Thread: The Art Institute of Austin's First Ever Fashion Magazine.

Thread: Fashion Capstone's magazine cover.

As promised, The Art Institute of Austin's first student magazine, Thread has been posted online. I am incredibly excited that I get to share this experience with y'all. The class was made up of eleven students, which is a funny twist because we only had eleven weeks to make the final copy.

I cannot tell you how much time was spent on the magazine. Countless hours between the graphic designer, editor-in-chief, and creative director were used to meticulously create a tangible product.

As the copy editor, I read and reread the magazine dozens of times. Not to mention the other editors, who put together their own pieces that concentrated on the city of Austin, including a seamless fashion editorial.

It's bittersweet to know that this will be the only edition, as it was for a class. If I were a less advanced student, I would push to make it a quarterly publication. As a senior, I only have six months left at The Art Institute. I have bigger things to focus on! But this was a nice stepping stone from the classroom to the real world. I am so happy at how it turned out, and cannot express how lucky I have been to work with all the individuals who helped create Thread.

You can view the online copy of Thread here. Let me know what parts you enjoyed (or didn't; everyone's a critic), and I'll be sure to pass along the info. And, as I CANNOT SAY IT ENOUGH, thank you for all the support. It means so much to me! Hope you have a lovely day.

Screenshot of my interview with Tolly Moseley, the Austin Eavesdropper.


Austin Street Style: Victoria.

On Tuesday at The Art Institute of Austin.

Okay, folks, since posting about how I moved to Texas for a boy and my interview with Austin Eavesdropper, Tolly Moseley, I've been thinking about the future of my blog. Yes, I am a fashion blogger, but from the response I've received for my autobiographical post, that's not just all that I am.

I've always written in my spare time, whether it be my journal or my tumblr (which has an effective use as an emotional outlet), but I never post outside of the fashion realm on Bella Vogue. As I gain more confidence in my non-fashion writing, I hope that my readers will join me on my journey of redefining my blog. Not that I'll ditch fashion together; I'll add more personable components and go from there.

Again, I cannot say thank you enough for all the great comments everyone has left recently. The Fashion Capstone class recently presented our magazine, and I cried four times. It was incredibly overwhelming.

I felt like I just gave birth to a baby. A glossy, 50-page baby that reads like a love letter to the city of Austin. This, this right here, is what I want to do with my life. I want to write and live in Austin. It's a peaceful feeling to have an idea of what I want to do after graduating.

My class has discussed making our project available online for family and friends to read, so if that happens, I'll be sure to link it. Thanks everyone for your feedback! And I hope you have a lovely day.


A Conversation With the Austin Eavesdropper: Part Deux!

Wow, I have gotten so much great feedback from
Part I of my interview with Tolly Moseley, writer of Austin Eavesdropper. 'Tis greatly appreciated, as always. You may or may not know this, but in Fashion Capstone, my class created a magazine. I wrote a piece about my move from Montana to Texas, and had the opportunity to do an interview. I chose Tolly because not only is she a fun-lovin' gal, but she's an amazing lifestyle blogger. Basically, I just wanted to pick her brain. If you do not read Austin Eavesdropper, be sure to ASAP! It will make you laugh and cry and pee your pants, simultaneously.

As was promised, here is the remainder of my interview with Ms. Tolly:

As someone who does have another career, along with a husband and a psychotic kitty cat, how do you find the time to sponsor events such as the Austin Bleet-Up and P.S. a Paramount/Stateside Affair?
I don’t know! Haha. I’m honestly working on cutting down my commitments. I’m just a sucker for a good party.

You have had amazing opportunities, including interviewing musicians for SXSW with Express Rocks. How did these opportunities come about/was your blog a part of these opportunities?

Yes, my blog was indeed a part of these opportunities. Often, a friend-of-a-friend will know someone who’s looking for on-air or writing talent, and they’ll send them to my blog. This happened with both SXSW (a publicist friend at Giant Noise recommended me to Express when they were looking for a TV host) and SheKnows.com. A friend of mine at Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau recommended me to them when they asked about local Austin writers. So it was partly my blog that landed this stuff for me, but honestly just having some really amazing buddies out there!

