Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Around the 78704

It has been so hard to get back in the rhythm of things at work after being off and having so much fun at SXSW. I really didn't do much of anything last week.

This afternoon my sister and I went to La Patisserie where we had some macarons and coffee. Sister had never had macarons before, so we split an espresso and a fleur de sel so she could try more than one flavor.
Next door there is a postcard-esque mural on the side of Roadhouse Relics.
And I do love me some murals. I saw some new ones while out and about for sxsw, so there be prepared!
The shirt is one of the two items I got at the clothing swap at the TxSCC and the necklace was courtesy of Strut in my conference bag. Jeans are Topshop and bag is Forever 21. A guy driving by yelled out a 3 syllable yeeeaaaaaaahhhhh as he passed us which made us crack up. I tried to imitate his yell and the photos from it look like I am possessed. I said to Sister that instead of Hanging with Hawlie, I am going to have a blog called "Nice Clothes, Creepy Face"

Next we headed to South Congress where we browsed some of the stores, and husband met up with us after he got off work. Then we went to Amy's Ice Cream because they were giving away free ice cream from 3-7 today in collaboration with Google hotpot.  I hadn't really thought things through because I probably shouldn't have eaten so many sweets.
Since we were across the street of course we had to take pictures at the wall of Jo's Coffee.

And we got a big kick over the sign in front of The Snack Bar across the street
 We then had some food at Coat & Thai. This may make me sound like a ditz, but when I first saw the name and read it in my head I thought it pronouncing the "th" and I didn't get why they would call their food trailer that. Then I said it out loud pronounced Coat & Tie and I cracked up.
I can't give too much of a review of the food because I was still full from the previous things that I just had some spring rolls and a couple bites of husband's red curry w/ tofu. It was good, but I'll have to go back when I'm more in the mood for that kind of food.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

SXSW 2011 Day 8/ Style X Day 2: All Good Things Must Come to an End

Shirt: Forever 21, Jean: Topshop, sweet panther bracelet: Lulu*s,  Shoes: from a friend

The theme of this outfit was black bows. I love the shirt I'm wearing but I didn't get any good full outfit shots.

This afternoon I caught an acoustic set by Summer Camp at Red House Pizzeria
I wonder if it is weird to be such a cute couple but to play mostly break-up songs together?
When I got home I proceeded to download all of their their songs off iTunes. Cause I'm lame and didn't already have them.

Later I took my bike out and made to the Convention Center right as the "Technology is Cool, but Technology+Fashion is Cooler" panel began. The panelists were:
- Indiana Adams: blogger & co-founder of Texas Style Council
- Marissa Evans: CEO/founder, GoTryItOn.com
- Kelly Framel: creator/designer, TheGlamourai.com
- Devin Hunt: co-founder, Ly.st
- Syuzi Pakhchyan: author, Fashioning Technology
- J. Erik Schaeffer: CEO/co-founder, RetailrApp.com & DoubleStereo.com

Below is a recap of the discussion. I was trying to take notes very quickly, and hopefully I am attributing the ideas to all the correct people (I also missed the introductions, so I hope I'm right in thinking who is who). There are some that I forgot to take down who said what, and these are mostly paraphrases of what was said.

Why does technology matter to fashion?
-The internet gives a voice to regular people, and in terms of influence puts them on the same level as the major fashion houses. (Devin, Ly.st)
-Fashion and technology have had a long history together, especially in regards to production, such as sewing machines. (Syuzi, Fashioning Technology)
-The internet provides consumers with a channel to access their favorite brands and to interact with the brands as well as other like-minded people.

What is the future of technology use?
-What is missing right now is the tactile feel: to be able to touch and know what a fabric and item feels like. In the future consumers should be able to get an idea of what a product feels like, and can look like. We'll see more of programs/sites where you can superimpose clothing over pictures of yourself that you have uploaded to get an idea of what they'll look like on you. 
-From her own experience, what is important is not a fashion house telling her what to wear, but seeing what other people are wearing around the world. (Kelly, The Glamourai)
- It used to be that you would read fashion magazines, but now you can check out someone your own size on a blog online. The internet is changing how consumers buy. People no longer just read content, but they create it as well. (Indiana, Adored Austin)

With the ability to watch fashion shows online immediately instead of having to be present in places like Milan or Paris and without having to wait months for it to trickle down through magazines and eventually into stores, could this be the end of big designers?
-Designers can now benefit from instant opinions. If there is a lot of buzz around an item or if people really love this dress or that bag, they can decide to run with that.
-Fashion needs to catch up with how quickly clothes should be released after they are shown in fashion week.

