Is it Safe to Visit the Spa While You’re Pregnant?

Bliss SpaPregnant? Trying to get pregnant? What spa treatments are safe for you and your baby? Joey Detenber, the Spa Director at Bliss in the W Atlanta – Downtown gave me the answers in a recent interview:

One -> Are there various treatments that should be avoided during certain stages of pregnancy?

We recommend avoiding all forms of massage in the first trimester, as well as prolonged exposure to heat and steam.  Once a soon to be mom is out of the first trimester, massage is very beneficial for sore muscles, swollen limbs and of course relaxation.

Two ->  Pregnancy hormones can cause acne. Are there any spa treatments that would lessen the chances of outbreaks?      Continue reading

15 Stocking Stuffers for Him & Her from VaHi Boutiques

One of the best things about Small Business Saturday is rediscovering neighborhoods you love. One of my favorite shopping spots in Atlanta is Virginia Highland, an area of upscale boutiques and good eats that is perfect for spending an afternoon looking for the perfect gifts for loved ones- which happens to be exactly what I did. Here’s what I found:

Wren Shops Winter 2014

  1. Dual Cable Knit Boot Socks by Hunter at William Wren – These dual-knit micro fleece socks are a must-have for any woman wearing her Hunter boots into winter.
  2. Bradshaw Gold-Tone Stainless Steel Watch by Michael Kors at 310 Rosemont – Does he need a new timepiece? You can’t go wrong with this Michael Kors watch which is equal parts modern and classic.
  3. Labrador Cufflinks by Over & Under at 310 Rosemont- Let him wear his love for man’s best friend on his sleeve.
  4. Sterling Silver Wrap Bracelet on Black Leather by Chaun Luu at 310 Rosemont – Polished sterling silver nuggets hand woven throughout black colored leather make this piece perfectly boho chic.
  5. Classic Nylon Lacey by kate spade new york at 310 Rosemont – A classic pop of holiday color is the perfect addition to her stocking! This case is nylon and leather making for great durability and can hold up to 12 credit cards- perfect for boutique shopping!
  6. 5 Pack Low Rise Thongs by Hanky Panky at 310 Rosemont – Getting sock and underwear is a tradition in my home. Up your giving game by snagging a set of these ultra-comfortable thongs for her.
  7. Bella Large Spiral Notebook by kate spade new york at 310 Rosemont – If she likes to make a list and check it twice and has been just the right amount of naughty and nice, she’ll probably love this chic way to keep track of life’s lists.
  8. Slim Runway Gold-Tone Stainless Steel Watch by Michael Kors at 310 Rosemont- She wants a classic watch this holiday season? Skip the big box stores and see what boutiques offer, like this gold gem by Michael Kors.
  9. Navy Mogador with Green Stripe Bow by Res Ispa at 310 Rosemont – Get him ready for your big New Year’s Eve plans with a new bow tie! This blue and green one from Res Ispa is for classic taste but there are plenty for all personalities- stop by and check them out!
  10. Skipjack Boxers by Southern Tide  at 310 Rosemont – She gets the thongs, he gets a couple of pairs of boxers. It only seems right.
  11. Turquoise Mix Beaded Bracelet on Henna Leather by Chan Luu at 310 Rosemont – Tribal inspired prints are here for another season and with the cool tones in this bracelet, she’ll definitely be wearing your purchase all winter long.
  12. Grey/Purple/Blue/Orange Multi Stripe Socks by Robert Talbott at 310 Rosemont – One of my favorite movie quotes of all time is, “You know where you are with an honest pair of socks.” For a man, a good pair of socks is a timeless gift that will always be appreciated.
  13. Pointelle Tall Sock by Free People at Winter Wren – Add a peek of fun from inside your boots this winter with tall socks. These pointelle ones by Free People give a flirty twist on the usual choices.
  14. Vermeil Silver Mini Tin in Chestnut & Vetiver by Voluspa at Winter Wren – You can go really wrong when gifting a candle, or really right. Choose to go “right” by picking a winter scent to fill your home.
  15. Half-Zip Wallet by Moore & Giles at 310 Rosemont – Moore & Giles have some amazing leather goods and this wallet is the perfect, unexpected addition to his stocking.

10 Tips for Surviving Day of Drinking

Drinking BeerEvery now and then a class or a workshop pops up that I just have to take. Last month’s Drinking Primer at the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival was one of those.

Half out of sheer curiosity and half with the thought that I can use this class for an article, I signed up.

Before I even got to the room, I heard about the legend that Eric Crane, the class’s instructor:

“He’s hilarious!”
“Be careful- he’ll make you spit your drink out you’ll be laughing so hard!”
“OMG he’s a fucking riot.”

