Sunday, December 30, 2012

Seafood in Tifton!

Daddy's Dish
Is a trip down I-75 in your near future? If so, be sure to stop off at Georgia's  Exit 62 for a meal at Charles' Seafood. Serving Tifton locals since 1970, its  dishes are delicious with plentiful portions.

Now, be warned. It's decor won't be making its way into an interior design magazine anytime soon.  Wood paneling plasters the walls with painted landscape scenes resting above.  On wall shelves lives fishing nets and gator heads too.  But their waitresses are all very nice and helpful, each donning a super thick Southern accent.
That man was a little surprised by my picture taking. 
Add in a tall glass of sweet tea to my hushpuppy meal, and it's no surprise I left happy! 
As for the actual eating, well each meal comes with hushpuppies, southern style green beans, and cheese grits. I paired the sides with your normal grilled cheese on wheat while my dad and siblings ordered the proper cuisine.  Becky took an entire plate of stuffed devil crab.   Daddy had fried crab claws.  And, Joseph had the Admiral's Platter, a compilation meal of all their most ordered seafood singles.

Be on the lookout for that sign! 
 When it came time to push away our plates, each of us were full with leftovers to spare.  Considering one of our diners was an always hungry 17-year-old boy, I'd say that's quite a feat.  At just over 50 dollars,  the price was pretty reasonable for a family of four too.

 So again , if you find yourself in South Georgia  be sure to check out Charles' Seafood.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Les Miserables

Cue broadway enthusiasts rejoicing!  The long wait is over, as the latest film-adaption of Les Miserables opened on Christmas Day.  Ranking in over 30 million dollars so far, it's generating quite the Oscar buzz.  

And, after my trip to the theatre, I can certainly see why.  Instead of seeing The Hobbit for a second time with the rest of the family, yesterday I decided to face an Orlando, Florida movie theater alone.  And, all I can say is my expectations were certainly met.  

Based on the smash Broadway musical that's based on Victor Hugo's five-volume novel, Les Miserables takes place in 19th century France.  The story of Jean Valjean, the movie opens on the day of his parole.  After skipping parole, Valjean (played by Hugh Jackman) vows vengeance on his cruel prison guard.  He heads to Paris, where he manages to adopt a new identity, becoming a respected factory owner.  It's years later, but Javert is still pursuing Valjean.  The constant chase complicates the past-prisoner's efforts of adopting Fantine's daughter Cosette.  The little girl lived the life of an innkeeper's servant after her mother died, the result of a turn to prostitution following the lose of her job at Valjean's factory.  Eventually, Cosette grows to be a teenager. And, on a walk around the Parisian streets, she spots a revolutionary named Marius.  For the pair, it's love at first sight.  But, their budding romance coincides with the French Revolution, and it's put to the test as battle wages. 

Now, that's another face I didn't mind the close-up on! 
Basically, that's the plot skeleton.  Add in its French landscape and beautiful costumes, and you've got yourself the quintessential period piece. 

Now, if you're heading to see it, brace yourself for 2 hours and 37 minutes of singing.  No dialogue can be found here, which seems to be causing quite a stir.  Instead of the more traditional method of recording the vocals in a studio then having the actors lip-synch on camera, here actors (like Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, and the oh-so-hot Eddie Redmayne) recorded live as the film was shot.  

Plus, a lot of the singing is filmed in close-ups.  And, the result is for much of the movie, you've got actors belting notes right in front of you.  Particularly with Hathaway's tearful "I Dreamed a Dream" the technique works, but most of the time it seems like giants are yelling at you. 
Overall though, I'd say take the plunge and see the movie that's got everyone talking. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

It's Tea Time in Georgia

It's the 27th of December.  Tree bottoms are bare of presents.  Relatives are making their way home.  Holiday movies are no longer playing on ABC Family, and we've all eaten more sugary sweets than necessary.

At my house it's all about the baked goods.  From 7-Layer Cookies and Grandma Thublin's Shortbread to Chocolate Fudge and Homemade Sugar Cookies, it should be no surprise my mom had me buy 10 pounds of sugar during our pre-Christmas grocery shopping trip.  And this year, we started a new tradition that showcases our sweets.

Throughout 2012,  my mom's been collected vintage china in Petit Point.  The "embroidered" cups and saucers set the stage for our grown-up tea party.  No drinking out of the spout for Joseph; no, it was a fancy affair of raised pinkies, petite sandwiches, and of course dessert.

