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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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Entries in General Banter (22)

Friday
Jan062012

Bupkis and Zits.

You know what I got today? Bupkis, that’s what.

So I’m going to talk about my giant zit.

Yes, you read that right.

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So you’d think that after all this time, at my age, I’d learn a thing or two about zits.

Don’t squeeze.

Don’t pick.

Don’t pop.

Bullshit is what I say to that.

I’ve got a cyst-like growth on my forehead right now. It has roots. I can feel them all the way down into my neck. I’ve had these before, always on my forehead. And I look terrible with bangs.

I have successfully not picked at one these suckers maybe twice in my entire life time. I thought maybe this one would be #3, but I failed. I did try.

The growth started about two weeks ago. I could feel the hard lump just under the skin when I was washing my face one night. I started to pay particular attention to it, to keep it from getting bigger. None of my known tactics helped. I tried peroxide/witch hazel solutions, zit cream, Neosporin and all my  washes, masks, lotions and potions to keep this sucker at bay. Nothing worked.

It did seem to shrink for a bit, only to come back with gusto. And pain. It was like I had a living being on my forehead because the constant throbbing was like a heartbeat. I’d sporadically touch my forehead to see if it has sprouted wings. Or claws. Or a tail.

So I squeezed. I pinched. Stuff oozed. I creamed and sanitized, hoping to keep the skin on top from drying out while attacking the infection beneath. I iced to keep the swelling down. This has been going on for THREE DAYS and still, there is an angry hard lump just below the surface and the more I squeeze, the more it oozes. It is the never-ending zit.

Now, in addition to the something-foul that lies just below the surface of my skin, I have a huge, ferociously red lump on my forehead. I’ve bruised the skin from attacking my face, all with the hopes of dislodging the evil core of nastiness that appears to be STUCK IN MY FOREHEAD.

Last night The Candyman came home while I was preparing dinner. I heard the front door open and I shouted to him, “I. AM. HIDEOUS!" in Quasimodo fashion. He replied with a “Huh?” as he walked around the corner. He looked at me and was all, “Oh! Holy shit. What’s up, Cyclops?”

Yeah, it’s that bad now.

So I have to leave the house. It’s flea market time and I’m meeting some folks today. All I can say is THANK GOD I look good in hats because otherwise, I’d be sporting enough pancake make-up to rival a geisha in order to “blend” the zit in with the rest of my face.

And we all know how good that looks.

One day I might learn not to pick at my face, but I seriously doubt it.

Saturday
Dec102011

Prince on Saturday

Probably the best 8 minutes of music televiosn, EVER! This is 8 years old and I still love it. Why? When all the ladies sing Chakka Khan's "Sweet Thing." LOVE. THAT. SONG.

I think there are commericals in this. I can't control that. They are only 20 seconds though. Sorry.

When Prince went on tour in 2004, I was living in Chicago. My brother was coming in to see me because I had scored rather good seats for the Prince concert and I wanted him to go with me.  See in high school, there wasn't an inch of inside-locker-space that was plastered with Prince's face. Most of my bedroom was covered with him too, save for my Cure poster, my Fine Young Cannibals poster and The Smiths poster, natch. I also had my Harvey Edwards ballet framed print (I considered this very fancy, indeed) that I still own. It's hanging in my studio. I guess I'm still a 15 year old at heart.

Anyway, my brother was a FULL ON Dead Head in high school. Hair as long as mine is now; gorgeous, naturally curly locks that mimiced the costly spiral perms that were all the rage at the time. There was a lot of tie-dye happening. Anyway, ALL he listened to were The Dead. Different damn versions of the same fucking song over and over and over. God, I wanted to blast my brains out. Of course, he scoffed mightily at my musical selections. Prince was a faggot. Faggots only listened to Prince. And I'd be all, "Well then I guess I'm a fag then, because Prince freakin' ROCKS!" I'd storm off in my lace-up granny style boots, black fishnets and the gold lamé dress circa 1960 that I picked up at the consignment store. I'd stomp right into my room, slam in the cassette, hit play and CRANK that mini boom box, bitch. Parents be damned, we were going to listen to some MOTHER FUCKING PRINCE UP IN HERE.

