A Weekend of Peppers and Shadows

Shadows on the Teche

Have you found the peppers and shadows near you? When you need a short break from life, sometimes all you have to do is look close to home. You may be amazed at what you find. Most people travel far from home to sight see and overlook the areas in their own hometown. Hubby and I picked New Iberia, a place only an hour and a half away from home. Our little weekend getaway resulted in peppers and shadows. And memories!

Tabasco Factory

We started the day at the Tabasco factory, the place of the famous pepper sauce made by Mr. Edmund McIlhenny in 1868 on Avery Island, LA. It was almost noon, so we decided to start with lunch at 1868. This was a quaint, cafeteria-style restaurant. With a ‘build your own Bloody Mary’ bar. Of course I cannot pass up that kind of temptation!

Moving on, we went from stop to stop taking in the history of Tabasco and observing current day process of making the famous pepper sauce. The peppers are mashed, mixed with other ingredients, and put in barrels. There they sit for three years so they can age perfectly. The top of the barrels are covered with salt (you can see this in the below picture) to keep out impurities. After aging, the sauce is bottled and shipped all over the world. Along the assembly line we observed workers performing quality control. Every so often, the woman we were watching would pull a bottle out of the line. Not really sure why. I can only assume either the bottle was not filled with pepper sauce, or the bottle was damaged somehow. I do know that I do not have the type of patience it must take to work that type of job. Kudos to all of the workers at Tabasco!

Fun Fact:

Corks were used to stop the bottles and the tops were sealed with green wax to contrast with the sauce’s color. Today green paper is used in place of the wax.

Shadows on the Teche

Next stop was the Shadows on the Teche. We stepped back in time to the antebellum period. Built in 1834, The house is set among 100 year-old towering live oak trees draped with Spanish moss and sits on the banks of Bayou Teche. The grounds are absolutely breathtaking! Bamboo lines the walkway and effectively shuts out the traffic from Main Street, which lends the imagination to travel back in time to when there were no automobiles. The peace is tranquil and you almost feel like you are there with the landowners tending the gardens and the children running around.

It amazed me at the amount of history that is preserved here. The house is filled with about 85% of the original furniture and fixings. Shadows was built with no hallways, but plenty of windows to let the fresh air flow through as there was no air conditioning at that time. David and Mary Weeks finished building the house in 1834. Mary oversaw the final stages of the construction while her husband traveled to Connecticut in hopes of finding a cure for his recurring unidentifiable disease. Unfortunately, David would never live in the house as he died while seeking a cure for his illness. Mary later died in her sleep while still living in her home. The Shadows was home to four generations of Weeks families, whose fortunes were made in the sugar industry. Williams Weeks Hall, the last member of the family to live in the house, donated the Shadows to the National Trust for Historical Preservation.

Fun Fact:

Williams Weeks Hall’s donation included the house, gardens, furniture, and over 17,000 documents – letters, receipts, invoices, and inventories.

Our tour guide, Mrs. Barbara, was amazing. She was very knowledgeable and gave us her undivided attention. If you ever have the opportunity to visit New Iberia, LA., make sure you stop by the Tabasco factory and Shadows on the Teche. (Click these links to follow them on Facebook.)

Till next time,

Taylor

Signing in the South 2020

Signing in the South

It is my pleasure to announce that Lake Charles, LA will once again be the location for Signing in the South!

Thanks to the heartwarming support of fellow authors, readers, family, and friends, I’ve decided to jump in again and bring an amazing author / book signing to the Lake Charles area.

Details are still being worked out. First priority is getting my daughter married in three weeks! Yes, this journey with her has been absolutely amazing. I didn’t want anything competing with my time with my daughter in making her day as special as it can be. But, as soon as the wedding is complete, I’ll be working on venue, date, time, author lineup, tickets, and much more to put this Signing in motion.

Tentative date will be June 2020. We just have to plan it around Father’s Day. We don’t want our guys thinking we are taking over “their” weekend!

Yes, this is over a year away, but you’d be surprised at all the planning that goes into an event like this. Trust me when I say this.

My priority in hosting this special event is taking care of the authors and readers. Because without either of those, there is no success in a book signing. Heck, there is no book signing without those amazing people.

Honestly, my heart is overflowing right now. I put out a feeler about hosting the Signing again. The replies from my authors who participated in 2018 Signing seriously had me tearing up. To know that these authors were satisfied and want to come back really says a lot to me. They put their trust in me last year as I embarked on a first-time venture. We had a great lineup of authors of all genres from all over Louisiana and surrounding states. That group will always be my favorites as they supported me 100% and more! Love you guys!

So, mushy stuff aside – how can you find out more? Stay tuned to my website and Facebook page for all the inside information. Feel free to reach out to me anytime.

