hall of justice capes

After five decades in Atlanta, Six Flags over Georgia continues to add new rides and fun to the amusement park that draws thousands to the area—and a combined 300 million dollars to the local economy in the last year alone.

hall of justice tips

The 4D Interactive Action Ride JUSTICE LEAGUE: Battle for Metropolis opened at Six Flags Over Georgia at the end of May. The ride features interactive laser fun that creates competition among the entire family. There’s nothing that loops (ok—there’s a virtual loop, but that’s so not the same thing) or flips, so it’s safe even for the youngest children in the group, along with those who don’t share the love for more daring, thriller coasters. The ride features iconic DC Comics Super Heroes and Super Villains—and you can even buy a cape at the end of the ride in the gift store you pass through as you walk out (and for about $8, that makes one heck of a souvenir in my book).

Here’s a video of some of the highlights:

The laser gun fun reminded my crew of the Buzz Lightyear ride at another famous park, merged with some of the fun you can find on the Spiderman at that park’s biggest competition in the same city (hint—both parks are based in Orlando—quite the drive from the ATL).

But in this case, you get to battle with BATMAN™, SUPERMAN™, WONDER WOMAN, THE FLASH and GREEN LANTERN against Lex Luthor, The Joker and his henchmen, all while you are hit with wind, fire, mist and fog effects, plus life-like animatronic characters.

hall of justice welcome

Of course, there are plenty of other thrill rides at Six Flags over Georgia to enjoy, but if you’re going in the summer, be sure to throw a swimsuit and towel into your bag so that you can cool off at Hurricane Harbor. It’s the free waterpark that is part of Atlanta’s Six Flags and, to me, is a must for cooling down after spending a couple hours in the Georgia heat racing to rides.

Recently nominated as one of the 10Best Outdoor Water Parks by USA Today, the water park features a 38,000 square foot wave pool and the world’s first Tsunami Surge water slide with a perpendicular wave wall and 50 foot drop. You can see a video of that by clicking here.

There’s also a new store fans with a sweet tooth will want to check out:   Coaster Candy is a 4,000 square foot candy store features chocolate dipped marsh-mallows, gourmet chocolate dipped pretzels, candy apples and homemade fudge, among other sweet treats. Coaster Candy is located near the front entrance of the park.

Six Flags Over Georgia is open daily through August 6. Season Passes and All Season Dining Plans to Six Flags Over Georgia and Six Flags White Water are available online at www.sixflags.com/overgeorgia.

Cobb County recently honored the park for its economic contribution to the area, commemorating its 50th anniversary with several special events for fans and employees.

Six Flags over Georgia 50th Anniversary flags

 

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Nova Scotia: What to See and Do Near Halifax

by Desiree Miller on June 22, 2017

Peggy's Cove lighthouse near Halifax, Nova Scotia.

From breathtaking views of sunrise and the chilly splash of water on the rocks of the lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove, to the tombstones of those lost at sea when the Titanic went down, Nova Scotia offers sites you’ll long remember after a brief visit to the region.

Halifax is the capital of this Canadian province and where you’ll find several museums and memorable landmarks. A trip through the town still shows remnants of the Halifax Explosion in 1917, one of the greatest disasters in Canadian history, when a cargo ship carrying munitions collided with another ship, resulting in an exposition that wiped out an entire district of the city, killing about 2,000 people and injuring 9,000 others.

Citadel Hill in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

You can stop by Citadel Hill for a great view of the city’s downtown area and walk along the waterfront, or Halifax Harbourwalk, for some of its fun eateries and shops.   A must-see along the boardwalk is the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, where you can learn more about the city’s critical role in the Titanic disaster, along with other notable facts of its maritime history. The boardwalk is also where you’ll catch a ride for many of the whale-watching tours that you can enjoy on your visit. For me, a day of walking the waterfront was plenty, including the visit to the museum. Another day should be set aside to actually get out on the water on one of the paid boat tours where you’ll learn more about the environment and history of the coast. Also, be sure to carve out time to stop by the Fairview Lawn Cemetery where you’ll find the graves of many of those who died at sea in the Titanic sinking, including the ‘grave of the unknown child’ (now known to be ‘the Goodwin child’, through testing done in the decades since the tragedy). There are 110 monuments there, and it’s hard not to tear up when walking by that particular marker.

unknown child

Grave markers for Titanic victims at Fairview Lawn Cemetery in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Set aside at least one other day to explore the surrounding region, especially Peggy’s Cove. Grab a meal at the restaurant at the foot of the light, famous for its lobster, but leave plenty of time to climb the rocks near the lighthouse and simply relax. Steer clear of the black rocks at the bottom. The waves are dangerous in those spots and people have been carried out to sea while standing in those areas, despite signs warning them of the danger. However, the rocks above those wet ones are ideal for an hour or so of sitting and appreciating all of nature’s glory.

