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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Shrimp n' Grits For our Facebook Friends

Mom's status was simple. She had just made a shrimp n'grits casserole and was chilling and cheering with the guys as the U.S.A. soccer team took on Ghana. Fortunately, the casserole turned out much better than the game. Considerate it a consolation prize.

It was devoured before Mom thought to take a photo, but here is the basics of the easy, low country comfort food recipe:

4 cups chicken broth
1 cup grits
1 cup (or more) of shredded cheddar
1 cup (or more) of mont jack
1 bunch of green onions
1 green pepper
1-2 garlic cloves (minced)
1 lb cooked, peeled shrimp (wild caught, please!)
1 can diced tomatoes and chiles, drained
sausage (optional, but we had some good Charizo)
salt, pepper, olive oil and other preferences

Bring chicken broth to boil, stir in grits, cover, reduce heat and cook grits.

Mix grits with cheeses, saving some cheddar for the topping

Saute garlic, chopped scallions (save some of the greens for garnish) and chopped pepper, add to grit mixture. Add shrimp and diced tomatoes. Salt and pepper.

Cook sausage, drain fat and also add to mixture.

Pour into lightly greased, 2-quart baking dish. Top with remaining cheese. Cook for 40 minutes at 350.

Let it firm up, then get out the forks because if you're like Shuga D, you might just eat it straight out of the pan.

Pictured is the UK's "Sammy the Shrimp." Go Paraguay!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Fresh off the Pony Express

This week, Mom got one of the most exciting phone calls in a while. It was her friend Leah, a.k.a. the Magnolia Cowgirl, calling from the land line at the ranch. "I rode a horse today!" she says. "And it was awesome. And I loved it. And I see how you love it. You were the first person I called!"

It all began this time last year when Mom and her friend, who was then referred to as Honey Shot, decided to channel their inner-Annie Oakley and take a trip to a friend's Wyoming ranch. Except this friend's ranch was the size of a small country. And while Mom chased cows for the annual branding, Honeyshot was taking some of the best shots of her career in photography. Honey had also caught the eye of a real deal cowboy, who happened to be the foreman of the ranch. And he happened to catch her eye, too.

Fast forward almost exactly one year later and Honeyshot is now our Magnolia Cowgirl, settling into her new home, back at the ranch . . . in Wyoming. She uprooted her city life on Magnolia Street and followed her heart into the wild and arms of her cowboy. It's the stuff Harlequin novels are made of. And Mom says she's never heard her friend sound so happy.

Of course, Mom and the rest of their Little Creative Crew miss her terribly. When she heard the Magnolia Cowgirl's voice and the excitement coming from the other end of the country, Mom's eyes welled with tears. She was both proud her friend finally swung into the saddle and sad she couldn't have been there to give her the leg-up.

Then today a package arrived in the mail, with a Wheatland, Wyoming return address. Mom tore into the box with excitement to find, wrapped neatly in spur-spangled tissue, a vintage leather, tooled purse - the kind fashionable cowgirls carry. Mom swooned. It is exactly what she has been wanting for quite some time, and it couldn't be in more perfect, plus it matches her boots.

One year later from the adventure of a lifetime, she finally got the perfect souvenir.

P.S. Read the old posts about their trip to Wyoming here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Be Prepared to Perspire

It's going to be one hot and heavy weekend here in Candy's Land. Mom and Shuga D are looking forward to their date night to the Macon Macon Comic Kick-Off party at Asylum . . . (and here's a lil' Candy's Land exclusive: Mom is soon to be steppin' into a storyline - a la Nancy Drew - with Bragg Jam's Muddy Brown!) Then they are going to grab dinner at the Tic Toc Room before calling it an early Friday night.

The reason being, Mom and I have to be up early tomorrow for a video shoot that we're crossing our paws will give a dream make-over to Macon's dog park. We're working with AC Pup on this, and we'll keep you posted here, for sure.

After the early morning shoot, Shuga is making sausage and eggs as we kick-off the World Cup mania with a breakfast for our friends who have already been bitten by the international bug. We're getting competitive for sure!

Sunday is Second Sunday, so that means, we'll be at Washington Park for free live music organized by Mom and her full-time job at the College Hill Alliance. We're switching it to the evening time of 6 p.m., so consider it Second Sunday at Sundown. It's Mom's co-worker and partner-in-crime Nadia's birthday, so be sure to wish her a happy one. And as a special gift to everyone, Mom and Nadia will be giving out a little fun to do that Southern thang of "I declaring" while fanning yourself.

In honor of the sweatin' we're sure to be doing all weekend, here's a little video of the hot and lovely performer, Carrie Rodriguez, to get a little bit going on your brow:

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Here Comes the Jaded Bride (Again)

Remember several entries ago when Mom had a fabulous "wedding-like" cake made for her fellow single ladies? It was the same night that they all got together for a little tongue-in-check photo shoot. Our Magnolia Cowgirl Leah Yetter recently sent them the finished photos, and once again, the ladies were smiling at the art they created. Although they are saving the hundred-or-so photos for their own private giggles (and maybe one or two framed in their favorite spaces), Mom was willing to share a solo shot of herself here in Candy's Land, as well as a lil' essay she wrote about the experience:

There are some things so cathartic, you shouldn’t give a darn to how offensive it might be. The wedding dress, for example, is given more sanctity than it deserves. It’s an over-priced, fussy, some-shade-of-white adornment. Sometimes it has intricate beading. Sometimes it’s pure woven silk. Oftentimes it cost thousands to buy and hundreds to preserve. And I’m just not sure it deserves any of the fuss. After all, you only wear it once.

