November 30, 2010

you are beautiful.

photo brought to you by acnatta at flickr.
no, for real. you are. beautiful.
thanks to thoughtful birmingham graffiti artists we are all reminded. 
there are a series of two paintings with this message in the magic city. 
the first one was revealed in october on highland avenue bridge {shown above}. 
while the second one is more recent and is located across from railroad park downtown.
there is speculation that this series is a part of Operation Beautiful movement or
regardless, i like it.
in fact, i love it. 
after all, 8 million americans have eating disorders.
and there are no accurate or countable statistics for how many people do not value themselves.
i think it's time we see the beauty. 
for more information on this "story" go to colorlines.
where there is love, there is art.

November 28, 2010

it's beginning to look a lot like...

that's right. keep singing. yesterday i decorated the ol' apartment for christmas. it's standard procedure to take care of that business right after thanksgiving. so here i am today sitting in my cozy abode that smells of fresh balsam (thank you, slatkin & co.) a little secret about me is that i am allergic to "real" christmas trees. hives, coughs, and sneezes abound if i'm around them for too long. in light of this revelation i am the owner of one of the tackiest, yet beautiful, tinsel trees you've ever seen. spread that christmas cheer!

where there is love, there is art.

happiest of birthdays to my sister.

sisterhood is one of the strongest of bonds. 
for this reason i refer to this beauty as my sister. 
how lucky i am to have such a close relationship with this angel baby.
i knew we were kindred before i even knew her {regardless of how creepy that sounds}.
years later i could not be happier to have this creative beauty as one of my nearest and dearest. 
as she celebrates her 22nd year, i celebrate her life. 
happy birthday, dear little sis. 
i love you elizabethann
you are a true work of art. 

where there is love, 
there is art.

November 27, 2010

iron bowl.

can i get a war eagle?

i love those boys in white. too much crimson going on here.
where there is love, there is art.

November 25, 2010


{setting aside all bias}. 
every thanksgiving i feel sorry for everyone that isn't in my family. 
i don't mean to be rude. 
but the truth is that we have the best thanksgiving spread you've ever tasted. 
the secret weapon: lou emma green. 
365 more days and you can join us if you'd like. 
happy thanksgiving. 
where there is love (and homemade mac-n-cheese}, 
there is art.

November 24, 2010

my favorite things.

if oprah can have her favorite things then so can i, right? the only tragedy here is that if you guys {anyone who reads this} play the part of my "studio audience" then you are out of luck... there are no freebies to be had. sorry, unlike oprah, i'm broke.

1. Pacifica Perfume- i don't like perfume. never have. but this made all the difference.
2. Chanel Powder- life changer. worth every penny. 
3. splits 59 yoga pants- i wear these daily. ask anyone.
4. Sparkly Toms- i might wear these daily too?
5. Farmland Cheddar Veggie Chips- publix, where did these go?
6. Hair "Wand"- using this you become a pixie. which is basically my dream.
7. iPhone 4 cover- i feel like rihanna thanks to this ivy pattern.

8. Big Sky Organic chocolate chip cookies- dangerous addiction.

9. Laura Marling- all day. every day.
10. Alternative Apparel tees- perfection. 

where there is love, there is art.

November 23, 2010

today i'm thankful.

and that's kind of a big deal. i mean, i wish i lived a life where every day i was oozing with joy and thanksgiving. but in this particular season that hasn't necessarily been my reality {kind of a debbie downer statement, apologies. #i'mjustbeinghonest}. i do try, however, to be aware of reasons to be thankful regardless of circumstance. whether it is a happy day or a sad day i like to remember these things... or when it's the week of thanksgiving...
having these two {sarah and olivia} as my bests makes me pretty thankful in and of itself.

i'm thankful that i have my health. even more thankful that i have healthy family and friends. that is not something i take for granted.

thankful that i get to look forward to a yummy rojo dinner tonight with my favorites katiegirl and momochild.

thankful for the sweet voice of baby jewel that says "hay-hay."

thankful rihanna busted out a new album last week. followed by kanye and girl talk. {and now i am thankful i can be band-wagon without shame}.

thankful that in 22 days i am visiting my favorite city with a couple of my favorite gentlemen.

thankful that the common core standards were passed in the state of alabama. yeehaw.

thankful for the sound of rain falling on fallen leaves that i currently hear.

thankful that in a few short days i can hug my papa's neck and eat my nana's yummy food. it's so nice to have grandparents.

thankful for alabama and auburn football... war eagle! {and roll tide?... no, no just war eagle!}

thankful to know and be loved by some of the most talented folks around who constantly inspire me {go to workplay friday night for Matthew Mayfield and Red Harp if you live in or around birmingham... post football game? yes please}.

thankful to be thankful.
where there is love, there is art.

