Georgia's Own remains committed to assisting members and small businesses during this time. Here's how.
Georgia’s Own Credit Union recognized for community outreach
Our very own Adam Marlowe, Principal Market Development Officer, discussed our constant dedication to improving the community—an important philosophy of Georgia’s Own. From partnering with organizations, such as L.E.A.D and Action Ministries, to promoting financial wellness, Georgia’s Own consciously prioritizes giving back to our members and their communities.
Because of our efforts, we received the BadCredit.org Editor’s Choice Award for Community Commitment.
Click here to learn more about our endeavors during 85 Acts of Kindness.
Surprise your sweetheart: hot spots for Valentine’s Day in Georgia
We all know planning the perfect Valentine’s Day date night can be a struggle—it’s a never-ending cycle of pondering where to eat, what to do, or where to stay. Still deciding on if you want to enjoy a romantic night in the city or partake in a luxurious weekend getaway? We’ve got you covered. Here are some of our favorite restaurants, activities, and destinations right here in Georgia that are terrific for Valentine’s Day.
Nestled along the banks of the Chattahoochee River, Canoe offers a rustic yet elegant atmosphere that is guaranteed to delight your senses. This fine-dining culinary gem offers award-winning cuisine from their Roasted Berkshire pork chop and Southern-style collards to their wood-grilled New York strip—all are sure to gratify your palate. Town & Country Magazine calls this unique setting the “most romantic restaurant in Atlanta.”
The Sun Dial
Situated at the top of the Westin in Downtown Atlanta, The Sun Dial, a rotating restaurant and Atlanta icon, offers sweeping views of the city lights below. Enjoy a prix-fixe, four-course dinner from their special Valentine’s Day menu created by award-winning chefs. Be sure to make reservations beforehand because this is a popular Valentine’s Day spot.
10 Degrees South
Located in Buckhead, 10 Degrees South is the country’s first South African restaurant. The eatery is deeply inspired by family tradition, and the cuisine is crafted by founder Justin Anthony’s parents, who coincidentally are the restaurant’s executive chefs. Their Valentine’s Day menu features dishes such as filet “Au Poivre,” a filet mignon topped with a Madagascan peppercorn sauce, and chicken curry made with traditional South African spices. The bungalow-inspired atmosphere and delectable fare make this culinary experience rated as one of the top 16 restaurants in Buckhead by Trip Savvy.
La Tavola, located at the heart of Virginia-Highland, offers genuine Italian cuisine from Executive Chef Jonathan Beatty. With the cozy, romantic ambiance and hearty dishes, you can’t go wrong with this trattoria for Valentine’s Day. Their menu offers a variety of traditional dishes, from tagliolini to zuppa di pesce, to desserts like chocolate pistachio torte—there’s something for everyone at this hot Italian spot.
Atlanta Botanical Garden
Get swept through 80 years of romance at the Atlanta Botanical Garden this Valentine’s Day for “Valentines in the Garden: Decades of Love.” Enjoy small bites from some of Atlanta’s most renowned chefs, live music, and more. From the 50s to the 80s, each decade is represented in different sections of the garden, with music and décor constituting accordingly. Dress for the decade of your choice and celebrate the night away!
For those seeking something unconventional, head over to Oakland Cemetery for “Love Stories of Oakland: Valentine’s Day.” Venture through more than 20 stops in this historic Victorian cemetery as your guide recalls the love stories of Atlantans in the years gone by, as well as hidden symbols of love throughout the hallowed grounds. If you’re looking to escape the traditional route this year, Oakland Cemetery is the way to go.
Towering over Centennial Park, the SkyView Atlanta Ferris wheel offers boundless views of downtown while relaxing in climate-controlled gondolas. Take in the vast sights with your sweetheart at this Atlanta staple. If you want to upgrade your experience, try the VIP gondola—it boasts Ferrari-style seats, a glass floor, and a longer ride time.
