Monday, October 31, 2011

Heart Walk with VeinInnovations - Press Release

VeinInnovations Team, Including Mrs. Georgia 2010 LaLona Richards and her Family, to Take Part in October 29th Metro Atlanta Heart Walk at Turner Field;  VeinInnovations also Serving as Team Photo Sponsor

ATLANTA – October 25, 2011 – Mrs. Georgia 2010 LaLona Richards will join about 25 staff members from VeinInnovations and their families to take part in the Saturday, October 29th Metro Atlanta Heart Walk.  VeinInnovations is also the Heart Walk Team Photo Area sponsor.

The 5K (3.1-mile) Metro Atlanta Heart Walk kicks off from the Turner Field green lot in downtown Atlanta at 9 a.m. 

“Heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 3 causes of death in the United States and more than 1 million Americans die from these to diseases every year,” said David A. Martin, President and CEO of VeinInnovations.  “Vein health is a key component to reducing the potential of heart problems, strokes and other ailments and several people in our office have lost loved ones and friends to heart attacks and strokes.  So it’s natural that our team would participate in this walk to help raise funds for and awareness about fighting these diseases.”

Richards, crowned Mrs. Georgia 2010 last year, is a spokesperson for and client of VeinInnovations.  She has a long history of partnering with VeinInnovations staff on charity efforts, including this upcoming walk and partnering with VeinInnovations to collect books for the Frankie’s First book drive.

“I was very excited to be asked to join the VeinInnovations team for this walk,” said Richards.  “I really enjoy working with the VeinInnovtions team and this walk helps bring attention to two diseases that touch so many people here in Georgia and across the country.”

At the VeinInnovations-sponsored team photo area, booth No. 45 in the “Celebrate Success” area at the event, teams can have their pictures taken and leave with a free photo to commemorate the event.

Walk participants should arrive before 8 a.m., where they will be able to participate in heart screenings and enjoy entertainment and activities for children.  Participation in the walk or supporting walkers with donations helps support critical, lifesaving initiatives to help fight heart disease and stroke.  To join or support the VeinInnovations team, please click here.   For more information about the 2011 Metro Atlanta Heart Walk, please visit

About VeinInnovations

VeinInnovations was founded in Atlanta in 2002 to meet the challenges and opportunities presented by the remarkable technological advances in the diagnosis and treatment of vein disease.  These advances included new, more sensitive imaging devices and an entirely new array of treatment options that are catheter based and designed for the office, thus eliminating the need for hospitalization.  At the time of its founding, VeinInnovations was the only vein specialist facility in Georgia operated by physicians board-certified in vascular medicine and which offered every treatment option available.  The clinic remains to this day the only practice to meet those criteria.  From its founding, VeinInnovations  has focused solely on the diagnosis and treatment of vein disease, including varicose and spider veins.  In this way, the clinic can provide the very best possible vein treatment, and help all patients have Great Legs For Life.  For more information, please visit

David A. Martin, VeinInnovations’ president and CEO, is available for interviews on vein health and treatments.  Please contact Mark Scott with Schroder Public Relations at 404-872-7289 ext. 4, 404-771-8658 (cell) or

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Frankie's First needs your help!

Frankie's First seeks to provide students ages pre-k through 12th grade with on-reading-level books they can have in their homes. If you are interested in donating new or like-new books, please let me know. Also, I am in great need of volunteers to level and distribute the books.  Please contact me at if you are willing to assist in this great cause!  All students deserve to have books in their homes, and this is especially critical in the upcoming summer months!

I would like to extend a huge thanks to VeinInnovations for collecting books for Frankie's First!  They recently filled up my car with donations!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Summer Snacks

I have received several emails lately requesting suggestions for healthy summer snacks, especially for those of us who have a serious "sweet tooth".  I have tried to balance healthy with practical and tasty.  Here are some ideas to try:

  1. Fruit with light whipped topping (I most enjoy cantelope, berries, or mango), sprinkled with 1 T. granola
  2. Veggies with 1 T. hummus or all-natural pimento cheese (found at Whole Foods)
  3. 1/2 apple or other fruit with 5 almonds or cashews (unsalted, raw)
  4. Plain, nonfat Greek yogurt sweetened with Stevia, mixed with 1/2 cup berries, sprinkled with ground flaxseed (it provides a "nutty" taste and supplies fiber -- it's good, really!)
  5. SUPER YUMMY frozen strawberry treat: In a blender, combine 8-12 ounces of Wyler's sugar-free pink lemonade with a handful of ice cubes and 5 frozen strawberries.  Blend and enjoy.
  6. Graham cracker sandwich: Take a sheet of graham cracker and break it in half. Put 1/4 cup or less of light or fat free cool whip on one cracker, top with the other, wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze.  It makes for a great alternative to a traditional ice cream treat. 
  7. Organic Cliff Kids Z Bar - brownie or chocolate chip can satisify a sweet tooth
Stay tuned for more!  If you have a specific request (such as a substitue for a particular treat), let me know!

