Monday, December 21st

The Big Fake Wedding

The Big Fake Wedding

Photo by Grey to Blue

Recently I was tipped off to a unique experience for brides. The Big Fake Wedding is a bridal show alternative, with vendors showcasing their stuff in a wedding format. Kind of like Tony and Tina’s Wedding, but attendees are scoping out the dresses, catering, and other details for their own big day. My friends Rachel and Brian are getting married next year and I wanted to hear their take on The Big Fake Wedding when they were in Austin. To my delight, Brian wrote down his thoughts and I wanted to share it will all of you. My message to all the brides out there is to get your grooms involved! 

A Whole New World

This fall The Big Fake Wedding was kind enough to host an event at The Palm Door on 6th Street. My fiancée—let’s call her Brachel—and I had tickets; Brachel thought it would be a great way to introduce me to the upcoming steps we would need to take for planning our wedding. She was absolutely right. I did not title this A Whole New World because Aladdin was my favorite Disney movie as a child (who doesn’t love Gilbert Gottfried?) but because I learned more in one night than I had in attending a lifetime’s worth of weddings.

We arrived right before the wedding vow renewal was about to begin. This is the part of weddings with which I am most familiar. A couple stood in front of an officiant to exchange vows, rings, and a prayer that no one stood up to shout any objections. After the ceremony we were invited to stay for dinner, enjoy the music, and meet with area wedding professionals.

There was not a wasted space, nor a wasted opportunity for me to learn. Brachel herself has worked in facets of the wedding industry for years and had always told me I had no idea what we were signing up for. While waiting in line for food and drink I learned that tables and chairs are not always provided by the venue. China, flatware, tablecloths and napkins are also available to rent for the big day. Each table was decorated to show different décor options. The menu was also diverse and featured items that I would not have previously thought would be served at a wedding. Like quinoa. (Did you know that quinoa and couscous are two different things? #deepthoughts)

The second half of the venue was the vendors’ space. This is where Brachel really shined, as she introduced me to some professionals in industries I was familiar with, like photographers, and others I was not aware of, such as invitation and save-the-date designers. It was like a baby visiting Santa Claus for the first time: overwhelming with a lot of shiny objects to catch my eye.

My visit to The Big Fake Wedding was a blast, and I learned so much more about what we can consider as options for our big day. Long country tables, vibrant linens, German chocolate cake. The possibilities are endless! This event is a must attend for any engaged couple, and has helped me get more involved in the planning process.

-by Brian Helmick, with fiancée Brachel Rachel Gill

Tuesday, December 9th

Diamonds are Evil: Jewelry Giveaway

Diamonds are Evil, Austin Texas

Diamonds Are Evil is a local, eco-friendly shop that makes laser cut jewelry (and other pieces) out of sustainable Canadian birch wood. The wood is extremely durable, yet very lightweight and the design work is so modern and playful. The nod to art deco with hipster sensibility makes these pieces both fun and serious. I love the versatility.

You may have seen me sporting this piece around town recently. It’s my new favorite necklace.

Diamonds are Evil, Austin Texas

So what’s up with the name? It represents the company’s socially conscious stand against the diamond industry. I can dig it.

Leonardo DiCaprio in Blood Diamond

Make sure to check out their online store or drop by Slackerville on South 1st. And right now, you can win this pair of earrings in time for the holidays.

Diamonds are Evil giveaway

To enter, leave me a comment and tell me how you’re making an effort to be more environmentally conscious for the holidays. Make sure you like Mad Betty on Facebook, as that’s where I’ll be announcing the winner on December 17th.

Wednesday, May 14th

Fashion Wish List: Clover Canyon

The following is a sponsored post for which I received compensation.

How often do you ladies lust after fashion? The Project Runway of my heart beats for new designs each season. My alter ego lives in New York and has a budget to shop at all the cool shops, like Scoop, one of Nina Garcia’s favorites.

Right now Clover Canyon is one of the coolest lines out there. The bright boho vibe belies its LA home, but its edginess screams New York chic. I’m crazy for their graphic prints and youthful spirit. Some pretty fierce ladies are listed as muses for the brand: Alicia Keys, Olivia Wilde, Michelle Obama, and (all hail the queen) Beyoncé.

The relatively young line emerged in 2011 and has quickly gained a loyal following with its lighthearted mixing of bold patterns. The name is all California, with views of clover-covered Laurel Canyon providing inspiration and continued optimism for the team of hardworking designers. Creative director Rozae Nichols guides the collections along of the theme of joy and life journeys, letting the prints inform the cute silhouettes.

Here are a few of my favorite pieces accessorized with some other fabulous items, all available at Scoop.