Flower Arrangement Workshop
Enjoy a fun-filled afternoon of embracing your crafty side at Flower Bar’s Valentine’s Day arrangement workshop. Bring your honey, and learn the ins and outs of making your own flower arrangement in this 90-minute class. Once your masterpiece is finished, bring it home with you, and display it proudly for all to see! Even better—all materials are provided, so no scrambling around at the last minute to find what you need.
Chateau Elan Winery and Resort
Located in Braselton, the newly-renovated Chateau Elan is the ideal extravagant weekend getaway. Indulge in a four-course meal, enjoy a relaxing couple’s day at the spa, or partake in a round of golf—there’s something for everyone here. This picturesque resort offers sweeping views of the North Georgia foothills, and its romantic, Southern charm offers an intimate weekend for you to escape bustling city life.
Nestled on historic grounds in Adairsville, Barnsley Resort is essential for those wanting luxury while experiencing all that North Georgia has to offer. Enjoy a guided horseback ride through the grounds of the resort, ride a UTV in the Appalachian foothills, or learn the art of fly fishing at one of the several ponds on the resort grounds. Rejuvenate at the redesigned upscale spa and experience ultimate tranquility. Stay at the Inn or an Estate Cottage. Whatever you do, Barnsley Resort is sure to provide a weekend of relaxation and resurgence.
Callaway Resort & Gardens
Callaway Resort & Gardens, in Pine Mountain, is an oasis that is calling your name. Whether you stay in the Lodge and Spa with views of Robin Lake, The Cottages, or The Villas with a secluded setting, you’ll be enchanted by the beauty this resort has to offer. They’re all about nature and offer numerous immersion activities that put you right in the heart of it all, like BirdFest, which occurs Valentine’s Day weekend. It features bird walks, nature-based workshops, live bird shows, and more. Callaway is also home to the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center, one of North America’s largest butterfly conservatories. These beautiful, delicate creatures fly freely among the variety of tropical plants that are housed in the glass-closed environment. If you and your significant other are nature fanatics, this is a destination that is to die for.
Lake Rabun Hotel
The Historic Lake Rabun Hotel, a charming boutique hotel operating since 1922, is the quintessential getaway for those who want to experience the Blue Ridge Mountains and all it encapsulates. Each room exudes rustic charm and offers the perfect amount of privacy. The hotel also operates an award-winning farm to table restaurant surrounded by pines, oaks, and hemlocks. There are plenty of parks, rivers, and waterfalls located nearby, and if you’re tuckered out from outdoor activities, the Lake Rabun Hotel offers a luxurious spa. You can also shop at the various locally-owned stores in nearby Clayton, Dillard, and Lakemont Art Village. The Lake Rabun Hotel has everything you need.
Whether you’re looking for a thrilling date night in the city or an idyllic weekend escape, these will certainly make for a Valentine’s Day you’ll always remember in the years to come.
A force of good: Q&A with Dansby Swanson
Born in Kennesaw, Georgia, Dansby Swanson is one of the few MLB players who get to play for their hometown team. Some might say that the talented shortstop is living the dream, but making that dream a reality took a lot of hard work and determination. Dansby was initially drafted by Arizona, selected first overall in the 2015 MLB Draft, but was traded to Atlanta later that year. It was destiny, and Dansby is making the most of his opportunities, on and off the field. Learn more about our local superstar below.
What’s your favorite thing about playing baseball?
I’ve been really involved in sports ever since I was a little kid, especially baseball and basketball. I’d honestly say I loved basketball more. It’s just how I operate. When I need peace of mind, I use basketball to find it. But I’ve also always loved baseball and what it teaches. Not everyone gets the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of what we do in the game. I just think it’s fascinating.
How old were you when you first began playing, and when did you fall in love with the game?
I started playing baseball as a kid, though I didn’t really focus on it until I got to college—that’s when it clicked. I started to get better and better and better. I’d always been undersized, and as I began to develop as a player, my confidence started going through the roof, and I knew that was what I was called to do. So that’s what shifted everything—I always put my head down and worked. It’s been a blessing that I’ve been able to keep that mindset going forward.
