Thursday, April 30, 2009

Download Me, Please!

There is a trend that seems to be getting lots of attention of late: free, downloadable e-mags. In light of all the problems that the newspaper and magazine industries are facing (sigh, our beloved Domino is officially a thing of the past), this concept is an interesting one to explore - not only from a consumer standpoint, but also from a business standpoint.

A few of my favorites are small (parent-focused out of the US), LMNOP (parent-focused out of Australia) and Parasol (style focused out of the US).* You can easily subscribe to them so that new issues simply pop into your email. Trust me, it's worth the few minutes it takes to fill in the subscription form.

Check out pics from the latest issues of all three:



*Parasol was discovered via decor8.

Remember the anticipation you used to experience when you saw the new Domino? The ritual you created to view that awesome magazine? These ezines bring up those kinds of giddy practices. (Or am I the only one that acted like that with Domino?) They are rather inspirational, I'd say.

Just My Type

I'm fascinated with design of all types, but I have a current infatuation with graphic design.

My background is in marketing and advertising, so I'm no stranger to graphic design. However, I was on the account management and strategic sides. While I was always involved with "guiding" the creative process, I was never involved in actually creating the end use materials.

When I opened my store, I quickly figured out that if I was going to even begin to do the kind of marketing that I aspired to do in the long run, I'd have to figure out how to do some of the creative execution on my own. This was (still is) a daunting task. Many of the creative software programs are not terribly easy to learn. So I started off slow. Photoshop Elements became my friend... as did lots of different fonts.

Two of my all time favorite fonts are from Emigre:

Here are some other ones from Veer that I think are quite nice, too:

Like I mentioned, I'm not a trained graphic designer, but I have been forced to learn Photoshop and Illustrator. This has led me to doing some (very minor) design. I have a few projects up my sleeve, so make sure and stay tuned to see how fonts can be applied to create beautiful things.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Time Killers

I use the Internet to do lots of things: research, shop, communicate, share, work, etc. In other words, I usually have a purpose when I'm online. Sometimes, though, I get sucked in without realizing how much time I've wasted. It's amazing what one can find, what one can tie into, what one can do on this thing we call the World Wide Web.

In thinking about ways I waste time online, I suppose I sort of categorize time wasters into three different buckets:
  1. There are the good ole 'standby' sites like YouTube and that will never get old (or so it seems).
  2. Then there are those sites like Facebook and Twitter which I used to be into, but am fading away from, mainly because I feel like they are way too saturated. (We'll call those the 'faders.')
  3. Finally, there are the 'newbies,' the sites that I've just recently come across and think are pretty cool. (Mind you, sites don't stay in this third category for long. They will eventually fall into one of the first two categories mentioned above!)
In keeping with the theme, I thought I'd introduce you to some of my 'newbies.' (You know... just in case you want to waste some time, too.)


PhotoFunia is a site that allows you to take your pictures of you or someone else and place them into real-life scenes. This site is going to be particularly entertaining for teenagers or some of your more - shall we say "narcisstic" - friends.

I've kissed him goodbye forever!

Giselle looks great in my store logo.

Warhol was inspired.


The Finds section of FOUND Magazine is really entertaining. This group has collected found messages - notes, cards, drawings, receipts, ticket stubs - and created a massive collection of - well - things. Alongside each thing is also a note indicating who found it, where it was found and in what context. A new find is showcased each day.

Funny, sad, intimate, nasty, sweet, innocent - whatever the tone of the visual presented, the sentiments draw you in. It's like taking a peak into other people's lives. Before you know it, you are trying to figure out what the circumstances were to have produced such actions or communications.

The posting for the image above reads:
Reading List FOUND by Blake in Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada
Our local library issues printed receipts for checked-out books, complete with due dates.

The posting for the image above reads:
Uh-oh FOUND by Julie in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
A grim forecast scribbled onto a piece of printer paper.

The back reads "BECOMING A MAN (12 YEARS OLD)."

The posting for the image above reads:
Dear Dumplin' FOUND by Emily
I found this in the library at my high school.


