Love perusing through social media to find out what your favorite influencers are up to? Get a closer glimpse into how they spend their time in Atlanta with “ATL Closeup,” an AJC feature that explores the leisure lives of some of the city’s most notable personalities as they go from work to play mode over the course of a typical weekend — from their favorite places to dine to the little-known spots where they find retreat.
It’s barely lunchtime, and blogger Chastity Garner Valentine is already rocking her second ensemble of the day.
A few hours earlier, she snapped photos for a Walmart partnership, so the afternoon shoot with her hometown newspaper deserves a fresh look.
“Once I’ve been photographed in something, I can’t wear it again,” the Georgia-native told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
If you think she is joking, just browse her Instagram page. There are rarely any outfit repeats. And if there are, she’s only showing her more than 300,000 followers a different angle.
The fashion guru has been chronicling her life adventures and dishing out beauty tips for more than a decade. What began as a blog for plus-size women - Garner Style - has now become a full-time job.
A few years ago, she even boycotted Target for its lack of options. She announced her decision in a viral open letter, which prompted the company to launch a plus-size line with Valentine as the brand ambassador.
In 2014, she elevated her mission further by co-creating theCurvyCon, a three-day event in New York City that gathers brands, influencers and shopaholics in one space to embrace their curviness.
Although Valentine’s work takes her all across the globe, Atlanta has always been special to her.
“I’m originally from Brunswick, Georgia, but I feel like Atlanta is home for me. When you come from a small town and you don’t really see black people on a very highly successful level, Atlanta can be overwhelming,” she admitted. “But you also feel extremely inspired. It made me want to succeed.”
When the Mableton resident isn’t showing off new pieces from her closet, she’s carving out time to hit up some of her favorite places. Here’s where you’ll likely find her on any given weekend in the city.
Finger-licking good meal
The businesswoman is a big fan of southern cuisine. That’s why Lunch on Main Street in College Park is one of her top eateries.
“I used to go there when I worked in non-profit,” she said. “I still love that place, and I still visit to this day.”
The restaurant offers an array of homemade country dishes, including chicken and dressing, fried catfish and beer braised beef brisket.
Valentine goes for the salmon patties, which she sometimes pairs with a cucumber salad.
When she’s in the mood for a tasty cocktail, Tom, Dick and Hank near downtown is a must. She orders the Peach Hennessy.
“It’s lovely,” she said. “It actually got me to drink Hennessy, because I’d never really been a Hennessy drinker. They have a lot of great food, but the cocktails are what I go for.”
Her top dining picks:
Lunch and Main Street, 3569 Main St, College Park. 404-761-9214, lunchonmainstreet.com.
Tom, Dick & Hank, 191 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. SW, Atlanta. 404-343-3774, tomdickandhank.com.
Shop-til-you drop spot
Before Valentine was a renowned blogger, she was a model. One of her first-ever collaborations was with Jibri Showroom in Norcross.
The space includes clothing “for the fashion conscious, curvy, plus size woman” according to the website, and has sizes ranging from 10 to 26.
“It’s a rarity to have a place to shop at in person with those sizes,” she said. “Jasmine Elder, who owns it, is an independent black designer, and we have a lot of good fun together.”
Valentine typically stops by to find clothing for photo shoots, red carpet events and celebrity style captures for social media.
“Jasmine and I just did a cool project on Rihanna, and we also did something on the MET Gala,” she said. “She has this amazing line already, but it’s also fun to work with someone who can think outside the box.”
Her top shopping picks:
Jibri Showroom, 1775 Wilwat Dr. Suite C, Norcross. 678-534-7655, jibrionline.com.
The socialite’s recipe for a good time is simple: good food, wine and music. And The Spinning Pie in Castlebury Hills hits the mark.
The menu features pizza, pasta, salads, sandwiches, soups and a variety of drinks. And if you visit at night, you might catch the DJ mixing some records.
“I love listening to music. I kind of do a little deejaying on the side,” revealed Valentine, who also goes by DJ Chaz. “I’m a hip-hop head, so they’re good for that.”
But she saves her dancing for Sivas Hookah Lounge in Midtown.
“If I want to do a little two-step but not too much of a step,” she laughed, “I’m going to go there.”
She and her girls like to sit on the patio when the weather permits, and they get there early for the best seats.
“Great time, great fun, great bar. It gets crowded, so get there before it gets too busy,” she advised.
Her top party picks:
The Spinning Pie, 259 Peters St. SW, Atlanta. 404-880-0703, thespinningpiemenu.com.
Sivas Hookah Lounge, 794 Juniper St. NE, Atlanta. 404-343-6783, sivasmidtown.com.
The wind down
With a jam-packed schedule that requires lots of traveling, relaxation is necessary for Valentine. Nothing eases her mind like a good massage from LeHua in Vinings.
“I generally go in for the massages, because you don’t have to make an appointment,” she explained. “You can just run in and run out. I usually have to take the edge off quite a bit, so that’s the place where I do it.”
In addition to a good rub down, LeHua also provides foot reflexology, facials, body scrubs and a slew of other services.
Although she discovered the spot a few months ago from a Google search, she confessed she’s already been there about 10 times.
“It means I really like it or I’m really stressed,” she joked. “Either way, it fulfills said need.”
If she wants an all-day experience, she makes her way to JeJu Sauna in Duluth, which is open for 24 hours a day, seven days a week — even on holidays.
“I like that one, too, but you got to have the time.”
Her top relaxation picks:
LeHua Spa, 2980 Cobb Parkway, Suite 104, Atlanta. 770-438-8888, lehua-spa.com.
Jeju Sauna, 3555 Gwinnett Pl Dr NW, Duluth. 678-336-7414, jejusauna.com.
Looking for a newer restaurant to try? Valentine recommends Copper Cove Bistro in Buckhead.
The business, originally famous for its Indian cuisine, closed in 2018. It’s now under different ownership and serves American eats with a southern flair.
“One of my girlfriends told me about it,” she said. “And the funny thing is I had been before, but I didn’t remember the name.”
Her next visit was more memorable. She was there celebrating her Nike campaign with a few buddies and colleagues.
“The food is great! They have a good atmosphere and great customer service,” she said. “I came in with a party of 10, and they were super helpful.”
If you go:
Copper Cove Bistro, 2991 N Fulton Dr. NE, Atlanta. 470-440-5333, coppercoveatl.com.
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