Resale Therapy

Finders Keepers’ owner Lee Ann Harris shares her journey into women’s consignment and why sustainable shopping is the way to go

LET’S SAY you’re in the market for a designer handbag. Did you know you can expect to pay much less for a gently-used Gucci purse at Finders Keepers, as opposed to buying it new? There are a myriad of wonderful benefits to shopping pre-owned fashion. We all know it cuts down on waste, which is better for our planet, but it can also be more affordable — not to mention vintage is always chic and stylish.

With these benefits in mind, Finders Keepers’ owner Lee Ann Harris shares her foray into the consignment world and her best shopping tips, just in time for fall.

How did you get involved in selling gently used fashion? Crazy story to be honest! I took ownership of the Finders Keeper Consignment stores – three locations at that time and in business 38 years — in July 2020, during Covid. I knew Bonnie, the previous owner, because I always loved shopping at her stores. Bonnie wanted to retire but wanted to handpick the person who took over the ‘three-ring circus,’ as she called it. She came to me because we had been talking in the store one day, and I mentioned I had lost my job –I was a VP with BNY Mellon for 17 years — due to the downsizing of our location in Atlanta.

I gave it some long and serious thought and spent about a year volunteering in the stores, starting in January 2019, to get a feel for them and the job. I decided to make the leap of faith and be out of my comfort zone because I love resale and believe in it.

More than that, it’s the relationships you build with consignors and customers in the community that I love. It’s so rewarding to hear their stories and be a part of their lives: the furniture they buy to place in their homes and the clothing they wear. It feels good to provide our community with places to shop that have become their ‘happy place.’ I love being a part of their lives and bringing them happiness via resale therapy!

Don’t get me wrong; being owner of Finders Keepers has been the greatest challenge of my life — but I don’t regret my decision one bit. It is an honor to be the owner of a small business that has been in our community for 38 years.

Why is sustainable shopping important?

Sustainable shopping is important because, bottom line, it benefits our planet. It helps to solve the fashion waste crisis. New clothing production hurts our planet. Clothes are being discarded as well, so extending the life of your clothes fights this waste by consigning them.

What pieces are most popular or the most coveted?

Casual wear is a big seller for us. However, this year, with consumers opting for experiences after Covid, they are traveling and going out, so we have seen a real increase in women buying dresses. We have a lot of them!

Items most coveted are designer handbags, such as Louis Vuitton, Prada and Gucci. Buying luxury items secondhand for less than buying new and bragging on the deal you got, who doesn’t like that?

If I am a newbie to consignment shopping, what should I pay attention to in making a good selection?

Quality matters with secondhand items, so we carry quality brands that women seek. Pre-owned clothing should be in like-new condition, but it never hurts to look it over for yourself and try it on. Our dressing rooms are always full of women doing just that. Everything in our store is one-of-a-kind, so you have lots of choices.

What is your best tip for sustainable shoppers?

Go often to get the best selection! We get items six days a week, so the store is always receiving and putting out new arrivals on the floor.

2134 N. Decatur Road
Decatur, Georgia 30033

Something Old, Something New

Kudzu Antiques+Modern touts a treasure trove of cherished furnishings

SUSTAINABLE SHOPPING is important because it reduces energy use and pollution, plus lessens our carbon footprint – take it from George Lawes, co-owner of Kudzu Antiques+Modern, one of Atlanta’s most established antique businesses. “It not only saves the landfills, it saves our collective cultural memory of those who have gone before and the things that they cherished in their lives,” says George.“That’s why we repair and restore so many items in our workshop — one of my favorite places in the store. We feel strongly that if you can extend the life of an item and pass it on to future generations, then that’s important.”“When you come into a store like Kudzu, if you’re lucky, you find something unique and wonderful that could end up being in your family for years, perhaps generations, to come. That’s really one of the fun parts of our business: seeing the delight on someone’s face when they make that find. And my favorite thing is helping someone find it!” adds Kate Lawes, co-owner of Kudzu and Lawes’ wife.

The couple stepped in to run the store, originally owned by Kate’s mother, when her health declined more than 43 years ago. The business became a full-time job for the husband-and-wife duo, who left their jobs to pursue “an exciting career as antique store owners.” While raising three children, the Decatur couple went to work on taking the business into the 21st century. They overcame low profits and a leaking roof, eventually transforming Kudzu into the 26,000 squarefoot business it is today.


