A Haute Cookie in Historic Grant Park

There are two things I simply adore and seek out when it comes to places we have lived over the years: a community that is restoring and rebuilding, and a great local food scene.

The latter is my favorite.

The Grant Park area of Atlanta (named for the city’s oldest park) is a community that has worked hard to revitalize itself after years of neglect. I remember as a little girl this wasn’t a place we visited at all, but oh how times have changed!

The Beacon at Grant Park / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Yesterday I had the opportunity to venture out to the Grant Park neighborhood to check out a delicious “new venture”, A Haute Cookie — A Luxury Cookie Boutique, as it celebrated its grand opening.

A Haute Cookie / oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Old neighborhood full of Victorian architecture

+ local food

= the perfect afternoon out!

A Haute Cookie Luxury Cookie Boutique / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

I say A Haute Cookie is “new”, but in reality it’s the continuation of a journey from owner Shiana White who has combined her love of fashion and homemade cookies to create a beautiful business! The idea for this grand venture began in her kitchen while having milk and cookies with her kids after a horrible breakup.

Sometimes kids inspire us with the best ideas!

From her kitchen to food truck where Shiana baked cookies and prepared ice cream sandwiches onboard, the opening of A Haute Cookie as a brick and mortar shop at the Beacon in Grant Park is the culmination of a dream come true.

Shiana White - A Haute Cookie / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

A Haute Cookie Preview / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

So what did I try?

More than I should have (thank goodness for a gym sesh with my trainer shortly after), but I had no regrets.

Red Velvet Oreo- Strawberry-Chocolate Chunk / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

The first bite of cookie I tasted was the strawberry cookie. It was moist, flavorful and gone so fast that I had to get a second opinion!

Y’all strawberries were harmed in the making of this cookie and it was so good.

Strawberry Cookie - a Haute Cookie / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

A Haute Cookie Display

So were the chocolate chunk, red velvet Oreo, simple sugar, toffee and peanut butter cookies.

Ice Cream Sandwich - A Haute Cookie / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

As if I wasn’t on a sugar high, I indulged in an ice cream sandwich with rich vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two of Shiana’s chocolate chunk cookies.

A Haute Cookie treats / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

I washed it down with a cookie milkshake.

Shiana utilizes the freshest quality and organic ingredients to make her creations in-house. Besides cookies you can taste frozen treats, brownie pie, and edible cookie dough in an assortment of flavors, including the delicious white chocolate, cranberry, with orange zest dough.

Edible Cookie Dough / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

A Haute Cookie also offers vegan and gluten-free varieties as well.

You can also have A Haute Cookie host your birthday party, a girl’s night out and classes in their private kitchen. Each participant leaves class with a box of cookies and a spatula.

Shiana plans to continue running her food truck for festivals, parties and weddings, but head out to her new shop and show some love!

You can find A Haute Cookie at

The Beacon Atlanta; 1039 Grant Street, Suite B17.

Parking is free.

A Haute Cookie

Beloved Benefit

Last night I had the privilege of attending the 1st (hopefully to become annual) Beloved Benefit; a fundraiser to help restore Atlanta’s Westside communities.

This was such a great evening that brought together around 2000 Atlantans to help bring awareness and support for nonprofit organizations like Westside Works, the Grove Park foundation, Westside Future Fund, City of Refuge and At-Promise Youth Center. Sponsored by the Chick Fil A Foundation and AMB Group, LLC (Arther Blank of Home Depot), 100% of proceeds going to these nonprofits working to revitalize historic Westside neighborhoods.

This is not meant to be a political event (y’all, politics destroys communities), but an event that unites communities to preserve, engage and save another community; one that is our neighbor.

Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Beloved Community” mentioned in his speeches and writings, this unique evening brought together both celebrities and Atlanta neighbors to unite around the historic Westside community; a community dying in poverty.  As members of any community we should all remember that when “one person suffers, we all suffer.”

It’s up to us to make a change and help our neighbors.

The evening was hosted by comedian Steve Harvey and featured speakers included Rev. Bernice King (the daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr) and Justin E Giboney leaving us with inspired and informative messages (that brought tears) encouraging us to take action for our neighboring communities.  Jeff Foxworthy, rapper, TI and Ceelo Green, and mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms were just a few notable people who introduced each of the nonprofits.

Entertainment that reflected Atlanta and the Westside community was provided by the staff and children of the Atlanta Music Project, including a spine-tingling version of Stand By Me with Casey J and Crystal Nicole.  A group of dance students from a Westside studio also performed a fantastic interpretive dance routine for us.  The evening was capped off by a performance from Bruno Mars that had the Mercedes Benz Stadium rocking!

Check out these images from the evening and see how you can help with the Beloved Benefit effort by clicking here.  If you aren’t in Atlanta, make an effort to check out similar efforts in your own communities.  Quit thinking the government is going to save our country; let’s go out, help unite our communities and save ourselves!