Who has influenced you most in your career?
I’d say my dad is the one person I’ve always leaned on, who’s taught me everything that I know. Between him and my college coach, Coach Corbin, and my high school baseball coach, James Beaver, those are my biggest influences.
What lessons have you learned on and off the field that you would like to share with others?
Nothing replaces hard work. People want to find the easier ways to do things, but that never works. You’ve always got to work at your craft. You’ve always got to dedicate time. Also, being blessed with a good family, people who push you and help you grow, that’s support you need during times that are harder. The uncomfortable moments are when you’re going to grow the most. Being able to rely on the people around me during those moments helped me develop both as a player and as a person.
What are your favorite things to do in Atlanta?
Whenever we get time off, I’m a big fan of downtime. I like to relax, hang around with good people, with my dog and my best friends. When I’m off, I also spend a good amount of time in Nashville with my friends. We do a lot of training, and we work a lot, which is really rewarding and valuable. Also, I just love being at home. I’ve never been the kind of person who goes out a lot—I enjoy my downtime. Whether with my girlfriend or my friends, as long as they’re good people and they make me better, I love just being around them, watching football on Sunday and just enjoying the relaxing aspects of life. Most professional athletes don’t get much downtime, as we’re always pulled in a bunch of different directions, so when I have time off, I just like to relax for
the most part.
I also love doing stuff around the community. I like to shine my light on the important people around me, whether it’s people I know or people in the community who deserve a spotlight or some help. That’s part of why I started All Things Loyal.
Other than Atlanta, what’s your favorite city?
Nashville, without a doubt. That’s where I went to school and it’s my home away from home. It’s a good way to get out of Atlanta and all the stuff that goes on around Atlanta for me during the year. Being in Nashville gives me a vacation without having to go on vacation, and I can
focus on my training.
How do you reward yourself after a big win?
I don’t. Winning is what I’ve always expected. Whenever we win, that’s our job. There’s nothing to celebrate other than trying to be better the next day.
Your girlfriend, Mallory Pugh, is also a professional athlete. Who is more competitive, you or Mallory?
I would say we’re pretty equal. We compete in almost everything we do, and it’s fun. We’re competitive people, and we like the same sorts of things. My family is competitive, as is hers, and we just have a great time. The one thing she can beat me in is long distance running and everything related to soccer. Otherwise, I totally win…when we first started dating, she thought she could beat me in ping pong, and that went south really quick! Though, there’s this card game she’s really good at and she beat me a couple of times…I guess we’re both super competitive.
If you weren’t playing baseball, what would you be doing?
Honestly, I have no idea. It’s not like I’ve never thought about anything else outside of baseball, but I’m just so wrapped up in it. It’s what I love, and I don’t settle for anything less than that. Ever since I was about five, I wanted to play major league baseball.
Tell us about your organization, All Things Loyal. What’s it all about, and what motivated you to start it?
I wanted to create the same sense of loyalty and love for the city that shaped me into who I am. I thought it was a good opportunity to highlight all these different aspects of Atlanta that are specific to Atlanta, and it’s great to showcase that pride. We’re from the South, and we’re big on being humble and putting our heads down, but I wanted to say it’s okay to be proud of where we come from and continue developing a strong community together.
I thought t-shirts with unique designs were the best way to highlight Atlanta and the things that helped shape me. I thought it would help show people who I really am. I felt at times that people didn’t know who I really was, what I valued, what’s close and dear to my heart. There were places I wanted to be able to give back to the community, but in a unique way where I was able to share with people who I really am and what I value.
It’s been really meaningful to highlight places like The Varsity. My grandfather and I would go to The Varsity a lot and spend time there together. Music has always been really important to me, too, and while people assume I must be a Southern kid who just loves country music, that really couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve listened to rap music since I was about eight—that’s why we featured Outkast in our first design. They were my intro to Atlanta as a city. Now, growing up, it’s so cool seeing how important they were to the community and to the city, kind of putting America on notice that Atlanta was a place to be. “Elevators” is an Outkast song that I’ve always loved.