Mrs. Minnesota, Mrs. Iowa, Mrs. Wisconsin Pageant

I greatly enjoyed serving as a judge for the Mrs. Minnesota, Mrs. Iowa, and Mrs. Wisconsin Pageant!  Here are the winners along with the newly crowned Mrs. Georgia, Tiffany Marshall. Tiffany went on to the Top 6 at Mrs. America!  Congratulations, Tiffany!

Here are my fellow judges. It was a fantastic panel of people, and I actually miss each one of them!

I had a fraction of a minute to catch up with my roommate from Mrs. America, Brianna! 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Vein Innovations Billboard

I am finally posting a picture of the Vein Innovations billboard (accompanied by my boys!).  This billboard was on Peachtree Street in Buckhead, just north of Piedmont Hospital. The billboard is now on I-85 southbound, just after the 400 juncture.  This new location should catch the eye of many downtown commuters!

John Medieros Photo Shoot

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Check out the March 2011 Best Self Magazine!

This month Best Self magazine conducted a feature story on my time as Mrs. Georgia America.  Pick up a copy today!  I am also featured in Vein Innovation's full-page ad!

Here is the article from the website. I tried to paste everything below, but I could not get the images to come through. Go to the website for a much better version!


Photo courtesy of Richie Arpino

My Best Self: LaLona Hughes Richards

Mrs. Georgia-America 2010 talks about her full life

When it comes to multi-tasking, LaLona Hughes Richards is a pro. From taking care of her family to being a literary consultant to teachers and administrators, she is tireless in her efforts to better the community and herself. LaLona speaks about her full life as a mother, fitness instructor, educator and so much more.

What do you see as the keys to being your “best self?”

I am inspired to be my personal best at all times, knowing that I am a constant role model – whether it be positive or negative – to my young boys. I am inspired to teach them lessons of service, compassion, healthy ambition, and self-discipline with each decision I make.

What inspired you to get involved with the Mrs. Georgia-America pageant?

I believe there are two things that can drastically improve a person’s quality of life: education and fitness. I have a strong background in each of these areas and have long desired to use my experiences to make a more wide-spread impact on my community, state, and nation. However, I did not have the means or opportunities to do so. I knew that if I was crowned Mrs. Georgia-America, doors would open that would allow me to pursue these platforms in a much more dynamic and impactful way.

What were some of the responsibilities you had as Mrs. Georgia-America?

Knowing that I would only have a short period of time to accomplish a lifetime’s worth of goals, I packed my calendar! I have spoken to the National Guard’s Youth Challenge Program, escorted athletes in the Georgia Special Olympics, read to the elderly, attended benefits, spoken to women’s groups, participated in parades and store grand openings, and tried to never say no when a need was identified.

In addition to service opportunities, being Mrs. Georgia-America has been a catalyst for my career. I incorporated my personal charity, Frankie’s First, which brings on-reading-level books into the homes of students in need. I was trained for Mrs. Georgia-America by IQ Fitness, where I was later hired as a trainer. I was hired as the spokes model for Vein Innovations, Georgia's leading expert on varicose veins and spider veins. I was trained for Mrs. America by IQ Fitness, where I was later hired as a trainer. I have also enjoyed modeling opportunities from multiple companies including Mollye Jewlery, Jana Kos Clothing and Vibrance: A Hair Studio.

How long have you been a personal trainer and what made you want to become one?

Overweight and determined to change it, I dedicated myself to physical fitness at the age of 11. It was then that I began heavily researching nutrition, muscular training, and cardiovascular conditioning. Although not a formal trainer until two years ago, I have been designing nutrition and exercise plans for friends, family, and myself for over twenty years. Reaching my optimal level of physical fitness has changed my life; I want to provide every person in the Atlanta area the opportunity to know what that feels like!

How do you juggle being a personal trainer, model, wife and mother?

