Working For Peanuts: From Field to Food #TXPeanutTour17

Texas peanut Tour 2017 Peanut Plant uncovered

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that until a few weeks ago the extent of my peanut farming knowledge was what I learned of George Washington Carver in elementary school history lectures. Given that peanut butter is a staple on our weekly grocery list, I was excited to receive an invitation by the Texas Peanut Producers Board to come visit several cities in west Texas to meet with current peanut farmers, tour their fields and expand my knowledge of the peanut plant.

Texas is the second largest peanut-producing state in the nation. Texas farmers produce hundreds of millions of peanuts every year and ship them around our state, the country and the world. The Texas Peanut Producers Board was founded in 1969 and has worked tirelessly since then to support research programs, provide education, develop markets and promote what they believe are the best peanuts in the world.

Day 1 : Welcome To Lubbock!

Upon arriving to the Lubbock airport, I was greeted by the shuttle driver to the Overton Hotel  who was waiting out front. I highly recommend staying here if you are in the Lubbock area. It’s the first and only four star AAA rated hotel in west Texas.

overton hotel room

I arrived early in the day so I met up with a friend to do a little sightseeing. We had a fabulous time touring the city and even though my first thought was “What’s in Lubbock?” I can TOTALLY recommend everything we did. It’s worth the trip! I’ll link up with everything we did and an itinerary of what do in Lubbock in a future post here.

That evening we were treated to a fabulous three course dinner of peanut inspired dishes at Las Brisas Steakhouse crafted by Chef Matt Lopez.

Las Brisas Texas Peanut Tour menu

Texas Peanut Tour Las Brisas

Texas Peanut Tour 2017 las brisas Tacos

Texas Peanut Tour Las Brisas Entree

Day 2: Out in the Fields and Vineyards

Texas Peanut Tour 2017 in the field

This day began early with a drive out to meet with the farmers in the field. We met up with Mason Becker, a multi-generational peanut farmer and advocate for agriculture and farming through his work with the West Texas Young Farmers Association. First it was time to really get to know the peanut plant. Did you know peanuts grow underground? If I’m being honest this was the first time I had ever seen them pulled right out of the ground before.

Texas Peanut Tour 2017 Peanut Plant

Texas Peanut Tour 2017 Virginia Peanuts

The variety you see above is the Virginia peanut. It’s one of the largest and most recognizable. Could you identify the 4 main types of peanuts? Well thanks to the Texas Peanut Board Tour, now I can. Here’s a chart so you’ll be up on your peanut name game too!

Types of Peanuts

 

Mason was open and honest with us about the current state of farming in America especially as it relates to peanut farming. We discussed the truths and myths of farming. He shared his personal story and what kind of commitment it takes to be out in the fields providing and nurturing the crops that will be harvested to stock store shelves. We learned just how important it is to support our local farmers and how difficult it can be to get into the business of farming. It takes a lot of financial backing, education and the ability to employ skilled workforce. As it turns out, finding labor with the skills required to farm in today’s fields isn’t as easy to come by as you may have thought.

Texas Peanut Tour 2017 Mason Becker

“My first tractor cost 3x the amount of my first house. Most years you’re just trying to break even.” If you haven’t gotten out in a field where your food is being grown or talked to the people who grow it recently, I highly recommend it putting that on your list. I know for me it had been too long between visits. It will give you a great appreciation for what you choose to put on your plate and they’ll be glad you came.

Our time in the fields was incredibly insightful and Mason was great to answer any questions we had. I learned a lot but there was still more to see on the tour. Following the life of the peanut, our next stop on the tour was the Birdsong Shelling facility. After the peanut is planted, grown, and harvested it comes here.

Texas Peanut Tour 2017 BirdSong

We saw the storage facilities, that house millions of tons of unshelled peanuts and geared up to walk through the loud shelling facility. It’s quite a process! Some areas were very loud, some extremely cold, and others quite dusty from all the shelling that was happening. We also met with the employees in quality control. They are checking around 1 million pounds of peanuts a day! It was truly amazing to think this location in Brownsville, TX provides peanuts for a majority of the national brands you and I enjoy. If you’ve ever eaten a Mars or Hershey bar with peanuts chances are you’ve eaten a peanut from this facility.

