Memphis Y'all: Two Months Midsouth

Five Ways to Look Fantastic Naked

June 19, 2010
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No one seems to be able to keep their AC working. It’s hotter than ever in Memphis. We’re young. We’re fun. Why not go topless? Why not go bottomless? Why not just go naked? Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve checked beneath the circus big-top to see what your fine hills and valleys are looking like, with these tips you’ll be ready to go au natural like you being paid for it.

1) Paint yourself black. It’s slimming. Consider taking one from nature: zebra stripes, Dalmatian spots, Holstein cow patches.

2) Flattering furniture. When your recliner is two-stories tall you look tiny. Utilize a wide screen television, a wide load truck and an overstuffed love-sac to lounge upon.

3) Let your body hair grow. Not only may you be able to cover you unmentionables with your luscious locks, your hairy situation will carry eyes away from your less toned tummy, arms or buttocks area.

4) Get an offensive tattoo. Try “I **** your ex” or “**** is a real jerk” or “I was Clinton’s first wife.” As long as people are looking at your trashy tat you’re looking good. Hey girl, take a walk on the wild side. Don’t forget that you can tattoo your junk, which is good because if you need to hide it you can put it in the trunk.

5) Pepper spray in the eyes. When you feel like your brain is on fire everyone looks good.


Bachelorette Should Give TN Man, Ty Brown, a Rose

June 15, 2010
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1)      He can sing. Ali dear, there is nothing better than a man who can sing you a country song about paying the bills. Just be careful, rumor has it that he’s using you to jump-start his singing career to pay them bills. Be careful that he doesn’t “Oops, I did it again” you and drop you like a hot potato when the next money-making opportunity comes along.

2)      He’s got big arms. Sweetheart, you know you’ll be towing your car when you get into a Memphis-style wreck. If you plan on moving to his hometown, Nashville, you’re going to need a man who can do some heavy lifting—like lifting you up to hail the tow truck down the road. Now isn’t that sweet.


I’m a Memphian

June 3, 2010
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Dear Austin, Texas:

Two weeks ago I was in You.  I left behind my lovely apartment, my roommates, and my comfy UTexas life (though I’m still hook ’em up here). I left behind the knowledge of where to grocery shop, where to go for a run, where peruse the gosh-darn Goodwill. I’ve been very blessed in that my Craigslist roommates are not crazed axe-murders, though to my grandmother’s dismay they are men. I’m also lucky that our third roommate (the girl) seems to like me well enough–so she’s a dog, you haven’t seen me in morning before my hair is combed and I’ve put my face on.

The first week in Memphis was pretty lonely. If it weren’t for TomTom I’m pretty sure that I would still be lost on Elvis Presley Blvd on my way to the Walmart. I’m finding that sometimes it’s worth getting lost. Fresh eyes on an ol’ place mean that I get the opportunity to be a tourist and ask questions. Where should I take my car to diagnose the WRRRR sound? Where can I get a cheap coffee? Where can I buy hard…wait, just kidding, err probably Dirty Park or up Lamar. So far if you’re still reading GOOD, I’ve just said a whole lot of nothing.

I’m carrying around a reporter pad. I’m writing down the names of shops and restaurants and doing a lot of Yelping. Last week, Fearless Fellow Intern (FFI) and I checked out Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken. I’m working on a review and I promise to post pictures. I’ve fallen in love with I Love Memphis Blog, her daily posts and full-color photographs. So I’m not quite a Memphian, ILM’s blog makes it easier to walk and talk like I know my knees from my elbows around town. On that note, where the heavens is a good dry cleaner?

Talk to y’all soon and have a blessed weekend!

Here are a few things I’ll be up to over the next 2 weeks:

-Italian Festival

-The Memphis Botanic Garden

-Farmers Market

– Improv class

-A recipe for pan-fried chicken (Southern Cook’s Handbook)

Colors of the Wind

May 30, 2010
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Great-great-great-great Grandma

I traveled to Homewood, AL for the holiday weekend.

Over dinner my grandfather stopped mid conversation and declared, ‘Emily, you don’t know!’

‘Know what?’ I asked.

‘You are related to Pocahontas!’

It all makes sense now.

Apparently, my uncle on my mother’s side has traced the family back to John Rolfe, Poc’s husband once the hussy left John Smith (the decidedly more attractive option, thanks Disney). While to my dismay, my native roots do not warrant free college, I feel obligated to go be with my people for a while. Rather than return to Memphis after Memorial Day I will drive out to the wilderness and become one with the land and befriend a talking racoon and tree.

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Gowns Granting Wishes

May 29, 2010

This evening marked the first day of the Memphis Brides Against Breast Cancer Tour of the Gowns gown sale. The event runs all weekend with sales on Saturday and Sunday. Brides Against Breast Cancer (BABC) is a non-profit group that sells donated wedding gowns in order to grant wishes of stage-four breast cancer patients.I learned about the event through my internship and was asked to volunteer; that meant I got to fufill all of my Say Yes to the Dress dreams and boss brides around.

It began with a fashion show of gowns for sale. Wearing my pink VOLUNTEER shirt and my new Loft highwasted skirt (shopping in Memphis isn’t bad) I fluffed the trains of countless couture wedding gowns. One of the models was expecting and showing quite a bit–she rocked the empire waist dresses.

