Lights, Lights & More Lights

As I have already mentioned, I LOVE this time of year! It is so much fun to go see Christmas lights and enjoy time with family. The lights this time of year are beautiful and breath taking. This picture is one provided by Callaway Gardens. If you have never been to see the lights there, you should make a plan to do so. You can ride through in your own vehicle or ride the trolley. There is so many other things that you can do there as well and you can even do a little Christmas Shopping in the gift shop. While you are looking at the lights, you will see them all. They have the twelve days of Christmas. My favorite was the lights that were in motion. So instead of me telling you the rest, go ahead and plan a family trip to Callaway Gardens and enjoy the Christmas Lights. We are going in a few weeks and I am beyond excited! Merry Christmas from Callaway Gardens.

Cookie Cutters Every Where!

If you are ever looking for something to celebrate for fun, look on the internet! They have holidays galore that they celebrate and one this week is Cookie Cutter Week. How cool does that sound? I love cookie cutters. Let me tell you about a Cookie Cutter Christmas Tree I did one year and about one year is all it took for me. HA! I am not even sure how the idea came up but we always had themed trees in our house. My friend did too. Now she puts up way more trees than I do. Unless she has gotten rid of the cookie cutters over the last year or two, she still puts it up. I loved my cookie cutter tree and disliked it all at the same time. 🙂 I am very OCD and like things neat and in order. When you have hundreds of cookie cutters in every color and size, there is NO order to that! Let me tell you though how we did it. I started collecting the cookie cutters and my mother and friend would buy me some for every occasion and then some no occasion gifts. I would put them up and when Christmas tree decorating time arrived, bam there they were…. Piles and piles of them! I had every holiday kind and every kind in between. I did love my tree but my OCDness wouldn’t let me stop trying to fix it, so I passed it on to my friend. Now she had two smaller trees with them on it and they looked adorable so the morale to the story is I should’ve used smaller trees… 🙂 Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from The Martin News.

Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting

This time of year is so much fun to me. I love the Spirit that the Holidays bring. I love all the Christmas lights to see and love hearing all the Christmas Carol’s. Another thing I enjoy doing is watching the Christmas programs with events that we cannot actually attend. One of them is the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting. The 2017 tree will be lit for the first time on Wednesday, November 29th with live performances from 7-9pm at Rockefeller Plaza, between West 48th and 51st Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues. The ceremony is free and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. Tens of thousands will crowd the sidewalks for the event and hundreds of millions will watch the live broadcast around the globe. The tree will remain lit and open to the public until 9pm on January 7, 2018. I will be one of the hundreds of millions watching on television. I have watched it several times over the years but after Larry was born, I have made it an annual tradition with him. We love the singing and of course the lighting of the Christmas tree. One thing I didn’t know but I think is a great thing is for the eleventh consecutive year, the Christmas Tree will be donated to Habitat for Humanity. Once the holidays have passed and crowds have dispersed, the tree comes down and is milled, treated and made into lumber that is used for home building. Each year, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree continues to be a symbol of hope, and inspired the children’s book, “The Carpenter’s Gift”, written by David Rubel and illustrated by Jim LaMarche in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity. This information and more on this story is on For over eight decades, the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center and the holiday decorations adorning and surrounding have stood as a holiday beacon for New Yorkers and visitors alike. From the beginning, the Tree was a gathering place and reflection of what was happening in the world around it. Even before the first formal tree went up, workers lined up beneath a Christmas tree on the Rockefeller Plaza construction site to collect their paychecks during the height of the Great Depression. People from around the world came after September 11th to see the Tree decorated in a patriotic red, white and blue. Today, more than half a million people pass by the Tree very day, making Rockefeller Center the epicenter of New York City’s holiday celebrations. It is on my bucket list to go there one day and just may happen.

First Time For Everything…And Last!

