Monday, December 24, 2007


Since you’re spending most of your vacation time reading and re-reading the wisdom of my blog, I’ve decided to run a contest to benefit you, reader. I hereby announce my WIN IT BEFORE YOU CAN BUY IT (although it will be shipped on the same day) BOOK CONTEST! The person with the most correct answers will receive a free copy of my latest book, Crowded Skies: Letters to Manhattan.


Here’s how it works. Grab a piece of paper and the modern writing tool of your choice. Scroll through the pictures below and match the name with the person in the image. Obviously, you don’t know most of these people (unless you are one of the people I have issued a restraining order against, or one of my parents, or both). Some of the people below appear in my first book, Here’s to Hindsight: Letters to My Former Self, and some of them appear in my upcoming book, Crowded Skies: Letters to Manhattan.

You will have to use your deductive reasoning skills to figure this out. Try to recall descriptions of past characters. Try to imagine upcoming descriptions of future characters. Tap into your ESP. Read my old blog entries. Google. Whatever it takes. There are 17 pictures here and 20 names. That means 3 of the names will be extras that you will NOT use. Leave your answers in the comments (anyone can comment). Good luck, Grasshopper.

Winner will be announced on Jan. 7. In the event that more than one person guesses all the right answers, I will write the winners' names down on pieces of paper, put them into a bowl of ice cream, eat the ice cream, and see which person I dream about that night. Or maybe I'll just draw a name at random.


-Adrienne – roommate and Texan
-Amanda– NYC friend who walks dogs for famous people
-Antonio – “dashing Italian with a brain that won’t quit”
-Basim – Texan currently living abroad
-Beth – Texan friend who edited both books
-Danger – moved to the jungles of Bolivia
-Dave Barnes – musician, comedian
-Ester – NYC friend who edited both books
-Jane – “Pretend I’m Not ____” friend of HTH fame
-Janice – childhood friend whose dad invented Testamints
-Jared & Kristianna – Colorado friends who give me lodging and laughter
-Josh Goodwin – male model who talked me into moving to NYC
-Lauren - friend from my small group in NYC
-Josh Wilson – tourmate and musician
-Kemper Crabb – my mentor that I nicknamed “Gandalf”
-Lee – pastor friend from South Carolina
-Matt Wertz – musician friend who sings on a few of my albums
-My Boyfriend – tall and brilliant
-Scott Seibold – road manager once upon a summer
-Shawn Barry – friend who is a part of my support system


















A: God, My Husband, & Nuclear Warfare

Q: What are "Reasons I Would Leave New York," Alex?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It's Christmas Time in the City

Some recent happs.

Santacon happened on 12.08.07. It's the day when a parade of Santas march through the City and then disperse to make themselves merry all over town.

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Here is a video of the merry-making.

I sang at the Models For Christ Christmas Banquet, at which Brandon Davidson (right) was interviewed by Seth Whalen (left). Yes, he's the same Brandon Davidson from The Amazing Race.

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I had brunch with my roommate at Life Cafe.

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And some other friends showed up. Including a man, which is totally unacceptable at brunch, by the way, but whatever.

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My friend Lee came to visit and we walked the entirety of Central Park, bottom to top. Here we are at um.... somewhere. Conservatory Gardens, I think.

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And at the top there is a beach-like place. With sand. And a swan. Who knew?

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Then we saw some Mennonites singing in the subway.

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We hit up the BODIES exhibit at the South Street Seaport and walked around in the snow. You can't really see the snow here as it had turned into a less-frozen substance, but there was still plenty of it on the ground, which you also can't see.

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Okay, that's all for now... Hope you're having a stellar week!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Wait For It...

In the next few days, you will be able to pre-order your copy of my new book!! It's the follow-up to my last book, Here's to Hindsight: Letters to My Former Self. And seriously, you guys, it's going to be awesome. If my last book changed your life, then this will totally change it back again. It will erase all the damage I've done, I swear.

Please drop the restraining order,

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We all struggle and scrape and pray, trying to find the piece of life with our name on it. I’ve been frustrated by my mistakes, my lack of clarity, and my unwillingness to do the right thing even when I finally do figure it out.

In one episode of Seinfeld, George Costanza decided to do the opposite of everything he was naturally inclined to do, in hopes that life would turn out better for him. Sometimes that seems like the right answer for me, too, because I’ve found that I usually want the things that aren’t the best for me. That’s why it came as such a surprise to find a place where my desires and God’s desires seemed to overlap. Against all odds, that place was New York City. And I have found Him here, amidst the skyscrapers and street vendors.