No one said anything about his instructing abilities. Really, there wasn’t any reason to. Any person whose job it is to drink for a living yet has the liver of a non-drinker according to their doctor (it’s true, we saw the picture), is the perfect teacher. Here are Crane’s tips:

  1. Drink water all day. “Walking around is exercising,” Crane told us.  So, drink water like you’re working out so you stay hydrated.
  2. Find a drinking buddy- preferably before you start drinking. Make it someone you trust and who you’ll listen to when they tell you to stop. Crane also recommends your buddy be, “someone who doesn’t know how to get arrested… Will take your phone away… Has a working credit card.”
  3. Always practice drinking. When you practice, you’ll know your limit better and know what types of alcohol effect you in what ways.
  4. “You don’t have to eat and drink everything in site.” It’s okay to be choosy. Going to a party? BYOBTD (bring your own beverage to drink).
  5. Okay, you don’t have to eat and drink everything in site but do eat. Eating will not only keep your energy up to help you keep drinking all day long, it will also help your body digest the alcohol you’re consuming.
  6. Learn how to properly spit. It’s okay to not drink all of a drink. Sample some, sip from others, swish it around in your mouth. If you don’t like the taste, don’t swallow- spit.
  7.  “If a daiquiri costs $20, you’re probably making a great decision,” says Crane. Stay out of the 30 flavor frozen wonderland tourist traps and head to local haunts. Not only will the quality of the drink be better, you’ll be better able to tell what you’re consuming. Crane wants you to remember, “a $3 piña colada equals a $1,000,000 hangover.”
  8. Stick mostly with aperitifs if you want to survive a full day of drinking. High quality biano vermouth, wines with high acidity, dry sherries, light sparkling wines, ciders, and light beers are your best bets.
  9. Don’t be afraid of sparkling water. It aids in digestion and will keep everything you’re ingesting moving along; just don’t chug it.
  10. Remember what you’re drinking. Use apps like Delectable, BJCP, When Wine, BarNotes, EasyMeme to document your tasting travels. Not only will it help you remember the next day, it can help you keep track of how much you’re taking in that day.

And, perhaps most importantly, Crane told us, despite what Kenny Chesney tell us, “you can drink tequila without going crazy.”

The Beginner’s Guide to Flywheel

Flywheel“Welcome to Flywheel!
Are you signing in for the first time?
Just here to learn a little more about our classes?
Either way, just let us know how we can help!”

Thankfully, I had a friend to guide me through my first Flywheel experience including what to wear, what to expect once I got there, and she made sure my bike was set up for me ahead of time. Not everyone can be that lucky. Here’s what you need to know before you go:

The first time is free. Everyone gets one free Flywheel and FlyBarre class so they can learn more about what to expect from each class before they commit.

Flywheel and FlyBarre are different- very different. Just because they’re under one roof doesn’t mean they’re even closely related. Flywheel is the equivalent of a spin class. Everything you do is on the bike and there is no coasting- none. (It’s even in their tagline.) FlyBarre is a total body sculpting class that blends the best of light weight training, dance, and core strengthening exercises using small, intense interval exercises choreographed to contemporary and inspiring music.      Continue reading

5 Tips For Keeping Your Summer Skin In Check

White Salon & SpaThe cold of winter is hopefully gone for good now and the South’s pollen season is (finally) wrapping up which means it’s time for more fun in the sun. Whether you’re boating, gardening, or just enjoying a drink by the pool, it’s important to remember that there is more to great skin than just keeping sunscreen nearby.

To keep my skin in check, I regularly visit an esthetician and last week, one of Atlanta’s most well-rounded estheticians, Pangie Skrine from White Salon & Spa, passed along a few tips for keeping your skin in healthy in the summertime that I just had to share with you:

One ->

Properly caring for your skin during the summer and early fall months actually starts inside! Eating ample fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants combats free radicals and promotes a clear, healthy complexion. Staying away from dairy products will also aid in keeping your skin clear, no matter the season!

Two -> 

To still attain that healthy glow that’s desired during the summer, opt for a spray tan rather than exposing your skin to damaging UVA and UVB rays for hours on end. Prior to your spray tanning session, be sure to exfoliate for the best results.

Three -> 

Resist the temptation of using bar soap to cleanse your skin – although it may leave you feeling squeaky-clean, it will also over-dry your skin and lead to more oil production rather than less. Instead, opt for a gentle, natural body wash.

Four -> 

Keeping your makeup brushes and other skincare supplies clean is key to reducing those troublesome summer breakouts. Aim to wash your brushes once a month in mild soap and water. Leave them to dry the overnight, and you’ll be ready to go in the morning!

Five -> 

Always remember that your skin is the largest organ of your body – if you take extra care to nourish your complexion through diligent use of SPF in the summer months, your skin will love you back!

