June 2016

Photo Jul 14, 11 05 19 AM

Yesterday I was organizing the piles on my desk since moving in last week and almost fell over when I realized it was already July 13th. Then I looked at my last blog post and I was even more shocked that June seemed to have not existed at all, woah. As I’m sure you assumed, the busier real life is, the less on is on the internet. June was for sure one of those times. It’s all pretty much a blur but there was a week in NY with my family, finding and closing on a house and a week of really intense packing. I may have missed the boat on holiday pitching throughout all of this, but I was at least trying to keep up with the prep for that as well.

The first few days of July were filled with the closing and 3 days of intense DIY moving with a uhaul van. The first day we almost killed Gretchen by moving in the triple digit Texas heat and I logged 35k steps each day doing van runs mostly by myself as Adam had to work (bad timing with a move immediately after vacation btw, try and avoid that!), on the 4th day, the movers came for the big furniture and we joined our stuff over in the new house. This entire week was filled with unpacking and shopping. I’d unpack from 9 – 4 and then take a break to go get food and shop for things I realized I needed in the unpacking. You know the kind of stuff: baskets, bulbs, hanging things, storage pieces and on and on. For about a week there was lot’s of shopping for furniture, scouting for future furniture, and buying all of the organizing and gardening things. I realized last week that I went to Home Goods every single day for 8 days. There were 3 in rotation, and it was intense. Target was also in heavy rotation and I visited Nadeau, Pottery Barn, Pier 1, Z Gallery and Restoration Hardware at least 2 times each. There were a few days where we were going to any store we could think of with big stuffed chairs and sitting in every single one. I also realized that we at this point had all of the storage furniture we needed and I was feeling over shopped and becoming incapable of making any more decisions with the decor.

Do you get that feeling when you move? You have a vision of where certain things are going and what you want the vibe to be and then you start to wonder what the hell you’re doing? Yeah, that’s where I am now. I’m a big believer in living in a space before really decorating though, so I think I just reached the point where I was making decisions I wasn’t ready to make without living in the space first. So for the past 4 days, I have enjoyed the feeling of having all the boxes unpacked, the closets, cupboards and shelves sort of organized (these will evolve over time too) and I’ve gone back to work in the studio. Every time our voices echo from having nothing on the walls, I cringe slightly, but am still not ready to pull the trigger on where to hang all the art. We have a great deal of art at this point. I have given away/sold most of my own paintings but I still have a decent amount of them, I have a collection of photographs I adore, we have art by friends and family, inherited pieces that we have a few of and more coming in the late summer and of course, the collection of large photographs that Adam and I have bought as our Christmas gifts each year we’ve been married. The third is pretty large and at the framers right now. In the back of my mind, I’m waiting on gettting that back to make any other decisions as it’s 42.5″ x 42.5″ and will command a big wall. At the same time, I’m pretty content with waiting a bit more anyway.

After the art there are a few details like curtains in the bedrooms, the decision on where and if area rugs should come in and a few pieces of big furniture we need to order. Any input on where you have bought really big and comfy chairs would be appreciated btw. I need a large piece of furniture for the bedroom and both of us think it’s the perfect place to put a reading oasis for me that I can retreat to when Adam is watching movies and I want a quiet and comfy place to go. We love the grande chair/chair and half with an ottoman idea and are considering all the options out there right now. House plants, accent furniture and furniture for the third guest room are on the list as well. But for now I’m just enjoying being back in the studio with the dogs.