Typically there has been the "6 month wait" between when clothes are shown and before they are readily available in stores. How is technology affecting this?
-It is now common to see more photographers taking pictures of people outside the fashion events than at the runway. People are interested in what others are wearing on the street. (Kelly, The Glamourai)
-It is changing how clothes are being produced. Designers are using different materials to get clothes out there. (Syuzi, Fashioning Technology)

How will technology influence people who want to become fashion designers?
-It makes it more accessible. We will see more local brands starting up, interacting with, and selling in local communities. 
-Distribution is getting cheaper. Etsy has made it possible for anyone to start up an online store and get customers worldwide. As well as it has gotten easier to have a small boutique and to sell in a community where the demand will not overload your self production.

With all the online inspiration, how is it affecting trends?
-You can out what people are wearing across the globe. There is a discovery process involved. Designers can go online and be influenced by the public. (Marissa, Go Try It On)

This is the first time style has been incorporated into SXSW, why is it just now combining?
-Fashion has isolated itself for a long time, but it makes sense to merge style and sxsw

How will technology help to make fashion more open?
- Sites like Threadless have opened up doors into fashion for people who might not have ever entered the fashion world such as graphic designers. ( J. Erik Schaeffer, doublestereo.com)
-There are microstyles around the world that you now have the opportunity to view using the internet

What advice would you give to emerging designers who are trying to improve their brand?
-Have an e-commerce presence online: it can make you a global online shipping conglomerate. (Devin, Ly.st)
-Manage your online reputation. Know what people are saying about you. If people really like an item, know how to prolong it's hype, or bring out similar items and styles. (J. Erik Schaeffer, doublestereo.com)
-Don't be intimidated. Start somewhere. Anywhere. Baby steps add up to big steps. (Marissa, Go Try It On)

Audience questions
Out of the thousands of blogs available online, how do you stand apart? (directed at Kelly and Indiana)
Kelly: In the beginning [she] was very casual with pictures. Now [she] tries to think like a fashion magazine- how and where to shoot. [She] is always striving to create better fashion stories and improve content
Indiana: takes a more casual view. accessibility is important. you have people who are very much in control with their content in the way an editorial shoot is conducted vs. the girl next door who is in her same price point showing affordable fashion that is accessible to regular girls.

A business to business question asked by a Facebook video game developer about how to get traditional clothing companies more involved with online opportunities. Do you just have to wait for them to catch up with the times?
panel was a bit stumped
-The major fashion houses are very protective of their goods and their brand. They are also resistant to the changes the internet has brought. (he then quoted a fashion house that said "we don't know about this whole internet thing" which illustrated their reluctance to change) -(Devin, Ly.st)
- Look to Asia to show the possibilities of what can be done. There are a lot of exciting and innovative things coming out of that part of the world at the moment (Marissa, Go Try It On)

Is anyone shocked by how long it has taken SXSW to get with fashion
Indiana talked about how she hosted a fashion brunch last year out of her own pocket and it sold out in one day and had a wait-list of 50 people. Then this year she started the Texas Style Council Conference, and it too sold out, and there were people who flew in for it from places like Canada. It also had a 50 person wait-list. People definitely want it and are interested.

How will technology help fashion open up to the lower and middle class?
-With how quickly trends are developing and how much easier it is to view new designs, places like Forever 21 can see new items on the runway and have a knock-off ready and in-stores very quickly. This is, however, creating a culture of disposable fashion, so designers must be a) innovative and b) strive for quality goods. (Indiana, Adored Austin)

What is up and coming in the start-up market?
-Fashion 2.0. Sites like Polyvore. Google launching boutiques. Finding a way for people to see what they will look like in items, because if a consumer can try something on, they are more willing to buy it. The key is to keep the end user in mind. (Marissa, Go Try It On)
-Fashion is at a point where music was in 2000 with the advent of MP3s and the ease with which independent artists could record their music and distribute it to the public without the record label middlemen. Fashion is now a democratized system. There are so many tools out there for young designers to get started. (Devin, Ly.st)

(mostly directed at Marissa) What is the strategy around the data you are collecting on the people who use your site?
- Users on the site upload photos and say where they will be going in the outfit and what brands they are wearing. The brands they list show what they are interested in, and down the line she hopes to have tailored recommendations of similar styles and brands directed to the users.