Website:Https://www.tayloranne.net/signing

Facebook: Https://www.facebook.com/signingsouth

Email: taylor@tayloranne.net

Til next time,

Taylor

Going PLACES

Going Places

 

One of the first steps in defining your business is to figure out your core values. Once you do this, every day, focus on the values that define you and your business. Learn from those values. Live those values. Share your values with others.

How to Set Your Core Values

  • Make a list of everything that describes you. Everything. Don’t hold anything back. (Stuck? Ask a friend to help compile the list.)
  • Group together the words that are similar. example: positive, upbeat, confident
  • Review each group and pick out 1-2 words that you most relate with. Make that the heading of that group.
  • Congratulations! You now have your core values.

Go One Step Further

  • Have a little fun and play around with the headings of your groups.
  • Toss them around to come up with an acronym that suits you.
  • Interchange descriptions if you need to nail down your acronym.
  • Expound on each heading by adding 1-2 sentences to further define who you are.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I am going PLACES!
We are going PLACES!

P – POSITIVE attitude and actions help motivate people to follow their dreams.

L – LOYALTY to people around me. Striving to protect and support others.

A – ADVENTURE – Be fearless. What we can do with the unknown can be the birthplace of success.

C – CREATIVITY- Turning new and imaginative ideas into reality.

E – EMPOWERING and encouraging others (women) to never give up. Setting plans for growth and achieving goals.

S – SPIRITUAL and family oriented. ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ Philippians 4:13

Til next time,

Taylor

Murder on the 8th hole

Murder on the 8th hole? It very well could have been.

When hubby and I travel, we usually play a round of golf in our vacation town. “We” play golf. No, he plays golf and I play like his caddy. Usually it goes pretty much the same. He is focused on his game, in the zone.

I am not, which gives me plenty of time to focus on other things. Like – finding the shade for caddy. So what if hubby has to walk out to his ball to play. I want the shade because we usually play in 90 degree weather. That’s freaking hot! And finding the beer cart – I mean, drink cart. Caddy needs to stay hydrated. Oh and I can’t leave out the scenery that I like to focus on.

I take pictures of everything. Seems like most of my favorite golf pictures are of the little bridges that cross over the small creeks. It is not uncommon for me to send the pictures to my best bud. She then gives me pointers on how to achieve the best shots. Sometimes it translates into my brain and works; sometimes it doesn’t. But together she and I try to take great golf scene pictures. Remember, she is the photographer; I am the writer.

Back to the title of this blog. Murder???? This most recent golf/caddy trip could have turned into violence early on. See, I know golf is a gentleman’s game. Problem is, I’m not a gentleman. No where close.

We had the pleasure of playing with a Hot Springs resident who is also retired from the Navy. It was a joy meeting this guy! And caddy here is so glad he didn’t pin me to the rules of golf.

There are too many rules for this gal.

  • Don’t walk between the ball and the hole.
  • Be quiet.
  • Don’t drive the fun little cart while someone is hitting their ball.
  • Don’t park in front of the person if they are stopped at their ball.
  • Be quiet.
  • Don’t use your phone during the round.
  • Don’t stand behind someone while they are hitting.
  • Be quiet.

So you get it. Rules, and all this caddy wants is to enjoy the game. By game I mean the scenery. I want to take pictures to remember the place. The rolling hills, the creeks, bridges, random wildlife, etc. My creativity wants to flow out in the open air. I can’t do this if I’m obstructed by rules.

So, hubby has always wanted me to write a romantic suspense book about a murder on the fairway. We came really close to getting that story in Hot Springs! Hell, I can barely keep up with rules of writing, much less adding in rules of golf. So when I write that murder story for hubby, it will have to be after a lot more research on golf etiquette.

Till next time – Taylor

Vacation – Time to Get Away

Vacation – Time to get away!! I love travelling and visiting different places. Growing up, and most of my adult life, we did not take family vacations often. Like, never. Since my marriage to hubby the last ten years, I have vacationed more in this time than all the other vacations added up.

Recently we took a trip to Hot Springs, Arkansas. Beautiful little piece of the Earth scattered with lakes, mountains, picturesque golf courses (another blog on that to come later – you don’t want to miss those antics!), hot springs bubbling up from the ground and streaming down from the mountains. This has been by far one of my most favorite places to visit.

But this post isn’t really about where I vacationed. Nope, it’s about favorite and least favorite things we encounter on vacations. I’m sure you can relate to some of these. Chime in with your own comments.

Favorites on vacation

FOOD. Enough said. Well, okay, let’s elaborate. When on vacation I always try something native to the area whether it is seafood, BBQ, or anything in between. I couldn’t find anything in particular Hot Springs is famous for, so I ate everything in between. Oh, but I do give a shout out to Granny’s Kitchen for the best hot ham & cheese po-boy and fried okra.

