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Thursday, December 31, 2009

It's Time to French-Kiss 2009 Bye-Bye

It was the best of times . . . and the worst of times. But 2009 was the "year of fine" as Bright Blue coined earlier in the year. Mom and Shuga D just returned from an Eve's Eve celebration in Atlanta where they got down with the Band of Horses at the Tabernacle, reveled their view from the top and noshed on some nostalgic maki rolls at RuSan's in Midtown. But that's not the only thing Mom reminisced over.

It was driving by 83 Walton Street, former home to Capricorn Records, where Mom worked the mail room and receptionists' desk during her college days. Just as their car crossed Cone and Walton, Cake's "Going the Distance" came on the radio, one of the hit singles the label had at the time. Sentimental-lately Mom couldn't help but choke up over what a distance they have all come . . . and how the journey had ended for some.

Vic Chesnutt was also on the Capricorn at the time of Cake. He was no stranger to the phone lines at the label, and his friendly, quirky voice was always fun to receive. And it was Vic's "Salesman and Bernadette" poster that proudly gave her the most paper cuts in the mail room. It was heartbreaking to learn of his passing over the holidays, and there is no doubt Georgia music lost one of its best players.

Mom hopes her late Uncle Phil was among those to greet Vic Chesnutt when he found his peace and thank him for the amazing music he contributed to the Capricorn family.

Sad songs aside, they haven't even been home an entire hour, but Mom and Shuga D are dressed up with some places to go.
She and Shuga made a pit stop at Trader Joe's for some champagne and pink-bagged kettle corn. Now she is wearing her new pink baubles purchased from H&M just a little while ago and her sequin blouse that was among her Christmas clothing scores from her father.

So why all this pink? They are looking forward to the Cherry Blossom ball drop in downtown Macon, as well as another one of the amazing players who made 83 Walton Street extra special. Col. Bruce Hampton is performing at the Hummingbird this evening, and if there was ever a "father time," well . . . you got him.

Cheers to the passing of a decade, and the beginning of a new one. Cheers to the adventures that will always be ahead.

And remember, Candy Lou loves you!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Few of Our Favorite Things

The last thing Mom wants to do is use this blog to brag. Instead, consider this entry a mass thank-you letter. Christmas this year was definitely among the best because . . .

A) Christmas day was easily divided between brunch and dinner with Mom and Shuga's families - and they live within a 10 mile radius.

B) There was a lot of thought, heart and soul found underneath the tree this year.

The best gift from Mom's Mom was the offering to make Christmas easy. That meant no obligation to return to the road after Mom's journey to their Tennessee home over Thanksgiving. Her gift from Mom was a visit to Macon early, a girls-only shopping trip for a "tough-looking" outfit where a pair of black Frye boots were bargain-scored and very little wrapping paper was required. Instead, it was an exchange of the shopping bag or box it arrived in, followed by a big hug and promise to see each other (and Mom's brother and Saint-of-a-Stepdad) soon in the early New Year. Thank you Mom's Mom for setting the pace to a carefree Christmas.

Santa definitely made a stop at the "other JWs'" home between the never-ending stocking and the just-right gifts like the pictured Low Country Luxe "Sugah" soy candle from Macon's Jeffrey Michael's. Shuga D is the type of guy who will give you the coat off his back, and he must get it from his mama. It takes a pretty amazing woman to give you the purse off of her shoulder . . . especially a brand new bag fresh from the Macon boutique Isabella's. Just a couple of days ago, Mom was drooling at SMJ's hot red purse as she drooled over duck with black cherry sauce at dinner. It was offered to her then, but Mom, being her best Southern belle "couldn't possibly" take it right then and there. But she had no problem unwrapping it as a gift on Christmas morning. She declares that every time she carries it, she not only thinks of SMJ's sweet act of kindness, but the dinner occasion when she fell in love with the bag - Shuga's parents' 40th anniversary.
Thank you to Shuga Mama and Papa Jean and Jimmy for making Mom feel like a kid on Christmas morning again.

Papa Walden proved once again his fine taste in women . . . and women's clothing. Afraid of reliving the "Lenox Christmas" nightmare of Mom's junior high conformity angst, where her dad put a lot of effort into picking out the perfect outfits and accessories only to have his daughter well-up with tears because it wasn't from the Gap, Papa Walden held his breath as his oldest, and relatively clothing conservative, child opened her gifts . . . and squealed with delight. The diversity of the wardrobe - and it was definitely enough to stock a closet - was impressive. And although Mom was the most impressed with the blouses that nailed her style on the head, her favorite was the super-slinky, blush-inducing LBD that her thoughtful father advised her to wear with "high, high heels." Just the fact that her dad has that much faith in her figure to carry it off, makes a daughter proud. Hopefully, there will be a Terrell Sandefur party or any other reason to wear a wig that will give her the incognito courage to actually wear it! Thank you Papa Walden for taking the chance on hand-picking your daughters clothes again.

So just what was Mom's biggest unveil? She hears her expression was priceless when she walked into the "other JWs'" living room on Christmas morn and found a bike with a big red bow waiting for her under the tree. That sneaky Shuga D had his former Folley Beach cruiser made over for Mom and me, complete with pink basket and pink bell, for pedaling around the College Hill Corridor. Not only does the bike share some miles of Shuga's history, but that's it, the actual bike, pictured above in a real deal photo shoot for the "Putumayor Paris" catalog. Mom is already talking about taking it to to Kroger today and buying a baguette, just for the heck of it. I have a feeling you're going to be seeing a lot of me riding shotgun in the pink basket in downtown Macon. Thank you to our sweet Shuga for the element of surprise and for restoring Mom's new treasure.

And speaking of speaking - rather, feeling - Parisian, un petite package from chere Aunt Fran warmed Mom's heart to the point of happy tears: an authentic "vintage" map of Paris from the 30s/40s and an antique French prayer book that immediately opened to "La Nativite" and still has that familiar church smell. Thank you Aunt Fran
and your DNA for just knowing what will get Mom every time.

