Baby Brain

February 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

Maybe I’m just in my extra-fertile years, maybe I’m with a guy who isn’t a complete selfish dick, maybe everyone I once knew is either getting married, buying a house or having a kid. I think my biological clock needs to take a sec and sync with my bank account AND my marital status. Is there an app for that? Can’t I just use icloud?

I never really cared for babies. I know it’s curt and cold, but it’s my opinion and the world is over populated as it is. Sure they’re cute from far away or in a giant flower pot, but Anne Geddes has nothing on the truth. They are eating, pooping, crying monsters with poor manners. My bother was born when I was ten years old and I was never a fan of messes. Babies are messy. Spit-up, I can’t handle it. I have a pretty week gag reflex and poor equilibrium.

When my brother was born I wanted little to do with him, especially because I was hoping for a sister. I was horrified that people would assume he was my son, I was a 4th grader! Granted, I was an early bloomer. Regardless, he was slobbery, unruly, and all the time sticky. These are the same reasons I was a cat person for so long. I hated the thought of a drooling being jumping all over me wanting to be fed, walked, and its waste cleaned up. Don’t even get me started on diapers. Weak gag reflex plus feces = lonely cat lady. When he was about 3 or 4 my mother actually lectured me on how they weren’t ever going to take him back. My evil plan had failed, although, it was very effective birth control on my parents’ part.

You probably won’t believe me, but my brother was the last baby I held. Considering he’s turning 19 this year and a linebacker with a football scholarship, you might say that was some time ago. Given this character revealing fact, you might also say that it’s odd for me to be experiencing butterflies every time there’s an infant cooing in my eye line or getting giddy at the mere sight of a dog. And my mother was just coming to terms with the fact that I wasn’t a ‘normal’ girl dreaming of marrying a prince and having a litter of brats.

Still, NOTHING about pregnancy seems like something I want to go through. Morning sickness? I have a hard enough time with hangovers. At some point that basketball has to come out, and we all know the size of the hoop it’s attempting to jump through. Have I told you about the perineum risk? I can’t even stomach it. Your vagina will NEVER BE THE SAME.

I’ll tell you what’s happening now, I’m bargaining with myself. I think I’ve spend this long scraping by as a starving artist in a lottery industry, I can handle 9 months of agony and shitting myself when I pop the thing out. It’s almost a bragging right. I compare my fictitious baby and parenting stills to that of my internet pals. I think about how my ‘mommy blog’ will be edgy, but not in the I-put-my-kid’s-hair-in-a-Mohawk way.

As you can see, there are a number of things wrong with this thought process. Number 1, I just said that I’m scraping by as a starving artist, and babies are expensive. Have you seen the price of diapers? Potty training comes early in my house. Number 2, parenting skills. I can’t be shuttering all the time at spit-up and poop, I’ll need some mandatory help, and I am still single on my tax form. Number 3, I really shouldn’t be spending this much time on facebook if I’m going to play out elaborate Mommy-Offs in my head. Because really, it’s not competition. They are all going to be bratty at 13 and do something stupid at 21 regardless the environment they grow up in. Let’s not forget that I haven’t held a baby in 20 years, I should get some practice in on some loners before I do it with my own.

All that stated, I’m feeling strangely maternal. This is a new feeling for me. I’ve long since thought that babies were more aliens than humans, so I really think I’m growing. And oddly enough getting ready for a baby sounds way more appealing than planning a wedding. Maybe it’s the fact that ever second person on the internet is having loads of offspring. Like, days apart. I don’t even remember that many weddings. Whoops.

Maybe I’m just starting to hear my clock tic and I’ve just never heard it before. It’s startling to some gals who’ve had a hard time imagining themselves taking a tissue to someone else’s nose and requesting them to blow. For now, I’m going to put a pin in this thought because I’m still technically living like a college kid. Career goals are well above holy matrimony and family planning. I’m still a bachelorette, but perhaps now I’m an evolving one.