Your blog is now a for-profit blog with both a healthy readership and sponsorship. What made you decided to become for-profit?
I think the first time a business (Birds Barbershop) approached me, asking if I’d be interested. I said: “yes of course” and bam, for-profit blog. It was never an explicit aspiration of mine, but hey, if I can support local / worthwhile businesses and they support me back – I call that a mutually beneficial partnership.

What’s the best and most frustrating aspect of blogging? How do you respond to negative feedback?

The only negative feedback I’ve gotten is when I’ve posted about something political (like when I wrote about universal healthcare a few months ago). But shockingly, that’s the only time anyone has ever written something negative to me. No one has written anything overtly nasty (knock on wood) or borne out of jealousy. The most frustrating aspect of blogging is feeling like I just don’t have enough time for it. I always feel like there is so! Much! More! I could be doing! But, all in due time. Someday, I’ll get a good camera for it. Someday, I’ll create a Facebook page for it. If I have to let it improve gradually, then that is ok by me.

Give us a slice of a “day in the life” of Ms. Tolly Moseley.

7:30 : WAKE UP / breakfast / make myself coffee (even though I promised day before I was giving up coffee)
8:30 – 10:30 : BLOG STUFF / post / respond to email or comments / Tweet / Facebook
10:30 – 5:30 : WORK (from home) on book publicity: Email, write press releases about books, make calls to media, assure authors, bitch/laugh with colleagues, take lunch break, try not to get on Twitter or Gawker too much, walk outside, notice sun, vow to take walk after work, write more emails, attempt to charm a TV producer into booking my author(s), hug husband when he walks inside, dodge accusations (all true) of leaving dirty dishes in sink, pet my kitty.
5:30 : JOIN FREE WORLD via happy hour, samba school (husband and I take each Weds), aerial silks class (I take every Tues/Thurs), dinner or porch time with friends

10:00 : Remark that I should go to bed, start a blog post

11:00 : Say, “ok ok really I should GO TO BED” then sneak in a little Top Chef or book tim

12:30 : Finally turn off light (or, sometimes, realize I have a freelance story due the next day, four-letter expletives follow).

Do you have any tips for those who are currently blogging and/or aspiring bloggers?
Figure out what you are in it for – writing, photography, vlogging, displaying your art, etc. And then focus on that thing and try to do it really well. The other aspects of blogging will follow suit. Also, keeping a balance of consuming / producing art. I am a better blogger (and writer) because I am an obsessive reader. If you are a photographer or artist, study those who inspire you; if you are a vlogger, watch camera personalities who delight you. I think 60% of being successful, creatively, is seeking out quality examples and role models.

How would you describe Austin to someone who is visiting the city for the first time? What sights would you tell them are a must-see?
I would say that visiting Austin will probably make you want to move here. No, really. It’s so pretty, people are so nice, it’s funky and offbeat and there are lots of trees. So just be prepared for that, I will tell them. Next, I will say that you have to eat at a food trailer – DUH – and recommend Anthony Bourdain’s favorite, Odd Duck on S. Lamar. I would also tell them to get a fancy cocktail at East Side Show Room, and that even though you’ll have to wait a while because it’s tiny and disorganized, it’s oh-so-worth it. The drinks and the gypsy jazz music are just incredibly. Finally, if the weather is nice, I would tell them to go stand-up paddling on Town Lake! I discovered that last summer and it’s a blast. As well as easy, even though it looks like a feat of balance and abdominal muscles. You can go home and tell people, “dude, I totally did that.”

And, lastly, how would you describe your personal style from day-to-day? Where do you like to shop in Austin?
A (gay) friend described me as a little Stevie Nicks, a little Audrey Hepburn. I think that’s about accurate. My style is somewhat polished, somewhat bohemian. I ADORE vintage, and for that, go to Blue Velvet (on North Loop), Buffalo Exchange, and sometimes the vintage stores on S. Congress. New Bohemia has great bags, Feathers has killer boots. When I’m buying new, I tend to stick to Strut. But I fantasize about Anthropologie. I make an annual trip to Urban Outfitters and get a few things – skinny jeans, lockets, orange heels. Thanks Chelsea!

