Made in Georgia

Made in Georgia

Happy summer, South Fulton! There is so much going on here for summer! Kids are out of school and it’s time to have some fun. From camp to vacation Bible school to staycations to fabulous trips, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Splash into Summer

Splash into Summer

Fourth of July Fireworks in East Point. Or drive a little further to Centennial Park or Lenox Mall.
Peachtree Road Race 10K, July 4, follows a scenic, hilly course from Buckhead to Piedmont Park.
Reptile Day, July 11. Come face-to-face with live pythons, king snakes, geckos, tortoises, monitors, and iguanas, and see presentations about them on Reptile Day at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History

July 2015 Good Times

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The Ivy Community Foundation of the Kappa Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority held it’s 10th Annual Pink Cultured Pearls Cotillion at the Georgia World Congress Center in Downtown Atlanta.

Celebrity Photographer Drexina Nelson

Celebrity Photographer Drexina Nelson

devotee of fashion since an early age, Drexina Nelson began her career in Atlanta as a makeup artist for some of the city’s most prominent photographers. Upon completing both her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Business Administration degrees at Clark Atlanta University, she opted to pursue a career in photography where she could combine her love for beauty and the arts, her keen eye for composition and style, and her knowledge of business.

July 2015 Around Town

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After 32 years of dedicated service to Atlanta’s hospitality community, Kathleen Bertrand, senior vice president of community and governmental affairs at the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB), is retiring.

Madi J: A Star is Born

Madi J: A Star is Born

Have you ever dreamed of being on the cover of a magazine? Or being on one of the many billboards in New York City in Times Square? Madison €œMadi J€ is working on fulfilling that dream. In October 2014, Madi J graced the internet and social media by being a part of Pretty Brown Girl €œLaila Doll Holiday Campaign.  Madi J reached for the stars and realized that her dreams could actually come true.

Annual Mother-Daughter Luncheon

The Pearls of Purpose Foundation, Inc., a foundation established by the Nu Lambda Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.®, hosted its 28th Annual Pink Pearl Mother – Daughter Luncheon. Photos by Darnell WIlliams Photography

Summertime Safety for Kids

Finally, it is summertime: a time of relaxation, fun, family time, and long and lazy days. Summer is a time when children are a little more independent, they are off with friends, away at camp, on vacations and field trips, and other things. As parents, we do a pretty good job of preparing our children for these adventures. We pack their backpacks with bug spray, bottled water, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, and with whatever else fits. But what we may miss is the opportunity to arm them with safety from those who may try to harm them. No one likes to think about “bad things” but we know that they happen and avoiding the topic does not make “bad things” go away. So, take a deep breath and get ready to arm yourself (and your children) with summertime safety.

Home Matters

Home Matters 2

Flexibility and Stylish Functionality Help the Verwaynes Feel Right at Home Article Delia Carter | Photography By Ben Brown When the Verwaynes chose their spacious Southwest Atlanta home, they paid as much attention to the layout as the location.  Choosing a house with good bones and a flexible floor plan meant that when they were … Continued

Michelle’s Picks

 Salon Atara  Salon Atara’s owner, master stylist and educator Yvette Wright, sees her salon as a world class salon located in the center of South Fulton County.  She has traveled the world learning about all hair types, and she now has the forum for bringing that experience to the residents of South Fulton County. She truly creates a total experience. I was greeted at the door with smiling faces, and led to the clean and warm waiting area. The staff offered me water and tea, and get this: COOKIES! You had me at hello. And don’t even get me started on the shampoo. I got a massage on my head that made me truly confirm there is a God! Wow. The stylist gave me a consult of my hair, and told me what she was doing and why every step of the way. And, she made my hair smell like chocolate.  Chocolate. I wanted to eat my hair. Did I mention the shampoos are amazing? And, when you patronize that establishment, you know you’re supporting other causes as well. The salon is active in the community with causes such as Hosea Feed the Hungry, Dinner for Divas and others.    Professional staff, excellent customer service and great shampoos. And, they were on time. What more can a girl ask for? Congrats, Salon Atara. You’re a Pick! Find them at 

Celebrating the Renaissance man

Theologian and professor Dr. Robert Franklin is cited as saying that a leader should possess the qualities that he describes as “The Five Wells.” When he said that a man should be Well-Read, Well-Spoken, Well-Travelled, Well-Dressed and Well-Balanced, he must have had the South Fulton lifestyle in mind. The gentleman who resides or works in South Fulton is all of these things.  Or perhaps he is striving toward one of these goals. He is a good steward of his hard-earned money, but will spend a little more on something that he deems to be of high quality. Despite what others might lead you believe, he is a family man, ferociously protective of his wife and progeny. Quality time is important to him and he knows that the time he spends with his children is time well spent. There are great examples of fatherhood in this community, and it is our pleasure to spotlight these men.

