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Laura Scholz

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Brash Coffee was my office and my muse

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Brash Coffee
After nonessential businesses shut down in late March, Brash remained my only consistent contact with the outside world for months.

Photograph by Ben Rollins

On March 11, 2020, the seriousness of the novel coronavirus—once a vague, faraway threat—started to become clearer. On that day, the World Health Organization officially declared Covid-19 a global pandemic, the NCAA announced that it would host its annual basketball tournament without fans, the NBA canceled the remainder of its season, the United States announced a travel ban from Europe, and actors Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson revealed they had tested positive for the virus.

As these announcements came pouring in, I was sitting on a barstool in my usual nook at Brash Coffee on the Westside, watching—over the course of hours—as customers and staff became increasingly anxious.

Having worked as a freelance writer for more than a decade, I have turned to coffee shops as my second home, both temporary office space and community gathering place. I’ve met an editor to discuss new assignments at a nondescript coffee shop on the Lower East Side in Manhattan, filed stories straight off a plane at the Ace Hotel’s Stumptown in New Orleans, and made lifelong friends of strangers at a sidewalk cafe in Amsterdam. But at home, Brash is my go-to spot.

Housed in a repurposed, 700-square-foot shipping container in Westside Provisions District, the space is intimate, bright, and warm—sometimes too warm in summer, when the windows often fog due to the oppressive humidity. Seating is limited indoors, with five metal stools tucked underneath a high-top wooden slab on one side and two chairs flanking a low counter on the other. Outside, a large, L-shaped communal table with low benches sits atop dusty gravel.

What it lacks in size and seating, Brash more than makes up for with ambiance: vases with artfully arranged, minimalist flowers from Le Jardin Francais, hip playlists rotating through the likes of My Morning Jacket and Fleet Foxes, and, of course, stellar coffee, sourced directly from small producers primarily in South and Central America. While others may gravitate toward an iced latte or other fussy drinks, my usual order is a simple 12-ounce coffee, black.

Brash CoffeeThe caffeine fueled many of my marathon writing sessions, but the change of scenery was just as effective at stoking my creativity. Whether it was subtly eavesdropping on strangers or joining an impromptu Sheryl Crow singalong with a group of chiropractic students, the environment broke up the monotony of writing from home and the anxiety over looming deadlines. Plus, it’s hard to nod off on the sofa, throw in another load of laundry, or reorganize your closet when you’re inside a coffee shop.

After all nonessential businesses in Atlanta shut down in late March, Brash remained my only consistent contact with the outside world for several months. I stopped in every other week with my dog (a bag of coffee beans for me; treats from doting baristas for her). Even the two-minute interaction with someone outside my home made me feel a little less isolated. That’s not to say that placing an order through a plexiglass barrier, religiously sanitizing your hands, and grabbing a to-go drink even comes close to luxuriating with a hot mug of coffee in a cozy box with a bunch of similarly work-focused strangers. In today’s new socially distanced world, places like Brash may be the last to return to “normal.” But when they do, I’ll be the first in line—and probably the last to leave.

This article appears in our February 2021 issue.

Two designers bring their custom and curated collection to Buckhead Village

The Drawing Room Atlanta
Zimmerman (left) and Van den Bergh with their Henning glass dining table, $8,400.

Photograph by Martha Williams

Longtime friends and former coworkers Daniel Zimmerman and Seth van den Bergh, self-described “modernists with an appreciation for classical design,” launched their interior design firm, the Drawing Room, in 2018. In addition to creating custom pieces like end tables and chandeliers for both residential and commercial projects, the pair started acquiring vintage furniture during their travels to Europe, India, and Australia—branding and selling both old and new as the TDR Collection.

When space opened up last spring at Buckhead Village—currently being reimagined by Jamestown (also home to Pinker Times)—they jumped at the opportunity despite the pandemic.

As Zimmerman explains, “The timing wasn’t ideal, but we are finding that people are more focused on home than ever before. They’re spending more time at home and investing more in their living spaces, and we want to be able share our collection with people beyond just our existing clients.”

The Drawing Room Atlanta
Gigi Radice for Minotti Lounge Chair, $6,600
The Drawing Room Atlanta
Handmade Earthenware Stool / Accent Table, $465
The Drawing Room Atlanta
Peter Keil “Palma de Mallorca”
Platter, $1,249

Opened last fall, the 1,200-square-foot showroom displays pieces from the TDR Collection, including fine art; vintage furniture such as midcentury chairs and Italian brass chandeliers; and original creations like hand-blown glass vases, earthenware stools, and plush area rugs. Their favorite original design is the Henning dining table, which beautifully captures and reflects light.

