Taylor

Monday, September 28, 2009

I don't know where you were on Saturday, but I was outside, patting myself on the back for resisting the urge to don every pair of boots and piece of fall clothing I own. After 3 weeks of steady rain and the kind of humidity that makes you feel like you're stowing a pair of corduroy pants in your throat, it was exhilarating to walk outside and just...be. Not break into a sweat, not freeze, but just be outside. Happily I got to spend the afternoon outside shooting Taylor's circus-themed 2nd birthday party. Taylor's brilliant mama Selena put together an adorable spread, and the guests quickly got into the theme.

The birthday girl:

Taylor

Taylor

Taylor

Taylor

Taylor

taylor

Taylor

taylor

Lindsey takes the cake

Friday, September 25, 2009



I need to give a very big shout out to my sis Lindsey who made this spectacular cake for my signing yesterday. It matched the book! If you ever need a cake for a special event, my sister is your girl. Luckily for me, she's not your sister.

Today at Elmwood

Thursday, September 24, 2009



Warm summer sun shine brightly here
Warm southern wind blow gently here
Green sod above lie light lie light
Good night dear heart, good night, good night.


This gorgeous monument is but one of the may, many reasons you need to visit Elmwood if you've never had the occasion. When I was in college, my creative writing professor brought us here for inspiration, and I'd say he was successful.

(Except for the former staff member who imperiously declared in front of my entire class as I handed over a check, "There is no A in CEMETERY!" She does not inspire me.)

I really want to use the descriptor of "haunting" when describing this cemetery, all punnyness aside. There's just something about the rolling hills and marble angels standing watch over loved ones passed on that stays with you long after you leave the grounds. Kim McCollum, the director of the cemetery, is often asked if she finds her workplace frightening or spooky, and she laughs out loud at the thought. She insists it's just too beautiful to be anything but enchanting.

But obviously, it's a cemetery. A very old cemetery. People were taken from their loved ones much too early, and that's why I was so stuck by the monument of Ms. Etta Grigsby Partee. As I learned on a walking tour of the grounds one summer night, Etta died.

On her wedding day.

She was loved so much by the fiance she left behind that this beautiful monument was built in her honor. A glass dome originally shielded her from the elements but inevitably shattered. I stood there staring at her statue long after our group walked on, and it just seemed obvious to me in that moment that this is where I would need to have my book party. This bride never had her wedding day, so the least we can do is eat some cake and sip some champagne in her honor.

I hope you'll join me this afternoon at 5. If not, make an effort to visit one day. I promise you'll be haunted in the best way possible.

okey gnocchi

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

This is an ugly duckling story.

I do not mean to say that the ugly little duck turns into a swan. That's a fairy tale. And this?



This is a really, really ugly mound of potato.

The October issue of Gourmet arrives with promises, promises (with photos!) I don't know if it can keep, the kind that compel the easily distracted into their first attempt at making pasta from scratch.

Fairy princess had her doubts.



She wasn't willing to trade her magic wand for a cookie, so we got this.



Not bad, definitely not glorious, but a decent first attempt. Oh, but you know what is glorious? Pan fried sage on homemade pasta. Try it. You will thank me. She will, too. Or turn you into Dora with her magic wand. I can't make any promises.

Mr. Swayze

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Shortly after moving back to Memphis, I had a nutty dream. I was a high-end petfood distributor delivering my wares to a Whole Foods-type store where Patrick Swayze was the manager. He also happened to be a werewolf. I find this out after he's taken me on a date to this deserted palace up on a hill, and he sets his pack on me. I manage to escape and immerse myself in my premium catfood because werewolves can't stand the smell of it.

I promise I'm not on drugs.

The dream cracked me up and gave me a great movie idea, but in only the way dreams can, it also made me feel strangely close to Patrick Swayze. I had wished that I'd be able to get the screenplay written and have him attached to star, but the news of his cancer made my silly dream seem that much more impossible. And now he's no longer with us, and I'm just so incredibly sad.

I hope he and Chris Farley are cracking up heaven with this number:



(pardon the crappy video but its the only complete version on You Tube)

Book update

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


So...hi!