And what happens if you wore it once and the wedding didn’t work? You and the groom go your own ways months, years, decades after the dress was given its own day and worshipped by a room full of revelers who stood at the site of you in it.

In divorce, you are left picking up the pieces of a failed marriage and starting an entirely new life you didn’t plan. And among the pieces you take with you, the former bride, is this once perfect wedding dress . . . now fallen to used, unlucky, tainted grace. Do you burn it as a sacrifice to the altar? Do you sell it to a stranger who doesn’t know its story? Do you shove it into storage and swear to never look at it again? Or do you make peace with it? After all, it wasn’t the gown’s fault the vows didn’t take.

It just so happens I am not the only one in my circle of girlfriends with a leftover wedding dress. You make friends you can relate to. And mine are smart, business-minded, civic-driven career women who have lived several lifetimes by the time they hit their thirties. We’re somewhat fearless. And we like to fancy ourselves as hell-raisers. Together, we make quite the creative, untouchably talented crew.

It wasn’t hard for our photographer friend Leah Yetter to arrange the studio and have the lights, camera and background music jamming for us when we arrived – here comes the Jaded Brides – with our wedding gowns from another life slung over our shoulders and a brown bag of brand new whiskey in hand.

None of us had been to each other’s weddings. Changing into our dresses we became like a bunch of bridesmaids, who hadn’t married for the first time, cooing and complimenting each other on the gown that never was.

Then came the hair and make up. Loads of eye make-up just like our wedding day, this time smudged, smeared and streaked on purpose. A really good purpose – our new vows:

To those who have cried and then had your tears dried by your fellow jaded bride.

And no matter how hard we tried to make ourselves look like we felt during the days of divorce, we were funny. We laughed as we applied eye drops to make our mascara run. While creating circles under our eyes, we swigged Jack Daniels.

Well, except for the eight months pregnant one. She wore a long white slip that fit her expanded belly but brought the tiara from her elaborate wedding day. She was our good-sport prego princess, and even though she couldn’t fit into her old wedding gown, it couldn’t have been more fitting.

Standing before the camera, bad silk flowers and liquor bottles in hand, we gave our wedding portraits another chance. This time there was no glimmer of happily ever after in our eyes. But we still sparkled. We also pouted, sneered, scoffed, made obscene gestures and poked fun at the wives we once were . . . and just weren’t meant to be.

So the marriage was far from a fairy tale. And all I ended up with was this lousy wedding dress. But now I can look at my gown again with fondness, knowing I got my money’s worth. And the photos, lessons learned and empowerment to show for it.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Spa Junkie

It's no secret that Mom's drug of choice is mixed cocktail of products and services at Macon's Vineville Salon. What better way to relax than the warm towel and holy hands of Sonya, the massage therapist? Mom got so taken away in her latest massage that she got Shuga D a gift certificate to decompress from a crazy day in the candy factory -- because if there was any other woman Mom would let put her hands all over her Shuga, it would be Sonya!

Then there is the hands-down and feet-first offerings of Paige for the perfect mani-pedi. Mom is still loving the dark purple "Shoot for the Stars" they selected together for her toes, but she is anxious to go back and try the appropriately named "Freebird" color of Spa Ritual's organic polish line. Paige is currently offering a free manicure with pedicure special. Call for an appointment and tell her you read about it here on!

Then there is the lovely Anne keeping Mom tuned into the fountain of youth. As you've read here before, Mom loves a microderm. It's the chemical-free way of sloughing off the stuff that ages and weighs our faces down. If you've never tried a microderm before, send us a Candygram at, and we'll hook you up with a free test run.

Finally, Mom is the product of good products. She is hooked on the natural and eco-friendly focus of all things Aveda. And she is a sucker for the shampoos and conditioners of shower champagne / product line Shu Uemura. You may have to save your pennies to buy it, but gosh darn it, you're worth it . . . and every penny.

Nothing wrong with pampering yourself with a little fix from the Vineville Salon. Come on, we're all doing it.

Macon Musicians Unite to Keep Georgia Music in Macon

It's First Friday in downtown Macon, and you can find Mom at the Musicians United Benefit Concert to keep the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in Macon. She's actually in for a treat tomorrow because she will be sharing the stage of the Historic Douglass Theatre with her father, 2003 GMHF Inductee Alan Walden. Mom and her pop are emcees for the concert experience that evening . . . expect her to turn red a time or two when her dad threatens to do his Elvis impersonation. Please, God, no. Regardless, it's something near and dear to both of them and the live music for the evening is just a bonus. Buy a ticket and support not just live music in Macon but keeping Georgia music history in Macon!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Whatever it Took [to make it as Kenny Chesney]

Sometimes it takes more than a bad mullet to make it in Nashville. Check out the vintage Kenny Chesney video, circa 1993 on Capricorn Records. Yep, Uncle Phil always knew how to spot a star . . . including his daughter, Amantha Starr Walden, dancing as Kenny's leading lady in this fabulous music montage.