Other favorites in the precious gifts department include the home-knitted, "gender-neutral" scarf from Super Mom SGM. Cousin Amantha gave Mom a collection of Maile Meloy short stories. And Uncle Higgy gave Mom the pre-"Sex and the City" novella Sheila Levine is Dead and Living in New York, that Mom is surely to enjoy. Thank you friends for giving the gift of time, for finding (or creating) the little things that fit just right.

And that is just a little sampling of the raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens that made Christmas in Candy's Land, merry and bright.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas from the Candy's Land Crew!

Mom is officially on holiday vacation, and we couldn't be more excited to have her to ourselves for a few days. Home for the holidays truly makes life sweet in Macon, Georgia.

From the bottom of our hearts, thanks for being a part of our lives. Merry Christmas from our wild crew to yours!

p.s. Thanks to "Auntie Becki" for being our VERY patient photographer

Friday, December 18, 2009

Get Ready to Rock the Socks off that Dirty Leg

Don't think Shuga D got by on his birthday without a party in the works. He and his birthday bud and bad-ass bass player from Dirty Leg, Uncle Higgy, are turning it up at downtown Macon's the Rookery on Saturday night, Dec. 19. Everyone is invited. All are welcome. Just be ready for a good time - whether your leg is dirty, stanky, wooden or just plain sexy.

Here are the details, written from the boyz of Dirty Leg:

Only one thing in the world could've dragged me away from the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window...and that thing would be DIRTY LEG! Go ahead and get out your calendars to mark in the date of Saturday, Dec. 19th for the DIRTY LEG X-MAS SPECTACULAR. The Holiday Season is filled with family, friends, rock 'n roll, and of course, the celebrated birthdays of Jamie Weatherford, Charles Ladson, and David Higdon. You are all cordially invited to come down to the Rookery to join in the excess on a night with no strings attached. It's like winning a major award! Well, maybe not a whole damn bowling alley, but at least the deed, for cripesakes!

By the way, happy birthday Uncle Higgy! Candy Lou loves you!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Happy Birthday to the One and Only Shuga D!

Today is the birthday of a very special man in me and Mom's life. Life would never be so sweet in Candy's Land without our Shuga D. There is not a day that goes by where he doesn't make Mom grin or me wag my tail. Mom says that Shuga is most definitely her hero, the one who has shown her that true, true love does exist, like those two yoked mules who pull the plow together.

So, for the man who works his fanny off in a candy factory, yet remains the life of the party and one of the most positive people you'll ever know . . . To the one that Mom considers the most wonderful, handsome, brilliant and considerate best friend a person could ever have, who continues to make life's most simple moments the most memorable, this little video is for you.

Candy Lou LOVES you!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Home Work

Some wonder what Mom does for a living. She promotes living, working and playing in downtown Macon's historic College Hill Corridor. Here it is in PSA format:

Making the List and Checking it Twice

Even though Mom can make lists with the best of them, itemizing New Year's Resolutions has never been a priority. Basically, she says the same thing every year, "My goal is to get better with people's names" (thank goodness Shuga D excels at this and remains trusty back-up).

But every Christmas, Mom finds herself making holiday resolutions - goals (or wishful thinking) she wishes she was taking time to accomplish amongst the holiday madness. Here are a few of them:

1. Finish Christmas shopping by September; credit card debt accumulated paid off by December, hence, "No debt": the greatest gift of all.

2. Presents wrapped as they are purchased, instead of sitting on the floor and doing it all at once until the back aches and sore shoulders set in (is Mom getting old?).

3. Learn to bake something. Mom has never been one to bake - she made her first batch of cookies in her late twenties and hasn't done it again since. Ginger snaps and bleu cheese straws are on her wish list. Even chocolate-covered potato chips would be fun to make and give-away . . . how hard could it be?

4. Make the time to watch a feel-good holiday movie or musical, live theatre, dance or all of the above.

5. Stop. Drop. And enjoy the holidays. Maybe with some hot chocolate or spiked eggnog on a silent night in front of a glowing tree. Or dinner with just a few of us, enjoying friendship amongst a fine meal.

Maybe, just maybe, Mom is coming closer to achieving her holiday goals this year.
The stockings and mistletoe are hung and the halls are decked throughout Candy's Land. Christmas shopping is done (although her credit card is far from it!). She finished wrapping presents last night (and hopes Shuga will massage her shoulders today). Tonight, she is putting on her vintage holiday dress and venturing to the north side of town (gasp!) for a quiet girls' night dinner at Marco Ristorante Italiano. Friday, she'll be quietly, finely dining again in celebration of Shuga D's family milestones at Natalia's. Next week, Mom's employer, the College Hill Alliance, is hosting a free, 3-D screening of Polar Express on Tuesday, Dec. 22, at 7 p.m. (unfortunately, Mom will be too busy getting the word out on it, hosting it and cleaning up after it, that it is doubtful she'll slow down enough to actually enjoy it).

And, lo . . . the angels heard before her, Mom is getting some rare time off. She might try to do something crazy like break out the measuring cups and attempt to bake something!

Stay tuned for more as Mom attempts to find reason in the season. And from our home in Candy's Land to yours, happy holidays from!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Day the Music Died

There are often times when Mom can't help but wonder just how different their lives all would be if not for that fateful day on December 10, 1967.

Would Otis Redding and her dad still be best friends? Would her uncle Phil and her dad continue to manage him? Would the Reddings and the Waldens' children have continued to grow up together? Would her father been sparred decades of grief that haunt him to this day? Would Otis have loved her like he did the other members of her family?

That's what happens when you grow up this close to the music. You hear the stories behind it. You're so close to it that it's almost frustrating. Your raised beside those songs as if they were siblings - and you love them and fight them all the same. There is no doubt all of our lives would have been different had that plane landed safely.