Now, Kudzu has two locations — Kudzu Antiques+Modern in Decatur, which boasts an eclectic blend of antique and new furnishings, and Kudzu and Company in Sandy Springs, which focuses on new, upscale furnishings. “We have always felt it was important that our store reflect our home — a personal mix of old and new collected over the years. That’s really how most people’s homes are, and Kudzu provides that,” says Kate.The Decatur store is a sprawling market with three distinct sections. One section features unique, hand-selected antiques the Lawes have found during their trips to England, France, Denmark and other locales. “When we go antiquing in Europe, we love the hunt. Hitting the fairs at five in the morning, flashlights in hand, digging through old barns and warehouses, pulling over at roadside brocantes — it’s a lot of work but a lot of fun, and we have met so many interesting people over the years,” George shares.


The second section boasts new furniture, and the third section showcases pieces from some of Atlanta’s best vintage dealers, which are brought in daily. “We always encourage customers to look carefully if it’s an older piece. Pull out the drawers, wiggle the legs, look at the back that often tells you a lot about the age. But remember, it could be 150 years old or more, so don’t expect perfection,” advises George.“In terms of value, a nice antique chest of drawers is going to have a lot more value in 10 or 20 years than an equivalent brand-new piece for the same price,” adds Kate. “In terms of trends, nice, quality antiques are coming back into style. People appreciate their patina and history. Mid-century Scandinavian furniture continues to be strong and appeal to many of our younger shoppers.” “Kudzu is as much an experience as a store. We continually have out-of-town customers say this is one of their first stops when visiting Atlanta. And they leave saying, ‘I wish we had a Kudzu in our town!’ That brings a smile to our faces and makes all the hard work worth while,” George remarks.

2928 E. Ponce de Leon Ave.
Decatur, GA 30030

404-373-6498 •

Celebrate Pride Month

How to create a welcoming home

DECATUR AS A CITY is working to create a climate of nondiscrimination, first passing a city ordinance in 2019, then last year adopting a policy where it won’t do business with vendors who do not have their own nondiscrimination policies.

As the country celebrates Pride Month this June, local families may be looking for ways to align with inclusivity. Dr. Shannon Widlansky, gender expert and master-certified life coach, says there are benefits to both parents and children of making an effort.

“The more welcoming, the more open you are to other ideas, the better relationship you’ll have with your children,” she said. “They’re going to feel they can come to you with their thoughts and ideas, even if they are different than yours. And any part of their identity that might be different than yours, they’re going to feel that they can talk to you about.”

Here are the hallmarks Widlansky suggests for creating a welcoming home.

Consume Representative Media

Take a look at the TV shows you watch or the bookshelves in your home and make sure that some of the stories, characters and authors are different from your family. Buying books alone won’t solve for equity and inclusion, but it’s a great place to have conversations start, Widlansky points out.

For example, the National PTA reports a recent survey of children’s literature shows that stories about white main characters make up
more than 40 percent of protagonists, with animals coming in second at 29 percent. Look for examples that represent diversity and avoid
tokenism and stereotypes, then support those stories with your wallet.

Share the News

Many parents avoid current events to stay away from negativity. Widlansky suggests finding a source for what’s happening and then discussing in age-appropriate ways.

“As you get into middle school and older, they may be hearing these things at school,” Widlansky said. “Bring up the news story then ask ‘has anyone talked about this at school’ or ‘what do you think?’”

Give your opinion in a non-judgmental way, sharing what you believe and why is an education in itself. Widlansky suggests you can also use the phrase “this is what I need to know more about to have an opinion” when unsure.

Celebrate Pride Month

Use Inclusive Language
(Avoid Four Assumptions)

We’ve been socialized to make certain assumptions from a young age. This creates expectations and opportunities for children to assume they are disappointing their parents now and later in life. “I’ve spoken to many people who identify as some part of the LGBTQ-plus community who have talked about the fear of coming out to their parents because of this language that’s used,” she said.

  1. Don’t assume your kids are going to get married. “If and when you decide to have a partner in this life” is a good alternative to “when you grow up and get married” because it doesn’t define whether or if they want a partner.

  2. Don’t assume your kids will have children. “In my experience as an OBGYN, my patients often thought about the expectation of their parents when they faced infertility,” Widlansky said.

  3. Don’t assume sexual orientation. This shows up most often when asking if someone is your child’s “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” or discussing the gender they will marry in the future. Use “love interest” or “person of interest” instead.

  4. Don’t assume gender identity. This applies not just for your child, also other people. “Most people don’t realize gender identity is an internal sense of self, not something you see,” said Widlansky. She is a proponent of avoiding categorizations bybgender such as girls like kittens and boys need to move a lot.

