Memphis Vacation: The Last Day

Friday, April 1st

Random Urban Decay in South Main
Random Urban Decay in South Main

On Friday morning we said goodbye to Ada and the Barksdale house and moved our base of operations to Amy’s friend’s condo downtown for our activity-packed last day. I did some emergency shopping (I somehow UNDERpacked for this trip) we met up with Amy and had lunch at Earnestine & Hazel’s, a dilapidated bar/former brothel. And by lunch I mean Soul Burgers, because that is the only thing they serve.

Earnestine & Hazel's
Earnestine and Hazel's
Earnestine and Hazel's
Earnestine and Hazel's

After lunch we visited the National Civil Rights Museum, which is only a block away from Amy and Zach’s apartment. It was amazing and heartbreaking, and I strongly recommend checking it out if you are ever in the Memphis area.

Lorraine Hotel/Civil Rights Museum

Our next activity was a real treat: a tour of the abandoned Sears Crosstown building! It’s an enormous (like, 1.3 million square feet) former retail space/distribution center that Crosstown Arts is hoping to redevelop into like, residential/commercial/everything, but right now it’s just dilapidated and creepy as hell. Like, I’m so glad we were there during the day!
Sears Crosstown

Sears Crosstown
Sears Crosstown
Sears Crosstown
Sears Crosstown
Sears Crosstown
Sears Crosstown
Sears Crosstown
Sears Crosstown
Sears Crosstown
Sears Crosstown
Sears Crosstown
Sears Crosstown
Sears Crosstown
Sears Crosstown

I took this from the roof, looking towards downtown- you can see the pyramid in the center.
Amy & Tanie @ Sears Crosstown

Sears Crosstown
Sears Crosstown
Sears Crosstown
Sears Crosstown
Sears Crosstown
Sears Crosstown
Sears Crosstown
Sears Crosstown
Sears Crosstown
Sears Crosstown
Excellent Graffiti at Sears Crosstown

Once the tour was over we headed back downtown and had brandy alexanders at the Peabody Hotel, and then went to the roof to visit the Peabody ducks in their duck palace.

Peabody Hotel
Us on the roof of the PeabodyBIGOTS

This restaurant is just down from the Peabody, I wanted to go in there and demand free shots.

We stayed their for long enough that Zach could meet us for dinner (he’s in law school and has class all day and studies all night) at the Majestic Grille, followed by dessert at Local, because Amy wanted Zach to try the Ice Cream Sandwich à la Mode (aka bacon blondie with ice cream). It was a fantastic end to an amazing day, and with an early morning flight the next day, a perfect goodbye to Memphis!

Coming up: The Long Way Home

Memphis Vacation: Lions and Tigers and Beers, Oh My

Thursday, March 31st
On thursday, Taylor and I went to the Memphis Zoo. I kind of have mixed feelings about zoos, even more so. It was awesome to see all these amazing animals close up (or sitting uncooperatively way up in a tree cough*red pandas*cough) but a lot of them, especially the primates, made me feel sad an uncomfortable. I mean:

The Thinker

… you can’t possibly tell me that is a happy gorilla :/ Anyway here are some more animals, some depressing, some not.


Flamingos: not depressing.

Kung-Fu Monkey
Graceful ApeSneaky MonkeyShaggy

Assorted primates: depressing.

Otters Otters Otters!
More Otters
More Otters

Otters: thankfully not depressing.

Stoned Panda

Giant pandas: a little depressing but mostly just squalorous. I don’t know if you know what pandas do, but it’s basically: sit around being grubby and stuff face with bamboo then pass out.

Monkey Plus Poo
Monkey + Mother

More primates: more depressing, although the little baby was sooooo cute (you can kind of see it in the second picture, the mama was holding it).

Goofus the Wolf

Timber wolves: to Dougal-y to be depressing, especially Goofus McNeedsbraces there.

Lazy Bears
Chairman Bear
Polar Bear

Bears: surprisingly undepressing.

Some kind of cat
Look another cat
Weirdo Cat
Longing Tiger
Weirdo Cat
Loud Lion
Loud Lion

Big cats: gorgeous but a little depressing. But still amazing, especially the lion, who came RIGHT OVER TO US. I seriously could have touched her, I swear.

