Inspired by online interior design services like Homepolish and Laurel & Wolf, Greg Kawalek launched the local Fred! Lawn Design Company last year to digitize landscape planning. Kawalek, a former CPA, believes Fred! (a name inspired by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted) is the first of its kind in the industry. Fred! handles projects from planting beds to hardscaping, firepits, fencing, and water features. A completely custom plan costs $99.
To get started, you’ll answer questions on style, budget, and space that will pair you with a designer. Pricing is broken down into phases so customers can choose projects based on budget. Fred! coordinates installation, keeping prices down with subcontractors.
“As far as design and installation, many people think that it is too much of an art, or that there are too many variables involved for it to be done online. I think that we have already proved this wrong,” Kawalek says. “Today’s homeowners are busier than ever and don’t have time to wait at home to meet a contractor at 1 p.m. on a Tuesday.” fredlawn.com
In 2004, Luma Mufleh stumbled upon a group of boys playing soccer in the street after taking a wrong turn on her way home. The kids were refugees from several different countries, speaking different languages, but they bonded over the game. It inspired Mufleh to start and coach a team for young refugee boys to give them free access to organized soccer, but as time went on, Mufleh realized that the children she was working with needed much more support.
Based in Clarkston, Mufleh created the nonprofit Fugees Family in 2006 to continue supporting the boys via soccer and after-school tutoring. The next year, she opened Fugees Academy, a privately funded middle school for refugee boys. The academy expanded three years later to serve both boys and girls and teach children from grades six to 12. Soccer has remained a large, important part of Fugees Family and is a way the organization empowers the kids in transitioning effectively into life in the United States.
Mufleh was recently announced as the winner of 2018 People’s Voice DVF Award, part of an awards program created by fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg and her Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation to honor “extraordinary women who are dedicated to transforming the lives of other women.” Other DVF Award honorees this year include Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor, ballet dancer Misty Copeland, jewelry designer Ariela Suster, and women’s rights activist Jaha Dukureh. Mufleh was one of four nominated for the People’s Voice award, with the winner chosen through an online poll. She earned a $50,000 grant for Fugees Family and will be honored Friday at the DVF Awards, held at the United Nations in New York City.
Below, Mufleh discusses what winning this award means to her and how Fugees students continue to break barriers every day.
What is the transition into living in the United States like for the young refugees that you work with? That’s a hard one. I think for the students I work with, the transition is a little easier for them than it is for their parents, because the younger you are when you come here, the easier it is to acclimate. But we work with kids that have never set foot in a school. We work with kids whose families have never had a stove or an oven, which are all things we take for granted. I think it takes awhile.
How has soccer been a useful tool in helping the kids make that transition? I think soccer, especially [here], is a really powerful tool for kids because it gives them something that’s really familiar—something that they know inside and out, something that has a lot of positive connotations. They grow up in the refugee camps playing soccer and they watch their favorite soccer stars play on TV, so it makes the transition into the United States a little bit easier. You take the power of something beautiful and familiar and use that to introduce them to a slew of other things.
For our kids, [playing soccer is] the safest place they can be. When they go out to practice for two hours, it’s safe; they won’t be judged for who they are, and they are surrounded by teammates who have all had the same experience. Every kid on our team is a refugee, so they can just be themselves and play, which is what sports are supposed to be about.
You’ve received multiple awards, but the DVF Awards were created specifically to recognize “extraordinary women.” What does winning the award mean to you as a woman? It’s more meaningful because it is an award that recognizes women, and I think there needs to more awards where women support other women, lift each other up, and highlight their accomplishments. I am in a little bit of denial, because I didn’t expect to win at all. The competition was pretty fierce; when I looked at all of the other nominees [like Erin Loos Cutraro, founder of She Should Run, an organization that encourages women to run for public office; or Laura Hackney and Jessica Hubley, who train victims of human trafficking how to code and program software], I thought “Oh, Georgie [Smith, the founder of nonprofit A Sense of Home, which supports foster children] is going to win,” and I really didn’t think it would be me. We constantly talk about the need to support women-led businesses and organizations, but I think this award is literally putting your money where your mouth is.
