These are the people in my neighborhood

Sunday, December 27, 2009

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Christmas morning

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Harlow's first cognizant Christmas was upstaged this year by a raging fever and a lovely variety pack of phlegm, but she managed to perk up when she found an easel overflowing with crayons, paints, markers and all kinds of rug-staining goodies.



Murphy got some bones. He played Dirty Santa and made off with some plastic instead. Silly dog.



The prize for Best Gift/Smartass Presentation goes to my husband who braved the lowest circles of Hell to get me my new car registration sticker. After losing my car inspection form when we moved, I couldn't bear to wait in That Line again, tickets be damned. Lo and behold, I found the loveliest of gifts in my stocking. While a thoughtfully chosen pair of earrings would have been a sweet surprise, it's just not my husband's style to be that obvious...or to miss an opportunity to mess with me. So, thank you thank you THANK YOU to my amazing husband. May you eye all future gifts of bourbon or chocolate with suspicion.

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 25, 2009

2009 has been an exciting year, full of challenges and triumphs for the Sweazy family. But as thrilling as this year has been, I can't wait to hit the ground running in 2010. I have all kinds of dreams and schemes a-brewing, and I'm looking forward to sharing them with you.

Merry Christmas to all of you in the blogosphere and beyond, and a very happy New Year!

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Christmas Holly

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Making Christmas holly for the reindeer with my most adorable sous-chef:

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O Christmas (Palm) Tree

Saturday, December 19, 2009

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Opera America Magazine

Friday, December 18, 2009

A very fascinating and fun side gig for me this year has been shooting the dress rehearsals for Opera Memphis. I was extremely honored, flattered and flabbergasted to learn that my photo of Marguerite headed to the guillotine in their steampunk production of Faust was chosen for Opera America's Table of Contents page!

Feast on Faust:

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Fa la la la la

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Decorating the Christmas Fake Ficus

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Chicagoland

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

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With this year's Christmas being an "away game," we planned to meet up with Caleb's mom and sister's family for a pre-Christmas celebration, this time in snowy Chicago. In keeping with the big city theme, we decided we'd take the train to Chicago. We now live just a couple of blocks from the train station, so it seemed an efficient, elegant way to travel.

Elegant was not the word coming to mind at 11:00 PM on a freezing cold evening as we waited in the terminal for our delayed train. And do people gather at train stations late at night just to cough on each other? Curious. The City of New Orleans finally arrived, and our now fully awake toddler happily climbed aboard after the charmed conductor punched our tickets.

I apologize for not having a photo of our tiny sleeper cabin, but my brain hurt, I was tired, and I didn't want to do anything beyond sleeping in our 6 x 8 cabin (with bathroom/shower combo!)

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Harlow had different plans.

Curled up with me on the lower bunk, she felt compelled to ask about every streak of light, every groan of the track, every everything that manifested itself between 12:00 and 2:30. We both finally fell asleep, joining Gramma Sue and Grandpa Pat in the dining car the following morning for a surprisingly delicious breakfast.

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The next two days were spent in suburban bliss at the Sheraton, home to Coco Key, a giant, indoor water park and arcade that seemed to play host to half the city. Harlow and her daddy enjoyed the lazy river while mama holed up in her hotel room to get some long overdue writing finished. On Sunday we had a full day to spend in the city before our train. We ogled the windows at the former Marshall Fields, hit H&M and Anthropologie in a search for my sister's birthday present, ate a seriously yummy pumpkin whoopee pie and watched the ice skaters at Millennium Park.

My creation

My creation


Capping off a perfect day was our fortunate stumbling inside the stunning Palmer House Hilton. Turns out the hotel on State Street was built as a wedding present by the owner to his lovely bride...13 days before the Chicago Fire. Incredibly, he rebuilt the hotel in two years across the street from its original site. I sipped some wine and ate lamb sliders inside the bar of the most gorgeous lobby I've ever seen. The Iphone camera doesn't really do it justice!

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Unfortunately it was around the time I ate my last slider that my throat was swapped for razor blades and my whole body began to ache. Our 8 PM train was on time, but fortunately for me and the very little sleep I managed, our arrival into Memphis was delayed over 2 hours, so we even had time for breakfast before the train arrived at Central Station. While I don't think we'll redo our sleep car travels anytime soon, I think Caleb and Amtrak may have a thing going. Stay tuned for a tour in 2010!