One of the other aspects we want to highlight is the personality of the city. Striving to get better, the importance of being a good person, teaching kids that the coolest thing you can do is to be kind and loving to other people, and to build community through doing and saying the right things.
I’m a big believer in helping kids and the next generation. People weren’t always blessed with the same guidance and love I was given through my family. So, being able to do that for others is important—we have to break the cycle. For example, going to Green Acres Elementary with Georgia’s Own, seeing the kids and talking to them, even doing something small like bringing them pizza, I hope they were happy and it made their day brighter, and that it’s something they can take forward.
Just for fun—what’s something many people might not know about you?
I have a lot of shoes. I’m a big Jordan person—I probably have over 70 pairs. I have a closet set up around my shoes—my clothes just fit in where they can. In the off-season, I probably cook dinner five out of seven nights, as I enjoy trying to make different things while still eating healthy. There’s some peace of mind with that. Another weird thing along that line, people are shocked that I don’t have someone who comes and cleans my house. I do all of that, and I really enjoy it. It’s a peaceful thing to see a task and accomplish it.
The sounds of Atlanta
Atlanta has quickly become the hub for all things entertainment. From music festivals like One Music Fest to movies and TV shows from the newly erected Tyler Perry Studios, the reach of Georgia-centric entertainment is felt not only stateside, but around the world. This especially rings true when it comes to music. Not only is Atlanta home to some of the best and brightest musical talent, but it also opens its arms to equally bright and shining talent from other cities across the map. Let’s take a look at who’s big and who’s ne[x]t in music.
- “Ric Flair Drip” w/ Offset and Metro Boomin–334 million views
- “Bank Account”–285 million views
- “No Heart” w/ Metro Boomin–221 million views
One of the biggest names in rap music today, 21 Savage—born Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph in London, England—has called Georgia his home since the tender age of 7, though his maturing process in DeKalb County was any and everything but. Fast forward and 21 Savage has made a name for himself in multiple avenues. He’s used his past experiences to pen gripping tales, which have catapulted his music to the heights of success: his debut album Issa Album peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard charts, and his sophomore effort I Am > I Was earned the coveted No. 1 spot.
In addition, 21 Savage leveraged the success of his first hit single from Issa Album, entitled “Bank Account,” and launched his Bank Account Campaign. The Bank Account Campaign provides resources to teach financial literacy to students across the country. The influential artist has been quoted by Billboard.com, saying that he “…knew almost nothing about bank accounts” while growing up. He followed up with, “As I have gotten smarter about financial management, I realize how empowering it is to control your money rather than be controlled by it,” and, “I want to help kids with a background similar to mine get smart about their money.”
- “Flossin”–2 million views
- “Gucci Pajamas” ft. Chance the Rapper and Charlie Wilson–1.3 million views
- “Scammin”–529,000 views
When Akeem Hayes landed on the music scene in December of 2017 under the stage name Guapdad 4000 with his introductory mixtape, Scamboy Color, some people, including myself, thought, “Who?!” But the talented young artist from Oakland, CA was not only able to stand out thanks to his unique name—he also managed to turn the casual listener into a fan with his equally unique and authentic sound.
With a penchant for designer labels (just look at his current album Dior Deposits with titles “Gucci Pajamas” and “Prada Process”), the rapper and sometimes crooner has the talent and charm to marry throwback R&B with present-day hip-hop. His new single “Gucci Pajamas” features both soul singer Charlie Wilson (“There Goes My Baby,” “Charlie, Last Name Wilson”) and everyone’s hip-hop favorite: Chance the Rapper (“Cocoa Butter Kisses,” “No Problems”). When asked on Revolt.tv to comment on his sound, Guapdad 4000 said, “I’m a bit more eclectic. My music ranges from however melodic I want it to be. The good thing about my sound is that I’m constant.”