A few years prior, my brother had come to Chicago with some chick he was seeing. She let the beans spill that my brother actually secretly LOVED Prince, but that he was too embarrassed to listen to him because of all his Dead Head buddiesor whatever. Stupid teenage shit. So the cat was out of the bag that Austin loved Prince and I thought it fitting we should go together.

The buzz-kill was that the DAY BEFORE the concert, the drummer's daughter passed away and the show was postponed for a future date. Alas, we did not get to go see Prince together. However, we did go to the Crosstown Classic instead: White Sox vs. The Cubs (GO CUBBIES!) at Wrigley Field (also the best baseball field EVER) and got bleacher seats that we paid WAY too much money for. We drank lemonade sluggers, cheered the Cubbies on to victory and went to see a live blues band. The trip was not a waste.

When Prince finally made it back to town, I took a girl I worked with, who incidently now lives here in Charlotte. And we're still friends. We got to our seats, all giddy. As soon as the lights went down and Prince stepped out on that stage? It's like I went zooming backwards in time and slammed right into my 15 year-old self. I think the same exact thing happened to my friend because we turned from the stage, looked at each other, clutched hands in some sort of weird solidarity and screamed at the top of our lungs. We screamed like the teenagers we felt like inside.

And it rocked.

 

Friday
Aug052011

The Candyman Was Right.

So my friend Michele called me on the day I wrote my whining post about how hard every thing is. I thought for a second she’d read it and called to check in with me (as several of my Blog People did, which I so appreciate). Alas, I know she doesn’t read the blog so knew that wasn’t it. (P.S. I find it sort of strange that my very closest friends rarely read my blog though I don’t speak to them on the regular. Anyone else got this going on?)

Then I remembered that I’d called her over the weekend while The Candyman and I were fighting. I wasn’t going to talk to her about the fight because I just don’t do that. Inviting anyone other than The Candyman into any part of my marriage isn’t something I do. However, I did want  to talk about nonsensical girl-things to get my mind off of the fight while I was getting myself a revenge-pedicure (I’ll show HIM! I’m going to step out of my own self-imposed moratorium on pedicures and get one. That will totally show him. Humph!).

Now Michele is a smart cookie. Really smart. I have no idea what she does, but it’s like behavioral management type shit. She used to work for this company where she traveled the US and coached prison wardens on management styles and such. And she’d go to the prisons. I can’t ever imagine this because Michele is the girliest of girls and trying to plop her into a prison setting, pretty much telling wardens what to do is not something I can see in my mind’s eye. Anyway, she has this ability to listen to what someone says about who they are or what they are struggling with and then BLAMMO! she sees straight through to the bullshit and totally calls you on it. It can be unnerving sometimes.

So I told her about how I think I am the suck and unaccomplished and basically feel like a big, fat, stupid cow munching away on my cud all the live long day. She asked me a few questions about how I spend my days, am I exercising (not enough), what kind of groups am I involved it, etc. Really basic, almost job interview types of questions. And then BLAMMO! she says, “Louise, you need to take more time for yourself. You need to do things for you. You need to take this time and enjoy it. You may not ever have it again.”

There are all sorts of feelings of guilt associated with chilling the hell out on the couch all the live long day, or for even an hour or two. That’s just not me. There’s guilt associated with not bringing home the bacon like I once did, versus frying up The Candyman’s turkey bacon like I do now. And The Candyman knows I’ve been infusing his dishes with resentment, a la Like Water for Chocolate style. That’s just rude of me.

But the point of this post is that The Candyman has been saying the exact same shit to me for the last nine months. “Take more time for yourself, honey” he says, and “Why don’t you skip the blog post today?” or “You should look at this time as a once in a lifetime opportunity.” I totally ignore him and consider him a moron. Then other people, including my really smart friend Michele, start saying the same thing and suddenly I start listening.