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Material inspiration

sharpies in the manic trout studio I was staring adoringly into the cup of sharpies on my desk yesterday when I started thinking about how much the materials used to make art inspire so much creativity themselves. I can’t even begin to count the amount of times that I have over come a lapse in creativity simply by looking at a box of colorful gemstones. Its the easiest way to set myself off on a design binge, cover my desk in materials and bam! I’m off and running.  When I moved to Austin a few years ago, I had to go through a major possession purge so that I could fit all of my belongings into a pod and moving it 2000 miles. There was also a very emotional last minute, we ran out of space and now I have to let go of a few of my favorite worldy possessions because the movers would not unpack the packed pod to fit these things, such as a chair I have had since I was young that I am obsessed with and my easel. I’ll admit, I may have cried a few times these past few years over the lose of these two things even though they are just things, but they are very sentimental things. The chair is irreplaceable and the easel was what I painted on at the end of art school and for my duration as a professional painter (which did not last that long, but still…it was an important landmark in my creative journey). I know they are just things and I have almost gotten over it but they were my favorite things. Somehow during the chaos of having to leave these things behind, I lost the box of “dry” art materials. All of my pencils (there were SO many!), charcoal, pastels etc disappeared into thin air. Again, just things and very replaceable things, but there was something about the boxes of half used chalk pastels that every time I looked at them I wanted to throw myself into making something, anything…I just wanted to get my hands on them. I have tried many times to re-buy the pastels, but I just can’t bring myself to bring home those boxes of shiny new, un broken pastels. It was one things to add a new a box to the mix, but to have all brand new pieces…eh. Sometimes the materials we reach for over and over again, the ones that show the patina of years of work are the ones that take us to that creative place the fastest. Don’t believe me? Check out the photos below that artists have snapped of their well loved materials…so much beauty and inspiration in them! material inspiration 1

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images via

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Biblio-files – July 2013

Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks -Dr Seuss

While “in the moment”, I felt I was hardly getting any reading done in July, what with the packing up and moving and unpacking business in the middle weeks of it. I basically was collapsing, exhausted into bed each night, only able to read for tiny amount of time before I succumbed to sleep. So I was pretty shocked when I realized that I had still kept up with my book a week normal amount…well, sorta. There was that one weekend once the boxes were all unpacked and I was able to take a deep breath before I had to throw myself crazy style into work that looked like this:


I’m pretty sure that caught me up. Then it was time for crazy work time and the beginning of the Fall/Winter season which is my favorite as a designer because it gets INSANE starting mid October (if it’s a good year) and I’m trying to get as many eggs in as many baskets as possible right now for that to happen. I was actually pretty stoked to move in July because the internet is the pits all month long. Everything comes to a standstill and just bums me out. So I spent that time moving which was a bit of a torturous distraction, but I am all settled for the season…boom!

What was I talking about? Oh yes, books! Looking for a book to read? Here is what I read in July and if I think they’re worth your perusal…


1. Cheat and Charmer by Elizabeth Frank
Set in the 50’s-70’s and about a women who married a writer in the movie industry and their life in Hollywood. Oh the drama! It took me a long   while to get into it, but I think that was due to my being so tired when I was reading it. Meh.

2. Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner
Also pretty drama filled, about a basically bored housewife who finds herself out of Manhattan and in the CT burbs raising kids, wondering all along how she got there. A fellow mom is murdered and bored housewife decides to brush the dust off her latent reporter yearnings and solve the crime. Meh.

3. Bossypants by Tiny Fey
Hells yeah. Read this now. And then read Everyone is Hanging Out Without Me by Mindy Kaling. You will then shower me with gifts as I have given you happiness and laughter wrapped up in two pretty packages. Double Awesome!

4. Flower Confidential by Amy Stewart
Pretty intriguing account behind the scenes of the flower industry. Not as dry as business books, but still fascinating to learn from it. Totally recommend.

Go forth and read my little pretties…because as Sarah Utter coined: Reading is Sexy!


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Surfacing from the depths of moving

Whew…it’s been quite the month! Exactly one month ago, we made the decision to move and here I sit today, in my new studio in the new house, finally finding time to write a blog post. After the furniture was delivered on Sunday night, I worked like a mad woman getting us settled. I still have yet to hang art on the walls, the laundry room has become a catch all of kitchen stuff I’m not sure where to put and the garage needs to be organized but we are all moved in!  Enjoy the poor mans version of a panoramic of the living room below…


There are a few cords that I still need to tack down around the mantle, our wedding feet have yet to be hung and a few bits and pieces may be added or removed…but it’s feeling just like home. I’m enjoying the coziness of the room at night when I finally take a break from unpacking, decorating and working in the studio that thankfully came together late Tuesday night.