This video highlights many of the things you’ll see on a visit to this special coastal region of Canada.

 

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Strawberry Laser Liposuction: Does It Work?

by Desiree Miller on June 2, 2017

Before and after strawberry laser liposuction

When I mentioned to others that I was trying Strawberry Laser Liposuction, they immediately asked if it really worked.

Well, take a look at the photo above and tell me what you think.

I tried four treatments around my mid-section and lost more than two inches each time. However, it didn’t add up to eight inches total because sometimes, between treatments, some of it showed up again around my waist. That’s important to note, since my findings show the treatment only works if you’re willing to do the work to make it successful.

I’ll explain.

It’s easy to lie there for the 20 minutes that each session takes and let the lasers zap away at your fat. Inches are lost immediately in almost every case I’ve seen (several blog pals came in and were part of trial sessions during a party I hosted at Spa810 where I’ve been getting treatments—two of the guests lost nearly six inches in one session alone!!). However, then it’s on you to drink enough water to purge the zapped fat out of your body—and to get at least 20 minutes of cardio in that same day, to help sweat it out.

Then, if you want the results to last, you have to keep it up—drinking more water and exercising, along with watching your sugar and alcohol intake.

So, in my case, I was dedicated to making this work (motivated by an upcoming cruise), so the strawberry laser lipo procedure was the kickstart that gave me immediate gratification to show it was possible to lose the inches I wanted to lose…and that kickstart motivated me to keep working harder to lose more.

After my four treatments, I was down six-plus inches and 13 pounds from the last time I weighed in one month before!! Now, by no means do I believe the laser lipo is responsible for the 13 pound loss. I would say at least four pounds are due to the lipo, but the rest is all about me getting up off my butt, exercising more often, and being much more careful about what I ate and tripling my water intake.

I took a week off of treatments after those first two weeks (they suggest women not do treatments during your monthly cycle) and am now back trying four treatments on my thighs. That’s always been my least favorite part of my body—and the most difficult to hide your flaws when it becomes bathing suit season.

I’m hoping four treatments will help whittle off inches—and am stepping up my running in hopes of keeping it off. I despise running, but know from experience that is about the only exercise that helps me lose weight—other than dancing—and, unless someone out there wants to start dancing with me every morning, I guess running is my go-to.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

But if you ask me if strawberry laser lipo works, my short answer is yes—if you’re willing to also work, too. But if you know you are going to keep drinking multiple glasses of wine or beer each night, you’re throwing your money away. With treatments at a couple hundred dollars each, it’s important to know the lipo is a temporary fix without your true commitment. It’s one heck of a kickstart to get you going, though, when you’re serious about getting in shape.

Only you know if you’re ready for that change.

Want to know more? Check out our last blog post about the procedure by clicking here.

I was asked to try a treatment in order to write a review. I was not otherwise compensated and my opinion remains my own. I promise, I didn’t alter images in any way and didn’t ‘suck it in’ for better results. This is the real deal. However, do remember I am not a doctor and cannot advise you on whether this is right for you. As with all medical procedures, talk with your doctor first.

 

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To Kayla: An Open Letter of Love as You Graduate

by Desiree Miller on May 23, 2017

Dear Kayla-bear,

In just a matter of days, you’ll be walking across the stage, collecting your high school diploma, the start of a new chapter in life.

And as you hurl your way into the future, I can’t help but look back.

You were just a little thing when we met. The quiet, sweet child who wrapped her tiny arms tight around my leg, reminding me immediately of a baby koala bear, and quickly earning you my special nickname of Kayla-bear, which still sticks.

I remember, as if it happened yesterday, taking you on our first trip to the beach, how your eyes lit up when your toes hit the sand, and the thrilled shrieks each time the water splashed your face.