“It brings us a lot of joy to work with artisans and create customized, one-of-a-kind pieces for our clients,” says Zimmerman.

Their latest project is a collection of luxe outdoor furniture called Portofino, a nod to their interest in midcentury Italian design.

This article appears in our February 2021 issue.

A shelter-in-place hobby blooms into a thriving floral pop-up, Pinker Times

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Pinker Times AtlantaLike many of us, SCAD graduate and art director Skye Lin needed a creative outlet while quarantined at home in the spring of 2020. Sidelined from work and isolated from friends and family, Lin began purchasing flowers and creating her now signature, minimalist arrangements for her home solely as a hobby. But after posting her creations to Instagram, orders started pouring in from friends and neighbors, leading to a small pop-up shop and exhibition space in Buckhead Village last summer. She soon outgrew that space and moved to her current 1,200-square-foot shop in the retail district a few months later.

Pinker Times Atlanta
Bouquets start at $15, custom arrangements at $85.

Photograph by Cori Carter

Decorated with soothing pastel pink walls and two of Lin’s permanent floral art installations, Pinker Times sells bespoke bouquets and sculptural floral arrangements featuring seasonal blooms sourced from Georgia growers like 3 Porch Farm and Chattahoochee Queen. The shop also offers a build-your-own bar stocked with dried flowers and floral design for special events. Seasonal workshops provide opportunities for experimenting with wildflowers, dried ingredients, and pressed florals (currently limited attendance due to Covid). Attendees get to take home a vessel and three photos of their creations ($180). The pop-up runs through March.

This article appears in our February 2020 issue.

5 great Atlanta self-care gifts (that you can absolutely gift to yourself)

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Spa gifts
The “Sunrise” Flight Club Kit ($250) from Aviary Beauty + Wellness includes a journal from Young Blood Boutique, Luzern face cream, 3rd Ritual body gel, a Colin Adriane stained glass charm, and other extras.

Photograph by Jason Lagi

Aviary Beauty + Wellness “Flight Club Kit,” $250
Each month, the Old Fourth Ward spa releases a new wellness kit, hand-delivered to your doorstep. Choose from the “sunrise”- or “sunset”-themed boxes, filled with creams, teas, and tokens designed to uplift or calm. A portion of sales are donated to the Dream Warriors Foundation, which provides grants for women-owned businesses. aviarybeauty.com

Hawkins & Clover “Me Time” gift basket, $80
This Grant Park salon doubles as a Scandi-style gift shop stocked with housewares, candles, and one-of-a-kind items. Order a customized or ready-made gift set like “Me Time,” complete with a Kitsch microfiber hair towel and satin eye pillowcase, a candle, and lip balm. hawkinsandclover.com

Kindred Studio “Holiday Face Time” Kit, $90–110
These DIY kits include two facial treatments plus a JoAnna Vargas sheet mask and a jade roller. Three kits contain a hidden golden ticket, redeemable for an in-person oxygen primo facial, valued at $200. kindredstudioatl.com

Buckhead Gift Company “Spa Experience Box,” $168
Here, find all the ingredients for an indulgent home spa day: K. Hall Designs bath soak and triple-milled soap, a natural wool sea sponge, a LAFCO Marine candle in a hand-blown glass vessel, and Tay Tea Muse tea. buckheadgiftco.com

Bombchel Factory gift set, $50
Owner Archel Bernard collaborated with other Black creators in Atlanta to curate this gift set, which includes a beeswax candle from Bear and Honey Candle Co., a pack of 20 affirmation cards from Muse Denim, and a pair of cozy Bombchel tie-dye socks, all packed in a drawstring bag. shopbombchel.com

This article appears in our December 2020 issue.

Sleep oasis: Five tips for creating the ultimate bedroom retreat

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Tips for making your bedroom better for sleepIn a perfect world, a bedroom is a sanctuary, a quiet and calming place to relax and rest. In reality, it’s become a harried, multipurpose space where we stream TV shows, catch up on work emails, and scroll through social media. Reclaim your sleep space with these tips from local interior designers.

Separate spaces
If your bedroom doubles as an office (as many do these days), Alice Cramer of Alice Cramer Interiors recommends distinguishing between the two spaces visually by using a folding screen. Or you can create a cozy reading nook or meditation area with just a comfortable chair or a few soft pillows and blankets, suggests Erika Ward of Erika Ward Interiors.