Thank you, Tolly!

If you did not read Part I of our interview, you can access it here.

My class is presenting our magazine as a whole tomorrow, and hopefully I will get some great photos in. Might even load the entire magazine as a PDF on here...we'll see! Hope everyone has a happy Monday!

Thank you to Tolly for the photo.


A Conversation With the Austin Eavesdropper: Part I.

In addition to writing about how I moved from Montana to Texas for Fashion Capstone, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tolly Moseley, the writer of the Austin Eavesdropper. If you're not reading her, leave now and go check out her blog. Seriously. Tolly's not just an Austin blogger; she's one the most personable lifestyle bloggers I've come across. Which is why I thought she was a perfect subject. Unfortunately, in our magazine there was limited space, and I had to cut our interview short. Lucky for you, I have a blog, so I get to share Tolly's golden drops of wisdom with y'all. I'm breaking it up into two sections, as it is pretty long. Without further ado...

Tolly and me at The Austin Bleet-Up in December.

You started blogging after returning from grad school in Davis, California (Yay for former Davisites!). What drew you to blogging?
I’ve always been addicted to text. I majored in English and went to grad school for English Literature. I wrote for my high school and college newspapers, interned at a Sacramento magazine. But the ability to publish my own writing – whenever I wanted – was the siren song of the blogosphere. I came of age in a time (not that long ago, actually) when seeing your writing “in print” meant submitting to a magazine or literary journal, and hoping against hope that they’d publish it. But blogging lets you decide what’s good enough for the public to see. And for a long time, mine wasn’t. (Even though I repeatedly hit the “publish” button anyway).

From my understanding, “The Austin Eavesdropper” is not your first blog. Why did your other forays into blogging fizzle and why did “The Austin Eavesdropper” succeed?
Austin Eavesdropper is my third attempt at blogging: The first one was a Livejournal (a Livejournal!) about my daily activities, such as, what flavor of Frappuccino I had that day. It was really boring. I think Austin Eavesdropper stuck because at first it was sort of a local resource – like, what’s going on in Austin – then it became more of a girl-about-town chronicle, and now, it’s 75% introspective and personal. That was a big surprise to me: That people had any interest in, say, my cat. Or my alcoholic friend. I’m still trying to understand the appeal. But I think the real reason this one has been more successful is because I’m a better writer and storyteller than I was when I first started.

How did you come up with the name “Austin Eavesdropper”?
It used to be called “That Austin Girl” and then I decided that was really lame. It was supposed to be be a “That Girl” reference but no one got it. Anyway, everywhere I go around town, I love to eavesdrop on people (to my husband’s embarrassment). I think it’s a writer thing – your ears are always perked for interesting tidbits. I don’t really publish the private snatches of conversation I hear around town, BUT about half a year into “That Austin Girl,” I was ready for a new name – and I decided “Austin Eavesdropper” was not only catchy, but kind of autobiographical.

You write about many different topics, from food and fashion to music and the various on-goings in Austin. Where or from whom do you draw inspiration for story ideas?
Sometimes pitches. Bands / designers / artists / restaurants (or their publicists) will write me and ask if I’d be interested in trying out their music / clothes / show / food. From time to time their creations really resonate with me. But mostly, I think that listening to KUT, reading the Chronicle, going to coffee shops and checking out fliers, reading other blogs (both local and non), my friends – all of these funnel down blog post ideas to me. I’m so lucky to have these wildly creative, smart people as friends, and to be married to a musician. They all help me tune my awareness to the crackling sparks of weirdness in Austin – weirdness that, as all Austinites know, is beautiful too!
That and NICENESS. If a band, restaurant, whatever is not only talented, but genuinely comprised of lovely people, I try to support them. Nice is a very big deal to me.