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Happy Holidays from Chicago

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Sweazys just returned from a fantastic early Christmas gathering in snowy Chicago. Unfortunately, it's emerging as a trend that I also bring home with me some kind of crud. (Did I just sound like Yoda, there? Meds slow to kick in). While I have more to share, I'm going to take advantage of the munchkin's shocking decision to actually nap this afternoon and do so accordingly.

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So this is Christmas

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Today was Harlow's school Christmas program, and I have to say that the folks in charge understand the talent in their charge.
7 - count em - 7 action packed minutes of songs and then out the door for Chik Fil A minis and coffee. Everybody wins!

See the little mad scientist in the center? The disheveled one in purple tights and a grandpa sweater in a sea of smocks and jumpers? (Do you see what she has to contend with?) That's my girl.

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Nana is sending me some video shortly, so I'm sparing you for now. You thought that surprised kitten video was cute? Just you wait until you get a toddler in antlers singing happy birthday to Jesus. It'll punch you in the ovaries.

Wish #2

Item #2 on my Memphis Wish List:

Memphis gets a modern sweet shop

In the late 1920s, enterprising Charles Dinstuhl opened a knickerbocker movie theater on N. Main. Because he was a smart man, he opened a candy store right next door. The depression hit, and the theater went under. The candy business didn't, because even in the worst of times, people will find a way to get their sugar.

Today, Dinstuhls is a cherished local chocolatier, but what Dinstuhls doesn't have is an option to sit down and enjoy your goodies. Muddy's Bakeshop has fantastic cupcakes inside their comfy, cozy space. But nowhere in Memphis exists the hybrid of these two, a place where you can get lollipops and cupcakes and ringpops and fudge and macrarons and gelato and movie theater candy and lovely little booths and tables where you can enjoy your spoils. Cafe Eclectic is an excellent midtown option for gelato and donuts with a stripped down but tasty bakery next door. But where is the pizzazz, I ask?

Case #1:

New Orleans is home to Sucre, a sweet shop inside and out. Just look at that little jewel box of a storefront:

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photo from jaunted.com

Inside, patrons can have a cup of gelato or a macaron made that morning. There is a separate case just for their mouth watering truffles. Those wanting a little savory with their sweets can even choose some lunch offerings.

But mainly, there is the sweet.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a beautiful go-to spot for kids birthday parties? A place that is pizza and chicken finger and bounce-and-puke-free? A place where you could walk inside and a man waiting for you behind a marble counter could whip up a giant banana split at your command like at Sweetiepie in NYC?
And as kid friendly as it can be, it will also be a romantic spot, a place to get something with sweet with your sweetie long after the kiddos have gone to bed?

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photos of sweetpie from materialgirls.com

There are so many empty, adorable buildings on S. Main that are just screaming out to be a Candy Bar. Or the Sweet Spot.

The Sugar Shack?

Sweetness?

What do you think?

The Good News First

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The good news?

The good news was that Instyle Weddings loved Veiled Remarks. Loved it. She said the whole office was reading my book.

In-FREAKING-STYLE Weddings Magazine, home to celebrity weddings and designer trends and practical, $2000 bridemaids gifts, wanted to include my book in the next issue.

To her credit, she gave me a few seconds to savor such mindblowing news before moving onto the bad.

The bad news?

There won't be a next issue. The office got word the day before Thanksgiving that the December issue would be their last.

Sigh.

And so it goes.

Christmas Wish List for Memphis

While we are in the midst of our buying frenzy and list making for the holidays, I thought I would present a different list, my Christmas wish list for Memphis. Now, a disclosure.

This isn't some warm fuzzy do-gooder wish list, like I wish we could all get along and eradicate crime and get a new mayor (hey - some wishes DO come true!), this is a selfish, completely arbitrary list of things I would love to see happen in this city, hopefully created by someone with more time and disposable income than myself. So, here's today's wish.

The old Tennessee Brewery as a gourmet market.

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In what used to be the National Biscuit Company headquarters, home of the Nilla Wafer, Barnum Animal Crackers and mmmOreos, the old factory in Chelsea was transformed into a marketplace that includes restaurants, bakeries, candy stores, a wine shop, a kitchen supply store, a grocery and retail...the present day Chelsea Market

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After returning home from NYC, Caleb and I looked at the old, abandoned Brewery building next door, and the answer just seemed obvious. Most likely insanely expensive, but obvious. Turn it into a gourmet market! A green grocer, a knife sharpener, cooking classes - a cooking school! - a bakery, a cheese shop - the possibilities seem endless. With the brewery just mere blocks from the Memphis Farmers Market, its transformation into a foodie destination could really transform a quiet, deserted corner of downtown into a destination. The trolley tracks pass right in front of the building, and speaking of right in front of the building, there is a huge empty lot that would be ideal for parking.