Of the three sites I have listed here, this one makes me think the most. It's similar to FOUND, but in a much more controlled way. In the organizer's words, "PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a postcard." The use of the word "secrets" is an understatement. Think more along the lines of "confessionals."

(CAUTION BEFORE READING: Many postings on PostSecret use crude language and may be offensive to some. Please take this into consideration before linking to their site.)

The clock starts now. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Galeana: Out and About

One of my favorite parts about being a shop girl is helping women finds things that they look and feel great in. I mean, let's face it. When we look good on the outside, we carry ourselves differently - we project an air of confidence - that makes us feel great on the inside.

I'm lucky enough that sometimes, I get to see some of these women on the streets in what they've purchased and it solidifies that feeling for me even more. I see them, full of confidence and looking great. It makes me feel like a Mother Hen of sorts.

So, I had an idea. I'm going to try and feature women out and about - dressed in clothes they've purchased from Galeana. I think the idea of seeing these women in everyday situations - looking good and feeling confident - is nice. Too, I always like to see how others have accessorized themselves to create different looks. Maybe it'll give you some ideas?

Lisa S. (left) in VaVa Voom, with friend Carrie G. (right)

A Lofty Vision

We, in San Antonio, are flooded by tacky strip centers. You know the type. They are the ones that boast the huge chains that are too often associated with "America."

Now don't get me wrong. While I'm as big of a Target fan/shopper as the next Joe, I am NOT married to the development that occurs around most Targets. The centers feel dismal. They tend to be too big and over-developed and there is always an endless amount of concrete. It feeds into one of the things I don't like about our country: excess. And as a small business owner, it's hard to watch those kinds of things popping up all over the place.

So you can imagine my surprise when I came across something in a strip center just west of the airport that actually caught my eye: Aloft.

photo courtesy of Aloft Hotels

A Starwood property, Aloft is W Hotels sister chain that answers the call for high design and low cost. And, based on looks alone, it's pleasantly ... well, cool.

Though we weren't able to see a room - they were at 100% occupancy - we took a few shots of the lobby, bar and outside seating area. Take a look.

Like most Ws, Aloft feels contemporary, youthful and intelligent. There is a sophisticated drinking bar on one side of the lobby, and a healthy, clean snack bar on the other side. There are two seating areas and a pool table inside, and a small pool with two different seating areas outside.

In addition, it has some of the extra amenities that some of the other chains of this type lack: a small gym, wireless internet, flat screen TVs in all rooms, and "emergency" supplies like a small Etch-A-Sketch and a game of CandyLand. The best part? The price is right. Rates start at $130.

Upon entering the hotel, the staff greeted us with a friendly, "Aloha." Apparently, this is a part of their marketing strategy (it's included in some of their promotional materials). I could do without this part, but the rest felt right on. I would definitely stay here.

Alofts are popping up all over the place (a second one in downtown San Antonio is scheduled to open in April 2011) and it looks like they are expanding all over the world - and fast. This is going to be an interesting development to watch.

Pictures above are of Aloft San Antonio Airport: 838 NW Loop 410 San Antonio, TX 78216 (210) 541-8881

Monday, April 27, 2009

Pretty, Sexy, Cool

Introducing Elizabeth Walker Carrington: a mother, snowboard enthusiast, graphic designer and, as you can see, a fine artist.

picture by Clay Carrington

Elizabeth's pieces are colorful bits of pop culture. In her words, she marries two things that she loves - art and design - to create pieces that address materialism, superficiality and love.

"My work is a tribute to Andy Warhol's statement that Pop Art is about 'liking things.' The pieces are a blend of design and type, lyrics and images from popular culture all mixed, layered and silhouetted. They are loosely designed on a computer and then screenprinted on painted canvas and paper and touched up by hand. They want to be pretty, sexy, cool—vain with a bit of irreverence—but above all, Pop."

