Monday, March 30, 2009

Bollywood desserts

A separate post with pics from Harlow's big day is coming soon, but I had to do a separate post to thank my sister for the jaw-droppingly kickass job she did with Harlow's cake and party favors. I gave Lindsey very little direction, just showed her some pictures and turned her loose. This is what she came up with:

bollywood desserts

She is taking babysteps toward making this a business, but I don't think she would have any trouble drumming up business. Thank you so much for making H's day so unique - and from saving me from a last minute Schnucks run!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

100 Things I love About Harlow (give or take 80)

Happy Birthday, sweetness. You are two. You know how I know this? Neverminding the easy peasy labor and the shock of your non-boyness 2 years ago today. This morning, you threw yourself onto the floor and screamed because I asked if you wanted apple juice. Welcome to Two. Mama will take two xanax to mark the occasion.

We had a Bollywood brunch to honor the big day, followed by dinner at India Palace. Tea and scones represented the colonized India portion, and cardamom spiced scrambled eggs, paisley-adorned cakes and Bollywood on the soundtrack made us a dance move away from a full on birthday musical.

In honor of your birthday, the following are things you, your future spouse, your employer, your millions of fans when you become famous and your mother when her cheesehole brain finally goes kaput would like to know about you at two.

You love the color pink, closely followed by yellow.

Babaganouj, kalamata olives and peas are your favorite foods. We will have a good laugh about this over nuggets in the near future.

You dig your pink kitchen.

If I am holding a wine glass and you a sippy cup, you say "Cheers!" and we clink glasses. This also extends to anything identical - we "cheers!" over bath toys, kitchen pots and markers.

You're never happier than when you are playing in the herb garden. You thrive on dirt.

When someone gets too close to your turf, you repel them with a hand and a high pitched squeal like you are a crazy anime superhero. It's quite something.

You bring to mind the Gerber baby in many a stranger as they tell us this often.

You really don't like wearing clothes.

You've been to the beach twice in your life, but rarely a day goes by that you don't ask about it.

You are a budding artist, drawing constantly. Sometimes even on paper. Fortunately the couch is slip covered.

Things I love about you:

The look on your face when you learned of the existence of a cookie cake

Your impression of an elephant, informed by your mother's horrific attempt at the same

the way your hair curls like mine

the way your nose points up like your daddy's

how you love to dance and spin in a circle

How you shake it like a Pom-Pom on the way to PDO, and then ask for more Missy Elliott.

Your daddy says: everything. Can't compete with that.

Happy Birthday baby girl. We love you so.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009



So tired. I'll be honest. I was more than a little psyched to be spending some me time in Santa Fe at this swanky resort, making snow angels (sheet angels?) in my ginormous king size bed of one when not shooting with legends of the wedding photo industry.

The bed was lovely - the altitude not so much as I awoke each night every 15 minutes or so, gasping for air, running for the bathroom and generally just feeling delirious at 7000 feet. Santa Fe, you flat plateau-eyness castle up in the sky. Just concentrating left me breathless.

But the workshop. Blend. The coming together of 3 different photographers with very different styles and business models. I learned a lot. And I don't want this to sound too harsh, but I learned that I need to know more details before I commit a serious amount of time and money to something. I'm glad I came. But I am seriously bummed that I lugged a ton of camera equipment across the country when I wasn't allowed to shoot anything.

Weird, right?

The last (and my first) workshop I attended set the precedent for me - half the day is classroom. Second half is watching the photographer's technique with models and THEN applying what we had learned with models of our own. That's how I if not most people learn, right? By doing? So I didn't think that was out of the question to take pictures on a photography workshop. That's cool if the photographers have a different approach, just please, TELL US UP FRONT. Some people are totally cool to just watch. It's just not my thing.

