Sunday, March 31, 2013

Trading Bunnies for Baseball

WABC was there to catch all the action! 
Happy Easter y'all!  My bunny hop holiday's been a bit different then most.  I spent the morning with the Mets at Citifield. Tomorrow's their season opener, so they were practicing their last minute swings and pitches before they take on the Padres. And, I got to be the reporter for WABC.

 It started off with a quick interview with Captain David Wright. He called the Mets ball club "scrappy," saying you won't find too many household names on their rooster. But, that's not stopping them from playing with a win it all attitude.

Next came pitcher Jonathan Neise. Now that Johan Santana's out for the season, Manager Terry Collins is calling on him to deliver. Like Wright, he said players are checking their egos at the door.

After both players stressed how excited they are for the new season to start, it was off to the field for some B-Roll.  I know it was to just a few warm-up pitches, but if the Mets swing like they did today, lots of ball to the walls are in their future.

Citifield's all set for tomorrow. And, here's a few photos from the nearly empty stadium.
All set for opening day! 
Of course, for today all the seats were empty. 
And here's David Wright practicing his swing. 
So let's get ready to play ball! 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Favorites From the Festival

Macon's Cherry Blossom Festival has come and gone, and with it my Spring Break.  I'm back in the City's wintery weather, and the countdown to graduation has officially begun!  I'll be donning by purple gown in a little less than two months, so prepare for quite a few NYC lasts in the coming eight weeks.

But, first things first.  Here's a look back of some of my favorites from the festival.
Cute kiddos are literally the best!  This little tyke was having a blast on the baby dragon ride. 
Always a festival favorite, children everywhere compete to win a 25¢goldfish. 
Wanna take a ride? 
Nothing says Cherry Blossom quite like fair food. Anything coated in sprinkles is destined to be a crowd favorite. 
And the Georgia boiled peanuts from Macon's own Fire Department...let's just say, nothing can beat that salty treat!
Not quite the right blossoms, but these pretty flowers were in bloom down at Central City Park 
Even the sidewalk art joined the Pinkest Party celebration! 
Now, obviously this picture isn't from Cherry Blossom, but I figured I'd include in nonetheless.  Last Monday, a severe thunderstorm swept through Macon, leaving many with fallen trees in their front yard.  A big pine fell through our attic, and a beautiful blue tarp blankets the roof.  Of course, we're just so grateful no one was hurt!  We're a family who's not afraid of fallen trees.  Just a few years back, one came threw my brother's room, forcing us to live like Eloise for a couple of weeks.  It's like my Momma said, living on Kathryn Drive has prepared us for any thing!
Dorothy was right--there's no place like home! 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Macon's Mulberry Arts Festival

When I was little, I always made my Mommabuy me one of
these princess-y headbands.  They're so cute and colorful!

In the need for the cutest crafts this side of the Mason-Dixon Line? Then, look no further than Macon's own Mulberry Street Arts & Crafts Festival.  A Cherry Blossom time tradition, I've been frequenting vendors for as long as I can remember.  Never can I leave without a bag full of goodies underneath my arm.  Of course, this year's proved no different.

Fearing the predicted rain clouds,  the venue was changed to the Macon State Farmer's Market.  Held at 2055 Eisenhower Parkway, I thought the last-minute move was perfect!  Because of the location alteration, many Maconites discovered fresh fruits and veggies grown by local farmers in attention to purchasing one-of-a-kind treasures.
The very first booth we stopped at was selling beautiful, handmade napkin rings.
No surprise here; I  snapped a picture of this one, featuring three dachshunds in a tub.  

Ever since my sister Becky read The Help, she says this to her puppy, Kanga, every morning.  
Apparently, gourds make great bird houses.  Just add a coat of  paint, and you've got yourself a colorful outdoor accessory.  
Gotta test out the tire horses for the grandchildren.  
Pieces Past had some of the coolest jewelry I've ever seen.  Artist Tina Goolsby makes necklaces, earrings, and bracelets from old china.
I walked away from her booth with a unique ring made from an old spoon handle.