Invest in your bedding
“You spend a good chunk of your life in bed, so investing in a great mattress and high-quality sheets is key,” says designer Dayka Robinson. She swears by sateen sheets and hypoallergenic pillows, while Cramer encourages splurging on Sferra sheets and an all-seasons cotton blanket.

Manage light and temperature
Transition to sleep by avoiding bright overhead lights in the evening and opting for table lamps or sconces with dimmers for reading, says Robinson, who also uses blackout Roman shades and heavy drapes to control external light. Run a fan to keep the room from getting stuffy, Robinson suggests.

Calm with color
Paint color can have a big impact on the psyche. If you’re up for a refresh, think about what hotel brands or other spaces make you feel calm, says Robinson. Ward finds neutrals, blues, and colors found in nature most soothing. If you’re not up for painting, think about the color of your bedding.

Wind down
“If you think of your bed as a place for restoration, you are less likely to use it for work or watching television,” says Ward, whose daily wind-down ritual is reading in bed with her five children. Before tucking in, Cramer enjoys a hot Epsom salt bath and sprays pillowcases with a lavender-scented mist for its calming effect.

This article appears in our November 2020 issue.

Atlanta experts share tips for fighting maskne

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Tips for fighting maskne mask acneWhile wearing a mask or face covering is essential for public health, it can be tough on your skin: “Masks trap heat and humidity, which compromises the skin’s delicate barrier and exacerbates existing oils, creating the perfect environment for breakouts,” explains esthetician Bisma Rais of Artisan Beauté in Buckhead. Banish blemishes, irritation, and other mask-induced issues with these tips from Rais and other skincare experts.

Opt for skin-friendly fabrics
Just like fitness enthusiasts favor breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics, dermatologist Dr. Nikki Hill recommends that non-frontline workers look for similar qualities in masks and face coverings. (To be most effective, they should be tightly woven and multilayered—or have a built-in pocket for a filter.) “Cotton will wick away moisture, and you should avoid fabrics made with synthetic dyes or chemicals.”

Prep your canvas
“Think about how you treat your skin when you’re flying,” explains Rais, who suggests using soothing and calming products before even masking up. Her go-to? Biologique Recherche’s Crème Masque Vernix, which has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that create the “perfect barrier” between a face covering and skin. She also regularly hydrates her face with a mist “to bring oxygen and life back into the skin” and uses a gentle, oxygen-rich cleanser like BR’s Lait VIP O.

Ditch the makeup
A made-up face is so 2019. Not only will that carefully applied blush or foundation end up smudging, but it will transfer to your mask, which “increases moisture and leads to more breakouts,” explains Hill.

Esthetician and Kindred Studio co-owner Kelly Painter agrees. “So many of our clients have seen improvement in their skin by letting it ‘breathe’ more regularly and avoiding the inevitable bacteria and grime buildup of wearing foundation under a mask,” she says. “A tinted moisturizer like the Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint is an excellent alternative to traditional foundation.”

This article appears in our September 2020 issue.

Does your back ache after you’ve stared down at your laptop for hours? How to avoid screen slump.

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How to comabt screen fatigueThere’s a reason they’re called laptops—and so many of us these days are using them, working from home, sunk deep in the sofa, or leaning over them at awkward angles on the dinner table. We’re doing meetings over Zoom. At night, we power up Netflix. We’re going out less and sitting too much. And our bodies are paying the price. From neck, hip, and lower-back pain to tension headaches and increased risk for chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer, prolonged periods of sitting can be hazardous to your health. Here’s how to combat screen slump.

Sit up straight. No working from the sofa—you need a good chair. Can’t splurge on an ergonomic Aeron? Try a stability ball. “These help you engage your core and make you more aware of your posture,” says Kali Arnold, a certified Pilates, yoga, and reiki instructor. When seated, make a conscious effort to see that your hips are even with your knees, your shoulders are down and relaxed, and your legs are uncrossed, with both feet planted firmly on the floor. You could also spring for a standing desk—or just prop your computer on the kitchen counter.

Change it up. “Posture is meant to be dynamic,” explains physical therapist Brittany Albritton, founder of Rx PT. “You should be constantly moving and putting yourself in different positions throughout the day to avoid stiffness, injury, or pain.” November Nichols, founder of boutique wellness center L’Artisan Muse, suggests getting up at least once every hour, even if it’s just to refill your water bottle or walk around the room. Set a timer on your phone or watch to alert you.

