crooked creek car door

Southern Style Poutine, Smoked Brisket Grilled Cheese, Sesame Encrusted Catfish…just a few of the options to sink your teeth into at the Crooked Tree Café, a new restaurant for folks near Marietta to try for a brunch they’ll enjoy (and not soon forget).

crooked creek poutine

The Crooked Tree Café is located on Cobb Parkway near Kennestone Hospital, the Cobb County courthouse and the Coca-Cola factory, and offers up food described as ‘Southern with a twist’.

It’s the kind of place I consider ideal for Sunday brunch with family, or a nice meet-up spot for catching up with friends while sharing a delicious meal of food that you won’t find on every other corner.

grilled cheese pork

Jeff Haeger co-owns the restaurant with his father and serves as the chef.  He is a local, graduating from Lassiter High School in 1988, and previously worked in Vinings at Canoe and SoHo after studying at Johnson and Wales Culinary School in Charleston. He came up with the name of Crooked Tree from a memory of the live oaks along the southern coast.

At Crooked Tree Café, he creates treats like the Smoked Duck Sloppy Joe and Smoked Brisket Hash for lunch.  But his suggestions for first-timers include the Smoked Springer Mountain Chicken with Alabama-style Ivory Barbecue Sauce.  I had to ask what that was about when I was invited to come review the restaurant and share a meal with friends.  I was told it’s a mayonnaise-based barbeque sauce with cider, cider vinegar, lemon juice and a couple other critical ingredients.

green eggs and ham

I personally think the green eggs and ham are the best for breakfast.  It included eggs scrambled with country ham (locally produced), herbs and white cheddar, with the green topping being a basil pesto.  So yummy.
The restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch from Tuesday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Brunch is served on Sundays and the restaurant is closed Mondays. Visit or call the restaurant at (770) 333-9119 for more information.



(Note to readers: A copy of this book was sent to me for a proper review. I was not otherwise compensated and as always, my opinion remains my own.)

We all have those people in our lives who seem to exist to make us unhappy, or, as Taylor Swift puts it, ‘haters gonna hate, hate, hate’, and New York Times bestselling author Dodinsky has some words of wisdom to help us cope with those who choose the ugly way of life.

Overcoming adversity is the theme of his latest inspirational book, In the Garden of Happiness.

As always, Dodinsky uplifts his readers with wise words of self-empowerment and guidance.  Dodinsky offers the kind of support we already know in our gut: to focus on the happy life we all deserve to lead, regardless of what others do to derail us from that goal.

One of my favorite pages in the book is a reminder to, when you’re feeling out of touch with the happy life, tap back into what brought you happiness as a child.


As someone who can’t be reminded often enough of the power of moving beyond hurt, I found this new book to be exactly the kind of wisdom we need most.

In fact, I may order a few of the books to keep on hand as gifts for friends who might need to be reminded again when they’re feeling most defeated.

It’s now available (released just yesterday!) and we have one to give to a reader, along with an autographed bookmark and magnet.

Just share this article with your friends through Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest and then comment below letting us know what your idea of happiness is.  We will pick one winner at random on January 20th. You have until January 19th at midnight EST to enter and must reside in the US or Canada.  Good luck!


Mercedes-Benz USA Moves Headquarters to Atlanta

by Desiree Miller on January 6, 2015

Mercedes-Benz star

It’s official: Mercedes-Benz USA is moving its corporate headquarters to Atlanta.

The news, released today, says the move is designed to better serve its growing customer base and strengthen the company’s position for long-term, sustainable growth.
A temporary facility in Atlanta’s Central Perimeter will serve as the new headquarters on an interim basis, with staff being relocated from the current Montvale, NJ, headquarters.
The company has plans to build a new, state-of-the-art headquarters. That should be completed in early 2017, according to Mercedes-Benz media contacts.
The move will impact about 1000 employees, the first of which will begin moving starting in July of this year. The announcement says employees will be phased in to minimize disruptions to business operations.
MBUSA President and CEO Stephen Cannon says, “Atlanta is a premier city which places us closer to our ever-growing Southeast customer base, our port in Brunswick, Georgia, and to Mercedes-Benz US International, our Alabama manufacturing facility, which accounts for half of the vehicles we sell here in the US. For our employees, Atlanta offers a strong quality of life, terrific schools and wonderful cultural and recreational opportunities.”
Insiders tell me many employees only officially heard of the move this afternoon, after many had seen news reports on the decision. It’s not clear how many of those employees will be relocated to the Atlanta area, or how many new hires the company will be looking to make.
Mercedes-Benz follows another automaker by moving the headquarters to Atlanta. Last year, Porsche announced a similar move, with its headquarters now based near the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