Today, Mom's dad will do what he has always done for the past 42 years. He drives out to Round Oak and visits his friend. He continues to mourn. And I am sure that even decades later, he still asks why. But he also gives thanks. For changing all of our lives . . . and leaving our world some of the best damn music there is.

If you've never shed a tear or felt something in your tummy when listening to Otis Redding, then you just don't have the volume loud enough.

Love you, Otis - all 26 years of your life and your immortal, enormous presence that lives on.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Looking for Pep Brown

Mom's Pop shared this song with her this blast from the past soul ballad this week. Look closely at the 45 and you can see her dad was co-producer. And if you look even closer, you can see it was dedicated to "the Big O," the man who showed them soul to begin with.

Talk about a break-up song . . . it's the last, passionate breaths from the guts of a relationship gone wrong.

Pep Brown is a Maconite. And Mom and her pop, former manager Alan Walden are trying to find him. If you know the latest on the talented ballad master, send me a Candygram at

Until then, please enjoy the music.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Grand Dame of Southern Rock Opens Her Doors

This weekend was such a busy one for Candy's Land that we are still catching up on the festivities. Among the highlights was the grand opening of the Allman Brothers Band Museum at the Big House.

Mom says the museum is so amazing that it she needs to let the Big House speak for her self. The walls truly talk - not just with relics, but with music and love most definitely in the air.

She had never been upstairs in the Big House until last Friday night, and when she entered Duane's bedroom, she experienced only what she's heard about . . . which she didn't understand until then. She just felt something. And it brought tears to her eyes.

Then she turned the corner and saw a picture of her late uncle Phil among the relics, and those tears in her eyes began to spill over. There were a lot of people who deserved to be at the Big House this past Friday night, but instead of looking at it from the inside, they were looking down from above.

Rock and roll was never meant to be fair. It takes the greatest prophets, poets and painters way too soon. But what it leaves behind . . . what they leave behind are their stories. Whether they decorate the walls of a museum, channel from speakers or linger as a melody in our heads - and our hearts - proves that even though they go too soon, their roads really do go on forever.

Honey Put on Your Party Dress

Mom came home with this classic number from downtown Macon's Treasure Vintage today. Sales abound at the kitschy cool boutique, all this week and the weeks leading up to Christmas. Today, she bought her girly red holiday dress, a black chain purse and blouse for under $10 total!

You can't tell much from the pic, but it's a drop-waist in a flapper-style form. Pair it with some black tights, patent heels and red lipstick, and it goes from looking Little Orphan Annie to what they are charging the mega-bucks for in Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters these days.

So, just where is Mom wearing her new party dress? If she has her way, 'tis the season to forfeit the big parties for the dress-up dinner dates among friends, where they can toast martinis to the exiting and impending years and to living a life where it is better to be out with the new and in fashion with the old.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Dashing Through the Downtown Glow

This weekend Mom spotted one of her most beloved sites of the season. When she was a little girl, her family (never ones to shy from downtown) always made it a point to drive by the Blair's Furniture Store during their Christmas light cruise and look wide-eyed at the storefront displays which were lit up and decorated with animated boy and girl dolls celebrating the various scenes of Christmas. For Mom, it was mesmerizing. And the most magical of them all was the sleigh-dashing white horse, turning his head from side to side, en route with a couple of fetching carolers.

These days, you have to look hard to see Blair's holiday displays. But they are still there. Your best bet is from the sidewalk on Cherry Street, where Mom found them as she made her way out of the Hummingbird (or Lemongrass, Dolce Vita, Jack and Coat or Killian's).

But no matter that the display isn't as grand as it used to be, that old white horse still works, and when it turns its head to Mom, she can't help but go back to a time of being snuggled in the backseat with her little sister with matching flannel nighties, Ruby's crochet blanket on their laps and sugarplums dancing in their heads.

Since We're Putting out the Manger Scene . . .

Let's manger on vegetarian "Shepherd's Pie." This is an easy, no-brainer of a blueplate special when Mom has a lot going on but still wants some good, warm comfort food. Without precision, here it is:

1 bag of Morningstar Veggie Crumbles (i.e. ground soy meat)
1 can of Le Seur peas (drained)
1 bag of shredded cheddar
1 container of pre-made deli mashed potatoes (found in the dairy section)
1 bunch of scallions
couple of spoonfulls of sour cream
pat of butter
a little ketchup and Worcestershire
salt and pepper

Grease the bottom of a casserole dish with olive oil. Spread thin layer of frozen veggie crumbles and some chopped scallions. Mix in ketchup and Worcestershire to taste. Salt and pepper. Bake at 375 for about five minutes - long enough to thaw the crumbles. Remove casserole dish. Add can of drained peas. Microwave mashed potatoes according to directions. Stir in butter and sour cream. Spread mashed potatoes over peas and veggie ground. Top with cheese. Sprinkle with paprika. Put back into the over and bake for 15 minutes or so until the cheese is a melted top layer. Serve with chopped scallions on top.

Obviously, the carnivore in us can sub real meat in lieu of the veggie crumbles, but trust me on this . . . even Shuga D doesn't know the difference. Fake out your meat and potatoes and leave the cow away in the manger scene.

Candy Lou loves you!
Make a favorite!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Good Golly Miss Molly!

Celebrate the birthday of one of Macon's most legendary musicians at this weekend's Fly South Festival. Little Richard Penniman turns 77 on December 5!

In honor of the "Architect of Rock n' Roll" and native son, the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and Macon Convention and Visitors Bureau will have a birthday cake in his honor at their tent in the Fly South BBQ lot. There will also be a get-well card for festival-goers to sign that will be sent to Penniman, who is recovering from recent surgery.

Also at the tent,
Little Richard: the Birth of Rock n' Roll author David Kirby will be on hand signing the newly released biography from noon until 2 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Finally, Fly South hosts a Little Richard Impersonator contest, starting at 1:30 p.m. We'll provide the props and music - all contestants have to do is their best rendition of their favorite Little Richard medley and have a chance at winning the $300 grand prize!