So I have never been to Wal-mart for Black Friday specials. First let me say that Sylvester Wal-mart had it going on! They had things in order, police officers watching over the store and keeping things safe and there was no fighting and arguing that I saw. So I went up there on Thursday afternoon to get one of their Iphone 6 that was on sale for $129. Great price I thought so I went. Lord have mercy at the people! I have never seen so many people in my life. The parking lot was over full, there was people parking across the road, on the side of the road, blocking the entrances, everything! So I went in there and truly had no clue where to go. When I finally got directed to the right line, I got in line. I was number 43. They only had so many tickets they were giving out because they only had so many phones. When I got my ticket, I went and checked out and was gone. Too many people for me! 🙂

Looking Beautiful and Young, Stacy Tells Us How To Do It

I love to wear makeup and I love all the colors. I am definitely no expert but I believe I have found a sweet friend and old classmate of mine, Stacy Nether, which is pretty close to being an expert with makeup. It does not even matter the color she wears. I have seen her in so many different colors and they all look flawless. I was able to get a few minutes of her time recently to get the inside scoop of her looking so fabulous and young! Most women, not all but most wear makeup. It’s something that little girls want to do. Why? Because they watch their mothers do it and they want to do it too. That is exactly what happened with Stacy. Her mother always kept magazines with glossy pictures of beautiful women from Essence, Ebony, Jet, Glamour and Vogue.  “My mother wore makeup” exclaimed Stacy “although not nearly as much as I do.” Stacy began playing in makeup at the age of nine.  She told me that she illegally wore makeup in her parents’ home by 16. We both laughed but I know exactly where she is coming from. When we were growing up, our parents did not allow us to wear much makeup if any so we all had to wear it illegally. She continues as an adult to wear makeup.  She became more interested in makeup as more than just a hobby about a year and a half ago when she saw how much of an influence it had become by the advance of social media.  “I’ve loved recreating looks that I see in magazines and television” stated Stacy. Of course while talking with Stacy, I had many questions. When you see someone look so young and spunky, you tend to want to follow that trend. So I asked Stacy what brands of makeup do you use, how long does it take you to get all your make up on and how long does your makeup stay on and do you reapply often? Now of course we had some laughs. She reminded me she was a single mom and on a teachers’ salary so shopping didn’t happen often. Oh how well we all know that feeling. When splurging on herself though she does like to visit Ulta and Sephora. Some of her favorites are Mac and L.A. Girls proconcealer and Black Radience BB Crème and Maybelline’s Fit Me foundation. For her brows she says Benefit’s Browzings are a must.  She loves Bobbi Bown, Urban Decay and Tooface as well. And for eye shadows, which everyone loves to see including myself, are from everywhere under the sun she explained. “As long as the color is highly pigmented and shows up nicely on my skin, which is sometimes hard because I have gold or orange undertones and sometimes the color may disappear” explained Stacy “this is why I wear eye shadow primer because it makes the colors pop and the shadow stays much longer.” I saw pictures of all of her makeup and colors and she has bunches to choose from. She enjoys using Beauty Supply Brands such as Ruby Kisses and Nicka K.  These are brands that hold up to the larger name brands!  Of course to get the look that Stacy wears does take some time. She explained to me that in order for her to create her full face look, it takes her anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half.  The regular daily face takes 30-45 minutes. Her makeup lasts all day. Don’t we all wish we had that kind of luck? “With the use of some really great inexpensive primers and setting sprays” stated Stacy “The only thing I may have to reapply would be lipstick or lip-gloss.” Now one aspect of makeup that I have questions about is whether you should wear different colors during the day vs. night, or summer vs. winter? Stacy explained that for her it mostly depends on how she’s dressed. If it’s a tee and jeans look then its brows always and mascara and lippie but if she wants a more dramatic look, then here comes everything she says. Right now she’s working more with fall and winter colors.  But Stacy exclaims life is too short so she says try it all and then add some glitter! I love glitter so adding glitter sounds great. I wanted to know what the trick was to looking so young since we are the same age. “Young looking, thanks so much” expressed Stacy “If only I could only tell you a secret. I have been through more than you can imagine!  I would have to say it’s God who has kept me all these years!  I eat like a twelve year old…I do try to eat better especially when I know I’ve “been bad.”  I had cystic acne when I was younger.  I used to be so self-conscious about my skin.  I saw a dermatologist as a late teen early adult and now my skin care regime is so simple now after trying everything under the sun: Aveeno, pure sumn, weekly St. Ives apricot scrub which I have used for years and coconut oil and or Shea butter which is all natural. Stacy has a ton of makeup of all kinds. She likes checking out the dollar stores as well and with it being the Christmas season, she says there is makeup and brushes EVERYWHERE!!! It makes her extremely happy!” If you have a special occasion coming up, Stacy is the lady to call. She does make up for weddings, proms, homecoming, and for a night on the town or just any occasion.  Stacy thinks you can doll up at anytime!  “There’s no better reason to do your makeup other than to create a better version of you” exclaimed Stacy!

