your existing closet, become your personal shopper or simply help you find the perfect outfit for an event. She styles clients from their teens to late 60s and can help any body type look their best.

"Glam Kam is where it's at!" – Lauren G.

Best Custom Bra Fit
Livi Rae Lingerie
Between tight straps, ill-fitting cups and uncomfortable underwires, many women have trouble finding a good bra fit. Cynthia Decker and Molly Hopkins from Livi Rae Lingerie demystify the process for women of all bust sizes at their Kennesaw store and through their virtual fit process.

028-BraFit"Molly and Cynthia have given the Atlanta area a gem for women in need of a beautiful and perfectly fit bra. I love them, and you will too!" – Mary W.



These fan faves also received lots of votes:
Best Eyebrows – Alyson Hoag from Authentic Beauty
Best Dermatology Practice – Dermatology Center of Atlanta




Best Primary Care Doctor
Dr. Nan Monahan
Dr. Monahan received her medical degree from University of Alabama School of Medicine, completed her residency at Emory and has been in the Piedmont network since 1997. She is board certified in internal medicine and practices at Buckhead Internal Medicine.

"Dr. Monahan has been there for me during the tough times. Great doctor, great person!" – Kelly W.

Best Chiropractic Care
Absolute Health Chiropractic
Led by Dr. Catherine Franklin, this practice is located just outside the perimeter toward Sandy Springs and sees patients from infancy to their 90s. Dr. Cathy takes a holistic approach to health care that includes chiropractic, massage therapy, exercise and nutrition.

029-IntMed"Dr. Cathy is an amazing chiropractor and the best I have ever gone to. She loves her patients and truly cares about their physical, mental and spiritual health. She changed my life!" – Karin S.

Best Colon Cleansing
Clear Path Wellness Center
This Sandy Springs practice focuses on detoxification, relaxation and rejuvenation. Their services include colon hydrotherapy, nutritional consulting, ionic cleansing foot baths, reflexology and massage therapy.

"I love the staff and the peaceful environment there. Everyone is very knowledgeable, personable and professional." – Justin H.

Best Integrative Medical Doctor
Dr. Tasneem Bhatia
An expert in integrative health, Dr. Bhatia is a certified nutritionist, acupuncturist and board-certified physician. She has appeared on CNN, "The Dr. Oz Show" and more, and her most recent book, "The 21-Day Belly Fix," was published this fall.

Best Integrative Medical Facility
Atlanta Center for Holistic and Integrative Medicine
Combining conventional and alternative ethods, this Brookhaven practice addresses a health topics such as cardiovascular health, fertility planning, gastroenterology and weight management.


Best Physical Therapy Center
Venture Physical Therapy & Hand Therapy
With locations in Marietta and Powder Springs, this physical therapy center has been serving patients for more than 25 years. Each patient gets a free one-on-one consultation, and the practitioners address everything from back pain management to stroke rehab.

030-NaturopathicBest Eye Doctor
Dr. Niraj Desai
Dr. Desai is a board-certified ophthalmologist specializing in cataract surgery, LASIK and corneal transplants. He has served on a surgical volunteer team in Vellore, India and practices at Milan Eye Center.

Best Naturopathic Care
Natural Health Solutions
This practice uses homeopathy, nutritional support and other lifestyle changes to improve clients' overall wellness. Debra MacIntyre is the founder and a board-certified naturopath, and Dr. JaNeen Ridgeway lends her chiropractic services to the practice.

Best Cosmetic Dentistry Practice
Atlanta Center for Cosmetic Dentistry
Prioritizing customer service and the latest cosmetic dental technology, this practice is led by Dr. Debra Gray King and serves all of Atlanta, including celebrities like Bravo's Nene Leakes.

Best Cosmetic Dentist
Dr. Debra Gray King
Dr. King has achieved Fellowship status with American Society of Dental Aesthetics and American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. She is one of only four dentists in the world and the only woman to have achieved Fellowship status with both organizations. She practices at the Atlanta Center for Cosmetic Dentistry.