Say it with us now: A-WHOP-BOP-A-LU-A-WHOP!

Lighting a Candle

Grieve not, nor speak of me with tears, but laugh and talk of me as if I were beside you . . . I loved you so. 'Twas Heaven here with you.
- Isla Paschal Richardson

There is a story behind how I came to be known as Candy Lou and live with Mom, Shuga D and my brother and sister mutts in Candy's Land. It's a sad story, but one that continues to heal with time.

One year ago on this day, Mom experienced the worst day of her life when she received a phone call that her beloved Chihuahua of nine years had been hit by a car and killed on Vineville Avenue. His name was El Guapo, and anyone who knew him knew what a character he was . . . and how much Mom loved him.

Mom never knew such grief upon losing her small soulmate, but where there is pain, there was light . . . and that light was her friends and family. It was amazing the outpouring of sympathy she received. Most people don't see the loss of a pet as a priority in life's tragedies. But Mom's circle surrounded her, held her tightly and went above and beyond for her tears. She will never forget the care and compassion she was shown. Between the grace shown by Macon's Hart's Petuary to the cards, notes, flowers, oil painting and poems, to the Furry Angel memorial candle that arrived in the mail with the above quote on it, Mom's broken heart swelled with love. Within days, she found herself joined by friends and family at a local Mexican restaurant, toasting the "tan potato" known as Guapo with margaritas, laughs and assurance that life would indeed go on.

Two weeks later, I found myself in Mom's arms as she signed the adoption papers with Heart of Georgia Humane Society. If you had told Mom then that she would love another dog as much as she loved her Guapo, she wouldn't have thought it was possible. But here we are, one year later, and Mom looks at me with a love in her eyes that radiates just as strong from the same heart.

Even though the pain will never leave her, it doesn't hurt so bad. This Thanksgiving, she and her little brother Preston laughed as they swapped Guapo stories and stroked my fur softly as they remembered. And tonight, she and Shuga D will light the remainder of his memory candle, decorate the tree as they did last year and toast the little dog with a big personality who brought us all together.

Pictured is Guapo and Miss Kitty, taken by Mom's friend Honey Shot (Leah Yetter). It was his last picture . . . looking out the window at Mom surrounded by her girlfriends. You can visit my guard-dog angel Guapo's obituary here. (entry 72)

Friday, November 27, 2009

'Tis the [Tacky] Christmas Sweater Season!

Like chestnuts roasting on an open fire, we are getting as warm and cozy as whiskey with eggnog here in Candy's Land. Here are me and my brother and sister mutts - Tybee, Bowen, Kitty and me, Candy Lou - in our holiday card attire.

Say cheese . . .

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Since Mom's on the Road, Let's Ride

Here's one of Mom's favorite music videos of all time. You know the guys of the Marshall Tucker Band had too much fun making "Long Hard Ride." Be sure to pay attention to the cameo appearance at about minute 3:58 . . . the sharp-dressed sharp-shooter happens to be Mom's uncle Phil Walden. Nothing like some yee-haw with your rock-n-roll!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

And Her Hedgehog Humphrey

Since Mom is feeling sentimental as the season of thanks begins, here's a little sweet thing that made us smile. Remember "Pinwheel"? And remember this cool chick?

This one is for you, Georgie Girl. Candy Lou (and Mom) miss you!

A Wishbone of Thanks

Last year, Mom and Shuga D were kind of new in incorporating their respective holiday traditions. But this year, Mom knew exactly what to look forward to . . . and it just so happened to come early!

Shuga Mama Jean made a batch of her infamous turkey soup before Thanksgiving this year. And it was a good thing she did because by the time Mom gets back into town after Thanksgiving, it would have all been gone.

Too bad we can't share the recipe for Shuga Mama Jean's turkey soup here in Candy's Land, but we hear it is labor-intensive, involves a well-picked turkey carcass and has so many ingredients -- from cabbage to noodles to potatoes and more -- it's just better to enjoy than think through it all.

Mom's favorite holiday has always been Thanksgiving. While it often gets bypassed for the commercial superhighway that is Christmas, Mom has clung tightly to the Thanksgiving tradition of coming to the table, bowing our heads and giving thanks for each others' presence . . . whether at the table at her mom's house in Tennessee, the beaches of the Gulf Coast, here in Macon, the mountains of Alabama, serving the needy at a soup kitchen in L.A. or looking down from Heaven above . . . It's a holiday where our hearts are as full as our bellies.

If Mom wins the wishbone pull, she only wants more of exactly what she's got. And more turkey soup, of course.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Got Soul?

Have you gotten your T-Bird and the Breaks tickets yet? Bragg Jam presents an encore performance this Thursday night at the Cox Capitol Theatre. Mom, Shuga D and the gang fell in love with this band during the Bragg Jam Festival, and they are polishing their dancing shoes for their triumphant return!

Tickets are still only $10 at the Cox Capitol Theatre box office ($13 day of show). All of the money that is made from the show goes back into growing Bragg Jam so the organization can continue bringing more live music into our lives. Shuga D bought their tickets this weekend!

The show starts early with the beat jamming, head-slamming City Council opening the stage. T-Bird and the Breaks re-grace the stage at 9 p.m. for all you early birds.

The 11-piece Austin soul revue reminds us of what it might be like to hear Wayne Cochran back in the day. That's him enjoying some soul food with the one and only Otis Redding. And you know you've gotta, gotta, gotta have some serious soul to be sitting at that table.

Get ready to get up . . . get down . . . and shake your booty all around when Austin hits Macon's city limits.

p.s. Thanks to Bright Blue for a little taste of what's to come this Thursday!

T-Bird & the Breaks in Macon, GA! from Stephanie Shadden on Vimeo.