You were the child who could be found quietly playing in the corner, happy to occupy herself on her own. But man, did you come out of your shell when your brothers would egg you on. You could easily morph from your daddy’s Princess to another one of the guys. They adored you, no doubt, but your little sister put you on a pedestal. You were—and probably always will be—her hero.

You became one of my favorite travel buddies, from dancing in the Main Street Parade with the Toy Story characters at Walt Disney World, to the top of the mountains in Colorado and North Carolina—first falling, then flying, on skis one year and a snowboard the next. From jumping on stage with me at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall, to snapping a selfie while swimming with sharks, you have always been up for any adventure.

It’s been an honor to watch you grow…to see your beautiful personality explode these past few years.

Thanks for giving me a front row seat in your life.

Know that I’ll always be here, always cheering you on.

Because I believe as great as you’ve become, I still insist the world has yet to see the very best of you.

You are an artist, capable of painting each day with brilliance. Make the most of those days, Kayla-bear. Each and every one of them. And fill them full of love.

A new day

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strawberry laser lipo before and after

With a cruise scheduled in about a month and less and less time left to lose a few inches, when Spa 810 in Buckhead reached out and offered for me to review their new Strawberry Laser Liposuction treatment, I just figured it was serendipity. I immediately asked them to tell me more. I then went to my good pals Google and YouTube to do a little research of my own, and was relieved to hear it was a ‘non-invasive, painless and speedy’ treatment that even the FDA has cleared for use. I didn’t see a down side, so I booked an appointment and days later, was lying on the table, relaxing in a room typically used for massages, with 10 paddle-like devices strapped to my mid-section. By the time I left, I was down 2 and 3/8 inches around my belly (yep, that’s my before and after in the photo above).

I call that success.

And yes, I plan to return.

And no, it didn’t hurt. Not one bit. In fact, I rather enjoyed the 20 minutes of lying still, doing nothing but relaxing with what felt like a heating blanket on top of me.

massage bed

After that, they had me switch to what I’m calling the big egg—a heating and vibration pod of sorts, where I relaxed for another 20 minutes—before hopping in my car and heading home.

pod

No drugs, or painkillers involved. No cuts or bruises.

laser lipo

So, how does it work?

Well, based on info I found from the FDA site (feel free to skip ahead to the people speak version in the next paragraph—but I feel like I must explain for those with a better handle on science than I have), the machine uses laser diodes incorporated into 4-10 ‘paddles’ with 6 holes on each, strapped to the ‘subject’ and connected to a control unit that uses electricity. “When the laser paddles are placed on the skin, the cold red laser beams penetrate the skin just deep enough to reach the layers of fat. When the light hits the fat cells, a rapid chain of events takes place. Firstly, pores form on the cells causing them to spill out. The water, Glycerol and fatty acids move into the interstitial space beneath the fatty layer in the skin. Then further water, fatty acids and Glycerol spill out. The adipocyte cells are therefore reduced in size.”

Broken down in people-speak, the red lights shoot through your skin (I promise, this is painless) and essentially melt the fat cells. What was in them before is then sweated out or eliminated from your body when you go to the bathroom. That’s really it.

The treatment with the paddles is supposed to take 20 minutes and the cells stay open for 2-3 days, so I’ve been told there’s no real point in repeating the process until after that. It’s recommended you do several treatments—up to 8—every 3 or 4 days. According to the FDA information, a double-blind study showed after eight treatments, “an average recorded loss of 3.68in (9.35cm), with the greatest loss at 5.6in (14.22cm). Out of the 22 treated subjects, one failed to met the criteria with a reduction of only 1.2in (3cm).”

Andrea at Spa 810 measured me before my first treatment and again afterwards. She measured three spots on my mid-section, from my waist to my lower abdomen. After the treatment, she measured again.

In just one treatment, I lost 2 and 3/8 inches of fat around my stomach. Not bad for 20 minutes, right?

They make it clear you should also drink plenty of water and get at least 20 minutes of a cardio workout in within 10-15 hours of having the treatment. That will help you flush out the bad stuff for good.

I plan to do a total of four treatments, which I’ll write about again once treatment is complete, so you can see whether the great results continued.

After the success of just one treatment, I plan to try it on my thighs, too, which have always been my biggest trouble spot. The treatment can be used on multiple body parts, from your arms, backs, sides, hips, thighs or abdomen.

This video explains the process to you (this is Andrea, who treated me).

What does it cost?