Figuring out God’s plan for my life has been beautiful and terrifying, but I’m so glad to be on the journey with Him. He has displayed a power enormous enough to heal my deepest wounds, yet intimate enough for the smallest moments—like the time He painted my wall. I hope my stories will remind you of all the ways He has shown up in yours.



“In a world of self-help, 10-step, how-to books on living a better life, Crowded Skies is refreshing and encouraging look at what it means to simply walk with Jesus. Tara Leigh gives us an insider’s view of how God works mysteriously and miraculously in the little details of life: showing up on sidewalks, in coffee shops, and in the hearts of human beings.”
- Lee McDerment, worship pastor, NewSpring Church

“If you like Tara Leigh’s first book, Here’s to Hindsight, you’ll love Crowded Skies. If you don’t like either of these books, it’s because you haven’t read them yet.”
- Josh Wilson, recording artist

Monday, December 17, 2007

Oh, the irony.

You are 86% REAL Texan!!

High five, you're a complete Texan. People from other states should tremble in your presence because they're simply not worthy. Let them bow before you and convey their undying adoration to you while they announce their true desire to be Texan.

How Texan Are You?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Peace on Earth? Mmmmaybe.

For the past week, I have been reading and re-reading every story in the Dec 10 issue of New York Magazine. I think I may have memorized the first half. But then I dropped it in the sink while reading it during my morning teeth-brushing, and now the pages have curled up and I think I might have to throw it away.


Why is this week's NYM of such great interest to me? Perhaps the articles are even more wonderful than usual? No, that's not it. Are the pictures mold-breaking? Nope. The reason I can't keep my eyes off this issue is less related to my eyes than my nose.

On the second page of the mag, there is a scent strip for Dolce & Gabbana's Light Blue Pour Homme. I only wish the internet were scratch-n-sniff, because I would make your day, you guys. It smells so good that I want to make every man everywhere wear it. I want to amend the Constitution. In fact--and I can't believe I'm saying this--I think it has replaced the previous Greatest Scent of all Time: Old Spice High Endurance Pure Sport Deodorant.

I'm not sure what would happen if someone wore both of those at the same time. But I'm pretty sure it would have something to do with world peace.



Thursday, December 06, 2007

Getting There (And Back)

In the past 7.5 years, I've traveled well over 500,000 miles in my own cars and rental cars. For approximately 350,000 of those miles, I was lost. I kept piles of paper with directions scrawled across them. Napkins, paper bags, hotel receipts -- crumpled up in my purse -- containing all the information necessary to get me to the next venue.

When the "you can't miss it" directions left me missing it, I struggled to track down promoters. When those promoters didn't answer their phones, I desperately hunted coffee shops with wi-fi where I could google the directions. I drove with my laptop on my lap, open to the web page.

When Google Maps failed me, I gave them another chance. When they failed me 10, 11, 12 times, I renounced them and went back to Mapquest. Like it's 2002 or something.

But in November 2007, I gave all that up. That's when I met Lucille.

Lucille knows how to get everywhere, and she even knows where I am without my having to tell her. She remembers where I live, and she tells me exit numbers and street names, even if she does refer to the Tri-boro Bridge as "Tree Borough Branch" and an "expressway (Expwy)" as an "Ex-pwee".

She is small enough to fit in my purse and smart enough to route me around real-time traffic. With Lucille as my witness, I'll never go the wrong way again!

Behold, Lucille - the Navigon 2100.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Caffeine Curve

Inspired by The Positivity Blog, I decided to post about my recent divorce from caffeine.

About six weeks ago (ish), I decided to give up caffeine altogether. No more coffee, green tea, or SFRB (Sugar Free Red Bull). I decreased my intake over the course of a week. During that week, a very strong and angry sea monster moved into my apartment and forced me to sleep all the time. Eventually, he missed the sea and decided to leave my apartment. That took about a week.

So what is life like for me now? Well, I miss the coffee culture... sitting in cafes with a hot mug in my hands, the smell of hazelnut beans, using my bean grinder in the morning to shock myself into waking up. However, I really do feel better. I wake up easier, I fall asleep easier, and I have a greater sense of mental clarity.

It also helps that I have found the greatest beverage on earth to drink now, and it happens to be caffeine free. I've had more than 30 cups a week since I discovered it a few weeks ago, thanks to my friend Beth. It is so good that my mom just had me order 20 boxes for her. And at least 75% of my friends who have tried it rush out to buy it immediately. I've even become "that girl" -- the annoying one who brings her own tea bags to a restaurant and just asks for a cup of hot water. But I do it because there is no way I'm going to drink their crappy teas when I have this little packet of heaven in my purse!!!