On the horizon…
That Girl Lay Lay
- “Mama”–16 million views
- “Supersize XL”–14 million views
- “Go Lay Lay Go”–6.1 million views
After getting her start by rapping age-appropriate freestyles like her viral hit “Taste,” 12-year-old Alaya High, aka That Girl Lay Lay, has impressed most by becoming the little girl from Houston with the BIG—some might even say “Texas-sized”—YouTube numbers. That Girl Lay Lay is the youngest female rapper ever signed to a major label, and when asked about her freestyling capabilities during her television debut on Ellen, she responded, “I’m still practicing, getting better at it. You just do what you do…”
The Gift of Giving: 10 Ways To Be Charitable this Holiday Season
We all know the holidays are a time for giving. This year, why not celebrate the season by choosing a gift that really makes a difference?
Charitable gift-giving is one of the best ways to spread generosity, kindness, and good cheer this time of year. After all, it’s not the “getting” that’s important, it’s sharing our good fortune with friends and neighbors in need. Whether they’re here in our communities or around the world, everyone should know joy and hope this season.
Generosity is good for us. It’s said to raise levels of happiness and emotional well-being. It can also help make tax time a little less painful. As long as you itemize your deductions, a donation will help reduce your taxable income. If that’s your ultimate goal, however, be sure to consult with a tax advisor before you write a check.
Whether you make a donation for the tax benefit or because it warms your heart, there are lots of ways to be charitable. To help, we’ve rounded up a few ideas. Here are ten ways to give the gift of generosity this season:
Help when it’s needed most
The American Red Cross donors, volunteers, and employees work to prevent and relieve suffering during emergencies, collect life-saving blood, support America’s military families, and so much more! You can honor friends and family with a gift that helps those when they need it most.
Sponsor a family
Find an Adopt-A-Family program through the Salvation Army, local charities, religious organizations, or your workplace. If you feel like a family may be too big of a commitment to manage on your own, ask others to join the cause. The more people that participate, the greater joy your gift will bring.
Buy goods that do good
Consider buying from a retailer who donates a portion of their sales to a charity. For example, buy LUSH’s hand and body lotion, Charity Pot. You’ll be pleased to know that 100% of the price (minus the taxes) supports causes like human rights, animal protection, and environmental justice. Not only will your sister (mother, girlfriend, daughter) love her gift, she’ll appreciate the contribution to a cause that’s close to her heart. Here’s a list of companies and products that share the wealth with worthy causes and help make the world a better place.
Time is just as valuable
Charities are always willing to accept cash donations, but sometimes donating your time is even better. Consider volunteering at a soup kitchen. They need help with preparation, serving, cleanup, and whatever else it takes to feed those in need. Stock shelves at your local food pantry or help deliver meals on wheels. Sometimes a smiling face and a helping hand is worth more than money in the bank.
Donate your stocks or bonds
Donating a portion of your portfolio may get you a bigger bang for your buck. If a stock has increased in value since you bought it more than a year ago (and if you itemize deductions), you can take a charitable deduction for the stock’s fair market value on the day you donate it. You’ll also avoid capital-gains taxes on the appreciation. Check out the five things you should know about gifting stock here.
Gift your frequent flyer miles
Are you a frequent flyer? Maybe you’ve accumulated more than too many miles, or are in danger of losing miles that are getting ready to expire. Consider donating them to a charity like the Make-A-Wish® Foundation. Every mile you donate will help kids and their families travel to destinations around the world. It’s just one simple way you can help share the power of a wish.
Send care packages to our troops
Let our servicemen and women know they’re being remembered during the holidays by sending a care package. Treat the Troops and Any Soldier are organizations that coordinate ways to give to our deployed soldiers. It’s a great way to let them know how much we appreciate their service and their sacrifice.
Give a charity gift card
When you make a donation in someone else’s name, you’d like for it to be a charity that’s important to them. Now, you can honor them by donating to the cause they’re most passionate about. Give the gift of good at tisbest.org, and the recipient can choose from among 300 charities to allocate the money. It’s a win-win!
