Feb 162015
Books I read December 2014

December 2014 Books

The last two months were pretty heavy handed in the business category as I had a tiny meltdown that led to my devouring knowledge in order to drag myself out of a series of panic attacks. It worked though, because knowledge is power, people.

December Books:

1. If Minds Had Toes" Lucy Eyre. Imagine there is an afterlife for philosophers and the residents decided to see how much they can teach a teenage boy in a few months by inviting him for visits to their world. Its been a long, long time since I've pondered philological teachings. It was enjoyable in a bizarre way.

2. Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld. I have loved every single one of her books and they just keep getting better. Sittenfeld captures your attention and gives you a reason to ignore everything else in your life and just read. I cannot wait to see what she writes next!

3. The Harm in Asking by Sara Barron. Hmm, I can't remember much about this one. I actually flipped through it and still nothing. Did I read it? I know I did, so that means that....

4. A Place at The Table by Susan Rebecca White. I loved this book. I'm realizing I have an incredible for soft spot for books whose main character grew up in the south, but they now live in the North East. Strange being that I live the opposite life. Anyway, this is a charming tale of three characters who we learn about by bouncing back and forth from past to present and back again. Its beautifully woven and a wonderful book.

5. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I have not seen the movie yet. I did cry when I saw the preview in the theatre, but I decided I wanted to read it first. I cried. Hard. Through pretty much the entire book. I don't know if I even want to see the movie now as how it played out in my head is how I think I want to remember it. I might start crying just thinking about reading it. Excellent, excellent read.

6. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. I really thought I had read this but in an airport book store, I picked it up and read the back and realized that I never had. Which was even funnier as when I read it I also realized I had been obsessed with and talked incessantly about a book I had never read. Very glad I finally did though as I am big, big believer in the 10,000 hour theory.

7. #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso. If you reading enjoy business books and have been led to believe that this is one, you need to get over that idea. I really enjoyed it, but in the way I enjoyed the Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling books, as autobiographies by awesome women. Interesting to read her story and glad that she stresses that hard work and being frugal while growing the business were the secrets to her success.

Books I read  January 2015

January 2015 Books

January Books:

1. Bee Season by Myla Goldberg. Part of me didn't want it to ever end and part of me couldn't wait to finish it to see what happened next. I really loved it, a great story about family dynamics from the perspective a young girl.

2. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. I was apparently on a dysfunctional family kick this month. Another great read, although this one drags in parts. But excellently written.

3. The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman. Meh. There are already newer rules. Covers too many areas too broadly.

4. Luxury Fashion Branding by Uche Okonkwo. A textbook and as dry as you would assume. I am not in the luxury market so this was more out of wanting to educate myself in other markets. The second half is pretty outdated, but the first half is really interesting as it covers the history of the luxury market.

5. UnLabel by Marc Ecko. Just as I read the book on the luxury market to see what that sector is like, I read this one out of curiosity on the making of a street wear brand. Not as educational in a broad sense as the luxe book, but fascinating as an autobiography!

Feb 112015

Little Miss Bossy

Over the past year, thanks largely to Sheryl Sandberg, Tiny Fey, Sophia Amoruso and Amy Poehler the term bossy has become a hot topic. Mainly for being called out for being a derogatory and sexist term. Movements like Ban Bossy state sad truths such as: When a little boy asserts himself, he's called a “leader.” Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded “bossy.”

About a year ago I was called bossy by a woman whom I have know for many, many years and had not seen in at least a decade. It felt like I had been slapped in the face when she said it, especially as she meant it as an insult. All I could think was that I had not been called bossy since I was a little girl, because for my entire adult life, I was no longer considered "bossy", I was simply the boss. I'm still pissed off about it, and even more irritated that little girls are continuing to be put down for being natural leaders.

As I know so many awesomely bossy women whom I adoringly call wonderful friends, I decided to sum up the top 5 reasons why it so awesome to both be bossy and have bossy women as friends:

1. Time is never wasted figuring out what the plan is because a bossy woman will always step up immediately and make sure one is in place. Note that if more than one bossy woman is in the group, there is never a conflict over this task, bossy woman love other bossy woman, as long as a plan is being made, a bossy woman could care less who is doing it.