Question from Joah (who started Style X): Referencing the previous question that mentioned the middle and lower class shopping price points, when will the technological fashion items (see my previous post that talks about the items on display at Style X that incorporate technology into the garment themselves here) cater to them?
-Right now the fashion that incorporates technology are one-offs and expensive because they are all handmade at the moment. It is hard to get the major fashion houses interested. The sporting industry will be huge in pushing the manufacturing process, since they are already using technology with fashion to help athletes. Once there is a demand, we will see more and more items, and the costs of making them will go down. (Syuzi, Fashioning Technology)

You don't have to pay to read blogs. An audience member asked how bloggers can afford to do what they do
Kelly: she is still trying to figure out how to best monetize her blog. She uses brand collaborations and advertising as well. Tries to look at the big picture and advises finding many avenues of monetizing a blog so you don't have to rely on just one because each way can vary from month to month in revenue. and you have to find what works for you that you can maintain your integrity.
Indiana: when you have an audience that you have built up, you have the power to say "No". Every blog has to know how to stay "me". She advises to only advertise products and items that you would actually use and wear. She has a rule that if she doesn't have the money in the bank to buy the item then and there, she will not promote it.

A man who runs a company that educates against the conflict in Congo which is caused by mining materials that are used in Western hi-tech like computers. He wanted to know how fashion is influencing technology.
-Fashion is finding ways to create more sustainable fibers, such as the dress on display at Style X that uses nanotechnology to color it rather than dyes, which can help change how the fabric is produced in a more sustainable way. Solar powered textiles are alleviating the need for batteries. (Syuzi, Fashioning Technology)

How would a consumer approach the website owners in the panel to say "what does your data from your site show? what trends are you seeing?"
-The sites are still in their early stages. Right now [Go Try It On] has a blog that showcases trends they are seeing around the world. For example if floral skirts were suddenly showing up in Tokyo, in Austin, in New York, that would be interesting and they would want to ask why. They do take some of what they see from their data and editorialize and show their content in consumable ways (Marissa, Go Try It On)
-When she works with brands, she monitors her analytics and can give companies very specific reports. It is important to see exit link clicks and monitor the numbers yourself so you can give brands exact numbers of what to expect if they work with you on promotions. (Kelly, The Glamourai)


After the panel I headed home for a bit. When I arrived I stripped down a bit and just stood in front of my air conditioning vent arms out trying to feel human again. It's only March! I am not built for heat!

For dinner Husband felt like fast food so we walked down the street for some junk. There is a little bridge that we crossed that someone had stacked up tons of rocks on top of each other so there were loads of piles standing precariously.
I know this is a lot of gray, but I hope you can tell what I'm talking about
I was so random that someone spent so much time balancing them on top of each other.
When we got out food we heading towards Auditorium Shores to watch Bright Eyes. I saw him once before, 6 years ago. Again we sat on the lawn of the Long Center, because I couldn't be bothered to deal with anymore crowds.
He played for almost 2 hours and had a good mix of songs from different albums. Husband was happy that he played a lot from Digital Ash.
At the end, just like for the last two nights it ended with a fireworks presentation
The fireworks tonight were actually much better than the ones put on by the city for July 4th. There was lots of oohing and ahhing from the crowd.

I was thinking of going to the PureVolume house this evening to see Owen Pallett (yes, again.) but I'm so exhausted. So that is it for me for SXSW 2011! It was a great one!
Tomorrow will be spent cleaning, doing laundry, grocery shopping, and doing all the routine things I have neglected this week.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

SXSW Day 7: Don't Make the Same Mistake I Did

You know it is SXSW when your wrist is covered in wristbands and stamps.
And the weather goes from chilly to ohomygoshsoHOTimdying.
You might forget that your arm has a lot of ink.
And that you're sweating profusely while standing in the sun.
You might forget that sweat and stamps do not work well together.
You might forget...until you look down at your shirt
dang. right in the middle of my shirt.
First up today I headed to Flamingo Cantina for the Under the Radar Party day 2.
First up was Porcelain Raft, who I don't remember much of their set because I came in midway through and was checking out twitter, fb, etc.
After they finished there were some giveaways, and I made my way closer to the stage.
The second band I watched was called Hooray for Earth who are from New York. I hadn't heard of them before, but I enjoyed dancing a bit during their set. They had the two girls from Zambri singing with them.
Check out their song Sails on Myspace. I actually think the music was better live, which is always great when you can say that about a band.
 The girls were dancing almost the entire time. I love it when musicians dance to their songs and look like they are really enjoying what they're playing.

