Tuesday, June 19, 2012

National Candy Month & Ode to the Best Candy Bar Ever

Retro Candy
Photo Courtesy of: http://www.nostalgiccandy.com

June is National Candy Month. Everyone loves a sweet treat, but too many of us feel guilt, instead of enjoyment, when we indulge. The Sweet Truth is, there are no "bad" foods, just poorly planned diets. When you are eating well-balanced meals and getting plenty of exercise, you can include some of your favorite treats in your daily diet.

This may come as a surprise to health-conscious Americans who aren’t sure of the exact nutrient content of candy. Some people believe candy is much higher in fat, cholesterol and caffeine than it actually is. For this reason, many of us may be needlessly denying ourselves foods we really enjoy. If you love sweets, keep this in mind: The number one goal for good nutrition is to eat a variety of foods each day to supply your body with the different nutrients it needs. You also need to control how much you eat to achieve a healthy balance in your diet and your weight. If you practice these nutrition guidelines and exercise regularly, there should be room for candy in your diet.
Source Site: FitCourse http://tinyurl.com/r4nzlv

My motto is: "Everything legal, moral and fattening in moderation!"

Some of my happiest childhood memories in a small town in Tennessee were at my Uncle Arlie's neighborhood grocery store. I loved the butcher counter with the gigantic meat slicer, the pot-bellied stove which was stoked to the max in the winter, the old cable spool used as a table around which sat mismatched chairs and upon which rested a checkerboard, and the wholesome family atmosphere generated by its homeyness. There were usually several older gentlemen sitting there playing checkers, talking about the weather and fishing, or just quietly contemplating their next checker move. But, my favorite place of all was the candy rack...rows and rows of candy, much of which could be purchased for a penny apiece. I mean there was everything a kid could possibly want on those racks. The hardest part of being there was deciding which candy I wanted to buy.

Candies have come and gone, some have been replaced by fancier, trendier varieties and, yet, many have stood the test of time...although, of those still standing, many have undergone a little "tweaking" that, in my opinion, they didn't need. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," my mother always said. Some fell out of fashion, the owners died and the candy went with them and some left...well, for no doggone good reason is what I say!  One such candy that went away, with no goodbye and no imitator trying to take its place, has remained in my inner child's memory as the BEST candy bar...ever. Yes, EVER. And I still mourn its demise to this day. I have been mourning its departure since the 70s and felt it went away for no good reason. Actually, I do know the reason and it's a greedy one...a corporate-decision-childhood-candy-dream-killer of a decision, but I shall explain later. 

Imagine buying one candy bar, but getting seven different candy bars in it...count 'em, SEVEN. Well this candy bar delivered, and it was not in my imagination...it was in my hungry little mouth. It filled me with enjoyment nearly my entire childhood...and then it was gone. The heavenly candy to which I am referring and to which I write this "Ode to the Best Candy Bar Ever" is the incomparable Seven Up Bar. 
Trudeau's Seven Up Bar
Circa 1930s-1970s
Photo Courtesy of: 

The Seven Up Bar began its seven-sectioned life in the 1930s, before the 7-Up Bottling Company began making its soft drink. Eventually the 7-Up company bought the bar and...and...retired it! Yes, they killed it off. It was MURDERED. Why, you ask, if it was so popular? Well, follow the money train. The 7-Up Bottling Company wanted exclusive rights to the name, no matter which way it was spelled: Seven Up or 7-Up. I don't care anything about that corporate crapola. I just want my candy bar back. I want my chocolate-covered-seven-sections-of-different-candy-centers candy bar back!

Image Courtesy of: http://tinyurl.com/7gjz6cw

The Seven Up Bar, itself, consisted of seven separate, filled sections connected by an outer chocolate shell. The shell was real milk chocolate, a bit thick on the edges but thinner over the fillings, and had a good snap to it, if bitten, and a smooth melt, if left upon your tongue. The seven fillings were: Orange Jelly, Maple, Caramel, Brazil Nut, Fudge, Coconut, and Cherry. Each section was so distinct and different that no two bites were remotely alike. 