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Sculpted Interview

February 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

I sat down with jewelry artists and sculptor to meet the lady behind the clay and the brain behind the business. Here’s to another Modern Women of the Month playing loudly in her one woman band.

The Internet Bachelorette: I want to start with the origin of this endeavor. Did you know that this was going to become a business? I know you’re an artist, primarily working with oil and canvas, how did that translate to sculpting jewelry?

Dre Swain: I wrote a book, fantasy, and I had this idea that it would be really fun to design bookmarks and charms for different characters to go with the book. I went to my friend who is a jewelry designer and asked if she could make these charms for me. We talked about what I needed and after our conversation she was honest and told me it wasn’t going to be worth my money to have her do it. Which was fine because I’m a big do-it-yourself person anyway, I’m always looking for my next hobby. I remember in High School I liked fooling around with polymer clay, making beads and stuff like that so I set out to make these charms out of polymer clay. I jumped on Amazon to get a how-to book on how to work with polymer clay. I wanted to become an expert before I dove in, and the first book I found was how to use polymer clay to make jewelry.

TIB: Planting the seed.

DS: Yup, I put that in my cart. So I get my books and bought minimal supplies. The first thing I made was a necklace, called The Pirate’s Heart. I wore it into work, and I wasn’t even that happy with it because it didn’t turn out like what was in my head. I brought it in for a show and tell and one of the actresses on the show I was working on, Victorious, bought it right away. She asked me a price and I just threw one out there and she didn’t even blink an eye. I was like, “What?! You know… I think I’ll make another necklace or two.”

TIB: How long ago was that?

DS: That was in September of 2010. I made my first piece. For fun. And sold it. After that the wardrobe department on iCarly at Nickolodeon bought everything I made. The were so patient, that’s when I was troubleshooting. Chains were breaking, things weren’t behaving the way I wanted, the pieces kept flipping around. They let me take the things home that were broken or weren’t working out so I could fix them.

TIB: How did you start promoting?

DS: I started promoting myself  using Twitter and Facebook. Word of mouth just around work caught on. At Christmas time this year I wasn’t sleeping because I had 12 hours at Nickolodeon and came home and had 8 more hours of work just to keep up with Christmas commissions. I kinda had to put the brakes on everything. Figured I had to take this really seriously.

TIB: Absolutely, your art is making money.

DS: I filed all my paperwork, my DBA stuff, got a website rolling, and made pieces in the meantime. And I have yet to make a bookmark charm. [laughs]

TIB: So you are a self-taught sculptor, which is amazing. What are the materials that you use and why are they unique to your designs?

DS: Like I said, I use polymer clay, which is an artist’s clay. It fires at a low temperature so I can fire it at home. It’s extremely light. So my big chunky pieces, like Lions Plume, Clockwork Heart, Elefish, they are big chunky pieces, but they aren’t uncomfortable, they don’t hang down on your neck, they aren’t super heavy.

TIB: But they look like metal? And you’re getting away with it. I wouldn’t know it wasn’t metal until I picked it up.

DS: They look like metal and now I’m starting to gild with 24 cart gold leaf. Even without the gold leaf it still has a metallic aged or brass look.

TIB: But it’s not.

DS: Even people with metal allergies can wear it. If they tell me ahead of time I can get rid of the chain and put it on a silk cord and they can still wear something that looks totally awesome.

TIB: Amazing.

DS: It’s such a versatile medium and I can incorporate watch parts, metal bits, Swarovski crystals, I even use diamonds in some of my pieces. For those with more expensive tastes and they prefer to have the diamonds and more expensive material, I can incorporate those as well. And for those who don’t have the money to spend I can skip the pricier adornments.

TIB: Your designs are very eclectic. I’m not even sure what type of style category you would be labeled under. It’s all really unique, which is what people want in jewelry especially. How would you classify your style?