Seriously, you guys, it tastes like the inside of Cracker Barrel smells. It is like Christmas in my mouth. And even better... it's only $4.99 per box, which means that I can drink an entire box for roughly the same cost as a cup of coffee!

Go get you some! (Available at Whole Foods)

Good Earth Original Organic

On Visiting NYC - revisited

I posted this last December, and I've decided to make this an annual post. I've amended my recommendations a bit, because some of the places have closed, while other awesome places have opened. However, it mostly still holds true -- which makes me happy. NYC is consistently stellar.


There are few things I love more than watching people fall in love with the City that has stolen my heart. I know it can be a bit of a strange place and sometimes the locals don't exactly throw out the welcome mat, so please allow me to give you an absentee guided tour, along with a few tips and bits of info that might make your trip more enjoyable.

Note: NYC is made up of 5 smaller cities (aka "boroughs"). They are: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island. Manhattan is the part of NYC that most people think of and refer to as "the City." Since I never seem to make it to the outer boroughs, I'll only be dealing with things in the City. I've attached a map of Manhattan below.

* Avenues run north to south
* Streets run east to west
* 20 street blocks = 1 mile
* 5 avenue blocks = 1 mile
* BUT! None of those things apply below 14th St ("below the grid") where everything gets crazy!
* When people say cross streets, the order is Street then Avenue (i.e. "10th & 3rd" - 10th is the St / 3rd is the Ave)
* If you drive, no right turns on red
* In NYC, Houston is pronounced "HOW-stun" not "HEW-stun"
* Don't fall asleep on the subway, no matter how tired you are
* Take cabs after midnight
* Subway lines are referred to by number or letter, not color
* People say "uptown and downtown," instead of "north and south"
* Uptown is roughly anything above 59th Street
* Downtown is roughly anything below 34th Street
* Midtown is everything in between
* The east side / west side division occurs at 5th Ave

Note: most of these places are in the Village (btw. 14th St & Houston)
* Spring Street Natural (food, brunch) - 62 Spring St @ Lafayette St
* 7A (great, cheap brunch) - Avenue A at E 7th St.
* SaraBeth ($$$ brunch) - Fave is @ the Whitney / 1295 Madison Ave @ 93rd St.
* Corner Shop (great food) - 643 Broadway @ Bleecker St
* Think Coffee (where to hang out) - 248 Mercer St @ W 3rd St
* Grey Dog (great coffee & food) - 90 University (@ 12th St)
* Sushi Samba (my fave sushi) - 245 Park Ave S. (btw. 19th & 20th Sts.)
* MudTruck (coffee) - big orange truck / usually parks at Astor Place (E 8th St @ 4th Ave)
* Doma (coffee, food) - 17 Perry St @ 7th Ave
* Highline ($$ Thai) - 835 Washington St @ Little W. 12th St.
* Union Square (people watching) - 14th-17th Sts, Park Ave to University
* SoHo (street shopping) - Broadway, btw. Houston & Broome Sts
* H&M (shopping) - Fave is @ 51st St & 5th Ave
* Cafetasia (Thai, Pan-Asian) - 35 E. 8th St (btw. Greene & Broadway)
* Spice (Thai) - 60 University Pl @ E. 10th St
* Tasti D Lite (frozen yogurt) - they are everywhere!
* Chocolate by the Bald Man (dessert) - 841 Broadway @ 13th St.
* Redeemer (church) - meets 5 times Sunday in different locations / check site for details

* Walk fast.
* Walk faster.
* When stopping to check a map or convene for a discussion, move against a wall. In NYC, the sidewalks are the main routes of transportation. If you stop spontaneously or walk slowly, it's akin to slamming on your brakes or doing 35 mph on the Interstate.
* Don't refer to it as "The Big Apple"
* Many of the best things about NYC aren't in a travel guide. Ask the locals what they recommend.
* If at all possible, avoid eating in Midtown (near Times Square). Prices are ridiculous. Actually, just avoid Midtown altogether once you've done the obligatory trip to Times Square and Rockefeller Center.
* Don't wear your "I heart NY" shirt, as it will mark you as a target.
* No fanny packs (this is a LIFE RULE).
* Bodega ("bo-DAY-guh"): quick-stop corner shop (like a gas station, but without the gas)
* Do NOT use street ATMs or the ones in bodegas. That's a quick way to get your identity stolen.

I might add more to this later if I think of other things. If you're coming to town, drop me a comment, because it would be fun to meet up with you for coffee if I'm in town. Hope this has been helpful!