Stretch it out. While you’re sitting, Arnold recommends a figure four stretch—crossing one ankle over the opposite thigh—to combat hip and lower-back pain. Albritton suggests standing facing a door and pressing arms against the surface in a “Y” formation to stretch and release the neck and chest, while Nichols swears by a quick cat/cow stretch to “open the front and back sides of the body, increase circulation, and loosen up the hips, back, and airways for proper breathing.”

Take deep breaths. “You might be holding your breath or clenching your jaw or teeth due to tension,” explains Nichols. “Focus on breathing fully and deeply, with long inhales and exhales, which allow you to be present and more aware of areas in your body that might not be at ease.”

This article appears in our August 2020 issue.

Try these five at-home spa treatments from Atlanta pros

At-home spa treatments
Lark & Sparrow’s DIY Pedicure Kit

Photograph by Tropico

While nothing takes the place of an in-person facial or pedicure, an at-home spa treatment can be just as effective—and relaxing—as one from the pros. From a detoxifying cold facial to a soothing scalp massage, here are the DIY treatments Atlanta beauty experts indulge in when they’re off the clock.

At-home spa treatmentsThe Aviary’s Cold Facial
Want an instant face lift? Amy Leavell Bransford, founder of Aviary Beauty + Wellness Collective, swears by a weekly at-home facial. After a steamy shower to soften skin, cleanse your face with cold water and Biologique Recherche’s Lait VIP 02, then apply the brand’s Masque VIP 02, massaging in a circular and upward motion with the fingers, “stimulating lymphatic fluid, which is essential for detoxing and helping skin keep its youthful glow,” says Bransford. Leave on for 15 to 20 minutes, then remove with cold water to tighten skin and protect pores. aviarybeauty.com

Hawkins & Clover’s Scalp Massage
There’s a reason that a salon shampoo is so relaxing: A good scalp massage is proven to reduce stress, relieve tension, and even ease symptoms of migraines. For the at-home equivalent, Hawkins & Clover’s Erika Audrey recommends mixing almond and castor oils, then massaging deeply into the scalp using firm pressure and consistent rhythm. Finish up with Evo’s Normal Persons Daily Shampoo for removing product buildup and Mane Attention Protein Treatment for deep conditioning. hawkinsandclover.com

Lark & Sparrow’s DIY Pedicure Kit
Foot care isn’t just about looks. “Keeping nails trimmed and skin moisturized will not only make you feel better about your appearance but will also help with foot discomfort caused by dry, cracked heels and ingrown nails,” says Lark & Sparrow’s owner, Linda Sharp. For $35, the salon packages all the tools you need: acetone wipes, top coat, nail files, a buffing block, and more. Fancy some color? They sell CND Vinylux nail polish in a range of summer-worthy hues. larkandsparrownails.com

Kindred Studio’s Face Scrub
Kindred Studio’s Kelly Painter and Amy Tecosky offer virtual facials with instructions to customize your skincare regimen, stressing that “what you do at home is just as important—if not more—as professional treatments,” says Tecosky. Their favorite off-the-clock indulgence? An exfoliating facial treatment with SIR ACTIV+ scrub. During an evening shower, apply a nickel-sized amount of the scrub with gentle, circular motions. Leave on for five to eight minutes, wash off, then apply local honey (avoiding eyebrows and under eyes) for five minutes. Remove with a warm washcloth and follow with a serum and light moisturizer like OWAY awakening moisturizer. kindredstudioatl.com

Phoenix Wellness Center’s Skincare Secrets
Is your skin dehydrated from spending too much time indoors? Phoenix Wellness Center’s aesthetician Kacey Washington swears by a few drops of Eminence’s Facial Recovery Oil in her nighttime moisturizer for an instant hydration boost. She also recommends exfoliating once a week with Eminence’s Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant to shed dead skin cells, repair blue-light damage, and give skin a natural summer glow. vagaro.com/phoenixwellnessatl

This article appears in our July 2020 issue.

Restaurant and bar workers need to de-stress. A bartender created community garden to help with that.

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Keyatta Mincey-Parker A Sip of Paradise
Keyatta Mincey-Parker’s community garden in East Atlanta

Photograph by Martha Williams

Keyatta Mincey-Parker’s affinity for fresh fruits and vegetables began long before she ever set foot behind the bar. Raised in her father’s native Liberia before relocating to suburban Atlanta as a teen, she savors memories of eating plums and guava from local street markets in West Africa and spending summers on her maternal grandparents’ farm in LaGrange, where the family grew pecans, plums, and blueberries.