So I have to say a special thank you to the lovely, just absolutely inspiring Jose Villa. (How can you not be when you are given a name that just sounds like a revolutionary?) I truly enjoyed everyone I had the opportunity to work with - Nate and Jaclyn Kaiser's talent and just general awesomeness blew my MIND - but I was humbled by Jose's utter lack of ego. I don't mean a lack of confidence. I mean his complete willingness to share everything he had learned, and doing so with the confidence that - armed to the teeth with every ounce of his history - there will be no photographer like Jose Villa. He literally placed his medium format camera into my hand and showed me how he works. And after watching him work with his clients, he let us have our mini session. I was mostly terrified and got some eh photos, but I was so grateful just to have the camera in my hand, working and learning. You rock, Jose. And it is sad that Pentax is out of business as they can completely credit you for my new supersweet purchase!

And to the stunning, cartwheeling Carrie, the sweet, soulful Des, Blake Lively twin Lacie, the incomparable Punam, raunchy as hell Tara, the adorable Snelsons, You-You-You- YouKON! , Mr. Wizard Kenny, and my fellow mama posse, I will miss y'all most of all.

Hell, I miss all of you.

And now I'm in Albuquerque, up since 4:30, hoping that the blizzard that hit us in Santa Fe won't delay me one second longer from breathing in my sweet baby girl. I need me some baby girl, bad.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Slowjamming the News

This may be the only way I can watch the news now.

Veiled Remarks

The next couple of weeks promise a flurry of activity. I leave next week for what promises to be a game changing photography workshop in Santa Fe, the Sweazys return to LA for a wedding, and my beautiful, magical daughter will celebrate her second birthday.

But I have some news I've been dying to share.

My book is finished. This sucker has long been a labor of love and has been through so many draft changes and agents and artists that I'm amazed we both survived intact. But it's finished and almost ready to make its debut. I'm 99% certain that I will be selling the book through the Veiled Remarks website, and my media blitz of one will be coming to your blogs and cocktail hours soon.

But here is a little sneak peek. Isn't GORGEOUS??? The artists of Harvest patiently brought my story to life, and for that I am just beyond grateful.

More news and hopefully a link to a shopping cart soon! Have an awesome weekend!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bathing Beauties


Today is one of those days that makes me grateful babies don't really have memories until they are 3. I have another year to stumble through Harlow's life before she knows me as the seven headed, craft-scissor wielding, proofreading, blogging, 30 Minute Shredding, rewriting, photo taking/editing hydra that is her mother.

Day started out presciently. The Sweazys collectvively slept in until 9 after a hazy 5 AM up/down. I don't know if it was something we ate or something brewing in the sky or perhaps it was my good-at-the-time cocktail of zyrtec and wine, but we awoke groggy and confused and suspicious. My dreams were fiercely elemental - blood, shit, urine, holes in the ground and the sky. Dirt. I was eating rocks at one point. The kind of dream that makes you wish you had a dream dictionary handy, but your gut is telling you that your brain and your innards were just having a powwow.

Sure enough my period arrived an hour after I awoke and with it, the mushroom cloud of estrogen and doom. Dude, sometimes it is just F-ed up being a girl. These hormones are no joke. Especially now that Pill and I are over. We had a long run together and then a brief dalliance that made me remember exactly why we had broken up in the first place. I now feel kind of wild in my own body, free, open, knowing with this kind of wonder exactly when I am ovulating, when the testosterone is dropping, the salt cravings are ramping up, yet I am still shocked. SHOCKED that my period arrives when it does. And Caleb just shakes his head at me like he does every month. He doesn't understand how a person can have something happen so routinely for roughly half their life so far and still be so clueless. I'm telling you, I'm telling him - just try an be a girl for an hour. This hour.

Anybody get that drowning feeling, too?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Growing Old Together

I can't decide if this is the very best or absolute worst wedding invitation I've ever seen. Either way, it's kinda genius.

via Cup of Jo

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Palm Springs

The Sweazys are returning to LA in a few weeks for a dear friend's wedding, so my fave city and longtime home has been majorly on the brain. Yet one of my favorite things about living in LA was the ability to escape from it when the endless summer got a little too endless. My favorite getaway was always Palm Springs. Very early on in my relationship with Caleb, when I was still picking up the gore and pieces of heart from my broken engagement, fighting my very scary fall into this new relationship and fielding overseas calls from an Italian paramour who was furious that I wasn't pining away for him, I knew I had only one option.

