Sep 302014
 
I miss my library every day

I miss my library every day, there are two more shelves not shown here...it was glorious!

Hello, my name is Sierra and I am a media hoarder. By media, I mean books, music and movies. Over the years I have been forced to edit my collections due to either across the country moves (rip 4000 books that I had to sell as they would not fit in my pod) or the invention of a new medium. The cd to digital online versions of music has been the only non stressful change, as I was able to upload all of my cds to my computer and I'll admit, its a wonderful space saver. The VHS to DVD change however still haunts me. Remember in Men In Black when Tommy Lee Jones is showing off the new mini disc, what does he say? Oh yes, he sighs and says "I guess this means I'll have to buy The White Album again." Well there were one or two movies that I immediately replaced when it came to move over to DVD, but most I did not. I have recently been missing a few movies from my deceased VHS collection though, one in particular is Sweet Home Alabama. It's not on Netflix of free to stream with Amazon prime, so I ignored the urge to watch it for a few months. However I, like many fans of hers, have been noticing Reese Witherspoon making moves lately and then BAM! Look who's on the cover of Vogue!! Her lifestyle "blog" is due to drop soon and she has been taking on roles with "grit", that chick is making a comeback in a well calculated way. Well I'm no fool, I know when to recognize the signs, and they were all telling me to watch Sweet Home Alabama. So I ordered a used copy of the DVD asap...because well, it was obviously meant to be.

Sep 292014
 

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I should have seen it coming. This past year has been a fantastic one for Manic Trout, the growth so far having exceeded all expectations and I am both in awe and proud of it. So it really comes as no surprise that in order to keep growing and to reach the next "level" (because what entrepreneur is ever happy with where they are?) would not be all easy breezy. Truthfully, it kind of feels like a senior feeling all mighty and then starting all over at the bottom of the totem pole as a freshmen in college. But wait, I'm getting ahead of myself, let's start at the beginning...

Throughout all of this growing there has been an underlying disconnect going on that has been holding the brand back from taking the next steps. Something was not quite sitting right but I couldn't put my finger on it. As successful as I have been since the rebranding in 2010 at moving from the random releasing of jewelry to four well thought out collections a year (designed and ready 3 months before release for press) there was something still amiss. Deep down, I knew that well designed jewelry alone does not make a successful brand and would only get me so far, and I feared that I was reaching the top of "so far". This was all made crystal clear a month or so ago, when I was contacted by a trend analysis who wanted to introduce me to one of her clients, a large and very well know name in fashionable stores. I was reviewed by the board and given notes about how they saw Manic Trout as a brand. The missing component was exactly what I been feeling as well, that my brand identity was not visible if even there at all. They recommend that I find myself an imaging consultant asap.

It was a pretty amazing moment when the exact problem I was having suddenly had both a definition AND a solution. There was just one problem...these people are not found via google. I suspect that they are to brands what the secret people are to celebs that make them go from mid western nobodies to the likes of Reese Witherspoon in a few short months. Just like in that world, I quickly discovered that you need to know someone to get an introduction with a secret person who is worth anything and then pray to everything that they can fit you in because these people have wait lists of months and years. Thankfully, after a week or so of emails and phone calls, I was introduced to the exact secret person I needed and she not only felt I was worthy of working with her but had a last minute opening if I jumped right in. Also thankfully, my checking account was currently in good standing because I was about to empty it. And then as soon as it started to fill up again, empty it. And then repeat that a few more times. As you can imagine, secret people are very, very expensive to work with. They are however, worth every penny.

The past month has been a whirlwind, and a very stressful one. There was such a high volume of work being accomplished each day that I would fall into bed exhausted from thinking so much. It was a crash course in a new genre (to me) of branding, business and marketing and one that required a lot of answers from my end on how I saw Manic Trout, where I want to go with the brand, who I design for and many, many other facets of the business, much of it that were completely foreign concepts to me. There were times that I had no idea if what I said was right or wrong or what the hell was going on, but that's where my secret person was the most amazing, as she would guide me back on track and turn all of my ramblings about my designs into something resembling an actual brand. After all of the hours of questions and writing novel long emails back and forth we moved on to the next stage. This included model cards and deciding between stunning women who had modeled for brand such as Versace, Vera Wang, Zac Posen, Cartier, Marc Jacobs, Valentino, Carolina Herrera and other designers who made my head spin. Then a few speed sessions deciding on concepts and clothes and details that had me questioning myself at every turn. The entire time I was constantly feeling both overwhelmed and in over my head but thrilled all at the same time. In hind site, I'm actually surprised I didn't have a few melt downs throughout the whole process. I came close when Adam's dad died and I was up to my eyeballs in all of this, but it all worked out, as life always does.

I am still, two weeks after this intense period is behind me, a bit dazed by it all. I am absolutely still processing everything and wrapping my head around the grown up version of Manic Trout. Because that's what this was all really about. Taking the baby that I have been nurturing and raising for the past almost 12 years, patting it on the head and telling it that it's time to be a lady now.

If you have not been over to manictrout.com for awhile, take a peek if you're so inclined. See the grown up lady version. This is a huge work in progress with a veritable team to make it happen, so there a few details still in the works, but to quote one of my favorite movies..."its all happening!"

