Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Best Thing I've Ever Ate

Food Network has nothing on us.

Due to our line of business and traveling frequently, we eat out A LOT. Sometimes its to the same ole places that are everywhere, but we (Drew and I) always try to make sure that we take in some place that is local or not a large chain. Gives you some variety, keeps it interesting, and is very good for our travel journal.

This week we are in Destin, Florida one of Drew's work conferences. The hotel sits directly on the beach and our room faces the ocean. As I type this I am sitting on the balcony watching the waves. Rough, huh?

We arrived Tuesday afternoon and after some ocean watching and chill time, we decided it was time to get some dinner. I had researched the hotel before we came and knew that they had a very nice steak and seafood restaurant in the hotel called Seagar's. There are only two of these restaurants in the United States; the other is in Alexandria, Virginia. I suggested we take it in it, and after making a reservation for later in the evening, we headed downstairs.

We were seated at our booth overlooking the restaurant with its dim lighting and baby grand piano. Our waiter Paul came and took our drink order then alerted us that the Captain would be over shortly to tell us about the menu. The captain comes shortly thereafter and thoroughly explains our options. They serve prime cuts of beef and all of their seafood is either local or flown in daily. Yes, you have my attention.

After a few minutes looking over the menu we decide to start our evening with the Creole Barbeque Shrimp. Delicious! Three shrimp served in a house made BBQ sauce with corn fritters. You could tell that the big, plump shrimp were fresh. I was worried it might be spicy, but it was not at all.

Onto the entrees. I chose to go with a Filet and Crab Cake duo and Drew chose the Jumbo Lump Crab Louisiana. We try to never order the same thing so that you can share with each other. I did share a bit of my steak with him, but just a bite because it was so good! We also ordered a side of Creamed Spinach (one of Drew's favorites), but we brought most of it back to the room because we were too engrossed with our entrees.

My steak was phenomenal. I have ate steak at many different places such as Ruth Chris and Morton's, but this steak takes the cake. It was flavorful, juicy, and succulent. It was 10 ounces, much larger than I usually order, so I brought some back for lunch. It was just as good the next day. My crab cake was full of jumbo lump crab meat. Combining the two into one bite was awesome!

I wish I had of video tapped Drew explaining how wonderful his meal was last night. It would easily rival any of of the Food Network's chefs describing food. His crab meat was served on top of saffron scented rice. I know that saffron is fancy, expensive, and in the movie No Reservations. It was served with baby bok choy, grilled onions, and mango. I tried it and it was delicious. Wouldn't trade it for my steak, but he loved it so thats all that matters.

Then comes the time when you are so incredibly full, but its time for desert. Paul told us about the many options including Peaches Foster and Chocolate Souffle. We settled on the New York Style Cheesecake brought in from the Carnegie Deli in NYC in a to go box. It was delicious on Wednesday when we finally ate it. So good, we got carryout cheesecake Wednesday night.

Oh, I almost forgot about the fabulous fresh breads! Paul told us he was going to bring us some bread. He brings a huge bread basket to the table where we could choose what we wanted. We took one of each. Hey, you have to try them all out! Our selection included french, multi-grain, onion loaf, and raisin bread. Those we served with a homemade Italian salted butter, which you could have eat by itself.

Wow - we found like piggies. Oh well, don't judge.

Gabby turns 1!

Happy Birthday Gabby Mae!

Well, the big day has now come and gone. My sweet little Gabby Mae has officially turned one year old. By gosh she is growing up so quickly!

So, rewind back to a time when we didn't have a dog. I was always said, "My dog will not wear clothes, " - Wrong. Gabby has sweaters, jackets, t-shirts, Halloween costumes, and Christmas dresses. I am sure there is also probably a time when I said that I would never throw my dog a party. Which as of Monday evening is also wrong as well.