We’re loving the house so far, the only complaint is that my studio shrank a bit. Otherwise, it suits us perfectly. Faye is in heaven with a thick carpet in the living room and master bedroom…that dog, she understands comfort.

LivingRoomJuly_25_2013_03I am loving having a driveway and a garage and all three of us adore the back yard and two porches (one the designated ping pong porch). Looking forward to having friends over and that I live so close to so many of them of now. I’ll post more photos as I hang the art and finish it all up this weekend. Until then I am on pins and needles waiting to hear back regarding a business thing. How vague was that??? Ha! Cross your fingers for me…if it goes through, I’ll tell you about it next week…


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Let the moving adventures begin

Downtime while house hunting
Downtime while house hunting

We made the tough decision a few weeks ago to adjust our lifestyle as Adam changed careers and with that decision comes moving. The upside is that last year we moved into a house in a neighborhood we loved but was more than we want to spend on a rental. It’s a wonderful neighborhood, but one of the most expensive in Austin, mostly due to proximity to downtown and that almost all of the houses are over 100 years old and well cared for. However, as charming as the huge live oaks and quirky homes are, there were downsides that were getting to me and I was pretty glad for an excuse to move. Since we moved in, 5 houses around us either been fully gutted or leveled and rebuilt. When you work at home the construction noises get old super fast. We also do not have a driveway and the off street parking situation is also wearing on me (and my car as the Texas sun is brutal on black cars). Add to that that we live one block from downtown in a city with the 4th worst traffic in the country (in case you’re curious: 1. L.A. 2. Honolulu 3. San Fran) and basically we cannot leave our house from 7-9 am and 5-8 pm and actually get anywhere.

The house! I snapped this when we saw it...it's a drive by photo.
The house! I snapped this when we saw it…it’s a drive by photo.

When we started looking at neighborhoods, the number one priority was quiet. Which brought us to looking much farther south than I thought I would ever want to live, but I quickly got over it when I stood in the back yard and heard…silence. We briefly considered buying a house, but even though we are more prepared for than the last time when the realtor suggested we explore more of Austin before buying as we had no idea where we wanted to live…we only had three weeks to find a house, buy it, and move in. So another year of renting it is. We lucked out though and while leaving an open house for a house we thought was kind of meh to buy, but in a neighborhood we that we really liked, we saw a For Rent sign on a lovely corner house. We called, we saw, we loved. The only thing we don’t love is that there is some carpeting. But it’s at least nice carpeting, so we’ll deal for a year. The good parts majorly out weighed a few rooms of carpeting anyway. The house has a great layout, is the same size as the house we live in right now (which is coincidentally also on a corner), has a two car garage, a pretty yard and because we left our neighborhood is more than half the price!!

The hoarding of boxes began last week
The hoarding of boxes began last week

The absolute best part…we sort of know the owner through a friend and he’s pretty awesome (I seem to be lucking out in awesome landlords in life), so awesome that as the house is empty, we can start moving our stuff in on the 14th. Yay!! It’s the dream…2 weeks to move!! This means I don’t have to pack as well as boxes won’t have to be stacked in a truck, boxes can leave our current house as they are packed and put in the garage if I can’t get to them right away, and even though it will take longer, will be so much less stressful!

Well now you know why I have been an absent blogger, and will know where I am if I’m MIA the next few weeks…now if only I could figure out how to silence the back hoeing thats been going on all morning behind me…


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Pursuing dreams and all that crap


I’ve come to the conclusion that I have watched reruns of Friends too many times. I’ll even go as far to admit that I have the entire series on DVD and have watched it a minimum of 6 times all the way through. As you can imagine, I therefore have the ability to almost always draw a parallel to something on the show with what is going on in my current life and quote it. I do this in my own head most of the time as I seem to not know many people who watched the show as much as I have in the last 5 years. Perhaps some things should not be admitted on the internet. At the moment, I am relating pretty hard to Monica and Chandler when he decided (for the last time) that he was not fulfilled as a data processor. So anyway, I like Monica work everyday doing exactly what I want to do and Adam, just like Chandler… not so much. As someone who is living their dream, its tough to not encourage those around me to pursue theirs as well. Watching the person I share my life with work to live and not feeling fulfilled at all has been discouraging, and I often wondered if it was something that secretly gnawed at him from deep inside (just like Chandler! ok last one, I promise).