I always ate my Seven Up Bar in order, starting with one end and moving to the other, trying to bite only one delectable section at a time without accidentally nipping off part of another. The order of the flavors was not a coin toss. Whomever placed each one in its location knew exactly what they were doing because each bite complimented the next one AND the previous one. Flippin' genius, if you ask me.
Site Information: http://candyaddict.com/blog

Seven Up Bar
Milk Chocolate & Dark Chocolate
Photo Courtesy of: http://candyaddict.com

I know for a fact that I'm not the only person who considered this awesome candy bar their favorite of all time...and I know for a fact that I'm not the only person who has been saddened by its departure. I guess I will never know exactly all the "why's" or understand why decisions were made to kill it off. I would have bought the recipe and operation, outright, from the Trudeau Family and incorporated it into the whole of 7-Up Bottling, maybe splashed a little 7-Up into the melted chocolate to make it contain real 7-Up or found some way to keep providing the world with this magnificent treat that needed no improvement. But, that's just me. I know I never liked the soda enough to write about it, expounding on its unique qualities or the joy it gave millions, or to think about it as a fond memory of my childhood, but now I never want to drink another 7-Up again...and I have an intense craving, brought on by the powerful memories of taste, site, smell, and pleasure, for a Seven Up Bar. 

Alas...Rest in Peace, Old Friend.

Seven Up Bar
The Wrapper I Remember!
Photo Courtesy of: http://candywrappermuseum.com/

Monday, June 18, 2012

First Train to Caroline...Greylan James Band

Every once in awhile you run across a young man who really impresses you with his talent and abilities, and you are even more impressed when you find out he hasn't even hit his 16th birthday yet. I'm talking about a young man from Knoxville, Tennessee named Greylan James...you need to remember that name because you are going to be seeing and hearing a lot more of him. Greylan had an exciting day today. Not only did he turn 16 (Happy Birthday, Greylan!), he did it on national TV where he and his band performed on Windy City LIVE in Chicago.

Ryan Chiaverini, co-host of ABC 7's new talk and entertainment show Windy City LIVE, which airs weekday mornings at 9am (CST), saw Greylan and his band performing at Four Farthings in Chicago and HAD to have him on the show. Greylan performed First Train to Caroline, his single, which drops TOMORROW, so check it out, people! Oh, by-the-way...there is a really cool dude playing guitar and singing harmony with Greylan in the band. His name is Blake Wrinn and he just happens to be my nephew. These young men are immensely talented in many ways...they play multiple musical instruments, sing and write songs and they are quick to give credit where credit is due...they know they have been blessed with gifts from God and aren't shy about sharing their love for Him. As a homeschooling Mom, I have to "throw it out there" that Greylan is homeschooled, so his natural creativity and self-starting demeanor have not been "boxed in" and have blossomed as a result. Just watch what unbridled talent can do!

Take a moment to sit back and listen to First Train to Caroline, available for purchase tomorrow!

Greylan James Band
First Train to Caroline
Click HERE to Listen!

Happy Father's Day & Happy Birthday!

Happy Father's Day to All You Fathers, Grandfathers, 
Great-Grandfathers and Stand-In Fathers!
Photo Courtesy of: http://tinyurl.com/cuwah63

Happy Father's Day, a day late! Fathers, please know you are appreciated ALL year long! My family and I were so busy from Friday, June 15th through Father's Day, that I didn't go near a computer, hence the late well-wishes. We spent the day in San Antonio, taking my newly 14-year-old child and my 84-year-old father out on the town to celebrate the amazing young lady she is and the wonderful man that is he. Rin couldn't wait to do what teenage girls love best...SHOP! And shop we did. We hit North Star Mall like two whirling dervishes, heading straight for the shops that teenage girls love...Forever 21, Love Culture, Hot Topic and Journeys. My father loves history and can remember more at 84 years old than I've already forgotten. We went to the Alamo, Riverwalk, San Antonio Zoo, Tower of the Americas and several of the beautiful old missions. We ate some great food, saw some lovely sights and enjoyed the weekend as a family.

