Chihuly in the Garden


Since April, the Atlanta Botanical Garden has welcomed thousands of guests eager to experience world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly’s exhibition Chihuly in the Garden. As attendance continues to grow, the Garden announced today it will offer Chihuly Nights six evenings a week – Tuesday through Sunday – during the show’s final weeks in October.


The additional evening will accommodate record crowds expected during the final month of the blockbuster show — which will not be extended, said Mary Pat Matheson, Garden President and CEO.

“With crisp fall temperatures coming on the heels of the brutally hot summer, we wanted to give more guests an opportunity to experience the exhibition during the cool of the evening before it closes on October 30,” Matheson said.

The popular exhibition, which opened April 30 and coincides with the Garden’s 40th anniversary, features 19 mainly glass sculptural installation sites, five of which were created specifically for the Garden, intertwined with the natural beauty of 30 sprawling acres. In the evening, the colorful work may be experienced in a different light when the sculptures are dramatically lit during Chihuly Nights.

“What better way to celebrate our 40th anniversary than with the overwhelming success of this show?” Matheson said. “This exhibit has allowed us to reach people from all walks of life, people that might otherwise never have the chance to experience Chihuly’s vibrant work. Chihuly in the Garden has not only made our 40th anniversary a spectacular celebration, but it has showcased our city as a destination for fine arts and culture!”

Since opening April 30, more than 332,000 guests have toured the exhibition, significantly impacting overall Garden attendance. Through August, annual attendance increased 21 percent over the same period last year.


The Garden first presented an exhibition of Chihuly’s work in 2004 during a blockbuster show that drew a then-record 375,000 visitors after it was extended two months, doubling Garden attendance that year to 425,000 and propelling Garden memberships to what was then an all-time high.

Since then, increased attendance and membership have allowed the Midtown attraction to continue to grow. In 2010, the Garden doubled in size from 15 to 30 acres, expanding into Storza Woods. Today, new gardens provide even more beautiful settings for art and nature to be woven together.

Fine art exhibitions like Chihuly in the Garden have become a summertime staple each year for both locals and visitors
alike. For more information, visit

Fall is for Planting


Shrubs, trees, flowerings and edibles are perfect autumn additions to any landscape


It’s officially autumn, and the cooler nights combined with still-warm soil mean it’s time for fall planting. Whether yards yearn for shrubs, trees, flowers or delicious edibles, autumn provides the optimum amount of time for healthy, robust root systems to develop before prime foliage and flower production happens next spring. For gardening beginners and seasoned green thumbs alike, Pike Nurseries has the expert advice to keep landscapes looking gorgeous all season long!

Favorite Fall Flowers
Signs of fall fever are popping up in flower beds, container gardens and festive décor everywhere. Cool weather loving flowers like chrysanthemums – commonly known as mums – and pansies, violas and snapdragons add vibrant color to fall displays and curb appeal to any yard. Spring blooming bulbs are also ideal for fall planting, as are perennials like asters, toad lilies, Black Eyed Susans and Echinacea.

Towering Trees
Trees are great additions to any landscape, as they provide focal points and shade. During the fall, deciduous trees show off their true beauty when leaves change colors from green to warm hues of gold, red and orange. Popular varieties include Maples, Gingkos and Dogwoods, which are common to the Southeast region. As is the Pike Nurseries promise, all trees and shrubs are guaranteed for life.

Structured Shrubs
Not only do shrubs enhance curb appeal by adding structure to the garden, but they make excellent cornerstones during the winter, offsetting other green foliage and deciduous plants. For year round interest, plant evergreen shrubs with vibrant leaves such as burgundy-red Indian Hawthorn, ruby-purple Loropetalum, yellow green Anise and dark green Camellias. In the fall and winter, Pyracantha, Beautyberries, Cotoneaster and Hollies provide beautiful berries, perfect for incorporating into holiday décor and indoor arrangements.



Mulch Matters
Another way to keep the garden healthy and thriving throughout fall and into winter is to incorporate mulch into the landscape. Mulching in fall helps keep soil temperatures consistent, slows water evaporation and helps prevent weeds. Pike Nurseries offers a variety of mulch types and colors. For homeowners unsure as to which mulch makes the most sense for their landscape, the experts at Pike Nurseries can help choose the perfect companion for any yard.