Is It Healthy? Deciphering the Designations on Your Wine Bottle

The SpenceSure, you’ve gone organic at the grocery store, but have you gone organic at the package store? Deciphering the labels on wine can be at least as difficult as reading the dry goods ingredient labels. Thankfully, Kayla Cox, the owner of one of my new favorite wine stores, Savor Wine Boutique in Atlanta, Georgia, was willing to break it down for me (and you):

  • Biodynamic – Wine with this designation on the label is organically farmed. Other crops and animals are used so the farm is self-nourishing.
  • Natural Wine – This type of wine avoids additives such as sugar and sulfites, as well as technological processes that manipulate the wine.
  • Organic Wine – Wine that is truly organic has no sulfites added during the wine making process. Grapes grown  to make the wine are cared for using certified organic practices.
  • Organically Farmed – This wine is made from grapes grown in a certified organic vineyard. No chemical fertilizers or artificial pesticides are allowed during their growing, harvesting, or the wine production process.
  • Sustainable Farming – Products with this label have been grown, harvested, and produced using environmentally friendly farming practices.
  • Vegan Wine – This type of wine is processed manually and filtered with minerals instead of animal-derived products or gelatin.

Continue reading

How to Transition Your Workout Wardrobe from Winter to Spring to Summer

Atlanta ActivewearSure, you can buy your activewear from Dick’s or Sports Authority but of you want fashionable, functional activewear for a comparable price point (and undoubtably better service), find an activewear boutique near you like I did.

Last week I visited Danielle and Donna at Atlanta Activewear to talk spring activewear trends, hot selling items, and how to transition my winter weather-friendly workout wardrobe to warmer weather appropriate.

What can’t they keep in stock? The hottest item at Atlanta Activewear is by SPANX and really, that’s not much a surprise. Known for making some of the best shape hugging garments in the clothing industry, SPANX branched into activewear claiming the end of camel toe and with the best-selling Skegging, you have the best of the tennis skirt meets the best of the 3/4 pants.

What are the hot colors for spring? Activewear in cool colors doesn’t sell as well as hot colors so you’ll see plenty of bright pinks and oranges this spring and summer.

What’s trending? Pants and skirts are going back to basics. Danielle told me that after a few years of bright and bold patterns, shoppers are requesting plain colors, especially black, for bottoms.

So, what are your winter to spring to summer layering options? Here are some scenarios:      Continue reading

5 Must-Have Shorts for Spring for Every Body Type

Taking Carrie’s advice to heart, I ventured to 310 Rosemont to try on some of their newest Spring shorts styles. Here are five of my favorites:

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Delano Short by Trina Turk

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Wide Waistband Scalloped Lace Short by Alice + Olivia

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Tersa Combo Shorts by Parker

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Butterfly Shorts with Leather Combo by Alice + Olivia

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Leather Trim Shorts by Milly

Find Your Fit: How to Choose the Perfect Shorts

310 RosemontWhat do you do when the thermometer starts creeping up? Like 99% of the rest of the American female population, I started thinking about whether or not my shorts from last season fit. Then, there’s the little problem of balancing out this year’s trends with last year’s styles.

With that many things to consider, I went straight to shopping expert Carrie Cala, the General Manager of Winter Wren and Manager of 310 Rosemont in Atlanta’s trendy boutique-heavy Virginia-Highland neighborhood. Here is her advice:

For the tall, thin frame ->

You were given with those long gorgeous legs for a reason! Don’t be scared to flaunt them. You can play with lots of details when it comes to shorts -prints and pleats can add a little curve to your shape, which many body types can’t handle so embrace it and have fun!

For the curvier frame ->

A contoured waistband is a must for you when wearing shorts. Pair them with a fitted top to show off your curves. For the ladies blessed with a bodacious derriere, don’t be afraid to go for a shorter length to elongate yours legs. But be careful, we don’t want to flaunt too much of your assests. A cuffed hem also looks great on you.

For the petite body type ->

You can basically do no wrong when it comes to shorts- lucky you, right?? Go for shorter lengths to elongate your figure and have fun with prints, bold colors, and details!

No matter what your body type, Carrie recommends that every shorts shopper keep there things in mind:

  1. Patterns, pleats, and pockets all add volume- watch out for these if you don’t want to accentuate or add any extra curves for your body.
  2. Contoured waistbands show off your curves best.
  3. Wearing darker colors on the bottom and fun, colorful prints on top is a great way to jazz up a simple pair of shorts or create a more dressy look.