Time to Wine Down : Trilogy Cellars

Uncork and and Unwind Trilogy Cellars

It had been full day of learning, working and touring. While almost everyone can appreciate a glass of wine midday this location was well thought out. You see, most wine makers and grape growers are also peanut farmers. Peanuts are a fantastic rotation crop because of the nutrients they put back into the soil. Lots of crops take from the soil but peanuts give back.

We were scheduled to enjoy an outdoor patio lunch at Trilogy vineyards catered by Farm to Fork Gastro Truck. This is not your typical street foods. Farm to Fork is gourmet street food utilizing local sustainable ingredients. The Farm to Fork experience is crafted by Chef Antonio Pina and supplied by Pereira pastures dairy. They are all about supporting local farmers.

Farm to Fork Lunch

Korean Fried Chicken Farm To Fork

Trilogy Cellars

While we dined under the warm Texas sunshine and sipped on the wine that grew on the vines just feet away from us, Steve Newsome and Chace Hill retold the story of how Trilogy came to be. Trilogy Cellars, located in Levelland, Texas, is a family owned winery. In short Trilogy is three families, three vineyards united in one vision. That vision is more than just making great wine but after a tasting its easy to tell they excel at their craft. Each glass poured easily rivaled Napa. I joined the wine club on the spot. It was that good.

There is just something about hearing the stories of a person’s life and passion over a glass of wine. It was an honor to be there that day and even more so to have the opportunity to visit the vineyards right outside Steve’s personal home.

Trilogy vineyard tour

Grape growing 101 Texas Peanut Tour 2017

Grapes on the vine Trilogy Cellars

After visiting the fields, vineyards and dining establishments of West Texas it was time to return home. I had a wonderful visit and left with an open invitation to come back any time. Lubbock has given itself the moniker of “the friendliest city in Texas” and I think I’d have to agree. Everyone was incredibly welcoming. I’ll be sure to plan a trip back soon. Until then I won’t pick up a jar of peanut butter without thinking of the time spent here. I definitely won’t ever take for granted the farmers who work so diligently to produce these crops.

Something New is just around the Curve #theCurveAhead

The Curve Ahead Kia road

You know that feeling that comes over you when something incredible is just around the corner but you can’t quite see all the details just yet? It’s that mix of combined anticipation, excited energy, adrenaline and being equipped with the knowledge that you are allllmost there. You know it’s what you’ve been waiting for but you can feel it’s so much more than you imagined. Momentum and patience, on the inside it feels like watching electrical sparks bounce off the pavement.

We’ve certainly been feeling a lot of this as we wait on the arrival of our #OneTinyHumanComingSoon but this time we’re talking about the anticipation of something else entirely. Sunday Jan 8th, Kia will be unveiling itself in a form you’ve never seen from them before.

The Curve Ahead Kia Front View

Peter Schreyer – President & Chief Design Officer had this to say:

“This new vehicle is going to fundamentally change the global image of Kia. It will revolutionize the way people think about the brand and propel us upwards into a different era. You cannot believe how excited I am about this car.”

The Curve Ahead Kia side

We’ve gotten glimpses of this new vehicle revealed only through a series of four video episodes (I’ve included them below so you catch up!) I’ve been honored to be part of the Kia story for quite a while now and there is just no way I could possibly miss this event. The first unveiling will be in Detroit THIS SUNDAY and I will be there providing live coverage on site!! Want to join me???? Jan 8th, 6pm EST Kia will be streaming this LIVE as well at  TheCurveAhead.net

The Curve Ahead – Episode 1 (Twists and Turns) 

The curve ahead represents unchartered territory, or a journey into the unknown. As an exciting new paradigm of performance beckons, it’s Kia’s attention to daring design detail that makes the journey more alluring.

0-to-100 kph. A benchmark for any car operating on a higher level of performance, and the number that enthusiasts look for first. The fastest-accelerating Kia to date represents a new paradigm of performance, its heart-pounding power encouraging you to grip the wheel a little more tightly.