How do you plan your posts—do you go by a calendar, or when you are inspired?
I try to post 3x/week minimum, and write them down on a “schedule” I keep on my laptop. The weekly schedule look something like this:
--MONDAY: Mouth Rejoices: Dinner at Foreign and Domestic
--WEDNESDAY: My session with a psychic
--FRIDAY: Sponsor Spotlight on Birds Barbershop
As you can see, my writing is part reviews – part personal stories – part business hustling. ☺ As I get more advertisers I try to be good to them and show them a little love in blog posts. (It helps that I happen to adore my sponsors).

Aesthetics is a big part of blogging. You recently changed up design on your blog. Did you source this out, or are you an HTML whiz? How important do you think it is for a blogger to know basic HTML?
Changing my design was one of the BEST decisions I ever made! I hired a company called Freckled Nest, and specifically, a designer named Kelly Ann Mount. I found her before I found her company – she’s an artist with a blog called “The Flowerchild Dwelling,” and I stalked her. Seriously. I wrote her in November asking her I could hire her for a redesign, and she couldn’t … I kept asking … finally in February her schedule freed up and she took me on as a client. Power of persistence!
I think it IS important for a blogger to know some basic HTML (which is why I prefer Blogger over Wordpress; Blogger is easier for newbies to tweak their own templates). But, if you’re serious about blogging, or have been doing it for a while and are ready to take the next step forward – hire a template designer. I can’t recommend Freckled Nest enough. My traffic increased substantially after I launched the new design. I think people like spending time in pretty, eye-pleasing corners of the Internet.

You are a passionate and open writer, from your first house-hunting experience to an intervention you had with a close friend. What leads you to write about such personal experiences? What is something that you would definitely consider a taboo subject to write about?
I went to a naked yoga class last year and it is SUCH a good story – but I don’t think I can blog about it! Maybe I can save that one for a magazine somewhere. Anyway, nakedness + sex are pretty much the only off-limits topics for me. I admire sex bloggers a lot, but that’s a topic I keep just between Ross and I. ☺
Anyway, as for the other personal experiences, I think I just have a craving to tell good stories. I’m not a very good story-teller in person. But I’m good in writing. Shaping my experiences into narratives helps me make sense of things (both when they are happy things, and also when they are very, very hard things). Also, you know those people who just LIVE to cook? They love shopping, picking out all their special ingredients, marinating chicken breasts for hours, etc? I am so not like that with cooking. But I can relate to the passion. Picking out words, shaping sentences and dialog, the satisfaction that comes with a really punchy story conclusion – that all just makes me feel like a badass when I can pull it off.

You work for the local boutique publicity firm PR by the Book. How has your work as a publicist influenced your work as a blogger and vice versa?
Being social media savvy in any realm – whether you’ve got a ton of followers on Twitter, you post on Facebook all day long, you blog – always helps in publicity. I train my authors how to use these tools, and further their message by building up their own social media networks.
But being surrounded by books helps my writing, too. I read diverse items for work – cookbooks, memoirs, sci fi, children’s books. I’ve learned that there is a market for nearly everything, which encourages me as I think about taking on more serious writing projects in the future. Also, being a book publicist taught me how to publicize myself! I mean, I don’t really send press releases out about the blog, but I’ve got good relationships with local media, and they know they can call on me for quotes and media appearances. Part of being a blogger is “selling” the blog, and although I don’t do that enough – I don’t even have a Facebook page for it, and I really need to make one! – I’ve learned how to offer myself as a helpful source without being pushy.
There is also the question of: What are you an expert on? I teach all of my authors early on how to answer that question. I am (sort of) an expert on Austin, and (sort of) an expert on transitioning from kid to grown-up.

Stayed tuned for Part II of our conversation!

(And thank you everyone for the positive feedback on my post about moving to Austin. 'Tis greatly appreciated, and I am honored to be an inspiration to a few of you. If you haven't read it, please do, and tell me what you think! It is by far the most personal thing I've written for my blog, and it's exciting in a daunting sort of way. Happy Wednesday!)


Austin Fashion Week 2011 & Austin Street Style: Matt.

Mr. Austin Fashion Week, Matt Swinney.