Plus, I got to meet Mark Ballard!  Like I mentioned in my previous post, his recipes are the best!  So, I bought his new cookbook, Delicious.
Regardless of whether you're looking for homemade preserves, Mark Ballard t-shirts, colorful hair-bows, or unique wall art, the Mulberry Street Arts and Crafts Festival's got it all!  Sunday's hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Even puppies are invited.  So grab the entire family tomorrow and get to shopping Southern style!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Simply Southern

It's a bit blurry, but how could I not include this picture
of me and my Momma? We were being ladies who lunch! 
A Macon native, the Cherry Blossom Festival has been marked on my March calendar for as long as I can remember.  Over the years, I've been pictured with countless dyed poodles, eaten more fried fair food than ever necessary, wandered the streets of Downtown Macon searching for the prefect parade spot, and worn bubblegum pink for a week straight 22 times.  It's safe to say I've done more than just buy the Pinkest Party on Earth t-shirt; I've lived it.

But, before this year there was one Cherry Blossom tradition I'd never experienced...the annual fashion show.  Emceed by local celeb/crafting guru Mark Ballard, this year's theme was Beauty Blossoming:  A Spring Fashion Journey.  Dedicated in memory of Neva Langley Fickling, one of the creators of the Cherry Blossom Festival and Georgia's only Miss America, this year's show was extra special!  Six of her chic couture gowns were on display--including a cherry blossom embroidered day dress from her 1953 reign.

Modeling Maconites strutted their stuff in stylish ensembles, while the audience sipped pink champagne.  The catered brunch by Edgar's Bistro featured tea sandwiches, two types of salad and the most delicious sweet potato muffin I've ever had!  Of course, all the recipes were from the tastemaker's newest cookbook, Delicious.

Momma and I were right by the stage, so I took a few photos to capture the spirit behind this posh annual favorite.  Enjoy!
The beadwork on Neva's gown was absolutely gorgeous.  And her waistline, it was only 19 inches! 
Donning an extra sparkling pink suit, the festival's founder, Mrs. Carolyn Crayton, even made a special appearance.
Always exuding elegance, she gave quite the welcome! 
So many ladies loving the fashionable affair! 
Look at these fabulous centerpieces made by Mark Ballard!  Cutely crafted from pink paper,  here's the  link so you can  make your own. 
Although this year's event has come and gone, I'm already looking forward to next year's Cherry Blossom Fashion Show!  If you've never been, change that in 2014.  It's definitely a Simply Southern afternoon you won't want to miss!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sporty Strawberries

Just perfect for Football Fans 
My little brother's officially Bama Bound. So, to celebrate his May 20th graduation, my mom's hosting a Crimson Tide-themed party.

In addition to Oatmeal Cream Pies (as homage to Nick Saban of course), she'll be dishing up some chocolate covered strawberries.  As is, they make delicious desserts.  But with the addition of some white icing, they're instantly turned into footballs!

Since I'm back in Georgia for Spring Break, we decided it'd be the perfect time to try out our football strawberry recipe before the day.

What You'll Need:
-8 oz. chocolate candy coating (available at your local craft store)
-1/4 cup white candy coating or Ingredients for Royal Icing
-Piece of cling wrap
-Small plastic baggie
-Size 2 pastry tips (optional)

After washing your basket of ruby red strawberries, be sure to give  them a thorough drying.

Even minus the chocolatey coating, these strawberries were delicious! 
Next, put your chocolate in a microwave safe bowl.  Melt it on high power for 60 seconds.  Remove it from the microwave and stir.  Check to see if it needs additional heat.  If so, place it back in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time until the chocolate has fully melted.  Now, if your chocolate becomes too heated (turning chunky), add one teaspoon of vegetable oil for every six ounces of chocolate used.

Holding the strawberry by the stem, dip the bottom half of each strawberry in the melted chocolate.  Twist the strawberry so that the chocolate forms a "tail" at the end.  Set the strawberries on a peace of parchment paper. And, repeat with the remaining strawberries.

After the chocolate's dried, it's time to add your football markings.

To add an extra sugary touch, we made royal icing instead of using white chocolate.  The easy addition requires minimal ingredients that you'll most likely already have in your cupboard, so if you've got the time, give it a try.

When it came time to putting the royal icing in our "pastry bag," my mom showed me a new trick to keep it mess-free.  To begin with, scoop your icing on a piece of cling wrap.

Tightly twist the ends, creating a clean home for the royal icing.