San Antonio is the seventh largest city in the United States. It contains so much culture and history and has so much fantastic food and so many fun things to do, you could visit every week for a year and never experience it all. We can't wait to go back because a weekend isn't nearly long enough to take in such a fabulous city!

Tower of the Americas 
Observation Deck View at Night...Beautiful!

View From Our Boat

San Antonio Zoo
Newborn Baby Warthog and Its Mother

Remember the Alamo!
Love the Two People (in foreground)
in "Mourning" Costumes

Mission Nuestra Señora 
de la Purisima Concepción de Acuña 
Founded in 1731, Mission Concepción
 is the oldest church in the United States 
that hasn't fallen to ruin.
 It is an active Parish, 
part of the Archdiocese of San Antonio, TX

Sashimi at Kai Japanese & Asian Cuisine
Delectable Art!

Taco Cabana
Steak Bowl & Margarita

Yes...Everything IS Bigger in Texas!
Cowboy Boots in Front of
North Star Mall...Great Shopping

Rin's 14th Birthday Green Tea Ice Cream
(Yes, She Wanted This Instead of Cake!)

Happy Father's Day to My Two Guys!

Happy 14th Birthday, Beautiful Corinne!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Truck is My Kind of Pickup

From an Online Automotive Forum:

Dorothy: Do guys really like girls who drive pickup trucks?
Billy: Yes. And we like girls with trucks even better if they have a nice bass boat to go with it.


This Song Tickled My Funny Bone
Oh, and By the Way,
 I Love My Truck ♥

Pick Up Truck
by Bob Williams

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

If You Were a Hydrangea, in What Kind of Soil Would You Grow?

Growing up in the South and being an avid gardener, I have always had a love and appreciation for flowers. Certain blooms and blossoms are just associated with the beautiful, genteel gardens of the South. One flower that has always been a favorite and fascination of mine is the hydrangea, that mop-headed, vibrant beauty that is a veritable showpiece on the lawn, against a picket fence or in the garden.  From their leaves to their showy blooms, everything about them is as sweet, bold and fearless as Southern women, pressing their heads together in quiet conversation, outfitted in pastel attire, enjoying a sunny day in the garden, waiting to shout a "Hello!" to passersby.

Hydrangeas are Diverse in Color from
White, Pink, Red, Lavender 
and Periwinkle, to Deep Purple

In researching and growing hydrangeas, I found that certain species are affected by the amount of acid in the soil. The effect of acid is so profound that it can, literally, change the color of the blossoms! The more acidic the soil, the deeper blue/purple the blossoms become. A neutral pH can yield a pink or red blossom. White blossoms need a more alkaline soil to maintain their snowy brilliance. Add aluminum sulfate to the soil for deep blue and purple flowers. For pink or red, add lime or superphosphate. A very important factor in the outcome is that the desired enhancer must be added long before the blooms appear.

The thinker, observer and writer in me could not help but notice that we could learn a lot from the hydrangea. We can bloom where we are planted, but what will the world see when our blossoms appear? We must cultivate ourselves and put desirable traits, thoughts and values into our beings before we bloom. Once we bloom, we must carefully tend, prune and feed ourselves on that which is nourishing so that we remain strong, brilliant additions to the garden. The soil in which we grow or fail can be found in the company we keep - those who will affect how we blossom. Some people are such amazing additions to our lives that their nurturing promotes blooms that are healthier, bigger and more vibrant, catching the attention of even the most casual passersby. Others can poison our fertile soil, stunt our growth and kill our roots so that we fail to flourish at all or allow our once-brilliant blossoms to become brittle leaves, dried stems and hollow, fragile anchors that leave us vulnerable to strong winds and storms. Add too much of the wrong elements and the blossom and its purpose can be destroyed. Add an abundance of the right elements and the flower, in turn, adds more beauty to the garden.

Be careful where you plant and how you tend to your hydrangea so that you are happy with the outcome. Growth takes time, patience and tender loving care. Appearance depends on what you choose to put into, or take out of, the soil in which you plant it. All colors are desirable and pleasing when healthy, vibrant and adding beauty to the world around them. It's okay if some are a little different from others, for uniqueness adds a beauty all its own.