Monday evening a small group of her family - mom, dad, Aunt Laloon, Drew, and I gathered to celebrate the very first birthday of Gabby Mae. We had dinner, cake (both human and dog), and lots and lots of presents! Gabby's official birthday was on Tuesday, but due to us leaving to go out of town we had to celebrate the night before.

Boy, Oh boy she is a lucky little dog! She really enjoyed her birthday party I do believe because she was exhausted after everyone left. No mater what anyone says, she is just like a child to us. She goes everywhere with us, we miss her terribly when she doesn't, and we buy her things just as she was a child. So what would make you think twice about me throwing her a birthday party?

Here are a few photos from her birthday!

Enjoying her cake from Bluegrass Barkery!

Turning 1 year old!

New Princess bed from us!

My two loves have birthdays this week!

Birthday napkins!

Here's to many more wonderful birthdays and dog years! xoxo

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Wonderful Week

But the greatest is love....

During sale season, it isn't always easy or convenient to fit in a date night. Between arriving home, playing catch up on work and laundry, it is hard to make time. After this week though I feel we might be caught up for a bit. We didn't plan for our social calendar to be so full this past week, but luckily it just happened that way. On a weekend with no sale.

Of course, it was Valentine's Day. We are typically not home on Valentine's Day, so it usually celebrated before or after. With it being on a Tuesday, it gave us a chance to enjoy the day. I feel very fortunate that we get to spend nearly everyday together, doing what we enjoy and enjoying it together. It makes life so much happier. So I could argue that everyday is Valentine's Day! (gag, I know!) Drew always makes me feel very special, and Tuesday was no exception.

Gabby Mae, too, enjoyed in Valentine's Day. She also received a Valentine's Day themed pillow pet from Grandma named Love Pup.

In the years that Drew and I have been together we have never went out on Valentine's Day for dinner. We thought it would be great to use one of the gift cards we got for Christmas to our favorite place Malone's! Thanks for dinner Donnie and German!

They had a nice four course dinner planned at small, lovers tables for their Valentine's Day guests!

It is no secret that we enjoy Chelsea Lately. Not only is she funny, but some of the guests on her roundtable are hilarious. I found out that Loni Love was going to be coming to Lexington to Comedy Off Broadway this past week. Drew loves Loni Love. Hello, Perfect Valentine's Day present! We had great seats along the side where the comedians came in. I may or may not have been a little star-struck. I quickly professed Drew's love for Loni. She smothered his head in the side of her chest.

I couldn't leave out my other Valentine. Luckily, Lauren didn't have to work and was able to come with us. "She touched your hair!"

Back in the winter (I use that term loosely because winter hasn't been seen), we saw that Shrek the Musical was coming to the Lexington Opera House. Drew is a Shrek fan, and we might own the entire collection of movies. Finally, the time came to go see it. The tickets have been glaring at us from the bulletin board. I am always so jealous of people on Broadway. They can sing, dance, and play numerous characters within 2 minutes. It was a great musical and it topped off our fun-filled week.

The icing to the cake would have been if we woke up to the 2-5" of snow they were calling for. Sadly, no snow.

Hope you and your loves had a wonderful week!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Keeping up with the Hatmaker's

Drew & Holli take EVERYWHERE!

Sometimes with our travel schedule along with some of the people we have a chance to work with, I really do think we should have our own reality show. Gabby would be the star, of course.

Last year, I started to keep a "Hatmaker Travel Journal" to keep up with all the places (both good and bad) that we stay at, eat at, and whats yummy. I purchased a pack of craft journals for a wedding day present for Drew, but still had some left over. I thought this would be a great use of the other journals, plus I could draw and make them colorful.

During the busy parts of sale season, I did get behind a bit. Luckily, I have a pretty good memory and was able to recall many of the places we went to eat and what we ate. Though when we are in Louisville at the North American it isn't hard to remember how many times we eat at the Outback because its right beside our hotel.

So at the beginning of 2012 I sat down to total up our travels. Though I knew it was going to be a lot, I guess I was kind of surprised at the final numbers.

