Sunday, January 22, 2012

Turtles in the Kitchen

Got into an experiment in the kitchen tonight, as I'm trying to beef up the inventory options on The Proper Pecan and I thought turtles would be a great addition. This took me back to so many great childhood memories. My mom, sister and I used to make candy with our sweet neighbor every single Thanksgiving. We used mostly fondant, flavored with crushed peppermints or peanut butter or brown sugar, that we rolled into balls and dipped into milk or dark chocolate. My hands were always on the cold side to work with chocolate - it would clump all over my fingers. I remember being envious that my sister's body temperature was better suited for the job :) We also learned how to make caramel...individually packaged caramels and turtles. I remembered some of the techniques faster than others during this test run tonight! Caramel is definitely tricky. I was on the phone with my mom for moral support the whole time, ha! These certainly did not turn out perfect, but nothing ever does the first time around. That would be too easy.

Thanks to my taste tester husband, these are about halfway gone by now! They are Josh-approved.

Notes for next time: the caramel needs to get a little hotter. It was a little soft once it set. I'm not sure the chocolate is going to firm up perfectly. Probably used too much butter. Is there such a thing?!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New Etsy Banner for The Proper Pecan

Oh my goodness, I am so beyond ecstatic! Check out the adorable Etsy banner that Danielle Moss designed for me. Isn't she so talented?! I'm. So. Excited. 

Rustic, playful and refined all at the same time. This is exactly the flair I want to bring to my pecan project :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Lucky Streak

I don't know what it is. Maybe the stars are aligned. Maybe I've been a good girl. Or maybe it's just coincidence. Whatever it is, I have loved being the lucky winner of several giveaways in the last few months! The first was before the holidays...a complimentary one night stay at a luxury hotel, thanks to a lovely partner's holiday party giveaway. Can't wait to cash that one in.

Then, just a few weeks ago, I won a Twitter contest from Atlanta Magazine. This was such a fun surprise! Atlanta Magazine was gathering followers and to do so, they were offering a giveaway. Had no idea, just wanted to follow them. Well, I won! It was crazy! Won a 3 bedroom home in Grayton Beach and tickets to the 30A Songwriter's Music Festival for this past weekend. As last minute as it was, it couldn't be passed up. I fell in love with this area of Florida and can't wait to go back.

OK, this is one reason for my love of this place. I mean, they count the dogs and cats in the population. Instant community. Too cute.

Love the food trucks. We had an awesome lunch at one of these...the Costa Rican...brown rice, black beans, salsa, avocado and lime. Delicious. 

Cutest post office I ever did see.

Home of the famous Costa Rican.

Don't know if the beach could have been ANY prettier. It was actually pretty warm! (This is an iPhone picture, not bad!)

And here's the house. It was amazing and we will go back! 

Taking a few notes for my future light fixtures. Don't you think this would look cute in a non-beach house? I'm all about burlap.

The prettiest sunset I've seen in a while. 

So, I'm hoping my lucky streak isn't running out...need a little more for a lottery ticket!

Do you think you make your own luck?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Back from the West Coast

I've been a bad blogger lately - I miss it! Just got back last night from a trip to San Diego for a work conference. It was a good time. Met so many new people and got to hang with some fun Atlanta hospitality folks! I'm not really one of those people that enjoys traveling for work...I am a total and complete homebody. I love spending all day with people, but really, I prefer to come home at the end of a long day to my sweet puppies, and of course, Josh. That said, it was a successful trip, and what to do other than make the best of it! Plus, the weather was perfection.

Here are a few pictures I snapped with my iPhone while there.

From my hotel window...not bad, huh?

The greatest thing (other than networking) about these types of conferences are the events. When you are putting something together for meeting planners, hoteliers and DMCs (companies like Presenting Atlanta), you have got quite an experienced audience to "WOW." So, you always see over the top decor and entertainment. It's a great way to get some ideas to bring home with you!

This was a harpist, set in a prefunction space, and in between the 2 ballrooms for the opening reception. Very cool, almost ethereal sound.

Absolutely loved these lighted cube highboy tables and lamps. The lamps were made from a huge vase, turned upside down. Shells were placed under the mouth of the vase and the base of the vase was topped with a drum shade. 

The quality of this picture is terrible, but these were some plexi-glass communal tables in one of the ballrooms for the opening reception. There were a couple of shelves underneath the table top filled with nautical accents like starfish and shells. This gives the effect of a layered centerpiece. Even the chairs were plexi-glass to keep the look consistent throughout.

The second to last night was a party at the USS Midway. San Diego is SO lucky to have this amazingly historical and unusual venue! 

This was on the top deck...there were over 20 aircrafts on this thing! They also had 3 types of flight simulators on another level.  I did not participate, but lots of people did. Doesn't seem like food, drink and simulating go together if you ask me!

Then, I got to come home to these is good!

Now, I'm just waiting on my Rebel to return!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Read

One of my new year's goals (I like to make goals rather than resolutions) is to read often. I love to read, but when does one have the luxury to do so? I'm working on it! My BFF Linsey gave me this book for Christmas and I have a feeling it will be a page turner. Isn't the cover intriguing?

The author is a New York trained chef/Wall Street overachiever that decides to go out into the wild to discover the real meaning of sustainable food. The book includes recipes along the way...even one for squirrel dumplings! Not sure I'll be trying that one, but there were some other, slightly less road kill-ish ones that looked good. Some amazing gravies, homemade mustard, black peppercorn sauce. Plus, her name is Georgia! Linsey said it reminded her of me. We laughed about this - years ago, Linsey named one of her cows after me because she "looked" like me...apparently she had blond hair, but as you can imagine, that was NOT my first thought! 

Do you see the kilim rug in the background? Here is a closer shot. Rustic, right?

I am loving this hand-me-down from my mom. Christmas was a nice time to comb through some of my mom's extra things :) ...this was rolled up in the garage, no joke! Love my ottoman coffee table but it's not working with the rug. But, fine for now. I'm just thrilled to have the kilim rug! It reminds me of some I've been coveting from Pottery Barn...

via Pottery Barn

via Pottery Barn

...and it brings a little mountain to our little city home!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

I ♥ Blogging

This is my 100th post. Crazy! This may sound nerdy, but blogging has been such an enjoyable and creative outlet for me over the past year. I've truly learned a lot about myself and how I operate. I've always been a project-driven person. My day feels productive if I've gotten lots of things checked off the ticky list. Blogging is a way to add some fun to that ticky list, get creative and share those projects. I don't really watch much TV because I can't sit still long enough. When I'm at home, I'm always doing, cooking, re-decorating an area, re-organizing a closet, or starting something way too involved for the amount of time I can dedicate to the project :) Blogging has given me a way to wind down and have some "me" time. It's allowed me to explore photography, new recipes, talk about my dogs, meet new blogging friends, etc. Plus, I've always enjoyed writing, hence my degree in journalism. After college, I never really had the opportunity to write and create. Now I've got that back!

It has also been great to get connected with other bloggers and learn their techniques/interests. There are some great writers and doers in the blogging world. Everyone's creativity and hobbies are so inspiring!

I'm trying to expand that creative vein and add another fun project to my necessary to-do list with The Proper Pecan. Check out my Valentine's Day Sassy Sweet Pecans with the red/pink felt roses!

I've got a batch in the oven right now...I'm going to try dipping them in chocolate for a more traditional Valentine's Day gift. We'll see how they turn out!