BABC has 800 dresses stocked for the weekend. They take donations from brides (hey, you only wear the thing once and it’s fairly clean–I hope, dirty girl), stores that overstock, and companies that are looking to replace last season’s line with a new one and need more space. The goal for Friday was to sell 10 gowns, which meant that we could grant a wish. We sold 11. 

What does someone with terminal breast cancer wish for? Allison, one BABC’s directors and a breast cancer survivor spoke about some recent wishes before the fashion show. One recipient wished for a birthday party, another wished for a hand-held camera so that she could record messages for her young sons to view when she passed, yet another wished for a washing machine in her home because she could no longer make the trip to laundromat.

Before this evening, I’d never seen a woman put on a wedding dress, walk to the mirror, and see herself as a bride for the very first time. I joked with some MOBs (mothers’ of the bride) that I wouldn’t let anyone buy a dress unless I saw tears. I didn’t expect that the person crying would be me. I learned this evening that every woman, no matter her shape looks beautiful in the right wedding gown. We had gowns size 2 through 30 and brides all over that spectrum. I also learned that a simple dress can be $200 as soon as it can be $2,ooo, it’s all about the name on the label–and as my great grandmother used to say ‘if you don’t like what it says on the label, cut it off.’

Okay, so I tried on a dress tonight. It was and egg-shell, v-necks design by Watters. There was blood on the zipper–I’m glad I wasn’t in the dressing room for that. It fit like a dream. I turned to my imaginary dress consultant and said ‘this is the one.’ So I don’t have a boyfriend, so I’m more likely to walk the Yellow Brick Road than get married any time soon–it was a moment. I’m not in a hurry to be in THAT relationship. I don’t need a man to be happy. But all of that aside, I’m thrilled to some day get to be in the shoes of the many women who passed through the doors of the BABC dress sale today.

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The Texarkana Hotel and Murderer

May 28, 2010
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I’m not sure if it was my navigational device’s fault or the fault of my mother. Either way, I nearly missed the inn my mother booked me in Texarkana. Sure, it was straight off the highway, and sure the sign was as tall as the Chrysler Building, but I still missed it and had to drive in a big circle before I arrived, road weary and haggard at the Baymount Inn.

The parking lot was well lit. There weren’t shingles hanging off the front of the building. There was no blinking vacancy sign and Lorelei, the on-duty manager, was wearing a very nice bobbed wig and had all of her teeth.

Lorelei seemed delighted when I arrived. We chatted for a few moments about my long drive from Texas. I told her that I was worried that my car, stuffed with all my worldly possessions and the plants, would get broken into. She said, “Baby, don’t you worry. You park your car right here up front next to mine and I’ll watch it all night long.” She looked me up and down. This is she saw: blonde girl, purple sorority shirt, hairy legs (only if her eyes were good), tired face. And this is what she thought: why is this 14 year-old runaway bothering me at my hotel.  And this is what she did: smiled and handed me the hotel room key.

“I put you in a room really close to the front office so you shouldn’t have any problems,” Lorelei said. “Breakfast is early but we serve eggs, ham and buttermilk biscuits, so don’t miss it.”

Outside I grabbed my bag from the cars and went in search of my room. A man with gray hair was pacing outside on the second floor. I watched him from the first floor; he didn’t look like a murderer, he didn’t look like a bad guy—but wait maybe it’s a disguise—bad guys try to not look like bad guys, right? I went up the stairs anyway. I know these things: Avoid eye contact. If he offers candy say ‘no.’ Don’t open the door for strangers.

My parents taught me well.

Safely in my room, I turned on the lamp by the desk. I thought about the time I had almost-sex with my former boyfriend in a La Quinta. I posed on the poor coffee table in my pink thong and then attempted a lap dance in the arm chair. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s done this. I decide to not sit in the Baymount Inn arm chair just in case. I’ve often wondered why hotels have white sheets. Is it so that they can be bleached? That’s unsettling.

I washed my dirty feet in the tub and took in my puffy face in the mirror. It’s odd how eating nothing but salt for six hours while driving makes your face look like a Stay Puft marshmallow man.  I chugged some tap water.

At 2:00 a.m. I crawled into my lumpy queen and turned off the T.V.


There’s a loud sound outside my room. Oh shit. It’s the gray-hair man with his ax. He’s come to murder me. I turned the TV back on. Bravo will save me. Nine by Design will dial 9-1-1 if gray-hair man axes my door. I considered calling Lorelei. I turned up the TV. Maybe it will sound like there are more people in my room if I blast the TV at top volume. Or maybe I’ll get kicked out and he’ll kill me in my car.

It is this moment that I realize that I’m in most common horror movie plot.

I’m a college co-ed and I’m white. I’m in a city I don’t know and I’m at a strange hotel. I’m alone and even though I saw Vacancy in theater I didn’t check for hidden cameras in the vents. Worst yet, I’m not a virgin, so Jesus Christ, I die in this movie.

I chain my door. Okay, no that’s a lie. It’s already chained so I pull on the chain to make sure it’s good. Then ashamed, I crawl in my bed and wait for the sound of splitting wood as the ax splits the door.

I wake up curled in a whirl of sheets and very much alive.

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