Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Candy Making for Kids: Book Blog Tour {+Giveaway!}

Courtney Dial Whitmore, entertainer extraordinaire and owner of the popular website, Pizzazzerie, has long been inspiring people around the country and world. 

Earlier this year, Courtney added the title 'author' to her long list of accomplishments with the release of her fast-selling book, Push up Pops.  (Confession:  I loved this book so much, I purchased 4 copies--1 for myself, and 3 to give away to family and friends!)  Ready for some exciting news?  Courtney has written another book, which promises to be just as amazing as her first!

As a mother of 4 children, I am thrilled to help launch Courtney's latest book, Candy Making for Kids now available here on Amazon or here on Barnes & Noble.  It is a must add book for every recipe cupboard!

Like most children, my kids love working along side me in the kitchen, especially when treats are being made!  I am always on the hunt for quick, kid-friendly recipes using simple ingredients & basic kitchen tools. 

This is just one of the reasons I am so excited about Courtney's new book!  None of the recipes use a candy thermometer, making them easy enough for kids of all ages. 

With 30 deliciously cute recipes to choose from, beautifully photographed by Zac Williams, candy making with kids has never been easier!

This book would be a perfect gift and is especially great for holidays, with an entire chapter dedicated to holiday-themed candies!

An Added Bonus:  As an added bonus, Courtney has darling red + white polka dotted book plate labels that she will be mailing out to those who request them so they can stick the personalized greeting inside their book. Simply email courtney@pizzazzerie.com with the subject line BOOK SIGNATURE and proof of purchase (a screen shot of an Amazon/Barnes & Noble order, picture of receipt, etc...) along with the address to send the book plate, who to make the greeting out to, and she'll get it on its merry way so you can have your book personally signed!

Up Close & Personal--An Interview with Courtney Dial Whitmore:  It was such a treat to have the opportunity to interview Courtney about this latest book project, learn about who inspires her & what she is most excited about in her new book.  Read below for the complete interview!

Q:  Who inspires you?  A:  I'm inspired by all entrepreneurs who have successfully created fabulous businesses! Everyone from Jenn Sbranti of HWTM to Oprah. I am so inspired by women who truly have a passion and zeal for life. It's not easy to start your own company and do all the other things we have going on in our lives,  so every single woman who has started her own business is such an inspiration to me!

Q:  To what or whom do you attribute your love of entertaining & baking? A:  I definitely attribute my love for entertaining and baking to my mom. She used to write for magazines around cute holiday crafts, tablescapes, etc.,  so I definitely watched a lot of "party styling" growing up. I was not interested in it at the time, but I think being around it kept it at the back of my mind so when I was in college and having girlfriends over for dinner parties, all of my mom's tips and ideas came back to me!

Q:  How did you come up with the concept for this current book? A:  My publisher had the idea for the book and I said YES! I love kids and of course - who doesn't love candy? I was thrilled to do this book even though it was a quick project (I had a couple of weeks - eek!).

Q:  What was your favorite part of this book project?  A:  My favorite part of the book project is getting the finished project in the mail for the first time. It's so exciting to hold the physical product that you worked on. Beyond that, the shooting is my favorite!

Q:  What challenges (if any) did you face during work on this book project?  A:  The book ended up being shot in Utah so I had to take all my props and recipe ingredients to Salt Lake City. I totally covered a hotel room in props. It was hard with only a microwave and a small kitchen (in the lobby of the hotel!) to create these recipes and only the props I had with me. It was a challenge but I'm happy with how it turned out!

Q:  What excites you the most about this book? Do you have a favorite recipe or section?  A:  Yes! My favorite recipe is definitely the candy toffee! It's completely adaptable (use white chocolate) for every occasion (use red + green candies for Christmas!) and tastes amazing. We had to hide it on set so we didn't eat it all!

Q:  Which recipe/treat do YOU make the most often?  A:   Again, candy toffee :) It's seriously that good and totally perfect for dropping down in a treat bag as a favor or holiday gift. I love that it's SO easy too! It uses items you likely already have in your kitchen.