Though she's lived in a number of different places (including San Francisco), Elizabeth has finally settled in San Antonio with her husband and two adorable children. She's officially represented by Parchman Stremmel Galleries, but I'm lucky enough to be able to hang some of her paintings in the store for a short time. She will also be a part of the Blue Star Contemporary Art Center's Red Dot event on May 28, 2009 (more info on that at a later date).

Check out some of her work below. As usual, the internet doesn't do her justice, but I think you will agree that Elizabeth has strong talent and a great eye.

All I can say is YUM-MY.

Friday, April 24, 2009

An Egg-Cellent Idea

Cascarones have been a tradition of Fiesta since long before I was a child. Made of hollowed eggs filled with confetti, they are cracked on other people's heads as a fun (and often surprising) gesture. They are (usually) a fantastic and glorious treat for both 'cracker' and 'recipient.'

For such a small object, the cascarone evokes a huge affect. They are usually around when some sort of celebration is going on, so times are happy.

In San Antonio, cascarones are readily available on street corners, in shops and in local grocery stores starting around Easter time and going through Fiesta (the end of April). If you aren't lucky enough to be in South Texas during that time, you can easily make your own.

I'm sorry that I don't have visual directions to accompany this post, but the steps are very straightforward (albeit a bit messy). If you don't have access to a prepacked egg dye kit, you can easily make your own egg dye. See below for what else you'll need to get started.

Battle of the Blooms

Today is the Battle of Flowers Parade. The first one was held in 1836 in commemoration of the fallen soldiers at the Battle of the Alamo and the tradition is still going strong. Schools, banks and offices throughout San Antonio close so that residents and visitors alike can enjoy the day's festivities. There are a variety of participants: high school bands, musicians, members of community organizations, local celebrities, politicians and, of course, Fiesta royalty. It is a fun-filled, family-oriented event.

This is a great place to don a festive outfit. However, because of the hot sun and usually high humidity level, a fashionable and weather-appropriate ensemble can be challenging. Here's what I might put together (sunscreen and hat included).

1. VaVa Voom @ Galeana; 2. blogger's hat; 3. sunglasses @ Target; 4. SIGG water bottle; 5. sunscreen; 6. Belle by Siegerson Morrison @ LeeLee; 7. blogger's bag

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Felt Applique

I love felt applique pillows. So many make wonderful graphic statements that are whimsical and fun. I like having reminders like this laying around.

1. Alexandra Ferguson; 2. Balanced Design; 3. Hable Construction; 4. Karen Hilton Designs; 5. Alexandra Ferguson; 6. Balanced Design; 7. Karen Hilton Designs; 8. Hable Construction; 9. Tanya Aguiñiga

Image via via pbj4life via

Fiesta Continues

My second official Fiesta event of 2009 (part A) was the San Antonio Conservation Society's King's Party. It was held on Tuesday evening on the grounds of NIOSA.

King's Party

According to the Conservation Society's website, "NIOSA® (pronounced "knee-oh-sa") is a four-night event that celebrates San Antonio's diverse cultural heritiage with 15 ethnic areas that serve fabulous foods in over 250 food booths and provides entertainment to over 85,000 revelers." The King's Party was actually held in an area that was sectioned off from the rest of NIOSA, but it was still right in the middle of things. I suppose it was a party within a party.

(So what's the connection between the two? Funds earned at NIOSA help operate the Conservation Society.)

The most exciting part of this party was seeing what the Old Guard of San Antonio had on. Most of the attendees were professionals - many seemed to be either architects, city employees, or developers. Professions aside, costumes were front and center for this occasion (and they were fantastically cool).

For someone that doesn't care for crowds (I mentioned that already), I sure braved 'em. My friend "D" and I made the rounds, said our hellos and goodbyes and left NIOSA in search of a quieter and calmer atmosphere. We walked a few blocks to Le Frite, a small Belgian bistro just south of downtown. This is where part B of my evening begins.