After their set there were more giveaways from Shure, and I won some new headphones , which I'm super excited to use! I've never had such nice headphones before! In fact, looking them up online, I can't believe they were giving out several pairs in between each act. They are really nice headphones, y'all!!!!

Next up came Owen Pallett. (are you sensing a trend yet? that I tend to see the same acts over and over?) 
 He seemed to be in a really good mood during the set because he said he would play *anything*, and of course someone yelled out "play Peach, Plum, Pear" and he did. I wonder if it gets annoying to get requests for covers that you did 7 years ago? He said "this cover is from 2004. back when it wasn't common to do covers. or like Joanna Newsom" 

 After Owen I headed to the convention center in order to check out Style X. The line for the American Apparel Flea Market was huge! 
I picked up some Square credit card readers. They plug into your iPhone or iPad and allow you to do credit card transactions. Most of the vendors at Style X were accepting payments via Square, and I knew Husband would be excited to have one. 
Keds were one of the sponsors and had a trailer that they are taking across the country unveiling new designs along the way particular to the cities they are visiting. 
I liked the shoes along the ceiling.
My favorite part was an exhibition of new fashion mixed with technology. 
I spoke with the designer of the life jacket on the right who explained that her design is to encourage women to wear life jackets more often by making them fashionable. The life jacket comes in a stylish nautical belt that releases and inflates when you pull a cord (you can see it in action later below). I think it's a pretty good idea when I remember all the times I've been kayaking on Ladybird Lake and just throw the life jacket to the side of the kayak. (er... hi mom! I mean, I always wear one. I mean two! at least!)
She walked me through some of the other designs - the orange-ish dress changes color under UV lights; the red jacket in the background with a bat has a sonar-like mechanism that you can set it to identify objects at a certain distance in front of you and it will vibrate when you get near the objects (it is to help vision impaired people); and the dress on the left uses nanotechnology to get its color rather than dyes. 

Moving over a bit there were several dresses that incorporated lights and lasers.
But most exciting to me was the shoe in the foreground.
just a prototype right now
I spoke with the designer who talked about how women tend to cycle less often then men in urban environments partially because of safety fears, and she wanted to find a way to address visibility concerns. The shoe will be kinetically powered to light up the front and the heel. She did say they are still researching and developing it, and it could be a year and a half before the working prototypes are out and about for testing. I found this piece the most exciting. If you've read many of my recent posts, you'll know that I ride my bike around when it's convenient.
But, I am always a bit fearful taking my bike on actual roads, and I've never ridden it at night. I look forward to keeping an eye on how the shoe develops and finding out what it will cost (especially since you will have to purchase special pedals with it).
You can find out more about technology mixed with fashion here

From Style X I headed to Emo's, where the above ink incident happened.
I watched Givers, who my brother had been telling me to see for the last year, but I've always had other things going on. I couldn't actually see the stage cause the show was packed, but I liked the music.

Husband showed up after their set and right in time for Friendly Fires (yup. another band I already saw this week). He is a pretty big fan of their first album and enjoyed hearing the new songs. I don't know the name of the new one that is stuck in my head, but it has been going round and round and round my brain ever since 5:45 this evening. About halfway through their set a man came and stood in front of me.
"OH MY GOD!" I exclaimed.
"What?!" said Husband
"That's Keith from We Are Scientists right in front of us!" (whispering so I'm not the creeper behind him. even though I sort of am)
"Oh, so it is."
I didn't see them listed as playing any shows this year, so I guess he just enjoys southby and wanted to check out some bands.

As soon as the Friendly Fires set ended we legged it to the convention center in order to check out the fashion shows.
click to view larger
They did a streetwear show with men modeling followed by a women's casual show.
And like I said, here is the life jacket belt in action:
All of the models were SXSW musicians, which was a cool way of merging the two parts of the conference together. 
There's another two fashion shows tomorrow starting at 6pm that you can check out! It is free to the public!

Husband really liked an American Flag shirt from We Are the Process, so we picked him up one (paying with Square, oh yeah).