Best Pediatric Dentistry
Brookhaven Children's Dentistry
At this facility, which includes a movie theater and arcade room, Dr. Judy Christianson focuses on establishing good oral health habits in children and teens. Dr. Christianson is board certified and has practiced in Atlanta for more than 11 years.

Best Dermatology Practice
Gardner Dermatology & Med Spa
Led by Dr. Alan Gardner, this practice treats skin conditions like acne, age spots, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and skin cancer. They also offer medical spa services such as injectables, CoolSculpting and other non-invasive fat removal options, laser rejuvenation, Ultherapy and more.

"Love this practice. My skin never looked better." – Kera M.

032-OBGYNBest ENT Practice
ENT Institute
Sixteen locations of this practice treat allergies, ear infections, reflux, sinus infections, sleep disorders and more. Dr. Jeffrey Gallups, who founded the ENT Institute, also shares his expertise weekly on the radio show Doc Talk.

"A place that treats you like family!" – Lynette H.

Best Urologist
Dr. Martha Boone
Dr. Boone sees patients ages 15 and up for a variety of urological issues. She has a special interest in preventing kidney stones, addressing urinary incontinence and dealing with elevated PSA levels in men.

Best Hormone Doctor
Dr. Scott Isaacs
As a board-certified endocrinologist, Dr. Isaacs has been practicing in Atlanta since 1998. He is Atlanta Endocrine Associates' medical director and a faculty member at Emoroy University School of Medicine.

Dr. Sharon Smith
Dr. Smith is a general obstetrician and gynecologist with Kaiser Permanente. She prioritizes prenatal care and supporting women in their own self-care.

"Very pleasant and personable. I recommend her
to anyone!" – Latrece R.


Best Orthopedist
Dr. Angelo DiFelice
Specializing in arthroscopic and reconstructive surgery of the shoulder and knee, as well as sports medicine, Dr. DiFelice practices at Resurgens Orthopaedics. He currently has hospital affiliations with North Fulton, Emory Johns Creek and Northside.

031-VeinTreatmentBest Vein Treatment
Owned by Dr. Louis Prevosti, this practice treats spider veins, varicose veins, restless leg syndrome, deep vein thrombosis and more.

"By far the best vein treatment ever!" – Janae H.

033-PodiatristBest Podiatrist
Dr. Stephanie Michael
Dr. Michael specializes in diabetic foot care and wound care, bunions, hammer toes, ingrown toenails and heel pain. She has been in private surgical practice for almost 10 years and is board certified by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery.

"Absolutely the best! Passionate abouthelping people, great bedside manner and funny, too!" – Ania S.

Best Foot Massage
Village Health Wellness Spa
This Smyrna spa's massage menu includes Swedish full body, deep tissue, sports, hot stone, lymphatic, prenatal and shiatsu options as well as, of course, a reflexology massage addressing pressure points on the feet.

034-MassageBest Massage Therapist
Jo Ann Taylor
The former co-owner of Gallery Spa of Historic Roswell, Jo Ann Taylor has been practicing massage for more than 10 years. She offers Swedish, prenatal, myofascial and reflexology massages, as well as hot stone and dry brushing add-on options.

Best Cancer Treatment Support
Cancer Support Community Atlanta
All of CSC's programs are led by licensed therapists. They offer weekly support groups, networking groups, educational meetings, nutrition discussions and help with stress reduction.

035-CancerTreatment"This is an awesome nonprofit for any and all cancer patients, survivors and caregivers. The support is wonderful, and they have many beneficial programs for us." – Yvette M.

Best Home Care Provider
CaraVita Home Care
CaraVita's professional team can develop a custom plan that fits your needs, from around-the-clock care to basic training for family members about senior care practices. CaraVita can also offer specialized dementia care through their Friends for Life program and help with geriatric care management.

"This a fantastic company. They treat caregivers and clients so well. Very trustworthy." – Lisa P.