Monday, June 11, 2012

We Drop Our G's and Sweeten Our T's

I recently found the cutest sign on the mega-popular shopping/crafting site, Etsy, that pretty much sums up the South, and when I went to purchase it, it was already sold. (Insert sad face here.) It did, however, make me stop and think about the fact that the cute saying does describe us Southerners quite well. I have a college education, I know the proper way to speak and just because I have a Southern drawl or speak slowly doesn't mean I'm slow or stupid. I know, have met, and am related to lots of people who don't enunciate their words perfectly and, as far as I know, it never killed anyone. The grammar "crime" to which I'm referring is dropping your g's. (No, I'm not referring to spending a grand - that's another type of "dropping your g." I'm talkin' about leavin' off the "g" of words endin' in "ing.") I know it drives some people batty and makes them think we Southerners are not very smart and others, well, they think it is downright charmin'.

The second part of the sign reminded me that, when on vacation in the North and various other places NOT in the South, I could only find unsweetened ice tea. If I did order it and got packets of sugar to go in it, I could just forget about that sugar dissolving enough to sweeten the tea, even by the end of the meal, no matter how much I stirred. This Southern Belle boils her sugar in her water so it creates a syrup that evenly distributes through the brewed tea, making it taste positively divine. Yes, I use real sugar. One reason is that sugar is what makes sweet tea, well, sweet. Another important reason is that I have a sensitivity to artificial sweeteners...so much so that, when I ingest them, they cause me so many side effects (horrific migraines, upset stomach, "bee sting" sensations all over my body, well, I won't go on with the list of ailments) that I cannot abide consuming them. In essence, they are chemicals and, more specifically, they are poison. It's true, but I digress. So, for those two important reasons, I make Southern sweet tea the real way.

Oh yes...the sign. I was just getting to that. Here is the sign that sparked this post. It's so cute I might have to contact the shop owner and see if she would make another one. It's just precious and SO Southern!

Yes, we DO!

Cute sign made (but sold) by: http://www.etsy.com/people/myflipflopz

We Love You, Too, Old Pickup

Old Pickup Sings I Love
by Tom T Hall

"Oh, Pa, don't play that one! 
It always makes me cry!" 
~~ Charlene Darling, The Andy Griffith Show

It brought a tear to my eye 
and a lump to my throat, too, Charlene.

The Southern Garden Party

It Doesn't Get Much More Southern, Y'all
Photo Credit: John Paul Urizar at www.dustjacketattic.blogspot.com

Pink party dress, wrist corsage, perfect macarons under glass (not to be confused with the coconut blobs called "macaroons,") dainty tea sandwiches, petits fours, silver trays, fine crystal and a champagne waterfall...this is the stuff Southern Garden Parties are made of.  The weather is perfect and the image above has me overcome with the need for a little Southern socializing. I'm in a dither as to what to do first...start polishing the silver, planning the fare, sprucing up my favorite hat, or sending out hand-written invitations. I feel a fit of the vapors coming on...where is my fainting couch and can someone please pass the smelling salts?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Bless Her Heart

She's Not Southern
Photo Courtesy of someecards.com: http://tinyurl.com/7xa5e37

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Died and Gone to Southern Belle Heaven

Cute Cocktail Napkin from Swoozie's

I just discovered an online shop that has me as giddy as a school girl and as happy as a dog with two tails! A shop with a collection called Southern Pride? Well, bust my buttons!

If you are looking for presents, paper, printing or pizazz, make your way on over to Swoozie's for a selection of goodies that are cuter than a bug's ear and just as practical. Swoozie's has shops in seven Southern cities and one in Colorado. If you are in Texas, there is a Swoozie's in Dallas. Shopping at Swoozie's from anywhere is as easy as pie if you just go to the website...and of course you can find Lilly Pulitzer gifts there. Even though it was hard to pry myself off the Southern Pride page, I did check out all of the other wonderful doodads and must-haves Swoozie's has to offer.