Why do we do that?

This scenario has happened in the reverse too. I can’t remember the exact issue, but there had been something I was hammering The Candyman over and he simply would NOT listen to me. It was infuriating. Then we went to one of our pre-marital counseling sessions and our therapist said what I’d been saying to him, like exactly and suddenly he’s all, “Oh, I get it!” and I wanted to clobber him over the head with my shoe. Repeatedly.

So why does that happen? Why do we not hear the people who are closest to us? Why does it take outside counsel for us to hear things our partners tell us all the damn time? I mean, our wives and husbands are the people who committed themselves to us: to have and to hold, till death and all that. And are our partners trying to sabotage us? Make us unhappy? Are the trying to give us false hope and fill our minds with bullshit rhetoric? Well, from a simple strategy position, that would be dumb. There’s a lot of wisdom in that horrid saying, “Happy wife, happy life.” Unless I married a complete asshole, there’s no reason why The Candyman would intentionally do anything that wasn’t in my/his/our best interests. And I didn’t marry an asshole. I married the sweet Candyman. He’s got my best interests at heart, yet I fail to see that or truly listen to what I’m hearing from him.

This doesn’t mean that I’ll be taking every damn thing that comes out of his mouth as gospel. Not my style. However, I do think I need to be a better listener. I hear him all the time, I just don’t internalize what he’s saying unless I am super-focused. Most of the time, I am decidedly unfocused because I’m too damn busy worrying about all the shit I’m not, my failures and lack of current accomplishments. This is where I need to practice some basic listening skills. However, it’s hard to push aside the heavy, musty, dirty curtain of your own self-doubt and see that there is an  audience filled with your biggest fans, The Candyman sitting in the center seat of the front row.

The Candyman, basking in the glow of my epiphany,  suggested I write a post about how he was right about all this stuff. So I am. And just to make him feel really good, I’ll admit this too: we totally should have gotten a gas mower. The electric one blows.

Friday
May272011

BHLDN Is A Rip Off. Literally.

OK. I thought I’d be fair. I thought I’d give them another chance. No more. I’ve seen too damn much. And it pains me because I LOVE Anthropologie. I kind of like Urban Outfitters because it’s a cheap version of Anthropologie and I have always adored the brand Free People. No more. I must boycott.

The parent company Urban Outfitters owns six retail brands: Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, Terrain, Leifsdottir and BHLDN. Everyone has been all up in arms lately because there appears to be some, um, how shall I put this….uh…..RIPPING OFF of indie designers and artists by Urban Outfitters. 

Now, as a past product development guru, I get it. There are only so many ideas out there. You have to find inspiration somewhere. It’s called knocking off, creating a cheaper version of something that’s just a smidge different. Most times, it’s a top down effect, where someone like Forever 21 knocks off the latest Dior and sells it for $19.99. In my past product development world, you had to bet your job on the fact that what you were designing was NOT going to infringe upon the copyright of another artist, designer, company. Legally, you had to make sure that 33% or more of an item was artistically different if you were to openly knock something off. That can include color, shape, size, material, icons, etc. Once, a few years ago me and the company I worked for got hit with a law suit for knocking someone off.  I went through the roof because I knew it wasn’t true. I knew it. And I could prove it wasn’t true. And I did. But man, I’ll tell you what, I was shaking in my boots over the whole ordeal. What ended up happening was that a factory I worked with created icons I instructed them to make using another designer’s original work and not mine.  I had never even seen the original stuff before. The factory passed off the icons to me as an interpretation of my artwork. It’s all hair splitting and crazy when you get overseas factories involved, but in order to avoid any conflict at all, we pulled the item from sale and stopped working with that factory (p.s. this conflict took months to resolve). So, I can understand how things can slip through the cracks. I understand how maybe once – or even twice – you cross ideas, artwork, products. It happens.

