Tuesday, December 16, 2014


I plan conventions for the Iowa Turkey Federation. It’s one of my favorite parts of my job. I love having parties and getting people together and planning conventions in part is like that!

Every year I pick a different theme – is that necessary. No. Does it give a new life to convention and make it more fun. Absolutely! So this year I went with White-Out. I got asked a lot what that meant – people wanted to know what to wear. Easy – just wear white. You don’t have to be dressed head to toe in white (although that is awesome), you just need white somewhere – white shirt, white tie, white pants, white shoes. You get the point.

I decided that everything in white would be a little boring – so I jazzed it up with gold, glitter and sequins. I know – shocker that I would pick glitter and sequins. It turned out beautiful and we had an awesome convention!

turkey cookiescrack fries

We served white turkey cookies at lunch – this was a winner in so many ways. First – turkey farmers raise white feathered turkeys. Do you know why? It’s a simple answer…when you remove dark feathers from a turkey it leaves dark spots on the skin. Consumers don’t like that and inspectors degrade the meat. So white feathers it is. Second – they are adorable, Hy-Vee does an amazing job. Third- they are so good. Seriously. Delicious.

Peppered Fries from the West Des Moines Marriott. AMAZING. So very amazing – in fact we refer to them as crack fries. That’s how good they are. NOT that crack is good – but you can’t stop eating these. They have parmesan on them and some sort of seasoning – I’m glad I don’t have the recipe or I would eat them everyday and gain a lot of weight. If you are at the WDM Marriott. Get them. You will thank me.

Hospitality centerpieceCentepiece with turkey bowl

The hospitality room is a very important part of our convention. There is a ton of networking, lots of conversations ranging from work and turkey discussion to catching up on family news. I like to have a little something on the tables but I don’t want to take up the whole table either – these worked perfect. The bottom glass part is part of an old turkey water, then I used Epson salt, candles from the dollar store and gold ornaments, greenery and  gold “picks” from Hobby Lobby. Hospitality isn’t complete without snacks – so I used these awesome turkey bowls from Pier 1.

tablesView of table

Snack tableturkey water with candels

The banquet tables were beautiful and exactly what I wanted! A big thank you to Katie from On the Banks of Squawcreek for helping me with the centerpieces. The beautiful glass jars are old turkey waters that we got from a fellow turkey farmer – they were in an old barn. We Katie hauled them home and to the office. We washed and washed and washed them. Side note – polident works wonders, as does vinegar and Dawn dish soap. After we got them sparkling clean, we poured Epson salt in the bottom (these pictures don’t show it very well but it looks like sparkling snow – so pretty!), then put different sized candles in each one. Done. Beautiful. Fairly inexpensive. Now for my favorite part of the decorations, drumroll please…… the champagne sequin table runners. They were absolutely stunning – well worth the $20/piece rental fee. (If you love them as well and want to rent them we got them through Bella Floral in Des Moines, Iowa.) It was finished off with champagne colored silk napkins.

sheila's outfit croppedSheila, Joel, Jill color corrected

Here is my outfit for the White-Out. I loved it – it was so comfortable. I was lucky – I went to the White House Black Market and that day they had 25% off and I had a $100 gift certificate so I didn’t spend that much – the top, sweater and pants are all from there, the leopard print shoes I’ve had for a long time and have no idea where I bought them. In the 2nd picture I’m standing with Joel (the National Turkey Federation President) and Jill (the Iowa Turkey Federation Lobbyist).

Another great convention in the books. I’m working on next year’s theme’s…I’m thinking Tailgating and Roaring 20’s. What have you done that went over amazingly well?