Color me happy for finding Swoozie's. Make sure to go visit, ya hear?

D@mm!t Dolls...
For Those Days When Nothing Goes Right

(As with all other posts here at Pickups & Pearls, 
just click on a picture or color-highlighted word to find out more...
there will be a link attached!)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Southern Belles Do Not Get Mad, Y'all

I don't like reality shows. For one thing, there is no "reality" in them. All the Housewives of (Insert City of Choice Here) are just not believable except, maybe, to people who do NOT live in that particular area of the country. I'm especially appalled at the hair-trigger affinity for the women to be one eye-roll away from launching into cussing, pushing, hair-pulling, weave-snatching, cat-fighting, lip-splitting, face-spitting and family-bashing, stopping just short of cap-busting with their pistols. And this mess happens in the country clubs, not just the bars, beaches, bistros and beauty salons! Now, I can understand these shenanigans going down in Yankee Territory, but not south of the Mason Dixon line. I mean, who doesn't know that Southern Belles were taught to behave? We, quite simply, do not get mad.

From the time we are in tiny smocked dresses and ruffle-reared diaper covers, Southern Belles are instructed to play nice and act like ladies. We are taught to share our toys, not to act "ugly," that "pretty is as pretty does," not to act like "heathens" and to follow the Golden Rule...all honorable and virtuous traits and teachings. We are not allowed to have anything to do with any emotion that even comes close to resembling the "a" word (ssshhh...anger) and, as a result, we turn to less-than-mentally-healthy methods of coping and conveying. But still, we do NOT get mad.

We cry buckets of tears while "overcome with emotion" when the neighbor boy blows our favorite doll's right eye out with his Daisy Red Ryder BB Gun. We feel just a tad "ill" with a friend when she, for the forty-eleventh time, untruthfully tells the kids on the bus that we are stuffing our training bras. We are a "little miffed" when the girl who actually is stuffing her bra takes our first boyfriend away. But, we do NOT get mad.

I believe the art of passive-aggressive behavior was birthed in the South. Most Southern Belles should list it among their attributes on their resumes. Some, however, are far more adept at covering up their true intentions and emotions than others. The really, really good ones never allow that toothpaste ad grin to leave their faces, even while they are plunging a dainty silver letter opener into your back. The less adept ones resort to pouting, remaining in silence until asked what is wrong, then answering in a one-word soliloquy: "Nothing." I have known Southern Belles who have sent gifts of one-year-old-expired cookies to a "friend" to convey her trues sentiments about said friend. Another Southern Belle gave a friend a broken brooch that she didn't want anymore declaring she thought the friend "Would just love it." Then you have those who try oh-so-hard to live like the Bibles says but are still feeling a bit peeved, so they bust their friend out in church by asking for prayer for them, then sharing some confidential piece of gossipy information that is supposed to be the "subject" of the requested prayers when it's just a way to let a whole roomful of women in on some tidbit of scandal or misfortune.

You will find that a Southern Belle, when out of sorts, is aggravated, riled, upset, irked, annoyed, bothered, nettled, bugged or peeved or that someone has gotten on her last nerve. If you are around a Southern Belle long enough you are bound to hear her say, "Well, bless her heart." Now that sounds like the words of a friend deeply touched by another friend's sad news or trouble, and it can be. But here's the tricky part for non-Southerners...the whole "Bless her heart" sentiment, many times, acts as an addendum and buffer to having just said something "ugly" about another person. Example: "Since Sally Mae stays up at her Momma's place five nights a week to watch old reruns of Andy Griffith with her, then falls asleep on the couch instead of being at home with her husband, he got tired of being neglected and ran off with the new girl down at the Beauty Barn. Sally Mae is real tore up about it...bless her heart." See how blame or scorn can masquerade as compassion?

