Every single day I wake up feeling so lucky to have the life that I have built for myself. I know luck has very little to do with it and that it’s much more to do with gumption, passion, go-get-it-ness, hard work, and the occasional bumpy road in the pursuit of happiness so perhaps grateful is a better word for it. Or thankful. Or proud of myself. Most likely it’s a combination of all the above but regardless I love where I am in this wacky world and am enjoying the everyday work that helps me sustain a truly satisfying life.
That’s not to say it’s easy all of the time. Yes, I get to make delicious, incredible pies every single day. I make my own hours and feel an insane amount of pride when I tell people what I do for a living. Most importantly… I’m making a living. I have managed to find a vibrant and amazing community of other bakers and small business owners who are all working toward that same goal of being sustainable. I have just started to establish myself at the farmer’s market and adore seeing people perk up at the sight of small pies. On the flip side, it’s a lot of work; hard, exhausting, stressful work that includes a lot of math and at least one monthly breakdown where I ugly cry over something inane like stickers or strawberries. What I’m trying to convey is that I love being my own boss and a life of pie is still ninety-nine percent dreamy but also, every day I’m hustling.
Two Saturdays ago I was robbed at my Saturday farmer’s market. My cash box was stolen and I lost a whole week’s worth of profits. It was heartbreaking. And scary. And panic-inducing. And absolutely astonishing to see how, in that terrible, awful, no-good moment, the community rose up to restore my faith in people. Customers in the surrounding vicinity came up to buy a single pie and would pay with a twenty, not asking for any change in return. The people running the Columbia Heights Market waived my vending fee for the last two months and a local church group who had spent the day at the market donated money to make up for the loss. The support and generosity were overwhelming and because of it that awful act of selfishness and cowardice that should have left me discouraged and wary seemed a little less terrible.
So, to everyone who supported pie that day, thank you. I feel incredibly lucky, grateful, thankful and proud to live a life with stellar people in it, who make dreaming in pie a little more possible.
The last few weeks have been whirlwind, to say the least and most often when I am home I’m confused as to what day it is or up to my eyeballs in pie filling. This last trip was a doozey! I started in LA where I filmed an Episode for Hallmark Home and Family during the day, had an evening event and book signing, hopped over to Seattle for a quick book signing and bopped back to the east coast to end my trip with a second adventure in TV, baking pie for the Better Show. I finally made it back to DC on Monday and managed to bulldoze through my day so blissfully yesterday that I thought I was going to get away with not being jet-lagged or exhausted at all. Then today happened and the whole week caught up and smacked me upside the head like a ton of bricks.
Being famous is increasingly difficult, which is why I’ve compiled a list of all the things I’m especially awful at as an ‘up and coming pie author’ and terribly popular person:
1. Dressing: I know this is something I should have the hang of by now, but I truly do not. In fact it’s rather embarrassing because the general population is fairly good at this by age four, while I sadly straggle behind. My problem lies in butter in flour (not what you were expecting, I know) and the vast amounts that end up all over every single article of clothing I own. While this has never been a problem in the kitchen, it’s not great when standing before veritable strangers trying to be inspiring. Not to mention that for TV appearances they want something bright, form fitting, without any kind of crazy patterns or detailed embellishments, somewhere in between causal and formal. Let’s just say I may or may not have had a meltdown in Target when I realized I was actually considering a onesie.
2. Makeup: Again, considering I have a degree in acting and spent my college days caking on enough stage makeup to be seen in the last row of any theatre, I should have the hang of this by now… or at least own enough makeup to arrive on set ‘camera ready’ but sadly this is not the case. I have had to endure endlessly dubious glances from perfectly lovely makeup artists when they ask me if I’m actually wearing any makeup plus a second round of apologetic glances when they tell me they are just going to undo whatever mistakes I thought were good choices and start fresh. At least I don’t have the tendency to shine. That’s something, right??
3. Packing: This may be one of the biggest reasons I have such a hard time dressing myself, but every time I arrive at my hotel and open my suitcase it seems as though I’ve packed with my eyes closed and/or simply grabbed whatever clothes were closest to me. I think the issue is that I get overly anxious and overwhelmed about having to pack for so many different climates that I truly do just start packing everything, or at least everything that’s within arm’s reach. Aaron keeps telling me that there is this insanely helpful (read: high tech) website called weather.com but I have yet to consult it when packing for different time zones…
4. Signing Books: This may be the silliest of all the things that I’m terrible at and it’s not even that I’m actually terrible at it… I just have an insane fear of spelling someone’s name wrong in their book or writing ‘happy birthday’ instead of ‘happy baking’ and having to cross it out with my sharpie and begin again. Overall, signing books gives me a lovely thrill each and every time, it’s rather like signing a yearbook, but cooler. And the fact of the matter is, I wrote a whole book so it shouldn’t be an issue, but the spelling of a person’s name is so personal and occasionally crazy with silent ‘h’s and the like and I get a little appoplectic. That being said I’ve got two lovely copies of Teeny’s Tour of Pie to giveaway this week to anyone who spells their name: Sylvia …. or Silivia for that matter. Don’t ask, fame is hard.