I escaped. Just seeing those mysterious windmills and the slopes of the desert made me feel at peace. I loathe humidity and the havoc it wreaks upon my skin and hair, so traveling into this hot, dry lunarscape was like slipping inside a cocoon. I checked into the deserted Miracle Manor, a favorite 60s motel with a great hot spring and took sad pictures of my toenails as I lounged on the deck and watched the sun set behind the hills. Sipping on a margarita, I called Caleb from a mexican restaurant who took my semi nervous breakdown in stride. After a restful night's sleep, I went for an early morning swim but quickly chose to pack up as the new guests that had arrived clearly relished the clothing-optional policy. I just couldn't couldn't enjoy the springs next to a naked 70 year old man.

It wasn't just me that chose to hide out in the desert. It was a favorite location of gangsters who opened hotels as a front for the boozy brothels raging behind their respectable doors. Before Carole Lombard was taken from her precious Clark Gable, the honeymooners lost a weekend holed up in the Library Room at The Willows.

The minimalist, mid-century Hope Springs was a favorite for a romantic rendezvous and the place where I discovered Zero 7 and Dwell Magazine.

Korakia was simply otherworldy, as if a someone had dropped a Moroccan palace from the sky. You felt sexier just being inside its walls. It was also the site of Caleb's second massage, the first one by a dude. I think he's recovered.

I know that if I still lived there these last minute escapes of my 20s would be just that - things belonging to her past. We will be in LA for such a short while that we won't have the chance to return to PS. I suppose that's why we have the internet, so we can look at pictures and daydream and try not to let nostalgia turn ugly in our stomachs.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tea Time

Harlow and I were having our nightly tea party in the bath. Apparently tired of pretend-sipping her bathwater tea, she held up her teacup to the tap.

My taps, that is.

Unfortunately they were out of order.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Delta Jewels

Last weekend my mom and I, along with friend and artist Kerry Smith, journeyed down south, past the casinos and Paula Deen's Buffet to Helena, Arkansas. When my mom falls in love with something, she falls hard, completely, and it was with this fervor that she introduced me to the Delta Jewels. The DJs are beautifully made jewelry, but more importantly, they are a group of girls ranging in age from 9-18 who meet every Saturday in the home of Ben and Leonora Newell to create, catch up, and make their corner of Helena a little brighter. Mom has been selling their jewelry in Memphis, and I came along for this restocking trip to meet the girls, take some pictures and learn a little more about the Newells' mission.

I get the wanting to remake your town into the bright star it can be.

In Memphis, I have many fellow Memphians, native and transplants alike, to help along those desires.

The Newells seem like a mighty two person operation, using sheer will to create positive change. They have developed a lovely community garden with the hopes to have a food stand later this year. They are currently seeking a building for Delta Jewels central so that the operation can move from their dining room and into space that can truly showcase the girls' creations. But for the meantime, it's Saturday at noon, and that means the Delta Jewels are already hard at work in the Newells home, laughing, teasing each other, and making more lovely art.

Here is a slideshow from the afternoon:

(sigh...I am alone in the wilderness with this persnickety slideshow software. Hopefully you see the image of the slideshow. When you click the arrow to play, the image will disappear and take a moment..or 2...or 10 to load. Click the cursor in the blank space a couple times if it doesn't show. The slideshow should kick in at this point. If it doesn't, leave me a comment and I will go track down the CEO of Showit and I shall smack him.)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Fun with the Macro

In preparation for Harlow's Bollywood birthday bash, I picked up these elephants for design inspiration. I rented a macro lens for a jewelry shoot, and I had way too much fun practicing.

These bottom two are rejected invitation templates. I won't tell you who rejected them(aHEMCALubhm). Sorry about that. Something in my typing finger.