2. Bossy women get shit done.

3. If you have a problem or need advice and you turn to a bossy woman, she will make sure that you are provided with the correct information/contact person/place to go. She will usually also take it upon her self to make all necessarily introductions and connections to facilitate this.

4. Need to address a large crowd of people at a moments notice, grab the nearest bossy woman. She most likely thrives at both public speaking and has no problem coming up with a solution to your problem on the fly.

5. In the time of a crisis or emergency, a bossy woman will save your life. She is usually prepared for anything and is known for skills #1-4.

Now go on out there and surround yourself with as many bossy woman as you can and men: if you're really smart, you'll marry one!

p.s. were you as big a fan of the Roger Hargreaves books as I was? I never realized there were so many!?!

Roger Hargeaves Characters

Feb 102015
my typical breakfast

my typical breakfast

I was looking back through posts from last winter and was amazed that it's been a little over a year since I began eating paleo. At this point its just a normal way of life and I love it. There is little food that I cannot eat that I miss. Although I admit I cheat when it comes to candy, as sugar is pretty frowned upon. Otherwise, I live in a dairy/grain/legume/alcohol free bliss. The biggest thing that I had to get used to was having to cook 3 meals a day. If I worked in an office, it may be much more difficult, but the paleo lifestyle fits very well into my existing life, so thats a big bonus.

This is very apparent when I eat at a restaurant or a friends house. I try and be as little of a pain in the ass about it as possible when other people prepare my food. It is after all my choice to eat this way. I am not doing so for health or allergy reasons (beside being lactose intolerant and having the basic desire to feel and look good) so I do not expect people to bend over backwards to cater to my needs. It is generally believed that if you follow the guidelines 80% of the time you get about 95% of the benefits, so if I am at a friends house for dinner or at a restaurant, I discreetly eat for the most part within the guidelines, but I prefer to have a cheat night than be one of "those people".

Adam and I have also agreed that if we plan to have a special night out that involves a chefs tasting menu (our weakness) or if we're going someplace that one of us loves we are not allowed to have food issues due to my eating paleo or Adam being the worlds pickiest eater. Although that is usually more along the lines of my agreeing to eat pizza at Home Slice once a month because it makes Adam so excited to do so together.

A typical day is as follows:

Breakfast: 2 eggs with hard boiled or scrambled, 2 veggies and a sliced kiwi. Coffee with a ½ tsp of sugar.
Lunch: Diced steak, grape tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots and red peppers cooked with coconut oil on the stove. Coffee with a ½ tsp of sugar.
Dinner: Pork Tenderloin with a coffee chili rub, asparugus roasted with evoo and seasalt and steamed broccoli with lemon juice. Water.
Late night snack: Fuji apple and sunbutter.

Many friends have reached out about paleo over the past year and please don't hesitate to do so, I'm glad to share any info I can with you!



Feb 092015
Rihanna, Grammys 2015, Giambattista Valli

My fav look from the Grammys last night...mainly for the amount of drama in the movement and because: tulle.

Everyone told me that it would take 3 years of living in Austin before the symptoms of Cedar Fever (our worst allergy season) fully kicked in and kicked my butt. I laughed with everyone when they said this but secretly feared when that day would come. Well that day came. Or it could just be a particularly brutal year of it. Either way, I have been blaming everything from eating too much candy (it's gotten out of control again) to why I have not blogged in so long on Cedar Fever. It just feels appropriate.

I plan on powering through the allergy fog though and while I try and keep my eyes open and avoid the temptation of a mid day nap let me give you a quick update on things besides my seasonal allergies. I am still in the midst of an insane rebranding. At one point it felt like I was personally being rebranded to the point where I had no idea what was going on (this was the real reason for my absence here...how can one blog when one does not know who they are??). January was pretty much a nightmare as often happens when the nitty gritty aspects of a project, you know, the stuff you keep avoiding, got hashed out. The dust seems to be finally settling though and both the SS15 and FW15 Collections have been designed in the direction of the new brand, so we're officially through the worst of it I hope. I'm both excited and terrified about most of all this still, but that is for another post. I  have a lot of thoughts (oh so many thoughts!!) on how to share the what and whys of all of this, but I'm not ready to tackle that story yet.