SCENERY. I love the scene I am with. Earlier this year it was the beach (my absolute favorite!!). This trip I felt the warm breeze rolling off the lake as well as the crisp scent of piney woods. Hot Springs is a beautiful town. So much to see and take in. And more history there than I thought.

SCHEDULE. It’s vacation, baby. There is no schedule. Relax by the pool when you need a break from being a tourist. Traipse down the main strip with others. Climb mountains when you feel you have the energy. Chill outside a Hot Springs Bathhouse and people watch. Whatever you do, do it on your own schedule.

Least favorites on vacation

FOOD. Yeah, after a while, food fills your belly and you don’t want to look at it, smell it, or taste it. By the end of vacation, I am ready for some good home cooking. Did someone say deer roast?

SCHEDULE. My absolute least favorite is the schedule on the last day of vacation with hubby. No, it’s not what you think. It boils down to – I am tired and I need my sleep!!! Do we really have to get up so damn early and hit the road home? Is one freaking hour more of sleep going to put us that much later? UGH.

This post was meant to be written this morning when I was “in the moment” and starving for sleep. I knew if I didn’t write it then, it would not come out like my sleep deprived mind wanted it to. So yes, you have the toned down version. lol

But anyway, overall, vacations are a time to get away. I love them every time. And check back for some posts about some of the places I have visited.

What about you? Share some pics and thoughts on vacations you’ve experienced, or comment on vacations in general.

Love, hugs, and kisses – Taylor

Wine tasting – Reds and Whites

Wine tasting listWine tasting – reds and whites

What’s your favorite? Red or white? Dry or sweet? Where can you go to sample and satisfy your palate?

Our local liquor store, Lake Street Liquor, offers wine tastings every Friday. And for those beer lovers, Thursdays are your day. I really enjoy when the wines being presented are explained. Our gracious host did an excellent job. She described the flavors the wines held as well as the difference in oak and unoaked wines. Yes, just as it suggests, oak wines are made in oak barrels or with oak chips which lends to flavors and aromas imparted into the wine. Cedar, spice, and smoky notes are common influences, although there are many others. An unoaked wine has more of the fresh fruit flavors and is more likely to be lighter-bodied.

Wine tasting list:

  • Wycliff Brut
  • Guilhem Rose
  • Indomita Chardonnay
  • Hidden Crush Chardonnay
  • Sea Glass Sauvignon Blanc
  • Castoro Sauvignon Blanc
  • Irony Monterey Pinot Noir
  • Rhiannon Red Blend 2016

This past week we were offered customer favorites in reds and whites. Our palates tingled as we started with the bubbly Wycliff Brut then moved to the Guilhem Rose.  The Brut would be great in Mimosas. By itself – too much fizz for me.The Rose was very light and refreshing. Think about being poolside and sipping on a crisp fruity drink.

Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc were next in line. These are two of my favorite white wines. Chardonnay is one of the most popular and most versatile white wine grapes. The Indomita Chardonnay and Hidden Crush Chardonnay pleased the palate. Flavors of green apple, grapefruit, and lime lend to give the drink a crisp fruity taste.

 

Sauvignon Blanc tends to carry aromas of lemon, lime, and grapefruit. On the palate it is crisp fruity with a tart finish.The Sea Glass Sauvignon Blanc is one of my favorites – even before this tasting. Besides, the bottle is so unique with the glass stones. Beautiful. Reminds me of the ocean. The Castoro Sauvingnon Blanc  was crisp and juicy with a fresh finish.

Reds are my ultimate favorite! We sampled the Irony Monterey Pinot Noir. Aromas of black cherry, sweet plum, and coco enhance the tasting experience on your palate of sweet, lush fruit flavors with slight hints of almond. The supple tannins let your mouth experience the dryness without overdoing it. The Rhiannon Red Blend 2016 is worth the wait of tasting this one last. This deep ruby colored wine is a blend of Petite Sirah, Syrah, and Barbera with luscious cherry and berry aromas. Smooth on the palate and finishes with a lingering red fruit and oak hint.

Overall this experience was a win! I met some new people, tasted new wines, and found another favorite red. I went home with the Rhiannon. Now to wait and see what the next wine tasting adventure brings.

Share your wine tasting experiences. Do you prefer dry or sweet? Red or white? What do you like / dislike about wine? Not a wine drinker, that’s okay too. Share about your favorite drink – whatever it may be!

Till next time – Taylor         

 

 

Taylor has been found!

Gotta love technology! Especially when your website crashes and it takes over a week to get it back going. Really frustrating when you have promo material out there that refers back to the site. Not to mention the fact that every where I can think of, Taylor Anne’s website is mentioned – books, online presences, promo material, social media, and many other places. So, yeah, I was freaking out when the site went down.

Hang tight – it will be back to a presentable stage soon!