While acknowledging inclusive language no guarantee of open communication, Widlansky adds, “I’ll tell you, it is amazing when you can hear what your kids think independent of you.”

For more information on Widlansky’s work, visit @self_revolutionize_coaching on Facebook or Instagram.

Decatur Square is Nationally Ranked

New and established businesses that built one of the best public squares in the country

THE VOTES OF USA Today’s Reader’s Choice Best Public Square are in, and Georgia’s Decatur ranks third in the country. According to the publication, “Around the world, cities are centered around public squares. These outdoor living rooms continue to play an important role as gathering places and event grounds in cities across the country.”

Decatur beat some famous counterparts including Jackson Square in New Orleans, Village Green in Bar Harbor, Maine, and Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square.


The ranking is no surprise to some of the long-established and new businesses that have chosen to hang their sign and financial future there.

The owners of Little Shop of Stories chose the location about 17 years ago to be in the community they lived in, according to store manager Justin Colussy-Estes. “Little Shop was on the other side of the square, on the ground floor beneath Eddie’s Attic, already a longstanding Decatur landmark, across from the courthouse and next door to city hall. The space was large, and we shared it with an ice cream shop. The hope was that folks doing business at the courthouse might discover the bookstore and pick up a book while waiting for jury duty or the like,” he said.

One of the newcomers, restaurant Boho115, joins the square’s long reputation of being a haven for notable eats. “We have lived within a mile of the square for almost twenty years, often walking there and enjoying all the great restaurants. We love the concerts, festivals and liveliness. We have wanted to open this concept on the Square for some time and when the Square Pub became available it was the perfect space for us. We acquired the space during the pandemic, which was a bit scary, but also knew the third best square in the country was a great place to be and we’re thrilled to be here!” explained restaurateur Humberto Bermudez. “The location was perfect for our beachside concept, and we wanted to honor the original building and maintain its history, while modernizing the space and making it a casual and comfortable place to eat, drink and relax.”

Much of the success of today’s square is the result of the work in the 90s of the late developer Louis Pichulik, known for a love of downtowns, including Decatur’s. The Georgia Cities Foundation awarded Pichulik its 2015 Renaissance Award. He was nominated by Lyn Menne, then Decatur Downtown Devel22 DECATUR LIVING Summer 2022 opment Authority Executive Director, who credited Pichulik’s vision and commitment saying “we couldn’t have done what we’ve done without good downtown property owners” in a video that documented his work.

Menne goes on in the video to recount one of the first projects Pichulik took is the building that now houses The Iberian Pig. During the revitalization, they discovered an original painted sign for Smith’s shoe company that had been covered up. He also envisioned the patio behind Raging Burrito, which was once an unsightly service entrance.

The current film and television industry influence is also having an effect on the businesses that populate the square. “I chose Decatur Square to open my clothing boutique because of its high concentration of great restaurants, seasonal festivals, and community gathering spaces – foot traffic is always incredible,” said Lisa Bobb, owner of Squash Blossom Boutique. “The best surprise about being located on Decatur Square has been the opportunity for my business to be featured in movies and TV shows. There’s always something filming on the square, and it’s great to see my store on the big and small screen.”

Decatur’s reputation as a collaborative and congenial residential community translates to its business community as well. Colussy-Estes cites cross-promotional partnerships Little Shop has experienced over the years, for instance giving coupons for treats from local businesses as part of its summer reading program or having storytime at the farmer’s market. “The most rewarding part of being a small business in downtown Decatur is the community of business neighbors we have.”

That community, led by city leaders, is one of the things that helped the square during the pandemic. “The businesses came together with the city to hold an outdoor market over the holidays to help us get through the hardest moments of the early to mid pandemic,” explained Colussy-Estes. “We really do feel like a small town, even though we’re right next to downtown Atlanta. I often see our city leaders in the store, or at a local restaurant, and we all work together to keep that charm and make sure everyone feels welcome, whether they’re visiting for the day or looking to move to town.”



Some of the hot spots on the square include:

Boho115 / 115 Sycamore St.
The best of Spain, Argentina and Mexico come together in this newer addition to the square. Boho115 offers a taste of the breezy, coastal flavors with a raw bar, global seafood dishes and flavorful ceviches and sashimis. Steak lovers can choose from the surf tuna or the turf Argentinian steak. Sourcing quality ingredients, including Espinaler Conservas from Barcelona and empanadas from Belene de la Cruz, is a hallmark of the menu. And the coastal cocktails, draft margaritas, and an extensive selection of tequilas, mezcals, wine and local craft beer are ready to quench the adult thirst. The space has been reimagined since its Square Pub days with a first floor dining room and bar, a second floor loft lounge and a third floor window bar overlooking the square, all in light and easy décor that may be coining a new phrase inland-seaside chic.