Where To Spend Christmas Vacation With Kids


Christmas is a time for giving, so give yourself a break. “But, what about the kids?”, you may find yourself asking with some frustration. Fear not! Callaway Resort & Gardens is the perfect Christmas vacation getaway for you and the kids! Nestled in Pine Mountain, Georgia just a short drive from Atlanta you’ll find one of America’s best Christmas vacation spots. Book a suite in the Lodge and Spa, and you’ll be treated to a beautiful view overlooking the lake, woodlands, and the garden. The gorgeous room interior will give you the same comfort as your own home. With quick access to the garden, swimming pool, spa and fitness center, and cabana-style bar, the Lodge and Spa suites are the perfect setup for a fantastic vacation. But, what about the kids? Well, the resort offers some of the best activities for families near Atlanta. Families can explore the amazing Callaway Gardens together. The Callaway Brothers Azalea Bowl, Overlook Azalea Garden, Ida Cason Callaway Memorial Chapel, Pioneer Log Cabin, Meadowlark Garden, and Thornhill Hydrangea Garden are just a few of the outdoor attractions offered at the resort. There are plenty of nature trails to walk as well. If you’re looking for a unique nature experience, the Day Butterfly Center houses over 1,000 butterflies for your viewing pleasure–it’s one of North America’s largest tropical butterfly conservatories! You’ll have the chance to learn all about the wonderful butterflies that inhabit the Center and watch them in their natural habitat. At the Callaway Discovery Center, you can enjoy a show so spectacular, it that requires the approval of both U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Callaway Gardens’ Birds of Prey program is designed to educate visitors about their impact on wildlife, but it also gives visitors an up close and personal demonstration of predatory birds’ strength, speed, and natural instincts. It’s definitely a must-see! If your kids are looking for a little more adventure, they’ll love the Callaway Resort & Gardens’ Treetop Adventure – Zip Lines & Obstacle Courses. The self-guided, in-air obstacle course will entertain any thrill seeker. The 10 zip lines and 34 challenges will take the average zip liner two to three hours to complete. The challenges and thrilling heights are sure to bring any family closer together and give a sense of accomplishment when completed. You can also sign up the kids for the zip lines and take those two to three hours to unwind. The resort offers two world-class 18-hole golf courses that take you through some of the most breathtaking scenery in America. You can also work up a sweat at the Mountain Creek Tennis Center, where you’ll find both hard-surface and soft-surface courts. If you prefer the calmness of the waters, you can opt to rent a canoe, kayak, or jon boat and venture onto Mountain Creek Lake. Let’s face it, though—if you’re going to unwind, you’ll do it best at the Spa at Callaway Resort & Gardens. Sign up for massage therapy, facials, manicures, pedicures, salon services, or botanical body treatments. While the kids climb sky high, you’ll be floating along on cloud nine. “That sounds great,” you might say, “but what about Christmas?” Well, if you’re at Callaway Resort & Gardens during Christmas, you’ll be treated to one of the world’s Top 10 Places to See Holiday Lights, according to National Geographic Traveler. At Callaway Resort & Gardens’ Fantasy In Lights, there are eight million lights, 15 scenes and shows, and awesome Christmas characters that will bring the holiday spirit to your amazing Christmas vacation. You can even sign up to have breakfast with the Christmas characters! If you’re wondering where to spend Christmas vacation with kids, you’ll find all the makings of a perfect vacation at Callaway Resort & Gardens. Call today to book your stay!

