This morning I went for a brisk walk around Town Lake with my new friend Caroline, who has friends named CeCe, and says things like, "oh, sugar," and is basically a walking Ya-Ya Sisterhood.  Blond cropped hair, from Georgia, married to a Chef who mostly gives her her way, except when he doesn’t.  "Then I’m just plain rotten, I swear," she tells me.  I like Caroline.  If she were fabric she’d be key-lime green gingham silk dupioni.  We were set up on a double-blind date.  A reader of mine suggested I meet her "painfully normal" friend, "even though you and I have never met, though I once was on a flight with you but too shy to say hello."  So Caroline’s childhood friend (whom I’ve never met) set me up with Miss Caroline.  And I’m thankful for it.  When we first met, she said, "Well I could nearly kill my friend, setting me up with a perfect stranger.  And I don’t do blind-dates, never have, but now I’m sure glad I did."  Sugar, indeed.

"Oh, look," I say on our walk as we cross a hint of a bridge, "there are turtles in that pond."
"Oh who knows what all is in there." 
But turtles are my sign.  A sign of what?  I don’t know, but I’ve been seeing a lot of them lately.  Just last week I went to The County Line, a ribs place that reminds me of the Country Bear Jamboree at Disney.  Old-fashioned signs, a porch out back on a creek filled with turtles and carp. Okay, so they’re not carp. Big fish, okay.  Kids throwing handfuls of torn bread, mothers holding their children by their waists so they don’t teeter in.  Sitting lakeside enjoying a cocktail, admiring the strung paper lanterns above, I felt almost as if someone smart-looking was going to ask me to dance, someone who used gel to slick his hair back, not spiked up.  It felt very hoop-skirt.  I liked that.

Today I’m sitting at Jo’s on South Congress (SoCo, not at all like SoHo), a coffee shop that makes its iced lattes with crushed ice!  Love that!  Outdoor seating is plentiful, and colorful to boot.  Primary color lawn chairs, the smell of baked goods, and a string of people in flip flops with more tattoos showing than bare skin.  Not sure what the draw is of facing a highway or parking lot as a view, but the server behind the bar said "Radical" a lot, which I found refreshing in a punk way.  The woman beside me looks as though she colors her hair with kool-aid.  My sister used to do that, so I know.  I don’t get this look, where women wear most of their hair canary yellow blond, except underneath, they keep it dark brown.  Not highlights.  Not roots showing.  Blond on top, brown on the bottom, walking black-bottom cheesecake cups.  It might look recherche if, say, a rope of hair was twisted into something French.  A knot.  Very Audrey, well, no not Audrey.   Pepe.  Very reversed skunk.  I like the idea of this the way I like the idea of camping.  It reminds me of being younger and ironing my hair, while watching Hairspray.  But I’m known for that, falling in love with ideas.



  1. I like you in Austin. You seem…ummm…more laid back, less manic, more reflective. Is that right? Hoop-skirt. I like it. Nice post.

  2. I enjoyed this post a lot Stephanie, with the reference to black bottomed cheesecake cups and lime green silk. It's a nice glimpse to your perception of your world. Very interesting. I agree with Dru, Austin sure seems to suit you well. Interesting reading! I am sending you an email that includes a picture that I think you will enjoy, so please dont be alarmed by the attachment, its got your name ALL over it.


  3. Wow, I'm slow. Just noticed the book cover on the side bar. That is SOO awesome Stephanie, I love it! MUCH nicer than the martini glass with the cigarette butt floating in it. Love, love LOVE it! Damn, I have envy, all these people saying they have pre-release copies of your book. Aargh!

  4. Wow, you painted some picture in this post! My ‘sign’ is seeing humming birds. They come up to me out of nowhere and hover around me. I was once wearing red, and my mother suggested it was because of the color, but the next time I was wearing black. It’s weird.

    Cool aide! I remember when we used to try dying our hair with peroxide and our deep brown hair would turn a bright awful orange! Remember Sun-In? I think that was the name. You would squirt this bottle into your hair before laying out by the pool or beach, and it would make your hair blonde. For me? It turned ‘clown orange’. I was such a disaster back then. Now I just dye it back to my normal color since my girlfriend is giving me tons of grays.

    It sounds so nice where you are. It kind of sounds very ‘old fashioned’—-which is a relief to the busyness of NYC in a way. Do you find it’s more peaceful? It sounds it. Enjoy your time there! I gotta get out of New York one of these days. I live such a sheltered life.

    Great post as usual Steph!

  5. Who is this Caroline and why is she claiming to be my friend??…but if you like her I guess I like her. Nice to see youre making friends.

  6. Deannabanana, I'm just as slow! Thanks for pointing out the new book cover. LOVE IT, Stephanie. Much better. Now, this is *your* book! Kudos.

  7. Your post reminds me of summertime as a teenager, exploring new places and looking out for signs aimed at me. I'm glad you found someone to hang out with. I'm also a bit envious, but not over pre-released copies of your book. I'm envious of your writing talent, of your vision, and your ability to put into words exactly what you see in such a flavorful way that we can all taste it.

    I also like the book cover better than the martini glass. Much less like so many chic lit books and much more you. The circles remind me of old typewriter keys, which I can totally picture you using simply for the satisfying clack of the keys. Though the rewrites would be a bitch. I like that they incorporated your photography in the cover, too. That's a compliment in itself.

  8. The new book cover is phenomenal. I love it! Can't wait to read it.

  9. Hi! Just wanted to see if y'all have made it down to Gruene yet? It's beautiful down there! If you go, you have to eat at the Gristmill, which reminds me, have y'all eaten at The Oasis? It's on Lake Travis, it's so nice to go and sit out on the patio and overlook the lake! I get so excited thinking about Austin and all things to do around there, I live in Fort Worth but we try to make it down quite a bit. We're comin down to float the river the middle of June and I can't wait! Hope you're enjoying it down there!