Fugees Academy will have its first female graduate this May. How does having the opportunity to get an education change the way the girls in the academy feel about themselves and the world? We started off as a boy’s academy [in 2007] and went co-ed three years later, so I think that for all of the girls in our school, having [this female student] cross that finish line is incredibly powerful. We don’t realize how hard it is for girls around the world to complete school and go on to college or a career.
Especially in [the Fugees] community, we had a lot of pressure from our families to not have soccer after school so that the girls could come home and help . . . so I think that this is symbolic; we got her to the finish line, and we have five girls next year who will graduate, and I think everyone is just excited that she has surpassed everybody’s expectations.
For me, it’s more personal. I grew up in the Middle East, where women are second class citizens, and I never thought that I would start an organization that was boys-only, but I think that it is important for young men to see women in leadership positions and have women coach them and mentor them. Overall, I think we’ve shattered the barrier in a lot of areas.
Recently, a post on the Fugees Family Facebook page stated that one of the female soccer players was told she couldn’t play in a game unless she proved to the referee that she wasn’t wearing jewelry under her hijab. The following Monday, another post said that incident was turned into a lesson in activism for the Fugees students. How will Fugees continue the conversation about tolerance and acceptance, especially in the current political climate? I never thought that our program would be political; we always thought, “We work with kids, so it’s about them: educating them, teaching them to be children again, and integrating them into the United States.” We never imagined we would be a political cause, but after that incident we had to bring all the students in, and it changed our whole day in terms of what we were going to do. We cancelled all the [planned] classes that day and did sessions on advocacy, how to stand up for themselves, and what their rights are.
The process right now is to file an appeal with Georgia Soccer, and we had the students lead the entire process with collecting all the writing, practicing their statements, and recounting what happened. I had to have an honest talk with them and tell them that by being in this school, they are making a political statement, because we challenge a lot of the ideas of what a refugee should be. [Many] people think that refugees are terrorists, and our kids get that a lot on the soccer field from opposing teams, with kids telling them, “Go back to where you came from,” or asking, “Are you going to bomb us?” They’ll make fun of their names or what they’re wearing, and that shouldn’t happen anywhere, let alone on sports field, but our responsibility and obligation is to keep holding our heads up high and represent ourselves the way we are.
I told them, “You’re kids, and you don’t have to be perfect, but when someone doesn’t treat you with respect, this is how you handle it.” We teach our kids not to stoop down to anyone’s level and not to retaliate, but it’s been hard. It’s even harder now, because things seem to be escalating. Especially with this [White House] administration, people seem to think they have permission to say whatever they want. Our kids are getting this from other players on the field, parents of the other team, and it’s just hurtful—it’s hurtful to watch that happen, because this is not the United States that welcomed me 20 years ago as an immigrant. I was in the U.S. for 9/11, and even then it wasn’t like this.
How do you hope to see Fugees grow over the next few years? What about long term? We’re very excited that we’re opening our second location in Columbus, Ohio this fall. Long term, we plan on opening one school per year, and we are trying to become a model for refugee education and integration. I’m really excited about that because I never thought that starting a soccer team in a parking lot would lead to setting up a national network for refugee kids.
Atlanta Dogwood Festival
Where: Piedmont Park When: April 13-15 Cost: Free Details: Going into its 82nd year, the Atlanta Dogwood Festival is a staple during festival season. As always, there will be hundreds of artists from around the country showcasing their work, live music for the entire weekend, including Grammy-nominated folk rock star Shawn Mullins, the Mimosa 5K, and plenty of fun activities for the kids, too.
Atlanta Film Festival
Where:Various locations When: April 13-22 Cost: $100+ Details: The Atlanta Film Festival is set to showcase more than 100 films—including narrative features, documentaries, and short films—throughout its 10-day span, ensuring that cinema-lovers and novices alike will be able to laugh, cry, and revel in the talent of filmmakers from across the world.
