Thursday, May 22, 2008

Home sweet home

Back from Chicago! Totally, completely bushed. Overall the trip was fantastic and I'm so glad I went. I met a lot of friendly, interesting people and sampled a lot of fun candy. I tended to gravitate toward the smaller chocolate companies out of taste bud preference, and there are some really exciting new companies and products out. Yum. The final haul covered most of my (king size) bed:

I have more fun pictures but posting them is beyond my sleep-deprived brain right now. But before I go, I must say: I met Jacques Torres! He gave a luncheon lecture/chocolate tasting session and was funny and charming and oh so French. He's done some instructional videos for the candy site so I introduced myself afterwards and got to chat with him for a bit. Definitely one of the highlights of the trip.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hello, Chicago. Hello, Candy.

Day one of the All-Candy Expo is down. After perhaps the most horrific hotel stay I've ever had, and a grand total of six hours of sleep over the past two nights combined, I was more than ready to walk around an enormous convention center, shmooze candy reps, and eat sugar for eight hours straight. BRING IT ON.

Over 400 candy companies are at the expo, which makes navigating the center an overwhelming task. This is a shot of the inside right after the doors opened, which explains why it's so open and lacking in ravenous freeloaders.

The smallest booths were about 10x10, while the largest were larger than most restaurants. The Hershey's "booth" had a full-on bakery inside, where they assembled made-to-order cupcakes, brownies, etc. Other booths had cars, chocolate fountains, stilt walkers and jugglers......and let's not forget the power of Elvis in candy promotion.Master Chocolatier Joseph Schmidt had one of the most visually striking displays. Here he is with a chocolate bowl:

Yes, these are all made out of chocolate. He makes them by blowing up a balloon, dipping the bottom in multi-colored chocolate, letting it harden, then popping the balloon. The tulips, from stems to blooms? Chocolate. The vases? Chocolate. The picture frames? Chocolate.
The leg on the left was labeled FRAGILE. That's Italian.

The take after one day. Wisely, I packed a duffel inside my suitcase to help cart all this loot home. I was so sick of sugar by lunchtime, I didn't really have any all afternoon at the convention, then I had a sensible dinner...and promptly came home and tore into it. Like a kid on Halloween, I tell you. My room's trash can has such an embarrassing number of candy wrappers, I'm considering taking it out myself so the maid won't see it and wonder at my gluttony. More updates to come!
P.S. to my Chicago peeps: many apologies for not calling, this trip is super short and overbooked...J & I will just have to come out and see y'all sometime soon!


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Yes, I know I'm creepy

This is BIG NEWS for the three people besides Jason and I who obsess over 30 Rock. (Karl, I'm looking in your direction). Jack McBrayer, who plays Kenneth the innocent Southern NBC page, lives across the street from us!
Jason saw him walking on a nearby street awhile ago, and then a few weeks ago I saw him leave the apartment across the street. Today I made like a crazy person and checked out that building's directory. Lo and behold:

Stalking commences immediately. All interested parties are invited to join. Bring binoculars and cookie jars with upside-down WOWs written on them.

And a few choice Kenneth quotes in celebration:

Kenneth: Mr. Jordan himself said, “Don’t let no one in who’s not on the list because this mess is gonna get raw like sushi. So haters to the left."
Ridikulous: What?! Man, what's your game?
Kenneth: Boggle!

Kenneth: I know how you like this cornbread Mr. Jordan.
Tracy: LIKE it? I love this cornbread so much I wanna take it back behind the middle school and get it pregnant.
Kenneth: Hee hee, pregnant cornbread.

Tracy: I'm even attracted to you, Kenneth!
Kenneth: Well, I am wearing a cuffed trouser today.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Holy moses. I am afraid I will never sleep again, let alone have enough time to catch up on crucial TV viewing (what is going on with Top Model??) or fill my blog with the usual interesting insightful posts.

Quick recap: work is good but busy. The wedding weekends were great but busy. Upcoming trip to the candy expo in Chicago promises to be delicious but (you guessed it) busy.

I hope to do a wedding picture post soon. Someone's gotta document the sexiness/craziness of a Payne family reunion...