Georgia Repertory Theatre announces Summer Theatre Festival

I am a theatre lover.  There is just something about going to a theatre that excites me.  From visiting iconic theatres like Springer Opera House to watching the magic unfold on stage, theatres evoke emotions.

Paul Pierce and Larry Dooley run the two busiest theatre companies in Columbus – the Springer Opera House and CSU Department of Theatre. Together, they mount 35 productions and nearly 500 performances every year.  This summer, the two theatre men will team up to launch a new venture aimed at attracting visitors to the city for stage entertainment, food, fun and adventure.  The Georgia Repertory Theatre Summer Theatre Festival will present five theatrical events over a ten week period in May, June and July.

In partnership with the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau, the GRT Summer Theatre Festival will entice leisure travelers to sample the explosive downtown summer scene. Using the drawing power of theatre entertainment for all ages, GRT anticipates attracting a lively mix of foodies, white water paddlers, zip line enthusiasts, cyclists and music fans who will spend several days sampling the unique mix of urban vitality and river adventure that Columbus has to offer.

Local audiences began seeing the Georgia Repertory Theatre logo on
programs, posters and advertising for CSU Theatre and Springer productions this season.

GRT is a partnership between the two theatres with the common goal of using theatre to propel economic development, audience building, educational opportunities for underserved communities and workforce development in Columbus.

“We merged our missions,” explains Springer producing artistic director Paul Pierce. “Larry and I are committed to flexing our artistic muscle to stimulate commerce and create jobs in Columbus. With the GRT Summer Theatre Festival, Columbus now has a summertime tourism attraction that will bring multi-generational travelers to town to spend several days here for stage shows, food, music, zip-lining and whitewater rafting.”

“I’m excited to create this partnership with Paul and the Springer,” said CSU Theatre chairman Larry Dooley. “Together, we are going to put on fifty-two performances on four stages downtown over a ten-week period. Hotels, restaurants, bike shops, outfitters, Market Days and riverfront attractions will all see an impact.”

The GRT Summer Theatre Festival will present five events:

An audacious comic romp by the master of farce, Joe Orton. This bawdy classic comedy features a psychiatrist, his insatiable wife, a blackmailing bellhop, an innocent secretary and a befuddled cop. Clothes off, clothes on, rapid exits, mistaken identities. Rated PG16
May 18-20, 25-27, June 1-3,8,15,22 at 7:30 pm – CSU Riverside Theatre – Studio – “Bring Your Own Dinner” Theatre

Seven year-old Strawberry has lots of friends but she hates her freckles! She goes to incredible lengths to cover those dreaded spots, including covering her head with an itchy ski mask. Will she ever believe her mother who tells her she is PERFECT?
Rated G
June 8-10,13-17,20-24 at 10:00 am and June 11,18 and 25 at 2:00 pm. CSU Riverside Theatre – Mainstage

Broadway’s Tony Award-winning mega-hit musical comedy. It’s 1962 and Tracy Turnblad has only one desire – to dance on the “Corny Collins Show.” When her dream comes true, Tracy is transformed from social outcast to sudden star.
Rated PG
June 9-10,16-17,23-24 at 7:30 pm – CSU Riverside Theatre – Mainstage

A hilarious children’s musical theatre showcase of fractured fairy tales. Chicken Little, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Princess and the Pea, Goldilocks and The Gingerbread Man all get a complete comic makeover.
Rated G
July 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, and 22 at 7 PM and July 9, 16, and 23 at 2 PM. McClure Theatre at Springer Opera House.

An unedited, uncensored late-night showcase of original works. Comedy, poetry, music, scenes, dance, rants, improv – no-holds-barred. 18-and-up. Beer and wine. Five-minute slots.
Every Friday Night, May 19 – July 21,
Sign-up at 10:00 pm, Show starts at 10:30 pm.
Springer Opera House 1st Avenue entrance. Look for the Lady.

For tickets and information, go to or call 706-327-3688.

Escape Real Life with a Stay in a Treehouse

I can recall the days of my childhood like they happened yesterday.  We had an enormous backyard and a BIG house with a secret little room under the stairs that I used as a my clubhouse.  My sister and I created all sorts of games that we played to entertain ourselves in the days of no technology. One of our favorite places to play was my father’s garden.  He had planted an enormous vegetable garden full of all his favorites like corn and okra.  My sister and I had plenty of fun playing hide and seek among the corn stalks.