Le Frite

Owned and operated by one of San Antonio's leading chefs, Damien Vatel*, Le Frite is pleasing in a most understated yet tasteful manner. Chairs and tables one might find in a Parisian cafe create a romantic and warm environment in two intimate rooms. There is a small bar, used mainly for extra seating, and a large chalkboard menu above the kitchen. And while I'm certainly no food critic, I feel like I've been to enough places around the world to know what's good and what's not.
Le Frite is good. And consistently so. I ordered my favorite dish: the mussels/pommes frites. D ordered the steak/pommes frites, another delectable selection. We had dinner inside, but enjoyed coffee outside. The sun had set and it was much cooler by then.

For all those coming to San Antonio to visit (or for all those who want to venture out of their 'hood), remember Le Frite.

*Damien Vatel is also owner of Bistro Vatel, Ciao Lavanderia and Ciel.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth on Earth Day

The new Disney movie, "Earth," opened today. I picked up GrayBear a little early from school and we hit the matinee.

"Earth" does a wonderful job of hitting a number of geological spots around the world. Footage was shot in over 200 locations in almost 70 countries including the frozen tundra of Antarctica, the dry Sahara dessert, and of course the ocean. It's very informative, too, but not in a boring way. (I didn't feel like a child begrudgingly watching Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom in the early 70s). While there isn't necessarily a plot, per se, we follow a few animal families on their own journeys of survival and see glimpses of other species along the way.

It is an intimate story that explores the natural cycle of life and death and how the changing environment is affecting that cycle.

My favorite part was, of course, the cinematography. They went to great measures to get the incredible footage that was required to make this something more than a science film. You learn a little bit about some of these extreme measures during the credits - only one of which was via a small hot air balloon two-seater.

The footage is absolutely breathtaking and the music score feels relevant and appropriate. As a reporter from the Chicago-Tribune wrote, it is "beautiful enough to forgive Disney for Hannah Montana: The Movie." Love it!

A note for parents: though there is no raw footage of animals being brutally ravished by their predators, death is definitely implied. My 6-year old felt sad and scared about some of those instances, so while it is G rated, it's still something to consider.

Happy Earth Day!

I am loving today. I am so proud of our country for making our planet a top priority. We've got a ways to go but with each passing year, I feel like we are making small steps. A sincere dialogue began a few years ago, but has finally gained enough momentum to affect change. As we enter into a new era for our country and the world, I'm proud to celebrate Earth Day 2009.

In honor of this occasion, I have decided to highlight a only a small few of my environmentally favorite finds.

The GrayBear and I try to read almost every night before bed. One of our favorite (and rather oversized) books is 365 Penguins. This hilarious story by Jean-Luc Fromental reminds us to be friendly to Mother Earth in a most creative fashion. The illustrations by Joëlle Jolivet are top-notch as well (all of you design buffs will recognize the modern color palette and mid-century design elements).

Another Earth Day shoutout has to do with a new shoe line to hit the market. Swedish Hasbeens bring the clog back in a most stylish and irreverent fashion. All materials are handcrafted using earth-friendly products: high grain leather (no chrome), Swedish alder wood and lime tree, and natural rubber. This means that the shoes, themselves, are sustainable and with proper care, are said to last forever (you can pass them onto your kids).

(I'm a devoted fan and retailer of Odd Molly, another Swedish line, so Swedish Hasbeens was a natural fit for my store, Galeana. Stylish and environmentally-friendly, these will be available at Galeana in May.)

Another favorite are drinking glasses made from recycled soda and water bottles. Sid St. Onge, a local San Antonio musician and artist, creates handmade glasses from the pretty vessels. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but my favorites are of the Topo Chico variety.

(Topo Chico is an imported sparkling water from Mexico. It's got some powerful carbonation so it's especially yummy. For a delightful summer treat, make your own simple syrup, add a cold Topo Chico, squeeze a lime and enjoy.)

Arts Fair and Charreada

While I'm not one for large and dense crowds, there are a few events that I don't like to miss. The first is the Fiesta Arts Fair sponsored by the Southwest School of Art and Craft (SWSAC). The second is the Charreada.

Fiesta Arts Fair

The SWSAC is a nationally recognized institution specializing in arts education. Courses are offered to adults and children in a number of different areas including ceramics, bookmaking, photography and many other specialties.