DS: I think it’s this crazy mixing bowl of a lot of things. It reminds some people of Tim Burton. So there’s something Tim Burton about it, something Rock n’ Roll about it, and there’s something feminine about it. So I think if you put those things in a blender and when you pulled out the chunks there would be varying amounts of those elements in each piece. So that’s what my style is.

TIB: Very cool.

DS: And I love contradictions. Like the Monastache. It’s a classic with some humor. Humor goes into a lot of my pieces. I like to do things that are unexpected. With the Lions Plume it’s from a line called Hybrids where I’m taking animals and putting them together. So the lion’s mane is actually a bunch of tiny feathers. Same idea with the Elefish.

TIB: So it’s ears are fish fins?

DS: Exactly.

TIB: Ding, ding, ding!

DS: It’s recognizable as one thing, but upon closer inspection there’s more of a story behind it, that’s something else that applies to my pieces. I have a piece called The Repaired Heart and it’s one of my top sellers. Everyone who buys it feels compelled to tell me why. Everything from a girl who had a horrible childhood to a woman who bought it for her sister who just had heart surgery.

TIB: Wow. You’re learning a lot about your costumers. When you’re commissioned to create a certain piece for someone what’s your process?

DS: I like doing commissions, it’s like two minds are better than one. When someone else tells me a story of why they want a piece or a design element they want, it’s an exciting challenge to make what they want and still make it mine and make them happy.

TIB: What’s rewarding about selling a piece?

DS: The thing about painting is that there’s only one. I’ve stopped selling my paintings because that’s my baby, I wanted it hanging on my wall. It was painful to let them go. With the jewelry it’s a different form of expression. It’s not finished until it’s on someone. I get giddy every time I see someone put something I made on. And somehow the same piece will look different on you then it would on me then it would on your best friend. That’s when it’s really finished.

TIB: Where else does your inspiration drive from? I know you’re a lover of fantasy and there is something romantic and fantastical about this look. But then you have some pieces that are food related.

DS: I make lists of ideas and things I like, I have a notebook. I’ll go to a museum and write down the things that catch my eye. Sometimes I sketch it out, sometimes I have a picture in my head, but I write everything down. I’ll think if the craziest thing in the moment, be it genius or idiotic, I’ll decide later. To-Do lists keep me on schedule too.

TIB: What was your biggest struggle when starting the business?

DS: I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t even know what a DBA was. I asked a lot of questions and I got advice, but I didn’t have any help. I’m the accountant, I’m the sculptor, I’m the janitor, I’m the photographer and the model. It was hard at times but when there’s no one to help you, you pick up your boot straps and make it work. If other people can do it, why can’t I?

TIB: I know finances are a touchy subject, but you had mentioned that you aren’t making a profit at this time, everything is going back into the business. What are those expenses for a start-up company that people might not realize?

DS: It’s crazy when you have a web-based business. I recently had to upgrade my hosting server with GoDaddy to had a credit card payment option and was really surprised that it was $600. I have a merchant account, there’s a monthly fee for that, Paypal fee with each purchase, cost of materials, cost of gas to get the materials, post office. Everything has a cost. The cost of the box to ship the necklace in.

TIB: Good thing they’re all really light.

DS: [laughs] Yes, another advantage of polymer clay.

TIB: How did you arrive at finding a fair price for your merchandise?

DS: I had a difficult time with that. I use a formula for every piece. For every new design I make I have this formula sheet with a space for me to clock in and clock out, and every single material and how much it cost. So I have an hourly wage, which eventually I will make when I stop putting it back into the business, and there’s the cost of materials, times 2. So it covers what I used and pays for me to buy more to make another, then the business can grow.

TIB: That’s interesting. What was the reaction from your trusted costumers and mentors when you arrived at these prices?

DS: Surprisingly enough, people were saying they were too low. I think as young artists, we undersell ourselves when trying to turn our art into a business. I still sometimes get embarrassed to say what the price is, because it ain’t cheap. But at the same time it’s all done by hand and it’s someone’s art.

TIB: It’s your art.