That's me. Trying not to look like a complete doofus having my picture taken by myself by my mother/promoter at last week's booksigning at Muddy's Bakeshop. There were torrential downpours and a late start time, yet the bakery was packed with friends and family and -to my absolute thrill - complete strangers who wanted to check out the book! Kat Gordon, empress of Muddy's, made adorable mini cupcakes that matched the book, and I ate those cupcakes as I signed my name... over and over... for people buying the book. I cannot begin to describe how surreal it feels to type that sentence, let alone how it felt last Wednesday. I'm proud to say that they sold out of their first run, and I had to bring in extra books from the car! If anybody needs anything of theirs sold, just hire my mom.

The next signing is rapidly approaching - Thursday September 24 6 PM at Elmwood Cemetery! I'm throwing this party for myself, so I have free reign to get my goofy on. Expect weirdness. And cake. There will definitely be cake.

Chicago in photos

I'm really starting to fall for Chicago. If I wasn't such a weather wuss, I would totally move there. We have family in the suburbs, one of whom just turned 40 and decided to celebrate by running the Chicago half marathon. Classy, no? We spent Lara's bday evening carbo loading at a seriously yummy Italian restaurant. The race was three days later, but a little extra carbo loading never hurt anybody, right?

Lara & Mike

Lara & Mike

Gramma Sue graciously watched the kids so we could go into the city. I dropped my book off at Greer and Paper Doll, my two favorite stationery/gift boutiques, in the hopes they might carry it. But I mainly just fed off the energy of the city. I mean, have you seen this place?? Even their rundown, abandoned skyscrapers are extraordinary.

Chicago

Chicago

chicago

chicago

Chicago

Photos I took of the Carbide and Carbon Building, the current Hard Rock Hotel and my absolute favorite building in Chicago, were pretty lousy, so if you're a fan or architecture and art deco in particular, I'm gonna insist you wiki that sh*t. It makes you feel special just spotting it from 10 blocks away.

Saturday brought a kick-ass surprise. The Renegade Craft Fair*, whose very existence makes me turn many shades of green with envy, had their fall show, so we strolled around Wicker Park checking out the awesome booths and enjoyed the gorgeous weather.

Renegade Craft Fair

Renegade Craft Fair

Are you still here? Have I crashed your computer with all these pics?

Sunday was the race, and sadly, but not surprisingly, I have no photos. Lara and Caleb kicked-ass, but the City of Chicago Metra planners ? Not so much. They arranged for extra trains to transport everybody TO the race, but when it came time for all 25,000 of us to leave, there was one train. Coming in an hour. 1000s of runners, fresh from the race, had to walk many more miles to find a train or a cab or someway to get home. It was rather awful. But we scored some post-race matzo ball soup, just in time for us (ha! "us") to refuel and walk many more miles down the Magnificent Mile. That Caleb, he's a trooper. The trip ended with me feeling pretty much like I'd been chewed and spat, and here I am, sickly on the couch with a toddler who sounds like she has lungs made out of crunchy elevator gears yet has the energy of five me's.

If I'm lucky, I'll a really cool excuse to go back to Chicago in January. I'll keep you posted.

Chicago

chicago

The Sweazys got home yesterday from a ridiculously fun stay in Chicago, and it seems we're now paying the price. Harlow and I are spending most of our time lying together in a big pile in front of the TV, comparing the amount of phlegm in our lungs. Amazingly, Caleb, whose half marathon was the reason we traveled to Chicago in the first place, is just a bit stiff from the race, but otherwise airborne illness free. I'll have more pictures and stories from our trip when I can summon the energy to think.

Tonight's the Night!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My very first booking signing is tonight at 7. Muddy's Bakeshop has offered to throw me a party, and I really hope you can make it. I will do my best to be conscious and not pass out from nerves and excitement.

I think I was about 8 when I made the decision I was going to be a writer. I think at that time I also had solid gold dancer and paleontologist on the list, but I always got extra attention in class when I turned our "Write a sentence using the vocabulary word" assignment into some ridiculous rambling paragraph. (I certainly got attention when trying to imitate my favorite dancers, but fortunately fate has been kind of enough to me that I did not have to choose professionally gyrating as a profession). I kinda cringe seeing myself shoot my hand up in the air - ooh oooh pick me pick ME! - as the other kids rolled their eyes, but my way with words was something that made me feel special, and my teachers certainly encouraged it.