In the meantime, I wanted to try and get back to it over here at Her Daily Muse. Honestly, I have been having issues on what this place should be. It began as the blog for Manic Trout and slowly evolved into its own entity, but somehow giving Manic Trout it's own blog late last year made me unable to post anything here anymore. But I have things to say and share and everyday I miss writing here...so here I am. Trying.

Besides what's been going on with Manic Trout, I want to catch you up on what I've been reading, how its been going eating Paleo for a year and what I've been up to with Adam being gone for most of the past 5 months for work. Oh and we're getting another dog this week! So let promise to meet here again tomorrow, shall we? In the mean time, what's new with you?


photo via @giambattistavallipr

Jan 012015
Rifle Paper 2015 Calendar in the Manic Trout Studio

Hanging over the shipping station

I despise New Years Day. There I said it. The whole, "now is your chance to finally be a great person" aspect of the new year is beyond annoying. As are the goals made that no one accomplishes. Ever. Personally, I prefer to take this one day to reflect on how much I did not accomplish in the last 365 days and wallow in it. As most of the world is hungover, and no one does anything of importance on this day, its a nice time for this type of behavior. By tomorrow, I'll be back to my effervescent self and ready to take on the world, but today: I grumble.

The 5 of the 6 calendars around my desk necessary for managing Manic Trout

The 5 of the 6 calendars around my desk necessary for managing Manic Trout

The only good part of January 1st is that its the day to break out new calendars. As I admitted last year, I really enjoy calendars. Thank you to Thea gifting me the beautiful Rifle Paper 2015 calendar, I have topped 2014 and now have 7 calendars in the studio. Now that is a reason to get excited today!

The 7 Calendars of 2015

6 of the calendars for 2015

In case you are wondering why on earth I need 7 calendars:

1. Austin Events Calendar: For the obvious reasons, also to see holidays and I mark when I go running or work out with red dots to give me a bit of visual encourangement to fill it up with red dots. It hangs on the wall behind my computer so I look up and see it.

2. Rifle Paper Calendar: An unexpected gift from my sister as she knows how much I love both calendars and pretty things. Its hanging above the shipping station which is useful for obvious reasons.

3. Desk Pad Calendar: A recent obsession after I discovered these last year. Great for jotting down notes for the entire week. Sits on my desk to my right.

4: Single page printouts of 2015 and each quarter: Noted are the dates for design and production according to the PR and wholesale schedules. These hang to my right.

5. Social Media Calendar: I actually made this one out of a covered corkboard, paper and post its. I have blog posts, facebook posts, newsletters, twitter and instagram posts all planned out a month in advnace on this. It hangs to my left above the production calendars.

6: Spiral Desk Calendar from Sugar Paper: Where I pencil in appointments, meetings, workouts, lunches, trips etc.  I have given up on the electronic version, I prefer paper. I also keep a paper version of Manic Trout sales in it, I find it easier to flip though to see how the month is going than opening a spreadsheet. Sits on the top left corner of my desk, open to the current month.

7: Pocket Calendar: I am going back to a paper version of what I carry with me too. I can look through and schedule so much faster in paper than I can in my phone. Hangs out in the studio when I'm at home, goes in my bag when I'm not.

*8: Doesn't really count as its not in the studio, but we keep a big magnet dry erase calendar on the fridge too with all meetings, travel and important dates. Adam still forgets everything anyway, but at least I can say that it was up there.

Hope you are enjoying New Years Day the way you want to and Happy New Calendar Day!!

Dec 092014
Reading list October, 2014

Reading list October, 2014

I have to admit that since I have stopped buying books from Goodwill, the quality of what I am reading has drastically increased. I like to have a good selection to choose from, so there are still plenty remaining that are probably not what I would pick out if my options had not been limited, so excuse those peppered within each month for the next few months.

October Books:

1. Righteous Porkchop by Nicolette Han Niman. I need to start off with this book, as I have been talking about it non stop for almost 3 months now. I should begin by stating that it didn't register when I picked this book up (I must not have read the back) at Barnes & Noble that it was authored by the wife of Bill Niman, founder of Niman Ranch. It made the book that much more wonderful though, as I lived and ran restaurants in the Hudson Valley of NY for a few years and was very familiar with the high quality of both their meat and philosophy.  If you have an interest in food quality and eating well, this book is extremely educational on the subject of industrial farming and food production in the US. I know farmers and have spoken to them at length about the battle in this country to make a living at farming while maintaining humane conditions for their animals. This book gets into it. It also brought light to the reality of chickens eating chickens and what that means to the humans who consume them. I loved this book.