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Carrie CallaMeet Carrie Cala:

An Auburn grad, Carrie loves fashion, “My favorite thing about my job is being able to help my customers find items that make them feel beautiful and confident. Picking out the merchandise months ahead of time and having them happy with it is the best feeling in the world.  Being able to go above and beyond for my clients and feeling their appreciation makes my day every time.”

What won’t you find out about Carrie by shopping at one of the boutiques she works in? Carrie is an excellent dancer saying, “I can do anything from moon-walking to twerking and all that’s in between.”

Handcrafted Mirabilia Jewelry Inspired by Southern Georgia Nature & Worldwide Travel

Verdigris-Patina-Alhambra-Pyrite-Arabian-brass-earrings (1)One of my favorite things about Spring is the return of the craft shows and farmers markets. I love discovering new favorite jewelry makers, artists and all-natural beauty products.

Last year I discovered Whitney Edenfeld and her jewelry line Mirabilia. I had a chance to interview Whitney a few months ago about her versatile pieces and ended up liking her products even more after hearing about her inspiration and crafting process (and I think you will too).

I love that your product lines are inspired by everyday objects. What types of objects inspire you the most?

I’ve lived in the city for the past ten years but I grew up on a small island in south Georgia, surrounded by woods and, of course, the ocean. A love of the natural world is ingrained in me, it’s a part of everything I create. My favorite items to use are from that world, and are often not traditionally considered “beautiful.” Bones, teeth, broken glass even, to juxtapose somewhat morbid things against a colorful stone or a delicate chain challenges our perceptions of beauty. That duality, the balance of everything, is what inspires me most.

I have noticed that many of your collections speak to a certain location. Are these collections inspired by travel? Are they places you have gone, want to go, or read about?

Most of the cities and countries that serve as namesakes for my jewelry are completely foreign to me. Though I hope to see all these places one day, never having been to them is what makes them exciting. They are still a part of the unknown. It’s easier to draw inspiration from them that way, I can take these kind of shapeless ideas and images and use them to create a piece rather than a direct translation of something I saw somewhere on some city block. They stay mysterious and exotic to me, a constant well to draw from.

What is your favorite piece/collection you have ever designed?

Picking your favorite piece of jewelry is like choosing a favorite child, well, maybe not that serious, but it’s very difficult!

The first necklace I ever sold on etsy is definitely a favorite. It was a gorgeous, perfectly intact blue jay skull that I coated in resin, with vintage freshwater pearls on an antiqued brass chain. It’s a perfect example of my aesthetic; a little dark but still very feminine and wearable. Though I’ve gone through many different collections, spanning different styles, I always come back to the bones. Anything with bones, teeth, and claws are my favorite.

Describe your design to sales process. Do you find you do anything differently than other jewelry artists?

When I get an idea, I sketch it out, play around with it a bit, then make it. Pretty much the same as anyone. After that is where I think I might differ from other artists.

After I create a piece, I start wearing it. A lot. I wear everything I make multiple times before they’re ever available for sale. This does two things for me; first, and most importantly, I see the literal strength of piece. Is it too long and going to snag on everything? Is it too heavy? Too light? Does it turn in an annoying way? I can only answer these questions and make the appropriate adjustments by wearing it myself. The second thing I gain is feedback. If I wear a necklace three times and no one comments on it then I might think it’s not special enough and I need to do something to take it up a notch. If the first time I wear it several people stop me to ask where I got if from, I know it’s on point.

Do you design with an audience in mind?

I like to think I design jewelry for women like myself- which doesn’t necessarily mean women my age or who look like me, I mean women who don’t care as much about trends as they do about personal style. Sometimes the two can intersect but personal style will always evolve separately from “fashion.”

A woman like that wants her jewelry to tell a story, maybe to even relate to her on an intimate level, through a special stone or a charm, but the bottom line is that it means something to her. Even if what it means, is that she can afford it. “Special Occasion” jewelry misses the point to me, I think every day should be important enough to wear something special.

Do you take custom orders? Can someone order a piece from a past collection?

I absolutely take custom orders! It’s one of my favorite things, in fact. From altering the length of a necklace so it’s hits just right, to creating a completely new piece for someone, I love that feeling. A few years ago I made a custom piece for a friend out of an arrowhead she found in her grandfathers garden, he passed away and she wanted to be able to keep that reminder of him close. She told me when she showed her grandmother the necklace, they both cried. There’s no greater feeling than knowing what you made touched someone’s heart.

As far as pieces from past collections go, it just depends. I used to make more one-of-a-kind items so some things can be recreated but will just be different, which I think is great, but some have already gone on their way. I’m always up for a challenge, however, and making something similar to a previous piece with someones personal touches in mind is fun.

Whitney’s handcrafted jewelry can be found in boutiques throughout the United States, at various market events throughout the year and can be purchased online at mirabilia-jewelry.com.