NBAF Fine Art + Fashion at Neiman Marcus

NBAF Fine Art + Fashion at Neiman Marcus 3

The National Black Arts Festival and Neiman Marcus hosted the 9th Annual Fine Art + Fashion on Thursday, March 19.  Neiman Marcus was returning for its fifth year as the title sponsor alongside signature sponsors Ed Voyles Automotive and Kia Motors.  The event honored noted philanthropists, business and civic leaders Jack Sawyer and Darrell Mays.  The event co-chairs were Tara Mays and Cindy Voyles.  NBAF continued its rich tradition of recognizing emerging talent by honoring three fashion design students from SCAD – Salimi Akill, Jessica Fulks and Austin Nelson.  NBAF also honored visual artist, historian and educator, Amalia Amaki with the Visual Arts Award, and former two-time emerging talent honoree and now “it fashion designer,” Azede Jean-Pierre with the Designer Extraordinaire Award.  Neiman’s fashion director, Ken Downing, produced another dazzling show.   Fine Art + Fashion raises funds to support NBAF’s art, education and public programs.  NBAF is recognized as the oldest multidisciplinary organization in the United States, and the only one in Atlanta, that focuses on the art and the artists of African descent.

36th Annual Sickle Cell Race in East Point

36th Annual Sickle Cell Race in East Point 9

The Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia, the South Fulton Running Partners, and the City of East Point joined efforts for the 36th Annual Sickle Cell Road Race/Walk on April 11, 2015 at Tri-Cities High School. This family-friendly race featured a 7K run and 4K walk and was led by former Heavyweight Champion of the World, Evander “Real Deal” Holyfield and Dave Huddleston of WSB-TV. SF Lifestyle Publisher Michelle Willis encountered many of our neighbors, readers and advertisers at the race. Photos by Tiffany Powell Photography. 

Atlanta Medical Center – South Now Offers More Comfortable MRI

Atlanta Medical Center – South Now Offers More Comfortable MRI

For someone who is claustrophobic, getting an MRI can be a difficult experience. Atlanta Medical Center- South is helping some patients breathe easier as they undergo the MRI process by offering new technology. The hospital is the first in Georgia to offer the widest MRI scanner available, the Hitachi Echelon Oval 1.5T MR system. It features an oval shape designed around the human body. It is targeted to patients who are broad-shouldered, obese, claustrophobic or anxious.

June 2015 Around Town

Fulton County Board of Commissioners Chairman John H. Eaves outlined his vision for the future of Fulton Country when he delivered his first State of the County address, an event presented by the Council for Quality Growth. The theme of the event held on April 30 at the Loudermilk Center was “One Fulton” and highlighted the work being done by county employees and leadership on behalf of constituents throughout Fulton County. The event featured Chairman Eaves discussing ways leadership plans to address crime and public safety, economic development, transportation, education, government services delivery and other issues facing Fulton County residents. The event concluded a first quarter highlighted by a unanimous vote on our county budget and additional efforts to ensure greater governmental accountability by the county. 

Introducing Metcode

Introducing Metcode 2

There has been a shift in fashion over the last forty years. Long gone are the days of men dressing in full suits for work and children getting washed up for dinner. The working man has transitioned from suits with a tie to not wearing a tie and unbuttoning the color. The 70’s ushered in flash and the butterfly collar. The office went from corporate dressing to casual. There was a time when it was easy to judge a person’s profession or level of success by the way they dressed, but not anymore.

