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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Holly Jolly Sweet 'n Savory Treat Bags: Inspiration to live from the Heart

As the year unfolded into the holiday season, Elemental Impact (Ei) Founder Holly Elmore
kept a decades-long tradition of gifting sweet and savory treats prepared from the heart.

Beginning in the mid-80's while still working in the corporate arena, Holly embarked on hosting Tin Parties where friends were invited to her home on the first Sunday in December. At the festive gathering, friends were gifted a tin filled with home-baked sweets and treated to a buffet of savory dishes accompanied with beer and wine. The impetus was to gift a simple treat made from the heart, without the expectation of a return gift.

Olive-oil cakes fresh
out of the oven
Once Holly opened Executive Catering & Events (EC&E) in 1988 the Tin Parties were hosted at EC&E's offices, followed by Holly's restaurants, and eventually at prominent Atlanta-event facilities. Under the EC&E reign, the Tin Parties grew to over 500 guests and served as an opportunity for clients to taste their holiday-menu items.

The Tin Party buffet included over 200 pounds of protein (mahogany chicken, tequila-lime chicken, spiced Georgia-peach chicken & grilled flank steak marinated in a rosemary-mustard sauce), a 40-pound sea bass, six gallons of three different dips, a pasta station, starch items (stuffed baked new potatoes & wild-mushroom-risotto cakes), plenty of cheeses and cheese spreads, and 1,000 pieces of desserts. A DJ donated his talents for each Tin Party and there was an open beer and wine bar.

Four hundred tins filled with six-homemade treats awaited their recipients. Tins featuring a mini-pumpkin loaf, rum ball, small Holly's famous chocolate-chip cookie, and three additional delectables rotating each year. The tin design was the basis for the party's theme and sometimes Holly's outfit.

Prepped gravlax, ready to cure
An ingenious marketing vehicle, the Tin Parties nurtured in-depth client loyalty. Long before the internet, clients who changed professional positions mailed (via the U.S. Postal Service!) handwritten notes with updated contact information along with a reminder to keep them on the Tin Party-invitation list.

Though the Tin Parties cost well over $10,000 (in 1990's dollars and wholesale costs), the return on investment was always achieved within three months post event. Loyal customers often brought their friends who in turn segued into returning clients themselves.

Once EC&E's fifteen-year tenure was complete, Holly took a break from the holiday tradition.

Oops, when the first Tin Party invitation was printed with an annual number, the number was one-year ahead of reality. Thus, the final EC&E Tin Party in 2002 was actually the 19th event, yet the invite stated the 20th annual party.

Finale Tin Party image
To clear the record, Holly's godson David Fortuna suggested she host a finale Tin Party. On December 6, 2009, Holly's Tin Party Finale was held at dear friends Anna and Raymond Hsu's Silk Restaurant in Midtown.

The Zero Waste Zones launched earlier in the year by the Green Foodservice Alliance, an organization Holly formed within the Georgia Restaurant Association. Thus, the guest list was a cross-section of loyal EC&E friends and customers as well new colleagues instrumental to the February 2010 Ei formation. Rather than a tin, each attendee received a sweet-treat packet in a recyclable #1 plastic (PET) container.

Sweet 'n savory bags on tables
@ the 2015 Annual Partner Meeting
At Ei meetings Holly was known for coming with sweet-treat packets to "sweeten" the meeting outcome. In 2013, Ei Partner Joe Salpietra with Grease Lock Filters firmly stated he would only attend the Annual Ei Partner Meeting if Holly prepared sweet treats. Thus, beginning with the 2013 Annual Ei Partner meeting, Holly prepared sweet n' savory bags for each attending partner. A renewed Tin Party tradition emerged as the Ei Partner bags.

In June 2017 Ei declared the Era of Recycling Refinement "Mission Accomplished" and announced the Era of Regeneration launch. As they pertained to recycling-refinement issues, work, and accomplishments, Annual Partner Meetings were put on hold indefinitely.

Branded labels
As the 2017 holiday season neared, Holly branded her treat bags Holly Jolly Sweet 'n Savory Treat Bags (HJ Treat Bags), complete with a logo and labels. The Tin Party re-emerged in the format of HJ Treat Bags where Holly traveled around the city (or country!) to gift the treats in scheduled meetings.

While cooking and baking, Holly infuses the HJ Treats with sacred-heart love. Archangel Michael and his team oversee the entire process from ingredient purchases, treat preparation, bag-paraphernalia purchases, the HJ Treat Bags-delivery schedule, bag assembly, and deliveries. It is a tedious, time-consuming process that requires Divine intervention to accomplish in the physical dimension.

Thanksgiving week is dedicated to prep work, though some items are made in the summer with fresh produce; December is earmarked for bag assembly and gifting. In 2019 twice as many bags were gifted as in the prior two years with an exponential increase in "living in the heart" inspiration shared.

The energy infused within the 2019 HJ Treat Bags mirrored the below closing paragraphs in the Regeneration in ACTION Magazine October 2019 article, Plastics: a double-edged sword:
Plastics gifted humanity with an evolution of manufacturing, farming and information technology. Life on planet Earth is much more comfortable and abundant from the benefit of these innovations. 
Yet plastic pollution and its devastating ramifications threaten humanity's ability to continue as the Earth's dominant species. The seemingly magical gift of plastic came with a double-edged sword filled with the potential to destroy life as it is currently known on Earth. Negligent human action is responsible for a majority of the plastic pollution choking the Earth's life force.
It is time to shift perspectives from human-focused to life-focused and let the Earth show us how to heal the damage inflicted. Answers will come to those who live and take action from the heart.
Over 100 2019 HJ Treat Bags, including 14 ultra-deluxe, 17 deluxe, 15 standard on steroids, 29 standard and 25 cookie packets, were gifted to Holly's | Ei's friends with inspiration to live and take action from the heart. In general, Holly spent an hour to two hours with each recipient to catch-up and share the Divine intention within the gift.

Ultra-deluxe HJ Treat Bag
photo credit: Howard Connell
A standard HJ Treat Bag included a cookie packet (oatmeal bar with cranberry, port syrup, triple ginger sparkler cookie (ground, fresh and crystallized ginger), and molasses, ginger & cardamon cookie), sugar and spice pecans, house-made brandy, salted caramel sauce, and a mini pumpkin loaf (Holly started baking the loaves in 1981).

For the deluxe bags an array of the following items were included: housemade gravlax with mustard-dill sauce, balsamic-fig jam, garlic confit, Holly's house salt (fennel & sea salt), lemon curd, mint pesto, toasted pecan, sage & orange pesto finished with truffle oil, Kahlua fudge bites and mini cakes (chocolate mousse cake, ginger-pound cake and olive-oil cake.)

Though the HJ Treat Bag gifting for 2019 is complete, the Divine inspiration to "live and take action from the heart" has eternal life.

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