Scoop NYC
Scoop NYC by madbettyblog featuring Clover Canyon

Would you wear any of these? What are your favorite trends happening in fashion right now?
Wednesday, March 5th

The HotList #SXSW Edition

I love a good trend. Especially in Austin during SXSW, when techies show off their newest gear and music lovers prance around like hipster peacocks. The conference is a nod towards what’s new, what’s artistic, and what’s going to happen over the next year.

Podcasts. Everybody cool has got one. The Austin-American Statesman recently started one. The recurring fad of digital media has true loyalists. People who listen to podcasts are passionate and those that create them are confident. Because it’s not easy to listen to your own voice.

Mr. Betty and I joined podcasters When in Austin for their first recording session of 2014 to talk about SXSW. Take a listen here and enjoy our tips, our fumbles, and our South Jersey accents.


Photo by When in Austin

Style. From sunglasses to sneakers, Keep Austin Stylish guides you to the right gear to wear. Achieve the right balance to looking cool while sprinting around town from event to event. If you pull it off well enough, you might even end up in one of her famous street style posts.

Libations. The parties never stop and the drinks are flowing during SX. Free drinks range from high-end martinis to all the cheap, tasteless beer you can drink. Those traveling from out of town might want to try the new, limited-edition Absolut Texas. They sent me a bottle of the cucumber and serrano flavored vodka and I was surprised at how good it was. The Absolut website provides recipes and my friends and I really enjoyed mixing the vodka with pineapple juice, cilantro, and jalapeño slices.

Absolut Texas

White Teeth. A bright smile is always on trend, actually, so when Influenster sent me the new Colgate Optic White Pen, I was pleased. An easy way to get whiter teeth in just a few days. Have you tried it?

Burgers. Shake Shake will be feeding thousands of hungry SXSWers with a complimentary pop-up. Late night burgers sponsored by Late Night with Seth Meyers? Oh, yes. We want that. Check it out on 6th & Red River (March 8-10) or E. 6th and Brushy (March 11-14.)

Ranch. Willie Nelson’s ranch isn’t normally open to the public, so when there’s an opportunity to get inside the gates, people jump at the chance. For the third year in a row, the Heartbreaker Banquet will take over the ranch with lots of live music and a full day of fun and partying. It’s invite only and therefore exclusive, but there are ways to win tickets.

Wednesday, July 10th

How to Dress Your Apple

I was contacted recently by a cool company in Holland to see if I wanted to check out their beautiful sleeves for Mac products. Um, hell yes? I chose one for my MacBook Pro and was delighted when a sleek package with a Netherlands stamp arrived at my door.

Mujjo MacBook Pro sleeve

Mujjo makes designer sleeves and covers that snuggly fit Apple products and touchscreen gloves. One might say they make your tech life more attractive.

Mujjo sleeve and MacBook Pro

Mujjo sleeve The Originals collection

The gray felt is thick, high quality and 100% wool. It is soft and luxurious while maintaining structure. The leather flap is vegetable tanned and hand dyed. The white is chic and classy, but I also love the brown leather. All the products come in both options.

Mujjo Mackbook Pro Sleeve

If you’re looking for a unique gift for an Apple-loving friend, this would do the trick. Check out the store for all the cool sizes and products. I have officially retired my neoprene case in exchange for this gorgeous new one. My laptop has never been so happy!

Disclosure: I received this product free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own and no monetary compensation changed hands. I keep it real, yo.

Friday, March 8th

Chronicles of a Party Girl

It’s South by Southwest and I pity the poor souls who aren’t in Austin right now. The next week and a half or so will be devoted to consuming as much pop culture and tech as we can squeeze in. And the parties, MY GOD, the parties! My event schedule is too big to properly manage, so I will be whisked away in the herds from one place to the next, hoping that I don’t forget too many. Taking a note from the scenesters, I’ve RSVP’d to everything and am on every list.

While SXSW officially starts today, most of us have been living it up for a week already. You know the pre-parties are necessary training for the actual week. And like conditioned athletes, we train hard. I’m already having too much fun. New career goal: socialite who attends parties for a living. Will someone pay me to do that? Pretty please?

Paris Hilton

Every company worth their salt hosts fabulous parties so you just have to show up, find parking, and enjoy the free drinks and eats. The parking is actually kind of a nightmare and while I’m usually lucky in that area, I might try to figure out how to (takes deep breath) take the bus. Unless someone is volunteering to chauffer me around for about ten days. Pretty please?

How to you prepare for a week of this?