Secret Red Panda
Secret Red Panda


That night we went downtown to meet up with Amy and her friends Stephanie and Mike for dinner/drinks/pool on Beale Street, which is like the bar/music/tourists/wandering the street drinking district. We had dinner at the Blues City Cafe, then moved to Silky O’Sullivan’s for drinks, including this nasty concoction called a Diver, that’s like beer and rum and grenadine all mixed together and served in a bucket. I didn’t try it because I’m a picky brat, haha. Last we went up to the Absinthe Room, which is a kind of secret upstairs pool hall/bar.

Taylor at the Absinthe Room

I was actually a huge drag that night- I was tired & a little hungover from the Sweet Valley Confidential reading the previous night (I forgot to mention we drank our weight in vodka during the reading, which is why we only made it through 9 chapters).

Memphis Vacation: American Dreams & American Soul

Tuesday, March 29th
On Tuesday Amy had arranged for use to go on a tour of Memphis with her friend Tad, who does the American Dreams Safari, in which he drives you around in an old pink Cadillac named Mansfield, which is autographed by a bunch of musicians. We didn’t take pictures because it was grey and gross and rainy that day, but it was still cool seeing all these parts of the city we wouldn’t have otherwise.

Taylor in Mansfield (American Dreams Safari Tour)

Taylor did take pictures of the indoor trailer park Tad has in a warehouse downtown though.

Indoor Trailer Park
Indoor Trailer Park
Indoor Trailer Park
The rumpus room?
More indoor trailer park
More indoor trailer park

Before the tour we had lunch at Alcenia’s, a restaurant where macaroni & cheese is a vegetable. I don’t know about that , but the french fries were AMAZING.

French Fries @ Alcenia's

After the tour we absolutely did not plan to explore the Sterick Building, and instead went to this gross AmVets thrift store out on Elvis Presley Blvd with Amy and her friend David, and then had a dinner at the Young Avenue Deli. I had a sandwich with cucumbers and sprouts and felt west coast-y again.

Wednesday, March 30th
On Wednesday we were supposed to go to some better (rean: non-skanky) thrift stores and go for Mexican ice cream with Amy, but unfortunately she had to work. Instead Taylor and I went to the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Now, everyone had been telling us to check it out, but we were a bit “meh” about it since we aren’t big music people, but we both really liked it!

Stax Museum

That night Amy wasn’t really in the mood to hang out- she’d had a crummy day and just wanted to drink alone, but I had the perfect idea to cheer her up! See, the day before our copies of Sweet Valley Confidential arrived and we’d planned to read them together, so that what was we did (well, the first nine chapters).

So, what can I say about this book? Um, how about IT WAS TERRIBLE. Like, we weren’t expecting fine literature or anything, but there were just dumb, glaring continuity errors that drove us into a rage frenzy. For example: Lila Fowler’s father is named GEORGE, not Richard. AJ Morgan moved to Sweet Valley during junior year and therefore could not have touched Jessica Wakefield’s breast in the seventh grade, and he was a redhead, not a blond. And the thing about Suzanne Devlin crashing her car while under the influence of champagne and multiple sclerosis medication? Okay, that happened, but she didn’t die in the accident and as it turns out, NEVER HAD MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS IN THE FIRST PLACE. Basically the book was NOWHERE near as good as the ideas that Amy and I came up with for a SVH sequel back in 2004.


Obviously we should have written this.

Memphis Vacation: Grizzlies & Graceland

Sunday, March 27th
Sunday was our first full day in Memphis, but it was really more of a half-day. Since we’d didn’t get to bed until 5am, I ended up sleeping until almost one! Eventually I dragged myself out of bed and we went for a late (VERY late!) brunch at Cafe Eclectic, which was close to the house where we were staying.

Nutella & Strawberry Stuffed French Toast @ Cafe Eclectic
BEC (Bacon, Egg & Croissant) @ Cafe Eclectic

Nutella & strawberry stuffed french toast for me; bacon & egg croissant for Taylor.

That evening we headed downtown to meet up with Zach and Amy for the epic Memphis Grizzlies-San Antonio Spurs game. I’d never been to a professional basketball game before, although Taylor had- in fact, he saw the Grizzlies when they were the VANCOUVER Grizzlies, ahah!

Spurs/Grizzlies Game

This seems insane to me, but maybe that’s just because I’m used to hockey games, which have less fire. Anyway our seats were so close we could feel the heat from this!

Spurs/Grizzlies Game
Spurs/Grizzlies Game
Tanie, Amy & Zach

l-r: me, Amy, Zach (maybe one day Taylor will take a picture of me that is less hideous :/)

Spurs/Grizzlies Game


Grizz-Grannies & Gramps

In addition to Grizz (the mascot) and the Grizz Girls (the dance team), we were entertained by the Grizz Grannies and Grampas Dance Team. Not pictured: the halftime BABY RACE lol wtf.

