Author Archives: Kristy Johnson

Charitable Giving


Opening your heart – and wallet – to those in need is a good thing to do any time of year. As many organizations reach out for assistance during the holiday season, however, it is especially important to be able to make an informed decision about contributing to a charity.

The BBB offers help with its 20 Standards for Charity Accountability which cover four areas – governance, results reports, finances and truthful and transparent representations. Basic giving tips include:

• Get the charity’s exact name

• Resist pressure to donate on the spot

• Press for specifics about how contributions are used

• Checks websites for basic information

• Check with state charity officials

• Don’t assume that every soliciting organization is tax exempt as a charity

For more information, visit

Holiday Spectacular


Celebrate the joy of the season with Augusta Symphony as musicians perform festive favorites and Christmas classics at Hardin Auditorium on Sunday, December 11.

The family show, which begins at 4 p.m., will include “Sleigh Ride,” “Jingle Bells,” “Greensleeves” and more.

The performance, designed to introduce young people to the symphony, is a merry way for audience members of all ages to catch the holiday spirit.

Tickets are $30 for adults and $10 for students. For more information, visit

Green Room Donor


The Miller Theater has gotten a behind-the-scenes facelift, and the venue has Snelling Properties to thank for it.

Through a generous donation by the company, the theater turned a previously unused space into a green room for performers.

The renovations include the installation of lights, chandeliers, flooring, heating and air conditioning.

“We took a space that had been unused for many years and made it operational,” says David Watts, general manager of the theater. “We christened it with champagne and wine on Opening Night.”

The room also was painted to give it a “retro, industrial feel,” he says, and glass brick on a wall behind the bar gives it “a fantastic glow.”

At the opening of Augusta Symphony’s Pops! Series with its Broadway Tonight! concert, Columbia County resident George Snelling and Roberta Sheehan joined the theater staff to celebrate the completion of the renovated space.

The Christmas Spirit by Debbie Macomber

Literary Loop

#1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie MacomberTwo lifelong friends decide to trade places the week before Christmas and end up with a lot of surprises along the way in this new novel from the queen of holiday stories, #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber.

Peter and Hank are best friends, but their lives couldn’t be more different. Peter, the local pastor, is dedicated to his community and spends time visiting his flock, attending meetings, and, with the holiday season approaching, preparing for the Christmas service and live nativity.

As a bartender, Hank serves a much different customer base at his family-owned tavern, including a handful of lonely regulars and the local biker gang.

When Peter scoffs that Hank has it easy, the two decide to switch jobs until Christmas Eve. To their surprise, the responsibilities of their jobs are similar, but taking on the other’s work is more difficult than either expected… and their lives are forever changed.

In The Christmas Spirit, Debbie Macomber celebrates the true meaning of the holidays and the inclusive community spirit that binds us all.

“An eclectic supporting cast and a comically disastrous climactic Christmas Eve church service make the narrative shine bright,” says Publishers Weekly. “It’s exactly what readers want from a Macomber holiday outing.”

Louis Wishes You a Cool Yule — Louis Armstrong

Listen To This

Louis Wishes You a Cool Yule — Louis ArmstrongFor decades, Christmas audio and visual gems have been stacking up like generations of handcrafted family ornaments. From Bing Crosby and Elvis to A Charlie Brown Christmas and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and everything in between, there has been one staple missing, however, from the arsenal of yuletide goodness: a Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong Christmas album.

The legend, whose name has been synonymous with holiday smooth moods, now has his first official Christmas release, a one-stop shop of remastered Satchmo’s finest sugar-and-spiced jingles to saddle up the most wonderful time of the year.

This 11-track remastered time capsule includes classics like the wassail-waltzing “Winter Wonderland,” the soft-brush peppermint rush of “White Christmas” and signature Satchmo numbers such as “Zat You, Santa Claus?,” “Christmas in New Orleans” and “What A Wonderful World.”

The most endearing track is a somewhat mysterious reading of “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” known to most as “The Night Before Christmas.” A testament to how much he loved the Christmas season, an ailing Armstrong recorded this track alone on a reel-to-reel tape recorder months before his death in 1971.

Satchmo’s love for Christmas was as big and robust as his music. The brilliance of his signature trumpet and gravel-tone voice brings an unmistakable gift of happiness that embraces the hustle and bustle while encouraging spontaneous sing-a-longs at the drop of a snowflake.

The wonderful world of Louis Armstrong is a vibrant reminder that music transcends the peaks and valleys of life through the joy of a happiness that is merry and bright.