DS: My mentors really were the ones who sat me down and encouraged me to charge what I am because they knew I’d never build a business charging what I first thought I should. That’s why I have the sheet, so I can make sure that I am charging a fair price for all the work and artistry that goes into it and I’m not cheating anyone out of their money. The prices are boutique prices, but they are for a very high quality product.

TIB: What type of clients have emerged from your prices and the quality?

DS: I’m really surprised. There are people who want art they can hang around their neck. I’ve gotten some orders from overseas.  I like to think I wouldn’t spend that much on a necklace, but I’ve done it before. For the right piece, absolutely.

TIB: Me too. You justify it by how much you love it and how much you’ll wear it.

DS: Right, how much use you get out of it. And how unique it is.

TIB: What is one piece of advice would you give to entrepreneurs and artists alike trying to pursue their dreams?

DS: Make sure you do love it. You are going to fight some battles to make it happen. If it’s not thinking about it, it’s making phone call to fix problems, tweeting, talking to tech people, more hours and frustration go into it, and you have to make sure that it’s worth it. Don’t undersell yourself. Come up with a formula that’s not only fair for your buyer, but fair for you and say it with confidence.

TIB: You have to own what you’re worth and know that you are worth it.

Jewelry from top to bottom: Clockwork Heart: Cleopatra, Screwfly, Typewriter Keys, Clockwork Heart (original), Repaired Heart, Bow-a Constrictor, Drops of Cupid

For purchases and browsing visit: dreswain.com

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Current deal: 3 for 40… refer three people and get 40% off your next piece. So tell her TIB sent you, I have my eye on a few things (wink).

Indoor Cat Folly

February 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

For that Indoor Cat in your life, whoever he may be. This is what my indoor cat does.

What Do I Call You Now?

February 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

So me and Mister Red finally found a place. Yes, he still wants to live with me even after I had a panic attack in the parking lot of the bank when we went for the deposit. He refrained from rolling his eyes when my hand was shaking nervously. My signature was not only illegible but looked like the markings of a 3 year old. Then he just smiled every time I stated, “no turning back now,” afterword. Which was about 56 times, but my count could be wrong. And he might have been biting his tongue so hard he couldn’t speak.

The officialness of it all hit me like a cartoon anvil when coworker asked me about the ordeal the next day, “So you found a place? When are you moving?”

“I have until the end of the month, but my… my…[uncomfortable pause] roommate? He needs to move out of his place next week.” What? Roommate? Huh? That doesn’t sound right. We’ve been together for about a year, Mister Red is certainly more than a roomie.

For some reason ‘boyfriend’ sounds juvenile. A boyfriend is someone you ask out on 4th grade recess after you promise him an Oreo. And at that point you are ‘going out’ but never really go anywhere. Holding hands, maybe, if you’ve gotten your cootie vaccine. A boyfriend is someone you never really discuss with your father, but he knows he’s the reason you’re tying up the phone line. He’s the one you meet at the movies or the mall to spend 3 blissful hours before your friend’s mom picks you up. He’s the guy you play tonsil hockey with at a middle school dance. A boyfriend is someone you let get to second base in the backseat of his minivan parked on a back road because your parents won’t let a member of the opposite sex in your room. He’s the guy that asks you to prom and breaks your heart for the first time. This is not the guy you sign a lease with.

In college you start ‘seeing’ people. The guy you ‘see’ in your dorm when your roommate’s passed out after playing power hour with upperclassmen. He’s the guy you ‘see’ because you know he’s going to buy you dinner and then spoon after. You’re only ‘seeing’ him because he has his car on campus. You’re ‘seeing’ him and he doesn’t have to know you’ve got a crush on the back of the head of the hockey player who sits in front of you in your bio lecture. You ‘see’ him at the bar, you ‘see’ him during tailgate, you ‘see’ him at a house party, then you ‘see’ him making out with some sorority girl during Greek Week. These dudes aren’t boyfriends.