This Little Piggy has a Close Up

Check out the fun PSA created for the upcoming Fly South Fest. Mom, Bright Blue and Texas T spent part of their Sunday working with the star, Lizzy the pig (and her piglets), to make this fabulous little promo.

Yep, that is Mom's real deal handwriting on Lizzy's Neopolitan ice-cream-like belly. Don't worry, she used washable Magic Markers.

And that sexy voice? Mom's favorite sauceman and Macon's own Rocky Mills (he's a legend in BBQ circles).

Makes me want to wee, wee, wee all the way to my hometown's "Music + BBQ" festival . . .

Fly South Festival from Tabitha Lynne Walker - Big Hair on Vimeo.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Out on the Town

Thanks to AC Pup, here is a shot of me and Mom out on the town on First Friday at the Yappy Hour event. And another one of me out of the bag and running my mouth at the event.

If you haven't already, make friends with AC Pup on Facebook and stay in tune with the local rescue pet efforts.

Candy Lou loves you!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Charleston Candy

We're still catching up on our posts in Candy's Land since we took a weekend off for a trip to Charleston. Some of you may have already seen our travel album on Mom's Facebook page.

Shuga D was one lucky guy to graduate from college in such an amazing city. Mom loves being there with him and hearing his stories that could rival most frat film plots.

For this trip, Shuga booked a room that prided in being pet-friendly but still retained the cool (and clean) that would make him and Mom fill comfortable. The ALoft in North Charleston (yes, NC, near the airport) was perfect for us. Being in the W family (the hotels, thank God), it goes to extreme with the hip factor and modern charm. Check out my pics in the lobby, where I cozied up to Mom and Shuga D why the enjoyed cocktails at the bar. And yes, that is a travel set game of Candyland available for purchase at the front desk. It couldn't have been more perfect.

Me, Mom and Shuga proceeded to eat our way around the city of Charleston (Vickery's fries and pepper gravy remain a favorite!) and both of their bellies proved to not be big enough to indulge at ALL the places they wanted to go. But they did a lot in the couple of days there, walking throughout downtown, enjoyed Folly Beach and loving every minute of having me there with them.

But Charleston wasn't the only seafood stop on the menu. Well before we crossed the South Carolina line, we had an amazing, lingering, two-wine-bottles-later lunch with old friends at The Pink House in Savannah. Sitting outside, I was able to take it all in with them, and even though Mom kept her deep fried lobster tail to herself, I still had my way with a few other sneaky bites of scraps.

Dog-friendly travel is the way to go for our Candy's Land crew. Charleston and Savannah remain the belles of the South for a little ol' mutt like me!

First Friday: the Ultimate Dance Party of Community

Last night was First Friday in downtown Macon, and as many of you who saw me, I was very much a part of it. First, the Candy's Land crew visited the Gallery of Macon Arts for the latest exhibit opening. Even I got to be a part of the fun as Mom - and even Shuga D - carried me around in the pink polka-dot carrier as they sipped wine, laughed and caught up with friends (and even family!) and admired the work of the artists.

We then made a visit at the Yappy Hour silent auction fundraiser next door to the Rookery to support our local shelter animal advocates, Central Georgia C.A.R.E.S. We are not sure what we ended up with just yet . . . but Mom did make a bid on another fashionable carrier pour moi.

After that, it was dinner at Lemongrass before deciding that it was best to make an early night and head home. But when Mom and Shuga D stepped out of the Cherry Street Thai restaurant, to what did their wondering eyes but appear?

Dancing in the street!!

A full-scale, real deal deejay with the entire set-up was spinning dance tunes on the sidewalk just outside the Hummingbird.

So just who were these crazy folks cutting a rug on the concrete? They were young, old, black and white. They were fun-seekers, local professionals, movers and definitely shakers. Mom and Shuga, who thought they were tired and going home, looked at each other and started to boogie. Joining them was the Kool and the Gang - the mother-daughter dynamo team of Ruth and Ellis Ann Sykes. Before they knew it, they looked over and saw Mayor Reichert doing the funky chicken. It was like someone had spiked everyone's drink with a First Friday groove potion.

Among the crowd was an older African American gentleman who said it was his first First Friday. He kept apologizing to those who would listen . . . but what he didn't realize is he was paying a compliment. "I'm normally not like this," he said in between dance moves. "But I've had a couple of drinks, and I am having such a good time!" We never got his name - but I sure hope to see him again.

Last night couldn't have come at a better time for Mom who spent a day gritting her teeth and shaking her head over the word "perception." How do you respond to those who think downtown is dangerous? How do you get through to those who are wearing blinders of ignorance? How do you even begin to force someone to see the beauty of diversity?

Answer: You don't. You tell them to get the hell out of the way as you make your way through the crowd, grab a partner, dance on the street and don't feel guilty they are missing the fun.

All Dressed Up

The indie rocker in all of us would never be caught dead at the Red Lobster or Olive Garden in the middle of Times Square. So, Mom, asked herself, why should she go spend her hard-earned dollars at her usual chain clothing suspects when she should be supporting the hard-fought indie business owners of downtown Macon?

In honor of First Friday and the $100 bill burning a hole in her purse, she did just that. First, she bought a little feminine flannel (who knew?!) something-something at Ginger Michelle. Then she took her cowgirls boots walking just down the block to Cotton Avenue where she found this pretty paisley seventies-but-still-stylin' frock at Treasure Vintage.

She wore the Ginger dress last night for all the First Friday festivities. And she is saving the other for a fun day at the office.

Even after she threw down some cash at two of downtown Macon's most stylish retailers, she still had enough left of her Benjamin to make a donation to Central Georgia C.A.R.E.S. last night for Yappy Hour AND grab the dinner tab at Lemongrass.

Talk about all dressed up with plenty of places to go.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Howlll Could I Forget??