So many sweets made their way to our table! 
Paired alongside our normal noms were Glazed Pecans.  Besides my daily spoonful of Jif Extra Crunchy, I'm really not much of a nut person, but perhaps this recipe's turned me.


-2 cups pecans

-2 egg whites

-1 tbsp water

-1 cup sugar

-1 tsp. cinnamon

-1 tsp. salt

Directions:  First things first, preheat the oven to 225 degrees and wrap your cookie sheet with a piece of aluminum foil.  Then, put your egg whites and water in a bowl, beating the pair until it turns frothy.  Add in your pecans, coating their exterior.  Next, in a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, cinnamon, and salt.  When they're blended together add it to your wet pecans.  Stir until your pecans are generously drenched in the mixture.  Place the nuts onto your cookie sheet, and place it in the oven.  Let it bake for about an hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

And, you're done.  Candied, glazed pecans for dessert (or as a side dish at your very own grown up tea party).

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Red KitchenAid Mixer

Now that's a pretty piece of medal! 
For as long as I can remember, a red KitchenAid mixer has always been on my wish list.  I've written about the appliance more times than I can count.  And, every time I visit a department store a trip to the kitchen section is always mandatory.  Well, after much oohing and aahing, I'm excited to announce I'm the newest owner of the world's most famous mixer!

Since I came home for my month-long vacation, this giant present has been staring back at me.  Signed love Grandma and Grandpa, the card said it was a combined Christmas/Birthday/Graduation present, so I didn't really know what to expect.  Let's just say, expectations exceedingly met!
So excited, my mom had to take a picture of me hugging it! 
See, it's authentic! 
To christen my new appliance, I made the dough for my grandmother's famous Christmas Sugar Cookies.  There'll be more on our culinary adventure tomorrow, but for now here's the super simple, delicious recipe.

-1 lb. butter
-2 1/2 cup sugar
-4 cups all purpose flour
-2 eggs

Directions:  Cream together the butter and sugar.  Then, gradually add the four cups of flour.  Lastly, add the two eggs.  Chill in the refrigerator for at least eight hours.  Then, use your favorite cookie cutters.  Bake for 350º until the cookies appear golden brown, which usually takes about 10 minutes.
The dough's sitting overnight.  

Saturday, December 15, 2012

New York's Nutcracker

Growing up in Macon many of my weekends we spent preparing for The Nutcracker of Middle Georgia.  From September to December, it was all about rehearsal.  And, the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" was always stuck in my head.  So, I'm a bit embarrassed to admit it's taken me four holiday season to make it to the New York City Ballet's production of The Nutcracker.

New York's Sugar Plum Fairy
and her Dabber Cavalier 
With my ticket in hand, last night I donned a belted black dress and made my way to Lincoln Center.  Unlike the tale I'm used to, the little girl whose Nutcracker comes to life was called Marie, not Clara.  But besides that, it followed my vision of George Balanchine's creation beautifully.  Just like the professionals, the young children danced perfectly in the Party Scene. And, the Sugar Plum Fairy's number was the prettiest piece of ballet I've ever seen! 

But, I'll have you know the scenery and sets left something to be desired.  Jean Weaver's Middle Georgia rendition is much more visually appealing.  And, her tutus take my top spot as well.  Plus, its tickets are far less expensive, at $20 to $27 dollars for adults.  So if you're a fellow Maconite planning a trip to New York during Christmas, I'd suggest skipping the NYCB's Nutcracker for the one at home.

It's snowing in Macon!  By far, my favorite role! 
Don't get me wrong; the experience was excellent.  And, I wasn't about to miss the chance of buying a playbill.  But, if you're searching for the best Nutcracker, New York's isn't it.  Wait to see Lincoln Center's graceful dancers in a ballet that's less catered to the holidays. 

Every dancer waves goodbye as Marie and her prince leave the land of sweets! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Good Day for Broadcast

Talk about your heart attack waiting to happen! 

It's been a good day to be a broadcast major!

First things first.  My final journalism assignment for advanced reporting was due.  So, after turning that in, a huge weight's been lifted.  Surprise. Surprise. My professor actually like it.

I was assigned the topic of obesity.  We hear it everyday; America's getting bigger.  Two-thirds of the country's population are considered obese.  So, I report on ways to change these statistics.

Despite my original speculation, I think it turned out alright?