Next, you and your bachelor’s degree might have a few Manfriends as you enter the working world. ‘Manfriends’ are the dudes you sleep with on a regular basis, but aren’t marriage material. Everyone’s got a number, right? The idea is to reuse the numbers you’ve already counted as to not increase your number too much during a dry spell when your vibrator just ain’t cutting it. Manfriends don’t buy you dinner, but they will almost always drink with you. Manfriends are just for fun. But what happens when Manfriends become something more?

Post college courtships are more serious, now you’re ‘dating’ him. The guy that you’re ‘dating’ brings you flowers. The guy that you’re ‘dating’ texts you at work. The guy that you’re ‘dating’ takes you out to various places for planned activities. The guy that you’re ‘dating’ might take you away for the weekend, he might call you just to talk, and he’ll miss you when you’re gone. Then suddenly the guy you’re ‘dating’ turns into a ‘boyfriend,’ except this time you’ve given him much more than just a sandwich cookie.

Now that I’ve dissected this, you see there is a whole lot of room between the two different meanings of a boyfriend. On top of that, consider the development between boyfriend and fiance. There is the proposal which you have little control over. This could take years. So we’re living together. More than a boyfriend, less than a fiance, but somehow similar to a… (dare I say) husband? A couple rings and some paperwork away, practically.

Wait! Pull the reins for a sec, we’re just trying this to see how we fare. Although the landlord reading the lease to us did seem ritualistic and I was wearing white. It’s like the marriage dress rehearsal, this living together thing. Shit, I don’t know my lines! I’m the worst.

So what is he now? Not my roommate, not my boyfriend. My boymate? Roomfriend? Romantic Roomie? No, once he learns of my bathroom habits things with be far less romantic. He’s my Mister, I guess. And I’m his… his… inmate. No, I’m kidding. I don’t know what I am to him, but he probably isn’t hung up on the labels, and that’s probably how it should be. No turning back now.

I Have The Golden Cheez-it!

February 20, 2012 § 1 Comment

I’ll admit it, Cheez-its are the only part of my complete breakfast/lunch/dinner. Okay, I like ’em. Just a little. Sometimes when you’re not a wife or a mother (aka a Bachelorette) you eat Cheez-its for dinner. Well… I can see Cheez-it meals far into my future, I won’t stop at Bachelorette-dom so I’m just going to celebrate it.

I have this piece from Dre Swain’s jewelry line, Champagne and Cheese and I’ve been wearing it whenever I actually pry my finger tips from my computer and put on an outfit. It’s quickly becoming my new staple. Small enough to be part of my delicate style yet unique enough to be an attention getter.

It takes people a while, but I’ve been getting, “Is that a Cheez-it?!” Once someone even inquired if it was a real Cheez-it cast in metal. Yes, a Cheez-it. No, not a real one. Once people notice that it’s a snack food they want to talk about it. Conversation piece.

Why would I wear a cracker around my neck? Because you should honor what you love. Athletes wear their jersey numbers around their neck. Mother’s wear their children’s birthstones. Lot’s of variation of heart pendents out there (thank you, Tiffany). Please, I think a favorite food is better than being blatantly narcissistic and wearing your name around your neck, like you weren’t sure how to spell it or might forget it entirely.

That’s what I like best about Dre’s collection, it’s doesn’t take itself too seriously. I mean, I like my name and all, and diamonds, but a childhood lunch box item I love? Sold! She’s got a great mix of elegance and quirk in all her pieces and my Cheez-it is no exception.

What’s not to like about jewelry with a sense of humor? It’s your expression, wear what your personality around your neck.

For purchases and browsing visit: dreswain.com

Facebook Stalk

Follow on Twitter

Read about it all on Tumblr

Collect on Pinterest

Sign up for the Newsletter

Gift Certificates and Daily Deals available!

Current deal: 3 for 40… refer three people and get 40% off your next piece. So tell her TIB sent you, I have my eye on a few things (wink).

Internet Meme Of the Week!