The Deer and the Dove / 155 Sycamore St.
Seasons come alive at The Deer and the Dove, a restaurant that offers the best of fine dining with a neighborhood vibe. Chefs Terry Koval and Chef de Cuisine Matt Crutchfield create a delicious menu that reads like a friend’s list, citing the farms and friends that contribute the hyper local, organic ingredients that contribute to dishes such as the Bramlett Farms Whole Trout or the Bear Creek Farms Ribeye to the draft beer and charcuterie program. An extensive wine list and clever cocktails ensure the drinks don’t disappoint. The wood-fired grill gets an early start with hand-rolled, bagels made fresh daily and ready for shmear offered at the B-side. Start off the day with your favorite coffee with house-made syrup flavorings or Rishi teas and one of the varying house-made pastries.

Little Shop of Stories / 133A E. Court Sq.
Now a staple on the square, this shop of “books and more for kids and the grownups they become” opened nearly 17 years ago after an email from one of its owners shared her dream with friends and asked for help. Outlasting the internet advances that have put many brick-and-mortar bookstores out of business, it’s hard to imagine Decatur without Little Shop with its twice weekly storytimes and summer camps. The shop offers several varieties of book clubs and social events including a unicorn party and author events. Little Shop of Stories is one of the partners of an upcoming ticketed event featuring Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, author of “Antiracist Baby.” The event is for all ages, and Kendi will discuss his work and share his new picture book “Goodnight Racism” on June 18.

Squash Blossom Boutique / 113 E. Court Sq.
With a vision to outfit the woman not willing to sacrifice a unique look in the pursuit of easy to wear, Squash Blossom Boutique offers beautiful apparel, accessories and shoes. From statement pieces to staples, shop a curated selection from major brands such as Free People, Johnny Was, Flax and Fly London as well as artsy finds from independent and local designers. The boutique offers a great selection of stand-out gifts at many price points, as well as modern unisex and masculine accessories. Squash Blossom is open on the square seven days a week, and recently opened another location in the Grant Park neighborhood of Atlanta. If you can’t get there in person, the shop is open online at

Wild Oats & Billy Goats / 112 E. Ponce de Leon Ave.
On the square since 2010, Wild Oats & Billy Goats is a whimsical and colorful art gallery and artisan boutique. Among the fares are paintings, pottery and sculpture as well as fabric, metal, wood, and paper art created by dozens of local and regional artists. Other handcrafted treasures include bath and body products, jewelry and stationery. Whether it’s wearable art, functional décor or a statement conversation starter, the shop is a destination place for square-goers in need of a gift or something special.


Not Your Grandma’s Anti-Aging Treatment

A nurse’s guide to medical spa options on trend in 2022

IN AN AGE OF RAPID ADVANCEMENT in medical treatments, it’s easy to turn to crowd-sourcing to stay in the know. That’s why we took a deeper dive with a nurse anesthetist practicing at a local medical spa, where anti-aging and skin-improvement treatments are offered in a spa-like setting (think non-surgical body contouring, scar revision, wrinkle reduction, skin tightening). We spoke to Lauren Runnels who practices at Decatur’s AYA Medical Spa about the treatment options available and their expected results.

What treatment do you recommend to those who simply want to look fresh by improving the texture of their face and getting rid of fine lines?
Microneedling is such a great treatment for this. It increases collagen and elastin production which strengthens the skin and improves tone and texture. There is very little downtime, and it’s generally safe and effective for everyone.

What are the popular treatments/services that many are interested in right now?
People will always love their neuromodulators, such as Botox. It’s a pretty quick and convenient way of looking more refreshed with very little pain or downtime. Not only is it effective at softening facial wrinkles, but neuromodulators can also treat excessive sweating, migraines, TMJ pain and acne. It’s such an easy treatment and appropriate for pretty much everyone.

What is your advice for those who are looking into getting facial fillers for the first time?
Please do not think all fillers will make you look “filled.” The goal is to restore volume loss and enhance the natural structure of the face. Strategically placed filler can accomplish these things while being undetectable.

As a professional, what treatments do you swear by and/or use yourself?
I get my quarterly Botox, and I have loved the results I got after just one MOXI laser treatment. MOXI is a laser that reverses natural signs of sun damage and aging, corrects uneven pigmentation and improves the overall texture and tone of skin in under 30 minutes.