On to the other exciting bit on information.  A piece NBC wanted to use for its website had great video, but it's sound was done in German.  So, my advisor asked me if I'd mind writing a quick script and doing the package's voiceover.  Tomorrow, it'll run in the spotlight position in all our 10 markets!  But you can grab a sneak peek of it here.  Warning:  it's about flying christmas trees!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Reporting From the Heisman Media Room

Now that's your classic Hesiman Pose! 
First things first, happy two years of Southerner in the City!  Great adventures and fun memories have been shared, and I hope you've had as much fun reading as I've had writing!

Last night was one of the best nights of my short but exciting, journalism career.  Along with sports reporters from across the country, I was there to cover the 2012 Heisman Awards.

Regardless of who took college football's top honor, history was being made.  If senior QB Collin Klein won, he'd be the first K-State player.  If Notre Dame's Manti Te'o took it, he'd be the first solely defensive man to win the Heisman.  And, if Johnny Manziel from Texas A&M was named its winner, he'd be breaking barriers, becoming its first freshman.

My Press Badge--
Looking All Official 
The evening started with a pre-ceremony press conference from the top three.  After snapping pictures of Manti's greenery, reporters asked your typical SportsCenter questions, like "before the season started, if someone would have said  you'd be here tonight what would you have said?"  Then, it was off for a few quick live shots with our Houston affiliates.

Next, came the waiting game.  Just like sports fans everywhere, we were glued to the TV waiting to hear the live results.  With 2,029 points, Johnny Manziel joined the world's most elite fraternity, being selected as the Heisman Award's 78th winner.  Leading the Aggies to a 10-2 regular season record, Manziel was also named the SEC's Freshman of the Year and the Offensive Player of the Year.

Talk about your Football Fairytale!  Just a few months ago, Manziel was a red shirt freshman.  And, now he's been named college football's top player.   He's going home with College Station's first Heisman in 55 years.  Perhaps the Aggie Nation will soon be changing his nickname from Johnny Football to Johnny Heismanziel?
It's a little blurry, but check out all the tripods.  And, in the far left, that's the Heisman back drop. 
Now it's on to editing!  In between all the hustle and bustle I was able to film a few live shots of my own.  
Reporting in front of the Heisman will be just perfect for my reel!  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Top 25 Greatest Christmas Movies of All Time, Ever

Everyone knows there's nothing more magical than New York City during the Holiday Season.  From the decorated storefront windows to the tree in Rockefeller Center, there's just something about Christmas that turns the City's usual tough-as-nails persona upside down.  Perhaps Santa's jolly natures is wearing off, or maybe everyone's getting their fill of holiday-themed movies? 

For my latest NBC project, I was asked to make a gallery of the Top 25 Greatest Christmas Movies of All Time, Ever.  There wouldn't be a list without  the 1947 hit  Miracle on 34th Street.  And, I'm sure TBS would be quite upset if I forgot to include A Christmas Story.  It does run for 24 hours straight, all the time featuring the leg lamp and Red Ryder BB gun.  Claymation classics like "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" also made my list.  And, for me it wouldn't be the holidays without seeing Tim Allen transform into St. Nicholas in "Santa Clause."

To see if your favorite made the cut, check out the entire gallery here.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

D.I.Y. Christmas Bow Wreath

Add a pop of colorful to
your Christmas decorations!
For as long as I can remember, my dad's always garnished out presents with pre-made bows.  My mom's always made fun of them, claiming the metallic toppers are Christmas cop-outs.  But, I hope she'll approve of me using them.  Don't worry.  It's not to decorate the piles of present beneath the tree but for a super simple, quick craft.

You may remember a few years ago my mom and I burned our fingertips, hot glueing an Anthropologie-inspired wreath.  Well, this new D.I.Y. wreath isn't quite as intricate, but less pinky pain is definitely a plus! 

Just use the common supplies found
around your gift wrapping station. 
The only materials needed for this project are pre-made bows in multiple colors, hot glue, and cardboard.  

For starters, cut the cardboard into your desired size doughnut.  Mine's about 18 inches in diameter, but judge accordingly depending on your desired size.  And, don't worry about how your cardboard looks. Once you add the bows, it won't be the least bit visible.

Then, add your bows with hot glue.  And, voila!  You've now got a cute, Christmas craft that takes no time at all!
It makes the perfect addition to any holiday themed party! 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Christmas Decor White House Style

Just in time for the holiday season, presidential pooch Bo Obama appeared in a Youtube video examining White House Christmas decorations.