The Fiesta Arts Fair is only one of the several beautiful events that the SWSAC sponsors. Artists from all over the country and region are invited to showcase their works on the SWSAC grounds (a place that is a work of art in and of itself). When I say "invited," I mean that the artists are selected by a juried panel.

This is an event that has grown steadily during the last 36 years. According to their website, "San Antonio's Fiesta Arts Fair was named one of America's Top Ten Art Fairs and Festivals (coming in at #7, to be exact) by the national magazine, American Style."

One of my favorite parts this year was the Children's Art Garden (perhaps that because my little guy is 6 years old - the perfect age to enjoy this hands-on experience). There were a number of different craft stations where kids (and adults) could create their masterpieces. Clay sculptures, stained glass, monoprints, face painting, beading and quilling, metal repousse, art pots and Fiesta crowns were all part of the fun.

Let me just say... for all of you crafsters out there (me included), this was heaven!

The Charreada

The Asociacion de Charros de San Antonio hosts their annual Fiesta Charreada during the two Sundays of Fiesta. A charreada is what gringos often call a "Mexican Rodeo," but I suspect those who really know their stuff would say it goes much deeper than that. Seeped in Mexican art, tradition and culture, its roots date back to the time when the Spaniards first arrived in the Americas. It wasn't until the 1970s, though, when the Charreada was recognized as an official event in the US.

The event I attended began with a procession on horseback of the flags (American and Mexican). This is followed by an introduction of all of the participants on horseback. All are dressed in traditional costume and mariachi music plays in the background. It is a visual feast for the eyes and ears.

According to Wikipedia, a typical charreada consists of 9 events for men and 1 event for women. We only stayed for a few of the events (our younger companions were getting tired), but my favorite is the side saddle performance by the women. In this instance, a team of 8 or so young ladies created a number of different formations and patterns. Admittedly, its not their skill that is most impressive to me (though they are clearly highly skilled), but rather their costumes that I can't stop photographing. Their skirts flounce, their ribbons flow, their hats tip and their whips crack. It is is a breathtaking site.

Fiesta San Antonio

Everyone who has grown up in and around San Antonio knows about Fiesta. An 11-day event held every year in April, it's South Texas' answer to Mardi Gras. Parades, art fairs, food booths, music, cascarones, Kings and Queens - all of these elements (and more) come together to create what has to be one of the nation's greatest examples of a really great citywide festival.

I'll be posting information and pictures regarding a variety of events throughout the week. They will, by no means, be inclusive of every event, party or parade. The postings are only indicative of what I'm attending, where I'm going, what I'm seeing, etc. There is PLENTY more going on!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Oh By Gosh By Golly

My first post! This is very exciting.

I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for a while now, but insecurities on so many levels have prevented me from doing so.

Many of those insecurities exist – even as I write this first entry – but my gut tells me that I must simply start. I must pursue my extreme desire to share, connect, and create. So what can you expect from By Gosh, By Golly?

Here’s a glimpse…

I am a lover of fashionable things – especially those things associated with events, restaurants, apparel, design, interiors, food, architecture and art. Be it a tangible product or merely an idea, I believe that some of the most fashionable creations come out of these industries. That said I realize that “fashion” – though not always – can be driven by a trend. What is fashionable today may not be so fashionable tomorrow.

In order to live the good life that so many modern girls dream about, she must not necessarily be the trendiest girl on the block; rather, she must possess a voice of her own. The tricky part, though, is that this voice must make sense on the inside and the outside. This we call style.

Too, I think it's important for us to try new things every once in a while. We should be forced to step out of our comfort zone. Whether it's by going to see a new museum, attending a new event, trying a new restaurant, cooking a new recipe, engaging in a new morning ritual - these experiences present opportunities to grow. This we call self-awareness.

It is my hope that, in presenting you with my experiences with new restaurants, fun events, fashionable clothes, interesting ideas and exciting concepts, I can help you find, tweak or solidify your inner modern girl voice. For it is through this discovery that one may, indeed, live the good life.