On a personal note:
Atlanta is a wonderful community, but very, very different from Montvale, NJ. That’s great in many ways, not so good in others. I’ve been to the plant in Tuscaloosa, AL, for an insider’s tour of how the vehicles are constructed. I’ve also sat along the coast near Brunswick, watching the cargo ships come in and leave the port.  It makes sense that Atlanta is between those spots. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Mercedes-Benz on multiple opportunities as a travel writer and member of the Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association.  I’ve even been included in the annual meet up for Mercedes-Benz owners, StarTech, and have attended a couple press trips to get up close and personal with the vehicles (GL-class and ML), and ended up becoming good friends with many of the employees.  I know many of the people in the Montvale offices are local to the area and this will be especially difficult for them as they face choices that may separate them from family, or force them to find other work in the area. I understand business is business, and tough choices have to be made. However, I also know this will be a hard decision to make. I certainly wish these employees all the best, and as a resident of Atlanta, I extend an offer to help any of them get to know the area better. Mercedes has been good to me in the past, and I’d like to be good to the people of MBUSA in return.


Win Tickets to Swan Lake Ballet in Atlanta, #Giveaway

by Desiree Miller on January 2, 2015

Swan Lake

Anyone who appreciates the ballet knows Swan Lake is one of the greatest classical ballets of all time, and seeing it performed by the State Ballet Theatre of Russia is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of opportunity.

Well, get your tickets soon, because there will only be one performance in Atlanta—on Sunday, January 11th, at 3pm.

The story of Swan Lake follows a heroic young prince as he works to free a beautiful swan maiden from an evil spell.

The full-scale production of this timeless love story features 50 of Russia’s brightest ballet stars and is set to the music of Tchaikovsky.

You can secure your seats by going to the link, by calling 855-285-8499, or at the Fox Theatre Ticket Office. Tickets range in price from $25-$55, but Stress-free, Baby! readers can win a pair thanks to the Fox Theatre where the performance is being held.

You have until midnight EST on January 8th to leave a comment below about who you would take to the ballet with you and why.  One winner will be chosen at random and contacted on January 9th.  Good luck!




So, you’ve enjoyed a couple weeks of kicking back over the holidays—maybe not off entirely from work, but definitely moving at a slower speed—and now going back to work on Monday is starting to creep up on you like a bad headache that you know will evolve into a migraine.  Well, don’t waste your weekend worrying about it…adopt the attitude of your favorite yellow fellow who ‘lives in a pineapple under the sea’.

That’s right. Spongebob.  Spongebob Squarepants.

This Monday, January 5th, is the “Day of Positivity” in honor of the most positive fellow around, Spongebob!

There’s a movement underway to encourage each other to take part in random acts of kindness on Monday and share them on social media using the hashtag #DayofPositivity.

The point is to stay positive beyond the holidays…all year long. 

Of course, this is about promoting the new Paramount Pictures movie SPONGEBOB: SPONGE OUT OF WATER being released on February 6th in theaters nationwide.

But hey, who can argue with being positive?  Certainly not the guy living in a pineapple under the sea.

These are the social media links if you’d like to follow along:

FB:  @SpongebobMovie

Twitter: @SpongebobMovie

Instagram: @SpongebobMovie



2014, The Rebuilding Year

December 31, 2014

2014 will always be thought of as my year of reconstruction. 2013 was the year of my personal hurricane. In 2013, I discovered just how alone you can truly feel when a storm rolls through, and the walls are being ripped apart around you, shards of glass flying by, some striking right at your soul.  I learned sometimes, the people you thought you could count on most, may add force to the storm, kicking in the windows around you, while others watch from the street and say nothing.  That part […]

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Happy Holidays!

December 25, 2014

Here’s hoping you have a stress-free holiday!

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eSalon Custom Color for At-Home Color Treatments (Discount, #eSalon)

December 23, 2014

(Note to readers: I was compensated for this review, but as always, my opinion remains my own. #eSalon #bLinkBiz #ad) The stress of recent life is starting to show up through the hairs on my head, where grey hairs—actually white ones—are popping up where brown hair always sprouted, so more visits to my hair salon are in demand, but with all the hair I have, that’s an expensive venture, so I rely on at-home color treatments in between my visits to my fabulous stylist. She’s not crazy about me taking […]

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What It Means to Be Mom–No Matter How Old Your Babies Are

December 23, 2014

My children are no longer babies, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still feel a desperate need to fix their hurts. In fact, I sometimes long for the days when the sound of them crying from their room in the middle of the night meant they were just hungry or wet.  I could make that better in an instant.  I can’t always stop the tears anymore.  Now, the problems are so much more complicated, and often, there is nothing I can do to take away the hurt.  Not that I […]

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Daily Inspiration from Des (12)

December 22, 2014
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