At school today, I had the joy of listening to Matt Swinney, founder of Launch787, talk about Austin Fashion Week. I learned about how much goes into the process of creating AFW, and how someone who looks like Mr. Swinney can have a hard time "herding people who don't want to be herded." I also discovered that AFW is not all about the sexy bits of the fashion industry--there's still trash that needs to be taken out, coffee that needs to be fetched.Also, there's a lot riding on Austin Fashion Week, as it is named after the city. "It takes balls to associate an event with the city. If I screw up, it screws it up for the whole city...If I think about that too hard, I need to go have a drink."

That's why it's such a relief that the community has taken a liking to AFW. Last year alone, over 12,000 people went to various events during Austin Fashion Week. Swinney would like to see that number grow this year to 20,000.This year, AFW will take place from the 20th through the 27th of August.

The breakdown is simple: Saturday is the Austin Fashion Week Kickoff at the Cowboy Harley Davidson Showroom.

From Sunday-Friday there will be showcases throughout different parts of Austin, and Monday-Friday will also have runway presentations.

Monday has accessories, jewelry will be shown on Tuesday, and Wednesday-Friday will be broken up by resort, "edgy/funky", and evening wear.

Saturday wraps it all up with the Austin Fashion Awards, followed by the official Austin Fashion Awards After-Party.

Sounds like a fab time, and I cannot wait!If you're interested in volunteering for Austin Fashion Week, e-mail them at volunteers@launch787.com. Visit the Austin Fashion Week website for more details.

Thanks to Austin Fashion Week for the posters.


How One Country Bumpkin Learned The Art of Hipsterism (aka That Time I Moved 2,000 Miles for a Boy).

This is a little detour off the fashion road. In Fashion Capstone (re: Senior Project), we've created a magazine. I was assigned to write a column and do an interview. I wrote the column about my move from Montana to Texas, and I would like to share it with y'all.

Three years ago, I left behind everything I knew--my family, my friends, and the small town of Bigfork, MT. I moved for two reasons: a boy and school...mostly for the boy.
The boy is history. The good news? I’m still in school.
My 2,000-mile move to Austin was a whim. The university I was attending asked me to select a major. As a junior, I was still in the “University Studies” program. I ended up selecting a course of study that the university did not offer: Fashion & Retail Management.
The original plan was to move to Seattle. But after learning The Art Institutes was opening a branch in Austin, where I had lived as a child, my plans changed.
A friend from high-school, my future ex-boyfriend, was living in Austin at the time. After a reassuring phone call and securing a place to stay, I quit my job in Glacier National Park. I immediately packed up my Chevy Aveo with all of my belongings.
Three days later, I found myself at the 21st Street Co-Op in Austin, with only a trunk full of clothes and a coffee table I had constructed when I was thirteen.
Now, I’ve moved around a few times, but never had I experienced something like “the coop.” The 21st Street Co-Op is a (clothing-optional) student housing cooperative in the West Campus area, several blocks west from The Drag. Constantly referred to as a treehouse, it reminded me much of a maze. I spent the carefree summer earning my keep at the co-op by cleaning Suite 4B, the smoking suite.
Then the boy and I broke up.
This could be the part in the story where I go all Felicity and chop off my curly locks, circa the late 1990s television show, but that’s not my style.
Instead, I immersed myself into all that is Austin. I went to local events, shopped at second-hand boutiques and farmers markets, and began writing a blog about Austin fashion. I became a full-fledge vegetarian, met Austinites and other gypsies, and adopted a dog I named Biscuit. I have traveled from eastern Canada to southern California, made The President’s List at school, and worked two jobs. I danced in the rain at Austin City Limits Festival, volunteered during South By Southwest, and returned to the 21st Street Co-Op on Sundays to cook for Food Not Bombs. I’ve moved three times, which is also the exact number of times I’ve fallen in and out of love with the same person.
In the past three years, it’s easy to say I've changed from the 19-year-old that showed up with all of her belongings in the back of her car.
I’ve gone back to Montana twice. But it’s no longer “home”.
There’s truth in the old adage “home is where the heart is.”

As of now, mine is, literally, deep in the heart of Texas.
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Use of author's personal photos is strictly forbidden.