Southern Belles are not big on name-calling...we were just taught it wasn't nice and there is a plethora of adages designed to teach lessons about it. So, we resort to euphemisms, which deal a softer blow, flow more easily from the mouth, taste less bitter on the tongue and are less grating on the ear. Instead of calling Betty Lou "wild," we say she is "free-spirited." Daisy Sue isn't a "crazy drunk", she's a "mess." Tawny Lee isn't a "floozy" who dances on the table tops at the honky-tonk..she is a "live wire." And Birdie Jean isn't a, well, I can't say that word because I'm a Southern Belle.  Let's just say she likes men...a lot.

There will be one time and one time only when you see a Southern Belle come close to what Yankees call being "mad" and that is when someone/life/circumstance has been really, realy ugly to her and she throws a full-on hissy fit! A hissy fit is an emotional outburst, a grown-up temper tantrum, that occurs when things have reached the breaking point or something is considered beyond unacceptable. The term is believed to be a contraction, of sorts, for the words "hysterical fit." Us Southerners are known to shorten our words, run our words together or invent new words to save time. So, this explanation of the term "hissy fit" seems plausible to me.

If you know, are married to, are related to or encounter a Southern Belle and she tells you she's not mad, she really thinks she means it. Southern Belles, as we've determined, do not get mad. I know the fallout can sometimes appear the same as those Yankee women who do get mad, but that's merely a coincidence. A Southern Belle will continue to be as sweet as the syrup at the bottom of a Mint Julep and as charming, gracious and hospitable as you would find her any ol' day of the week, even if she's miffed. If the day should ever come when a Southern Belle actually did get mad and admit it, well, bless her heart...and yours, too, if you were the one who caused it.

I Feel a Hissy Fit Comin' On

The Texas Way

Photo Courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

“Texas is a state of mind. Texas is an obsession. Above all, Texas is a nation in every sense of the word. And there's an opening convey of generalities. A Texan outside of Texas is a foreigner.”
~~ John Steinbeck

“Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may.”

~~ Sam Houston

Rin & The Giant Squirrel

If you have children in your life, you've probably heard of the movie James and the Giant Peach. Well, what you would do if you encountered a giant squirrel? We encountered one and what do you think we did? We tore off the highway to get a picture of it, of courseOn our way to Austin yesterday, we spotted a larger-than-life squirrel holding a pecan in her little paws and we thought, "Photo op!" So, we pulled off the highway onto a gravel road and into the parking lot for a photo of this critter.

First, there are a few things you should know about this adorable creature: She is a "she," her name is "Ms. Pearl," she is the mascot of the Berdoll Pecan Candy & Gift Company in Cedar Creek, Texas and she isn't a live squirrel, although she is very "real" to everyone.

The Berdoll Pecan Farm has been family-owned and operated for 27 years. In 1980 Hal and Lisa Berdoll planted their 7,000 pecan tree orchard on the Colorado River bottom. In 2008 they expanded their orchard to 340 acres and have 15,000 trees in the orchard and 90,000 in the nursery. The varieties of pecans in their orchard are Choctaw, Pawnee, Wichita, Kiowa and Cheyenne. They take great pride in the quality of their products as they sell the pecans they raise in-shell, cracked, shelled and candied. All of the chocolate and flavored pecans are made in their own commercial kitchens. Can't get to Cedar Creek, Texas? No worries...you can order online at: http://www.berdollpecanfarm.com.

Rin & The Giant Squirrel, Ms. Pearl
Aren't both ladies cute?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Atkinson's Chick-O-Stick, A Texas Treat Since the Great Depression

Chick-O-Stick, a candy produced by the Atkinson Candy Company of Lufkin, Texas, has been manufactured since the Great Depression, and is one of my favorite candies from my childhood (no I didn't grow up in the Great Depression.) It is made primarily from peanut butter, granulated sugar, corn syrup and toasted coconut, with colorings and preservatives added. It is oh, so yummy, and the coconut is my favorite part!
Chick-O-Stick is an orange stick, of varying lengths and thicknesses, dusted with ground coconut. The interior of the stick is honeycombed with peanut butter and the orange hardened syrup/sugar mixture that also forms the shell. When eaten fresh, the candy is dry and brittle, but it has a tendency to draw dampness and become hard and chewy if left uneaten for a long period. Chick-O-Stick is available in .36 ounce, .70 ounce, 1.0 ounce, and 2.0 ounce sizes, as well as bags of individually wrapped bite-sized pieces.
Chick-O-Stick's original wrapper featured a stylized cartoon of a chicken wearing a cowboy hat and a badge in the shape of the Atkinson logo. The chicken is absent from the more recent wrapper, and some consumers have indicated that it contributed to confusion over whether the Chick-O-Stick was candy or a chicken-flavored cracker. Huh? Oh, well. The Atkinson Candy Company's website states that the company's founder "came up with the name one day, and well, it just stuck." The company had once written in correspondence that they felt the Chick-O-Stick "resembled fried chicken" and that contributed to the name. 

