Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Gala Affairs By AtUrBest would like to wish all of our family and friends a very very Happy New Year....

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Marines marry at judge's home
Couple's courtship has been long-distance

U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Madison Eastland, 19, (left) begins to cry as PFC Nicholas Steven Eckley, 20, of Stow reads his wedding vows to her during their wedding ceremony performed by Akron Municipal Court Judge Kathyrn Michael in Michael's Fairlawn home on Christmas. The Marines are both on leave and Eckley will be sent to Afghanistan in June. Serving as maid of honor is Eckley's sister Amanda Eckley, 23, left, and standing up with Eckley are his friends Nathan Rasor, (from left) Trevor McGuire and PFC Justin Schrantz. (Karen Schiely/Akron Beacon Journal)

Nicholas Eckley and Madison Eastland faced a challenge.

They wanted to tie the knot on Christmas Day when both were on leave from the Marines. But where would they find a judge to marry them?

Akron Municipal Judge Kathryn Michael had the answer. She opened her Fairlawn home to the young couple and their wedding party for a brief ceremony.

Michael said she preferred to have the wedding there rather than go to Eckley's parents' home in Stow, as the couple first requested, because of her own family commitments.

''I'm a romantic and I love weddings,'' Michael said. ''It's the only time people are happy to see me coming in my black robe.''

The noon ceremony capped an 18-month love affair for Pfc. Eckley and his bride, a lance corporal from Virginia Beach, Va.

The couple met when Eckley approached Eastland at a country-western dance near Virginia Beach.

He expressed interest in the Marine tattoo on her shoulder — her tribute to family and friends in the military, she explained — and found himself captivated by the young blonde.

''She's beautiful. There's something different about her,'' Eckley, 20, said. ''The way she carries herself, her presence. It made her stand out from everyone else in the room.''

Eastland, 19, was equally smitten.

''I thought he was cool and awesome,'' she recalled.

She went on to enlist in the Marines; a long-distance courtship followed.

For the last eight months, Eckley has been touring various countries around the Pacific. Starting in January, both will be stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

In June, though, he will leave for a seven- to 10-month deployment in Afghanistan.

So Christmas seemed the best time to tie the knot if he wanted his large family, already gathered for the holidays, to be present.

The couple read their own vows as about 10 family members crowded into Michael's living room. Pop holiday music played in the background during the ceremony.

After leaving the judge's home, the happy couple celebrated at the home of Eckley's parents, Cheryl and Mark Eckley, with about 60 family members.

However, a honeymoon to the Bahamas, Jamaica or Fiji and a formal reception for the new bride's family in Virginia will have to wait: She must report back to Camp Pendleton in California on Wednesday.

By Carol Biliczky
Beacon Journal staff writer
Published on Saturday, Dec 26, 2009

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Help Us Stop "Domestic Violence" - Act Like A Lady Plus Size Fashion Show

Join us for an evening of elegance, fashion and pure fun.

Act Lke A Lady Plus Size Fashion Show

January 30, 2010 at 6:00 p.m.

724 Montana Street Unit P Charlotte,NC 28216

Tickets $10.00 in Advance

$15.00 at the door..

For More Information contact

GeKeysha Murphy 704-756-7415
Shelia Murphy 704-712-3353
Amanda Sherman 704-502-0312

Doors open at 5:00 p.m.

Shows start promply at 6:00 p.m.

****Proceeds going towards various Domestic Violence Programs and Services*****

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Weddings and Saving Money: An Oxymoronic Dream?

Weddings cost an arm and a leg. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you about it; you’ve all been involved and seen thousands upon thousands disappear on dresses, catering, venues, invitations, makeup, hair, presents and a three piece swing band followed by a quartet. It’s a lot of money.
So is it possible to have a wedding and not have to refinance your home (or, more likely, your parents home)? Here are a few tips to help keep the bill in the land of reality.

Look Around You
Chances are you are surrounded by people with many gifts. We all know musicians, people who are witty off the cuff and older ladies who can sow just about anything. Use the people around you to help with the wedding. After all, it’s a way to involve people you care about in your big day as well as trimming the costs. Ask to borrow your best mate’s Mercedes instead of hiring a limousine. Have a grandmother who makes the best cakes ever? There’s your wedding cake. If you have a friend who is forever snapping away with their three cameras, now is the time to give them a call.