2. Families and other nonreturnable gifts by Claire LaZebnik. Admittedly, I could't remember much of this one. I have read at least two of her other books though and although none of them really stand out in my memory, they're good reads. I think I wanted something lighter after reading accounts of animal slaughter. It was perfect for that.

3. Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani. I have read a few of Trigianis books and they all have taken place in past decades. She does well with it, and what stands out the most to me are how she describes how the women look at that time. This book is set in the seventies, although the story could be told presently with updated icons and details. Reading this was like watching a movie, I could see it all as it happened. A bit fluffy, but not too bad.

4. Nantucket Nights by Elin Hilderbrand. Left over from the goodwill selection. Would never have picked this one up otherwise. A bit too soap opera ish...lots of drama that was a bit ridiculous. Maybe a good beach read.

Reading list November, 2014

Reading list November, 2014

November Books:

1. Man made by Joel Stein. Hilarious. Metrosexual guy has a son and feels unqualified to teach him to be a man, so he attempts to learn what it means to be one. I laughed the entire time. Its the perfect social commentary on how many men gen x and younger feel. Did I mention it was funny?

2. All The Flowers in Shanghai by Duncan Jepson. About a the life of a Chinese woman in old Shanghi. Beautifully written and engaging. An excellent historic story. Poetry in book form, which I normally do not go for but loved it in this instance.

3. The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski. I have read many books written about the Holocaust, but somehow never had read this one. I'm glad I did as it is from a perspective I had not read before. The afterward of what happened post publication was almost as incredible as the book itself. If you have not had a chance, I highly recommend you read this one.

4. The Playdate by Louise Miller. Fluffy with twists and turns, you end it with a big WTF happened at the end. By no means ChickLit but still light enough for a plane or beach. Good book to curl up on the couch with a blanket and cocoa on a wintery day. It was an excellent decision after the least book to lighten the mood.

5. Good Grief by Lolly Winston. I was feeling it for the woman in this book, a young widow who tries to rebuild her life. Not a good one to read in public if you're empathetic to main characters as you may cry a lot, but really touching.

Sooooo, what have YOU been reading? Would love to know!


Dec 032014
Our program from dinner at Barley Swine.

Our program from dinner at Barley Swine.

The minute I created a blog just for Manic Trout, I knew I would end up neglecting this space too often. So even though it's the holiday madness, I wanted to share a few things that have made me smile this week...because, well, when you are in the midst of chaos, it really is the little things.

1. Adam is home for the week before he heads off to Chicago and then Las Vegas for work, we've been cramming in as many things as possible as we see other once a month right now. This basically means that we have been eating all of his favorite foods both at home and out and about. Its been a very yummy week.

2. One of the culinary highlights was completely unplanned but due to holiday parties taking over restaurants on a night when our plans were cancelled last minute. We we able to snag a table at Barley Swine, and made the happy discovery that they have switched over to a prix fixe tasting menu (I'm really into tasting menus right now). It was amazing and I highly recommend it! They provide you with a program of your dinner, and that's what you see above...yummmmm!

3. After a wonderfully awesome Cyber Monday, Adam agreed to let me go to Big Top (I say let me as my candy addiction got out of control again this fall and I need someone to be the voice of reason). I have sacks of candy now to fuel me through the next 3 weeks. The highlights were of course gummies: army men, mustaches and spicy chilli peppers!

4. When visiting with our niece and nephew the other day, 4 year old Olivia was telling me about her recent meeting of Elsa at parade. She told me that when Elsa went by, she yelled "Hey Elsa!!!! I'm you're 4th biggest fan!!!!".  As you can imagine, the cuteness of this caught Elsas attention and Olivia received both a hug and a peck on the cheek, which pretty much made her whole year. Her telling me this story made mine ;)

5. I have finally figured out the winter weather here in Austin and have been shopping a lot to make my winter wardrobe both less NY and less "summer with a sweater". Somehow this created a weird, dancer ensemble going one evening with tights, leg warmers, hot pants and a black sweater...I don't how that happened but I liked it, ha!

What has the highlight of your week been?

