People ask me all the time how to arrange items so that they look pretty in photos. Well, here is a secret: if you start with beautiful items, you don't really have to do very much work. The photo above is a great example, since the entire thing was kind of an accident. The hot (and hawt) pink Epiphanie bag* was already on the kitchen table when I came home from work. Then, as a surprise for when everyone else got home, I arranged the macarons and king cake we bought at Sucre in New Orleans on two random cake plates. (Seriously random -- I have no idea where either plate came from.) The sun was sort of shining through the window at the time, and I realized that all of it looked really pretty together, so I moved everything closer to the light and grabbed my camera (fitted with that cheapie 50mm lens that everyone should have by now. If you don't have it, remedy that sad situation immediately.) Everything was done before I even started arranging things. All I did was put the smaller cake plate in front of the bigger one (obvs), and added in a silver vase with some sparkly picks inside (for no other reason than it was already in the kitchen with me.) I mean, this little vignette doesn't even make any sense. It's not even a very good picture. But it looks kind of pretty, doesn't it? That's because I started with beautiful things shot in nice light, and they did all the work for me. Voila! You are now a stylist + photographer. Go forth and bust out some beauty. PS. You can never go wrong with macarons. The reason you see them in so many styled photos is because they look good with everything, even king cakes and camera bags. Yes, they're a total cliche, I know, I've heard. Who cares? *For you old-school Flickr people, you'll be tickled to know that the Epiphanie bag I have is the "Clover," named after one of Sesame Ellis's twins! It was a gift from the delightful Maile and is super fabulous.
Here is a picture of me squinting into the camera and having a medal and loving you from yesterday, just after the New Orleans half-marathon. We tied our time from last year, which means we ran the race in a little over two and a quarter hours. I was filled with such euphoria from the race that I immediately went to the MGD 64 booth and claimed my two free beers, at which time I downed them from thirst and which -- combined with adrenaline and endorphins -- gave me quite the runner's high. And by runner's high I mean buzz. Afterwards, Vince Chao and I rode the shuttle back, got our car, and went to Parkway, where I ate this. And then I had some ibuprofen and a Strawberry Abita and took a four-hour nap. We love New Orleans so much we decided to make it our valentine. PS, we are going to run the Crescent City Classic on April 23 also, so you should come to that with me and we'll dress up in cute outfits and go for Sazeracs afterwards. It's only 10K! You can do that with your eyes closed. I realize that this has nothing to do with Valentine's Day. I just wanted to say hello, and we ran a fun race, and I love you.
Last night, my girlfriend Oprah posted on Twitter that her upcoming appearance on Morning Joe was making her "nervous-ola." I have never in my life heard anyone other than my own very Southern mother say that word, which reminded me of how funny she can be -- often unintentionally. Coincidentally, I was also looking at old blog entries yesterday to re-post for your enjoyment, and I found this one from 2006. I was on my way to Los Angeles to see Pamie and meet Greg Berlanti, for whom I eventually ended up working on his show Eli Stone. Anyway. Please delight in this slice of my life.
From: Mom Subject: Re: L.A. trip Date: September 20, 2006 9:21:11 PM CDT To: AB I'm praying for your safety. Call me tomorrow night and let me know you are okay or email me. You know that even 30 year-olds get abducted (especially cute, small ones). Have a great time and remember you are a Southern girl with good manners. Also, wear lipstick. I would say don't smoke in front of people, but that's pointless. It just makes you look not as pretty. Take pictures and have fun! Love, MomI would just like to note that I never did smoke in front of "people," by which I am almost positive she meant Greg. However, I did drink several glasses of champagne and giggle a lot. And just in case you were worried, I wore lipstick every day. Have a fabulous weekend! We will be in New Orleans running the half-marathon on Sunday, so say a little prayer for my joints while y'all are in church that morning.
Maybe it's because I am so, SO ready for spring, or maybe it's because Valentine's Day is coming up, but I am really into hot orange-y red right now. I just want to put on all of those clothes up there, relax on a Marimekko bean bag, and paint my nails with Essie Clambake. And apply Chanel red lipstick. And drink a Bloody Mary. And write poetry about red, red roses. Meanwhile, outside, it is snowing. Let's just pretend that that is not happening in Louisiana on February 9. Thank you for your cooperation. What are you looking forward to for spring? 1. Marimekko Fatboy 2. Crewcuts hat 3. Boi sconce, David Weeks via 10 Cent Designer 4. Painting, Meredith Pardue 5. Crewcuts top 6. Kate Spade necklace (on sale!) 7. J. Crew shorts
Sometimes when I take pictures, I ask myself, "What would 10 Cent do?" Probably something like this. Please note latest eBay acquisition, the most excellent Bertoia diamond chair.
You people have some good opinions. I was so happy to read all of them. Many of your wishes for the site were similar -- for obvious reasons, you all get really into before and after photos -- so, for your edification, I have compiled them into a cute chart. (Charts can SO be cute. I made this one at equally cute website Daytum.)
I am going to attempt to work several of these into weekly features, but I ain't telling you which ones yet. Numbers in parens indicate percentages:
It made me laugh to see how many people wanted me to bring back the Lin Chao Motherly Advice Column. (For those of you who are just joining us, the column answered reader questions in the style of my mother-in-law, who sometimes says mean things about your weight and speaks English with a Chinese accent.) Ah, memories. I don't think Lin Chao knows very much about decorating, but I would love to do an actual advice column. So, if you have a question about decorating/styling, go ahead and email me. The only catch: you have to send in a related photo with your question. This is going to be a trial-run type situation, and I will probably regret this in the morning, but let's see how it goes! Email address is in the sidebar. Subject line "Help me, AB Chao! (photo attached)".
It is supposed to be bad weather here tonight, and I know it's pretty terrible in most of the rest of the country (shut up, California), so y'all be careful out there. Or better yet, stay in and enjoy a hot toddy. I'll go first.