6th St

Photo via The Statesman


Photo via Extreme Air Shots

  • A fridge full of bottled water
  • 15 pounds of grapefruit
  • Starbucks double espresso shots
  • Ear plugs
  • Tons of eye makeup remover
  • Comfortable sneakers. Or heels, if you are stupid.
  • Phone, iPad, and laptop chargers
  • Book bag
  • Extra business cards
  • Mints and lip balm

Everyone might have a different Southby prep list, but that’s what mine looks like. In addition to all the parties I’ll be hitting the music circuit and some of the interactive stuff.

I’ll try to recap what I can after the haze clears. But I anticipate relaxing my blogging schedule for a week or so. See you on the other side, everyone!

Monday, January 14th

Just Another Glamorous Night

I had to make a decision on what to post today, a Golden Globe recap or a Downton Abbey recap. What would be better? Well, nothing’s better than the classiness of Downton. WRONG! Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are better than everything in the world! So Golden Globes it is. But Downton tomorrow…

So yes, Tina and Amy. Sigh. I wanted the opening to last forever. They looked so glamorous and have just a natural repartee. Great separate and better together, they are the comedy team of the millenium. Look at Amy’s red carpet look! So chic.

Amy Poehler

The Golden Globes are fun because they balance the serious stuffiness of the Oscars with the humor of the Emmys. The awards are split between television and movies, and I like that, as I love both so much. I halfheartedly watched the red carpet interviews before the show. Lots of great dresses.

Jennifer Lawrence had one of my favorite looks, feminine yet edgy, and took home the trophy for Best Actress in a Comedy. I still need to see Silver Linings Playbook.

Jennifer Lawrence

J. Lo’s dress was gorgeous, too. She has a knack for pushing the envelope and wearing daring designs and always. Pulls. It. Off.

Jennifer Lopez

Lucy Liu was simply stunning in this floral Carolina Herrara. And the messy braid is perfection. But I chose this photo for the crazy-looking ladies on either side of her.

Lucy Liu

Salma Hayek also wore one of my favorite gowns of the evening. I’ve seen her struggle with fit in the past, but not this time. The entire thing is beaded and it must weigh 25 pounds.

Salma Hayek

There were a few surprises during the show. Argo won for Best Drama and Best Director. Way to go, Ben Affleck. I need to see that one, too. And Bill Clinton presented Lincoln. 

Bill Clinton

Jodie Foster was the big honoree of the night. Her speech was…confusing. She started her speech by imitating Molly Shannon in the “I’m 50 Years Old” sketch, and that wasn’t great. She sort of came out of the closet, but of course, she’s been sort of out for many years. She vacillated between sentimental professions of love for her family and Mel Gibson, to lecturing about privacy, and what it means to be an actor. Then she sort of quit acting, but changed her mind during the backstage interviews. So, I’m not sure what the deal was. Was she drunk? Or is she just another Hollywood weirdo? Either way, she looked great.

Jodie Foster

Big winners of the night: Les Misérables, Girls, and Homeland. Oddest faces on camera were Mel Gibson, Taylor Swift, and a walrus Bill Murray.

Bill Murray

What were your favorite moments from the awards?

Friday, December 14th

Holiday Gift Guide: Hipstercrite Edition

Ho ho ho, all you Juggalos. There’s still over a week till Christmas, and if I know you guys, you haven’t started shopping yet. And for those of you who celebrate Hanukkah, well, you are almost done. Get busy!

Today’s gift guide is by Lauren Modery of Hipstercrite. Lauren is kind of an Austin Blogebrity. (Yeah, I totally made up that word. Don’t use it or I will sue you.) Her blog is wildly popular and as the name suggests, it often speaks to and about hipsters. But it’s also quite poignant and melancholy, as Lauren ponders her existence and a deeper meaning in her day to day life. She’s not afraid to anger her readers (election time) or break our hearts. She’s so much more than the word hipster implies, but at the very core of the word meaning is cool. And cool sums up Lauren to a tee.

Check out Lauren’s Hipstercrite Gift Guide

For the Hipster

Creative Scratchings hipster series- I first spotted these adorable scratch drawings while feeding my face-hole with benedicts from Another Broken Egg Cafe. Of course I fell in love with them because they’re a.) anthropomorphic animals and b.) they’re dressed like hipsters. The very talented Austin-based artist behind these prints, Janis, has several hipsterrific portraits to chose from, but my favorite is the stoic cat with his Texas tattoo and cycling cap. You don’t have to be a hipster or hate hipsters to appreciate the beautiful meta-irony of these. The Scoutmob Shoppe is currently offering select prints for $17.