The Curve Ahead – Episode 2 ( The Fastest Accelerating Kia)

Curiosity is the desire, the need, to learn more. On the road, it is the fascination about what lies beyond the curve ahead.

The Curve Ahead – Episode 3 (The Silhouette)

The curve, and the sense of curiosity, is also brought to life in the concave, fastback silhouette of Kia’s long-awaited all-new car. Inspired by a concept, Kia’s newest vehicle marries heart-pounding performance with purposeful and progressive design.

The Curve Ahead – Episode 4 (Attention to detail)

Be sure to follow along on twitter, instagram, facebook, and snapchat( @alicechase) as we provide live coverage from the North American International Auto Show and mark you calendars now for Jan 8th at 6pm EST to experience CurveAhead.net LIVE!

The Brightest Holiday Lights in Austin are on the 2015 Trail of Lights (Dec 8th-22nd)

Austin Trail of Lights 2015

Seeking out the most magical display of twinkling holiday lights with your family this year? After relocating last fall, we soon came to find that we didn’t have to look any farther than the Trail of Lights Austin TX to complete our holiday tradition.  Surrounded by TWO MILLION lights, taking 15, 000 man hours to assemble, there is certainly no shortage of holiday magic here.  Our family was given early access this year to share some highlights and help you plan a wonderful visit with your friends and family too!

Austin Trail of Lights couple

This year, visitors to the Trail of Lights have a host of new reasons to celebrate their holiday in grand Austin style. Beginning Dec 8th- 15th, gates open at 7:00 p.m, admission is FREE for guests of all ages. the last 7 nights(16th-22nd) admission is $3.00 and tickets can be purchased online or at the  gate box office. I highly recommend buying in advance here or at H-E-B stores.

Trail of Lights light tunnel

There is plenty of free fun to be had on the trail but you will get one of the best views from about 90′ up. The downtown skyline view from the top of this classic ferris wheel is totally worth the splurge, each ride 6 tokens ( 1 token=$1), so plan to include that as part of your visit.

City view of Austin from ferris wheel

Inside candyland, the kids can play carnival games operated by the sweetest elves you’ve ever met and receive a sweet treat in exchange. If all this fun has you hungry for more than candy, you will find more than 30+ food vendors onsite.

Candyland Trail of Lights

We ended the night taking nostalgic carousel rides capturing glimpses of the Zilker Tree on each rotation. We all left sharing a little more Christmas spirit than when we arrived.

Trail of Lights Carousel

For more information on planning your visit, be sure to check out the Austin Trail of Lights FAQs. Make sure you are following Austin Trail of Lights on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest to join in the conversation, ask questions, and post pictures after your visit!

You’re Invited!! Macy’s American Icons Party Event (5/16) #AmericanSelfie

macys american icons
everywhere society
In celebration of all things Americana, Macy’s is hosting a party and YOU are invited to join us THIS weekend for in-store events all over the country!! There will be iconic American foods, fashion, music & a patriotic photo booth for selfies! (because nothing is more American these days that a picture perfect selfie, Am I right?! #AmericanSelfie )

macys-american-icons

Join me at Macy’s Northpark (Womens Fashion Department Level 1) Dallas, TX this Saturday(5/16/15) from 2-4 PM! Discover everything you need to put together a timeless, All-American ensemble at our fashion party hosted by style blogger Ashley Robertson, The Teacher Diva, and Texas Monthly fashion editor Lauren Smith Ford. Shop your favorites while jamming to our live band, snack on complimentary sips and sweets, enjoy much more throughout the store. Be sure to pop into our patriotic photo booth to take your #AmericanSelfie and take home a selfie stick with any $50 Women’s Purchase!