But there was one special place that we called our treehouse.  Although it was not technically a real treehouse, our imaginations lead us to believe that the willow tree in our backyard was the perfect treehouse for us.  My sister and I spent many hours hiding among the  Weeping Willow. It’s branches  created a protective canopy that was perfect for holding secret meetings and climbing.  It was our “treehouse,” and she was loved very much.

As one would expect, I grew older, and we moved away.  The days of my treehouse adventures were over, or at least I thought.  Within recent years we have seen a revival (in my mind) of treehouses.  Adults are rediscovering their youth and building treehouses to enjoy.

Recently my husband and I had the opportunity to visit the Blue Ridge Treehouse at Bear Claw Vineyards in Blue Ridge, Georgia.  Nestled among the trees overlooking a working vineyard, this beautiful treehouse is the perfect place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of real life.   Located off the beaten path and close to downtown Blue Ridge, GA, you will experience your little piece of heaven at the treehouse resort.


Bear Claw Vineyards, scheduled to open to the public in September of 2017, is owned and ran by Michelle and Kevin Swim.  They have a love for wine, and they want to bring that passion to the public by providing wine that is as authentic and as real as one can get.  We will tell you more about the vineyard in a later blog post.  Today, we want to focus on a fun looking whimsical treehouse (think Dr. Seuss and Swiss Family Robinson)  nestled in the beautiful Northeast Georgia mountains.

With a beautiful property full of walnut, pine, oak and maple trees, Michelle contacted the Tree House Guys to design their first treehouse.  Wanting a treehouse that would “become the be all, end all place for friends and family to gather on the cool fall nights the Blue Ridge Mountains,”  the Treehouse Guys created an amazing customized treehouse for guests to enjoy.

With a copper tin roof, crooked windows, and barn doors, the 300 square foot treehouse is situated 15 feet high among real living oak trees that gently sway in the breeze.  It is nothing short of luxurious.

A queen sized loft bed with  a bear theme is located above the open treehouse.  To reach it all you have to do is step one foot at a time on this winding staircase.  Although it may look like you may fall, you won’t.  Plus when you get to the top, you are going to ENJOY the view!

Downstairs you will find plenty of room and plenty of amenities that make you feel like you have not left home .  The kitchen includes a dishwasher, microwave, refrigerator, and toaster oven.  They even provide guests with a Keurig machine featuring an assortment of coffee.

Guests can enjoy wine from their Dual Zone Wine Refrigerator.

Staying connected even though you are located off the beaten path is a breeze with WiFi high-speed internet and television.  Plus, even if it is the dead middle of summer and the days and nights are heating up, you are going to stay cool with their remote control state of the art Daikin HVAC system.

Traveling with more than just your sweetheart?  That is not a problem here.  Downstairs is a leather couch with a Queen Sleeper Bed that provides plenty of room for a family or a group of friends.

 My post would not be complete if I did not tell you about their steam shower with massage jets.   This space looking capsule is the ultimate when it comes to bathing.  You have to experience this!

Relax for a awhile on the enormous front porch featuring rocking chairs and breathtaking views of the Little Sugar Creek and Bear Claw Vineyards.  The sunset from here is spectacular, and you can’t forget to enjoy a blazing fire under the night sky.

My husband and I enjoyed our romantic night in this treehouse.  The weather was perfect and the moon and stars were out providing for a tranquil night outside by the fire roasting marshmallows and enjoying a glass of wine.  It is easy to sit back and unwind with the sounds of nature surrounding you, the trickling sounds of the water in the creek, and the moonlit views of the vineyard.  It is the perfect getaway for couples and families.

You can catch the Treehouse Guys on the DIY Network.  The Blue Ridge Treehouse episode will play Tuesday, May 16 at 12pm or 11C.  Be sure to tune in so you can see for yourself this magical place that will help transport you back to a time of carefree fun.

Social Media Connections

Blue Ridge Treehouse Facebook

Blue Ridge Treehouse Website

DIY Treehouse Guys

Treehouse Guys Facebook

Disclaimer:  We were provided a night in the treehouse to facilitate a review.  All opinions presented are 100% mine.  


Save Space on Your Phone with Picture Keeper Connect



Look around – you see that mom, dad or best friend snapping pictures at a graduation, Memorial day party, or wedding? They want to preserve those memories, but what good is it if eventually, they’ll run out of space on their phone? With Picture Keeper Connect, #JustGoShoot – the ultra convenient photo backup system will do the rest. Like the 13 million+ photos on Instagram with the #JustGoShoot hashtag, Picture Keeper motivates you to follow the advice of this uber popular social media following!