In the years since I've gone stretches where I was no more qualified to call myself a writer than a brain surgeon or an accountant. I moved to LA expressly to "become a writer," and I quickly learned that even though I did the things that came as close to following a "career ladder" for an industry without one, writing actually required the day in and day out slog of long, boring, WORK. Just because I felt like the profession of writing had chosen me like I had pulled some sword out a stone didn't mean it was just gonna come naturally. And most of the time it didn't come at all. When it did it was from pulling out clumps of hair and agonizing and rewriting and starting to eye those 1000s of books in the bookstore with increasing dread and suspicion.

So after writing umpteen screenplays and tv scripts and shorts that got attention* and an agent but nada in the way of actual production, or more importantly - cash - I felt the dream starting to slip. I used my afternoons while working for a lovely, forgiving TV writer to focus on my wedding and write about the planning on my very first blog, Snidebride. I felt like a failure, but I did my best to cover that deepening ache by focusing more on my responsibilities as a bride (ha! if there is such a thing).

And then a funny thing happened.

The wedding got called off, and not only was my husband to-be leaving, I lost my job, my self-esteem and the very things I used to distract myself from why I was there in the first place.

I'd been to a psychic a few years earlier, and after the requisite love, job predictions, she fixed me with a stern stare and warned me. "You've been given a gift that is not yours to keep. It was given so that you would share it, and by keeping it inside, its going to cause you to become very sick."

Anyone could easily dismiss it as fortune cooking ramblings, but her words chilled me because I knew exactly what she meant. After arriving in LA and announcing to anyone who would listen that I would someday own that town, I had the fight in me slowly and systematically beaten out. I was so afraid of the thing I used to be in love with that I tried to cover it up and ignore it and yes - talk about it with my shrink in Beverly Hills, you know the one - but little in the way of truly going for it.

With no more wedding to plan and procrastinate with, it took a little while to recognize that I had been handed a gift, one that ultimately took shape in the form of the book that I will be signing tonight.

I am proud to say that I actually have a literary agent, but not for this book, so this sucker is all me. That means I get 100% of the glory and 100% of the blame if it all comes crashing down around me. It's been a ridiculous, humbling amount of work and rapidly dwindling $$$ being my own publisher and pr agent, but I've learned a lot. I've learned that I still want to be a Solid Gold dancer, but I really want to be a writer in whatever form or shape I can eek it. I'm proud to show off my efforts tonight, and I hope you can join me!



* I will never forget the day my boss' high powered agent called to talk to ME because my script had buzz. bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Sign Up!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Howdy y'all!

Hope everybody is rested and relaxed after the holiday weekend. I'm excited to announce that my very first reading will be at Muddy's Bakeshop tomorrow night!

Cupcakes for dinner, tales of love gone awry, prizes - what more could you ask for?

(Yes, I know Glee premieres tomorrow night, and yes, my TiVo will be set as well)

Muddy's Bakeshop
5101 Sanderlin Ave

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Low

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Thank you, inventors of You Tube, for the gift that truly keeps on giving.

The ginger kid is PRICELESS.

E&G Part 2

Friday, September 4, 2009

best friends

There are some awesome taggers in this town.

There's the guy responsible for the thing I can only describe as the floating uterus on the overpass of Sam Cooper at Highland.

The alien touting Good Times on the old Brewery building.

And whoever tagged the body shop on Walnut Grove, thanks for the sweet backdrop you provided today. Elizabeth and Gary didn't need any extra cuteness, but it was definitely a bonus.

More pics to come.

p.s. You know how I know its a holiday weekend? Falco on the radio. Happy Labor Day!

Food & Book Signing

Muddy's

After several days of being held hostage by an extremely hyper yet sick toddler, I was excited to get back to work yesterday, and by work I mean driving around town with a friend who has hired me to shoot pictures of her favorite meals for an installation project in her kitchen.

If only everyday could have been like yesterday.

After sampling dipped cones, key lime pie, homemade veggie plates and korean delicacies, I still managed to find room for a Muddy's cupcake with my friend Jen who has delayed her return trip home to LA for a few more days. (She doesn't think oxygen masks coordinate well with her summer dresses.)

I mention Muddy's because it will be the site of my very first book signing!

Next Wednesday September 9 ( I think at 6? I'll get back to you on that one) come ruin your appetite for dinner with a cupcake and learn about making Dumb Cake, the husband finding dessert.

If you can't make Muddy's on the 9th, I'll be doing another signing on the 24th of this month. Details coming soon!