It was a dark and stormy day. Monday morning found me packing up the few items of clothing I had, sans workout clothes, sliding on my trusty flip-flops, and hopping into a cab with Jason G, my trusty sidekick. Our first stop? The amazing Bra Guru.

Trusty Sidekick

{intimacy}, located in Madison Avenue, was kind enough to open up for little ‘ol bra-impaired me for a private fitting, and frankly, I was excited. As the door was unlocked, I was immediately greeted by the lovely Dee Binyard, Bra Fit Stylist. I had the shop to myself and I assure you, Dee knows her bras. In a matter of minutes, I’d been fitted so perfectly into four beautiful bras. I wanted to kiss the woman for her genius, instead, I begged Dee to let me leave the store wearing my new low cut t-shirt bra. A bra that felt as if God himself had made it just for me. (During my visit, I did my best to get Jason to try on a pink and purple lacy thong, but, no dice.) As she wrapped up the remaining bras, she and the ladies of {intimacy}, gave me a gift of a beautiful lingerie bag and special wash to insure I take good care of the bras who know were making my ‘girls’ look so good, I couldn’t help starting at my own chest. Jealous? Well, if you live in Dallas or Houston, you’re in luck, both cities have {intimacy} locations. Do your boobs and your clothes a favor and visit.

22Next we were off to the What Not to Wear studios. Located on the 5th floor of a Union Square area building, the space was small and very efficient. Pre-interview, introductions to crew, and wired for sound, the next 10 hours found me changing in and out of clothes, confronting the 360 mirror, and watching my clothes being trashed. As hot and sweaty as the lights were, as devastating and enlightening as the 360 mirror was, I must admit, the trashing of the clothes was…cathartic and happily I was able to keep a few things. I was introduced to my ‘rules’ mannequins and thought, as they yelled, ‘cut!’ that I was done. I rushed back to my room in the studio, put on my clothes, packed my back and was ready to go back to the hotel, exhausted. My head was reeling with information, apparently I have a large rack, who knew? My ego bruised and a little defiant and I was, honestly, emotionally and intellectually feeling a little battered. My escape, was short lived.

Bye Bye Clothes

Bye Bye Clothes

Jason alerted me that I had one final interview for the day. *sigh* I had to go back to my room in the studio, pull a dress out of the trash bin, sit in a chair and answer some pretty hard questions about myself. “Why are you drowning yourself in clothes?” “How do you feel….” “Why do you think…” I was tired, I gave my answers, cried a little, okay, a lot, and finally I was freed. I understand know why the women on the show cry and get cranky. They’re just as exhausted from shooting and reshooting, room level checks, and everything else that comes with the complications of making a show as I was. It’s not a lack of gratitude on their part, we’re all grateful for this once in a life time opportunity, its simply physical and emotional exhaustion you’re seeing, and I assure you of that.

13 hours later, I was finally allowed to hoof it from the WNTW studios, suitcase in hand, leapt through puddles and dodged raindrops the size of half dollars. Finally in the confines of my hotel room, I found myself, beer in hand, doing my best to try to reconcile the last 13 hours of my life. And this morning I still haven’t.

But I’ll let you in on a few things I learned before I go on my first day of shopping with Jason:

Flip Flops are not ideal for rainy NYC days and nights.

There is, apparently, a “sex kitten” inside of me.

I have big boobs. I swear I didn’t know this.

Some body mics have teeth. Teeth that will bite the aforementioned boobs.

I can’t open my hotel windows thanks to a man on the 19th floor that decided to go out on the ledge.

Saying goodbye to old, frumpy, bury herself in clothes Amanda felt good. Damn good.

Talk to you soon, Texas!

ah2Texas has no shortage of good-hearted folks hell bent on trying to create community dedicating to and career-launching platforms for musicians, artists and writers. Austin Handmade’s Jason and Catherine are no exception.

In the beginning, Austin Handmade set out to acquaint Texas artists to a larger, national market via the internet. Though Austin Handmade’s online store began in January 2008 with a soft launch, the store didn’t officially launch until October last year. Soon after, it quickly became apparent that the duo, both hold down full-time jobs, would need to open an actual storefront.

Jason sums it up best, “After launching, we quickly realized that having a physical location would be beneficial so that people could come and check out the items in person. We had an opportunity to open in a really nice neighborhood located off South First and Mary Street. South First Street is filled with really interesting businesses including a cupcake bakery, skateboard shop, record store and multiple coffee shops.”

ah3Though Austin Handmade represents a collection of high-end works handpicked from some of Austin and Texas most creative minds, they also make it a priority to offer shoppers and collectors well-crafted, handmade, unique items at an affordable price. With products ranging from limited edition designer toys, one-of-a-kind assemblage art, custom jewelry, handbags, gadgets, art, books, stationery, handmade clothing and more– there’s just about something for everyone, including me! (See, I secretly want an army of Thingamagoop‘s to entertain me and do my bidding, that and I think they’d be super cool to start a band with.)

Says Jason, “We have ambitious goals and are passionate about the art and the artists that we work with. We both really enjoy watching the process each artist applies to complete their work. It’s quite amazing and we feel lucky to be a part of it.”

Austin should be feeling pretty lucky to have Austin Handmade around, too.

While you can always visit Austin Handmade online, locals and tourists alike can visit both the new storefront and the Austin Handmade Market – an outdoor event exclusively featuring the handmade work by Texas artists and makers of things – which the outfit hosts twice a month.

Austin Handmade
507 West Mary St
Austin, TX 78704
Tel: 512-383-9333
HOURS: Tues-Sun, Noon-6pm