I have a very calculated schedule! I work as a personal trainer each morning from 5-8 a.m. Three to four times a month, I spend the day conducting professional development workshops on components of literacy and differentiation for teachers and administrators. On days that I am not doing that, I schedule any necessary meetings; one of those includes teaching (my son) Brendan’s preschool class once a month. (My husband) Dan and I plan date nights as often as possible. Despite the busy lifestyle, we pray as a family every morning and every night, and Dan and I make an effort each night to discuss that day’s highs and lows. We also reserve Sundays exclusively for church and family, and try to always plan a Saturday family activity. It works because I plan for it; I don’t think it would work any other way.

What do you consider some of your most memorable accomplishments?

The day I received a letter stating that Frankie’s First had been incorporated was a day I will never forget. I have received a tremendous outpouring of support from the community with book drives, and I am eager to increase my volunteer base and get more and more books into the homes of students in need. More than anything, I hope that I have accomplished a sense of pride and work ethic within my family. Although my boys might be too young to understand it now, I hope my pictures, journals, media clips, etc. will tell them a story of their mom’s dedication to making a positive impact.

Tell us about Frankie’s First and how the idea came about.

During the first week of my first year teaching, (a student) Frankie Ann asked me to walk her home from school. She took me into her tiny bedroom, and next to her bed was a huge stack of Scholastic book order forms. I asked her why she had saved them, and she responded that her grandmother could not afford to buy her books but she wanted to learn to read. I taught Frankie Ann for two years and was constantly inspired by her desire to learn despite all the obstacles she faced. It was due to Frankie Ann and the other amazing students in that first-ever class of mine that I decided to devote my adult life to providing high-quality education to students in low-income circumstances.

What inspires you in your daily life?

My faith and my family inspire me. I start my days at 4:30 a.m. and end them around 11 p.m.; however, despite how incredibly busy I may be there is one agenda item that I can never afford to postpone or cancel: my daily prayer and scripture study. I know every good thing comes from our Heavenly Father, and I want to honor Him in all that I do.

What is the best piece of advice you could give someone in terms of doing it all?

Prioritize. If you put the right things first, the other things will fall into place. It is only when I have lost sight of this that things have gone awry. I prioritize time for my responsibilities at church (I teach an adult Sunday school class) and for my family first. I then divide what is left among the other opportunities and responsibilities that await me. Sometimes that means I cannot do it all, and that is okay. I have learned to say no.

If you would like to donate to or volunteer with Frankie’s First, train with LaLona at IQ Fitness, or schedule an education workshop at your school, please contact her at .

Saturday, February 5, 2011

IMAGIX Dental and Mrs. Georgia 2010 Join Forces to Fight Illiteracy in Georgia

IMAGIX Dental and Mrs. Georgia 2010 Join Forces to Fight Illiteracy in Georgia
January 3 in Doing Good

Mrs. Georgia 2010, with her two small chidren, and Orthodontist Dr. Wes Pleming and Pediatric Specialist Dr. A. Patrick Smithwick III at the Imagix in Norcross

Mrs. Georgia 2010 LaLona Richards, founder of Frankie’s First, together with Imagix Dental are on a mission to fight illiteracy in Georgia.

“Illiteracy is the greatest threat to our children’s future. My foundation takes its name from a girl named Frankie, who I met while serving as a 7th grade teacher in rural Arizona,” said LaLona Richards. “Frankie was an eager student who desperately wanted to read, but her family could not afford books. The experience planted the idea for Frankie’s First in 2002, and has shaped my career path as a teacher and literacy consultant for the past eight years.”

Frankie’s First and fighting childhood obesity are LaLona’s platforms as Mrs Georgia. She believes that all children, despite their social-economic background, deserve to have books to read at home.

“We believe in what LaLona wants to accomplish in her fight against illiteracy,” says Gene Witkin partner of Imagix Dental, which has offices and affiliates throughout Atlanta, “and we want to help her cause by providing a collection point for new and gently used books through our neighborhood offices. We also believe that our family of patients would be interested and excited to help the cause.”

The program runs through February 2011. Books dropped at the Imagix locations will be collected and distributed by Frankie’s First to those in need. To find out where you can participate visit

About Frankie’s First
Frankie’s First is a 501c3 foundation started by LaLona Richards the reigning Mrs. Georgia 2010 and winner of Georgia Fitness Award. Frankie’s First primarily raises money through “Bootcamp for Books” a program that Mrs. LaLona and other degreed fitness professionals offer in Buckhead. “Bootcamp for Books” meets several times a day at IQ Fitness – 100 % of all profits go to the Foundation. To learn more visit

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mrs. Georgia 2011 Pageant

On my way back to the theatre for rehearsal!
More Mollye Jewelry and Jana Kos clothing (jacket only)!

