Celebrating 27 with High Tea at Zen Tea Chamblee

30th August 2015

First, I turned 27 last week.

Second, I found 27 to be the magic age where birthdays stop becoming so exciting that you feel the need to tell the entire world for a week straight. Ugh.

Third, if you know my husband whatsoever you are probably aware that he likes to pretend he’s an all around boy with no link to emotion whatsoever. And he doesn’t like to admit birthdays might be a cause for celebration. In fact, you might believe he doesn’t even like them.

Lies. All lies.

Don’t let that guy fool you, he has plenty of warm fuzzies hidden away and has this habit of saving them for the best moments. So when he surprised me with a perfectly girly tea party for my birthday, I could not have been more thrilled.

Celebrating birthday-eve with the husband and pup

Celebrating birthday-eve with the husband and pup

I have been asking, and reminding myself (and P), to stop by Zen Tea in Chamblee for months. I gush over pretty little tea pots and never miss my daily cup of English Breakfast, but had yet to make it over to the tea store that is less than a five minute drive from our house.

Earlier this summer, while grabbing breakfast at the Brookhaven Farmer’s Market, P and I stopped by the Zen Tea tent. Me for a cup of white jasmine, he for some intel. I must have missed his chatting with the employee from Zen Tea, but he learned about their high tea offering and put plans in motion.

Sunday morning, when I asked what to make for breakfast, he mentioned having a spot in mind he wanted to try instead. When we arrived, I was giddy to see it was the same little tea shop I had been eying. I was then surprised to find not only were we grabbing delicious drinks, he had also invited my mom, sister, his parents and my best girlfriends for a high tea celebration.


Zen has a great little back room where we enjoyed a private three course brunch. The event began with a tea selection (every gets their own pot) served with scones, followed by a selection of finger sandwiches and final course of a second tea selection paired with a myriad of deserts. It was a fantastic way to work around their extensive menu (they have 160 teas to choose from) and take a much needed break from planning a large birthday dinner party.


If you’re not up for the entire high tea selection, Zen Tea offers loose tea for sale and has a great selection of little pastries, we’ll be back to try both. Located right in the heart of old downtown Chamblee, this little shop just off of Peachtree Road is a gem.

In addition to Zen Tea, old Chamblee has a string of antique stores, the impossible to pass up ice cream at the Frosty Caboose (ice cream out of a train car is NOT just for those under the age of five, for the record) and a number of other great eateries, all tucked into a mile or so.

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I’m glad to know that even though I may have crossed the “birthdays don’t seem so exciting” bridge, I have someone by my side who’s willing to fight for them, at least for two more years. As my mother reminded us time and time again as children, women don’t age past 29 anyway.

KOP Yoga

Exploring the Atlanta BeltLine

25th August 2015

Every August in Atlanta, without fail, we are granted one week where mother nature decides she’ll pretend fall isn’t two months away, giving us a heavenly taste of cool mornings, crisp breezes and an excuse to wear white jeans with boots before it becomes socially unacceptable. Then it’s back to ninety degree, ninety percent humidity days until October.

That week happens to be this week. 🙌

Dragon Army Deck

The view from our Dragon Army deck

I’m soaking up every second between working from our Dragon Army deck that overlooks Piedmont Park (we are spoiled over here) and getting over to the Atlanta BeltLine for evening classes and runs without suffering from heat exhaustion.

If you haven’t heard of the Atlanta BeltLine, you might be living under a sad, less colorful, sun deprived rock somewhere. Seriously, take a break and head there now. The murals alone are worth your Instagram feed.

Sunset from the Eastside trail // A look from the golf course along the Northside trail

Sunset from the Eastside trail // A look from the golf course along the Northside trail

With the near weekly new additions at Ponce City Market and a new restaurant or apartment popping up just as frequently, it’s nearly impossible to miss the buzz around one of Atlanta’s best urban development projects.