Donning a red Santa hat, the Portuguese Water Dog wanders in and out of White House room, looking at decorated trees and piles of presents underneath.

At one point, he even finds a decoration resembling himself.  First Lady Michelle Obama said the edible, life-size Bo was made with children in mind.  It stands guard in the East Garden Room.

Complete with Nutcrack classic "Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy," the quick video makes the perfect Christmas commercial.

This season, more than 90,000 are expected to tour the White House for a glimpse of its holiday decorations.

Check out the video below:

So what did you think?  Regardless of your political affiliation, there's no denying that's one cute pup!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christmas in Rockefeller Center

NBC heralded the arrival of the 2012 holiday season with a dazzling display of musical talents and the lighting of the world's most famous tree, and I was there…well sort of.  I was on the 6th floor of 30 Rock, working on a"Christmas in Rockefeller Center" gallery for our 10 affiliate stations.  While I didn't see every performance with my own two eyes, there's no doubt I could hear every note sung!

For a few minutes I was even able to sneak into an executive's corner office for a peek of the 80-foot Norway Spruce. Despite performances by Mariah Carey, Rod Stewart, and the Muppets, the biggest star at the holiday spectacular was certainly the tree!  Donning 45,00 multicolored LEDs and a 550 pound Swarovski tree topper, its lighting rung in the Rockefeller Center holiday cheer.

Down there is the stage where everyone performed.
And here's what it looked like before being lit with 45,000 LEDs.
Today show hosts Savannah Guthrie and Al Rooker were the evening's MCs.  It all started with dazzling performances by CeeLo Green and Il Volo, but it was the Rockette's  high kicks that got the loudest crowd applause.  Thank goodness, they left their boring Macy's Parade costumes behind, instead donning super shimmery fringy leotards that rivaled even the tree topper's shine.
It looks like Santa found time to leave the North Pole for the night. 
The jolly holiday ambassador made a quick appearance in Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" number.
As the clock stuck 9, the big moment finally arrived...the lighting of the tree!
This year, thousands packed in the plaza for the 80th annual tree lighting ceremony.  But, did you know the tradition dates back to the Great Depression? First erected in 1933, the inaugural tree was decked out with only 700 lights and placed in front of the then eight-month-old RCA Building.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Roll Tide!

Like any good Southern Belle, SEC football is my life.  Every Saturday, from 3:30-midnight, I'm glued in front of multiple TVs, cutting highlights of the top football games.  But as the Alabama Crimson Tide played host to the Auburn Tigers for their 77th matchup, I was actually there catch all the action.
Truer words have never been spoken! 

All my life, I've heard about the intense intrastate rivalry, but no documentary can show what game day's really like.  For the fourth straight year, the crucial conference clash had BCS implications, so both Alabama schools brought their A-Game.

Even though I'm a huge U of A fan, I'd never actually been to a fall football game. So, attending the biggest rivalry of the SEC was certainly a great way to experience Bryant-Denny Stadium for the first time.
Now that's one proud Daddy! 
Never in my life have I seen so much camo, crimson, and houndstooth all under one roof. Of course, there was your typical fraternity boys, donning crimson bow ties and Alabama A pants, too.  Along with their constantly waving rammer jammers, there's no denying U of A students love their college football!
The Saban Nation hopes a 15th national tidal is soon theirs. 
Talk about a great half-time show!  The Million Dollar Band wowed the crowd with their gospel music-themed number.
Here's to hoping my little brother will be wearing their uniform next fall!  
As for the final score, well Alabama rolled over Auburn 49 to 0.  Of course, I expected the Crimson Tide to win, but not by so much!  AJ McCarron passed for more than 200 yards and four touchdowns, while RB Eddie Lacey rushed for 131 yards and two TDs.  But it wasn't all good news.  According to Coach Nick Saban, it looks like wide receiver Kenny Bell will miss the next five to six weeks.  From his play-making skills in the second, he now suffers a broken leg. 

The Iron Bowl W means the Tide will take on the No 3 Georgia Bulldogs next Saturday, with the champ likely receiving a BCS shot.  All I can say is Roll Tide! 

Friday, November 23, 2012

What Would You Do For A Good Deal?

As the clock struck 10, I snapped a picture mid-frenzy. 

While a trip to Walmart is itself a noteworthy task for someone whose normal full supermarket could fit in just their toiletries section, today it's making the blog because of Black Friday shopping. I'm well aware of all the controversy behind their Thursday, 8pm open time. But if you're a poor college student like me, being there right when the doorbusters began was an absolute must.