– Chris Rucker

Chocolate-Dipped Peppermint Meringues

  • desserts christmas4 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • Red gel food coloring
  • Melting chocolate
  • Crushed peppermint

Lined baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar together until foamy. Gradually add sugar on medium speed. Beat on high until egg whites are whipped to stiff and shiny peaks. Use a brush to paint red streaks inside a piping bag fitted with a piping tip. Fill bag with meringue and pipe onto prepared baking sheets. Bake at 225 degrees 1 hour. Turn off oven and leave door closed another hour for meringues to dry (for chewy centers, remove from oven after 1 hour). When completely cooled, dip bottoms into melted chocolate and crushed peppermint. Makes 64.

Glitter, Greenery and Gold

In The Home

A love for decorating plus a love for Christmas adds up to a sparkling holiday home in Mitchell Park.

For Evans resident Carson Staton, the holiday season truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

“Everything is so joyful and cheerful,” she says. “The décor is so beautiful, and of course, there’s the reason for the season. I love to spend time with family and appreciate all the little things.”

This year the holiday promises to be the best Christmas yet because it’s the first one that Carson and her husband, John, are spending as parents after their son, 11-month old John Thomas, was born in January.

Actually, the first Christmas they spent in their Mitchell Park home, where they have lived since August 2020, started out with a bang as well. Three months after they moved into the house, the hot water heater exploded. Carson, who starts decorating for Christmas in November, had to take everything down for repairs.

Curb Appeal

Under normal circumstances, however, she likes to change her décor. That dates back to the days that she and her mother, Caroline Ginn, who co-owns The Ivy Boutique and Mish Mash, would redecorate their home.

“When my dad would go out of town, we would flip a room,” Carson says.

Her love for decorating has carried over to her married life. She has collected Christmas decorations through the years, and the Statons’ two-story red brick house is full of holiday cheer that begins with the curb appeal.

A green wreath with a red bow hangs on each of the four windows that face the street, and green garland accented with red bows is draped on the white fence slats that meet brick posts. On the front porch, a wreath with red pomegranates hangs on the door.

Whimsical aluminum Christmas trees on red and white striped posts and an aluminum sign that warns “this house has elf surveillance” add a touch of playfulness to the front porch. Decorative gift boxes with ribbons sit beneath a tree.

A pair of glittery green packages with red polka dots and red ribbons sits atop a teak table sandwiched between two black rockers. The porch also features a teak bench, a ceiling fan and stamped concrete flooring.

The second-story balcony, which is stacked on top of the front porch, is one of the Statons’ favorite spots in the house.

They like to eat meals on the balcony and watch the neighborhood activity as children play in the park across the street and neighbors walk their dogs. Their mini goldendoodle, Kirby, likes to hang out on the balcony as well.

“He’ll sit up there and growl at all the dogs that go by,” says John. “They can’t catch him up there.”

The Christmas décor includes a pair of three-legged metal bamboo candlesticks, accented with greenery and pine cones, on the teakwood and wicker bistro table. Green garland with red ribbon and lights hangs on the black wrought iron railing.

Holiday Accents

Inside, the traditional reds and greens of the exterior décor give way to a neutral color palette.

“I’ve always been into neutrals and then put in pops of color,” says Carson. “I think color just makes a room happy. I like to add pops of blues, corals and greens.”

Tucked in a corner of the living room, a flocked tree features large white ornaments, gold poinsettias with flecks of white and a spray of gold picks at the top. Presents are wrapped in aqua paper and tied with white ribbon.

Three white knit stockings hang from the fireplace mantel, and an elf, elegantly attired in white and gold, is perched on top of the fireplace screen. The greenery along the mantel is accented with white and gold balls. Two white trees and an angel sit on one side of the fireplace.

A nativity scene on a gold tray accompanies two gold reindeer on the coffee table, and a gold wreath with silver balls hangs on the mirror. Santa, clad in aqua, stands on an end table, complementing the gold-framed abstract oil painting above the sectional couch.

On the stair railing, gold poinsettias, silver balls and pine cones are tucked into flocked greenery. A large gold bow is tied at the end.

The oak hardwood flooring extends from the living room into the dining area and kitchen, which the Statons renovated when they moved into the house.

Talents on Display

The kitchen features white quartz countertops and subway tile, and gold, silver and white Christmas décor accents the room. A white, gold and aqua painting of a nativity scene is tucked in a corner of the countertop, along with a gold candleholder decorated with greenery.