You take the photos – let Picture Keeper Connect keep them safe and leave you with room for more! Find out why everyone is loving this photo backup system:

No-Fuss Backup: Backing up your photos and videos has never been simpler. With Picture Keeper Connect, simply download the free app, plug in the drive into your device, and launch the app. Just click Start Backup and let Picture Keeper Connect do all the work.

Get Creative: Craft custom gifts and prints with your photos directly from the drive using the app. Great for a personal touch to birthday, graduation, Mother’s Day and Christmas gifts as well!

Keep Calm & Connect: In an emergency, simply plug the drive into any phone or smart device for instant access to stored contacts and important phone numbers.

Fast & Flexible: View files on your Mom’s phone or share your photos from your own computer or phone. Added bonus: no internet connection required! Share endless photos and videos with family and friends – without using your data plan.

Enjoy Every Minute: With Picture Keeper Connect, you’re able to view, select, backup and delete single items or entire albums with just the touch of a button. It’s stress-free and gives you extra time to spend with friends and family.

I LOVE taking pictures on my phone.  Although they do not always turn out great, I still love capturing life’s moments as they happen.  I also have a problem though.  I am always getting that dreaded message popping up on my device saying I have ran out of room.  Whenever this happens I end of deleting apps on my device because I just can’t stand the idea of erasing my photos.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I do back up photos, but I have to wait until I am on WiFi to do so.  That makes things so much harder.

Thankfully someone created something that I can use no matter where I am.  No WiFi-No problem!  Out of data-No Problem! Picture Keeper Connect has helped me solve my problem.   All the photos on my phone can be safely stored on the Picture Keeper Connect.  Just download the app from the App Store and follow the prompts.  It was super easy to follow.  Just a few clicks and my photos, videos, and even contacts can be saved to this device.

Are you tired of getting that notice that your phone’s storage is full? Get Picture Keeper Connect! It really is the best choice for protecting your memory because this advanced technology allows you to cherish those candid moments without worrying about storage space. Enjoy the stress-free software solution for backing up your most special recollections. #JustGoShoot and never worry about phone memory again with Picture Keeper Connect!

Picture Keeper Connect is compatible with both iPhone and Android, as well as Mac and PC computers. For a more detailed list, click here.


When a close friend lost all of her pictures on her computer during a lightning storm, Simplified IT Products’ founder and CEO Matt Stanchie was struck by inspiration. With Matt’s background in technology, he began to develop a simple, foolproof way to protect digital images. As a result, he created Picture Keeper, a USB drive with built in software that can search and copy all the digital files from a computer onto itself. Picture Keeper takes the hassle out of backing up digital files – just plug in, click “Start Backup,” and Picture Keeper does the work for you while skipping duplicates.

Disclaimer:  We were provided with a Picture Keeper for review purposes.  No compensation was provided for this review.  All opinions presented are 100% mine.

Lanier Islands Rolls Out the Red Carpet for Mom this Mother’s Day

With Mother’s Day just around the corner on Sunday, May 14, Lanier Islands invites families to give “Mom” the treat she deserves: a sumptuous feast fit for a queen inside an elegant ballroom. Hosted at the Southern lakeside resort’s flagship hotel, Legacy Lodge – a designated member of the esteemed Southern Living Hotel Collection – the brunch will consist of a wide array of imaginative culinary creations by the Islands’ Executive Chef and his team. After brunch, Mom and her loved ones can spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the Islands in a resort cart, relaxing on the beach inside LanierWorld, soaring through the treetops on a canopy tour, riding horseback along a lakeside trail, finding inner peace with a massage from Tranquility the Spa and so much more.

“Our Food and Beverage team is keen to make our dining events not only as delicious as possible, but as warm and welcoming as they can be,” said Chef Michael Klein, Culinary Director for Lanier Islands. “Whether your particular mom is a soccer mom, career mom, new mom or empty nester mom, she deserves a touch of elegance in her life to counter all of those carpool lines., workday commutes and other challenges she takes on for her family on a daily basis. In addition to a break from cooking on her special day, we think Mom be delighted with her special menu, the elegant service touches Lanier Islands is known for and – of course – the company of her loving family. In our desire to be ‘Your Islands’ for countless individuals, couples and families throughout Georgia, we welcome the opportunity to serve as a beautiful backdrop to special moments just like this.”