2011 Totals!
Nights in hotel: 101
This didn't include nights when we stopped at say Drew's parents to stay
Hotels: 42
Restaurants: 155
Half of which were Outback -> just kidding

The 2012 Hatmaker Travel Journal is up and running with a few entries already scribed in it. If you travel a lot, I highly suggest you do this. It was fun to look back and see where we had been. Plus it is a keepsake for many years.

Happy Traveling!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Power of Giving

The always say...its better to give than receive

When I was younger, I remember sitting at the awards banquet at the AJSA Junior National Classic in Columbus, Ohio. The year was 1997 and Cheyanne Allen was speaking as she gave up her Presidency of the AJSA Board of Trustees. As a little girl, I was in awe of her. I had just completed my first Junior National Classic, and I longed to one day be like her.

Fast forward a number of years. I have grown up (obviously), became more active in showing and the AJSA. This led me to meet a man named Peter Courtney. He was a man who even at an older age had such a great lease on life. As a Simmental breeder in Wisconsin and a savy business man, Peter found it very important to give to the younger generation. One of the ways he did this was being active in founding and supporting the American Simmental Foundation. A cause that both him and Cheyanne shared near and dear.

You see in that year of 1997 Cheyanne donated the first ever Foundation Heifer at the National Western Stock Show. I found this picture just recently in my dad's old archives of photos. This was the female she donated, along with Jerry Lipsey, Executive Vice President of the ASA and Val and Lori Eberspacher, sale managers of "The One" Sale in Denver.

That next year in 1998, Peter Courtney of Triple C Farms donated the second female to be auctioned off to benefit the Foundation. And if you look down the line of buyers, his farm comes up fairly regular on the list.

Peter and I became great friends over the years. My fall break trip was always to accompany my dad to the Triple C Farms sale each fall. I even won a scholarship from one of the heifers I purchased and showed from Triple C Farms. Though Peter was several years my elder, he was excited, active, and thrived on the young people around him. We shared a love for the Simmental breed and an active interest in the AJSA.

Sadly, over the years Peter's health began to fail. In 2009, he was honored by the American Simmental Association as an honoree of the Golden Book Award. Peter came to Ft. Worth, Texas to accept the award. As we sat in the hotel bar area visiting with Peter he expressed his concern for the Foundation Heifer to continue after he was gone. He asked my dad to help make sure the next few years was lined up, on one condition. He wanted my name to be on the list of donors in the coming years. Needless, to say I was honored that Peter Courtney, who I had admired as a mentor for many years asked me to be apart of a cause we both found important. Of course, I was in.

I wish I could say that Peter was there to see HTP Simmentals donate to the ASA Foundation this January of 2012, but sadly he wasn't. I thought a lot of Peter that day. His impact on the ASA and AJSA. His impact on me.

Our donation was the right to flush DMN Daisy Mae. Our lead donor who claimed honors at the American Royal and Simmental Breeders Sweepstakes. The flush was purchased by near friends at Sanders Ranch, Pine Ridge Simmentals, and Hudson Pines Farm for $10,000. I know that Peter was smiling down on us that day.

This might be my most public thank you for this extremely important moment in my life. Thanks to Drew for believing in me, telling me someone would buy the lot, and comforting me in my melt down the day of. To mom, dad, Kathy, and Anthony for being there to support us. To Ronnie and Bryan for supporting the utilization of Daisy Mae. To The Register and EDJE Technologies for your little ways of support. To Cheyanne Allen for being such a inspiration to me and a great example. And of course, Steve & Margaret, Larry & Dawn, and Miranda, Robert, and the staff of HPF for their purchase. Last but not least, Peter for believing in the future and a young lady like me.

Aside from Cheyanne, who began the Foundation Heifer, Drew and I are the youngest to donate. I couldn't be more humbled and proud to be on a list with some great Simmental breeders.

For more information on the ASA Foundation visit