Time Machine

I love how the card I just put into the reader happened to contain images of Harlow in the same spot on our living room couch - seven months apart.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Mom Fail

Caleb spends some of his precious spare time reading the Fail Blog, a long running documentation of things, people, places and weather graphics going horribly wrong. You know, like tie color fail, shakira impersonation fail, and one of our favorites, the sleepwalking fail:

But yesterday? Yesterday was a mom fail. No one has enough time, I know this. But I spent the majority of the day in my sweatpants in front of my computer, encouraging my daughter to watch her third screening of Finding Nemo for the day while mommy did a whole lot of not writing and tearing her fingernails off. I usually do well with deadlines, but this new medication makes it hard for me to stay alert past 8:30, and the panic to produce something of quality just got to be overwhelming. By bedtime I was close to tears, looking around the room for something encouraging. The magic 8 ball said it better not tell me now. My tea leaves said blobby blob. My story certainly wasn't cheering me on. I got so desperate I started opening up books to random pages, trying to divine messages of hope in "...and the car stalled." I went to sleep completely disgusted with myself, praying that if I was to be cursed with a Groundhog Day affliction, I wouldn't be stuck on March 11.

And then I woke up today with this news.

I'm gonna be in a bonafide book! Published by my dream publisher! The essay I published in Babble last year will be included in their first anthology, and the editor promises a big ole book party in the fall, meaning I might actually get to rub shoulders with Steve Almond, Shalom Auslander and Jennifer Baumgartner among others, my, um, FELLOW CONTRIBUTORS! I'm so happy that I barely focus, let alone write, which means this may be my only shot at book publication, so I might as well enjoy it!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

cupcake break

Harlow likes the pink ones.

p.s. cutest. kid. ever.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Abandoned Snowpeople of Midtown Memphis

There's something undeniably magical about snow, especially in a place like Memphis where it's rare to see the stuff, let alone see it accumulate. There are the sled rides, the snowball fights, and of course, the snowmen.

But then the sun returns, and with it, talk of Spring, renewal, hope.

The mittens and boots are put away.

And the snowpeople are left to vanish.

But I will not forget you, oh sad, forgotten snowpeople.

My tribute to you. With music from someone who knows what it's like to be rejected.

(This may take a sec to load, so be patient. That is, if you actually care about snowpeople.)

grrrr....even I am starting to hate snowpeople. I don't know how it looks on your screen, but the page loads, and then there is this big blank space where the slideshow is supposed to be. Turns out if you wave your cursor over the space, you will see a sign that says play show. Click play show. Why invisible? Why ask why?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Got celebrations on the brain. Harlow's second birthday is almost upon us! Here are some of her favorite "boons." Pink is her favorite. I think I'm partial to the gold.

Harlow's balloons

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Lauren + Brad

I met Lauren at the Memphis Flyer hotties shoot, and she brought her man and hottie in his own right Brad. They are just sweet, adorable, wonderful people, so don't hate them for what I'm about to reveal.

They are moving to Hawaii on Thursday.

They've sold the car and said their goodbyes and are gearing up to live on the Big Island and open a green cleaning service that will cater to resort hotels and rentals. But before they left, I begged them for a chance to take some more pictures. With their very limited time, they graciously offered up this afternoon. Unfortunately the weather was just crap. The light was super flat and dull, and that combined with not checking my camera settings after I loaned it out made for some challenging shooting. (I blame the very angry lady who yelled at me for placing my lens on top of her truck bed.)

But we got some cute ones. Here's my fave of the day:

Bon voyage and mahalo, kiddos!


Monday, March 02, 2009

I want to marry this blog

I know, I know. But I really mean it.

Fuck You, Penguin

Go there now. I promise it will make your Monday. Your entire week. If it doesn't, I will give you all your money back.

Things I want but will not buy (for now)

These hoodies

via the brilliant Max Wanger

Sunday, March 01, 2009

snow day

The weatherman was actually right.

Friday was short sleeves, open toed shoes and bright pastels to welcome in spring. By 5 a wicked cold wind blew in from the southwest, and the sky got mean. Saturday was rain that turned into tiny disco ball hail that magically turned into big chunky snow.

Mom and Dad took the baby to their toddler paradise in Gtown, so I grabbed my camera and head immediately for Victorian Village and surroundings. I was happy to see some other brave shutterbugs who had the same idea. As I watched the snow fall on the tower of the James Lee house, I couldn't help but wonder what a sight this must have been for the original occupants. The world got very quiet and very, very pretty. Pics!

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.