Aside from all of the eating (of which I could write a dozen posts), the Atlanta BeltLine is also home to some of the best workouts in the city.

Situated next door to each other and just before the Ponce de Leon Avenue bridge, both Urban Body Studios and The Training Room ATL offer a myriad of classes from yoga, to pilates, TRX and even CrossFit style circuit training.

If running the trail isn’t your thing, but you’re still looking for a cardio fill, check out Urban Body Studio’s Urban Explosion or one of the many daily classes at The Training Room ATL. With both, you’ll find a sixty minute sweat session packed with jumping lunges, medicine balls, pull ups and box jumps. The Training Room ATL rounds out each circuit with sprints out to the BeltLine in quick succession, keeping you both inside and out during the full routine.

The Training Room ATL

A look inside The Training Room ATL

If you’re on the lookout for something a little more mellow, King of Pops offers a free yoga in the park session each Tuesday in the Historic Forth Ward park. I have yet to make it out to this one personally, but have heard nothing but great things from friends who’ve become regulars. Free yoga outdoors with hundreds of new friends? Yes, please. One can only hope there’s a chocolate sea salt pop waiting at the finish, as that would be delightful.

KOP Yoga

Image via #KOPYoga

If you’re like me and a good old walk/run is usually your best bet for getting beyond the gates of Piedmont Park, then take advantage of the Atlanta BeltLine Race Series which will hit its stride 😉over the next few months. Both the Southeast 8K and the Eastside 10K are great races for exploring our city and always have the best Atlanta themed t-shirts at the finish line. Because, let’s be honest, I’m not the only one who judges the quality of a race by the public wearability of the free t-shirt.

Exploring the city can seem like a daunting task for the everyday, even more so when that city is your hometown. Luckily, with little gems like these, it’s easy to slide into a routine that’s anything but with endless possibilities to explore.

Not convinced? Check out Eventbrite for even more ideas to get started. Then go send a quick message to Mother Nature begging her to let this “cold front” last more than 72 hours.

A special thanks to Eventbrite for the inspiration for today’s post. While all thoughts, ideas and opinions expressed within this post are my own, you can count me in for some of their events this fall. If you are planning an even, be sure to check out Eventbrite’s event management page for all the info and tools you need to host an event of your own.


ClassPass Atlanta: Trial Week Review

27th May 2015

For the past seven years, I’ve had a fairly healthy relationship with running, but like any great romance, it hasn’t been without its bumps. I’ve been committed, and this time, to a fault. Just a few months ago, it seemed my hip was calling it quits. Stubborn as usual, I forced myself to rest and when all else failed six weeks later, to the sports doc, I went.

The culprit? Not enough muscle to support all of those miles. A stubborn running routine and little strength training had done quite the number to my hips. Here we are another six weeks later, following many a date with PT instead of the trails, and I’m finally starting to feel like myself again. A much stronger version of myself.

As much as I’d like to stick to my cost-effective running relationship, my glutes and abs disagree. It turns out the whole saga was just the push I (and my frugal bank account) needed to give ClassPass a try.

One hour warning! What class are you signing up for at noon?

A photo posted by ClassPass (@classpass) on

I’m one week into my ClassPass trial and I could not be more in love with the program. I’m not one for a gym (that machine does what again?) and easily find myself getting bored with one style of fitness class. ClassPass has done away with that.

The premise, and the price, are quite simple. Here in Atlanta, you’ll pay $79 for a month of unlimited classes at unlimited studios around town. The only catch? You can only visit each studio (or group like a Pure Barre or FlyWheel) three times in a month. A catch that equates to more spontaneity and less comfort.

As my sore butt can only handle a hand full of classes in a week, I’ve enlisted my former roommate, Kate to weigh in on reviews of what we’ve tried so far. Give us a month and hopefully we’ll have some favorites, but for now, we love just about everything.