Keep an eye out on the blog for when I’ll be in a city near you.. you can come out to see me in all my butter stained, makeup-less, sharpie wielding glory. I promise, it’s not something you want to miss!
(do you like how I tried to turn that last ‘i’ dot into a heart? I’m very creative…
Friends in pie! Hello, sorry for the long hiatus… I was busy being very very famous in Texas last week and haven’t had time to sit down and blog about the adventures yet.
A week and a half ago I popped over to Chicago and was super excited to see a whole slew of people I love and adore. I had a little (public) chat about pie and my year of vagabond living at the Book Cellar, which was very nicely attended by some stellar people… old friends and new acquaintances, pie lovers of all ages. Pie was served, books were signed and fingers crossed I said at least a few knowledgeable or inspirational things. (I had half a glass of wine, so the jury’s still out)
From Chicago I flew straight to Fort Worth to start my mini tour of Texas. I started at the Amon Center, where I participated in an event called Art and Appetite. It was a very cool foodie filled day where people were given a little snack provided by myself, Virginia Willis (… and a famous cheese lady .. oh man, I just can’t think of her name, but her cheese is a staple in the Dallas/Fort Worth area) before they went on a tour of the exhibit which was filled with iconic American paintings of food. I served the reuben pie and gushed about the book, both were a big hits!
The following afternoon I taught a pie class (all classes throughout the week were through Central Market) where we covered three types of crust, the beet tart and strawberry basil pie. Everyone was jazzed to learn the art of pie, get their hands floury and Central Market did an outstanding job with all of the prep and class support. I started in Fort Worth and from there was in a different city each day… Dallas, San Antonio and Austin all fell in love with pie last week.
I ended the trip in Austin (which I mistakenly spelled Austen all day and have received quite a bit of flack for… rightfully so) on my 30th birthday and got to spend the majority of the day with the best lady pie baker I know, Ms. Trisha Beezup. I met Trisher on the tour of pie in Boston and we’ve been fast friends ever since. I think she’s an incredible baker and she certainly inspires me to make better pie every single day. I was delighted to be able to spend the day with her and she did me a huge favor in making sure I ate all the best tacos in the city.
I came home in the late afternoon on Thursday, overjoyed to see Aaron and happy to remind the pup what my face looked like. On Friday I made a hundred teeny pies and got ready for the very first market day of the season! Saturday morning I spent under the Teeny Pies tent, hawking spring pies to the Columbia Heights neighborhood. All in all it’s been a wild and whirlwind two weeks. I’m really excited to be home for a week and a half before setting off for Atlanta on the 29th.
If you’re in DC stop by the market, we will be at the Columbia Heights market every Saturday from now until the end of time. I’ll also be doing a special book event at Dupont Market on Sunday, April 27th… so keep an eye out for that! Have a lovely week… I’ve got some pie to bake!
My last day in San Antonio is a chilly, blustery day filled with scattered showers so rather than tromping down the river walk or finding my way to a new neighborhood, I’m sitting on the picturesque porch of my beautiful hotel, thinking about the whirlwind weekend I had.
I was in San Antonio this weekend to participate in the 2nd Annual Book Festival. After a drawn out delay in DC I finally made it to the Hotel Havana around seven, which meant I missed the author cocktail party, but had plenty of time to wander the river walk and find myself some friend recommended TexMex. It was a really beautiful twenty minute walk to the Pearl Brewery area where I took myself (and my book) on a date to La Gloria. Ducks waddled their way in between table legs, searching for scraps of food and I happily made my way through several pulled pork tacos and spicy micheladas. I was grateful to for the walk back to the hotel, where I spent a little while prepping for the next day and then promptly falling asleep.
Bright and early the next morning was the author breakfast, complete with spicy sausage and egg casserole and my favorite of the day, green chile grits. After breakfast, I had a few hours to explore before my afternoon pie demo so I decided to make a quick stop at the Alamo. Growing up, my brother was obsessed with Davy Crockett… obsessed in a coon-skin-wearing-cap, watch-the-movie-every-weekend, bb-gun-wielding sort of way. It was very cute and as a result, I felt pretty well informed (in a Disney movie kind of way) stepping into that historical mission. The grounds are gorgeous and lush, there’s a corn husk doll making station (in case you don’t want to pay twelve dollars for a pre-made doll in the gift shop) as well as a musket loading tutorial led by men in full Texas Revolutionary costumes.