While a white-suited Santa stands on the counter, a silver Christmas tree sits on top of the stove. A glittery gold tree sporting round white ornaments also shares counter space with three gold packages.

A trio of silver ceramic pots are lined up in the kitchen window, and each one holds a letter to spell “joy.” Faux greenery and a gold bow accent each container.

In the adjoining dining area, four glittery gold trees line the table. The centerpiece includes a gold tray filled with flocked greenery, white balls with glittery snowflakes, glittery gold balls and pine cones. The place settings feature fluted chargers trimmed in gold, and green napkins rest on the plates.

Christmas greenery brings a touch of the outdoors inside, and a wreath hangs from each of the bay windows.

The distressed sideboard is home to a pair of gold lamps and a brown dough bowl filled with two skinny trees with burlap bases as well as green and gold ornaments.

Carson, who first picked up a paintbrush as a child, painted the acrylic waterscape above the sideboard. “It’s a little piece of the lake. That’s our happy place,” she says.

John’s talents are on display in the dining area as well. After the water heater exploded, he widened and converted a former coat closet into a bar. “That was John’s design. It’s his piece of the house,” says Carson.

Double doors lead to the bar, which features a wood shelf, subway tile and a mini fridge. Magnolia leaves on the shelf surround a gold-framed invitation to their 2018 wedding, and another gold frame on the bar holds the recipe for the Ginger Staton, the signature drink at their wedding. A beverage dispenser is filled with a mix of cranberry juice and ginger ale.

Sentiments of the Season

The bond that the couple developed as high school sweethearts has carried over into the teamwork that defines their holiday decorating strategy. While Carson does the arranging, John says, “I pull things out of the attic and lift the heavy things. That’s about as much as she’ll let me do.”

The festive decorations also extend to the backyard patio, which they renovated in 2020. A table is topped with two reindeer topiaries wearing silver bells, an elf, two cone-shaped white trees and a white bowl filled with red and white balls and greenery.

The open patio also features two ceiling fans, a TV on the brick wall, a sloped ceiling with beams and a day bed hung by ropes and chains.

“We had the day bed before we moved into the house, but we knew we wanted a spot for it,” Carson says.

Sharing the sentiments of the season, pillows on the patio furniture and the day bed say “Joy,” “Merry” and “Noel.”

As much as the Statons enjoy the holidays, however, they know there is a time for everything.

“I would leave it up year-round. It just makes me happy,” Carson says of the Christmas décor. “But I take it down by the time it’s supposed to be put away so we can start the new year fresh.”

By Betsy Gilliland

Holly Jolly Christmas


Holly Jolly ChristmasSanta, parades, festivals and giant Christmas trees will light up the holidays.

With a full slate of parades, tree lightings and holiday markets coming up, residents will be able to celebrate the holiday season from all corners of the county.

The city of Grovetown will kick off the festivities on Saturday, December 3 with its annual Christmas parade and festival. Beginning at 10 a.m., the parade will travel down Horizon South Parkway, turn right onto Wrightsboro Road and end at the intersection of Wrightsboro Road and Robinson Avenue.

The city festival will follow from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Liberty Park. Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with multiple vendors, will be in attendance. A tree lighting ceremony and free train rides will be part of the fun as well.

On Sunday, December 4, the Columbia County Christmas Parade, put on by the Merchants Association of Columbia County, will begin at 3:30 p.m. Good little girls and boys just might catch a glimpse of St. Nick atop a red fire engine at the conclusion of the parade.

The parade will end at Evans Towne Center Park for the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony at 6:15 p.m. This year the county will have a new, 50-foot tree on display.

Christmas in Harlem will be held from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Saturday, December 10. Featuring holiday crafts, a Christmas Market will operate 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., and a children’s play area will be available throughout the day and into the evening.

A twilight parade will begin at 6 p.m., followed by the lighting of the city Christmas tree on the library lawn. Santa will be at the library for family photos on the porch, and a family friendly Christmas movie under the stars will wrap up the evening.

Ice Skates and S’mores


Evans On Ice is back and the tip of the iceberg for winter fun.
One of Mike Boerner’s most cherished memories from his boyhood outside of Chicago was throwing rocks on a pond with his friends every winter to see if the ice was firm enough for them to skate on it. Once they deemed the pond acceptable for skating, he and his friends spent their days skating and playing ice hockey on the frozen surface.

While he may have left the rocks behind, Boerner has exported his love of ice skating from Chicagoland to Columbia County with Evans On Ice at Evans Towne Center Park.