Grizz Win

Final score: 111 to 104. The fact that the home team won made this night extra fun. I just love a good jumping out of my seat screaming and clapping sporting event!

After the game we all went for dinner at Coletta’s, where Taylor tried the famous BBQ pizza and I got spaghetti sauce on my scarf.

BBQPizza @ Coletta's

Monday, March 28th

Outside of Graceland

Monday was a day to ourselves, which we spent on the quintessential Memphis tourism experience: GRACELAND. First though, we needed coffee, and when we spotted one of the few Starbucks in Memphis I’m sorry to saw we both let out an involuntary cheer!

The Oasis

Taylor embarrassed me by taking this picture so I wreaked my horrible revenge with this one:

And Taylor was also there...

So. Graceland. In real life, it’s so much smaller than it seems in pictures! Like, the decor is crazy over-the-top but size-wise, it’s just a regular house.


Elvis really seemed to have a thing for creepy monkeys.


The pool room was absurd- the walls, ceiling and some of the furniture were all covered in the same fabric.

Green shag carpet on the walls & ceiling in the the stairway.

The Jungle Room- please note more creepy monkeys.

Taylor in the backyard at Graceland. There was a squirrel back here and people were freaking out over it. A squirrel.

Tanie in Graceland.

We both abandoned our audio tour headsets pretty quickly.

GI Elvis

Awesome Jacket

This jacket had unicorns on it!

There were a couple displays of fan “art,” of which this was the most sterling example.

Look at us!
The sad room.

A couple of awards.
Morbid Graceland

We both found the graves super creepy 🙁 Honestly I think the best part of Graceland for me was the super weird people who came to see it. Also, idk if you know but the upstairs of the house (where the bedrooms are) is off-limits, and now I can’t stop wondering if it’s preserved like the rest of the house, and if so how often is it cleaned, and by whom. These are the thoughts that plague me, haha.

Later that afternoon we went downtown and wandered around. We checked out the Sterick Building, which is this abandoned skyscraper that we absolutely never planned to explore illegally.

Sterick Building

We somehow stumbled across Local, a place I’d wanted to check out after Amy sent me a link to an article about this bacon dessert they have.

Food of the Gods

They call it the Ice Cream Sandwich à la Mode and Taylor didn’t think twice about ordering it, while I had the Bad Ass Chocolate Brownie

Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream @ Local

We also had actual food there (I think Taylor had a BLT or something and I had a giant plate of fish & chips) but the desserts were what we really cared about!

Taylor at North Barksdale

One of my favorite parts of being on vacation: unlimited husband time!

Coming up: American Dreams and American Soul
I added some of Taylor’s pictures to my first vacation post; you can see it here.

Manicure Monday

I seem to be most likely to paint my nails on Sunday nights, so I might as well commit to sharing them on Mondays!

Moon Over Mumbai + Hidden Treasure

OPI Moon Over Mumbai + Sally Hansen Hidden Treasure

Moon Over Mumbai + Hidden Treasure

I am totally loving this manicure, which combines 2 of my favorite things: grey, and sparkle! Moon Over Mumbai is my all-time favorite polish, and the Hidden Treasure was a total score- I had Amy buy it for me on ebay before my vacation so I wouldn’t have to pay absurd shipping to Canada. Most pictures I’ve seen of it online have it over black polish, but I think over the pale grey it looks perfectly opalescent.

Also, please excuse my terrible nails. I very grossly picked my cuticles for my entire trip, and I broke two nails while I was away: my right thumb on a door handle, and my left index finger super gruesomely; it snagged on the seat pocket on my MSP-SEA flight during some turbulence and bent so far back it started bleeding everywhere! NOT my favorite in-flight moment 🙁

Home Again, Home Again


I’m back! I know I said I would try to post updates during the trip, and I did do one, but really, I was so busy/tired/drunk the entire time. Plus Taylor didn’t want to go through/upload any of his pictures until we got back (which he’s doing now, all 24GB of them) and what would this blog be without my swiping his competent photography? NOTHING.

I’ll start updating with all our adventures later today, but first I want to thank our Memphis Hospitality Team: The lovely and effulgent Amy and her husband Zach (“American Taylor”), Amy N and Ada the dog and all the ants at North Barksdale, and Katie and Scott: we only met you once and you let us use your biscuit.