November 21, 2010

love birds.

was the weather not absolutely perfect this weekend? of course it was! after all, it was sara beth and matt's wedding weekend. the Lord smiles on these two. i was blessed to be a part of such a special occasion. so let me share a few images of memory with you now...
where there is love, there is art.
congrats, spearing family.

November 18, 2010


i need this shaggy bebe. 
i will name her hazel. 
"if i could have a hazeldoodle and exposed brick i would be a content person."
where there is love, there is art.

November 17, 2010

you've heard from this boy before. in fact, on this blog you will hear me brag on him for two reasons: 1. he is married to the most beautiful woman in the world, one of my nearest and dearest, katie. 2. he is an unbelievably talented musician. {okay, and he is a also one of the most humble and kind souls... to ever live... like ever}. here's to garret kelly of red harp. cheers! 
now here is what he had to say:
q: so how did the music begin for you?
a:  i was young when i first started music. i fell in love with nirvana when i was in 4th grade, and by 6th grade i was in a punk/ska band playing at cheerleaders' birthday parties. i was just young trying to fit in, but i learned alot back then about performing and the groundwork for songwriting. i wrote my first solo and honest song when i was 18. it's called "poison in their blood" and i still play it sometimes. ever since then, i've tried to make my music a form of art, something i use as a canvas for my creative energies.
q: what's the update on red harp {projects of the future, etc.}?
a: we are trying to play as much as we can. we just got a website. i'm always working on songs, and i currently have a butt load of them unrecorded. i think thats all the future consists of too. just writing and recording music. of course, if we catch on, and our fan base grows nation wide. some of the anarchistic ideologies that i sing about might influence a revolution... but i don't think america's ready for that just yet.
garret with his one true love, my girl, katie.
q: what inspires you most?
a:  i see a constant theme in my music, and that's death. a lot of my songs are just about the universal struggle of dealing with being mortal. so, i guess what inspires me most is life. the fact that i am here in the flesh given the choice for my own actions is always surprising and sobering.
q: what is it about music that you love?
a: i read in a Vonnegut book that music is proof that God exists. i think it represents something in life that is essential to human nature. what i've always loved about music is that it can effect your whole emotional spectrum. you never know when a song you've overlooked for years will suddenly seem so beautiful.
q: what is it that you look most forward to in this journey?
a:there's always the hope that i can get rap star rich... but until then i hope to be content with creating art. i can't wait to see what else i can make with a couple of strings and some poetry.
upcoming red harp shows:

where there is love, there is art.

November 16, 2010

new york at christmas.

foto compliment of flickr.
it's pure magic
in all seriousness, what's not to love
in exactly ONE month i get to experience the magic
with him and him
the future is looking all things merry and bright. 
cheers, darling!

where there is love {so, so much of it},
there is art.

November 14, 2010

back from new orleans.

may i present to you the wedding weekend of madeleine and griffin lewis {yes, they now share a last name}:
with the bride at the bridesmaid's luncheon.
professional bridesmaids at the rehearsal dinner.
the lovely couple cutting the cake. so married right now.
enjoying the reception at the chicory.
nawlins at night.
where there is love {and marriage and new orleans}, 
there is art.

November 11, 2010

do you know what it means to miss new orleans?

mardi girl.
i'm a happy girl. 
i have my happy places. 
new orleans is one of them. 
so here i go... off to new orleans to get a friend "married off"... 
have a great weekend! 
this is the new orleans in my mind.
where there is love, there is art. 

November 10, 2010

only for today.

1. i got a new pair of raybans. they are called "club master cat." this thrills me. i got my first pair {wayfarers, duh} for my 19th birthday. here's to #2 for no good reason except... cat eyes are irresistible.

2. watch this video and learn french.