Three Easy Steps to a Healthier You

Three Easy Steps to a Healthier You 1

There’s nothing like the smell of weathered leather, rubber mats and that odd mix of cologne and sweat that usually fills up the gym on any given day. While some may disagree, my love affair with the gym is only enhanced by the usual activity that most people fear. Why is it that so many of us shy away from heart healthy activity that will only keep us fit, trim and ready for a long life, hopefully free of diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and a litany of other ailments?

Team Echols

Team Echols 2

 Family Members: Rod, Keisha, Preston and Pria Echols of Fairburn  We have been tested as a family in several ways since Rod and I were married in April 2007, and have come out on the other side stronger than ever! We have experienced life-changing events literally every year since we were married, including Rod being diagnosed with Stage IV Colorectal cancer when Preston was 3 years old and Pria was only 1 year old. He is now cancer-free and we are back on track with our personal, spiritual and family goals. We are excited about all that God has for us. Our cancer journey inspired us to help others during their journey and as a result, the Team Echols Foundation was born.  The Team Echols Foundation, Inc. was formed as a way to help educate others about the importance of early detection, encourage those affected by any type of cancer, and inspire others by sharing their family’s story. Following his colonoscopy, we learned through Rod’s diagnosis how important early detection is for any form of cancer. The number one symptom of colon cancer is no symptom at all. Team Echols uses foundation funds to meet the needs of cancer patients and their families on a monthly basis. our cancer journey was shared in a national commercial by Cancer Treatment Centers of America, which has prompted greetings and hugs from strangers who say they were positively impacted by our story.

All I Do is Win or Do I?

All I Do is Win or Do I?

As a lifestyle and procrastination expert, I help professionals, entrepreneurs, leaders, students and everyone in between stop procrastinating, stop quitting and start succeeding in business and in life. And over the course of my travels and my work, there are a couple of things that I’ve learned that are essential for success.



Being a father to one’s offspring is something that some men may have to figure out on their own, or something they may have seen first hand. But, fathers who are consistently present and forming quality relationships with their children do exist as they always have. How to change the public perception then becomes the challenge for African-American fathers. Though they shouldn’t have to, for the world to change, one must first start at the microcosmic level. As Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
It starts in each household where boys are encouraged and empowered by their families, and the community of adults in their lives who remind them of their greatness as often as possible. 
The narrative about fatherhood in the African-American community fails to tell the whole story. The flawed tale told where black men are father to many different children with many different women, and the stories of young women taking pride in relevance gained through whomever they share children with… these pictures fall short. There is more. These portrayals don’t tell the story of the young father on Campbellton Road I see walking his son to daycare every morning, rain or shine. With his dreadlocks and sagging pants, he is there, fathering and being a consistent force in his son’s life. 
The stories must be shared of the dad who takes his children to ballet and art class every Saturday. And, the city councilman walking the streets of Baltimore to keep the peace in the community he represents and lives in with his own children. And, the father who works three jobs to provide for his family, yet still makes time to attend his daughter’s swim meet. And the dad who travels for work but calls and Skype’s everyday to stay connected to his kids from afar.
I am reminded of this as I see my own son who is now three years old. As I watch him put on his daily outfit that he chooses to wear—swim trunks, a hoodie and crocs–I realize how precious this time is. He has yet to realize how wearing a hoodie affected a young man born on his same birthday 17 years before him. Or of the historic tensions between law enforcement and men of his ethnicity. My son only knows that he wants to play soccer like his hero, Neymar, who by coincidence was also born on his birthday and that munchkins from Dunkin Donuts are the best culinary invention ever. Each day, my husband and I pray over him and speak a blessing to let him know of the greatness that lies within. Every day, when his sisters are at school and Daddy’s at work, I hug him and let him know I love him, everything about him so that he may grow up with a sense of purpose and acceptance unrivaled by the challenges I know lie ahead.
I repeat these positive affirmations because I choose to believe that as boys grow up with the acceptance and validation that each of us need, they have less reason to prove it elsewhere. While it is true that where the adults in our society fail our children–and we see them seek the acceptance and validation by acting out–it is also true that changing how a person views himself isn’t impossible. As Frederick Douglass once said “It is easier to build strong children than repair broken men.”
Watching the fathers of the Metro Atlanta area, the fathers in Baltimore, in Ferguson, New York City, Cleveland and around the country, I see those strong children who have grown up and are now the strong men that will change the perception of African-American fathers and tell the whole story in the process.