I had been thinking of going to the Fader Fort to check out Matt & Kim, but we saw on Twitter that they weren't letting more people in (although talking to my brother later a lot of people left after Off Future, so maybe I could have gotten in).
We ended up splurging on dinner at Malaga on 2nd Street.
patatas bravas

tortilla catalan and cordero cacereƱo (lamb)
mantecadas (pastry with whipped cream and strawberries)
manchego cheese slices, toast and quince paste
The food was utterly fantastic. It was one of the best meals I've had in a long time. Husband is wondering why he didn't appreciate Spain until recently (his grandparents live there part of the year and he would often visit when he was little). I lived in Granada for a semester, and he visited me, and we are both longing to go back so badly.

Headed home and watched the fireworks over Auditorium Shores from our living room at the end of today's show. I didn't realize they would be shooting some off each night. Our cats are getting frazzled :-/

Friday, March 18, 2011

SXSW Day 6: maybe I just wanted to match my bike

Both of my brothers are staying with us off and on throughout the week since we live much closer to the SXSW venues than they do. As I was about to leave this morning one brother arrived, and I asked if he would take a photo of my for my blog for a self style photo. He looked me up and down, wrinkled his nose, and said, "Are blue tights in style?"
 Most of my wardrobe is blue. My lovely bike is blue.  I just really like blue.
But I had been unsure of the tights myself. What do you all think? Yay or nay?

I caught the majority of the set by The Violens at the Flamingo Cantina before heading to the Mohawk.
The first band I watched is called Oberhofer. 
 I hadn't heard of them before, but I enjoyed their set. Apparently they don't have a full length album yet, but hopefully one won't be too far down the line.

After Oberhofer I watched Owen Pallett, who is probably my favorite musician of all time. While gazing down at the crowd forming in front of the stage while he set up, a guy from the group next to me said, "Look at all the girls in the front. [the next act] must be a cute boy."
I talked to them about who he was, what he has done (he's done string arrangements for a lot of bands) and what type of music he plays. They stuck around to watch him, and I think they quite liked him.

Unfortunately I had to leave his set early in order to get back to the Flamingo Cantina in order to watch Sondre Lerche, who is way up there on my list of favorite musicians.
He played almost all new songs, a lot of which he was testing out playing live for the first time.
I first saw him in 2004 or 2005 after the release of Two Way Monologue, which is one of my favorite music videos
After his set I rode into East Austin in order to see the band Summer Camp. One half of the band is a guy named Jeremy Warmsley who used to perform on his own, and Husband was a fan which is how I heard of him. 
Their set was great, but Double Down Lounge had no shade whatsoever, and there was not a cloud in the sky. On the one hand I love seeing bands during the daytime during SXSW, on the other hand, even in March Austin is hot. 
My shoulders are very pink tonight. 
Husband rushed over after work and was able to catch the last couple songs of their set. We're going to try and see them again on Saturday. 

We had some pizza at Italo's which Husband thinks is one of the best he's had here. I think he wishes we lived closer to them so he could eat it often! 
Then we headed to Liberty in order to see...
Sondre Lerche!
Again! (but it was husband's first time to ever see him.   ...   ...  and my 6th...)
He played several of the new songs again until someone called out 'play a classic!'
And Sondre joked "like The Rolling Stones? ... oh one of my classics! cause I've had sooo many number ones!" Then he played a couple of his older songs and joked that one had made it to number 1 in 1500 countries.

Then we rode back to our place to grab some water, put the bikes away, grab a camping chair, and headed down to Auditorium Shores, where massive walls of people were moving towards. We decided that we would just sit on the lawn of the Long Center across the street, since it has a good incline, and there was no way we would make it near the stage. There was actually loads of room on the grass there, yet a huge crowd trying to push their way into the fenced in area. We heard chants of "let us in! let us in!" and watched people scale the port-a-potties in order to get in. Then they all rushed the entrance and tore down the gate. It was ridiculous. The place can only hold so many people. I think the crowd management was handled pretty badly. Maybe they weren't expecting so many people?
Riverside should not have been open. They close it down on 4th of July and other events, so why were they letting so many cars through? It all just seemed like a disaster waiting to happen.

The Strokes were good from what I could hear of the set. The speaker volume fluctuated a lot. We ended up leaving a couple songs early cause we heard most of our favorites, and it was all just a bit of a madhouse. We were able to hear the rest of their set from our place with the door open, so it was ok. Maybe we should have avoided the crowd entirely and just listened from our balcony.