Sep 262014
 
two pumpkins and some mums.

I'm celebrating fall, Halloween and Thanksgiving with two pumpkins and some mums.

1. My mother in law, Gretchen visited last week and while at Whole Foods asked if we wanted a few pumpkins and a mum. I said sure, we'd love them! And the preceded to feel overly proud of myself for the seasonal decor outside the front door.

2. Curious about the next big thing on the dessert scene in Austin? Three of my favorite eateries are on the list, yum! Read more here.

3. Have you seen the 73 Questions videos? I adore the interview of Anna Wintour. Watch it here.

4. As a women in my late 30's who is childless, I have noticed that those of us in this position (especially if married and its by choice) tend to stick together. What has been brought to my attention is that women with celebrity status are questions way more about the lack of children then the rest of us. Here are a few thoughts by these women on the subject.

5. The decision for Young House Love to take a break from blogging shocked many last week, but those of us who have been reading blogs for years and years have come to see blogger burnout as the norm. The NYT seems to have just realized that it happens. Read the article here.

Have a great weekend!

 

Sep 252014
 

Apparel tags

Being a wearer of dresses and skirts, I find that keeping track of the dry cleaning/laundry cycle is a bit of a dilemma. Especially as I work from home and therefore will often wear a dress for only a two hour period and then back on the hanger it goes. This is due to my having a bunch of skirts that are my "studio skirts" that I wear with plain white t's when in the studio as when I make rings, the wire has been known to attack my arms and clothes as it flies around in the wrapping process. Anyway, I have a system with the skirts that whatever I have worn gets moved all the way to the left and back to the right when clean but the dresses are more organized (by color and level of formality) so I don't have a useful system in place, only a pretty one. Being the neurotic organized person that I am, I have had "create a method to track what dresses have worn" on my to do list for a few years. I have thought of using a few methods such as the turning the hanger around trick. But I know that would drive me crazy as I have an all matching hangers, equally spaced apart situation and could not handle a backwards hanger. Well that and does it really work with shaped wood hangers? I also though of attaching colored yarn to the hanger but that would also only indicate it was worn once and the thought of multiple colors made my eyes twitch for the same reason the turned hanger concept did.

Apparel tags

A few weeks ago I was over at Knock Knock, picking up a new grocery list pad (if you are a list maker, this company will be your new BFF. I found them waaaay back when they were a baby company in the early 2000's and instantly was smitten, they have remained awesome as they have grown and I own ALOT of their stuff) and I could't believe but they had my solution. Apparel tags made to loop on the hanger with places to note things such as when it was last worn, if it needs to be washed and other important fyi's. Lets also not overlook a key factor here, that they are designed beautifully. I almost fell over they were so perfect. I'll admit that I have yet to implement my new system though as part of me is struggling with everything not being laundered first so everything starts from the same base. Btw, it's very difficult dealing with needs like this, as I feel crazy even thinking them but I know I'm not alone in thinking these thoughts so thats helpful. I also know that I'm overdue for a good clean out of what I haven't worn this year, and have been waiting for temps to drop from the 90's first. So you know, it might not happen for another month, but then...oh then, my world will be a happier place!

Sep 242014
 
A feast of meat at La Barbecue

A feast of meat at La Barbecue

Next week Adam is headed off to begin training for his new job and will be in Miami for 2 months followed by a month in Vegas. If it were anyone else, they would be sent to North Dakota or something, but no, Adam will be in fabulous locations where he can golf on weekends. This is his last week at his current job so we'll have a few days to have a few romantic dinners and true date nights before he goes, but this week seems to be a celebration of all of his favorite foods. I have not been participating in all of these meals, but due to his excitement over it, I joined him for pizza again on Monday and we're about to grill burgers, which I eat sans bun and with a side of spinach. We've had sushi (sashimi for me) at Piranha, barbecue at La Barbecue, Pizza at Home Slice and Adam has had tacos from the truck down the street, P. Terry's burgers and who knows what else when he's been out and about. I don't think he has realized that he's working his way through his favorite meals, but one by one, he has been requesting them! What are your favorite foods that you would load up on knowing you'd not have them for three months?

Sep 232014
 
Christian Dior Haute Couture

Christian Dior Haute Couture

Would seeing Oz behind the curtain in fashion ruin the magic, or make it more special? I was obsessed with fashion magazines from my pre-teens though my mid 20's. When I was 12 we moved to a house where I had the finished attic as my bedroom and I papered the extensive walls with ads and editorials. There was a wall of all the marilyn-esq black and white Guess ads, one for Benetton and their multi racial campaign and a Ralph Lauren wall filled with country tweeds...those are the ones I remember, but I was updating them all the time. I was obsessed. Through my 20's I subscribed to at least 15 fashion mags and poured over them every month. Then in my mid 20's, my jewelry began appearing in these pages and I went to my first desk sides. I remember the day so well. The day I visited Vogue, Lucky and a hand full more of the revered halls of the offices that brought those glossy pages to me for decades. That day the magic ended. It was all advertising and rushed deadlines. Everyone running around trying to fill the pages and meets quotas. I let the subscriptions run out and rarely even bother to flip though a magazine anymore now that I can see the editorials on line anyway. I saw who Oz really was and the magic instantly disappeared.