3. e.e. cummings all day, everyday.
thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

where there is love, there is art {cheers!}

November 8, 2010

and almost a decade later.

photo credit: william gordon
"ms. hamrick, as a future teacher, what teacher have you had that had the greatest impact on you?" this was not a difficult question to answer. as i was sitting in the office of the dean of my graduate program i was immediately transported back to the office i frequented most commonly in high school, the office of my 9th grade english teacher, ms. gordon. i then began to explain how ms. gordon had a passion that was contagious, and how as an insecure and impressionable freshmen in high school i would cling to her every word. this was not something she took for granted, as evidenced by the genuine concern she had for every one of her students. i then explained, to the dean, how as a teacher it is my hope that i encourage students to take ownership and find value in their writing as they find value in themselves. this is precisely what ms. gordon did for me. i was fortunate enough to have had a plethora of fantastic and highly qualified teachers growing up, but it is ms. gordon that stands out above the rest. a decade later it seems as though i am following in some pretty big footsteps figuratively. however, quite literally, these footsteps would take the shape of really stylish and beautiful shoes {i know well enough...}.
ms. gordon, whom i have now been asked to call ashley, has moved on from the classroom. she made her own dreams come true with the birth of mockingbird publishing. i will now let her tell the rest... after all, it was ashley gordon who taught me to tell stories and sing as the mockingbird does.

q: tell me the story. how was mockingbird conceptualized?
a: A book is beauty and art and anger and power and humor and comfort. The best books are limitless. I couldn’t conceive of any better way to spend my life than helping to make them. The specific idea of a publishing company started in college where I majored in theater but one day realized I had only taken English classes. Since then books have been at the forefront of everything I’ve done.  I wanted to learn as much as I could about every aspect of the business before I starting one. But I also wanted my company to give back. In my years in the publishing industry, I have seen many people who desired to use their talents to help others, but couldn't find the time or the right outlet. So it was imperative that I build giving back into the business model. 
The name “Mockingbird” represents what the company is meant to do in two ways. From a literal perspective, the mockingbird is a vessel. It carries with it and shares the songs of other birds. That’s what our books do. They tell the stories of others that need to be told. In a literary sense, the name refers back to a passage in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, a moral guidebook for those of us from Alabama. Atticus is explaining to Jem that you can’t understand and therefore shouldn’t judge another person until you’ve spent time in his shoes, until you fully consider his circumstances and perspective. Literature gives a reader the opportunity to view life as someone else. It’s a means of stepping outside ourselves to deeply understand what it means to live another life. The aim of Mockingbird is to publish books that widen our horizons, even if it that horizon only reaches to the person next door. So often it is the people right in front of us that we fail to see. I hope that reading Mockingbird books will help people to see.
What makes Mockingbird different from most independent trade publishers is our emphasis on working with not-for-profit organizations. By partnering with nonprofits on every project, we accomplish a few things. We contribute a portion of the proceeds of every sale to the partner nonprofit, so we are helping them in an obvious way. But we also tap into stories that might be missed by a traditional house. By approaching the creation of a list from “what story does this tell and what life or social challenge does this illuminate?” we inherently create a body of work that could serve to enlighten people to the cause. At the very least, we’ve made the reader more aware of the humanity in others.
q:What inspires you most?

a:Making people happy. And it's not quite the selfless, Pollyanna-ish answer that it sounds like. I can be as selfish as the next person (shoes being a particular weakness). But the moments in my life that are most vivid, aside from my wedding to Jake and the births of my boys, are the times when I actually made another person's life better. To provide joy or solace, understanding or acceptance, the instances when I've been privileged enough to do that and realize it are when I was content to be in my skin, a place I'm not always comfortable. In a metaphysical way, it's as if that boundary of skin disappears and their joy is my joy, their peace is my peace. Those are the moments I look for in life; my inspiration then is to go out and make more of them. 
q:Fill in the blank {please}. I love ________________.
a:Almost as much as anything in the world, I love to be lost in a good book {and if it happens by the water, so much the better}. Earlier in the summer I broke down and read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I tend to shy away from bestsellers on principle. In this case, I was captivated by the writing, the plot, and particularly the characters. I finished the book in a day, and proceeded to read the other two in the trilogy over the next two days. For that little moment, I was a skinny, freakishly intelligent young woman who lived in Sweden, successfully executed a killer kick, and dealt with her enemies in the most deliberate fashion. It was like going on a three-day bender. I was totally submerged and felt like I was coming up for air at the end of it. What other addiction has so few downsides? I'm also partial to sitting in the sun {I have definite lizard tendencies}, Coca-Cola, flowers delivered by a florist {not picked up from the grocery on the way home}, handwritten notes in the mail from old friends, and going to foreign films at the Capri Theatre all by myself. 
q:what is your dream/vision/goal for what is to come for mockingbird publishing?
a:In my most grounded moments {like when I'm lying awake at 2:00 a.m. worrying about bills}, I hope that Mockingbird Publishing begins to make money, or at least will pay for itself. If it does, then my belief that people are hungry for books that remind us of basic goodness is the right one. It means that we can publish more books that touch people and share their stories. It means we are making more donations to more non-profits. It means the aim of making a difference as part of the business model is realized. But there are other sleepless nights when I lie awake at 2:00 a.m. and my imagination soars. Then I allow myself to dream of nothing short of a revolution where the books are just the beginning of a profound shift in how we live our lives. Mockingbird, then, is just one of many publishers and media companies who inspire people to reach out and connect, accept, and learn. I've purposefully avoided the word love in my descriptions of what I hope for Mockingbird. But at the end that is the only word that seems to fit. I dream that Mockingbird books will help us to love one another. 

