New Media Fashion Brunch TOMORROW

I’ve been fortunate enough to be invited to the first Austin New Media Fashion Brunch! Indiana Adams from adored austin has organized the event. The brunch is invitation only, but afterward there’s a really nifty Austin boutique crawl WITH DISCOUNTS that everyone is invited to attend. It’s going to be a wonderful day of food, fashion, shopping, networking and a FREE CRAFTING SESSION WITH THE WONDERCRAFT. Not going to lie, that’s actually the part I’m most excited about. I love crafts. yayayayayyayay! Anyway, if you’re going to be in Austin this weekend — come on out and join us!


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Overheard in Austin – 3.10.10

“The good Lord gave us caffeine, nicotine, and sugar … ’cause he loves us.”

– Cafeteria worker in UT’s Jester City Limits at 8:42 am

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Coffee worth quacking about

So Becky and I have this thing. She really likes coffee. And I really like baked goods. And exploring. And chai tea. And music. And studying not in my dorm room or in the study lounge. So like I said … Becky and I have this thing — we go to coffee house and make an attempt to visit a new one as often as possible.

I’ve been hearing about Quack’s for a while now, especially from Zephyr (remember her? She modeled for my Daily Texan piece!) and I finally got around to visiting it last Thursday.

I should’ve known I would love this place. It’s Hyde Park, it’s quirky, and they have an amazing array of baked goods. So much win. I got a piece of tiramisu that was really a part of a giant round tiramisu layer cake! None of this little bar cake slice thing. It was delicious and definitely worth the couple hundred some odd calories it was likely packing. The decor is colorful in a way that sort of reminded me of 90’s Nickelodeon (a la Rocko’s Modern Life, yes?)

Even the bathroom is cool, and the bulletin board next to it entertained me for literally 5 or 6 minutes. I love those boards in dives all over Austin. They remind me of the wealth of things to see and do in Austin and the myriad of creative people who are making their mark here in the ATX. It’s inspiring if not a little overwhelming at the same time.

Worth noting — they have armadillo shaped cookies. Guys, let’s get real here; This is an amazing commodity. Only in Texas.

My only issue with Quack’s, the wireless was really tricky to connect with. You had to make a username and password and sign up for this service and wait for the confirmation email and yadda yadda yadda … but it really didn’t take too long and once you were connected there wasn’t much of a problem or lag.

The staff was friendly, the food was delish, and the atmosphere was definitely great as well.  It’s a nice change of pace to go up North to Hyde Park instead of always exploring downtown, and it serves as yet another display of the amazing capability of Austin to retain a duplicity of urban city life and quirky small town. I love it.

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Le Café Crepe

Le Café Crepe on 200 2nd Street is truly tres merveilleux, especially because I only accidentally visited!

While roaming together around downtown, my friend Michelle got an unexpected job interview at one of those ritzy restaurants on Second Street. While I waited on her, I saw this dude:

And being a francophile decided to pop in for a cappuccino. I was pleased to find that they offered a super affordable and easily deciphered coffee menu, ranging from only $1.50 to $3. The café was small and homey, with beautiful glass picture windows on both sides that showed off the downtown views. The room glowed with a warm amber tint, and copper pots and pans hung from the ceiling. There’s even a glass wall so you can watch your homemade crépes as they’re born into handmade existence in a twee yellow kitchen that looks like its straight out of a Hyde Park apartment.

I talked to the crepe maker of the moment, Julienne, for a few minutes about the store.  She told me that the store is owned and operated by two French immigrants who opened the store about a year ago; right before SXSW last year. They also own an antique shop on Lamar (that one with the giant iron Eiffel Tower in front of it, of course!) Julienne’s been working at Le Crepe Café since August and her favorite part about the store is that it provides customers with an authentic french experience.

“The owners haven’t compromised crepes to make them more Texan. They are tasty and still appeal to the customer but are authentically French.”

Julienne recommends the Greek crepe with spinach, feta, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, and pine nuts if you’re craving something savory and the cinnamon sugar crepe (“Because I love when the smell fills the whole store!”) if you’re craving something sweet. The crepe menu runs around $7 or $8 for each crepe and the cafe also has a variety of cold drinks and soups as well.

Cute, inexpensive, homey, and French! The store reminded me of all the great crepe parties we’d have during high school french class, creatively stuffing them with blueberries, strawberries, banana, butter, cinnamon, powdered sugar, chocolate syrup, peanut butter, jelly,  and especially NUTELLA. Le Cafe Crepe offered all of these ingredients and even more. Nom nom nom … Oh Le Cafe Crepe, je t’aime.

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Jai guru deva om

Okay, welcome to the brand new Austin Etc. After about two months of dabbling in the blogosphere, I’m taking the plunge and making this blog into a really quality project. I have a lot of ideas for content and interactivity for this space, and I hope you join me on the ride! Remember to subscribe to the RSS feed and comment often on posts! I sort of feel like I’m learning how to swim by being thrown in with all my clothing on, but I’m confident that I can doggy paddle to stay afloat. Thanks for reading, and keep checking this space for spankin’ new content!