Cheers for Change
Where: SweetWater Brewing Company When: April 15, 3-6 p.m. Cost: $35+ Details: The Central Outreach and Advocacy Center is teaming up with SweetWater Brewing Company to raise awareness about overcoming and preventing homelessness. The night will be filled with food, live music, a brewery tour, a fishbowl auction, a Cornhole tournament, and of course, beer.
Where: Verizon Amphitheatre When: April 17, 8 p.m. Cost: $36+ Details: Bring your inflatable sharks and beach balls—Jimmy Buffett is in town. For one night only, he and the Coral Reefer Band will make a stop in Atlanta for Buffett’s 2018 I Don’t Know tour.
Grilled Cheese Festival
Where: Brookhaven Park When: April 14 and 15 [Note: the event has been rescheduled to June 16-17. Check the festival website for more information.] Cost: $32.50 Details: National Grilled Cheese Day is actually April 12, but this weekend festival will celebrate with grilled cheese sandwiches from more than 10 Atlanta restaurants. While you’re melting in each sandwich, enjoy frosty brews and live music from groups like the Chris Hamrick Band and Citizen Gold.
Wanderlust 108 When: April 8, 7:30 a.m. Where: The Meadow at Piedmont Park Cost: $20-150 Details: Self-dubbed as “the world’s only mindful triathlon,” this event begins with a 5K run or walk, followed by a DJ-guided yoga session, and a guided meditation. Once you’ve aligned your chakras, finish off the day with food and shopping around the Kula Market or keep the flow going and try Aerial or AcroYoga.
When: April 6 and 7 Where: Fox Theatre Cost: $33.50-88.50 Details: International percussion group Stomp is known for its rhythmic performances that combine dancing and theatrics with the use of unconventional objects as instruments (did you know you can make a decent beat with a matchbox?)
International Pillow Fight Day When: April 7, 2-5 p.m. Where: Grant Park Cost: Free Details: Grab your softest (but feather-free!) pillow and gear up for International Pillow Fight Day. The only rules are to swing softly and don’t hit anyone who isn’t brandishing a pillow.
Sheep to Shawl When: April 8, 10:30 a.m. Where: Atlanta History Center Cost: $21.50, $18 for seniors and students, $9 for children 4-12 Details: Families are invited to the Smith Family Farm to get a look at the process of cloth making—from the sheep to the clothes we wear. The demonstration will include the shearing of the sheep and angora goats, wool dyeing, and the spinning and weaving processes. There will be ongoing activities throughout the afternoon like candle-dipping and a petting zoo.
Atlanta Streets Alive When: April 8, 2-6 p.m. Where:Decatur Street and DeKalb Avenue Cost: Free Details: The 4.4 mile stretch of Decatur Street and DeKalb Avenue will be closed to cars and opened up to anything with two wheels (non-motorized) or two feet. The first Atlanta Streets Alive event of the year, this route is brand new and will connect 11 Atlanta neighborhoods for you to play, shop, or eat.
Bonus event:Atlanta magazine’s Sip and Stroll When: April 10, 5-8:30 p.m. Where: Avalon Cost: Free Details: Join Atlanta magazine for a night of cocktails, music, and shopping at Avalon. There will be in-store promotions specifically for those in attendance and a chance to win a special weekend for two at the Hotel At Avalon.
2018 St. Patrick’s Day Parade March 17, 12 p.m.
Midtown As one of the country’s oldest celebrations of the holiday, this Midtown parade is a staple for any Atlantan’s celebrations. Running down Peachtree Street between 15th and 5th streets, the parade features floats, dancers, bands, bagpipe and drum corps, dogs, and much more.
Luckyfest March 17, 1 p.m.
Park Tavern Get your green on and join the shenanigans at this all-day party at Park Tavern, which will serve up pints on pints of green beer and feature live music from bands including Coast Guard, Taste, and more.
Green Mile Midtown Block Party March 16, 7 p.m.