Source: Callaway Gardens

National Espresso Day… Have Yourself A Cup Today


Espresso made its debut in Italy in the early 20th century although coffee was already very much a part of Italian life for centuries. Espresso lovers owe their thanks for the tasty brew to Italy’s Luigi Bezzera, the owner of a manufacturing plant who wanted to speed up the time it took to make coffee. It’s unclear whether he was motivated to hasten the process by frustration over how long his morning coffee took or whether he wanted to speed up the time his employees took for their coffee breaks. Regardless, Bezzera discovered that adding steam pressure to the process produced a stronger, more robust cup of coffee. This machine used in this new quick-brew process was named the Fast Coffee Machine. The beverage produced by the machine would eventually become known as espresso, which means fast in Italian. Regrettably, Bezzera wasn’t as talented at marketing and sales as he was at engineering. A few years later in 1905, Desidero Pavoni purchased the rights to the machine from Bezzera and had it patented. It is due to Pavoni’s marketing genius that espresso grew in popularity. In the early 1940s, Achille Gaggia created a piston-based espresso machine that improved the taste by eliminating the burnt flavor and giving espresso a thicker consistency. Initially for professional use in coffee bars, the espresso machine gradually became available for use at home. Now go have yourself a cup of Espresso.

Shop Sylvester on Small Business Saturday

Small businesses often are overlooked by customers who are enticed by larger companies, and this can adversely affect the local economy in more negative ways than might appear on the surface level. The rise of shopping malls and large chain stores such as Walmart and other retailers has caused irreversible damage to Main Street in the last half-century or so, and it’s paramount to remember the importance of supporting local small businesses. After all, why should we not celebrate the spirit of enterprise and entrepreneurship, as exemplified by small business owners who take the risk of following their dreams? After all, it’s a common thing for politicians to talk about supporting Main Street over big business, and how small business owners often face greater hardships than larger companies. Since Small Business Saturday is held on the Saturday following Thanksgiving Day, it falls right during the peak shopping periods of the year. The 1960s saw the rise of the American shopping mall, and the decades since have seen large chain retailers further cementing their position in terms of taking over the retail sphere and displacing smaller, family-run businesses. This model has spread further throughout the world, and chain retailers have been usurping small businesses’ market share worldwide in the last few decades. That being said, the difference is most stark in countries like the US, where small businesses have often been obliterated within a year or two of some large chain retailer coming to town and opening up shop. In India and much of Southeast Asia, shopping malls coexist with small shops largely because they serve different markets as has been noted in the past, the corner shop is not going anywhere anytime soon in India because customers can purchase items on credit, and that’s just something that you’ll never be able to do in a Wal-Mart or BigBazaar. In the United States, the context is different, though. Different economic realities combined with different cultural ideas about how small businesses operate has ultimately been more harmful to those businesses in developed countries than in developing economies. And with all of the odds stacked against them, small businesses in the US need a day in their honor. Small Business Saturday is a relatively recent phenomenon with the first one being held in Roslindale Village, Massachusetts in 2010 as a counterpart to Black Friday. Small Business Saturday was originally sponsored by American Express and the non-profit National Trust for Historic Preservation. From the very start, the day has been promoted through advertising on both social media and more traditional means such as television and radio advertisement. Since 2013, Small Business Saturday has also existed in the UK following the success of its American counterpart. You may be wondering how to celebrate Small Business Saturday since it is possible that you might have been lead to believe that small businesses are a thing of the past. As a consumer, you can choose to spend your money at local small businesses on this day rather than going to the big box retailers at the local mall. After all, the best way to support small businesses is to go and spend money at them rather than somewhere else. You can also tell your friends to do the same, perhaps making a point of organizing a shopping day where you only visit small, local enterprises instead of chain stores. While you may or may not end up paying more, it’s important to remember that spending your money at a small business generally puts more money into the local economy than if you’re spending that money in a chain store. Some small business owners find that Small Business Saturday is a great time to run marketing promotions, as they can further capitalize on the increased foot traffic from the already busy holiday shopping season and on their online traffic. If you own a small business, you can run some promotion for the day, and otherwise put up a post on your Facebook page. If your small business does not have a Facebook page nor any other online presence, you should seriously consider taking Small Business Saturday to go ahead and do that. So support your local economy, and go out and buy things from a small business today. There are several small businesses in Sylvester that you can shop at on Small Business Saturday. Many of them have Facebook pages for you to follow to see if they are having any sales or specials. Be sure to check them out. Make your plans now to Shop Sylvester on Small Business Saturday.

