This lil’ piggy’s got somethin’ special for you today ‘cuz it’s the last day of…

If you hung out with me on Wednesday then you know there’s someone SPECIAL stopping by Oink! today!

{drumroll}

Presenting author and entertaining RoCK StaR…COURTNEY DIAL WHITMORE!

{break for a Happy Dance!}

Courtney created the popular entertaining website and blog, Pizzazzerie, and her work has been featured on Access Hollywood, HGTV.com, MarthaStewart.com and more! She works with Pier 1 Imports, Godiva Coffee, Wrigley’s and other brands and she is the author of the wildly popular Push-up Pops and the newly released Candy Making for Kids!

I was honored to meet Courtney last November at the Children’s Party Network Girl’s Night Out in Memphis, Tennessee where she was the celebrity guest speaker.

{Jill of Peas and Thank Yous, Moi, Courtney of Pizzazzerie and Leanne of Plumcake Parties}

Since that first meeting, Courtney has become a dear friend both online and off! J and I had the pleasure of meeting her husband, Chris, when we met up for dinner in Nashville and her adorable mom, Phronsie, during Courtney’s last book tour. If you’ve read Courtney’s blog or follow this social media guru, she’s just as sweet, bubbly and genuine in person and talks with an adorable Southern drawl!

Besides learning about Courtney’s new book, I thought it would be a lot of fun for y’all to get to know her a lil’ better. Without further ado, here’s our lil’ chat…

Recently you put your new book into action by making candy with kids. Was there anything unexpected that they did with and said about your recipes? I tested out the candy play-dough + candy paint recipes with 2-3 year olds. It was a HUGE success. Those little ones were so creative. I imagined they would make “creatures” but no, they made castles and forests—do not underestimate 2 year olds! 

What was your favorite thing about making your recipes with the kids? Watching them create, they were little artists. I also loved hearing them ask for “more candy please” because it truly tastes delish! I also loved the parents’ reactions as they realized just how easy it was (many of the recipes use items already in most kitchens) to create super cute ideas for parties or just rainy afternoons!

What is your favorite candy in the whole wide world? Reeses Peanut Butter Cups :) The recipe for peanut butter bites in the book is a fabulous one that really cures my chocolate + peanut butter craving!

What is your favorite candy to make? The candy toffee because you can top it with anything! You can just sprinkle it with candies or create designs. It’s also totally addictive because it’s THAT good!

What is your favorite candy to bake with? Heath bar bits! YUM!

Do you eat everything you make when testing recipes or do you give it away? Well, I should give all of it away, but I have to admit that I taste-test a few more bites than I need (hence why I also need to carve time out for the gym—whoops) but most of it goes to neighbors or to my husband’s coworkers.

Do you have a favorite recipe in “Candy Making for Kids?” Candy toffee! It’s on the cover. It’s really great because you can make it for any holiday depending on what color candies you decorate it with. You can break it into pieces for holiday favors and gifts for friends. Or you can eat the whole pan yourself, whatever works! ;)

Favorite “Push-up Pops” recipe? Snickers Pie! What can I say, I like candy but truly, Snickers Pie is absolutely insanely delicious.

From other interviews, we know that your publisher inspired your first two books. If you could write about anything, what would you it be? Well, my third book was my own “creation” and I can announce that it’s on FROSTINGS so there you go—if I could write about anything, it would be that. I’m so excited!

How do you develop a recipe? This is one of my favorite parts! I figure out what flavors I’m going for (peanut butter, vanilla, etc.) and go crazy at the grocery store then don my apron for a day of fun. Sometimes I create up to 8 “tests” of a recipe before I’m truly satisfied but that’s the fun part! I think I own enough powdered sugar to fill a small country.

What inspires you when you’re writing? The topics are inspired by everything from something I see on pinterest to a fabric pattern at the craft store. My writing style is inspired by simple ideas, approachable topics and a little bit of southern flair.

Besides traveling, what are the biggest differences between your first book tour and this one? This one allows me to get signed copies out to people from ALL states (I’m mailing signed book plates out to those who email me with their receipt of the book). I really love that because I was heartbroken when fans from a certain city or state asked if I was coming and I wasn’t visiting their location. This tour also allows me to stay home with my sweet boys (husband + puppy) as a newlywed!

Can you give us a {sneak} at what “Frostings” will include? The most amazingly decadent recipes of frostings, ganaches and glazes. Get ready for March 2013.

What are some of the opportunities that have opened up to your now that you are an author? Perhaps a bit more credibility but honestly I think it just allows me the opportunity to create in a new way (long-term book writing versus short-term blog posting). I do enjoy speaking opportunities and brand spokesperson roles as well.

Push-up Pops, chevron and paper straws are current party trends. What are some new trends on the horizon? Ombre (already a trend), macarons in unusual shapes are becoming crazy popular and cake-batter flavored treats at parties!

Your fans know that you recently planned your own wedding. Did you have a particular element that you loved designing or creating? My husband loves golf + scotch so I made a table at the wedding just for him (it was a secret). It was a Scotch Bar filled with various scotches to try and golf-themed treats!

Fans have been voting for you in the “Mrs. Holiday” contest. Why should you be the next “Mrs. Holiday?” (Your best pageant answer, please.) I absolutely love to recipe-create so being able to do that for one of my favorite magazines would be such an honor! Holidays are my total favorite (every holiday) and I think I would do a great job sharing delicious recipes + entertaining ideas for each holiday! I’m young and enthusiastic so I think I’d draw in a new readership!

You can find out about the “Mrs. Holiday” contest and how to vote for Courtney here.

{photo courtesy of Pizzazzerie}

I just LOVE this girl! She brings a smile to my snout every time we chat! If you’d like the opportunity to win a copy of Courtney’s new book, Candy Making for Kids, enter here ‘cuz time’s running out!

 Thanks, Courtney, for hangin’ out with us on Oink! today! Love you bunches!  

I hope you’ve had as much FUN this week as I have! Thank you from the bottom of my bacon-flavored heart for celebrating with me! Before you leave this lil’ piggy’s birthday party, make sure you pick up your party favor…box!

{break for another Happy Dance!}

SURPRISE! It wouldn’t be a birthday party without a favor…box! Or…EIGHT! I designed these Solid Treat Boxes to hold all of the candy you’re going to make using Courtney’s new book! {giggle} ‘Cuz sometimes you just need a solid colored box that you can decorate for any occasion! Click here to download the {free} Solid Treat Boxes.

I hope you’re inspired to share these goodies with your family and friends!

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