Which services are you most excited about?
I love PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma). Platelets are full of growth factors that can stimulate tissue regeneration and wound healing and increase cell turnover. We get these platelets from your own blood and then inject it. It’s an amazing treatment for dark circles under the eyes and hair loss. It can also be paired with micro needling to enhance the results.

What should people look for in a medi-spa provider?
One of the things I love about AYA is that there is an injector and an esthetician in house together. Use us both. We offer complimentary consultations and a lot of our treatments work synergistically and can take your results to the next level.

Lauren Lauren Runnels, CRNA, is a nurse anesthetist who spent years in the operating room administering anesthesia to adults. She began her nursing career in 2006 and obtained a Master’s of Nursing at Louisiana State University. She is now a provider at Decatur AYA. For more information, go to

Plant Parenthood

Keep your plant and your wellness thriving with advice from Lush Plant Co.’s Andrea Kidd

THE RESURGENCE OF THE popular houseplant makes sense. Plants offer a way to bring the beauty of a walk inside at a glance. But their benefits go beyond appearance and air quality. Studies have shown that being around plants increases creativity, improves mood, speeds up your recovery when you’re ill and can even sharpen your attention. We asked Andrea Kidd, co-founder of Lush Plant Co. to tell us the whys and hows of incorporating them into our spaces.

You mention on your website that plants have both physical and mental health benefits. Can you tell me about a few?
Humans have an inherent need to be connected to nature. It is estimated that humans spend an average of 90% of their time indoors, and houseplants are a great way to fulfill a connection with nature in our modern-day world. Not only do plants purify the air we breathe, but they are also proven to lower stress and anxiety. Caring for plants can be an extremely calming activity and watching a plant grow and thrive under your care can be an exciting, confidence-boosting experience.

What healthful plants do you keep in your home?
I keep plants in almost every room of my house. Unfortunately, I don’t get the best light inside my house, but I have been able to identify which varieties would thrive in the light that I do get. I have one window bright enough for succulents and cacti, and the rest
= of my house is filled with varieties that do not need as much (if any) direct light, including hoyas, pothos, philodendrons, monsteras,
ficus, sansavieria, dracaena, aglaonema, pilea, peperomia, zz plants, palms, carnivorous plants – the list goes on.

Do you have a favorite plant food? I recently heard about combining coffee grounds with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and carbonated water.
We love using Good Dirt plant food in the shop. We have noticed a positive result by using it on all varieties we carry in the shop. Coffee grounds are a popular way to fertilize plants and are high in nitrogen, though I admit, I have not heard of using cinnamon and carbonated water with coffee grounds. The Good Dirt plant food we sell in the shop has a 10-4-3 nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium ratio, and one small bottle of concentrate makes 60 gallons of plant food, so it will last you a long time.

What’s your best piece of plant advice?
Place a plant where it will thrive. Do your research or ask for advice from an expert. You may really want a plant on a certain
shelf or table or corner… rely on a houseplant expert to recommend which plant(s) will thrive in that particular spot. So many times we hear about people buying that fiddle leaf fig they have always wanted and placing it in too low of light. It may look gorgeous in that spot on the day you bring it home, but it will slowly die due to lack of light. Placement in relation to light is extremely important.

What sets Lush Plant Co. apart from other plant shops?
We often hear from our customers how positive our environment is, and how welcome they always feel in our shop. Our team is made up of houseplant enthusiasts who all come from careers that have nothing to do with plants. Our entire team has found their way into houseplants as a happy respite from the mundane monotony of life…as a happy distraction from a world that feels uncertain at times. Our customers feel welcome with us because we are our customers. We even share the struggle of constraint when it comes to plant shopping – many of our team have a hard time working a shift without leaving with a new plant baby.

You offer houseplant consultations, tell us about that.
We offer both virtual and in-person houseplant consultations, though our virtual consultations meet the needs of most of our customers. The advice we offer in our consultations ranges from tips to improve the health of an existing plant collection to recommendations for people who are looking to start a collection. We will evaluate the lighting and unique configurations of a space to advise on which plants will thrive there.

What is one plant that every person should own? Why?
This is a tough one because I find myself saying “everyone should have at least one of these” about many varieties we carry in the shop. But if I had to choose one, I would say the monstera deliciosa. This quintessential tropical plant checks most of the boxes for most customers, satisfying the craving for a tropical plant with large leaves that is fairly low maintenance. It literally never gets old watching a monstera deliciosa unfurl a new leaf.

For more information visit


Where We Work Out

A no-excuses guide to find the right local gym or studio for you

AS SUMMER APPROACHES so do the ads for fitness challenges, bikini body workouts and summer shape ups. By now, the 92% of New Year’s resolutions that won’t be kept this year are already a distant memory.