In her early 20s, after waiting tables while juggling school and a modeling career, Mincey-Parker took her first bartending gig: a lunch shift at Copeland’s in Buckhead, which allowed her to spend evenings at home with her newborn daughter. Since then, she has established herself as one of the city’s top bartenders, with stints at the Glenn Hotel and 5 Church, a guest appearance mixing drinks at the celebrated James Beard House in New York City, and a top-three finish last year in Bombay Sapphire’s “Most Imaginative Bartender” competition.

A few years ago, feeling burned out on bartending and city living, she took her love for fresh produce one step further by signing up to work in a community garden in her West End neighborhood, where she and her husband grow tomatoes, turnips, and rainbow chard. “I found gardening a way to connect with the land and my past,” she says, “and it provides a great escape from the stressors of bartending.”

“This could be the last line of defense in fighting things like depression, fatigue, and even hunger.”

Now, with the hospitality industry in a state of emergency as a result of COVID-19 and her job behind the bar at Bon Ton on hold, she’s turning to the best source of hope and solace she knows: nature.

Weeks before the virus shut down Atlanta’s bar and restaurant scene—and unaware of the extent to which the coming pandemic would alter life as she knew it—Mincey-Parker launched A Sip of Paradise, a community garden in the heart of East Atlanta Village. Adjacent to the East Atlanta Village Farmers Market, the half-acre space on Stokeswood Avenue is open to all hospitality professionals and offers affordable plots at just $25 per growing season.

“These times are so uncomfortable and uncertain, so I have just leaned into being in the garden and building something to come back to,” she says. “It keeps me encouraged. And this could be the last line of defense [for people in the industry] in fighting things like depression, fatigue, and even hunger.”

Nearly 20 bartenders have committed to the project, including Rori Robinson, an avid gardener, bartender at Likewise and Painted Pin, and member of A Sip of Paradise’s board of directors.

“It’s nice to have a place to talk and vent with other bartenders outside of a bar,” she says, noting that the garden offers a “healthy alternative” to using alcohol to cope with stress. “This is a creative outlet anyone can participate in, whether you’re a novice or experienced gardener or just want to come sit outside to read, meditate, or enjoy nature.”

Keyatta Mincey-Parker A Sip of Paradise
Mincey-Parker mixes her signature Eve’s Pot Liquor cocktail behind the bar at Bon Ton.

Photograph by Martha Williams

Another founding member, Empire State South’s Baylee Hopings, notes the garden’s potential impact not only on bartenders’ mental and physical health but on the environment as well.

“If you’re growing your own herbs, fruits, and vegetables, you can stop buying them from big, wasteful companies with a large carbon footprint,” she says. “Having your own garden also allows you to plant what you want to work with instead of being at the mercy of what you can obtain from stores.”

Mincey-Parker hopes Sip of Paradise will serve not only as a gathering spot for beverage professionals but, when the time is right, as a space to host community events. “It’s such a special place and labor of love,” says Emily Mitchell, assistant manager at Cold Beer and the garden’s director of programming. Mitchell hopes to host events for other members including community workdays and educational workshops, as well as yoga classes and film nights.

“This is not about growing food to sell,” Mincey-Parker explains of the garden. “This is about getting out of your house, putting down your phone, hanging out and meeting new people, and playing in the dirt with your friends.”

Eventually, Mincey-Parker plans to expand the garden concept to additional markets.

“I want to start a movement,” she says. “We [bartenders] are always putting other people first, and we need to start prioritizing our own health and well-being.”

Keyatta Mincey-Parker A Sip of Paradise
Eve’s Pot Liquor

Photograph by Martha Williams

Recipe: Eve’s Pot Liquor
The common thread in Mincey-Parker’s drinks? Seasonal, local ingredients rooted in her heritage.“Something I learned early on,” she says, “was that the fresher the ingredient, the better the cocktail.” Eve’s Pot Liquor—which derives its bright green hue and bold, vegetal flavor from juiced collard greens—is a nod to her roots in both Liberia and the American South.

1 ½ parts gin
½ parts Chareau aloe liqueur
¾ parts lemon juice
¾ parts simple syrup (1:1 water and sugar)
1 part green-apple juice (juice of a cored green apple, skin-on)
½ part collard-green juice (juice of whole, chopped collards)
2 drops saline solution (1:4 salt and water)

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice.
Shake hard and double-strain into a coupe.
Garnish with a homemade collard-green chip. (Rub a large section of leaf with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and roast at 250° F for 20 minutes.)