I always thought it looked a lot like the chicken feed I used to feed to the hens and roosters on my Aunt Molly and Uncle Ben's farm, and that made sense to me...but that's just me. I ate one today, as a matter of fact, and it still reminds me of chicken feed - not in taste (which is yummy...the Chick-O-Stick, not the chicken feed) but in texture and color. The only negative about having the Chick-O-Stick around is trying to keep my husband from eating all of them.
with revision and additional commentary by Melissa H

Atkinson Candy Company
Lufkin, Texas

Wait...Don't Settle

Now, I almost didn't post this one. 
It does teeter on the edge of propriety, 
so please forgive me if I offend. 
The "lesson" is true even if the delivery 
is a little, well, cheeky.

Spotlight on Sharelle Quick ♥ Singer/Songwriter and Southern Belle

Sharelle Quick is a singer/songwriter that I had the pleasure of meeting one Independence Day during the town of Waxhaw, North Carolina's July 4th Celebration. She and I talked at length as she was giving out fliers, and it was evident from that first conversation that Sharelle was a "people person" and someone very special. It was later that I found out just how special Sharelle is, and talented in so many different ways! 

Sharelle made her first public appearance in Pontiac, Michigan on Jan 6th, just 30 minutes after her twin sister, Michelle. Music has run through her veins from birth. From early in life, Sharelle knew what she wanted...to sing and write. Harmony was learned in the car with three sisters on long trips. Despite the fact that she was born in Yankee Territory, she epitomizes all things Southern, having spent much of her life in the South. That fact is evident in her characteristics: strong, self-sufficient, caring, funny, charming, hospitable, dignified and approachable. She is a Southern Belle with talent, style, gorgeous hair, a natural pageant-worthy smile and moxie.

Raised on harmony and humor, Sharelle is an incomparable, enigmatic blessing of contradictions that just work. If your ears had eyes, upon hearing her you would picture Linda Rondstadt, Karen Carpenter, Barbara Mandrell and Elvis all mixed up into one sound...that's Sharelle. Sharelle's music can best be described as unique sounds of the soul. She is not a copycat artist/writer by any means, and Sharelle is entertaining in every way. She is not just heard...she is experienced with your every sense. I'm proud to call her "friend."
Bio Courtesy of Reverbnation: http://www.reverbnation.com/sharellequick with additional comments by Melissa H

Sharelle Quick

Santa's Goin' Green
Sharelle Quick
Bluebird Cafe - Nashville, TN

Happy National Rocky Road Ice Cream Day

Rocky Road Ice Cream

Ice cream...a sweet respite on a hot day. I am such an ice cream fan, that it's difficult for me to go into an ice cream shop and choose. Chocolate or something fruity? Or chocolate WITH something fruity? It takes me a half hour to decide, so I usually let several customers go ahead of me to give me more time to choose.

Today is National Rocky Road Ice Cream Day. The flavor was created in March of 1929 by William Dreyer in Oakland, California when he cut up walnuts and marshmallows with his wife's sewing scissors and added them to his chocolate ice cream in a manner that reflected his partner Joseph Edy's chocolate candy creation incorporating walnuts and marshmallow pieces. (Dreyer? Edy? Do those names ring a bell in the ice cream world? Yeah, thought so.) Later, the walnuts would be replaced by pieces of toasted almond (but I prefer the  walnuts.) After the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the company gave the flavor its current name "to give folks something to smile about in the midst of the Great Depression.
"Information Courtesy of Wikipedia  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocky_road_(ice_cream)

So, Happy National Rocky Road Ice Cream Day everyone! Enjoy this sweet treat to cool off in this heat.
 May your road be ever smooth and never rocky!

