In the past two weeks I’ve been stocking up on magazines. I know, I know, HOW archaic can I be?



I like paper, so um, duh, I’d love to read actual print on paper and that includes articles in magazines.  Not to mention, I don’t quite enjoy the burning sensation my eyes experience when reading constantly on a computer screen. So I choice to continue to read on my preferred medium. That does not mean I don’t respect the world of technology, instead I choose to respect it and respect my preference as well. No worries, you e-reader, I don’t dislike you, or your kindle. I just like my paper copy of my magazine.

Having said that, I’ve definitely been known to have a fickle relationship with the print medium. My first magazine ever was Highlights. My mom subscribed my brother and I when we were children and I’m still amazed at how excited I am when I think about or see a copy of recent issues of this publication.

As I grew, my interests developed and my first “real” magazine subscription was to Glamour at the bright young age of 16. How I read those articles at that age is beyond me, but up until last year, I still received Glamour.  That’s a solid 14 years of receiving one magazine.  In those 14 years, I’ve received quite a few other publications: “Eating Light,” “Health,” “The New Yorker,” “Everyday with Rachel Ray,” and  “FOOD.”  When I moved to NY, my interests changed yet again and so I scaled back on some and now only receive, “New York,” “Forbes,” and “Oprah.”

Sometimes I miss my days of  receiving “Glamour” and some of the other magazines, but the reality is that I’ve outgrown a few of them. I knew this was the case when I realized that I could get through an issue in an hour. That includes having skimmed or completely ignored a few articles. Normally, I tend to ruminate over an article or several, extending the period it takes me to finish reading a magazine from front to back over a period of days.

These self-imposed rules however do not stop me from considering other magazines and I have been known to grab a new magazine at the checkout to take home and peruse.  Most of the time, this does not lead to ordering a subscription. However this month, I’ve just added two magazines to my rotation: “Inc.” and “Ready Made”.

Ready Made magazine was a gift. Seriously. I thought someone, maybe a friend of mine, learning/knowing of my crafting interest and my paper love, sent me a surprise subscription as a gift. I was both wrong and right.  I couldn’t figure out who would send it and there was no letter with the magazine when I received it in the mail a few weeks ago. I called the Ready Made subscription center and the guy told me that the publisher/magazine company decided to send me a free six-month subscription to the magazine. I’m assuming that I am on a list somewhere and that’s how they got my information, but I was nonetheless pleased.

It’s rare that we get anything for free these days. I am not so naive to think that I won’t be expected to subscribe once the free offering is over, but I’m just amazed that a magazine, especially in this day and age where magazines are moving toward the world of tablets and smart phones, was willing to risk money loss to send me a free magazine for a six month period. Of course, they won’t lose money because at the end of the offer I will subscribe, but it made me feel good. It made me feel like I had just one money from a lottery ticket, albeit a lottery ticket I didn’t pay for, but nonetheless, a lottery ticket.  I’m looking forward to seeing what other crafters are doing. It also made me feel like I was getting linked more to the art/craft/recycling communities.

Inc. Magazine is a bit different. I’ve  always known about Inc. It’s a very reputable publication amongst small business owners and entrepreneurs.  My interest in business magazines has only been a recent development, so I hadn’t quite gotten to Inc. on my own, however back in February there was a photo shoot call for Etsy sellers for a piece being done on Etsy and the creator. The call was announced through the Etsy community and since the loft is located by my job, I decided to take my lunch break and try to be part of the article.

The experience was fun! I had never been to a loft as gorgeous as this one, nor had I ever been to a professional photo shoot, but I enjoyed the experience. When I left, I called my mom and told her I had been part of it, but had no idea if I would be included.

Well, this week, the article came out and I was pleased to find that my photo made it to the mosaic of Etsy sellers introducing the article. I was amazed, shocked and excited. As a matter of fact, I went to Borders and bought all the copies they had on stock. Kind of vain, yes, but also really amazed that I had some sort of press. I wasn’t interviewed, but not only is my photo there, my name and the type of business is posted as well.  The business category is wrong, but hey, I’ll still take it and take it with a huge old grin on my face, too. So. Absolutely. Worth. It.

As I sat reading my way to the article about Etsy, I ended up reading some great articles that made me think, “Sara, you need a subscription!” I’m only about 3/4 of the way through this month’s issue, but as you can guess,  I’m a subscriber now, too.

I think I may have to dedicate a night a week to staying up late just to read through all these publications. I’m jesting now, but you never know.

If you have any magazines you think I might enjoy, please share them. I’m always curious and interested, not to mention I’m curious about you, too, fellow reader.


John Galliano, Muse Seeker

Okay, so let me preface this posting by saying that I abhor racism to any extent (even though I believe we’re all a bit racist). I read the article that I am discussing before even knowing about the comments Mr. Galliano is accused of having said regarding the Jewish race.  I am in no way writing about him to promote him or his racist views.  I am instead writing to discuss comments that really struck me by him in an article, “John Galliano’s Search for His Muse,”  that recently appeared in New York Magazine’s Fashion Issue.