Hungry for Fall Edibles
For gardeners hungry for fall vegetables, now is the perfect time to plant. Fall edibles such as cabbage, lettuce, spinach, collards and broccoli will provide a hearty harvest throughout the season. For first-time veggie gardeners, the key to success is planting them in well amended soil that receives at least six hours of sunlight. Just because summer is gone, doesn’t mean fruit has to be. Fall is ideal for planting fruit trees like apples, pears and peaches, as well as blueberry bushes.


For tips on growing fall edibles, customers can join Pike Nurseries for a FREECool Season Vegetables and Herbs Class this Saturday, September 24 at 9 a.m. Happening at all store locations, green-thumb enthusiasts looking to shift focus from hot summer harvests to autumn planting will learn which vegetables and herbs are best during the region’s cooler months, as well as learn how to plant and care for the delicious harvest. In addition, guests who attend the free class will also receive a 15 percent discount on select items.

For best gardening practices during the fall season, as well tips on picking the perfect flowering plants, trees and shrubs, visit any one of Pike Nurseries’ 16 store locations. For more information on other offerings or upcoming events, please visit Pike Nurseries online at

Sinfully Evil Monsters and Fully Interactive Virtual Reality Coaster to Debut for Fright Fest at Six Flags Over Georgia


More than 20 spine-chilling haunted attractions await those who dare to enter the gates at Six Flags Over Georgia for the largest Fright Fest® event in park history, beginning September 24. The annual eerie experience ramps way up this season with the debut of one of the world’s first fully interactive virtual reality roller coasters, Rage of the Gargoyles at Dare Devil Dive, during the Fright Fest season. In all, Fright Fest will feature more than 400 zombies and monsters, 12 hair-raising scare zones, six bloodcurdling mazes and four terrifying live shows.

“We are committed to making Fright Fest the premier Halloween attraction in Georgia with our world-class roller coasters and topnotch frightening attractions,” said Six Flags Atlanta Properties Park President Dale Kaetzel. “Combined with the all-new Rage of the Gargoyles Virtual Reality Roller Coaster, we guarantee that our guests will be screaming louder than ever before this fall.”


In Rage of the Gargoyles, riders wearing Samsung Gear VR headsets will become pilots of an Apache-style helicopter, transported into a futuristic battle against blood-thirsty gargoyles on Dare Devil Dive and experience:

·         The incredibly immersive world of virtual reality – straight up nearly 100 feet as the gargoyles pound on the copter’s windshield;

·         Flying down a 95 degree launch off the edge of a building – beyond vertical;

·         Darting between a devastated cityscape with battered skyscrapers, hazardous bridges, and falling debris; 

·         Daring aerobatic maneuvers through three inversions and zero-gravity hills; and

·         A fully interactive gaming battle through 2,100 feet of track to destroy the vicious master gargoyle.

Six Flags Atlanta  Photo by: Craig T. Mathew/Mathew Imaging

Six Flags Atlanta
Photo by: Craig T. Mathew/Mathew Imaging

The petrifying Fright Fest event will also feature four new unnerving additions:

·         Mummy’s Curse, a new pitch-black haunted maze, where the old curse of the Six Flags Over Georgia mummies are lurking, looking for their next victim;

·         The Witching Hour, a new scare zone, where all of the dead zombies and monsters will haunt you before the night ends at the park exit;

·         CarnEvil, a live show, with the scariest of all creepy clowns you’ve ever come to see, that will become part of your worst nightmare; and

·         Demon District, a new haunted scare zone, where a chilling mob of infected zombies and monsters are ominously taking over the streets of the park, holding no bias.

10/9/09 8:24:19 PM -- Six Flags Fright Fest Performance Photography. "Dead Man's Party" © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2009

10/9/09 8:24:19 PM — Six Flags Fright Fest Performance Photography. “Dead Man’s Party” © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2009

The event’s signature attractions are also back this year including Terror Train, ZX-1 and the award-winning Dr. Fright’s Dead Man’s Party at the Crystal Pistol Music Hall, along with all of the guest-favorite rides including Goliath, BATMAN: The Ride, SUPERMAN: Ultimate Flight and more. Fright Fest begins each night with The Uprising, where bloodthirsty monsters are released into the dark of night.  

During the day, the park is filled with tamer Thrills by Day Halloween activities for families to enjoy together, including a harvest festival, arts and crafts, pumpkin painting, spooky stories and more. Children 12 and under are encouraged to wear a family-friendly costume to the park and take part in a costume contest with their favorite Looney Tunes friends.  

Fright Fest at Six Flags Over Georgia runs September 24 through Halloween night October 31 on select days. A Haunted Attractions Pass is required for all mazes. For more information, please visit Fright Fest 2016.