After the Alamo I made my way back to the book festival grounds, humming ‘Davy Crockett… King of the Wild Frontier’ the whole time. I stopped into the VIP room for lunch and instructions before making my way over to the cooking tent to double check my table. The prep work done by Central Markets was impeccible and the demo itself was a ton of fun.
At the end of the day we all went to the hysterical Literary Death Match and as I looked around the theatre and introduced myself as an author, it once again hit home. I wrote a book. I am an author. And to be sitting in a room surrounded by fellow authors, book lovers and nerds alike was something really special. I was honored to be a part of the festival and can only hope they understand how lovely they made this little ladybaker, cookbook writer feel!
So… so long San Antonio (see you in a week and a half).
Right now I’m sitting in the Boston Airport getting ready to fly back to DC and have just enough time (to finish my beer) and recap today’s stellar book event hosted by Northeastern University!
I arrived to town yesterday and was lucky enough to stay in the heart Harvard Square. I tromped through some of my old haunts, popped by Petsi Pies and took enough pictures of fireboxes to tide me over until my next Boston visit. Having slept on both sides of the bed (sorry Mo) I was refreshed and excited spend my afternoon with the pie-curious people of Northeastern.
NU has a gorgeous demo kitchen where we packed roughly ninety people into the room who were excited to hear about pie. The NU staff had prepped the tasting pies (strawberry basil, espresso french silk, and bluebarb) and artfully placed them around the kitchen while I demoed how to make my favorite whole wheat crust and strawberry basil filling… complete with lattice top… because what’s prettier in the springtime than bright berries popping through a delightfully flaky crust.
The audience was lovely; absolutely making me feel at ease during my first demo of the book tour. They asked all the right questions at all the right times, laughed at my jokes regardless of how lame they were, and at the end of the event they devoured all of the pie. I couldn’t have been more pleased with the way my first event turned out and to have started my second tour off with such a bang. You can check out pictures from the event here… the pies look great, but I gotta say… my hair looks fantastic!
Thank you to everyone who helped today and everyone who came out to support this very grateful ladybaker!
I have been so touched by the overwhelmingly lovely and delightful responses to the book. Pictures of people with their books (and in some cases… pies!) have been flooding my news feed and I’ve never felt more proud and happy to know so many budding pie bakers. Thank you!!
Tuesday morning (my book’s birthday) I had an extensive radio tour scheduled for the morning and afternoon. Over the course of 7-ish hours I talked to roughly 27 radio stations about the wonderfulness that is the book. I didn’t have any idea of how exciting/exhausting it was going to be (it’s hard to stay totally animated for that many minutes in a row) but I definitely felt like a champ afterward… a champ who just had a book published. I was working with a company who would call (on my borrowed landline… yes I bought a phone just for the occasion) and connect me to the various stations, and all I could imagine was an old timey operator telling me to, “hold please” in that ever recognizable nasal tone, while fiddling with dozens of wire plugs to get my voice to where it needed to go. I lauded the book on shows like, Mayhem in the AM (nothing quite so crazy at pie at 9am), Sound Palate and What’s Cookin and got to talk about my favorite pie and what it was like to be a pie vagabond. It was like a crash course on how to promote my book and now I’m super excited to start the book tour.
When I turned in the manuscript a year ago, Aaron took me to this great little restaurant here in DC called Little Serow and the plan was to have the journey come full circle and have a second celebratory dinner when the book was finally published. The restaurant was perfect, specializing in Northeastern Thai, the meal is a journey in itself, starting out fairly mild, peaking in spice about halfway through the meal and evening out at the end. Plus there was a bonus guest, my dear friend RB came in from NY to surprise me and share in the celebrations. The meal was everything we could have wished for and afterward we finished the night off with Ross and Leah and a toast to Teeny’s Tour of Pie.
Next week starts the book tour and I’ll be in Boston first, doing a demo and a signing on April 2nd at noon on the Northeastern University campus. There will be pie!! Then I’ve got a few days at home before I jet off to the San Antonio Book Festival on the 5th for another demo and book signing. Week one! Please let me know if you are in either of those places and planning on coming to the event… I’ll keep a eye out for you! In the meantime, go snag your copy of Teeny’s Tour of Pie and happy baking!
Teeny’s Tour of Pie has hit the shelves… so clearly it’s time to go snag yourself a copy and start baking!
it can be found at the following links:
not to mention, at person at any Barnes and Noble and a few other smaller book stores around your city. I highly encourage you to take pictures of yourself with your new favorite book and send them to me or post them on the teeny pies facebook page. Thanks for all the love and support, it has been such an adventure!
Make Pie. Be Happy. Make More Pie.