Macy’s Day Parade is Worth the Watch

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is an annual parade presented by the U.S.-based department store chain Macy’s. The tradition started in 1924 tying it for the second-oldest Thanksgiving parade in the United States with America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit (with both parades being four years younger than the 6abc Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia). The three-hour Macy’s event is held in New York City starting at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on Thanksgiving Day, and has been televised nationally on NBC since 1952. In the 1920s, many of Macy’s department store employees were first-generation immigrants. Proud of their new American heritage, they wanted to celebrate the American holiday of Thanksgiving with the type of festival their parents had loved in Europe. In 1924, the annual Thanksgiving parade started by Louis Bamberger in Newark, New Jersey at the Bamberger’s store was transferred to New York City by Macy’s. In New York, the employees marched to Macy’s flagship store on 34th Street dressed in vibrant costumes. There were floats, professional bands and live animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo. At the end of that first parade, as has been the case with every parade since, Santa Claus was welcomed into Herald Square. At this first parade, however, the Jolly Old Elf was enthroned on the Macy’s balcony at the 34th Street store entrance, where he was then “crowned” “King of the Kiddies.” With an audience of over 250,000 people, the parade was such a success that Macy’s declared it would become an annual event. Anthony “Tony” Frederick Sarg loved to work with marionettes from an early age. After moving to London to start his own marionette business, Sarg moved to New York City to perform with his puppets on the street. Macy’s heard about Sarg’s talents and asked him to design a window display of a parade for the store. Sarg’s large animal-shaped balloons, produced by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio, replaced the live animals in 1927 when the Felix the Cat balloon made its debut. Felix was filled with air, but by the next year, helium was used to fill the expanding cast of balloons. At the finale of the 1928 parade, the balloons were released into the sky, where they unexpectedly burst. The following year, they were redesigned with safety valves to allow them to float for a few days. Address labels were sewn into them, so that whoever found and mailed back the discarded balloon received a gift from Macy’s. Through the 1930s, the Parade continued to grow, with crowds of over one million people lining the parade route in 1933. The first Mickey Mouse balloon entered the parade in 1934. The annual festivities were broadcast on local radio stations in New York City from 1932 to 1941, and resumed in 1945, running through 1951. The parade was suspended from 1942 to 1944 as a result of World War II, owing to the need for rubber and helium in the war effort. The parade resumed in 1945 using the route that it followed until 2008. The parade became known nationwide after being prominently featured in the 1947 film, Miracle on 34th Street, which included footage of the 1946 festivities. The event was first broadcast on network television in 1948. By this point the event, and Macy’s sponsorship of it, were sufficiently well-known to give rise to the colloquialism “Macy’s Day Parade”. Since 1984, the balloons have been made by Raven Aerostar (a division of Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based Raven Industries). I absolutely love watching the parade. It has always been something I did even when I was a little girl and mama was cooking Thanksgiving lunch, I would be watching the parade. It is something about that parade that introduces Christmas to the season. I can’t tell you my favorite part because I love the singing and dancing, I love the bands, I love hearing all the people talking, I love the floats, I love Santa. There is so much to enjoy about The Macy’s Day Parade. Such beautiful colors and beautiful floats. My family will be tuned in, will yours?