A few weeks ago,  after a series of events happened that made the working to live aspect fail, we discussed a change. There was opportunity to walk away (slightly battered and bruised) and start over on a path to work that was fulfilling. As with most in this situation, there is only a vague notion of what path to take…but thats part of the battle…and the fun. The downside is that in order to go down this path, we need to downsize…which means moving and adjusting our lifestyle. Really only a downside though in that I am starting to pack for a move August 1st. Ugh.

Being as I’m one of those freaky people who knew from a very young age what I wanted to be when I grew up, and did it, I’ve always been intrigued by those who have no idea what they want to do. I actually think I may be more excited to watch this process than Adam is. Either way, it’s always fun to embark on a new adventure together and this one is already looking to be quite a ride.  If you had the chance to start over with what you do would you? I’ve read that people these days have up to 6 careers in their lives. Not jobs, careers!

Here’s to following your heart…Wish us luck (and we’ll take empty boxes if you have them).

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House progress…

I’ve been running a mad dash for the past week trying to get the house pulled together before the chaos of the holidays, and I think it’s going pretty well so far.  As there are only 5 weeks (5 weeks!!) of ship time left for the season at Manic Trout and a show every weekend until Christmas, it’s time to chain myself to my studio.  So not to leave you out of the loop, below are some pics from the house as it is now.  Adam bought us both olloclips and the fish eye is perfect for capturing an entire room, so I have been snapping the progress on my phone.

photo of our bedroom courtesy of Adam Fujawa (@atomfuji)

The bonus of eloping is that instead of paying for a wedding, you can buy new furniture!  We upgraded from my full to a king and added bedside tables and new lamps as well.  The curtains were from my past two living rooms the trunk and chair (not show) were also in the living room.  Unfortunately, the wall papered border must remain as it’s a rental and the owner put it there :/  My collection of framed photos I’ve collected will soon grace the walls.

I’m in love with the living room mainly because the recessed ceiling lights are on two switches and have dimmers and I’m pretty obsessed with light.  I have had the couches for years now but just upgraded the pillows for this move.  I always configure the sectional differently for each new space I move into (this is the 6th), currently, there is one piece removed and in the bedroom.  That amazing table was made for me by a friend and the rug is the only wool rug that made the move from NY, as I adore both the color and pattern. The console and TV are new, the tables behind the couch were last my bedside tables and the pink antique cupboard was last in the bedroom.  I still have to set up the surround sound and we’re on the lookout for the perfect sun burst mirror to hang between the two lamps.  Paintings will soon hang on the other walls.

The kitchen is rather amazing.  Polished granite counters, ample room for my excessive dishes and filled with light.  We’ve already had people gathered around the island on more than one occasion, which I love as it reminds me of the house I grew up in!

My studio is up and running and about done.  I hung the photos (by Jai Mayhew from a photo shoot with Electric Frenchie this past Winter) last night and they added an awesome touch.  The only additions were the shelves and bins at the end of the room.  Everything else is a mix of antique and ikea.  My tv still has to be mounted on the wall and I have another bamboo rug to put down…otherwise it’s all done.  I’m loving the space and the natural light so much!

The stacks of paintings, mirrors and photographs waiting to be hung on the walls mingling with the speakers and boxed components of bookshelves.  We want a bench/coat rack thing for where the paintings currently are leaning and still need to buy dining room chairs.  Compared to the list I had in my hands 2 weeks ago, this is a teeny tiny to do list and should be checked off in no time!

I’ll save the rest of the rooms for another day…how do you like it so far?