Buy gifts through Amazon Smile
Knock out that holiday list by shopping on the Amazon Smile website. You’ll find the same prices and products as Amazon.com, but they’ll donate 0.5% of the price to your favorite charity. It’s a simple way for you to support your favorite organization every time you shop.
Create a gift registry
If you don’t need another holiday tie or pair of slippers, create your own gift registry at MyRegistry.com. List your favorite charities and ask your family and friends to make a donation in your name. Not only is it a great way to support a cause, but it may also inspire some others to consider a charitable registry too.
There are many opportunities to donate to a charity or a cause that inspires you. It doesn’t need to be limited to the holidays, either. There are always people in need, so think about being generous throughout the year. When you donate goods, services, time, or talent, you not only impact others’ lives, you also bring more meaning to yours.
Keeping Your Cool: Fun Atlanta Winter Activities for the Whole Family
Winter is here, and with it comes the age-old question: What can you do for fun? Going outside isn’t nearly as appealing as it was a few months ago, and you can only watch so many reruns before your eyes begin to glaze over. But don’t worry – we have some ideas on ways you can make this chilly season fun for the whole family.
Go See the Sights – and the Lights
Many people in your community have already gotten a head start on their outdoor Christmas decorations, and you can expect even more of your neighbors to follow suit. This is the perfect opportunity to create your own special tour of local neighborhoods to check out all of the amazing light displays in the area.
If you’re ready for some even more amazing demonstrations of holiday lighting, head over to Callaway Gardens to view their annual Fantasy in Lights display. The best part about this experience is that it is a driving tour, so even on the chilliest evenings, you can still take your time and enjoy upwards of eight million lights arranged especially for the holidays.
Break out the Skates
Are you looking for ways to get some of that pent-up energy out? You definitely won’t want to miss the chance to go ice skating – especially on the South’s largest ice skating rink. Atlantic Station’s “Skate the Station” is already in full swing, and you can stop by anytime to test your ice skating skills. They even have special extended hours throughout December, so you can make an evening out of racing friends or family to see who is truly the skating champion.
If you want to mix things up, you can also try The Rink at Park Tavern, located in Piedmont Park. This rink opened on Thanksgiving and will be available through January, so skate on over and see if it’s a good fit for your family. This venue also offers free skating for those who dress up in Steampunk attire after 8:00 pm, along with skating for only those who 16 years of age and older after 8:30 PM. Whether you are planning a date night or just want to change up your routine, the ice rink needs to be on your list of things to do.
Take in a Show
Everyone knows that one of the best Christmas classics is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. You’ve probably seen the movie a dozen times – but have you seen it performed live with puppets? The Center for Puppetry Arts is once again presenting its annual Rudolph puppet show, which is a faithful adaptation of the movie you know so well. Children of all ages will enjoy seeing these characters come to life, and there are also crafts and activities available after the show to enrich your experience.
Sometimes getting out in the winter can be difficult, especially when it involves finding everyone’s coats and mittens. But it’s easy to turn a night at home into a holiday experience all by itself. Find a new movie you haven’t seen or look for one of your favorite holiday specials, and sit down with the whole family to watch it together. This is also a great chance to break out the hot chocolate and the snacks you’ve been eyeing at the grocery store. When your movie is finished, take the time to ask your family what they loved most about it – and to tell them to think about what they want to watch for your next movie night!
Try Something New!
This winter season, make it a goal to mix up your routine. Take a pottery class, learn to sew, try your hand at painting on canvas – there are dozens of options available right in your own community. Don’t worry about becoming an expert in just a few short months. Instead, commit to finishing a project or class that will help you learn something you’ve never done before.
Taking on a totally new skill can be daunting, but you don’t have to do it alone! Ask some friends to join you and try out your new activity together. You might go on a bike tour of the city, or learn to cook your favorite meal. Whatever you do, just have one rule: Make it fun!
Winter is here – but that doesn’t mean you have to wait for summer to enjoy yourself again. In fact, we think winter can be just as fun as any other season. Use this cool weather to find new ways to enjoy yourself and stay warm out there!