  10. Love the ideas so long as you do not emulate them. Sometimes the simple pageantry of the South seems ridiculous to me, at other times elegant. I've observed the people at a Nascar race: to me, ridiculous. Loads of denim and cheap slogan T-shirts from Walmart, yet decent and on the whole kind people. I rode in a hunt the first week of April with people who discuss times "before the war", only they're talking about that between the states, and not the arab conflict. But then again, I wonder how they see me?

  11. Caroline sounds good people! As a Georgia/South Carolina girl, myself I can totally relate to her. Glad you are enoying yourself and discovering new things in Texas! I'd love to see some photos of Austin, if you get the chance!

  12. Just WAIT until you see the actual book! Those circles on the book jacket, where you see photos, are actually HOLES in the paper cover, which reveal the grid of glossy photographs that appear on the actual hardcover. Also, each chapter begins with a different photograph of mine. I am so excited about this book. I will (closer to official book launch) reveal all the other covers presented to me…

  13. The line "If she were a fabric…" is by far one of my favorite sentences you have ever written. Did you ever indicate in the past what kind of fabric you are? ;) I have to think about mine…

  14. When exactly is the official book launch? I wanna know if I can pack it in my beach back when I head to Cuba in June…

  15. The book is scheduled to be released end of July/Aug 1 I believe. So many exciting things happening and being coordinated. The Magazines need certain lead times, book cover designs approved, tour coordinated, review copies sent out…me, I just wrote the book.

  16. I like this thread, Amy K, of "if I were a fabric" – no pun intended. If I were a fabric, I would probably be some kind of natural cotton with spandex added for comfort and stretch.

    And by the way, Ari, what's wrong with Walmart, huh? (I'm smiling by the way…too computer-illiterate to use emoticons.) As I sit here in my Walmart-purchased spandex work-out pants and Bon Jovi "Crush" tee. Quite the fashion maven, eh?

  17. I think I need an iced latte now! I'm so glad you wrote about that dreadful hair coloring. It's very popular in South Florida too and I have never understood the appeal. Also very popular is the dyed, dark red with wide chunks of platinum blonde running through. It's not flattering, but I guess if people think they look good that's a lot better than people obsessing over their appearance and thinking they are ugly all the time.

  18. I'm excited for your book, too, Stephanie. I work part time at Barnes and Noble and assuming I like it (which, how could I not since I enjoy your writing on here) I'm so going to staff rec it!

    And you make Austin sound even cooler than I've always imagined. I've wanted to visit there for so long.

  19. I love the look in France, women dye their hair shocking shades of red. Here it would look hideous, but it comes off as classy in France, you see older women in chanel suits with vibrant shades of magenta and orange in their hair.

    I can't wait for the book, my favorite part of biographies is always the middle section where they always shove the pictures, I'm so excited that your memoir will have your photos throughout!!

  20. It appears from some of the other postings that you've got a fan base growing up here in Cleveland. Please do let us know if you ever make it up this way. Your blog has become a daily habit of mine…always checking in to see the latest on your adventures.

  21. According to Ted Andrews' "Animal Speak" …
    Turtle: protection,grounding,longevity,healing,symbol of the bounty of Mother Earth

  22. Will you be reading in Cleveland? I will gather gobs of people for you…oh please come to Cleveland!

  23. I may have to stop reading you b/c you now make me dearly miss what I've always considered the only bearable city in Texas ; ) Awesome descriptions of the people and the vibe!

  24. I'm so glad you love Austin!

    Deb, how long have you been with your girlfriend? I feel like we've known her forever.

  25. Loved this post! And I agree with everyone who has mentioned that Texas really seems to agree with you.

    Glad you agreed to the blind-girl-date. When I was a child, my mother found two of my best friends for me by running across the street and accosting a woman with a baby carriage (when I was two) and knocking on a random door because she heard there was a girl my age who lived there (when I was eleven). The latter was clearly mortifying, but I'm thankful now.

    And I think the cover is fabulous. I love that they were able to incorporate your beautiful photography into your book!

  26. My golden's my fabric and animal sign. He sheds. I don't hair. Your book's embedded in my brain before its new publication date and jacket. I've read the galley. It's everything I expected and more. Congratulations, Stephanie!

  27. The women here in the UK have that same hairstyle.. lighter on top, darker underneath.. it is painful to see! blech! I don't understand why they feel this hair colour duo is trendy.. it's mind numbing!

  28. "why the christian singles ads on your page?"

    Just a wild guess on this one, but I'm betting that they pay some coin to get those ads there.

  29. Only my tortoiseshell kitty can work the black-bottom cheesecake look!

  30. Sounds like you're settling in good. You're outgoing personality no doubt helps. I too think the book cover rocks! Keep up the good blogging.

  31. ahhh County Line- That was the place that almost made me move to Austin. Perfect description. Love the place and am feeling a longing for iced tea on that back porch.

  32. Miss Stephanie,

    I'm just in from a Saturday night and i have to say, i see a metamorphis and a new arrival of you leaving the New York behind and welcoming all the weirdness of the rest of strange, albeit sometimes weird, picture perfect world.



  33. haha, this is true american capitalism :) or now i guess it could be called finger capitalism

  34. Joey B., they're google ads, and I don't choose what shows up (except filtering out the XXX banners). They show up depending on what the content is on my site. So perhaps "TEXAS" is one of the keywords associated with "Christian Singles." Certainly "Stephanie Klein" is not.

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