Remembering that Mr. Galliano is known for his fashion genius and his persona, I read this article with appreciation as an artist.  Of course, days later, I’d learn of his racist comments and the fact that he got sacked thanks to them. I felt a bit unsettled, but after all, nothing that humans do is really surprising anymore. I don’t say that in a cynical way either, I just mean that people never truly know anyone. We’d like to think we do, but we all have dark, hidden sides to each of us and when and how we show it, if ever, is really what I think is shocking for many.But that’s enough about that and on to the article…

“What do you look at when you walk the streets of New York? Do you find inspiration here?
I walk down the street in whatever city I’m in, and I’m really very open to life. It’s easy to find beauty. I’m looking for that next new elusive muse that I will hinge my narrative on and create a collection around. Something goes on with the intuitive side of my brain, and it’s put into order by the logical side.

So who is the muse this time?
She’s always elusive. I’m always chasing her. She’s an essence, a spirit. Like a parfum. I don’t really ever want to catch her because that’s what keeps me going.

You aren’t the designer who dresses in black and disappears next to his creations.
It’s very simple. I immerse myself so deeply in my narrative and my research—and it would happen to you too, by the way—that this muse becomes a part of you, and of course it has an effect on the way you look, the way you speak, the way you move. You’re imagining the color of crimson on her lips. Do you smell gin on her breath? Does she write by candlelight? I’m living that character day and night whatever collection it is.”

What I loved about the article was not just his approach to finding and keeping his muse, but that I could agree with him 110%.  His sentence on the last question above, “I immerse myself so deeply in my narrative and my research—and it would happen to you too, by the way—that this muse becomes a part of you, and of course it has an effect on the way you look, the way you speak, the way you move.” proved to be vivid for me. I read that and smiled, thinking to myself, “Yes! I get that!”

He mentioned what he does in order to keep the muse alive, never quite touching her, but never quite losing contact with her either.  I know that the minute the connection with a muse is gone, a lot is left to confusion and can often times lead to a lack of inspiration. No artist wants to experience that. Ever. The artist allows him/herself to revel in the chase, the scent, the research and exploration and then document it as best as possible. As someone who has researched and sketched and sketched some more and then sometimes, replicated via the computer, I know what exactly that chase is. It’s one of the most invigorating moments in designing/crafting. And upon completion, it’s when you smile big, full of awareness and proud that you were able to zero in on her and articulate her impact on your life and work.

This article really made me pay more attention to my muse. I started to question what my muses have been and when I’ve noticed them before.  I have talked about how I dream about my designs (which I know isn’t ideal in the long run, but for custom pieces, is quite ideal), but what exactly creates them? The only thing I can say is something in my day-to-day doesn’t register in my conscience, but only in my subconscious, which is why I can visualize them in my dream and then make them happen. I know that may seem a bit far-fetched and even silly, but it’s true.

Even more importantly, I started noticing more things about my muses–most importantly, how she is always lurking in nature. And to quote a lady at the New York Botanical Garden last night, “Nature is the best designer.” I couldn’t agree more.  I guess in my case, the best thing about my muse is that all I need to do is walk down a different street, or visit a neighborhood I’ve never been to before.

I know that as far as inspiration and muses come, I have a long road to explore. I mean, I just started this road of craftsmanship and “design,” and who knows how many shapes and evolutions my muses will go through, I just know that right now, I’m enjoying them as they hit me and I look forward to every moment that can share another one.

The whole concept of finding that inspiration is one that I’m very interested in, so if you have any to share, even if it’s not related to design and crafting, I’m open to hearing them and talking about them. No inspiration is wrong inspiration. Especially if it leaves you feeling happy and complete.

Oh, and I highly recommend you read the interview (link above) with Mr. Galliano. Again, racist comments aside, his work for Dior has been stunning and you can dislike the man, but you have to give credit due to his ability to make strikingly beautiful things.

Valentine’s Day Sharing

I feel like so many other people are doing amazing things in honor of the holiday and beyond and I simply must share!

Never forget that one of the best ways we can spread love is to just share what other artists, friends, people unknown to you are doing. Well, only if you believe in it. If you don’t, then don’t share. Why? Because I truly believe that when we open the door for sharing good, AMAZING things happen. I want my friends/non-friends/fellow artists to be incredibly successful, or at the very least be happy with what they are doing. That comes through the power of positive reinforcement, enthusiasm and sharing.

Sharing does have a marketing term, “buzz marketing” and it is one of the most effective marketing tactics out there. Why? Because people want to purchase things they can trust. People don’t always know to trust things on their own, but when they have a friend that can vouch for the item/individual/place/airline/restaurant/cleaning lady/customer service/vendor, etc, they feel more at ease and therefore are more willing to test whatever that thing may be. If they have a good experience, they will then tell someone else about it and the cycle will continue for who knows how long. Many companies, both large and small, would kill for this type of marketing because it is at no cost to them. It doesn’t require having a social media marketing team, nor does it require paying for advertisements.