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Moving kicked my ass…but I’m winning in the end

The rest of the “essence” items in the staging area (the dining room)

Wow, it feels like I have been in a timeless void for the past week…sheesh!  Moving officially mopped the floor with me, I’ll admin it.  I spent almost all of my time over the past two weeks packing and unpacking, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!!!  A month ago, I wisely planned hosting a little soiree at my new home for the Austin Craft Riot this Thursday night and I was right that it has been awesome motivation to get everything pulled together.  Most of the rooms are unpacked, except for the books and dvds, and the “essence” pieces as I love to call them, which I have just started to sprinkle liberally around the house.  You know what I’m talking about…brass critters, lamps, art, photos…the things that make a house a home.  They are currently dominating my dining room table and have to be moved by Thursday as many women will have to be seated at the table (see, motivation!).

The studio mid progress…one side of the room had started to have furniture in place

Its been a great deal of hard work but I took a break Friday evening when my sweet husband who chooses not to get involved in the moving process besides hiring movers, realized that I could not move my head from side to side and booked me 4 hours at the spa.  I also was set up at the market all day Saturday, followed by date night Saturday night.  Without these breaks, I may have had a bit of a breakdown.  There however is nothing better then seeing a room empty of boxes to fuel you to keep going, well except for Adam shouting “I love our new house and you’re amazing!” every time he’s the progress I’m making, its lovely to have a cheering squad, even if it’s only one person!

The studio is just about done!

Besides the fun of setting up a new space, I’ve been having a great time mixing all of the new furniture into the mix, and as my taste is consistent, I have to say that it mixes pretty amazingly.  I hung the curtains from my past two living rooms in our bedroom and Adam thought I bought them to match the new bedding.  I love re appropriating furniture to new rooms as well and thats been so much of the fun!  The last of the new furniture should arrive tomorrow and I’m hoping to have the art up by Thurs night…I’ll snap more photo’s then.  The only items left on our list for now are new dining rooms chairs (I’m over whelmed with all of the choices), book shelves as I had to figure out where I want them and what size we need and a bench/coat rack thing for the entry (I dreamed about them last night).  After that we’ll move onto the back yard and deck, where so far all we have done is put up a hammock.  It’s coming along though!  If you want to see peeks as they happen, you can follow me on Instagram @manictrout as I post photos regularly there!


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5 Things you will need as soon as they are buried in a stack of boxes

wave lull

1. Flip flops for a pedicure
2. A specific pair of pliers for jewelry making
3. A dvd, because Netflix stopped working one night
4. 3-qt pyrex pan
5. A bandaid

I’m in a packing state right now similar to a wave…not everything is packed, but the stack of boxes has been growing higher each day.  The “sort of essentials” are going into boxes now and I suddenly seem to need them all (although I have resisted the urge to get them).  I have a pretty busy week ahead of me, so I am trying to pack as much as I can tonight and tomorrow.  We pack the moving trucks (it’s an under a 1 mile move, so I am renting two trucks, 1 for boxes and 1 for furniture) next Wednesday.  However, there is a chance we’ll get the ok to move in early and I would rather be prepared for it.  Part of me hopes we get the green light for an early move in so I can start setting up the new studio asap, but part of me wants the time to pack too.  We’ll just have to see how fate feels about it.


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Sum it up

WORKING ON:  Not enough of anything.  Trying to get it all done. Failing.  Yesterday managed to buy a new bed frame, mattress, kitchen table, couch pillows and the awesome guy above.  It felt amazing to tick so much off my list at once.

THINKING ABOUT: The holidays, the spring line, packing, decorating the new house and so many tasks that are involved with it all.

ANTICIPATING: Moving into the new house (renting) in 12 days…woo hoo!!

LISTENING TO: Wild Belle.  Saw them at ACL last week and fell in love.

EATING: Have fallen off the candy wagon…hard.  Trying to get back on, but sugar is a bitch of a mistress.

THANKFUL FOR:  Finding a home, just in the nick of time before my lease was up!

PLANNING FOR: Where to put my current furniture and the new furniture arriving when we move in!

READING:  The Reluctant Metrosexual: Dispatches From An Almost Hip Life by Peter Hyman. Not sure how I feel yet, just started.

WATCHING: Last weeks episode of Grey’s right now while typing…keeping an eye out for Manic Trout!

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