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Author: Ashlee Duren

Publisher Notes: May 2018

  Benjamin Disraeli, a former British Prime Minister once said, “The secret of success is to be ready when your opportunity comes.” I was not ready, or at least I thought I wasn’t. Back in the fall, my friend Brittany Johnston, who also happens to be an extremely talented interior designer, came to me with an idea for the magazine. She thought it would be a great idea for Augusta Magazine to host a design showhouse. At first, I loved the idea until she divulged the time frame. Six months! My reaction suddenly became, well, shall we say, less than favorable. In fact, I thought my friend had lost her mind. Who in their right mind would dare tackle a project of this size in such a short time frame? Not to mention, I had never done anything like this before and did not even know where to begin. Needless to say, I needed a moment to seriously consider it. Within 24 hours, I called Brittany back to tell her, “I’m in.” I mean, I would have been insane to turn down this opportunity. When, if ever, would I have the chance to be a part of something like this again? Carpe diem! From that moment until the moment we held the opening cocktail party in early March, life seemed to move at warp speed. The home itself has...

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Publisher Notes: April 2018

  Spring has arrived in Augusta! If you had any doubt, the yellow pollen that has draped itself on every surface is sure to let you know. Here in our fair city, spring means only one thing to most residents – The Masters. Augustans, native or not, spend months getting ready for golf patrons to flock to the Garden City for their chance to set foot on the sacred grounds of Augusta National. I must admit, it is truly something special. A heavenly oasis lies just beyond the gates. The grass is greener, the colors of the flowers more brilliant, the staff is the most polite of any. The entire experience is first-class. It’s not just the grounds of the National that are top class though. Augusta is a great city. I’ve heard the comments made about Washington Road and how “awful and dirty” it looks. Sure, not everything in our city is picture perfect. But I could argue that no city is. The one thing that does make Augusta unique, outside of the National, is our residents and their Southern hospitality. I hope that if you’re here just for the Tournament, that you take a moment to experience Augusta. I can promise you, you won’t be disappointed. -Ashlee   Article appears in the April 2018 issue of Augusta Magazine. Subscribe to Augusta Magazine Have feedback or a story idea?...

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Publisher Notes: February/March 2018

  Sixty-nine years – that’s how long my grandparents were married. At 90 and 84, respectively, Papa and Nana shared a lifetime of friendship, trials and tribulations, but most of all love. As their eldest grandchild, I feel blessed to have witnessed their love and devotion, not just to each other but also to their children, friends and most of all, the Lord.     As the publisher of a magazine, I often allow you, the reader, to see certain facets of my life. I want you to know me, but it’s rare for me to be so open with my feelings. I want to share this moment with you and it seems fitting that I write about their love story in this issue. After all, February is the month of love.    The son of a farmer, James Chesley Blackwell Sr., grew up poor in rural South Carolina. The second of four siblings, he never dreamed of moving to a big city, chasing dreams of grandeur. He sought the simple life. Marrying the love of his life, Carolyn White, building a modest home on family land and raising a family. It was a good life.    When I began writing this column, my Papa was still clinging to life, somewhere between this earthly world and heaven. He has since joined heaven’s angels. And while the pain of watching...

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Publisher Notes: January 2018

  Happy New Year! Honestly, where does the time go? I was finally getting comfortable with 2017 and then, 2018 is here! I know that January should be a time of goal setting and resolutions, but for me it has always been a time of reflection. I take a moment to look back at the previous year, my accomplishments and failures. This year, however, I am choosing not to look back. Someone once told me you can’t move forward looking in the rear view mirror. How true! We, as residents of the Augusta area, have much to look forward to in the coming year. Downtown is buzzing with new development for the first time in more than 30 years. We have three new hotels being built (two in downtown and one across the river in Riverside Village), Augusta University’s Cyber Institute, new businesses moving to the area and some relocating to downtown. The Miller Theater reopens this month after being closed for more than 30 years. The Imperial Theatre will celebrate its’ 100th anniversary in February. The Augusta GreenJackets will play in their new stadium in April. The transformation is thrilling to watch and it’s just the beginning. We live in an amazing city! I hope you will embrace the coming changes and celebrate our victories. We will do our best to keep you, our reader, informed of these...

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Sustainable. Organic. Local. November/December 2017

Sip With the holidays rapidly approaching, a cocktail might just be in order. Stop by The Bee’s Knees for a Rose Dunn. The tequila-based libation is the concoction of mixologists Samantha Rockwood and Aleisha Tucker. “I was dead set on having a smoky rosemary something,” Samantha says. “I just love rosemary.” The seasonal cocktail just hit the menu late last month and will remain throughout the holiday season. To start, Rockwood seasons the glass with Mezcal, made from Agave, a cousin of tequila. Made with Espolon Tequila Blanco, the Rose Dunn has a smoky flavor perfect for this time...

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