There’s a growing trend that says it’s this quick-fix approach to fitness, not the people making the resolutions, that could be to blame. Fitness and exercise are typically presented in a have-to, prescription style rather than a relationship with movement or connection to the body or “just for fun.”

According to Decatur’s Clarity Fitness owner, Abbey Griffith, the promise of a quick fix doesn’t work and often results in guilt and shame with “with a laundry list of things you’re not doing well enough.”

It makes sense that with that framework, 26% of Americans don’t participate in leisure time physical activity at all, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics.

Griffith opened Clarity Fitness, Georgia’s first body positive gym as part of recovery from an eating disorder. “Body positivity is the lifeblood of what we’re about,” she said. “We live in a climate where we’re told our body is the problem. But the world needs to accommodate to make spaces available for every body.”

The high-end gym offers group classes and personal training through an approach where movement comes from love of the body and desire to care for it rather than obligation and desire to change it.

The common belief that if you love your body, you won’t be motivated to work out “is case in point of toxic fitness,” she said. “Movement is great for mental health, sleep, life…. We’re creating a partnership or team with your body and a healthy relationship with movement.”

Specialty gyms, like Griffith’s, that offer alternative forms of movement, goal setting and supportive communities are having a larger presence locally and nationwide. Decatur has an array of options, most of which have free or reduced trial periods or consultations. And for those who truly can’t decide or don’t want to commit, there’s the classpass app, where credits to participating studios, gyms, salons and spas can be purchased without committing to a term.

We’ve put together the most comprehensive list of Decatur movement offerings, no more excuses.

Atlanta Barbell
185 Sams St., #B
Strength training is the focus of this facility, known as a “black iron gym” (meaning primarily using free weights). Self-described as a small gym where social interactions are the norm. Membership includes open access to the equipment seven days a week, with one free coaching session. Day passes are also available. Check out Atlanta Women’s Barbell Club, which brings groups of women together a few times each week to participate in an individualized barbell strength program.

Body and Brain
308 W. Ponce de Leon Ave., #F2

The studio combines several Eastern practices including yoga, breathwork, meditation and martial arts to enhance physical, mental and spiritual health. Participants begin with a oneon-one introductory session where a rained instructors checks their current energy (Qi or Ki) condition and recommends a practice. Yoga includes signature breathing postures designed to accumulate energy and strengthen core. The tai chi and qigong classes incorporate a form of healing martial arts known as DahnMuDo, which means “the art of being limitless.”

Burn Boot Camp
2659 E. College Ave.

Never the same workout twice, the camps (45 minute sessions) are designed within a weekly protocol that includes a combination of strength and high intensity interval training (HIIT) followed with a specific finisher. Each class is led by a certified coach to offer the benefits of personal training in a group setting. The gym boasts a signature “floating floor” that protects joints and prevents injuries. Find the gym outfitted with equipment chosen with intention including free weights, hurdles, kettlebells, jump ropes, resistance bands, battle ropes and a pull-up rig.

Clarity Fitness
One W. Court Sq., #100

Doors at this high-end gym open to a smashed-scale wall and scale-free, diet-free, BMI-free space designed to help clients find their version of joyful movement. Find personal training or a group class. Trainers are eating disorder-informed and maintain a Health at Every Size atmosphere. The studio includes a gym with state-of-the-art equipment and group exercise spaces plus high-end athletic turf and a rope wall.

630 E. Lake Dr.

The gym offers training to improve strength, conditioning and mobility in a sustainable and supportive environment. With an emphasis on community and coaches, the facility promises the team spirit, camaraderie and thrill of sports. Group and private training classes are available for adults, including a low-impact class. There is an extensive youth department with soccer and speed training as well as birthday parties and summer camp.


Fleet Feet
431 W. Ponce de Leon Ave., #1

Not only will this shop set you up with the perfect fit for your foot, it hosts running and walking groups weekly on Wednesdays. Find the right match for your ambition level.


FORM {yoga}
533 W. Howard Ave., #C2

Find a community-centered yoga studio with accessible classes and plenty of playfulness, where inspiration and body positivity are at the heart of instruction. Or learn to teach yoga with a light-hearted, inspirational approach. Teachers guide in a safe, supportive and non-competitive atmosphere. The comprehensive COVID adaptation includes fully masked and mask-optional classes for vaccinated students.

Orangetheory Fitness
319 W. Ponce de Leon Ave.