About Six Flags Entertainment Corporation

Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is the world’s largest regional theme park company with $1.3 billion in revenue and 18 parks across the United States, Mexico and Canada. For 55 years, Six Flags has entertained millions of families with world-class coasters, themed rides, thrilling water parks and unique attractions. For more information, visit

Potty Training Made a Little Easier with Pampers Easy-Ups


Toddlers and potty training!  Those two words can make a parent beam or scream.  It can be the best of times, and then it can be the worst of times!  There is just not one secret trick that works for every child you have.  I can recall potty training my first one was incredibly hard.  He just did not want to have any part in it.  We tried incentives to letting him walk around the house naked, but nothing worked!  To say we were frustrated is an understatement.  At the time of his potty training “season,” my son was enrolled in a local daycare.  I remember him not being able to move up to the next class because he was not fully potty trained.  While that did not seem to bother him in the least, we did see a spark of interest when pool season opened.  In order to swim in the “big kid pool” a child had to be fully potty trained.  As his buddies in preschool went to the pool, our sweetheart had to stay behind.  It did not take too long before the urge to swim overcame him, and suddenly we found ourselves at the doorstep of pottying!  He seriously just took a week or so and he was being a big kid!


Now we find ourselves once again at the threshold of pottying like a big kid.  How will this one go?  Only time will tell.  One thing is for sure, he LOVES wearing his Pampers Easy Ups.  He tells us he feels like daddy in his big boy underwear.

Is your baby in the potty training stage? This is such a busy time in your life and your little one.  Training a toddler is not an easy task, but with patience and a little rewarding your sweet one could be on their way to pottying success!

Pampers is launching one of the biggest innovations in training pants in years: the new and improved Pampers® Easy Ups™ Training Underwear – a product designed to help little ones and their families during their “Underwear Training” journey.  New Pampers Easy Ups are the easiest way to underwear! They look, fit and feel like real underwear while providing the leak protection you’d expect from Pampers. Little ones will think it’s underwear, but you’ll know it’s Pampers.  New Pampers Easy Ups have a 360° stretchy waistband for an underwear-like fit that’s easy for your toddler to pull up and down. Easy Ups are super soft, like cotton underwear, to keep your toddler comfortable. Easy Ups also tear easily at the sides just in case it’s needed.

Pampers has some great tips and suggestions for parents entering the potty training stage. First, prepare ahead of time by buying a potty that sits on the floor, and place it in a room that the child spends alot of time in.   Second, let them practice sitting on their new potty with clothes on and without.  Want to know more?  They have lots of great tips here.

Pampers Easy Ups is a great line that you can trust.  It works during the day and night, and provides up to 12 hours of protection. What is so cool about this line is that it  has an underwear-like design for growing toddlers.  Super-stretchy sides make them easy to pull up and down when using the potty.  Pampers Easy Ups Training Pants are sold in sizes 2T-5T and can be found at mass, discount and grocery stores where baby care products are sold.



For more than 50 years, parents have trusted Pampers to care for their babies. We trusted it with our older ones, and now we trust them with our newest ones.  Pampers offers a complete range of diapers, wipes and training pants designed to provide protection and comfort for every stage of baby’s development.   Visit to learn more about Pampers products, join the Pampers Rewards program, and find ideas and information to help your baby get the most out of love, sleep and play.

Pampers is offering a coupon that you can print at home for $2 off 1 pack of new Pampers Easy Ups Training Pants. Help make the potty training process easy and more affordable with this high-value coupon. Here’s how to save:

o You can clip the Pampers Easy Ups coupon at:

o You will need to open a account if you do not already have one

o Then you can print, shop, and save – and keep an eye out for more Pampers coupons in the future!

It is hard enough being a parent and worrying over we are doing  this parenting thing right!  Transitioning into underwear is a big deal for every toddler! While the end result is rewarding, the road to get there can be full of challenges for parents and kids alike. Pampers Easy Ups new product features are designed to help make the process of graduating from diapers to underwear easier and more fun! Trust Pampers Easy Ups to help make your potty training days a little easier.   They know babies and toddlers!

Are you ready for a giveaway? We have a #PampersEasyUps prize package that will include:

  • $50 AMEX Card
  • Pampers Easy Ups
  • Ilana Wile’s book, “The Mommy Shorts Guide to Remarkably Average Parenting”



Giveaway open to US and ends October 2.