Rí Rá Irish Pub Get your party beads out and celebrate St. Paddy’s a day early. A ticket to this block party will get you free admission into over 15 participating bars, food and drink specials, and complimentary Irish-themed shots. The night starts at Rí Rá Irish Pub, where party goers can register, and goes until last call.
Shake Your Shamrock March 17, 6 p.m.
Mall of Georgia Geared towards all ages, this St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the Village at the Mall of Georgia will have live entertainment from the Throwback Experience and Drake Irish Dance Buford, bounce houses, and tons of family-friendly activities. Over 21? Grab a cocktail, beer, or wine from participating restaurants while hanging out in the Village.
2018 St. Patrick’s Parade 5K March 17, 10 a.m.
Colony Square Beginning before Atlanta’s historic St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the 5th annual race is the perfect way to feel better about those pints of Guinness you’ll toast later. The route begins and ends at Colony Square, going through Midtown, into Piedmont Park, and up to Peachtree Street. Runners who are 21 and over will receive a complimentary Reformation Brewery draft beer after finishing the race.
Limerick Junction St. Patrick’s Day Festival
March 17, 2 p.m.
Limerick Junction Irish Pub The Virginia-Highland bar celebrates its 30th anniversary with an outdoor block party featuring live music, kids activities such as face painting and balloon art, and plenty of beer.
Shamrock the Station March 17, 2 p.m.
Atlantic Station Atlantic Station and ALT 105.7 teamed up for this family-friendly celebration, featuring live music from the Wrecks, Dreamers, the Glorious Sons, and New Politics. Rain or shine, come out and celebrate with drinks, Irish dancing, and activities for all ages. Atlantic Station is also hosting a 10K/5K in the morning, the Shamrock ‘N Roll Race.
Atlanta United vs Vancouver Whitecaps March 17, 7:30 p.m. Mercedes-Benz Stadium
While not technically a St. Patrick’s-themed event, you can guarantee that a huge population of Atlantans will be partying down at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where Atlanta United is hot off winning their home-opener last weekend. (They also set an MLS attendance record—again.) Just make sure to add a little green to your red-and-black outfit.
Suwanee American Craft Beer Fest
March 17, 1 p.m.
Town Center Park Also not specifically St. Pat’s-themed but still fun, this festival features tastings of more than 300 beers from both local (Monday Night, Eventide, Orpheus, Red Brick) and national (Bell’s, Cigar City, Dogfish Head, Magic Hat) breweries. There will also be several food trucks and vendors, live music, backyard games (think cornhole and giant Jenga), and a home brew competition.
St. PAW-trick’s Day March 17, 11 a.m.
Brook Run Park The Rescue Dog Olympics is the cutest thing you might not have heard of. Come celebrate the holiday with your four-legged friend at Brook Run Park in Dunwoody; you can register your dog to participate in the games, enter them into the costume contest, and support local rescues. FYI: there’s also going to be green beer (humans only, though).
Psycho Disco March 17, 10 p.m.
The Music Room For those looking for a dance party, the Music Room on Edgewood Avenue is hosting the St. Patrick’s Day edition of the Psycho Disco, with two floors of house music from multiple artists.
St. Patrick’s March Madness Shenanigans March 17, 12 p.m.
ASW Distillery This Armour Yards distillery has everything you need to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day without missing any of the March Madness action. Enjoy green cocktails, eats from the Doggy Dogg food cart, and live music—while watching the games, of course.
Sober St. Patrick’s Day Comedy Night March 17, 7 p.m.
Georgia Public Broadcasting GPB is hosting a comedy night with featured comedian John Lehr, a performer, writer, and producer working in television, film, and theater (remember the Geico Caveman?) who speaks openly about his journey in sobriety and having an authentic sense of humor. All proceeds from the event will go to the Caron Solutions Adolescent Scholarship Fund.