Best Urgent Care Facility
MedPost Urgent Care
This urgent care chain offers walk-in care with no appointment necessary at their eight Atlanta locations. They are open evening and weekend hours and can provide referral options and coordinate specialty care when needed.

"Love the Crabapple location!" – Vivan P.


These fan faves also received lots of votes:
Best Cancer Treatment Support – Emory Winship Cancer Institute





Best Farmers Market
Alpharetta Farmers Market
Located in downtown Alpharetta, this free market offers a wide selection of produce, meats, fresh flowers and herbs, and all sorts of edible home goods like breads and homemade sauces.

"A fine group of vendors and patrons and very good management."– Edwin H.

Best Local Community Garden
Truly Living Well
Truly Living Well is a leader in urban agriculture. From their garden locations in East Point and downtown, they run a CSA program, summer camps for kids and urban grower training for anyone interested.

036-FoodTruckBest Farm-to-Table Delivery
Garnish & Gather
Since 2012, they've been bringing ingredients from Georgia farms right to your doorstep. You can order ready-to-make meals with recipes included from Atlanta's best chefs, or pick out your own gourmet groceries from local farms.

Best Food Truck
W.O.W! Food Truck
You can track down W.O.W.'s savory stuffed corn cakes at locations across Atlanta, as well as in Decatur and Alpharetta. Menu items are made fresh from scratch every day and include stone ground cheese grits, brisket and even a veggie burger.

Best Kid-Friendly Restaurant
Atlanta Fish Market
Buckhead's Atlanta Fish Market is known for its signature cocktails, great service and, of course, fresh and delicious seafood. Especially noteworthy is the restaurant's kids menu, which offers young palates salads, seafood and sushi.

Best Pet-Friendly Restaurant
Nancy G's Cafe & Neighborhood Bistro
Nancy G's serves up contemporary Southern fusion cuisine in a laid-back atmosphere. Their doggie dining menu comes complete with grilled chicken, bacon, "pup cakes" and even a "Tailwagger"mojito.

"A great place! Intimate dinner, lunch or party!" – Sam R.

037-RestaurantBest New Restaurant
Varuni Napoli
Authentic Neopolitan pizza has arrived in Atlanta by way of Varuni Napoli, thanks to chef Luca Varuni and architect Giancarlo Pirrone. All the authentic ingredients are imported, from the cold-pressed olive oil to the Italian olives.

"The best people and the best pizza, hands down. Luca treats his people like family." – Joe W.

Best Health Food Store
Whole Foods Market
The popular grocery chain carries organic groceries and offers delicious salad and hot food bars. Whole Foods has eight Atlanta locations, including a new Alpharetta branch.

038-Gluten-FreeBest Gluten-Free Menu
True Food Kitchen
From its new location at Lenox Mall, True Food Kitchen serves food to minimize inflammation in the body and promote healthy living. The menu is loaded with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options.

039-BlogBest Vegetarian Options
The Loving Hut Sandy Springs
The Sandy Springs location of this restaurant chain serves vegan items like spring rolls, zucchini pasta, stir fry, vegan mac and cheese and more.

Best Healthy To-Go
Good Measure Meals
This service delivers portion- and calorie-controlled meals to help you meet your weight loss goals. The meals are always fresh, and the proceeds benefit the nonprofit Project Open Hand.

"Good Measure Meals helps me maintain a healthy lifestyle. I'm so busy throughout the day, I love that I don't have to think about what I'm going to eat." – Harmony B.

Best Juice Bar
Dtox Juice
Dtox offers juices, milks, elixirs, teas and lattes. For the true juice-lovers, Dtox also offers three-day organic juice cleanses. In addition to their juices, they also have entrees like salads, soup and oatmeal.

Best Local Food Blog
He and She Eat Clean
Tiffany, Whitney and their dedicated husbands started He and She Eat Clean in 2011 to share clean eatings and lifestyle tips. Now the site includes recipes, workouts, lifestyle tips and more.


These fan faves also received lots of votes:
Best Health Food Store – Trader Joe's