Social Media Connections






Disclaimer:  This post and giveaway were made possible by iConnect and Pampers Easy Ups. I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are 100% mine.



Dollywood again earned several of Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Awards, this year picking up four “best of” awards and placing in the top-five in five additional categories during the magazine’s 2016 awards ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 10 at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.

“I’m so very proud of the experience families have when they come visit my Dollywood,” Dolly Parton said. “While they’re here having fun with us, I want them to create those special heartfelt moments they’ll always treasure. I know it’s our people who work here who help make those memories happen for them. Some people call it friendliness, but I just call it what it is—caring for others.

“Our folks show their love for families through the care they put in to everything they do—from our beautiful landscaping and that delicious food to makin’ sure each guest leaves with a smile on their face. I’m very proud of the way Dollywood has grown, but I’m most proud of my Dollywood team who goes above and beyond to give families memories they’ll share forever.”

Dollywood’s four Golden Ticket Awards include:

·         Best New Ride, for Lightning Rod, both the world’s fastest wooden coaster and the world’s first wooden launching coaster;

·         Friendliest Park, for the fifth consecutive year;

·         Best Shows, Dollywood’s eighth consecutive victory in this category;

·         Best Christmas Event, the only park to ever earn this award, Dollywood celebrates its ninth consecutive win.

Dollywood also ranked in six additional categories:

·   Best Food, second place;

·   Cleanest Park, second place;

·   Best Park, third place;

·   Best Water Park for Dollywood’s Splash Country, third place;

·   Best Landscaping, fourth place;

·   Best Wooden Coaster for Thunderhead, seventh place.

“Dollywood is a finalist in more categories than any other park—ten to be exact,” noted Tim Baldwin, Golden Ticket Awards Communications Coordinator for Amusement Today. “The destination claims four Golden Ticket wins this year! These accomplishments should command the attention of anyone in the industry looking for a model of how to do things right. It’s no wonder Dollywood charms more and more visitors each year. The place is sheer joy.”

Calculated from an international poll conducted by Amusement Today, the industry’s leading trade publication, the Golden Ticket Awards are the results of a detailed survey sent to a database of experienced and well-traveled amusement park fans around the world in balanced geographical regions. Voters are asked to rate the “best” in 23 categories such as best parks, roller coasters, water rides, shows, kids’ area, landscaping and Christmas events.

The Golden Ticket Awards are the most sought after awards in the business of amusements and attractions. The awards have become the subject of much discussion by park aficionados the world over and garnered mentions in such notable media outlets as USA TODAY and the Chicago Tribune, and by the late radio newsman Paul Harvey. The awards also were the topic of a one-hour Travel Channel documentary.

Dollywood was recognized in 2010 at the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions with the Applause Award in recognition of a park whose management, operations and creative accomplishments have inspired the industry with its foresight, originality and sound business development.



Elmo, Cookie Monster and their friend, Jenny the Music Teacher, visited the patients and families at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta on Thursday, Sept. 15 prior to their stage show at the Fox Theatre on Saturday and Sunday. In CHOA’s crowded atrium, Jenny read stories to the enthralled patients and families before she led them into a sing-a-long with a couple of familiar ditties. Children’s eyes were wide with excitement at seeing their favorite characters from the screen right in front of them. The fur flew as children cheered, hugged and loved Elmo and Cookie Monster. Many laughed with glee as the characters danced and waved at them before departing to the patient elevators.

SESAME STREET LIVE: ELMO MAKES MUSIC will be at the Fox Theatre for five shows Saturday, Sept. 17 and Sunday, Sept. 18. For more details, please visit


About Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has been 100 percent dedicated to kids for 100 years. A not-for-profit organization, Children’s is dedicated to making kids better today and healthier tomorrow. Our specialized care helps children get better faster and live healthier lives. Managing more than 870,000 patient visits annually at three hospitals and 25 neighborhood locations, Children’s is the largest healthcare provider for children in Georgia and one of the largest pediatric clinical care providers in the country. Children’s offers access to more than 60 pediatric specialties and programs and is ranked among the top children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report. With generous philanthropic and volunteer support since 1915, Children’s has impacted the lives of children in Georgia, the United States and throughout the world.


Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization that revolutionized children’s television programming with the landmark Sesame Street. The Workshop produces local Sesame Street programs, seen in over 150 countries, and other acclaimed shows to help bridge the literacy gap including The Electric Company. Beyond television, the Workshop produces content for multiple media platforms on a wide range of issues including literacy, health and military deployment. Initiatives meet specific needs to help young children and families develop critical skills, acquire healthy habits and build emotional strength to prepare them for lifelong learning. Learn more at



VStar Entertainment Group is comprised of Blue Star Media LLC and VEE LLC. Blue Star Media LLC is one of the nation’s leading producers and promoters of consumer shows and events, and has promoted more than 2,000 shows over the last 20 years. VEE LLC is one of the most experienced and respected names in family-friendly entertainment, and has delighted millions of children around the world with live touring stage shows since Sesame Street Live’s debut performance in 1980. Clients and partners in the corporate, sports, museum and event marketing sector come to VEE for imaginative solutions to capture the undivided attention of their customers and audiences through custom designed/built interactive environments. Together the companies own, operate and promote multiple North American tours, scheduled to visit more than 150 cities in 2016. For more information about VStar Entertainment Group, please visit

About the Fox Theatre
The Fox Theatre is one of Atlanta’s premiere venues for live entertainment and declared a Top Stop of the Decade by Venues Today Magazine and the #1 non-residency venue worldwide for the decade by Billboard Magazine. In April 2013, Rolling Stone Magazine announced that the Fox Theatre was one of “The Best Big Rooms in America” as part of their “Venues That Rock” series. In addition, The Fox Theatre was nominated for Theatre of the Year by Billboard and Pollstar Magazines, and awarded the Outstanding Historic Theatre of the Year award in 2011 by the League of Historic American Theatres. For the past decade, The Fox Theatre has been consistently ranked in the top three non-residency theatres in North America for gross ticket sales by industry trade magazines, Pollstar, Billboard and Venues Today. The Fox Theatre has the #1 social media presence for any theatre or performing arts center in North America, for any venue between 2,000 and 5,000 seats, and for any Georgia venue according to the Social Media Power 100 compiled by Venues Today Magazine. The Fox’s 4,665 seat theatre hosts 250 performances a year. An impressive range of events from rock concerts to Broadway, ballets, comedy and movies continue to attract more than 500,000 visitors per year. In addition, The Fox is host to wedding receptions, trade shows, corporate meetings and association functions in its fabulous ballrooms, lounge and outdoor terrace. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts organization, the Fox Theatre stands today as a fiercely protected landmark and a nationally acclaimed theater and is celebrating its 86th year. The partners of the Fox Theatre are Delta, Coca-Cola, Lexus, Georgian Terrace Hotel/Livingston, Georgia Natural Gas, Regions, Atlanta Beverage, Grady Health System, and Whole Foods Market. Tickets for all events are available at The Fox Theatre Ticket Office, online at, and at all Atlanta Ticket Alternative locations including Whole Foods Markets, or toll free at 855-285-8499. For group sales information contact The Fox Theatre at (404) 881-2000, or visit The Fox Theatre website at

Quilted Monkey Mats


Fall is just around the corner, and I could not be happier!  I absolutely LOVE this season.  The beautiful colors that abound and the cooler weather calls my family’s name!  Living in Georgia can be hard during the summer.  We have high temperatures well into late September.  For instance, today it got up to 93.  I know for some that is nothing, but for others…it is way too hot!  As a native Georgia girl, I can take it…but only for soooooo long!  At some point, I want/need relief!

Another thing that I really look forward to are festivals.  There are so many fun Fall themed festivals.  One thing that can easily put  a damper on that is lack of appropriate and useful outside accessories. How many times have you been in the following situation?

You are finally heading out to your favorite venue.  The weather is perfect, and you can’t wait to enjoy a concert outside in the cool, crisp air.  Perhaps you want to snuggle with your loved ones.  When you get there you realize you forgot to pack one necessary accessory!  The seating accessory!  Of course, you don’t want to stand the whole time so you take off your sweater or your significant other removes theirs. and that becomes your “seating” for the show.  Or maybe you packed a flat sheet, and the only place available for you to spread out is on the rocky area.  This has happened to me way too many times!   That is where the *NEW* Quilted Monkey Mat comes in.


 It is your cushy, portable mat for in/outdoor use that can go everywhere! Luxurious yet affordable and with lots of fun features, you can enjoy the waterproof base, central loops for attaching items, spill resistant top, weighted corners, loops for stakes, and the attached ultra-compact pouch to take everywhere! Perfect for park, beach, dirty floors, concerts, picnics, sporting events, camping, and more. No more bulky blankets! So go ahead – Make your space, any place!

My readers get to save! Use coupon code “USFAM” for $5 off + Free Shipping!