I wonder if visiting the production floor of a couture house would do the same? Couture fittings are had in rooms with mirrors, raised platforms and maybe a small couch. I can't imagine the women wearing the gowns ever see this stage and I suspect that none would ever want to. How much behind the scenes is too much? A Luxe brand is very carefully created, do seeing photos like this pop the magic bubble that it is in?

photo via vogue.com

Sep 222014
 
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Chris Pratt making the best of his own mania in Esquire magazine

Summer is officially over this week. I used to be excited about this time of year, but its kind of lame in Texas as instead of trees bursting with colors, we have crazy thunderstorms and no cooler temps in sight. Even though I now expect both of these things, and accept that it is what it is, I still a feel a tug of home sickness for the north east when pinterest fills with photos of fall foliage. What is lesser know about the equinox is that it's also a trigger for mania and panic attacks for those us that suffer from that sort of thing. I had a life changing moment the other day when I read this post on Dooce and after a bit of googling realized that the tightness and in my chest, the wanting to jump out of my skin and the overwhelming sense that something is just wrong these past few days is perfectly normal. Well, you know, "normal". For anyone who suffers from these things, this week will be a tough one, (although perhaps not as tough as the spring equinox as thats the week that suicides are especially high). As we all were reminded from the horrible tragedy of Robin Williams death, be kind, you never know what someone is going though deep inside.

Sep 192014
 

Manic Trout FW14 Collection
Ahhhhhh, Friday. Really, there is no meaning in the last day of the week for me as I tend to work on weekends too but whateves, its a good day to share what excited me around the web this week!

1. Exciting news for those of us in South Austin, a Pizza and Bake Shop by the group who brought Uchi and Uchiko to Austin is opening soon, and next to it is a new Craft Beer and Coffee Shop...Stouthaus Coffee. Yay for us!!

2. Speaking of awesome things in Austin, this fall both Weezer AND The Black Keys (my favorite!) are coming!!!

3. This quote makes me happy as there is so much truth in it: "Inspiration usually comes during work, rather than before it." - Madeline L'Engle

4. The FW14 Collection from Manic Trout is now available, and from what I hear, pretty great. What?

 

Sep 182014
 

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The show doesn’t go on because it’s ready; it goes on because it’s 11:30...What I learned about bombing as a writer at Saturday Night is that you can’t be too worried about your "permanent record." Yes, you’re going to write some sketches that you love and are proud of forever—your golden nuggets. But you’re also going to write some real shit nuggets. And unfortunately, sometimes the shit nuggets will make it onto the air. You can’t worry about it. As long as you know the difference, you can go back to panning for gold on Monday.
—Tina Fey

I read this again yesterday and just sat there for a few moments afterwards in a sort of stunned silence. Thinking about how much this rings true in the world of every creative person who creates for a living. I cringe when I think back on some of the pieces, and in fact, an entire collection that I have released that were not my best or anything close to it. It's impossible to hit gold every time you try, especially if this is your career. The secret is to just keep aiming for it and never stop striving.

Sep 172014
 

Pumpkin Spice Candy Corn

I figured it was time to just accept that I will be a candy addict for life and embrace it. So many times I have been tempted to declare a candy of the month, but have resisted because well...who knows, its very tricky the thoughts of an addict. Anyway, I was actually called out on my jewelry looking like candy on tv last week, so yeah, denial may be out of my reach at this point. I caved because I currently have a drawer full of candy in my studio and as some of them are actually new to me, I have been telling everyone who will listen about these new finds. As per usual, when I find my self telling everyone I see about something, I also tell you, because I'm awesome like that. SO what better time than by introducing the candy of the month of September....Pumpkin Spice Candy Corn from Brachs! Was that as exciting for you as was for me? If not, I suggest eating a handful of these really fast and then read it again!

About 5 years ago, Brachs began offering up seasonal flavors of candy corn, I think they started with just in the fall for halloween, but then I saw s'mores the other day, and its not from last year, or new to this year, so I think it was left over from a summer release. By the way, Brachs is oddly quiet on their own website about these flavors, but I did find a great current and past season selection here. It seems the flavors for this fall are Pumpkin Spice, Apple Pie and Caramel Macchiato. I only have found the Pumpkin Spice so far and they are delicious. I feel ill pretty fast and they are insanely sweet, even for my bottomless sweet tooth, but oh so tasty. Similar to the original but with a wonderful spicy twist. Did anyone else notice that there seems to be gummi candy corn now too? I don't know if I could do that, sometimes when two of my favorite things collide in gummi form, its a fail. For example, Gummi Smurfs.

Anyway, I'm not a fan of drinking the fall favorite pumpkin spice lattes, I actually detest starbucks coffee in general as I like black coffee and its just too bitter. So this is my edible tribute to fall this year. Cheers to the changing leaves! Which ps, doesn't happen in Texas and its still 98 degrees out. But whatever, happy fall!