Well, my friends, things are off to a great start.
It all started on my official release date, April 19, when I had about 50 friends over for a potluck party and book signing. My dear J made beautiful pictures from the event, you should check them out on her photo blog. Seeing 50 copies of the book stacked up, ready to drift off into the world in the hands of my dearest friends gave me pause.
I hadn’t much time to pause since I flew out for my first signing event the next morning! Austin to NYC’s JFK airport, I was delivered to my first encounter with fancy.
The signing event in Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge neighborhood at BookMark Shoppe was such fun. My editor and publicist from HarperCollins, two extremely hip and talented ladies, joined me along with a handful of local residents, friends from other areas and even a surprise appearance by good friend, and fellow preservationist, Kaela of Local Kitchen blog! It made sitting for the first time behind the table such a warm, friendly and non-stressful occasion. [Look, they even matched the tablecloth to the book’s flourishes!]
No time to dilly dally in NYC, with a flight to Boston leaving early the next morning. I spent the afternoon at America’s Test Kitchen (blog post with photos to come, I promise!) where I was lucky enough to participate in a shredded mozzarella cheese taste test. Yum!
My event at Concord Bookshop in Concord, MA that evening was an intimate round-table with a few savvy ladies, one of whom sent me home with all sorts of delicious, home-preserved treats from her pantry. After watching her give me 5 jars of pickled and preserved yum, her young son asked her the next morning, “Mom, was your friend hungry?”
I handed over one of the prized jars to my fantastic driver while in the Boston area, Joe. Joe also took me by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s and Louisa May Alcott’s houses en route back to Boston after the signing.
From Boston I took the bus through the Berkshires over to Albany. Where I was welcomed by Christina of From Scratch Club blog with this art, courtesy of 2-yo Miles Jae.
I’ve never felt more welcomed by prior-to-then strangers. All of the details of this houseparty were so thoughtfully arranged and anticipated. There was even a food swap portion of the evening! Check out the lovely photography from that night by local Albany photographer, Thea Coughlin. The ladies even compiled a goodie basket with local foods AND mailed it (and my 4 jars from Concord MA) directly to my house so I wouldn’t have to check bags!
After such fine food and hospitality from all the women who contribute to this sweet blog and members of the local community, they scuttled me with finesse into a signing opportunity the next morning at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. I can’t thank enough Michael (& Christina, again) with Kilpatrick Family Farm for sponsoring my table and making this all possible, especially the tulips!
After being treated like a queen during my time Upstate, I was headed to Astoria, Queens for some respite with good friends and happy home homies, Peter & Zora. They hosted an Easter dinnerparty for 12, which kicked off with grilled octopus on their rooftop.
I successfully executed my Great Grandma Rose’s warm bacon cabbage slaw (I’ll have the recipe for you at some point, don’t worry!) and it was received by fellow guests with rave reviews. Zora co-wrote the official guide to having the best dinnerparties ever, Forking Fantastic, and among Peter’s many talents (besides making the best Greek traditional foods ever) is a knot tying mastery. My visit to Astoria was not only delicious, but educational!
This nod to Zora & Peter’s outdoor decor has not much to do with either of my hosts with the most aforementioned proclamations, but what a delightful way to spend an evening, sitting under an orb of light overlooking the Manhattan skyline, sipping interesting beverages with friends old and new.
The relaxation-fest ended as my journeys brought me to Philly. My first time on the Acela Express train was everything I’d hoped it would be and more. I sat in the quiet car, shhhhh! Though Philly brought two events, being welcomed into Marisa’s home was equally as refreshing and inspiring as my relaxation fort from the weekend. You might’ve just read my Linens 2.0 post with a recap from the houseparty she hosted and a link to her recipe and round up of all the wonderful guests who turned up.
Speaking of wonderful guests, look what Sarah, an art student (graduating this week, woohoo!) brought me. Her first foray into letterpress, amazing!
The following day was my UPenn Bookstore event with a great showing of hip Philly folks and fun Q & A. We went through a craft project that entails making chore- or hobby-wheels to keep track of things you’d like to do more of around the house, work or pleasure. I’ll post details and a how-to for that project very soon.
After making a pitstop for Ethiopian food with friends, I was off to bed in preparation for an early flight to Houston the following day, where my dad met me at the airport with a file folder with my name Sharpied on the back. Cute dad.
The Blue Willow Bookshop welcomed me later that evening with blue fizzy champagne drinks, a great craft table set-up (for more chore/hobby-wheel projects!) and the rhubarb hibiscus vanilla preserves from my book that Martha from the shop had made just for the signing.
These tasty treats were, of course, a huge hit. The three final bites didn’t make it much longer than I could snap this shot. Both of my parents were able to attend this signing, my dad who lives in Houston and my mom who flew in from North Carolina. Their presence plus Valerie and staff’s thoughtfulness at Blue Willow all made it a truly special evening.
Onward, day nine of travels found me seated happily in my mom’s rental car en route to Austin, where the following day I would read and sign books at one of my fave indie bookstores on the planet, BookPeople! What fun to find my name on the outside sign upon arrival.
The chairs filled; my friends, family and all-around great Austin community rounded out a superb first leg of book tour travels. Of course I baked Meyer lemon vanilla muffins paired with strawberry jam and Meyer lemon marmalade for my home team.
Visit my tour page for upcoming travels and local event info and don’t forget to sign up (and update your profile with city preference) for the email list so I can keep you posted about events upcoming in your area!