But man, this is just too much. Too often. Too similar. And the bottom-up approach is so not cool. Instead of knocking off Dior, these product managers are hitting the streets and Etsy for creativity. And I’m not understanding how the fuck they continue to get away with it. Oh wait, yes I do. It’s much easier to rip off a small artist who doesn’t have a legal team than a prominent brand. That’s how they’re doing it.

Let’s review, shall we?

 

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On the left is an original design from jewelry designer Lillian Crowe. March 2009

On the right is the piece from Urban Outfitters. November 2009

 

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The white version was created by Crownfarmer in 2003.

The red version was created by Urban Outfitters in 2006.

 

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Original t-shirt on the left created by Johnny Cupcakes Summer 2004.

Urban Outfitters contacted Johnny Cupcakes for a sample of this shirt for possible placement in stores, which would be an amazing financial gain for a small company. The samples were never returned, yet the version on the right was released January 2006 by Urban Outfitters. No orders were placed with Johnny Cupcakes. *ahem*

 

 

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Then there’s this item via Urban Outfitters. The direct link no longer shows the picture, only the verbiage.

Please compare that to this:

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Via Etsy seller Tru.Che and her United/World of Love line, May 2011. Check her blog post about it here.

Need another?

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Elizabeth Dye/The English Dept. on the left, 2010.

BHLDN on the right, 2011. 

And what’s crazy and weird is that I just wrote about this myself a few weeks ago. Check it out:

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The chair on the left is my design from my last job, June 2010.

The chair on the right is in Anthropologie now, May 2011. 

In my original post, I wrote it off to a similar factory issue I outlined above, but now I’m thinking we got ripped off. Lame.

What really chaps my ass is that the people who work for these companies go through a rigorous interview process (I know, I’ve applied with them in the past only to be laughed out the door) and are required to have incredible portfolios and fine arts educations, etc. And they don’t even pay very well! So I’m asking myself why these “artists” can’t come up with their own stuff! Why aren’t they crediting and/or buying reproduction rights from the original artists? That would not only be the right thing to do, but it would also stimulate our economy, support the arts in general and turn themselves into a powerhouse company. Don’t you think that if Urban Outfitters had product “casting calls” on places like Etsy and Cargoh that they’d actually be offered these products versus having to steal them? The cost would be minimal and the return would be so worth it. Sometimes companies can be so dumb.

While I’m not a heavy-duty shopper of the Urban Outfitter brands in general, I certainly won’t be seeking them out any time soon. There are way too many amazing, local and domestic designers out there who can fulfill my needs. What about you? How do you feel about this?

Wednesday
May182011

Not the DIY Post I Intended.

OK, so what I’ve always heard about starting your own business is true: you’re a one man show. Am I the designer? Yes, of course. But I’m also:

Production

Inventory Control

Shipping

Marketing

Accounting

Creative Services

Human Resources

PR

Janitorial Services

I’m learning a lot about the nuances of owning a business that all my experience managing a business never taught me.  I think the hardest thing I’m learning right now is Time Management. It’s a bitch.

I’m going to bet many of you are scratching your collective heads and thinking, “But Louise, you’re unemployed, you have all the time in the world!” And to that, I’d flip a collective, well-intended finger. If you’re working unemployment like I am, you’re WORKING.

One of the things I don’t have to deal with is getting ready for and driving to work. It’s nice that I can answer my morning emails in my jammies with a cup of coffee and a little Honey Sunshine at my side. That means I get to start my day whenever I want, which is around 6:30 by the time I stumble downstairs, make the coffee and The Candyman’s lunch (not every day, but most) and sit my jammied ass down at the computer. I generally write my blog posts in the morning, as they come to me. I know so many people who crank ‘em all out in one day. Some struggle over them like they’re writing The Next Great Novel (Lyn, I’m talking about you. The result is worth the wait – I’m just jealous). If I did that, they’d take me forever to write because I’d actually spend time on them and maybe actually do some editing. Just imagine!

