For 30 bucks Austinites can publish their favorite grocery list, your macaroni art, snapshots of your cat, poetry you wrote in 7th grade, that love letter you wrote but never sent, or maybe a story about that time in pre-school when you told your mom that Chris Brown blacked out the entire building by sticking a fork in a light socket…except it wasn’t Chris Brown, it was you – you didn’t want to get in trouble but that STORY WAS TOO GOOD NOT TO TELL….

Anyhoo, anything goes on your page according to Phenix Literary Publicists:

So, you may be asking yourself: What is “Austin Makes a Book”?

First, a little background. We’re the team behind Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists here in Austin, Texas, and we’re celebrating our 15th anniversary this year. We wanted to create a cool project that would bring our love of books and our love of Austin together, so we thought, Why not help Austin make a book?

Here are the basics: Austin Makes a Book is a crowd-funded social experiment. 100 different people. 100 different pages. We’re asking for submissions from Austin residents, and the first 100 people to send something in and contribute $30 toward the cost of the books will be published. You can submit anything: short stories, essays, poetry, artwork, photography, whatever you want (see our submission guidelines for more details). We’ll begin accepting submissions on September 21, so start digging through your old journals, notebooks, garage, closets, studio, or wherever you keep your artistic and/or literary endeavors and find that little gem you’d like to share.

The best part is that we’ll be having a launch party for the book in November – and all the contributors will be invited to pick up their copy and hang out. So keep watching this space for updates, and tell your friends about Austin Makes a Book!

If you have questions, check out our FAQ section.

Let’s make a book, y’all!

It was a dark and stormy day. Monday morning found me packing up the few items of clothing I had, sans workout clothes, sliding on my trusty flip-flops, and hopping into a cab with Jason G, my trusty sidekick. Our first stop? The amazing Bra Guru.

Trusty Sidekick

{intimacy}, located in Madison Avenue, was kind enough to open up for little ‘ol bra-impaired me for a private fitting, and frankly, I was excited. As the door was unlocked, I was immediately greeted by the lovely Dee Binyard, Bra Fit Stylist. I had the shop to myself and I assure you, Dee knows her bras. In a matter of minutes, I’d been fitted so perfectly into four beautiful bras. I wanted to kiss the woman for her genius, instead, I begged Dee to let me leave the store wearing my new low cut t-shirt bra. A bra that felt as if God himself had made it just for me. (During my visit, I did my best to get Jason to try on a pink and purple lacy thong, but, no dice.) As she wrapped up the remaining bras, she and the ladies of {intimacy}, gave me a gift of a beautiful lingerie bag and special wash to insure I take good care of the bras who know were making my ‘girls’ look so good, I couldn’t help starting at my own chest. Jealous? Well, if you live in Dallas or Houston, you’re in luck, both cities have {intimacy} locations. Do your boobs and your clothes a favor and visit.

22Next we were off to the What Not to Wear studios. Located on the 5th floor of a Union Square area building, the space was small and very efficient. Pre-interview, introductions to crew, and wired for sound, the next 10 hours found me changing in and out of clothes, confronting the 360 mirror, and watching my clothes being trashed. As hot and sweaty as the lights were, as devastating and enlightening as the 360 mirror was, I must admit, the trashing of the clothes was…cathartic and happily I was able to keep a few things. I was introduced to my ‘rules’ mannequins and thought, as they yelled, ‘cut!’ that I was done. I rushed back to my room in the studio, put on my clothes, packed my back and was ready to go back to the hotel, exhausted. My head was reeling with information, apparently I have a large rack, who knew? My ego bruised and a little defiant and I was, honestly, emotionally and intellectually feeling a little battered. My escape, was short lived.

Bye Bye Clothes

Bye Bye Clothes

Jason alerted me that I had one final interview for the day. *sigh* I had to go back to my room in the studio, pull a dress out of the trash bin, sit in a chair and answer some pretty hard questions about myself. “Why are you drowning yourself in clothes?” “How do you feel….” “Why do you think…” I was tired, I gave my answers, cried a little, okay, a lot, and finally I was freed. I understand know why the women on the show cry and get cranky. They’re just as exhausted from shooting and reshooting, room level checks, and everything else that comes with the complications of making a show as I was. It’s not a lack of gratitude on their part, we’re all grateful for this once in a life time opportunity, its simply physical and emotional exhaustion you’re seeing, and I assure you of that.

13 hours later, I was finally allowed to hoof it from the WNTW studios, suitcase in hand, leapt through puddles and dodged raindrops the size of half dollars. Finally in the confines of my hotel room, I found myself, beer in hand, doing my best to try to reconcile the last 13 hours of my life. And this morning I still haven’t.

But I’ll let you in on a few things I learned before I go on my first day of shopping with Jason:

Flip Flops are not ideal for rainy NYC days and nights.

There is, apparently, a “sex kitten” inside of me.

I have big boobs. I swear I didn’t know this.

Some body mics have teeth. Teeth that will bite the aforementioned boobs.

I can’t open my hotel windows thanks to a man on the 19th floor that decided to go out on the ledge.

Saying goodbye to old, frumpy, bury herself in clothes Amanda felt good. Damn good.

Talk to you soon, Texas!

wntwaMarch 25th, 2009 will always be a day that will live in infamy for me. That was the day that What Not to Wear’s Stacy and Clinton, along with 2,376 of their closest camera crew and producers, crashed the Best of Texas charity event to surprise me with a makeover. Well folks, my bags are packed, I’m heading to New York on Sunday and you won’t see me again until Friday, April 24th, but you’ll be hearing from me.

To be honest, I’m freaking out. I’ve cried some. I’m scared, too. Not scared of the fashion intervention per say, gawd knows I need it, just scared that I’m actually going to be forced to confront the fact I literally stopped caring about myself and my appearance and confront those reasons on national television. Such is life. For now, I’ve got to put on my big girl panties, toughen my thin skin, and embrace the fact that I have $5k to spend on myself. The hardest part will be believing that I’m worth it.

So, while I’m away being verbally abused by Stacy and Clinton for my wardrobe choices, confronting the 360 degree mirror, scouring New York’s finest shopping establishments, fighting with Carmindy over wearing foundation, and doing my best to rationalize and excuse with Nick every gray hair I’ve grown to love on my little head  – all for your television entertainment come June – I’ll still be typing away at Ye Olde Squawker blog, so be sure to come by and say hello.