“This is Georgia, so a lot of kids don’t know how to ice skate,” says Boerner, who co-owns Evans On Ice with his wife, Christine. “But we want them to learn how to have a good time on the ice.”

Opening day is Monday, November 14, and the rink will operate until Sunday, January 8.

Tickets cost $13 on weekdays and $17 on weekends and other prime days. Skate rental costs are included in the price of the tickets.

This will be the fifth season that Evans On Ice has operated, and Boerner says the 30-minute Learn to Skate Saturdays have helped many people become more comfortable on the ice.

This year the lessons, which cost $60 for a package of four sessions, are scheduled for November 19 and December 3, 10 and 17.

“There’s no limit to the number of people, and all ages are welcome,” says Boerner.

Private lessons by appointment also are available for $20 each. Boerner says the $140 season passes are popular as well.

Hours vary, and Evans On Ice will expand its hours during the Thanksgiving and winter breaks. The rink is even open 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve and Christmas.

“People tell us they used to go to the movies after they opened their presents, but now they go to Evans On Ice,” says Boerner. “It’s a wholesome, family-centric thing to do.”

He says ice skating is a great way for parents and children to interact with each other.

“Parents like it because their children are getting outside for a little exercise and having some fun,” says Boerner. “Parents can get out there, too, and then they can sit on the sidelines and wave at their children as they pass by.”

Although ice skating is the main attraction, Evans On Ice offers much more winter fun.

Guests can roast marshmallows over a fire pit and enjoy hot chocolate and other concessions, and children can enjoy train rides on weekends. Skating hours will coincide with Columbia County-sponsored events as well.

The facility, which can accommodate 150 to 200 people, also is available to rent for individual or corporate parties.

For more information, visit or follow Evans On Ice on Facebook and Instagram.

Retreat Spa & Salon

Wedding Guide

Look Your Best On Your Wedding Day
A Full Service Salon and Spa For Any Bride

Every bride wants to feel confident and beautiful on her wedding day. With this timeline for expert hair, makeup, skincare, waxing, eyebrow and eyelash services, Retreat Spa and Salon aestheticians and stylist help any bride look her best.

3087, 4246 Washington Rd #1 | Evans, Ga
(706) 364-8292

spa salon wedding

Perrys Landing

Wedding Guide

Two Amazing Venues to choose from Perrys Landing is not Just a Venue….
This is where the Magic Happens!

Fourteen years of delivering a stress free, platinum wedding, without the platinum price tag. Our All-Inclusive Packages Deliver An Amazing, Stunning,and Unforgettable Wedding Experience.

20 minutes from Augusta, Georgia
The Barn at Perrys Landing: 5380 Henderson Road, Hephzibah, Ga 30815
The Orchard at Perrys Landing: 1870 Hephzibah McBean Road. Hephzibah, Ga. 30815

Phone number 404-933-3396
Instagram: @perrys_landing

wedding barn venue

D.J. & Co. Salon, Spa & Gifts

Wedding Guide

Award-Winning Hair & Beauty Services for Your Wedding Day
Look and feel amazing on your big day! Our talented team can tailor special packages to give you the perfect hairstyle and makeup to complement your skin tone, personality and individual style. In our spa, we offer Fantasy Tan spray tans, face and body waxing, 2 separate esthetician rooms offering microdermabrasion, dermaplaning,revitapen services & customized facials of all types. Eyelash color and curl as well as brow color and lamination are available. We are a “World Class BioElements Skin Care Spa ” and we are a “World Class Jane Iredale Skincare Makeup Spa” as well.

139 Davis Road | Augusta | 706.868.9400

salon spa gifts

Bottom Line Bakery

Wedding Guide

Everything at Bottom Line is made to order- so please allow 15-30 minutes to prepare your order. Some specialty items are set for a 24+ hour notice and cannot be added to same day orders. Please call us to discuss your order and we’ll be happy to work on accommodating your sweet needs.

Our daily cases is stocked with our house pastries featured on the menu and can be ordered anytime. If you would like to inquire about our daily specialty items, cake flavors, and cakes available for same day pick up – please call 706.750.8768 to speak with one of our bakery associates who will be happy to help you. Remember, life’s short, let’s make it sweet.

Monday Closed
Tuesday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Wednesday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Thursday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Friday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sunday Closed

Bottom Line Bakery LLC
4534 Washington Rd, Suite 3 | Evans, Georgia 30809
(706) 750-8768