Kate and I at every ClassPass class this week

VibeRide Midtown

Class: Rhythm Ride

A spin class with a live DJ spinning R&B from the 90’s? Yes please. This didn’t take much convincing and I don’t think I have ever sweat that much during a half marathon. The staff was incredibly welcoming to us newcomers and we felt right at home. It also helped to have some spirited regulars in the audience.

The interesting catch in this class was that it also combined light upper body movements with resistance on the bike for a full body workout. The only downside was as the class moved so quickly (and I myself am not the world’s most coordinated), I found myself wondering at times if my form was a hot mess.

This one will definitely take some getting used to, but I’m excited to go back. I’ve heard similar reviews from FlyWheel, so that’s on the list as well. The small class size and friendly staff of VibeRide certainly gave it bonus points.

Svelte Brookhaven

Class: Signature Barre 

After working on the small muscle groups in my abs and glutes nearly exclusively during physical therapy, I knew I’d love this class. I had only taken one barre class in the past, so this was a welcomed refresher.

The studio was beautiful and again, Celia leading this class could not have been more welcoming. I’m not sure why I expected to be treated like a serial studio switcher with ClassPass, but so far I’ve been dead wrong on that point, and wonderfully so.

Again, as a newbies to the studio (Kate joining me for this class) we were incredibly impressed with Celia’s attention to detail and recommendations to ensure each exercise was reaching its maximum potential. This one is in running distance from my house, so I may have to invest in extra classes on the side. Though, Pink Barre and Pure Barre have also gotten rave reviews, so I’ll be visiting those soon as well.

From here, I’ll hand it over to Kate to tell you a little about herself and the ClassPass classes she’s tried so far.

Before I dive in you, a little background on my fitness history. I have been an aspiring runner for almost 10 years now and LOVE weight training. I was never really into the “fitness class thing”. In fact, all signs pointed me in the opposite direction

  • With a crazy work/travel schedule, it was almost impossible to commit to anything regularly
  • I get bored…QUICKLY. Running seems dull today? Cool, I’ll hit the weights. Not feeling the elliptical? Sweet, maybe Kaitlyn’s up for a running date
  • I need to be challenged. My body and my mind need to be pushed, and I thought I needed to be in control to make sure that happened

As you may notice I am speaking in past tense. Kaitlyn and ClassPass converted me. From hot pavement and smelly weight rooms to yoga mats and hard wood dance floors, I’m hooked. With so many classes to choose from it’s easy to find time, impossible to get bored and I have been challenged by more barre instructors than I’d care to admit.

Stellar Bodies Buckhead

Class: SPX Total Body

My first thought when reading about the Megaformer heads immediately to something out of Transformers. The pictures are reminiscent of a torture device and the website proclaims, “a challenging workout that may not be suitable for beginners. Come prepared to work hard!” I’m in.

Memorial Day weekend kept the class was small, but with only 8-10 machines, the class size is always limited. This lead to plenty of one-on-one time with an instructor, ensuring beginners, like me, keep the correct form.

What a humbling workout. I lift weights and run, shouldn’t be too hard right? Wrong. The funky gliding machine activated muscles I didn’t even know I had. The instructor was welcoming, encouraging and challenging, and when I couldn’t complete an exercise (believe me, I tried) she provided alternatives so I could continue to push myself.

Stellar Bodies not only helps you build muscle and core strength, but also challenges your mental toughness. It was unique, fun, engaging and rewarding. However, heed the warning. If you’re a fitness beginner (or took a little fitness vacay) build up some strength and then check out SPX Total Body to push you further.

Hopefully after all of that fitness rambling, we’ve convinced you to lace up (or buy some Nike Studio Wraps) and get started with ClassPass. While they regularly run a free 10 day trial, (which is what I used to get started) sign up with this link and you’ll get $10 off of your first month.  Oh and I’ll get a credit too, so it’s a win-win for both of us. Whatcha waiting for?

Interested in following our journey? Tried ClassPass and want to send us your class recommendations? Comment here or find Kate and I on Twitter: @KateLarson12, @KaitlynDennihy.