Q: Can we look forward to future book projects from you? If so, can you share with us what you are currently working on? A: Yep! I have another book coming out March 2013 - FROSTINGS! I'll be styling the shoot for it this September and I'm so excited about it! Finally, I have a use for all those cake stands I have ;)

Q:  What have you learned about yourself through the process of publishing this book? A:  I have learned that I prefer styling and shooting in my own city (hard to travel with everything). Thankfully, Frostings will be shot in Nashville. Besides that, I have learned that I absolutely love coupling the fast-paced blogging world with the longer process of book-writing. It's a neat duo and definitely fun to have multiple projects to work on!

Q:  What is your best piece of advice for others who hope to publish a book? A:  Think of ideas that haven't already been done. It's hard to get a publisher to allow you to write a book that's already out there, especially if you're not a celebrity.

Q:  What are some of the 'little known' facts about Courtney Dial Whitmore that make you uniquely you and your book uniquely yours? A:  Tough one! I would say that I love black + white stripes (you will find this element somewhere in all of my books) and I love easy entertaining. I hope that the recipes I provide in my books are both easy and fun for kids and adults.

Q:  What do you think readers will be most excited about from your book?  A:  I think readers will love that they can go back to this book again and again for a quick idea for kids coming over for the holidays, a birthday party idea, or just a rainy Saturday afternoon project!

Win A Copy of the book!  Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 16, 2012

Kara's Party Ideas On Sale Now!!

As a lover of all things party, I am thrilled to have been asked by the talented Kara Allen of the popular website Kara's Party Ideas to help launch the pre-sale of her ultimate party idea book, Kara's Party Ideas, now available for pre-sale on Amazon for a special introductory price of only $19.99. 

The cover alone has me SO excited about what we can expect to find in the full-color guide which features 13 unique parties outlined from start to finish, including stunning photos, tutorials, party printables and more!

Known for inspiring party planners around the world through her website www.KarasPartyIdeas.com, Kara Allen is now putting an extraordinary assortment of her best parties to date in the palm of her reader’s hands! The best part? Kara is giving away all of her secrets, by including a step by step guide to how each party was created!

As an added bonus, Kara's Party Ideas also includes a CD containing printable invites and party decor to go along with many of the party themes. Plus, Kara includes a comprehensive vendor list at the end of each party detailing for the reader where every single party element can be purchased!

Kara's Party Ideas will wow readers with seven never-before-seen parties and six fan-favorites, each displayed in remarkable detail through photos and descriptions. From the delightful Circus Train Birthday Party (p.47) which features baby cribs as display tables arranged into a circus train, to the breathtaking Princess Birthday Party (p.1) where several elegantly dressed princesses held an exquisite tea party in a blossoming fruit orchard, to the exquisitely detailed Pow Wow Party (p.21) featuring a child-sized teepee and desert corncobs made using Twinkies, Kara's Party Ideas is full of fun creativity, that will inspire the party planning novice as well as the professional event stylist.

Don't miss out!  Pre-order your copy today here and get all the inspiration you need to turn your special moments into unforgettable memories.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sprinkled With Paper Giveaway!

UPDATE:  Congrats to the two winners:  Natalie Weinstein and Alysha Tinsley!  An email has been sent with instructions on claiming your prize.  Please be sure to check your spam folder.  It will be from me (Jennifer Carver).

I am a HUGE fan of all things printable, especially invitations and party decor!  Sprinkled with Paper offers wonderful printable invitations, cupcake toppers, favor tags, thank you notes, banners, and much more!  Owner, Julie Swanson can even create something custom for your event needs.

This week, two lucky people have the opportunity to win one complete printable package from Sprinkled with Paper, including customization, a $30 value.

See below for instructions on entering!  The contest is being run through Rafflecopter.  (If you cannot see the Rafflecopter widget, please click on the blog title of this post to get you to the correct screen.) Winners will be chosen via Random.org.  The contest will end on Saturday, July 14, 2012 @ 12:01 a.m. EST.  Winners will be announced on Saturday, July 14, 2012 and will be contacted via email.  All winners must respond within 48 hours to claim their prize or new winners will be selected. a Rafflecopter giveaway