The menu for Mother’s Day at Lanier Islands includes breakfast items such as a Made-to-Order Egg Station, Steak and Eggs, and Nutella and Banana-Stuffed Brioche French Toast; Salad Station; an assortment of popular Action Stations including Steak Diane sautéed with Shallots and Mushrooms, Cavatappi Pasta Cabonara Di Mare with Pancetta and Seafood, and Griddled Duck Breast over Barley Risotto; Carvery Items such as Herb Rubbed Slow Roasted Rib of Angus Beef, Cornbread Stuffed Turkey Breast and Coca-Cola Glazed Ham; a Variety of Vegetable Dishes; a pint-sized-pleasing Kids Corner; and a treasure trove of Sweet Treats like Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars, Build-Your-Own Brownie Sundaes, the ever popular Chocolate Fountain and so much more.

Brunch prices are $61.95 for Adults, $49.95 for Seniors (62+) and $29.95 for Children 7-12. Children 6 and under dine for free. Seatings for Mother’s Day Brunch at Lanier Islands will be every 30 minutes between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. To make reservations, guests can call the main desk at 770-945-8787 or send an email with their requested time and number of guests to For additional information about Mother’s Day and other upcoming events at Lanier Islands, please visit

Georgia Mother’s Day Brunch Ideas

All moms deserve to be spoiled on Mother’s Day, and what better way to show your appreciation than allowing her to sit back, relax and get wined and dined at your favorite brunch spot. Atlanta and Savannah are serving up some incredible specials for the whole family next Sunday, May 14.


SAVOR bar & kitchen (ATL)
Indulge in family time and lakeside views at SAVOR bar & kitchen’s elaborate Mother’s Day brunch buffet on Sunday, May 14, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Enjoy a breakfast station with southern favorites such as biscuits and gravy, a raw bar, bakers corner, dessert station and more! Moms also enjoy a free mimosa with purchase of a buffet. And be sure to bring grandma along to enjoy the ‘Matriarch Special,’ where grandma dines for free if three generations are present. Prices are $34.95 for adults, $15 for children 5 to 12, and children under 5 dine free. For reservations, please call (770) 280-9877.

Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse (ATL)
Express your gratitude to the woman who does it all this Mother’s Day at Davio’s Atlanta. In addition to a full a la carte menu, Davio’s Atlanta will be offering a selection of Mother’s Day Specials from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Executive Chef Matthew Rosekrans has created a selection of traditional dishes with a Northern Italian twist. Brunch specials include the Shrimp Frittata and Chicken & Waffles. Dinner specials will feature dishes including the Atlantic Halibut with Lemon-Asparagus Risotto and Mustard Sauce and Surf & Turf with Grilled Flat Iron, Maine Lobster, Creamy Potatoes, Green Beans, Béarnaise. Reservations are recommended. Please call (404) 844-4810 for more information.


Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta (ATL)
Named ‘best in the city’ for Easter Brunch, you know it can only get better for Mother’s Day, so treat Mom to all the hype and extras at Mother’s Day Brunch at Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta. Top the day off with a Mimosa or Bloody Mary, and you’ll be Mom’s favorite, especially if you’re the one who booked the reservation! Seatings are available from 10 a.m. through 3:30 p.m. Call today for reservations: (404) 253-3840.

Hyatt Regency Savannah (SAV)
Enjoy a River View Mother’s Day brunch on Sunday, May 14, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Executive chef James Morin has created a spectacular menu that will let mom sit back, relax, and enjoy meaningful time with the family. Brunch will be hosted in the Harborside Ballroom, which has the best view in town of the Savannah River. To make reservations, please call (912) 238-1234.

Disclaimer:  No compensation was received for this post.  Information provided by M-Squared Public Relations.

Project:OM at Mall of Georgia May 13

Mall of Georgia announced today it will host project:OM on Saturday, May 13 from 10 a.m. – noon in The Village as part of the Spring 2017 More Than Pink movement in support of Susan G. Komen. project:OM, the world’s largest yoga event, is created by renowned yoga brand Manduka, in partnership with Susan G. Komen.

Taking place Mother’s Day Weekend – May 12-14, 2017 – the one million person yoga event aims to unite individuals, families and the collective yoga community to raise funds to support Susan G. Komen and its Bold Goal of reducing breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in the next decade. More than 60 Simon Malls, The Mills and Premium Outlets will host project:OM events, many of which will be taught by Manduka-approved instructors. A suggested $10 donation from each participant will benefit Susan G. Komen.