Macys American Icons Event

Not in Dallas? That’s OK! Macy’s is hosting American Icons Event all across the U.S. Every event is different so be sure to check out what’s happening near you! (For a full list of locations additional location specific details go here):

5/14 Chicago, IL (State Street)
5/14 New York, NY (HSQ)
5/14 Portland, OR (Washington Square)
5/15 Miami, FL (Aventura Mall)
5/16 San Francisco (Union Square)
5/16 Seattle, WA (Alderwood)
5/16 Pittsburgh, PA (South Hills Village)
5/16 Miami, FL (Aventura Mall)
5/16 Burlington, MA (South Shore Plaza)
5/16 Albany, NY (Cross Gates)
5/16 Minneapolis, MN (Ridgedale)
5/16 Dallas, TX (North Park)
5/16 Memphis, TN (Wolfchase Galleria)
5/16 Atlanta, GA (Peachtree Mall)
5/16 San Francisco, CA (Union Square)

got your 6

In addition to all the fun, Macy’s is also taking the opportunity to honor America’s veterans with an in-store give-back program to support Got Your 6, a coalition of veteran-focused, non-profit partners who are working to help veterans make America stronger. Macy’s is proud to support those who have served our country. Click here for more details on how you can support with Got Your 6.

This is going to be such a fun event! I hope to see you there!

Celebrating Small Business with The UPS Store #SmallBizSalute #CollectiveBias #giveaway

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SmallBizSalute #CollectiveBias

TUPSS-SMALL-BIZ-SALUTE-SOCIAL-POSTS-2

At a conference I was at recently one of the speakers asked us to define where were from. To some, it was defined by where we were born. Others referenced a “hometown” location and to some it was the city they currently live in.  Our speaker gave us a new perspective when she asked us “Where do the shopkeepers know your name?”  That’s how you know, where you are really from she said.

#SmallBizSalute

When I think of shopkeepers, I think of local businesses. I think of people of the community serving with dillegence to make the city great. People with  heart and an entrepreneurial spirit. That fresh perspective from our speaker couldn’t have come upon the heels of a better time. I returned home to Austin with a fresh invitation from The UPS Store inviting my husband to network and to get to know more small businesses in our area. The event would help celebrate National Small Business Week and all the hard working small businesses around the country.

The UPS Store #SmallBizSalute

The UPS Store does a great job of supporting small business owners in their endeavors. I believe they are able to do this so effectively because The UPS Store locations are locally owned and operated themselves. The stores are not only run by small business owners, but are there to support local startups, entrepreneurs and other small businesses, help solve their problems and connect with their peers.

The UPS Store Chi'lantro

As small business owners ourselves for many years, we identified with the success and struggles mentioned that night. Jae Kim, local business owner of Chi’Lantro BBQ, spoke to us sharing his story of growing his business from the ground up. The late nights and early mornings he talked about made my husband and I exchange knowing glances, remembering what it like. I can only describe it like becoming new parents again. Everything you do is centered around making your business a success because as a small business owner the health of your business really is dependent upon your dedication and commitment to it.

Avocado Bar

I was so impressed with the event that evening. In addition to networking with other amazing business owners over drinks and an amazing avocado bar, we also heard from representatives from other organizations who provide growth opportunities for small businesses. SCORE, a non-profit organization offers free Small Business Counseling and Resources, low-cost Business Workshops, and special customized services. They know the time of most small business owners is in high demand so there are even online workshops available. The U.S. Small Business Association also spoke to us and offered an open door to all the benefits they provide.

I speak from experience when I say, growing a small business can be one of the toughest most rewarding jobs that exists (outside of parenting, of course). Having these organisations brought together by The UPS Store to share their support and encouragement was so uplifting. It takes drive, resilience, and courage to start and maintain small business success. Hats off to all the small business owners out there- We salute you!!

How often do you shop local? Do the shopkeepers near you know your name? Do you know theirs? I encourage you you to visit a small business near you this week and get to know them. I’m sure if you asked they would have some interesting stories to share about why they choose to start their business. Take the time- I’m sure you wont regret it!

The UPS Store

To help spread the love and celebrate the love of small businesses, we are hosting a giveaway!! We are giving away 4 ($25) GC to The UPS Store. There will be 4 winners total. Open to US residents. Giveaway will end 5/18 at midnight.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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