learn more about mockingbird publishing by visiting the website. also, be sure to check out Year of Our Lord. after all, morgan freeman and john grisham did. 
{in publishing} where there is love {of one another}, 
there is art. 

November 7, 2010

the bachelorette.

this weekend was spent in nashville for my dear
sara beth's bachelorette party and lingerie shower
before i left for the weekend one of my guy friends asked what girls do at bachelorette/lingerie parties. he said, "so what do you girls do just like drink margaritas or martinis and get panties?" well, yes, that sounds about right. it was a wonderful time in a city that i have great appreciation for with a bride-to-be that i happen to adore. so that works out.
the bride being sung to. this was before she appeared on stage. 
bridesmaid friends. or friends in general. at germantown cafe for dinner. fabulous. 
we did some shopping in downtown franklin.
snacks for the weekend... 
does this not look like a spread for real simple magazine? 

where there is love, there is art. 

November 4, 2010

remember, remember.

"Remember, remember the fifth of November.

Gunpowder, Treason and Plot.
I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot."
{it's just as morbid as Halloween}.

and then there was V for Vendetta. i believe i first saw this film on a flight to ukraine? details, details... 
oh! and have a happy weekend? 
where there is love, there is art. 

be the change.

once upon a time i was forever changed by a country called honduras. but i was not the only one... 
honduran sunset from inside an ancient chapel. 
lori connell inspired me as soon as i heard the words "fair trade" and "micro loan" fall from her mouth on a rooftop of a hotel in tegucigalpa, honduras. everything she said i thought, "oh man! you see... this is the type of woman i aspire to be." she puts a welcomed fire under my butt, to be more and to do more. i am sure she will do the same for you... she should.
q: where are you currently living and why?
a:I currently live in the capital city of Honduras- Tegucigalpa. I live there with my husband, Mark. I live in Honduras because of my work among the poor. It is a passion for me to lift women and children out of poverty. Ghandi once said "Be the change you want to be in the world" And Jesus once said "Go, and do the same" referring to helping those in need, that is my mission statement for life I guess. 
q: what is mi esperanza?
a: Mi Esperanza is a 503c non-profit that means “My Hope” and began in 2002 with a vision to provide assistance for women in the villages surrounding Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Providing micro-business loans and skills training to women living in extreme poverty does this. Many of the women are single mothers who are supporting their families without any type of assistance or opportunity to change their life circumstances. Their lives are about survival and trying to meet the most basic of needs of life; food, clean water, education, healthcare and shelter. Through Mi Esperanza, women are finding a new sense of hope, self-empowerment and stability. Mi Esperanza brings HOPE to women, young and old, by giving them educational and financial tools that enable them to change their lives and the future of their children.

q: how was this vision birthed?
a: I traveled to Honduras for the first time in 1999 with a mission team that meets immediate needs of those living in extreme poverty. I was struck IMMEDIATELY by the plight of women and HOW HARD life is for them. The women in Honduras have no opportunity, no education, which means no hope for a different life. I was driven to do something to break that cycle.

q: who/what do you LOVE?
a: Well, I love God, I love my husband, I love my children, my grandchildren, I love my sisters. I love good food, I have a new love for running, I love photography, I love to cook, I love coffee, I love the ministry God has given me... I just LOVE...
lori and her real life love, her husband.
q: what work of art inspires you most?
a: the life of Mother Teresa inspires me, her life of simplicity and service and total abandon for the poor moves me in ways that go to the depth of my heart. 

please consider learning more, loving more, and giving more. go to: mi esperanza.
where there is love {coming from a beautiful place},
there is art.