Right before Opening Number

My dress for Opening Number

The ladies!

More of the ladies!

My welcome

Post-pageant picture with the family
The boys were sooo tired... and quite upset that they had not been permitted to be with me on stage all night long.  However, in the scheme of things they did quite well, and they were certainly quite handsome (especially their dad!). My parents were troopers and took care of the boys throughout the pageant.

And the winner is.... Tiffany Marshall, Mrs. Decatur!
From left to right:
Cindy Alsobrook (3rd RU), Jess'ika Coley-Davis (1st RU), me, Tiffany Marshall (Mrs. Georgia 2011), Abigail Jennings (2nd RU), Julie Howard (4th RU)

A final shot with the crown!

The After Party -- posing with the judges
From left to right: Julie Abernathy (Mrs. NC 2009), Loni Hale (Mrs. Iowa 2009), me, Kara Call (Mrs. GA 2003)

Girls will be girls...

Our beautiful Mrs. GA 2011 with her sweet husband and gorgeous daughter!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Interview Day

The girls looked gorgeous on interview day, and the judges were extremely impressed with all of the interviews!

I modeled Jana Kos clothing and Mollye Jewelry that day. If you like what you see, please check it out! A percentage of all proceeds benefit my charity, Frankie's First.

Jana Kos -, Georgia Stylist:
Mollye Jewelry --

Abigail Jennings, future 2nd RU

Tiffany Marshall, future winner!

Julie Howard, future 4th RU

Mrs. Georgia 2011 Cocktail Party

On Friday night, we had a cocktail party for the contestants and pageant sponsors. It was a fantastic party full of great conversation and dynamite photos! I was eager to meet each contestant and left totally clueless on who would win. They were all gorgeous, articulate, accomplished, passionate women!

Tiffany Marshall, Mrs. Decatur (the future winner!) and Jessi'ka Coley-Davis (future 1st RU!)

Silvia Manning, Mrs. Roswell

My incredible directors, Carl and Faith Schway

The ladies!

Posing outside the Fox Theatre

Contestants' meeting at the end of the night

Here is close-up shot of the Mollye Jewelry pieces I was able to model that night.  I genuinely LOVE Mollye Jewelry and feel so fortunate that I am their model!
If you like the jewelry, check out  Designer Marci Fried will work one-on-one with you to create the one-of-a-kind piece you have always wanted!  A percentage of all proceeds benefit my charity, Frankie's First!

Check out the bracelet - wow!

Georgia Special Olympics

My last formal event as the reigning Mrs. Georgia America was escorting the athletes of the Georgia Special Olympics.  I cannot imagine a more inspirational, humbling, beautiful way to conclude my reign.

Jessi'ka Coley-Davis, Mrs. Atlanta and 1st Runner up in Mrs. GA 2011, is always looking for a way to serve.  She has been to several events with me, and it has been an honor to get to know her sweet spirit.

Posing with the athletes

More athletes

Signing autographs

Such a sweet young man!

The Torch Ceremony

Fabulously emotional, I will never forget watching the lighting of the torch!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Vein Innovations Partners with Frankie's First!

Miracle Cream

It was Saturday afternoon. I received a text asking if I could do a jewelry photo shoot on Monday. My first thought was, "Yes!" My second thought was "Oh no! My hands!"

Winter has no been kind to my hands, and I have not compensated adequately.  At this point my hands were very dry, even cracked in places. I called the person I always call when I don't know what to do -- my mom.

My mom suggested I use Mary Kay's extra emollient night cream on my hands. I can best describe it as a very thick vasoline; plus it is pink, of course!  Willing to try anything but skeptical that there was a two-day solution possible, I covered my hands each night.

Needless to say (or otherwise I would not be writing this post), it worked. I now have soft, smooth, feminine hands, and it happened nearly overnight. I am now a devoted Mary Kay intensive night cream fan.  If you have dry skin, maybe you should become one, too.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Check Out LaLona's Picture on Vein Innovations' Billboard!

Check out LaLona's Picture on Vein Innovations' Billboard - 
First location displayed is on Peachtree at Piedmont Hospital Southbound
"This is a wonderful, caring company with fantastic doctors, a fantastic staff, happy customers, and excellent results!"

Spider Veins?
Varicose Veins?
Venous Stasis Ulcers?