Look at that courtyard space!

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Photo by Bob Guthridge

Outdoor dining. Live music. Available for party rentals like the Ferry Building in San Francisco.


A market would create hundreds of jobs. Residents of South Bluffs could walk to their grocery store. Employees of Memphis Magazine/Flyer, Emerge Memphis and numerous other businesses would have more options beyond a soul burger or the Arcade for lunch. Tourists wouldn't have to consider Beale Street the city's ulitimate tourist attraction. The existing wine shop, the Corkscrew, would have complimentary businesses and perhaps the Blue Monkey would be forced to abandon their smoking policy so my family could actually eat there.

So what if the Brewery is considered to be one of the most haunted properties in Memphis? I think that fact alone would bring even more hungry tourists.

So there's my wish.

Any granters?

Gift giving

Monday, December 7, 2009

Psst!

Still need ideas for that hard to shop for loved one?

How about a gift certificate from Melissa Sweazy Photography!

My holiday special is running now through Dec. 25 - $150 for a session.

Buy now as prices will be rising in 2010!

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Spillyards Homeshoot

In between our parading and rock n romping, I had two family shoots this weekend, one with my favorite family of redheads who wanted a follow up session in their lovely, decked out for Christmas homestead.

As usual, the girls were so sweet I wanted to pack them up with my gear and take them home. Here are some of my faves, including awesome Mr. Riley!

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Huzzah!

These are the kinds of posts that I'm afraid will damn me to the annals of parental oversharing, but it was a momentous weekend for the munchkin. Refusing my toast at her wedding be damned.

Miss Thing pooped in the potty.

No bribery, cajoling or begging required. She just announced she had to go and actually went, unlike the 30,000 other times it was just a ploy to stave off bedtime.

She promptly peed herself in her new big girl underwear, but hey, we all gotta start somewhere.

I am also greatly relieved to announce that she ate her first tablespoon of peanut butter and survived to leave most of her toast untouched so she could go watch Diego rescue something.

Riveting times here at the Sweazys.

I will say that we had fantastic Saturday, thanks to the winter edition of the farmers market, a fantastic Rock N Romp downtown edition, and the annual Christmas parade, topped off by watching the remainder from bar stools at SOB. I think we may have started a new December tradition!

My creation

Stocking Stuffers

Friday, December 4, 2009

I'm putting on my business hat - a red velvety number that suit Mrs. Claus just fine - to say that my book is back in stock on Amazon. Because they are the almighty Amazon, they can sell my book for cheaper, and cheaper fits most everybody's holiday budget. So if you know of someone getting married or are married to someone who enjoys trivia, gorgeous illustrations and maybe the color pink, you can snatch up a stocking stuffer right here.

And I'm keeping that hat on because it's frickin cold in this apartment, people.

Happy weekend!

I am so excited about this weekend, because it's all about downtown! Tomorrow we'll be bundling up in our warmest duds and walking (walking!) from the loft to the winter farmers market. We'll also be cheering on our friend (and gorgeous bride) Elizabeth who is running the St. Jude half marathon. There's also the annual Christmas parade AND a rock n romp, so after days of being cooped up in our building, we're suddenly dizzy with options. Hope to see you out and about!

One of my favorite outtakes from today's shoot:

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Thanksgiving 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

One of the things I am thankful for is our new tradition of visiting the beach for the Thanksgiving holiday. See, Andersons? New traditions CAN be fun! But prior to the beach is our annual pilgrimage to Paris...Tennessee for some downhome cookin and catching up. For Harlow, Thankgiving became about one thing: the tower of candy.

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After she shoveled in some fried turkey and dressing, she finally got her mitts on a chocolate sprinkled covered pretzel and she was good for the day.

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By the end of the day we were walking barefoot in the sand. With it being sunny and 60 degrees, I stayed barefoot for most of the weekend and watched Harlow build castles in the sand...and then destroy them...and then start all over again. My sweet mini Shiva in action. Especially when her nemesis, er, cousin arrived on the scene.

Toddlers Love to Share from Melissa Anderson Sweazy on Vimeo.



Mainly we did a lot of this:

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While looking at that:

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Thanksgiving sneak

Howdy!

I have been so buried by deadlines that I haven't had a chance to post any pics let alone even mention that we were at the beach for Thanksgiving. It was a fantastic, much needed break, and the weather couldn't have been more glorious. I'll get pics up here in a bit. In the meantime, here's one of my faves.

Santa's Helpers