Oct 172014
Fall food

My cooking moves towards comfort food and is filled with root veggies as soon as the leaves start to change.

Even though the temps are still reaching the mid 90's during the day here in Austin, it still feels delightfully like fall. I have some friends here who could care less what the weather is and go full boots/tights/scarves as soon as October arrives. I don't go to that extreme, but am already wearing my favorite slippers around the house in the mornings and nights. I also have found my cooking getting more seasonally appropriate already, just because I can. It got me thinking about my fall favorites...no matter where I have lived...

1. The foliage. Oh how I miss the Hudson Valley at this time of year!! There are a few dry leaves in my yard. I enjoy crunching them, but the trees are still green so its not really the same thing.

2. The cooler temps to wear layers, but not cold enough for jacket weather...well we haven't gotten there yet, but at night I can now wear a light sweater!

3. Tea. When its not so cold out that I want it to warm up, but cool enough at night that I don't have to crank up the AC to drink it.

4. Getting dark earlier. I may be in the minority on this one, but it makes the evenings feel cozier and its not dark so early yet that its annoying.

5. Pumpkin flavored everything, halloween candy, pies and root vegetables. All so very tasty.

What are your favorites of the season?

Oct 152014

Faye and I have been easing into fall, and although with the season change our shoots may have become less frequent, what they lack for in quantity, they make up for in quality. We're still working on her actually enjoying the process but as you'll see in the most recent (the last photo) shoot, Faye has reached pro status. If you are new to this series, you you quickly catch up and view 1-8.

How Faye is wearing Manic Trout today 09

How Faye is wearing Manic Trout today: ready for anything (and wondering why on earth we are just standing at the front door instead of going for a walk!) in the Camp Orange Necklace.

How Faye is wearing Manic Trout today 09

How Faye is wearing Manic Trout today: Looking lovely in the Sunday Morning Necklace as she enjoys a leisurely afternoon of tree climbing.

How Faye is wearing Manic Trout today 11

How Faye is wearing Manic Trout today: a little table dancing diva in the Otha Fish Necklace.

How Faye is wearing Manic Trout today 12

How Faye is wearing Manic Trout today: looking smashing while getting into the fall spirit on the Deep Sea Diver Necklace.

p.s. #dogsinjewelry needs more photos on instagram!

Oct 132014


Last month was another great month for books, I loved every book that I read. Looking for something great to read, any of these will do the trick.

1. The House Girl by Tara Conklin. A book written by a former litigator about a litigator who is asked to trace the life of a slave and find living relatives for a case. But the book isn't about that as much as it about two women. One a slave and one in this age. Well written and captivating.

2. I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive by Steve Earl. How many books have I read about functional junkies in the 50's and 60's? If you count my phase of reading everything written by the beats, too many to count. This one can be added to the list. As these stories always are, totally depressing, but in a historical, so far removed from my life that its just entertaining way.

3. The Marriage Plot by Jeffery Eugenides. I was nervous to read this book. Not as nervous as when I read Middlesex and hoped it lived up to Virgin Suicides, as Eugenides has proved he is not a one hit wonder. The issue was that he proved it so very, very well that I thought he can't possibly do this again. And although he didn't hand us over another story of perversities and awe, it was still a wonderful book.

4. The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman. The first part of this one made me think so much of a Judea version of Clan of The Cave Bear and I was obsessed. The last 3 parts were not as epic as the first, but it was still a tantalizing tale. The perfect fall book to curl up on the couch with a cup of tea and a blanket with.

Have you read anything good lately? I'd love to hear, please share below!

Oct 102014
Manic Trout Bling Rings

Pile o' bling rings in the Manic Trout studio...because, its the season of the bling

It been a short week, thanks to the flu. I realized today that this past weekend kicked off the busy season. In week #1 of the busy season, I was the guest designer at a couple of events and ended up sick. Not a good start. Hopefully the next three months will continue on a bit smoother and involve less germs. Fingers crossed. Anyway, even with the first half of the week being offline, I still managed to find a few things that tickled my fancy. What was your favorite thing you read/heard/saw this week?

1. At this point, only the camera is holding me back from jumping the iphone ship and running with open arms back to blackberry. Apparently I'm not alone as the preorders for the new passport were sold out in 2 days. Read more here.

2. I give to you a life changing indoor plant tip.

3. Having a Halloween party? You need a candy bar. Here's how to do it.

4. Hoorah, hoorah...La Barbecue is opening a brick and mortar restaurant on SoCo!!

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Oct 092014
That look on my face (I'm the sullen one in the group of my happy cousins)...that's how I feel about the flu.

That look on my face (I'm the sullen one in the group of my happy cousins)...that's how I feel about the flu.

1. Having the flu in October while living in an place with no fall foliage and 90 degree temps is very depressing.

2. The one positive aspect of having the flu is that it knocks you out, so you have no choice but to rest up.

3. The one negative is that it knocks you out, so you have no choice but to rest up.

4. When someone who is always hot gets the flu, massive amounts of sweating occurs. Have back up jammies ready.

5. If you have the standard flu (aches, fever, chills, sweats, sore throat) you'll need to eat. The good news is that you don't care at all what you eat as you don't have an appetite. This is helpful if you find your self unable to move and miss shopping day. Just keep eating random handfuls of things from the pantry when you make your endless cups of tea.

6. You'll be making endless cups of tea.

7. The two or three days you are bed ridden with the flu will be some of the very few days of your life where you care about nothing going on around you.

8. Being alone while sick is both a blessing and a curse. Its a blessing as it's quiet and you get the tv all to yourself. The curse is that no one will make you tea, bring you food or listen to you whine.

9. Did I mention the sweating?

10. The flu is kind of like depression in that it sucks all of your energy out of you and leaves you unable to get excited about anything and maybe a bit weepy. Thankfully it only comes around every 3 or 4 years.

Please excuse my absence for the past week, I was at an event at the end of last week and over the weekend and Sunday was struck down with the nasty flu. I hope anyone who is also suffering though it, is doing so quickly!

Oct 012014
"La Canzone Del Mare" by Boo George for Vogue Japan October 2014 - Dolce&Gabbana Alta Moda Fall 2014

"La Canzone Del Mare" by Boo George for Vogue Japan October 2014

I hit the ground running this morning. What I thought was going to be an over whelming day reached a new plateau of overwhelming lightning fast. So today, I am just going to show you something pretty. I noticed yesterday that I have "liked" this image on pinterest no less than 6 times. Sometimes we just need to take a few moments to gaze at something pretty, for no other reason than that. Ok...back to full speed ahead!

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

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!