This article appears in our May 2020 issue.

Three wellness pros share tips for creating peaceful spaces at home

Amanda Trevelino
Amanda Trevelino

Photograph by Rustic White

Mindful Escape
The expert: Amanda Trevelino, who operates Santosha Studio behind her home

From a tranquil carriage house on two wooded acres near the Chattahoochee River, Trevelino offers private yoga sessions, Thai bodywork, and group retreats. With residential designer and naturalist James Klippel, she renovated the 1980s 1,200-square-foot space with floor-to-ceiling windows and soothing neutral hues. The property has a meditation trail as well as a bedroom suite available for overnight rentals. Here, Trevelino’s tips for incorporating a calming, natural aesthetic into a home practice.

Set up a designated space. It could be a spare bedroom or the corner of a living room. In addition to a mat and props, Trevelino recommends augmenting the practice area with sights, sounds, and smells—like crystals, meditation soundtracks, candles, or diffused essential oils—that will help “make it feel special.” Hers is layered with finds from the outdoors and pieces picked up on travels, and she likes Phoenix and Dragon Bookstore in Sandy Springs for inspirational reading and altar items.

Get close to nature. While you can’t always retreat to her studio in the woods, practicing near a window for natural light and surrounding yourself with plants or even a few flowers can have relaxing effects.

Use a mantra. “Repetition of a mantra—even something as simple as ‘I am’—can be grounding, calming, and make you more aware of your breath,” she explains.

Kristin Oja
Kristin Oja

Photograph by Rustic White

Urban Oasis
The expert: Kristin Oja, owner of holistic medical practice STAT Wellness

When Oja, a doctor of nursing practice, isn’t working with patients at her Westside wellness center, she’s on the rooftop deck of her East Atlanta Village townhome. At 700 square feet, the space is part garden, part living area, with evergreen plants, a cozy fireplace, and working kitchen—complete with a grill, refrigerator, and dining table. Here’s how Oja recommends using outdoor spaces to relax and recharge year-round.

Start your morning outside. Hit your patio, garden, or stoop for a moment as a morning ritual. “The sunlight will stimulate cortisol production and give you energy and much-needed Vitamin D,” says Oja. Instead of sipping coffee, swap it for turmeric tea, also known as a golden-milk latte. Caffeine can exacerbate anxiety and stress, while the latter “helps with inflammation and digestion.”

Surround yourself with plants. Green things aren’t only aesthetically pleasing but good for your health, explains Oja. “They help clean the air around you, important in a city like Atlanta with less than stellar air quality.” Her rooftop is home to a cheerful variety of plants, from jasmine to pencil cactus and Oriental spruce.

Eat Well. An outdoor kitchen means lots of grilling—great for the six servings of vegetables a day that Oja recommends. At each farmers market visit, she and her husband choose a new piece of produce to plan a meal around, then spend the evening on the rooftop around the grill. “Cooking and eating outside make it feel like a special occasion,” she says.

Andy ArlottaRecovery Room
The expert: Andy Arlotta, co-owner and president of Georgia Swarm, the professional indoor lacrosse team

To convert the terrace-level bathroom of their Suwanee house into a postworkout home spa, Arlotta and his wife, Brook, turned to Zach Azpeitia, Kari Mears, and Victoria Askin of Pineapple House Interior Design. The designers expanded the bathroom to 250 square feet by knocking out an interior closet and installing a steam room, complete with easy-to-clean Neolith walls, plus two steam units and a soaking tub on a floating, moisture-resistant teak platform. Azpeitia and Arlotta, a health advocate, provide tips for creating spa vibes at home.

Get lit. The Arlottas’ steam room features waterproof, electronic, and remote-controlled candles in a recessed niche behind the tub, and Azpeitia says candles are an “economical” option for creating a relaxing, spa-like atmosphere in any space.

Soak up the heat. Whether it’s a steam room, warm bath, or hot shower, Arlotta recommends postworkout time in hot water to improve joint mobility, flush out inflammation, and “jump-start” muscle recovery.

Add sound. Use music to wind down. Arlotta listens to jazz and classical music via audio transmitters installed by Advanced Media in the glass wall of the shower, making the entire pane a speaker. The noise of water itself is soothing. “The Kohler tub filler sends a solid stream of water from the ceiling to the tub,” says Arlotta. “The sound reminds me of a river.”

This article appears in our Spring 2020 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

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