After blog writing comes the marketing. Blog marketing, TruLu Couture marketing (because I’ve realized they’re one and the same) and general “I have to sit at this damn computer” stuff. All that crap can take me until noon to finish depending on the work load. I eat a quick lunch while watching whatever happens to be on Bravo (God, I am addicted to that crap. Bethenny, Tabitha, Padma – all those housewife bitches? I ♥ them all!). After lunch? That’s when TruLu takes over. I work on pretties until The Candyman comes home, which is around 6:30 or 7:00. Then I have to figure out what to cook for dinner, and then cook it. I seriously don’t understand how those 1950’s bitches did it. I mean, I can cook. I’m not an excellent cook, but I’m good enough. I’ll tell you what, figuring out dinner and having everything on hand to make that dinner for every night of the week? That shit is hard. Add it’s starting to bum me out because I’m getting kind of sick of cooking….All. The. Time. Last night we had turkey meatloaf and The Candyman informed me that he’s getting a little tired of it. Uh, WHA? Like, it’s a staple in my arsenal of recipes. We have it  once every two or three weeks and eat leftovers in sammiches and such. Part of me just wants to tell The Candyman to suck it up and eat his damn dinner (which he generally does). The other part of me feels guilty for not researching recipes and finding other things to feed the man since he’s the one bringing home the turkey bacon. This homemaker bullshit is exhausting.

And while I’m doing all this, I’m also looking for a full-time gig. My options here are limited, but I still research the job postings, apply to stuff I’m totally over/not qualified for and write an endless stream of cover letters. God, I hate cover letters. And you just know most people don’t even look at them. I know I rarely did. Every week I go to these networking meetings for a couple of hours too. It gets me out of the house and the people there are all in my same position, so there’s some much needed camaraderie and human interaction (other than The Candyman).

Now I suppose that’s the point of this post (I thought I was going to write about the DIY light box I made, but clearly we’ve changed direction), is that I  need some friends. I had a melt down two nights ago because I came to that realization: I have no friends. That made me one saaaaaaaad thirty-something bride. What I mean is that I don’t have any friends HERE. I miss happy hour with my gal-pals. I miss calling up Sharon and meeting her at Costco for shopping and fruit smoothies. I haven’t been to a party in like, forever. Last night, The Candyman encouraged me to take a yoga class in order to meet people. He’s assuming that because I had yoga friends in Nashville, that I can make yoga friends here too. What he doesn’t realize is that I made those friends over years of yoga classes. It’s not like I can just pop into a local studio and find the Insta-Friend. I know he just wants me to get out of the house, but it’s harder to do now than it was when I was younger. Most people in my age group are married with kids, which doesn’t leave much time for socializing with people they barely know. Tell me, how is a 40 year old woman with no kids and no job supposed to meet similar? What does that want ad look like?

Female married no kids seeks same for shopping, pedicures and general gossiping. Must tolerate f-bombs, like wine and love Bravo TV. No husband-stealers, psychos or bitches, please.

See my point? I’ve never really struggled with this part of my life before, this “how to make friends” thing. I’m certain over time, when I become more involved in this community, I’ll make friends. It’s just hard now.  It changes the marriage dynamic too. I’ve become more dependent on The Candyman for my social needs. That, my bloggy friends, is lame. And not working. The Candyman is not a social butterfly. If I had a laptop (I don’t) I might could hit some local coffee joints and maybe meet some friendly strangers while I work. You know, people who also like extra-hot, no-foam, fat-free lattes. Or blogging. Or weddings. Or Bravo TV. Just imagine…..

I’m sure that like all things in my life, there’s a lesson to learn here. A new skill to hone. An ah-ha moment that will send me sprinting in the right direction. That lesson, that moment, that skill? I got nothing. It hasn’t hit me yet. So in the meantime, I suppose I just keep at what I’m doing and maybe latch onto the stranger at the grocery who looks at me sideways in hopes that they’ll be my friend.

Oh, that just sounds soooooo pitiful. I swear, I’m not as miserable as it may seem. Since I haven’t been to any social engagements lately, I figure the occasional pity-party is warranted. Don’t you?