Apologies if there are any misspellings or errors in this post like I found out there were in my last one. I'm running on low sleep/energy and trying to type these out quickly each night before sleeping.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

SXSW 2011 Day 5: Music Officially Begins

I'm keeping it pretty chill and relaxed this year for sxsw music. When I was in high school I would do the whole 'try to see as many bands as possible' route. In some ways it was easier to see bands (a whole lot less people going out than there are now) and in some ways it was harder (I was under 21 so couldn't get in a lot of places).

This year there are several people I *really* want to see, and others that I would like to see, but don't really mind if I don't get around to it. I want everything stress free and fun.

To kick things off I rode my bike to Shangri-La in East Austin to Shangri-La to check out Friendly Fires.
It was their first SXSW show and the venue was packed with a line out front.
The singer, Ed Macfarlane, was awesome for dancing the. entire. set.

The crowd went wild for it.
They played two new songs: "Show Me Lights" and "Pull Me Back to Earth."  While announcing they were playing a new song called "show me lights" Ed also added "for all your Backstreet Boys fans" and from behind me I heard a loud "Wut?"

 After the Friendly Fires gig I went home to shower, change, eat, and meet up with husband. In the evening we lined up for the mtvU Woodie Awards which were being held at the Austin Music Hall and broadcast live for the first time on mtv, mtv2 and mtvU.
The sheet said the dress code is normal concert attire. Be ready to rock out and have fun. Wear comfortable shoes as it is standing room only. 
Actually everything in this outfit was given to me. The cardigan and bag are from my mother-in-law, the dress is from a friend in the UK, and the shoes came from a friend here. 
You can't tell from the photo but the print on the dress is men riding horses that are in various positions. 

When we arrived at the meeting place for ticket holders, we already knew they had given out more tickets than there was room inside and for a while it looked like maybe we weren't going to make it in. But we did! 

The Foo Fighters opened the show, and Donald Glover (from NBC's Community) was the host. It was only an hour long, and had 5 performances and 5 awards. I was most excited about seeing Two Door Cinema Club perform
They ~sounded~ good, but I was behind so many tall people I couldn't actually see them.
 Pete Wentz was randomly there giving out an award...that Kanye West won... but Kanye wasn't there to accept it, so everyone started booing so Lil B ran and grabbed the microphone to say that Kanye didn't deserve it out of the nominees. So... he pulled a Kanye. 
Sleigh Bells' performance was another highlight. Towards the end  they had a marching band come out with them. 
Friendly Fires and Aziz Ansari were also on hand to announce presenters and performers. 

Now I should probably get some sleep for tomorrow. Sondre Lerche! Owen Pallett! The Strokes!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

SXSW 2011 Days 3-4

I worked my regular workday on Monday, then stayed up all night for a promotion to get VIP lounge wristbands for the Fader Fort.
surprisingly chipper for 4am and 47 degrees
There was a little bit of a mix-up between Fader and Fiat, but it all worked out in the end. This was going to be a big rant, but the girl from Fader was very apologetic and sweet this morning while getting me the wristband, so all is forgiven.

I was able to sleep for about 2 hours on Tuesdays (after being awake for 26), then when Husband got home from work we headed to the IFC Crossroads House where we made it in time to check out the Beard and Moustache Contest with the Austin Facial Hair Club who handed out moustaches upon entry
trying to do my best frenchy ahawhawhaw curly moustache

The Crossroads House has two parts - the studio part where the cameras are and the stage and room for a small studio audience, and the outside part that has windows that you can see into the inner studio part, as well as video screens so you can see what is happening in the studio, and a bar. During the facial hair contest we were in the outer part, enjoying some beer and watching the screens.

I've been carrying my new ModCloth bag that I won on Saturday. It is handy for transporting my big bike lock while I'm riding to each venue. I'm also wearing a Forever 21 top and jeans from Topshop. I know you can't see the shoes very well, but they are blue and grey oxfords from Urban Outfitters.
After the beard/moustache contest we were able to actually make it into the studio audience for the Comedy Death Ray show. I was super excited to see Aziz Ansari, Michael Ian Black, and Dave Foley. I had seen Michael Ian Black before, and Husband and I wanted to see Aziz when he was in Austin a couple months back, but tickets were expensive and we wanted to see John Oliver as well. We ended up having to choose one and went with John Oliver, but now it has all worked out in the end.
Aziz! (again, no flash photos aloud, so not the best picture but that's ok)
If you keep an eye on the IFC's site you should (hopefully) be able to watch video clips soon.
I wish Michael Ian Black's and Aziz's allotted times were longer, but they were really enjoyable.