Cowboys & Angels

Okay, bear with me just a moment or two while I brag on my hometown boy. As I said in one of my earlier posts, I'm a Texas girl now, but I moved here from her sister state of Tennessee. There is much talent in my little hometown there. I want to take a few minutes to tell you about how proud we are of our local boy, Dustin Lynch. I say boy, because I watched him grow up. But, that's no boy's voice coming out of that handsome young man's mouth. He's climbing the charts and you will be seeing and hearing more from our "boy." So, just sit back and enjoy Dustin's hit song, Cowboys and Angels.

Cowboys & Angels (Acoustic Version)
Dustin Lynch
 (To check out the music video version, just scroll down to the bottom of the page.)

When I Am An Old Horsewoman

I shall wear turquoise and diamonds
And a straw hat that doesn’t suit me
And I shall spend my social security on
white wine and carrots
And sit in the alleyway of my barn
And listen to my horses breathe.

I will sneak out in the middle of a summer night
And ride the old bay gelding
Across the moonstruck meadow
if my old bones will allow
And when people come to call, I will smile and nod
as I walk past the gardens to the barn
And show instead the flowers growing
inside stalls fresh-lined with straw.

I will shovel and sweat and wear hay in my hair
as if it were a jewel
And I will be an embarrassment to all
who will not yet have found the peace in being free
to have a horse as a best friend
A friend who waits at the midnight hour
With muzzle and nicker and patient eyes
For the kind of woman I will be
When I am old.

~~ Author Unknown

Photo & Poem Courtesy of Equine News Today http://equinenewstoday.com/

Friday, June 1, 2012

Happy Birthday, Southern Belle

Happy 30th Birthday to my lovely daughter, Kristin, born on June 1, 1982. She is a beautiful Southern Belle who epitomizes all charming and lovely things found in genteel Southern women. What a joy and a blessing she is to me, and I'm tremendously proud of her hard work, success, sense of duty to those in need and precious heart. She worked full-time while getting her Master's Degree and planning a wedding and was rewarded with a fat promotion and a handsome husband. Now she uses her talents as a former cheerleader to cheer on her wonderful husband, Jamie, as he completes his Law Degree. Yes, she works hard, volunteers, organizes people for good causes, is an avid runner, gets mani/pedis, is a connoisseur of fine wines, hangs out with "ladies who lunch," has exquisite taste in clothes and decor, is a boisterous sports fanatic, loves the Lord, and is involved in so many worthy causes, I could write another blog about her alone. She is memorable everywhere she goes. Yes, friends, you have met a modern Southern Belle with a love and appreciation for tradition, family, God and country...and every other little thing that is Southern. Happy Birthday, Baby Girl.

♥ 30 Looks Good on You, Kristin ♥

A Southern Belle, Through and Through

She and Jamie were featured in Premier Bride Nashville Magazine...Yes, I'm One Proud Mom.

Lil Cowboy's Words of Wisdom

"It beats everything - 
how people will borrow trouble 
when they might just as well 
borrow something worthwhile."
Lil Cowboy, Circa 1912

Southern Women Should Be Kissed, and Often, by Someone Who Knows How

Rhett knows women in general and Southern women in particular. And Rhett has got it right.

"No, I don't think I will kiss you, although you need kissing, badly. That's what's wrong with you. You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how."
~~ Rhett Butler to Scarlett O'Hara

We Don't Hide Crazy

Phote eCard Courtesy of: www.someecards.com

“I’m saying this is the South. 
And we’re proud of our crazy people.
We don’t hide them up in the attic.
We bring ‘em right down to the living room 
and show ‘em off.
See, Phyllis, no one in the South ever asks 
if you have crazy people in your family.
They just ask what side they’re on.” 
~~ Julia Sugarbaker, “Designing Women”
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