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

Write your memoir!

Congratulations, you’ve decided to write your memoir!

 

 

It was the most fascinating time of your life. Or – That time in your life you’d much rather forget. Or – Lessons were learned during those periods in your life. Not matter what your story, it is yours to tell. Memoir writing can take you through several emotional stages. It can be exhilarating, funny, soothing, or cathartic. It can even be a combination of any or all of these emotions and more.

There are many reasons why a person decides to write a memoir. A few of them are:

  • You simply want to share an experience.
  • You want to help others heal through your words and the situations you were subject to.
  • You need some writing therapy. Putting the words on paper helps you deal with your past.

Whatever your reasons for writing a memoir, one thing very common among the writers is the looming question:

How do I portray certain people for who they were without getting into legal trouble?

Merriam-Webster’s definition of defamation:

 

defamation

noun

def·​a·​ma·​tion | \ˌde-fə-ˈmā-shən  \

Definition of defamation 

law

the act of communicating false statements about a person that injure the reputation of that person the act of defaming another CALUMNYdefamation of charactera defamation lawsuit

Defamation is when a person’s reputation is lowered in the eyes of the community and people are deterred from dealing with them as they normally would. The allegedly defamed person must prove that it is he/she who is portrayed in the book. They must be able to identify themselves by physical description, location, acquaintances, or other factors.

So how do you write your memoir without getting into legal trouble?

  • Start with changing names and settings. Instead of writing about the small rural community you grew up in, set your story in the outskirts of a major city. Remember, changing up settings and details does not mean the incidents didn’t happen. It means you are doing your due diligence in protecting yourself from potential lawsuits. And it helps protect the reputation of innocent and guilty persons.
  • Add a disclaimer such as: This memoir reflects the author’s recollections of his/her experiences in life. Some names, places, and characteristics have been changed. Some events may have been compressed and some dialogue may have been recreated.
  • State facts. If your ex cheated on his taxes and you can prove it, he/she cannot sustain a defamation claim.
  • More about stating facts. Your opinions are protected expressions. To an extent. If you express your accusation as, “I believe…”, or “In my opinion…” that does not give you legal recourse. Your opinions need to be relevant to your story and supported with evidence.
  • Show the people you are writing about what you have written. Of course this cannot be done in all instances such as abuse, addiction, etc. But on occasion, someone may only ask that their real identity not be revealed.

With all of that being said, write your memoir! Write what you experienced, what you feel. Laugh along the way. Cry with the words you are putting on paper. Heal if it’s healing you seek. It is your story. When you get to the point of wanting to publish your memoir, make sure you have done your duty by protecting the reputation of others.

Disclaimer: Of course, these are my opinions and based on research and they are not legal advice. You should always consult an attorney if you are in doubt.

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

Sunset Bayou – Lil Bit…

Hello again! I wanted to share one of my current projects with you. Sunset Bayou – A fun, romantic story of second chances.  The beginning of the story, Lil Bit of Love and Everything,  goes back several years to when Alanna and Jake (and several other characters) were in high school.

My inspiration for the two characters in Sunset Bayou, book 1 (currently untitled) are Shania Twain and Patrick Dempsey. Follow Alanna and Jake through Pinterest to see what their likes, dislikes, and secrets are.  You can also keep up with the story by subscribing to Taylor’s Tidbits and this blog from this website. The story will unfold right before your eyes, beginning with the beginning – sixteen years ago. (Subject to edits, of course.)

 

So, to start out, I’ll give you a little teaser from Lil Bit of Love and Everything. (Raw and unedited so excuse the many errors – grammatical and content.)

 

Present day.

Yvonne Watson’s sixty-eight year old body was wrinkled, her body beginning to frail, but she was still the light of Sam’s life. He reached over and took his wife’s hand; his beautiful wife of sixteen years. She smiled and then they both looked out over the bayou.

From their vintage point on the balcony, they took in all of the surroundings. Across the calm waters stood tall houses accessible from the other side of the town. Looking to the left, Sunset Bayou Park Road was filled with small camps to large homes. At the first curve, Earl’s small, shabby piece of property stuck out like a foreign object with old vehicles, metal scraps, and various other pieces of unusable junk. Earl had become the go-to for scrap parts. If you needed it, he had it. Not to mention he lived on this bayou most of his sixty-something years.

Sam glanced back over at his wife and his heart swelled. It was a blessing that they met at a time in their lives when they each needed someone. Yvonne had gone through a messy divorce in her late-forties. Sam had been a widower for several years when he and Yvonne met. The evening she strolled into ‘Lil Bits was the night he knew he had to hook her.

Sixteen years earlier.

“Sam, we need you up here,” the young bartender yelled at him. “Now!” She was a feisty little thing. Sam had wondered about giving her this job, but it was a favor to one of his old buddies.

After his wife had passed away in 2000, Sam took an early retirement from the plant industry and opened the country stop. He chose the name of the bar to honor his deceased wife’s wine shop, Lil Bit of Love. Several years later, the place was a hotspot for Sunset Bayou Park.

Lil Bit of Love and Everything was a combination convenience store and bar. Attached to the store was a small bar, Lil Bit of Love, which Sam opened daily. It was nothing fancy, just a place for people in the area to sit and chat while having a drink or two. Weekends could get a little rowdy, but never to the point he had to call the law. The store, and Everything, served the Sunset Bayou Park campground with everything from fishing tackle to food items needed to prepare a full meal.

Sam strolled into the bar area from his small office. “What,” he grumbled.

“Oh please.” Maria rolled her eyes at him. “Stop grumbling. It’s doesn’t fit you. Anyway, this lady here wants to know if there are any camps for sale around here.” Her brown ponytail bobbed as she nodded her head to the woman standing in front of her.

Sam scratched his head and sized up the woman. She looked to be around his age and she was neatly dressed. She was a taller where as his ‘lil bit wife had been shorter. Her dark brown hair reminded him of a chocolate bar. Her eyes, well the little spunk in them intrigued him more than he wanted to admit.

 

Enjoy! And follow for the next segment.

Love, hugs, and kisses – 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!