February 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

A meme ( /ˈmiːm/) is “an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.” A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas [funny cats], symbols [hipsters] or practices [duck face], which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena [Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest]. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate and respond to selective pressures.

Today you get Friday Foto Folly AND Word of the Day. Lucky Snatches (whoops, that might be borderline offensive, I might have to thing of a new nick name for you dears). Anyway, if you were anywhere near a Facebook this week you saw some of the below. Got to love the last one because ENOUGH ALREADY! Happy Friday!

Live-in B-F

February 15, 2012 § 1 Comment

For a while I’ve pumped the breaks on my public swoon of Mister Red. When you’re honeymooning people tend to get really pissy when you talk too much about how awesome your snuggle buddy is. Hearts, loving gazes, public make-out sessions, the constant touching. No matter what you have to have at least one hand on them at all times, restaurants, grocery store,  staff meeting, always touching. No one else gets it but you. And that’s just fine.

I’m always a person who practices internet digression, so I’ve curbed my enthusiasm and didn’t update you upon the receipt of random acts of flowers, intimate back rubs, or how I think his smile could melt butter in communist Russia during the worst ice storm of the decade. However, now we’ve reached a pinnacle point in our relationship that many women shriek with delight at the mere thought. We are moving in together.

I freaking enjoy living alone. It’s my dishes, my laundry, my dirt, my mess and I’ll clean it when I damn well feel like it. I like to surprise myself at how long I can go before I have to break down and grocery shop. You don’t really know how long Ramen Noodles last until you’ve bought them in bulk and haven’t gone to store in over a month. I LOVE going to the bathroom with the door open, it’s how I keep my claustrophobia under control. I can keep strange hours and enjoy guilty pleasures like 6 hours straight of Dance Moms and dispensing whip cream directly into my mouth without getting caught. No one ever comments on your hummus and cheez-it consumption when you live by yourself. There are perks, but I’ve begun weighing my options.

Adult sleepovers with Mister Red have been consecutive for some time now. It’s starting to become difficult for both him and I to pack an overnight bag almost every night of the week. I’m literally living out of a backpack 50% of the time. What is this, band camp? Then there’s that late night decision to sleep away from each other which ultimately ends with one of us breaking down and spending 20 mins looking for street parking, only to discover a parking ticket in the morning. So now, he has a key to my place and I to his. He’ll sneak in at night after working late and I don’t even flinch. I’m a real heavy sleeper, I’m screwed if there’s ever an intruder. That’s one reason I’d like him around permanently, better than a Great Dane. Food is starting to be a problem because I can’t keep him in midnight snacks when my fridge is only stocked with condiments. So there are some obvious mutual benefits to moving in at this stage in the game.

He brought it up. Although, I’ll confess to thinking about it for some time and bringing it up as a brunch topic with my besties. And now we’re doing it. Talking about budgets and looking for a place. It’s funny how discussing money always makes things feel more official. Of course we are splitting things evenly, and being fiscally reasonable with our expectations. We’re making compromises on things we want, like staying out of the tsunami zone and having some sort of balcony. Very adult sauce.

I keep telling people, “I’m not worried” in that high pitched voice that indicates someone just lied. Truth? I’m totally  terrified. This is a big step, and if it doesn’t work out, I’m going to be crushed. Like I said, butter melting smile. Two things my mother told me to do before marrying anyone: have sex, and live together. Well, we already know I’ve crossed the first one off the list. That means this second one puts me closer to a white dress and the kick-ass party of death-do-us-part. Or it puts me closer to tears and the break-up diet of my life.

Time to face facts and face fears. I’m not getting any younger and if I’m to the point where I think I can stand living with this dude and he’s actually signing up to deal with my messy habits then I better not pass. I mean, he’s going to take out the trash. He wants to take out our trash! Now that’s a guy to consider marrying, no matter how petrifying the thought of a wedding ceremony is.

Cross my heart, I don’t want to screw this up.

Where Am I?

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