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Not naked 3.6.10

“Duuude — the dress got pocks.”

… so says my face in this picture.

Got this dress for a steal at Buffalo. It’s obviously an older piece, probably an Amish school teacher dress with scissors taken to it. I was super psyched to wear it and put non-Amish friendly things in my Amish-friendly pockets. Think blackberry cell phones. Yesssss

However, the Amish dress took its revenge on my Rumspringa and when I retrieved it from the wash it had frayed and unravelled to an absurd degree because it had not been hemmed when the previous owner cut the length. And I naively thought it would be fine.

Le sigh.

Quick blog post, more posting later. I’m off to work out and chill by the pool with some hep cats.

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Lessons Learned from TOMS Shoes’s Blake Mycoskie

Yesterday I was privileged enough to see Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS shoes, speak at the AT&T conference center as part of the RISE philanthropic entrepreneurial convention. For those of youn unfamiliar with TOMS shoes, the concept is simple. One for one. For every pair of shoes you buy, a child in need gets one too. Shoes might not seem like a big deal compared to drinking water or shelter, but in many areas around the globe children without shoes can not attend school or will often acquire intestinal parasites that enter under toenails or gangrene because of bare feet exposed to silica-rich soil.

The event was really classy, there was complimentary soda, water and Sweet Leaf tea (how very Austin) as well as two different kinds of hummus and artichoke dip with the most amazing pita chips in the world. (Truly! Don’t you hate when they’re so hard you feel like you’ll break a tooth?)

Seeing as 80% of the audience who were not convention attendees were UT students, 80% of the audience was also severely under dressed. However, in jeans, a tie dye t-shirt, and my TOMS, I pretty well matched Blake’s chosen attire for the evening as well.

“Sorry guys — I’m about as close as you’re gonna get to meeting the Tom behind “TOMS”.”

Blake talked for about 45 minutes about the objective and origin of TOMS shoes, as well as his own background. (I hadn’t realized that Blake was a contestant on The Amazing Race. I love that show!) Mycowskie was a great presenter. telling his story with rapport, passion, and wit. Here are the lessons I learned from Blake Mycoskie:

Sustainability means more than being green.
The TOMS project is a sustainable one. Children will grow — and so will their feet. The TOMS business model allows for this, by ensuring a steady supply of replacement shoes because of the crazy amount of shoes sold each day. We all should strive to create something sustainable, no matter if your passion is feeding the hungry, saving the whales, starting a riot grrrrrl band, or running a body image blog! Instead of spending all our resources on one grand act of charity, expression, or experience, we can better serve ourselves and others by creating something lasting that will benefit ourselves and others for a long time to come.

You can do good and do well at the same time.
When TOMS began, critics were skeptical of Blake’s approach to philanthropy through capitalism. “If you really want to help, then why did you make a for profit business?” However, by making TOMS a capitalism motivated project, Blake could ensure a steady stream of money coming in to the project — which meant a steady stream of shoes. During times of economic recession and greater global problems (such as the recent Haiti and Chile crises) the donators that non-profits rely on often can not keep making their same donation because of lack of funds or redirected charity at more pressing needs. But people will always want to buy shoes. Don’t feel guilty for profiting off altruism. By helping yourself, you can help others a the same time and at a greater capacity.

The world has a lot of room for failure, and even more for success.
TOMS shoes was the FIFTH of Blake’s entrepreneurial efforts. He had mild success with media firms and an internet drivers ed company, but nothing was quite so popular until TOMS. Blake didn’t speak of his past ventures as failures, but as means to finding his success. The best part about life is there’s no limit to the amount of times at bat we get. So what if you strike out the first few times?

Passion is key.
Passionate word-of-mouth marketing is the best advertising for TOMS shoes; People love to share the story of how the “Shoes for Tomorrow” project began, encouraging friends, family, and strangers to visit the website and buy soem shoes. But more importantly, passion is key because without it — TOMS shoes would likely have never happened. This business wasn’t created out of a financial need, but out of the passion for global aid that Blake discovered during an Argentine holiday encounter with an NGO that selflessly brought shoes to children. This passion inspired Blake to persevere even when the business was only 3 interns and a shaggy haired dude in an LA apartment. Find your own passion and use it to motivate you career and life choices in a way that best blends your avocation with your vocation.

Blake Mycoskie’s key note speech left me feeling super inspired. I’m still on my own road of self-discovery and figuring out exactly what the hell I’m doing with my life, but I know that no matter what I do I want to pursue it with these lessons in mind. If I could have a career that combined global aid/awareness, art, media, and people I would be a pretty happy duck.

What or who inspires you? What lessons have you learned that have helped on your path of discovery? What are your goals?

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