Then, cut a small hole in the corner of a small plastic baggie and work the royal icing through.
To make sure the laces are perfect, add a size two or three  pastry tip.

Draw a royal icing line around the top and bottom of each strawberry.
Add white laces down to middle, making it look just like a real football.

Lastly, eat up and enjoy your sporty sweet treat!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Seeing the Legend of Sleepy Hollow for Myself

Even the town's Fire Department celebrates
the Headless Horseman tradition. 

Even though I'm Georgia bound in less than a week, I woke up Saturday yearning for a City reprieve.  For just a few hours, I needed to see some trees and be absent of honking horns.  So, I headed to Grand Central and caught the first train to Sleepy Hollow. It turns out the town famous for its Headless Horseman is less than an hour away, and I figured its cemetery would be the perfect subject for my photo assignment of the week.

Talk about a taste of solitude! I was there for hours, and the number of people I saw could be counted on one hand. Really, the only company I had was my camera and a family of deer. Plus, the freshly fallen flurries added an extra eery quality to the tombstones.

In total, I took more than 500 photos, but thank goodness, here, I've narrowed it down to just my favorites.
Unfortunately, the bridge where Ichabod was unseated by a pumpkin doesn’t exist—-at least, not in its original form and location. Whatever simple wooden span crossed the Pocantico River in the late 1700’s has long since rotted away, but at least I got to see some version of the Headless Horseman's bridge in the Sleepy Hollow cemetery. 

I'm not  sure why, but of all the cross tombstones on display this one was my favorite. 
This might sound a bit odd, but the stained glass window featured in this photo is actually inside a mausoleum.
For a good 10 minutes, I snapped pictures it through the iron door's detailing.  
See, I wasn't kidding when I said it was just me and a family of deer. 
Doorknob details where another close-up feature that constantly kept be clicking.  
This angel just looked so serene. How could I not snap a photo? 
To plan your own trip to Sleepy Hollow click here.  It really is a great day trip destination!  But be warned only one train from the Phillipse Manor to Grand Central runs an hour.  Check the times beforehand, so your not stranded on the platform for 58 minutes--yes, I'm speaking from experience here!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Monster Cookie Cuprit Steals 5,000 Boxes of Thin Mints

What's your favorite cookie flavor?
Talk about your weird news story....

A monster thief nearly made off with a big bite of one state’s Girl Scout cookie supply.

On Thursday, a South Carolina man was charged with stealing more than 5,000 boxes of Thin Mints and Shortbreads, The Associated Press reported.

Police fingered 37-year old Christopher Maurice Morton as the alleged cookie culprit who took $19,000 worth of Girl Scout cookies from a Spartanburg, S.C., warehouse.

The owner of Carey Moving and Storage reported more than 450 cases missing after an inventory was conducted on Feb. 26.

There wasn’t a trail of crumbs, but authorities were led to Morton, a truck driver at the warehouse.

Master Deputy Kevin Bobo said Morton has since been fired and charged with "breach of trust more than $10,000."

The plan behind the cookie heist still remains a mystery. But, Bobo said Greenville County sheriff deputies recovered 352 cases from behind an abandoned business.

It’s unclear what happened to the nearly 100 other cases of cookie loot.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Posing Pictures

I feel bad for my friends, I really do.  

They're constantly indulging in my weird reporter whims, listening to package pitches, and feeding me sources.  Every now and then, they're even the subject of my story.  For instance, my weekly journalism assignment was to examine photography from the lens of a photo shoot.  For this time only, candid closeup were exchanged for posed pictures. 

Thank goodness, my friend Claire volunteered to be my guinea pig! 
Claire's constantly the crafter, so we began our shot at Purl Soho. 
She really is quite the knitter, making everything from scarves and sweaters to headbands and stuffed animals.
Plus, Claire has the best fashion sense.  During the winter it's all about handcrafted knitted accessories, felted bags, and boots.
And, in the summer, it's usual to see her donning floppy straw hats, sun dresses, and awesome fox-themed jewelry.  
This picture was taken on the sly.  We were walking down Canal, and I snapped this photo simply because I liked the natural lighting. 
And, like all good college students, a Starbucks cup is always found in her hand. 
And there you have it, my first attempt at posing pictures.  Honestly, it's a lot harder than the pros make it seem.  I think I'll stick to capturing candids, for now at least.