Foxeria del Sol Golf Tournament When: March 9, 10:30 a.m. Where: Stone Mountain Country Club Cost: $800-1,200 for teams of four players Details: Atlanta favorites Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q and Taqueria del Sol teamed up for their first Foxeria del Sol Golf Tournament to benefit Hogs for the Cause, a pediatric brain cancer outreach organization. There are prizes for the top four teams and winners from the long drive, closest to the pin, and hole-in-one contests.
Harlem Globetrotters When: March 10, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Where: Philips Arena Cost: $20-160 Details: The greatest show on the hardwood is coming back to Atlanta. If you haven’t yet seen the Harlem Globetrotters’ high-energy theatrics and stunts, now’s the perfect opportunity. (Not to mention, current player Moose Weekes is from Lilburn.)
Kaki King When: March 10, 8 p.m. Where: Ferst Center for the Arts Cost: $20-53 Details: Brooklyn musician Kaki King is known for her stellar guitar skills, but what might set her apart the most are the videos of waves, clouds, and other images she projects across her guitar while she performs.
Atlanta United vs. DC United When: March 11, 3 p.m. Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium Cost: $20-275+ Details: Break out your Five Stripes kits—Atlanta’s newest obsession is back. Atlanta United fans broke attendance records game after game last season, and the first home game of the 2018 season is expected to draw ten of thousands to MBS. (If you’re curious about what Coach Martino has to say about the upcoming season, we chatted with him about it here.)
Lisa Rieves, owner of home decor shop the Front Porch of Vinings, had a vision: a one-stop shop where you could find fresh flowers, local food from favorites like Sweet Grass Dairy and Southern Baked Pie, and fun gifts. Front Porch Market, located just down the hill behind its sister shop, is just that. The shop, which hosted its grand opening this past weekend, features an extensive selection of candles and various body care products from brands like Barr-Co. that can be paired with any of the adorable cards in their stationary section to create an easy, perfect gift. Designed to evoke the feeling of “stepping into the past,” Lisa was inspired by traditional country general stores, and the shop features tall shelving units and saloon doors made from reclaimed wood by Rieves’ father, who also has a workshop located underneath Lisa’s store. 5 Mountain Street, Vinings, 770-405-8170
Cupid’s Undie Run
When: February 24, noon Where: Big Sky Buckhead Cost: $40 Details: Run through the streets in your underwear and party—all for a good cause. The roughly one mile run through Buckhead can be completed at your own pace, and there will be tons of drinks and dancing throughout the day. All of the proceeds go to Cupid’s Charity, an organization dedicated to helping find a cure for Neurofibromatosis.
Black History Month Parade
Where: Begins at Hurt Park, ends at Centennial Olympic Park When: February 24, 1 p.m. Cost: Free Details: Celebrate the history, culture, and accomplishments of African Americans as floats, entertainers, and bands march through downtown at the Black History Month Parade—the self-dubbed largest celebration of Black History Month in the Southeast.
When: February 24 and 25 Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium Cost: $18-125+ Details: Once again, Monster Jam returns to Atlanta with its monster-sized stunts and head-to-head racing. Die-hard fans can purchase tickets to the Pit Party, where they can get up-close and personal with the trucks and drivers.
Where: Corner of Peachtree Street and 12th Street in Midtown When: February 24 and 25 Cost: $10-$20 Details: Seafood lovers, rejoice. Oysterfest is back for its 31st year, kicking off festival season with nine live bands, a full bar, and buckets on buckets of all the oysters to satisfy your seafood fix.
When: February 25, 7:30 p.m. Where: Variety Playhouse Cost: $29 Details: Performance and journalism collide with Pop-Up Magazine, which is coming to Atlanta for the first time ever. The event brings along filmmakers, bestselling authors, artists, and popular radio and podcast voices, whose performances are accompanied by illustration, animation, photography, and even an onstage orchestra. Simply put, it’s everything you’d find flipping through the pages of a magazine, turned into a live show.
Since 1961, Atlanta magazine, the city’s premier general interest publication, has served as the authority on Atlanta, providing its readers with a mix of long-form nonfiction, lively lifestyle coverage, in-depth service journalism, and literary essays, columns, and profiles.