The entire Walmart parking lot was a motor city madhouse.  Every buggie was in use, and teenagers were camped out in the electronics section waiting for the latest Assassins Creed to go on super sale. And there I was smack dab in the middle of about your kick off to the holiday season!

My mom wanted a super fancy 23 piece Paula Deen cookware set, and it had to be in robin egg blue. So, I elbowed toothless rednecks and grey-haired grannnies alike to secure my perfect present. Originally retailing for more than $200, I got it for less than 100.  

Then, it was off to the freezer section.  Electronics were going on sale at 10pm, and the line wrapped around three grocery aisles.  Again, we were successful!  
We stood by the Mayfield Peppermint Stick ice cream for so long.  As the clocked kept ticking, the new flavor looked better and better. 

Becky was a little tired, so she decided to take a nap on a cameo dog bed! 
After waiting in the checkout line for a good 30 minutes, we finally made it to the check-out register. My mom bought Becky and I two candy bars each, warning we had a lot more hours of intense shopping to go.  She wasn't missing a good deal because we were feeling sluggish.  Officially, I now know how Honey Boo Boo feels, being force fed Go Go Juice. 

Leaving the Walmartians behind, we made a quick stop at Kohls, but the long line in the cold kept us moving. It was off to Belk where boots were selling for $19.99.  If last night's any indication, every woman in Macon, GA will be wearing one of five pairs of high, Rampage boots. 
Way to many to wait in line at Kohls. 
But we were willing to wait in the Belk line. 
Talk about your shoe madness! 
Around 2am, my six Reese's cup were wearing thin.  We had two options--either buy more candy or head home.  Thank goodness, we chose the later! 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

It's Turkey Time

This Elf on the Shelf
ballon wonders do you believe? 
Thanksgiving Day...a holiday devoted to family, food, and football!

Like all great Turkey Day fans, mine of course began with the 86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer were excellent NBC MCs, spewing funny factoids for a full three hours.  For instance, did you know it would take 6 days to bake the poultry featured on Tom the Turkey float?  Twelve marching bands played through the streets of Manhattan, while favorite balloons like Buzz Lightyear and Kermit the Frog dominated the Thanksgiving skyline.  Always the crowd favorite, the Rockettes may have worn less than wowing costumes, but the stars of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular did have perfectly precise high kicks. And, at the stroke of twelve Santa officially ushered in the holiday season, ending the parade in front of Macy's Herald Square.
Now that's one BIG turkey!  
That's one jolly Santa Claus! And, of course, Mrs. Claus is looking quite cute in her velvety-green number.  
Even google's getting in the holiday spirit. 
Paula Deen would be quite proud with the amount
of butter needed for this holiday favorite! 
Next, it was off to my momma's Southern kitchen.  We'd done most of the prep work last night, but a few things remained to be made, like my all-time favorite holiday dish---sweet potato souffle. Thanksgiving dinner may be done, but you should definitely save this recipe and try it out for Christmas!

Potato Souffle Ingredients:
- four 15oz. cans of Sugary Sam's yams
-two eggs
-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
-1/2 tsp. nutmeg
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. vanilla
-1/2 cup milk
-1/2 cup butter
-1 cup sugar

Use mixer to blend your ingredients thoroughly.  Be sure to smooth out all the potato chunks because it should be about the consistency of thick paste. Place in a buttered 13x9 dish.  Set aside and mix up your topping.

Topping Ingredients:
-1 cup brown sugar
-1/3 cup flour
-1 cup chopped pecans
-1 stick of butter

Combine the brown sugar, flour and butter.  Spread the mixture over the souffle and generously sprinkle on the pecans and marshmallows.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350º. Enjoy!

As for now, well dinner's all done, and the dishes have been put away.  Of course, our family's got football on the brain. The Texans beat the Lions 34-31, and in the third RG3 and the Washington Redskins lead 28-6 over the Dallas Cowboys.
Alabama isn't playing Auburn until Saturday, but RooToo and Saban
came to Thanksgiving dinner all  ready for the 2012 Iron Bowl! 
Perhaps a quick nap is in my future as I prepare for our midnight, Black Friday shopping.  We've gone through the Macon Telegraph-which featured an adorable Thanksgiving themed color sheet-and plotted our our plan. Here's hopping for great bargains!

Only in Macon, GA would an entire page of the paper be devoted to coloring a feathered friend!