This First Friday is also the return of the annual Yappy Hour event. This year's benefit takes place at the Rookery. Dogs are encouraged and invited (on leashes, of course), and it's a $10 admission to the silent auction. All proceeds benefit the Macon Animal Control shelter through Central Georgia C.A.R.E.S. who will purchase “pallets” for the pound kennels, i.e. cement cages with drains. The pallets will allow the animals a clean and dry place to rest their weary souls instead of the cold and wet concrete.

My bud AC Pup will be there, and I will definitely try to make an appearance.

The silent auction is a great way to get the holiday shopping going with unique and local gifts for good reasons. Last year, Shuga D bought me my polka-dot carrier at Yappy Hour. You know, I was once one of those pound pups . . . now look at me and my cozy life! Dreams do come true. Make it happen for the animals in need this First Friday around 6 p.m.

First Friday and Second Sunday in One Weekend!

Where else but Macon can you have First Friday AND Second Sunday in the same weekend? Just makes us love November even more. So what are our picks for the weekend forecast?

On First Friday, expect to find Mom and Shuga D front row and center at the Gallery at Macon Arts. Mom's BFF (and recent former boss) David Canady will be showcasing his artwork in his first ever exhibit, called "Reflections," from 5 to 8 p.m. Mom has watched DC's art grow from an abstract painting of her hair-do to abstract masterpieces. She's loaned her two cents from time to time, but almost everytime, he could count on her saying how much she loved it when he showed her his latest painting. As a publisher and print pro, DC has an eye for design that re-defines color schemes and provokes some serious thought . . . even without the printed word even being present. Mom is going to be as proud as a peacock to see his work hanging on a real deal gallery's walls - maybe he'll give her a former employee discount!

On Second Sunday, you can expect Mom helping set up Washington Park for Second Sunday. Shane Bridges and Molly Stevens are this month's feature performers. The temps will be just right for a fall afternoon amongst friends with a bloody mary, mimosa or just about any virgin cocktail in hand. Mom is excited that the College Hill Alliance is partnering with Michael's on Mulberry so that the $5 take-out box brunches are being served in eco-friendly containers!

Pictured is one of DC's works of art, titled "Maze."

Take in the weekend and be a part of the real fun.


Candy Lou

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Welcome to Candy's Land, Kazi!

Mom received two licks of love from two very special pups this Tuesday. First off, remember the black puppy we found and trying to reunite? Well, no owner ever stepped forward, despite Mom pulling out all of the stops on stop signs, Craigslist, the newspaper, etc. So, thanks to the College Hill Alliance intern DJ Nasty (Daniel Groce), the lost pup found a loving home. Today, his new mom Carly brought "Todd" by Mom's office for a a visit, where he galloped to Mom and laid a big kiss of thanks on her. Todd is already sitting and staying - Mom has such an eye for us talented mutts!

And rewind back to Sunday when Mom and Shuga D were doing some pet-shopping at Petsmart. All About Animals had their adoptable dogs out front, and that's when Mom locked eyes with a soulful, one-blue-eye pitbull and immediately thought of her former boss (and forever friend) Brad Evans . . . the two of them looked like the perfect "Mutt and Jeff" pair - tough teddy bears with hearts of gold underneath the battle scars. Sure enough, Kazi came home today. He is now living it up in the loft space of Brad and Meagan, along with their other rescue pups Bandito and Lulu (who Mom also suckered Brad into). Sure enough, Mom got kiss number two from Kazi this afternoon.

Just another reason to be a hero and rescue your next pet.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Since We're Feeling Spooky, Let's Have a Kookie!

Today Mom was amongst community members rocking out to the CVB's new promotional video at their Annual Meeting. At her table was Lisa Love, executive director of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame (and the one who gave Mom her first real job). Lisa told Mom that she had to stop by the Georgia Music Hall of Fame gift shop on the way home and pick up dog biscuits for us mutts in Candy's Land.

Dog biscuits at the GMHF?! That's right. The B-52's frontman Fred Schneider has created his own pup treat line. His "Kookies" have gone to the dogs at the GMHF, and the best part of it all? ALL (100%!!!) proceeds from the sale of Kookies at the GMHF go to sustaining our cherished state music museum.

Flying sauces, alien heads and rockets are the shapes. Ingredients are natural and simple peanut butter, whole wheat flour, yogurt and rolled oats. That means you can eat them . . . if you're kooky and feeling spooky like the Rolybots' Justin Smith ;-)

We're loving Fred's Kookies here in Candy's Land. Much more than the time Mom had to fulfill the B-52's backstage rider in 2001 when she was searching all over Macon for organic goat cheese, organic roasted pumpkin seeds and organic veggie trays with spinach that better not be served on plastic . . . She's still scarred.

Rock (Lobster) on,

Candy Lou

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Last Year's Thriller!

Here's last year's "Thriller" dance in fabulous downtown Macon. Look closely and you'll see Mom in a short purple dress, pink "bloomers" in place. This year's ensemble is vintage black velvet (if you please) courtesy of Papa Walden. Too bad Auntie George isn't hear to give Mom the dead-glam make-over. The L.A. zombies are lucky to have her!

Darkness Falls Across the Land . . .

Tonight was the last night of "Thriller" practice before the big dance and fourth year for the downtown Macon tradition. You'll never guess Mom's zombie guise, but she will be amongst the Michael-led dead dancing up a rigor mortis storm at the intersection of Cherry Street and Third on this Friday night, Halloween's eve, at 9 p.m. Many thanks to the 11th Hour for keeping the tradition alive and well among the living dead.

Now four years in the making, the first dance has been viewed almost 50,000 times since it posted!

All Hail Cesare!

Heads on beds. Fork in mouth. Drink in hand. We can thank downtown Macon proprietor Cesare Mammarella for contributing to all of the above. Mom was checking her checking account today. She couldn't help but notice a trend:

Breakfast: Dolce Vita
Lunch: Dolce Vita
Dinner: Dolce Vita
Aperitif: Dolce Vita
Coffee Break: Dolce Vita

Have you done the Dolce yet? Check out downtown Macon's latest nosh pit and Cesare's latest contribution to making Macon cooler, offering small plates, coffee, desserts and adult beverages. It's Mom's kind of eating . . . little this' and thats' to pick with most everything under $5.