Monday, March 14, 2011

SXSW and TxSCC Day 3: Inspiring and Informative

On Sunday we got down to the meatiness of the Texas Style Council Conference.
Although there were breakout sessions for learning photography basics and blogging 101, I decided to listen to all the panel discussions.
The keynote address was given at the beginning by Jennine of The Coveted and IFB.
I'll probably write more about my thoughts on what she talked about later, but some of the key points that stood out were:
-Focus on principles and not technology, because technology will change.
- Everything [in terms and marketing/advertising] has changed and everyone [brands, advertisers, marketers] are freaking out. (It's an exciting time!)
- Try doing everything yourself first. You'll learn more and it will empower you when/if you delegate to others.
-Find your heroes, pay attention to them, and take your inspiration from.

The first panel had two ladies (Alessandra and I can't remember the other girl's name :\ ) from Lulu*s, Patty from Charming Charlie, Elisa from BlogHer, and Gretchen, one of the conference's organizers.
The topic: Going Pro: Both Sides of Navigating Sponsorships
I'm nowhere near that point (and don't know if I ever will be) but it was educational to hear about how bloggers can make a living.
Key points:
-Don't undervalue yourself. You have expertise that you can bring to the table. 
-Treat emails to potential sponsors like a job interview.
-Know what you can do for them and what you want from it as well.

Panel 2: Brooke from Fashism, Janette from StoreEnvy, Pamela from Market Publique, Kendra from DBA, Nora from BurdaStyle, and Kelly from The Glamourai.
Topic: Careers: Using your blog as a career and sales springboard
Another fascinating discussion involving women who had used blogging to help launch their careers online either being a professional blogger or by using a blog to help launch online shops and businesses. I'm not normally a Rah! Rah! in-your-face Girl Power! type of person, but it was pretty inspiring to see several women who took chances on things they loved and were passionate about and are now running successful companies. It was also refreshing to see them so eager to want to see everyone else succeed and wanting to build others up. I think it was Pamela from Market Publique who said that she didn't just want to create a place where she could sell her vintage fashions, she wanted to create a place where *anyone* could do it.
Key points:
-Network with those above you. Ask them questions. Learn from them.
-If you have an idea, don't keep it hidden. People cannot help you if they don't know where you are going.
-Take chances. Learn from your mistakes.

It's such a shame that the panels were all running over and had to be cut short, but luckily the discussion is supposed to continue on the Texas Style Council website soon.

Panel 3: Jennine, Katy and Kyla
Topic: Blogging Longevity: Keeping it Fresh Year after Year
The discussion focused mostly upon preventing burnout.
Key points:
- Show up. You might not get everything you wanted done in the time you want, but showing up and making time for blogging part of your routine will keep things manageable.
- Find your passion. Make sure you are moving a direction that will make you happy. You will burn out if you don't love what you do.
- You don't have to do everything. It is ok to say no.
- Have a schedule but don't beat yourself up if you don't stick to it all the time.

Panel 4: Indiana, James, and Jen
Topic: Authenticity & An Audience: Writing well when others are watching
What is authenticity? How do you stay authentic? What do should you share online? What wouldn't you share online? 
These were some of the questions posed during this panel. The most interesting parts, I found, were the discussions about what to share online. Some people are more willing to share things than others, and there are downsides to sharing. You can get hate email and comments. Or creepy mail. Or people running to the store to say hi because you tweeted you were going grocery shopping. I don't think any one answer to "how much to share" will be right for everyone.
And as far as the stories about the hateful comments, well... I've been around the internet long enough to know that
That doesn't mean it doesn't suck to get nasty comments/emails, but trolls be trolling and you just gotta let it roll off your back.

Panel 5 (last one!): Dave from Etsy, Kendi, and Susan founder(!) of ModCloth
Topic: Creating Communities: Deeper Connections both online and offline
 This discussion focused on the intersection between blogs (or your online presence) and your offline relationships. It stressed the importance of community, of being involved with others, going to meet-ups with like-minded people, keeping in touch with your readers, etc.
Key points:
-Use social media to reach out to those who inspire you, but don't force yourself into a media that doesn't feel comfortable. You don't have to be on everything, but you do need to be aware of the avenues that are available to you to help you connect to others.
-We are witnessing and a taking part in an exciting time right now. The economy might suck, but the creativity that is springing forth because of the economic challenges is awesome.

There was also a small bit at the beginning to talk about Style X, and there were hints at the end that maybe there might be more of a partnership between TxSCC and Style X next year!