Well, that varies, based on how many treatments you get and where you have it done. If you are near Atlanta, I highly recommend going to Spa 810, where I tried it. They have a special rate right now for Mother’s Day and have even bigger discounts if you become a ‘member’ of the spa (which essentially gets you a massage or facial each month, on top of discounts on other services).

The normal cost is $300 for one session for a non-member, though members have a special deal of $89 this month! It’s $1080 for 4 sessions or $2040 for 8 sessions for non-members. Members (who pay a monthly fee and get free services each month) pay $250 (although it’s $89 this month as I mentioned) for one treatment, $900 for four (or $699 this month) and $1700 for 8 ($1299 this month).

It’s definitely an investment, but much less than cool sculpting, which I’ve also tried. I’ve never looked into the surgical liposuction, though I’m aware it’s much more expensive than this.

Why is it called strawberry?

I asked and they told me it’s just because the machine is shaped like a strawberry. That’s about it.

strawberry lipo machine

This technology was created in England and has been in use in Europe and the Middle East since 2007. It was FDA cleared in 2013 and is now available in select spas and plastic surgeon’s offices around the US.

If you’re not in Atlanta, it’s easy to search for a location near you that offers this option. I think it’s worth considering and will be back for more treatments. I’ll write a follow up article in a couple weeks to see if the results lasted, so check back.

As I mentioned above, I was asked to try a treatment in order to write a review. I was not otherwise compensated and my opinion remains my own. I promise, I didn’t alter images in any way and didn’t ‘suck it in’ for better results. This is the real deal. However, do remember I am not a doctor and cannot advise you on whether this is right for you. As with all medical procedures, talk with your doctor first.

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Carmel-by-the-Sea, Where Dreams Start

May 5, 2017

Strolling down Ocean Avenue, savoring the chocolate-covered macaroon I’d just treated myself to at the Carmel Bakery, I realized this little one-point-one square mile city known as Carmel-by-the-Sea is a land unlike any other. It’s a tiny little corner of slow calm in a world of fast-paced chaos, an area filled with back alleyways that lead to flower-filled gardens, a food-lover’s dream where each corner has another quirky, often quite romantic, restaurant. It’s an art lover’s mecca, complete with a gallery where a world-famous sculptor stands in front of you, […]

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Birmingham: Food, Fun and Unique New Ideas in the Magic City

May 5, 2017

Driving through Birmingham at least a dozen times over the past few years, it never occurred to me that this little Alabama town would house so many amazing shops and eateries, including a speakeasy-inspired bar that can instantly transport you back to the days of Prohibition. And it certainly didn’t occur to me that there would be so many fun options for fun with the family, from a massive beanstalk to climb to a ropes course that will challenge every muscle in your body at Red Mountain Park. Birmingham is […]

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Family Fun on the Beaches of Alabama-Gulf Shores and Orange Beach

May 4, 2017

We were still packing up the car to leave Gulf Shores, Alabama, on our last vacation, when we started talking about wanting to come back again. Between the nights celebrating sunset, the afternoon spent parasailing over the Gulf of Mexico, and the amazing burgers we devoured two days in a row at The Gulf restaurant (and yes, the Surf’s Up drinks were pretty delicious, too), we had one of those trips you know your children will never forget. And we wanted to do it again as soon as possible. Most […]

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Making Sure Your Child’s Car Seat is Safe: Parenting Win

April 24, 2017

You know I deal with parents of newborns all the time for the Atlanta Baby and Child Expo, and connecting them with the right car seat is one of the most important parts of the event to me (shout out to Britax here—they go above and beyond when it comes to safety standards). Why does it really matter? Well, keep reading. Every 33 seconds, a child under 13 is involved in a car crash in the United States. Car seats, if used correctly, can dramatically reduce the risk of death […]

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Atlanta Baby and Child Expo Features Sessions to Educate New Parents

April 13, 2017

The Atlanta Baby and Child Expo is THE premier extravaganza of “all things baby” for new moms and moms-to-be, as well as their friends and family, and the event returns for its seventh year on April29th. This year’s event has a new feature that will help educate new and expecting parents on topics that will help them navigate their critical role in their child’s life. Sessions include topics on the following: Cloth Diapering—How To (from Make Cloth Mainstream) Infant and Toddler Car Seat Safety-Top Mistakes and How to Avoid Them […]

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