Atlanta, Georgia now has state-of-the-art, minimally invasive treatment options.
Let Georgia's leading expert on varicose veins and spider veins improve your comfort and confidence with our virtually pain-free treatment options that include: Sclerotherapy, ELAS, Laser and VNUS Closure.
VeinInnovations offers the most comprehensive, state-of-the-art treatment modalities available for varicose veins and spider veins in Georgia. Most procedures take less than one hour and patients can resume normal activity the same day!

Get in the Best Shape of Your Life with LaLona and IQ Fitness

with Mrs. Georgia America 2010 and Fitness Award Winner, LaLona Richards

Experience Buckhead’s premiere personal training studio,
IQ Fitness: Intelligent Exercise, conveniently located in Buckhead at the intersection of Roswell Road and Peachtree Street

Private and small group sessions are available
Mention this ad and receive 30% off your first 10 sessions!
Schedule your free trial class now by contacting LaLona at, 404-906-4664, or visit


“I have defined arms and abs for the first time in my life, and I am 47 years old!”
-- Peggy: Musician, educator, entertainment business owner

"I drive 45 minutes to get here and pass a hundred gyms on my way, but it is worth it to work out with LaLona!"
– Angie: Advocare Distributor and mother of children ages 3 and 8

Click on the following link (this will take you to LaLona's You Tube Channel) to see interview with Scott on his first day and his reasons for signing up for the Bootcamp at IQ Fitness with LaLona:

Friday, January 14, 2011

LaLona's Nutrition Tip #2: Nutrition on the Go

You’re busy. Whether it’s kids, work, school, or a combination of all three, you are on the go and often eating on the run.  So what do you eat? A Nutri-grain bar?  Pretzels?  Leftover Goldfish from the diaper bag?  A candy bar? 

Here are some healthier options that will leave you full and fit:

1. Green apple (less sugar than other apples) with 6 almonds
2. Other fruit -- peach, pear, orange, etc. -- but watch portion sizes.  Some fruit portions are ½ the fruit or ½-3/4 cup cubed.  If you are wanting to lose weight, limit bananas to ½ 3x per week.   
3. 1 cup (about a handful) of baby carrots, cucumber, or any other raw vegetable, coupled with 1 T. raisins if you want a treat.
4. Protein powder (all you need is a bottle of water to make a shake!)
5. Edamame is also a healthy snack.

      Health bars such as Zone or Think Thin can be an option when the above-mentioned ones are not available. They are not as good for you as eating the natural foods, but they are tremendously better than most alternatives!

If you have a lunch box that will help keep things cool:
·    1. Reduced-fat all-natural cheese stick
·    2. Plain Greek yogurt sweetened with Stevia (I have the “purse size” stevia bottle. You can get it at Whole Foods and the Farmers’ Market.)

Try to stay away from the empty carbs and high sugars (listed in the opening paragraph) that we often are tempted to grab. I keep a bar and a baggie of protein powder in my purse at all times, and I try to never leave home for a long period of time without taking a fruit and a bag of veggies. When I go work out in the mornings, I often take a yogurt to have in the car before heading home. The key is that I never let myself get hungry, yet I keep myself fit by always having healthy foods around me! 

If you have specific nutrition questions, please send them my way on this blog. I would be delighted to help!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

LaLona's Beauty Tip #3 - Hair!

I’ve had long hair most of my life, but it has not been until recently that I have been bombarded with questions about how I care for and style it.  I attribute this entirely to two stylists who have taught me everything I know – Geoffrey and Jennifer Frost of Robert Frost Salon.  If you live in the Atlanta area and have not yet been to their salon, book your appointment now!

My number one advice is to have an excellent hair cut and to have it often enough to maintain your style. Despite my long hair, I have layers that have to be regularly maintained or the whole look goes down in shambles.  I use various shampoos and conditioners depending on what style I am seeking. If I am curling my hair, I opt for a volumizing set, whereas if I am going to wear it straight I use a “sleek” set or even one that deep conditions to give a very shiny look.  Although not particularly attached to specific shampoo brands, I am married to my products.  I love Rusk.  

After towel-drying my hair, I apply “Thicker” all over my hair and massage it in. I then apply Rusk’s volumizing moose, and, if I am wearing my hair curled and want extra body, I then apply Rusk’s root boost.  After drying but before applying any additional heat such as a straightening iron, curling iron, or rollers, I apply Str8, a product that protects my hair against the damage of the heat and adds shine to it.  No joke, these products transform my fine hair into incredible volume and provide gorgeous shine!  When people say, “You have such thick, great hair!” and I smile, silently thanking Rusk. 

If fine, flat, or even dull hair sounds familiar to you, pick up some Rusk samples and watch the magic unfold!