After the panels I went home to change before heading to the Etsy and BurdaStyle party and fashion show.
There was a crazy puppet show and a performance by Quintron and Ms Pussycat
Then I quickly ran to Ropolo's for a slice of pizza because I had barely eaten all day. While eating it I was amused by this flier

Back to the venue for the fashion show! Unfortunately due to the lighting and where I was, none of my pictures came out very well. :(  I was excited for the show because I met one of the designers, Katie Pray, the night before, and I was eager to see her outfit made of zippers. During the show, I found out it weighs 8 lbs!
Check it out here

Because we've probably only got a little time before #winning is completely played out

Just a quick photo from the photobooth at last night's party
taken by Nathan Russell Photography
Been catching up on news and the internet since getting home this evening. Back to work for tomorrow, then more SouthBy for the rest of the week. More updates to come!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

SXSW 2011/TxSCC Day 2

It's amazing how much walking on much less sleep than you're used to can still be fun when you have things to do and see.
Yesterday we headed to TxSCC headquarters so I could register for the scavenger hunt. Since the actual event wouldn't be starting for a couple hours we then walked to 5th St where we got free breakfast tacos and coffee courtesy of GoToMeeting at Nuvola.
 On the tvs over the bar they had a live twitter map showing recent tweets and where they were occurring downtown. Husband tried to get his name and check-in on the screen as well by checking in on Foursquare, but it didn't refresh the check-ins while we were there.

Next we headed to 5th and Neches to line up for SquareSpace's trailer where each day (through March 14) they are offering different local Austin food for free starting at 11am. Then they have a photobooth where you can get a picture that will be entered to win a Macbook Air, an iPad, or an Apple TV.
On offer yesterday was Gourdoughs donuts (which I've previously written about here). You had a choice between the Flying Pig (bacon and maple syrup icing), Black Out (brownie batter, fudge icing, chocolate covered brownie bites), or the Boss Hog (with potato salad, chopped bbq and honey bbq sauce).
We shared a Black Out between us, which we couldn't even finish.
While waiting in line we enjoyed the art installation on a nearby streetlight post.
Next we headed to Fado because husband wanted to watch the Manchester United vs. Arsenal match which I stayed for most of before headed back to TxSCC hq.
The scavenger hunt was put on by The Go Game which is based out of San Francisco and puts on team building games for companies, conventions, marketing or fun. I ended up partnered with Maybe This Door and her friend, and husband came along to help photograph and operate the iPad since The Go Game is web-based. We were given log-in instructions and a camera that we would use to complete our missions.

It was so much fun running around the 2nd Street District. Many thanks to gallery d, Girl Next Door, Langford Market, mercury design studio, Dress Shop, and tart for letting us run around your stores and for even getting involved with clues yourselves.
I will post more details about the scavenger hunt after I get photos back from The Go Game.
BUT! I am happy to report that our team came 3rd (out of 10 teams!) and got a nice little prize pack including a $50 gift certificate to gallery d, a cool cup from BoConcept, a pretty Jablonski crystal from (I think) 1020 Glass Art and Decor, and a dog treat and shirt from Lofty Dog.
Rufus was nice enough to model the shirt.

After the hunt we headed home so I could nap for half an hour, take a shower, and have some dinner. My oldest brother called to say PeeWee Herman was on Congress Ave handing out ice cream, but we didn't have time to get down there, but it would have been pretty surreal.
After dinner we headed out to BoConcept for an awesome party. ModCloth had bingo cards with different outfit items that you had to find people wearing and have them sign off. It was a really great way to help people mingle, and a fun icebreaker.
Tikkr had set up cool 'curtains' made from their watch bands which we got a cool photo of trying out the special SXSW hipstamatic lens.

Charming Charlie had a ring toss game set up where you tried to toss a bracelet around coke bottles. Husband wasn't able to win me a prize, but they did give us a consolation bracelet.

Lulu*s had a prize wheel set up.
come on $100 gift card! come on!
I got to pick a piece of jewelry. I can't get earrings into my right ear anymore, so I had a choice of several bracelets and rings.
I went with this awesome panther.

And remember how I mentioned that ModCloth had a bingo game going on? Well once you got a bingo you could put your card in a drawing.
Husband had left the party about an hour previously because he was exhausted, and I was practically running home in order to show him.

It was such a fantastic day!
Now I'm off to shower and get ready for Day 3, which will mostly be conference panels, then the big Etsy event this evening.
So excited!