This total-body group workout combines science, coaching and technology to charge your metabolism and build confidence. During the heart-rate based HIIT workout, a coach guides participants through five different heart rate zones from resting to all out with instruction for when to push harder and when to pull back for recovery. The goal is to spend 12 minutes or more in the elevated “orange zone.” The workout includes rowing, cardio and strength training.

Smugs Fitness
1971 College Ave.

Customized programs for individuals, couples or small groups are the hallmark of this gym, with two locations in historic Kirkwood. Smugs takes a big picture approach to wellness by assessing four key aspects of a healthy and active life – movement, nutrition, sleep quality and stress management. The focus is on building resilience, and the goal is longevity.

Unit2 Fitness
185 Sams St. #A

Owned and led by Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt, Jeff Boudreaux, Unit 2 Fitness offers martial arts programs to improve fitness, discipline and confidence. With an early focus on competitive fighting, the gym has expanded to become a family-friendly environment catered to people who want to “get in shape by doing something fun, and sparking their mind as well as their body” in a positive community environment. The facility offers programs for all fitness levels in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, kickboxing and Muay Thai (the primary striking art used in most mixed martial arts competitions). Find programs for every age including children, teens and summer camp options.

Trainer Tips

Take your home strength-building program from average to effective

MOST PEOPLE have heard about the benefits of strength-training such as stronger bones, improved body composition and increased energy levels. However, many people are intimidated by the idea of coming up with their own workouts. P.E. class favorites like squats and presses are a great start, however, there are other movements that help round out and complete a workout program. The four tips below will take an average routine to a truly effective strength training program.

  1. Build your backside.
    Everyone would like a more shapely derriere to fill out their jeans, but there are other reasons to train the muscles in this area. Glutes are major stabilizers and play a big role in preventing injuries of the lower back, hips, knees and even ankles. Strong glutes are also necessary for athletic performance related to running and jumping. Simple glute strengthening options include glute bridges and hip thrusts, both of which may be performed without any equipment.

  2. Move in different directions.
    If you look at the way our bodies are moving when exercising, we’re typically very focused on front to back and up and down patterns. Many people forget to move side to side. Lateral movement is extremely important. It increases overall stability, strengthens small stabilizing muscles and improves balance. So, if you’d like to protect your knees while playing tennis, add some lateral exercises to your routine. Simple options include lateral lunges, lateral box step-ups and lateral jumps.

  3. Lie down and get up.
    Movements like Turkish get-ups may look complicated, however, getting up and down on the floor is a basic life skill. Replicating the normal up and down movements of daily life with the added weight helps build a foundation of strength that is often lost in later life. Practice now and don’t lose the ability later.

  4. Pick up something and carry it.
    Another important activity of daily living is carrying heavy objects. In the gym, we may practice this skill by carrying one weight, two equal weights, or even two different weights. We may place the weights at our sides, in front of our shoulders, or even overhead. One of the biggest benefits of carrying is strengthening the core, which is essential for pain-free living. Another benefit is increased grip strength. Grip strength is incredibly important as we age.

Ask for help. Good trainers are good teachers. Most are happy to spend a few sessions teaching clients how to work out at home with simple pieces of equipment. Speak to a professional, clearly explain your goal of safe and effective at-home training and provide a photo of your home equipment. With minimal investment, you can build the skills and knowledge needed to safely train on your own for years to come.

Kary Kory Nichols is the General Manager of Smugs Fitness in Kirkwood. She was voted Best Personal Trainer in Atlanta by Creative Loafing and is currently focused on helping professional women fit exercise into their busy lives through custom virtual training. Connect with Kory at

The Reinvention of Corey Calliet

How a love of fitness is taking him from celebrity personal trainer to actor and action hero

FOR MORE THAN ten years, Corey Calliet has been transforming the bodies of Hollywood movie stars, including friend and People Magazine’s 2020 Sexiest Man Alive, Michael B. Jordan, and the casts of major motion pictures including “Black Panther,” “Creed (I, II and III)” and “Star Wars Episode VIII- The Last Jedi.” As one of the personal trainers on E!’s reality TV show “Revenge Body with Khloé Kardashian,” Calliet showed viewers not only how to attain incredible fitness results, but also what he is made of –steel and heart. Anyone can train a person while the cameras are rolling, but it was Calliet’s ability to connect with others that truly set him apart.

One of my superpowers is the power of connectivity, I can make people connect to me,” Calliet explains during our interview in an Atlanta coffee shop. The fitness guru is dressed in black from head to toe –a hooded sweatshirt, sweatpants, beanie and sneakers.

