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,” a new 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.
This week, we’re hanging out with lifestyle guru Mattie James. The Mableton resident has been dominating the interweb with her fashion and lifestyle blog for more than a decade.
Her brand has attracted the attention of major corporations, including American Express, Google and Always, and she has amassed quite the following on social media. Just peep her Instagram profile. More than 52,000 people look forward to her posts about her cool partnerships, fashion prowess and musings on balancing her business and family life.
The wife and mother of two daughters doesn’t keep her knowledge about entrepreneurship to herself. She teaches others how they can become influencers, too, with online courses on amplifying your digital presence.
When the bubbly blogger, who calls Pennsylvania home, isn’t tending to her business, she’s carving out time to hit up some of her favorite places. Here’s where you’ll likely find the 34-year-old on any given weekend in Atlanta.
Finger-licking good meal
James’ knowledge of the Atlanta restaurant scene is expansive. Whether she’s in the mood for seafood at The Optimist in West Midtown or Southern-style dishes at Smyrna’s South City Kitchen, her list of favorite eateries is nearly endless.
But she said the Chicken and the Egg in Marietta has blown her away time and time again. You might catch her there on a Saturday with her hubby for date night.
“It is so good. I go there for dinner, and it is amazing, especially the short rib entree,” she said. The meal comes with braised beef short rib, gouda grits, asparagus and French-inspired sauces, and it’s “punch-your-mama-in-the face delicious,” James described.
Her top dining picks:
The Chicken and the Egg, 800 Whitlock Ave, Marietta. 678-388-8813, www.facebook.com/ChickenandtheEgg.
The Optimist, 914 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta. 404-477-6260. theoptimistrestaurant.com.
South City Kitchen, 1675 Cumberland Pkwy SE, Smyrna, 770-435-0700, vinings.southcitykitchen.com.
Motherhood and work keep James pretty busy. That’s why she prefers to hop online to shop for much of her apparel. When she doesn’t have the time to wait for shipping though, Lenox Square and Perimeter Mall help keep her stylish.
“I’m a Nordstrom girl,” she explained. “If I need something from the department store, I go there. And Zara is the go-to if you want a statement piece or something classic.”
For fancier, more upscale affairs, like television appearances or influencer events, James stops by Meow and Barks in Buckhead. The boutique is based in Jacksonville, Florida, but there is a showroom in Atlanta.
“They have really great pieces that you’re not going to find in department stores,” the fashionista revealed. “If I need something trendier or something that’s going to be photographed a lot, I get clothing there.”
Her top shopping picks:
Meow and Barks, 2221 Peachtree Road NE, Ste P28, Atlanta. facebook.com/pages/Meow-and-Barks-Buckhead.
Perimeter Mall, 4400 Ashford Dunwoody Road, Atlanta. 770-394-4270, perimetermall.com.
Lenox Square, 3393 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta. 404-233-6767. simon.com/mall/lenox-square.
Friday nights are reserved for James and her girlfriends, and when she and her crew let their hair down, wine is often involved.
“I never turn down a glass,” James laughed. “A lot of my close friends are moms and wives, so we’re kind of trying to de-stress.”
You’ll likely find James enjoying cocktails at Bar Margot at Four Seasons in Midtown or noshing on the appetizers at the star-studded Allora at Atlantic Station’s Twelve Hotel, where she often spots cast members from the “Real Housewives of Atlanta” and “Love and Hip Hop.”
But Barcelona Wine Bar in Inman Park “is the most happening,” she said. “It’s jumping because of the people and Latin music, but not in a way where it’s like the club. It’s like, ‘I’m grown and I’m being social. We came with people we know, and we’re leaving with people we know.’”
Her top party spot picks:
Bar Margot at Four Seasons, 75 14th St. NE, Atlanta. 404-881-5913, barmargotatl.com.
Allora Bistro at Twelve Hotel, 361 17th St. NW, Atlanta. 404-961-7370, alloraatl.com.
Barcelona Wine Bar, 240 North Highland Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-589-1010, barcelonawinebar.com.
The wind down
When it’s time to unwind after a crazy week, James finds solace at home or in a massage chair at the Four Seasons on Sundays.
“If me and my husband have had one of those hectic seasons and we’ve been pouring our everything into our kids and family,” she said, “we usually need someone to massage the mess out of us.”
The busy bee also clears her mind by grabbing a coffee or book at the Read Shop by The Merchant in Vinings or squeezing in a workout at nearby trails connected to the Beltline.
“The Silver Comet Trail is right near my house,” she said. “I’ll just put my headphones in and get lost for 30 or 45 minutes.”
Her top relax destinations:
The Spa at Four Seasons, 75 14th St. NE, Atlanta. 404-881-9898, fourseasons.com/atlanta/spa.
Read Shop by The Merchant, 4300 Paces Ferry Road SE, Suite 125, Atlanta. 678-742-7853, readshopatl.com.
Silver Comet Trail, silvercometga.com
There are CamiCakes Cupcakes all throughout the city, but did you know about the one with a creamery? While many sell prepackaged ice cream, the Smyrna location is the only one that can hook patrons up with a fresh scoop.
“My four-year-old loves it. I think we’re there a little more than we’d like to admit,” James said.
You can choose from flavors like birthday cake and Biscoff and stuff your pick in a crisp red velvet waffle cone or in between two cake rounds.
If you go: CamiCakes, 4500 W Village Pl #1009, Smyrna. 770-693-2615, camicakes.com.