Here's what the receipts are saying:

Breakfast: Bacon Maple Muffin with Raspberry Hazelnut Latte
Lunch: Avocado and Crab Salad or the Ruby Red Beet and Goat Cheese Salad ($5, y'all)
Soup: Chilled Almond (seriously rockin')
Tapas: Smoke salmon spread, edamame hummus, Southewestern bean and corn tacos, jalepeno hummus . . . I'll just stop there.
Sunday after too-fun Saturday: coffee with Bailey's

You can find them at 484 Cherry Street and opened seven days a week. Thanks again to Cesare for thinking big and bringing us small plates.

Pictured is the Beet and Goat Cheese Salad and such taken in Dolce Vita's new digs! Thanks to sweet Jackie for the amazing Sunday lunch so Mom's checking account can have a break!

Monday, October 19, 2009

So Fresh and So Clean

Despite the fact that the mutts far out-number the two-legged residents here in Candy's Land, Mom remains a neat freak. So it was only natural that her Atlanta-by-way-of-Paris amie gave Mom a variety pack of Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day household products as part of her belated birthday gift.

Today, Mom came home from the office, and her house smelled like a fresh bowl of peas just snapped under the shade of a pecan tree. That's because Monday is housekeeping day and the Cleaning Queen Karen gave Mrs. Meyers a work-out with the "Snap Pea" scented glass and countertop cleaner.

The "aromatherapeutic" products come in an assortment of natural scents like basil, geranium and lemon verbena, so you can pick your scent to good, clean[ing] fun.

Doggy Bag: Easy Peezy Minestrone

Forget fluffing the sweaters, Mom went straight from summer to winter by breaking out the crockpot. Let the soup season officially begin! Tonight, it was slow-cooked Minestrone soup (well, Mom's version if not by exact Italian definition). Remember, she doesn't measure; she goes with her gut. Here's what she did:

Carton of organic veggie broth
BIG can of diced Italian tomatoes
Regular size can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes
Jar of Pesto
2 zucchini
1/2 peeled white onion
can of Northern beans
Cup of pasta (we used mini wheels)
1/2 pack of thawed frozen chopped spinach
Parmesan cheese

Pour veggie broth, diced tomatoes and can of beans (don't drain) into crockpot. Add chopped onion and zucchni. Stir in pesto (we used about 3/4 of the jar) and spinach. Cook on low for about nine hours. Add dry pasta about 15 minutes before you're ready to turn it off. Serve with Parmesan sprinkled on top, crusty bread on the side and a glass of red wine within reach.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Candy Alert!

It's no secret that Mom is a sucker for a stray. But we're all pretty certain here in Candy's Land that the pup she found today on Clisby Place is no hobo, but a very well-loved pet that wondered from his home.

Mom and her "jolie amie" Jackie, who was in town for a visit, found the little guy at a dangerous intersection in Mom's neighborhood this afternoon. He's wearing a collar (no tag) and smells like he just had a fresh bath. There is no doubt in Mom's mind that he is a case of wrong place, right time for them to come across him and keep him safe until he is reunited. If you have any clue to the little dude we're calling Jack Black (or J.B.) for now, please send me a Candygram at

And remember, Candy Lou loves you!

Show Your Love for AC Pup

Than me, of course. But you have to admit, AC Pup gives me a run for my money. And if you vote for him all this week, he could win serious cash for the City of Macon Animal Shelter on his looks alone. Click here to go to the site where you can register and cast your vote on his baby picture that you see here. Just search AC among the contestants. Think about all of the great things AC could do for his friends in the shelter if he wins. Exercise your animal lovin' rights and vote everyday this week. Apparently, there is a Pomeranian who is like that chick from high school who is winning because it's a popularity contest. Let's take that cream puff down . . . Vote for the underdog. Vote now.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Would You Like Fries with That?

You got to love John Folsom's Mac Attack-ed chains of McDonald's. On every Monday in October, three different McDonald's locations in Macon (Riverside Drive, Gray Highway and Pio Nono Ave.) are donating 15 percent of their proceeds to help Vineville Academy of the Arts build a fenced, fitness playground for the students.

Being a neighbor of Vineville Academy - our home just a stone's throw away - the Candy's Land family understands the need for a fence around their current playground - and to make it fitnessed-themed makes the McDonald's deal even sweeter than Grimace's grin!

So, on Mondays, order your Big Mac loud and proud. Super size your side of fries, and throw in an apple turnover, just because I think they live a lonely life at Mickey D's. As for Mom, nothing turns a Monday frown upside down like a cheeseburger Happy Meal. And as far as I am concerned, calories don't count when it's going to a good cause . . . Especially a FITNESS playground.

Fish and Chips, Southern Rock Style

What do the Brits know? Forget the chips, grits go better with fried fish with any darn day. Especially a Thursday at Grant's Lounge. If you've never had Cheryl Grant Louder's fried fish, I've got a dinner suggestion for tonight's rainy night in Georgia.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Un Petit Package

Sometimes, it's just the simplest of gestures that can warm a heart and ease an exhausting (rainy) day. Lately, Mom has been so busy that opening her mail has been at the lowest of priorities. But today, amongst the envelopes that needed opening, the magazines that need stockpiling and the junk mail that needs a shredder, there sat a tiny package.

It was from Mom's Aunt Fran, whose Lanier blood runs deep alongside her niece's, as they share the same passion for writing, animal loving and fellow Francophiling (i.e. love of all things French). Aunt Fran has a way of bestowing Mom the most special of treasures - the infamous 1920's parasol Mom sometimes carries to protect her fair skin, a collection of French children's literature, art, vintage postcards and anecdotes of life with animals, that range from obsessive compulsive chihuahuas to stray cats to fat goats named Butterbean.