For example, I know a company, Seltzer Goods. I know of them because they make a pen called the seven year pen and have AMAZING customer service. Because of these two things I will be loyal and I will talk about their seven year pen for as long as they are made. Maybe even a bit after they stop making it. (I hope that NEVER happens!) What happened with this company is that I purchased a pen after reading a review for it in NY Magazine. I love this pen; it is MY pen. So I was a bit distraught when, the pen stopped working, or rather ink stopped flowing with ease. Can you Imagine!?! I have since learned that the pen does not enjoy writing for 10 hours straight, but you know, what pen does? Either way, I contacted the company by email and said hey, I bought this pen and the ink isn’t working, what should I do? The response I received was instant and said, “we’re sorry. a few other people have complained, we’re testing the ink now so this doesn’t happen again. what is your address, we’ll get you some refills now.” Not only did I get refills, I got a few freebies, like a card. As I wrote back to my contact, you’re like Zappos!  And now, I’m sharing the story with you, so who knows, you may rush out to buy a seven year pen, or you may even end up buying a few of their cards. The possibilities are endless!

At the same time, sharing can be negative. When someone has a bad experience with a client/company/product, etc, there is a want/need to share. There’s nothing wrong with this, but I believe that there should be a greater force of positivity behind it. Maybe the negative is being shared so that the company can do better in the future? That should be the goal of sharing–having positive intent. As a small business owner (I can’t believe I said that!) and a designer, I’d love for any negative comments to come to me directly. Without them, I can’t change anything. However, if someone details to me why they are upset, etc,  I could do something to turn the negative into a positive. Not for marketing, but for customer satisfaction. My greatest concern is always having a happy client. If that generates positive sharing, then awesome.

Sharing one last story of positive sharing: I read a blog called Smitten Kitchen from time to time. It’s an AMAZING blog about cooking and the writer is open, personal and shares recipes and her process. Yesterday, she posted a recipe for Valentine’s Day themed brownies, white and dark hearted brownies. (I think I may try to make them because they’re so darn cute!) Back to the point, several months ago, I emailed a friend who also likes to cook and has her own blog Coffee in a Teacup (she’s an American in London) about Smitten Kitchen and she (gasp!) already knew about it and pointed my attention to a few other blogs of interest to her. I have in turn become readers of these blogs.  This may not be the best example of buzz marketing, but it’s an instance where the concept of sharing went between two people and will continue on thanks to people I tell, or maybe even you, reader, who may be curious about both of the blogs above.

Now to the true point of this blog, here are my top picks for not just today, but for Valentine’s Day 2011 (I hope you’ve found my weaving some of my favorite things in with a positive/marketing posting as fun as I have):

* The {NewNew} blog posting yesterday titled, “What Makes Valentine’s Day Sweet To You.” I love a lot of the things they posted, but I’m also just smitten with the fact that they included me and my annual Love Mix in the article. I’m towards the end of the article, but there’s a picture of my Valentine’s Day themed card, “Te Amo.” YAY! Go NewNewers! Also you should read some of the other Valentine’s Day postings on top, they’re a mixture of heartfelt and hilarity.

* I am EVER the philanthropist and believe that since we’re sharing a day of love, we should do it sustainably and charitably. People of all walks of life need love just as your significant other would, your parents and siblings would and even yourself.  I know for me this past Christmas, while visiting my grandfather at his assisted living apartment, I was saddened by the elderly that were just sitting not talking, didn’t have family members visiting. I told my little brother that we were going to go next Christmas and play games with them and talk to them. I realize I’m talking about Christmas here, but my point is that it was a wake up call to me–we all get old, we all get busy, but nobody should ever feel lonely.  This blog posting has some GREAT ideas about how to give Charitably this Valentine’s Day. They also have a really cool image of a heart bitten apple.

*A tag from a sweater I bought at the Gap earlier this week that says, “Handle With Love.” There I was in Gap putting together tops for the photo shoot I participated in yesterday when the sweater that this tag belonged to, just jumped out at me. It was on sale with an additional percentage off, so I took it. When I put it on yesterday, I noticed the tag hanging from it and smiled. It’s now on my vision board for the year because well, it just makes me happy. (You get two for two here as I am showing my now very LARGE vision board for 2011 and my messy, messy work space as well, for those of you who read my posting about creating a vision wall.)

Lastly, I want to share two shops on Etsy that I have fallen in love with: The Cupid Bow and Arrow Pillowcase from Knock Knock Studios. So freaking cute! Her other stuff is gorgeous as well, but if you’re looking for something super cute for your love, this would be it!

The second shop I want to share is Gray Works Design. I recently purchased a gift off of their website and well, holy moly it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. EVER.  Not to mention their stuff is sustainable and upcycled, or as they say in their own words: “We’ve been making our Footed Plattes™ (a term we invented to describe the versatility of our cutting boards) since 2006, using only locally and sustainably harvested or salvaged hardwoods, hand rubbed with organic olive oil…” I can not express enough just how gorgeous, fast and responsive these guys are. Maybe the foodie in your life needs a new cutting board? I think so!

On that note, happy sharing, hunting and loving- there are only two days until Valentine’s Day!