Be Brutal
I come from a Greek and Italian background; I know what it’s like to feel pressured to invite everyone you know. If you have plans to keep the costs down, keeping the guest list down is the most important thing you can do. Don’t invite people just because you feel like you should, or because they invited you to their wedding. Surround yourself with the people you love and want to witness your big day. Ignore stern maternal expressions and all guilt provoking comments.

Choose the Time of Day
The time you hold your wedding and reception can significantly trim the costs of your day. Hold the wedding at midday and the reception can be bubbly and nibblies. There’s no need to have a sit down feast if you would prefer to keep things casual. Acknowledge that most people would prefer to have a couple of glasses of nice red than a roast in summer time and cater for it. Choose to have your wedding on a less popular day of the week (as in, any day than Saturday) and you can trim your costs further.

Spend the Money on the Things That Matter
Wedding invitations are not the most important aspect of your wedding. Do it yourself, and save a lot of money and heartache over the proper wording and whether or not his parents should precede yours. Get some copies of your favourite picture and write the invitation details on the back. Use kids party invites and set the tone for a casual day of fun, rather than stiff formal proceedings. Save your money for a dress you really love, or squeezing in a couple of friends from way back.

Avoid the money pitfalls
This is a fantastic list of the biggest money wasters, My favourite is the discussion of favours or thank you presents. This is a phenomenon I have only just learnt about. I never knew you could receive presents for going to a wedding. Why not use Nina Calloway’s suggestion of a breakfast bag with some scones, nice tea and homemade jam? Personally, homemade jam is my favourite present so if anyone wants to send me an invitation, make sure homemade jam is included.

Posted by: Francesca Sidoti

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Carolina Inn Named Top Holiday Retreat by

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The Carolina Inn has been named among the nation’s Top 8 Holiday Retreats by

According to the web site, “a holiday away from home can become a magical and memorable excursion. Learn about special spots that do Christmas right; see our list of traditional and historic hotels and inns, large and small, located throughout the nation. These eight holiday retreats go all out, with Christmas trees everywhere, gingerbread galore, carols, and of course, Santa.”

Others on the list were The Berry Manor Inn in Maine, Homestead Resort in Utah, Inn at Christmas Place in Tennessee, Jekyll Island Club in Georgia, Rittenhouse Inn in Wisconsin, Skytop Lodge Resort in Pennsylvania and View Point Inn in Oregon.

The Carolina Inn’s 12th Annual “12 Days of Christmas” celebration runs through January 3, 2010 and features some new treats (An Afternoon with Nicholas Nickleby on December 19 and Antiques Roadshow on December 29), many old favorites (luncheon with the voice of the Tar Heels Woody Durham on December 16, Zuber wallpaper history tour and luncheon on December 22 and New Orleans Style Twelfth Night Banquet and January 2), plus six value-stuffed hotel packages starting at $117 per night.

Complete information about all of the Twelve Days of Christmas events at The Carolina Inn including dates, times and cost, if any, is online at Reservations are required for many of the events and may be made online or by calling 888-878-1823.

About the Carolina Inn

Recognized as one of America’s “cultural resources worthy of preservation,” The Carolina Inn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places with elite status as a AAA Four Diamond Award Hotel and Forbes (Mobil) Four Star Award-Winning Dining at the Carolina Crossroads Restaurant. From the day it opened in 1924, the 184-room Inn has played an important role in the life of the University of North Carolina and the Chapel Hill community. As one of only four hotels in North Carolina built before 1925 to remain in continuous operation, it has long been one of the most popular sites in North Carolina for special events, weddings, business meetings, and academic conferences with over 13,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space. In addition to having a rich cultural history, The Carolina Inn is architecturally significant, blending elements of antebellum Southern plantation houses with Georgian and neoclassical features often found in the Northeast. The original front of the building was modeled after the Potomac River front of Mt. Vernon. The Carolina Inn is one of more than 30 independent, upscale and luxury hotels, resorts and golf clubs in the United States managed by Destination Hotels & Resorts, the fourth largest independent hospitality management company in the country.