Bruno Mars taking the stage

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Wellness Wednesday: InTown Salt Room

While I no longer train clients or write much about it, I still train myself and keep up with health and wellness trends as I continue to strive to be healthy for myself and my family. Over the last couple of years I’ve really learned becoming healthy is very much a mind game as much as it is a physical game. In order to be truly healthy we must maintain a good relationship and balance between our minds, bodies, and spiritual lives. I have loved dabbling and studying homeopathic ways of healing the mind and body, and have been fascinated by certain methods from cryotherapy to essential oils for a while now.

If you read any health publication you’re likely to find an article referencing the benefits of pink Himalayan salt. It doesn’t matter if you have added it to your diet or added a salt lamp to your home, so many people I know have tested the waters using this useful organic mineral and are discovering a few of its benefits.

Last week I was invited to visit the InTown Salt Room located in the historic Grant Park neighborhood of Atlanta. While you can sometimes find a Salt Room experience in a spa setting, the owner of InTown Salt Room, Carrie Wright, is proud to have the only space fully dedicated to salt therapy in Atlanta.

Salt Bricks made from salt mined from the Himalayan Mountains

Intown Salt Room, is a technological and modern 1,000 square foot space with 6,000 pounds of Himalayan salt incorporated in the decor. It’s a serene setting from the moment you walk in, and you carry that serenity while feeling at peace when you walk out!

The salt covering the walls, floors, and through the building was mined from the salt caves of the Himalayan mountains and imported.

Intown Salt Room offers two unique salt room experiences, a Breathing Room and Meditation Room. Each breathing and meditation session is 30 minutes, where you simply sit in a zero gravity chair, relax to calming music and breathe.

The “breathe room” is a private getaway of Himalayan salt,” infused with the purest of salt air. Breathing in a dry salt room, known as dry salt therapy, can cleanse your airways and allow you to take in more oxygen for a deeper breath. In addition to respiratory benefits, dry salt can have a positive effect on skin and be naturally calming to help relieve stress, anxiety and fatigue.”

The treatment, known as dry salt therapy (or halotherapy), dates back hundreds of years to Eastern Europe (where it was noticed the miners of salt had less respiratory issues than others in the same communities), and is purported to offer a variety of health benefits. These include relief from respiratory ailments such as asthma, allergies, bronchitis, colds, ear infections and sinusitis, as well as skin conditions like acne, eczema, psoriasis, rashes and rosacea, as well as aiding in inflammation according to the Salt Therapy Association.

The “Meditation room” combines Himalayan salt with sound therapy to help you relax. “Slip on a pair of headphones and sink into one of their zero gravity Wave Loungers built with Acoustic Resonance Technology™, for a whole body sensory experience. This mind and body meditation encourages you to be present and calm, leaving you rested and rejuvenated.”

Completely rested and rejuvenated was exactly how I felt as I left the meditation room.  Honestly I felt like I didn’t have a single care in the world.

I really want a wall of salt bricks in my bedroom now.

While you can certainly do a salt room on your own, visiting with a friend is a great way to relax and enjoy this spa-like and unique experience! I invited Tammie ( Talking with Tami ) to accompany me. As relaxed as we were when we left the salt room, lunch out seemed to be even more laid back and enjoyable. We were both so relaxed!

I found myself completely absorbed in both salt room experiences, and I think I could definitely become a believer in the idea of salt therapy. This experience is definitely something I am open to doing again, and often.

Check out a salt room experience near you and let me know what you think?

Late Summer at Pollo Tropical

It seems more and more families are looking for healthier options when dinning out while traveling or after a late day of sports. I know when we chose to dine out I really research healthier options because that is super important to my own family!

Fortunately we live in an area where several healthier options are available, including the inconspicuous Pollo Tropical; an upscale fast food option.

Last week I was invited to try a few new menu options as well as taste some of their original eats from this unique brand.

What makes Pollo Tropical different from other fast food restaurants?

** How about no freezers in the restaurant?! Everything is brought in fresh; prepped and prepared fresh in house daily.

**Pollo Tropical serves chicken that is natural; in other words, no hormones or antibiotics have been injected into their chicken as it was raised.

**The chicken is marinated in their special citrus marinade overnight and grilled fresh (never frozen) & right where you can watch.

** Recipes are traditional made with fresh ingredients daily, including the sauces on the sauce bar.

**Pollo Tropical prides itself in not using trans fats in their foods, and because everything is prepared fresh in-house there are a lot less unnatural preservatives in your food!

While known for their citrus marinated grilled chicken, Pollo Tropical has added Pollo Bites; fresh marinated chicken, dipped and battered in-house then fried in canola oil. These for perfect for those kiddos that love their chicken nuggets!

Also new to the menu are a couple of different chicken sandwiches. The chicken BLT with spicy chipotle ranch is so delicious!

For lighter fare, the bacon-shrimp salad served with dressing hits the spot. The shrimp is also marinated in the citrus marinade and then boiled.

The pulled pork sandwich with guava bbq sauce is such a treat. And I learned that in the Miami area this sandwich is served with a Cuban bbq sauce.

Originally founded in 1988 the Pollo Tropical chain has grown to 140 restaurants throughout Florida and up into the metro Atlanta area. This makes it really convenient for my southeastern friends when they hit the road for vacation!!

Check it out!