“I have struggled with everything that people have struggled with in their life. If I haven’t, I can understand them, and that builds trust. And when people trust you, they listen to you. Once they listen to you, they get results. When they [E!] saw that, and when they saw the response I received on television, they said, ‘Wow, we have something here,’” says the former competitive bodybuilder.

“Revenge Body” gave Calliet his first taste of what it’s like to be in the spotlight. Going out became a different experience – people would come up to him and wanted photos with him. Being a celebrity personal trainer (a person who trains celebrities) took on a new meaning for him. Now, it meant Calliet was the celebrity in his own right. “I’m the trainer that trainers start training [to be like]. They like the big name. They like the following [he has more than 450,000 followers on Instagram]. I’m that, but also, outside of that, I’m a human being that understands what it takes to be this.”

This type of attention was unusual for a personal trainer to receive, which is why Calliet knew he had to take advantage of the opportunity. E! and different companies tried to build TV shows around him, but they didn’t work out. “You know when you’re overqualified for a job, and nobody knows what to do with you? We ran into that.” So, the self-proclaimed chameleon took matters into his own hands and dove into producing and acting. “I have so many different ideas and so many things that run through my head, and I can do so much. Now, I’m starting to do it for myself.”

The New Orleans native has been living in Atlanta since October 2021 training Michael B. Jordan and Jonathan Majors for the highly-anticipated film, “Creed III,” as well as pursuing acting opportunities. “I’m not training any other celebrities -I’m kind of over that. I saw life being bigger than that. It was easy for me to become who I am,” he says about being a personal trainer. “I don’t like easy…. I need to keep reaching. Fitness will always be there – I need it, I love it, I breathe it. When I leave here, I’m going straight to the gym. It’s like my battery, it keeps me going, but I know I want to use it for other facets in my life.”

Calliet is ready to show off his physical abilities onscreen and is excited about action acting. Named one of the 50 Most Fit Men in the World by AskMen Magazine, he certainly has the physique and skills to be America’s next action hero. “There’s no other big African American guys. Mike [Jordan] is the standard. There’s room to grow, and I have all the tools for it. You need fitness to make action acting. Who else better to tell a story than a person who creates superheroes and superstars?” asks Calliet with a smile.

It wasn’t until Calliet was 18 that he became interested in fitness. He was motivated by wanting to “look good,” and as soon as he started seeing results, he fell in love with it. “You want to be able to take your clothes off in the mirror and be like, ‘I look good!’” His fitness resolution this year is to look the best he has ever looked in his life. That’s not to say that it’s all working out and no cheat days for him. While Calliet does meal prep every day, he’s not afraid to eat a donut when he wants one. “I believe in living real and having real-life goals. I know I’m going to snack on this, snack on that. Honestly, I don’t know a person that lives by that. I know a lot of people that joke and lie about it.”

Whether it’s in the gym or on a movie/ TV set, Calliet is giving his all. Recently, Calliet produced the film “ATOPHRN” while in quarantine as well as the short film “A Good Time” which he also acted in. “You’ll see me in ‘Creed III’ because he’s [Jordan] directing. I’ll get in wherever I get in at. He’s directing, he’s acting, he’s doing it all, which is very hard.” Calliet previously appeared in “Creed II” as Jordan’s character’s Corner Man. “I was carrying the belt around, kind of like what it is in real life, I am on his back, behind him all the time.” He flashes a grin.

Once filming wraps up, Calliet will be splitting his time between Los Angeles and Atlanta, the Hollywood of the South. He has a few projects on the horizon: He is working on a feature film and is looking forward to getting more acting roles under his belt.

“I still don’t call myself an actor, I feel like I’ve got to earn that. I’m just in it. All my friends are superstar actors -Michael B. Jordan, Jonathan Majors, John Boyegaso it’s kind of hard to have conversations with these people who have been actors for years. They know me one way [as their trainer], but then they’re like, ‘Corey, you can do this!’”

As he’s talking, Calliet goes from past trainer to present. “Before I can start talking about it a lot, let me do some more work, let me prove myself more before I say I’m this or that. But I am an actor.”



I’m not always so serious. The TV show did that. They saw me on there being serious, motivating. I’m talking tough, my eyes kind of stare at you. ‘Oh, you’re so mean.’ I’m not mean. I’m actually a teddy bear. I’m actually funny. I like to have fun. This next film I’m about to do is a rom-com, it shows a different side of me. When you see fitness people, you think they’re the most serious people in the world. Most of the time we’re not, but when you’re training, we gotta be serious because you don’t joke with 100 pounds over your head.