My first impression was that the event was quite short. It started a little after 7:00PM and I was in my car leaving by 7:30PM. To be fair, I was only fourth in line for the signing… but still.
Elise Strachan was super sweet, though. She’s exactly like she is in her YouTube videos, which always makes for such a surreal but amazing feeling.
The book is gorgeous. She is not lying when she gushes in her videos about the beautiful photos. It is page after page of beautiful shots, bright colors, well-designed themes, everything. It’s definitely more of a coffee-table book and less of a recipe book for the kitchen, but who cares when it’s basically the most beautiful thing ever?
(Plus I’d be so afraid of something staining it! It’s so pretty!)
I’ve never actually given one of her recipes a try, so this might be the best incentive ever to give a few of them a shot. Christmas is fast approaching, and she has pages and pages of material for that!
Before the Signing
This book signing was, as per usual, hosted by Changing Hands in Tempe. (This is the independent bookstore made famous by local author Stephenie Meyer.)
I started the evening by double-checking that I would be allowed to join the event even without a ticket. Turns out it was a public event, so that was all set! I wandered over to Wildflower Bread Company, got some dinner, watched some YouTube (not My Cupcake Addiction unfortunately), and wrote some words for NaNo. By about 6:15PM I switched out my laptop for my Sweet! Celebrations book and headed for the event space.
While I was waiting I chatted with the stranger next to me. Obviously everyone there was a YouTube fan and a cooking fan, so there was plenty of conversation material to be had! We ran through the usual suspects—Nerdy Nummies, How to Cake It, How to Cook That, Gemma Stafford’s Bigger, Bolder Baking, Hannah Hart, Feast of Fiction, etc. We jointly lamented the fact that we were fans of the “old stuff” (specifically in the context of Nerdy Nummies and My Drunk Kitchen) and it was all very hipster and pretentious and frustratingly honest.
During the Signing
Once Elisa Strachan came out on stage, everything was really quick. She spoke for 5-10 minutes about her videos and her book. She was super encouraging of anyone trying to follow their passion and was really all around lovely.
There was open time for questions, but there weren’t many questions so we moved on to the book signing really quickly. Thankfully this was a bit slower and more one-on-one. I was only fourth in line, so I don’t know if they expedited the process later in the line, but the first few people all got a couple of minutes and she was incredibly engaged and friendly.
I asked her if she watched much YouTube (she does, but mostly kids shows with her kids) and we chatted about the phenomena of meeting someone you watch on YouTube. She asked each person what their favorite thing to bake was (mine is chocolate chip cookies, more on that later… that really ought to have its own category entirely).
Overall it was a lovely evening and it is always amazing to meet someone you admire in person.
My Only Suggestion
I do wish it had been a bit longer—particularly in the Elise-speaking part. I’m not sure precisely how she or her agent could go about expanding the programming, per say, since her book is not one that can have an excerpt read from or a demonstration in a bookstore. Maybe she could treat it as a Q&A-style YouTube-esque video? She could have a few prepared FAQs to answer, a silly anecdote to share, and field audience questions as they crop up (and they always do, given time, as demonstrated by everyone asking questions during the signings).
Note to Self
TAKE MORE PHOTOS, DAMN IT. Kristine, you are getting very bad at this photo-taking-memory-keeping thing. You can do better than this.