So, even though after a long day and a brained drained, Mom opened the package. And in it, she found a vintage fleur-de-lis broach, a sachet of lavender and a precious, heartfelt card.

Just like say in all the fancy lotions and bubble baths, the scent of lavender is calming. Mom took in a deep breath of the beautiful scent, her heart swelled and sure enough, she relaxed.

It was truly the truest of gestures.

Merci beaucoup from the bottom of ma couer, ma chere Aunte Fran!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Can I get an Amen for Second Sunday?

What a way to end a weekend! Mom and I were among the hundreds today enjoying a little jazz and soulful fellowship under a big blue sky in Washington Park. Thanks to all who came out and supported the growing tradition in the College Hill Corridor.

In addition to the kids getting together and splashing in the park, us pets are just as much of the mainstays - especially those of us who have grown to be BFFs through this fun, free event. Shout out to my little mini-me buddy Niles! And yes, people, my Mom was seen neglecting me as she walked around cradling one of Jeff Davis' piglets and whispering to it sweet nothings. It looks like her Fern-fantasies just may come true.

And by the way, thanks to all who made my day by saying, "That's the dog with the blog!" as I ran amok in the park.

Stay tuned for the next show. Next month. Same place. Same Sunday.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Since it's Halloween and All . . .

Let's be scared of the true things that go bump in the night . . . or the AM, as in morning or radio station.

Mom is on deadline as editor of the next issue of Houston County Magazine. During the making of this issue, she attended a photo shoot - and a funeral - of the late Mayor of Warner Robins, Donald Walker.

While she paid her respects, there was a town crier who was twisting the knife into the gut of a community of family in friends in mourning.

Why, Mom and others ask, will those who give him the time of day realize this guy is no more of a showboat than "Speidi's" Spencer Pratt? When will they realize that this is a dude who will given his left acorn to live up to his shock jock fantasies? Who has his full intentions and stars in his eyes set on using our community as a stepping stone to a bigger market? And he has no fear or soul of leaving me and you behind, still smoldering, in the process?

If only Sherman and the Wicked Witch had a love child, they could have baptized him Chris Krok and it would all make sense (if that is his 'Chris'tian name) . . . But just like any "righteous" man who doth protest too much, the howls of his own skeletons stuffed in his Houston County closet are becoming more audible every day.

Stay tuned,

Candy Lou

Let the Spirits Move You

This week, Mom went on a mesmerizing preview of the Spirits in October Walking Tour of Riverside Cemetery. Along the way, she came across the "spirits" of several notorious Macon residents who relayed their personal history that led them to their final resting place. To say their accounts were chilling, would be an understatement. Mom got goosebumps alright, but she wasn't scared, she was in utter, total awe of the amazing people who came before her in her beloved hometown. Some of their stories were tragic. Some were folkloric. And others would have never known their story would be told for years to come. But all were monumental . . . and inspiring.

This tour is a must for Maconites. Go beyond Duane and Berry's grave and learn about other big players who made a difference in the song and soul of the South.

Tours take place from 6-7:30 p.m. October 22, 23, 29 and 30 with a special walking tour on Halloween. Tickets are $20 adults, $10 students ($25/15 on Oct. 31) Reservations are required and can be made by calling 478.742.5328 or e-mailing The event is presented by the Cox Capitol Theatre, Historic Macon and the Historic Riverside Cemetery Conservancy.

And for an extra special treat, check out the photo of one of the "Spirits," Macon's own famed boxer Stribling Young, who left this earth far too young. Thanks to the fabulous Maryann Bates for the haunting image!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Arrested Development - Mom is Excited about College Football

The Lord allowed me to drink some more. He said what I am searchin for are the answers to all which are in front of me. The ultimate truth started to get blurry. For some strange reason it had to be. It was all a dream about Tennessee . . .

Okay, so Mom is a little clueless about football. In fact, it takes a patient man to watch any sporting event with her. But Mom is a little excited about Saturday. Not only is downtown Macon getting in on the game day action, but she actually knows which color to cheer for!

That's Shuga D's dad Mr. Jimmy on the cover of Sports Illustrated, October 30, 1967. The Dalton, Georgia high school football hero went on to play for UT, where he was named an All-American Defensive Back and still hangs in their hall of fame today. He later went on to play a little pro for the Atlanta Falcons (and believe it or not, I actually have my own Falcon sweatshirt that once belonged to my guard-dog angel, the late El Guapo).

So, even though Mom will be doing repairs on the Macon Little League ballpark as part of her Leadership Macon class project, Shuga will be seen smiling, bright and orange, at downtown Macon's Rally in the Alley. Tailgate starts at 10:30 a.m. in Mulberry Lane Alley. There will be live entertainment, games like Cornhole, giveaways, food, a beer truck, children's inflatables, a cool photo booth, souvenir mugs and of course, a big screen.

Just remember, you Bulldogs better be nice -- or you'll have to answer to me . . . grrr.

And I am still thirsty,

Candy Lou

Have a Jazzy Sabbath

I know Sunday is the day of rest, but Mom is going to be in working order since one of her new roles with the College Hill Alliance is to organize and operate the Second Sunday Brunch. Every second Sunday of the month, from noon to 2 p.m., you can find free live music in Washington Park, as well as a cash bar, boxed brunches from Michael's on Mulberry and plenty of picnics, pets, families and friends. Mom likes to call it a "communion of community, of sorts," and even though Second Sunday is now part of her job, you won't find her forfeiting the fellowship.

In case of rain, the event will be moved to the Armory Ballroom, but either way, expect cool temps and ever cooler grooves from the Jazz Association of Macon.

Pictured is last Second Sunday's performers, the ever-and-forever soulful Bo Ponder & Friends. Thanks to Binks Solomon for the great shots!