Nov 062014


I'm having a decor dilemma at the moment and I need input. For about 14 months I have been lusting after this large whale for the stone wall in the living room. I have't pulled the trigger yet because I can't decide on what color to order. There are 28 possible options, all slightly distressed on wood, and I have it down to 4. Well, 3 really, I don't think I like the grey. I posted the straight on shot on IG, but then made another mock up for a second round with my mom and sisters and confused myself all over again.  The whale is 48" long by 14" tall so it will have quite the impact.


The room is the main room in the house, so I'll see this thing constantly. I love the black but worry it will draw attention to the only other black in the room, the tv. Most of the small accents in the room are ivory and gold (there is another table behind the couch that is not seen in the photos and is white with ivory and gold lamps and things on it), so I thought gold might be a good way to go without drawing all the attention in the room to it. However, if I want to draw attention...and keep it "real", then I think navy is the way to go. Navy also goes well with the paintings in the dining room which is technically in the same huge open space.


What are your thoughts? Keep in mind that the colors are all mocked up in photoshop, except the black, so I'm sure they will look better in person.

Oct 282014


I love being in the studio late into the night. Its quiet, there are no emails, texts or phone calls coming in after about 11pm and as its dark out there's a cozy feeling in the room. I have been a night owl since before I can remember. I have never wanted to go to bed. Not because I think I'll miss out on anything, simply because my brain works better late at night. I'm at my sharpest, work comes easier and I can focus the best from about 9pm until about 2am. When I do finally force myself go to bed, I still can't go to sleep but read for an hour or two. Only when I have been working really, really hard, such as working on a huge deadline for orders do I fall asleep quickly. As you would assume, I don't think I have ever woken up and jumped out of bed all excited to go. I drag myself out of bed. After I read emails and check in with social media for a while. Which is after I have hit snooze 10 times...and then just shut off the alarm clock and gone back to sleep.

When I first met Adam, we were both under the impression that he too was a night owl. Then we got engaged and moved in together and we saw how different our natural rhythms were, we realized that was false. The biggest difference is that at 1am, I want to talk about all of the big things. Plans, money, worries...you name it, my mind is ready to discuss, solve and make some lists. Adam not so much. He gets really stressed out when I do this. On the other hand, 8am rolls around and Adam jumps out of bed if he has not done so already at 7am and wants to talk about all of the things, he feels that the time to start the day is NOW and runs out the door to tackle his to do list. I am still sleeping with a pillow over my head until he shuts up and leaves already. When I do finally force myself to get up, it is to get a cup of coffee and read blogs until my brain can process that it needs to function.

There have been some struggles with these difference as we like to go to bed at the same time, but we have some pretty good compromises going:

1. I promise to not talk about big issues after midnight and Adam is not allowed to whistle from midnight to noon.

2. I leave the studio at midnight to have an hour of wind down time in the living room before bed, which we try to go to by 1am, 2am at the latest.

3. Adam is a watch tv in bed while he falls asleep type and I am a read in bed in complete silence in order to be able to sleep type so he watches tv on his phone in bed with headphones while I read.

4. I am trying to get up by 10 every day, and on the mornings he's still home when I wake up, Adam is trying to not come into the bedroom and ask me when I am getting up every ten minutes.

Do you share a bed with the opposite of you? How do you deal it?

Oct 272014


My candy addiction* has gotten out of control again. Funny that I am reaching the peak of hating myself for my sugar addiction the week of halloween...well or not really funny at all. It all started up again so innocently with the monthly biz ladies meet up at my house. In March our meet up was right before my birthday and we had candy kabobs to celebrate. This became a monthly thing and the left overs were in the house, so I ate them. And the next thing I know I was buying candy in large quantities again. As I tend to stress eat candy, the whole (very expensive) consultant adventure I have embarked on, the emotional year with Adams dad and our super hectic work schedule this year had me back on the excessive candy consumption wagon rapidly and its killing me. My blood sugar is all messed up and I'm back to getting the shakes every day again. All the hard work I have done to change my diet with paleo is negated by the stupid candy. So I am publicly declaring a cease and desist. Hopefully it holds me somewhat accountable. Wish me luck, I'll need it.


*please note: In having dealt with very intense substance abuse problems with multiple loved ones over the years, including loosing some to the battle, I am sensitive to the issue of addiction and want to be clear that I am by no means making light of addiction with these thoughts.