“Hosting a project:OM yoga event is a special way to celebrate health and wellness during Mother’s Day weekend,” said Teresa Holloway, director of marketing and business development at Mall of Georgia. “The suggested $10 donation to participate will go to Susan G. Komen, making the event even more meaningful. We look forward to seeing The Village at Mall of Georgia transformed into a yoga studio on May 13.”

“We are incredibly excited to be working with one of our premier partners, Simon, on project:OM,” said Susan G. Komen’s Senior Vice President of Development Christina Alford. “Working in conjunction with our vast network of affiliates across the country, Simon is integral in helping us spread the word about the positive effects of yoga for those facing breast cancer, while moving us closer to achieving our Bold Goal.”

To register for Mall of Georgia’s project: OM event, visit


Shoppers are also invited to enjoy the following More Thank Pink activities at the Mall of Georgia:

Discount Card Program: In exchange for a $10 donation to Susan G. Komen, shoppers will receive a Discount Card providing 15 to 25 percent off one item at each participating retailer. All Discount Card donations will go to Susan G. Komen and be available for purchase through May 31. Cards are available at Guest Services located on the lower level in Center Court near Old Navy.
Gift with Purchase: Now through May 31, shoppers will receive a gift with purchase when making a donation of at least $10 at Guest Services located on the lower level in Center Court near Old Navy.
As of April 2017, Simon has raised $719,460 in support of Susan G. Komen, all generated through the support and participation of shoppers, retailers and employees.

From October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2018, Simon is proud to support Susan G. Komen® and, with the help of generous individuals like you, will guarantee a contribution of at least $1,000,000 for each year of the program in connection with its various fundraising initiatives, including its discount card program, promotion of Komen’s Race for the Cure®, and promotion of Komen’s Do-It-Yourself fundraising platform.

Dolly Parton and the Dollywood Foundation: Working to Help the My People Fund

You may recall the wildfires that roared through Tennessee late last year.  For many of us that travel to this beautiful place several times a year, the news of this was devastating.  The Great Smoky Mountains is a beautiful and special place for so many families, and that is why is warms our hearts to continue to hear stories about how the Hollywood Foundation is able to give back to the community.

Thanks to fundraising efforts, Dollywood Foundation officials were able to provide a $5,000 check to each family as they work to recover from the Smoky Mountain wildfires which occurred last November. Beginning last December, the My People Fund provided $1,000 each month to Sevier County families whose primary residences were completely destroyed due to the fires.

In total, recipients received $10,000 as a hand-up to help start their rebuilding efforts following the fire. The fund, which was established by Dolly Parton, The Dollywood Company, Parton’s dinner theaters and The Dollywood Foundation, was supported by contributions from across the country, as well as donations made through the Smoky Mountains Rise telethon which took place in early December.

“The My People Fund has been a great success,” said Parton. “I want to thank my team, the Dollywood Foundation, my friends in the music business and the thousands of people from all over the country who opened both their pocketbooks and their hearts to help us.

“Over the last five months, we’ve given nearly 900 families $5,000 to help them recover. Yesterday, we had our last distribution and I went over to The LeConte Center to say thanks to all the volunteers and to help give out a few checks myself. We matched what they’ve received already with another $5,000 check. I know $10,000 can’t solve everything, but I do hope the money will help them to dream again.”

In addition to providing initial monetary support to displaced families through the monthly check distribution, the remaining funds from the My People Fund will continue to help the people of Sevier County. At least $3 million will be contributed to the Mountain Tough Recovery Team which will serve the continuing needs of residents during the critical rebuilding period ahead. This program will begin helping families on June 1.

“We’re still receiving money, so we aren’t finished yet,” Parton added. “Recovery will take some time, so a new organization—called Mountain Tough—has been created to help our people get back on their feet for the next three years. We’re giving at least $3 million to help this new organization begin the next chapter of our journey.”

Mountain Tough assists individuals and families recovering from the wildfires by providing resources for the unmet needs of low-income families and individuals in Gatlinburg and the surrounding Sevier County area. The team seeks to restore the quality of life and provide for the long-term needs of those affected.

“Mountain Tough will help pick up where the My People Fund left off,” Dollywood Foundation President David Dotson said. “They will be staffed with case managers who will work to identify the immediate needs of residents and our funds will be used to address those needs. For example, it may help with transportation so someone can continue to be employed, or it may help with medicine for conditions caused by the fire. The case managers will coordinate with county agencies to ensure needed assistance is not duplicated and achieves its maximum impact.”

Anyone who wants to help the Mountain Tough Recovery Team with their efforts should visit for information on how to donate, how to volunteer and much more. The website is the official source for all information regarding the recovery effort.