Creative Scratchings

For the Austin Lover

Austin skyline necklace by Vinca- I love everything this local kick-ass jewelry maker does, but my favorite piece (beside the mustache rings!) is her wooden Austin skyline necklace. Every piece of jewelry, whether it’s acrylic, wood or precious metal, is designed and cut inside her shop with the help of an awesome team of ladies (Amber Demure!). Stay stylish while supporting local business! $38

Vinca Skyline

For the Music Lover

I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon- You don’t have to be a fan of or necessarily known who Warren Zevon is to enjoy this nail-biting, wall-punching book. For those who know him, Zevon was a popular musician in the 70s with hits like “Werewolves of London” and “Lawyers, Guns and Money” before losing it all due to his hard partying, drinking, womanzing, wife-beating and child-abandoning ways. After decades of being a reclusive asshole, just as Zevon tried to make amends, he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. This harrowing book, written by Zevon’s ex-wife by the request of Warren, is a must-read for any rock n’ roll fan or aspiring musician. $15.99

Warren Zevon

For the Girly-Girl

Benefit “Sexy Little Stowaways” makeup kit- I’m a sucker for beautiful branding, and eye candy packaging is what Benefit cosmetics is known for. Luckily they have quality products to back up the style. I’ve been a big fan of the San Francisco-based makeup producer ever since I tried their now sadly discontinued She-Laq eye makeup sealant. It’s difficult to buy just one item, and with prices averaging in the low twenty dollar range, their products can quickly add up. That’s why their “Sexy Little Stowaway” set is the perfect gift for converting your girlfriend to a Benefit groupie. At $34, this collection of travel-size samples includes popular products such as Bad Girl Lash mascara, Cha Cha Tint mango-tinted lip and cheek stain and That Gal face brightening primer.


Friday, December 7th

Holiday Gift Guide: Amber Demure Edition

‘Tis the season to be shopping. Darling readers, you are in for a treat! To get you in the spirit of the holidays, Mad Betty will be featuring a series of guest posts from a few of my favorite bloggers.

The first in the series is a gift guide from Amber Demure, Austin’s most notorious party girl with a penchant for the finer things. Her blogs Amber Demure and I Eat Fancy feature brilliant drawings that put her life on display for the world to see. There’s a little Amber in all of us, and she expertly navigates the city’s best happy hours and deals, directing budget-minded scenesters where to get a taste of the good life. Her “Classy Lady” gift guide is just like her: funny, outrageous, and sophisticated with an edge. If the classy lady in your life drinks her champagne from a brown paper bag, now you know what to get her.

Presenting Amber Demure’s Classy Lady Gift Guide!

Not sure what to buy for the elegant woman in your life this season? Perhaps you yourself are a claaaaaassy laaaaady, and need some inspiration for what to stuff your own silk stocking with this year? Never fear, I’m here to help, and I’m classy as hell!

Gift #1: The Wine Rack, $29.95

Wine rack

If there’s anything a fancy woman appreciates, it’s wine. Why not get her the kind of rack you’ve been dreaming of, while getting her the kind of rack she’s been dreaming of? Sure, she might have meant one made of mahogany, but she never specified, so who cares?! She can imbibe at the opera, during a ballet, or even as she walks her Yorkies on a sidewalk downtown. You’ll be happy, and she’ll be happy… because she’s drunk.

Gift #2: Diamonds, $16

Diamond earrings

Karats, schmarats. These diamonds weren’t forged in the high-pressure tight ass of Ann Coulter, NO! These were made right here in Austin! They may not last forever, but she’ll look trendy for seasons to come. (And you’ll save a fortune!)

Gift #3: Gold, $799

Gold pills

Gold isn’t just for jewelry anymore. It can be found in desserts, alcohol, and even in overpriced skin creams, but the one place I can bet your classy lady hasn’t found gold coming out of is her ass. That’s right. She can now literally sh*t 24 karat gold. If that doesn’t scream classy, I’m not sure what does.

Monday, September 24th

And the Emmy goes to…

Last night the Emmy Awards were hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. He can do no wrong in my eyes and he was fabulously funny. If you missed it, here’s his monologue:

The night’s big winners were Modern Family and Homeland. I guess I’d better see what Homeland is all about. Julie Bowen wore one of my favorite gowns of the evening. A stunning electric yellow green that contrasted perfectly with her skin, not to mention the red carpet. I’m in love with this dress.

Julie Bowen

I was really hoping to see Jon Hamm take home an award this year. But alas, it’s still not meant to be. And for once, it wasn’t stolen by Bryan Cranston. It went to some guy I don’t know Damian Lewis from Homeland. Claire Danes took home the female role in that category as well. Also wearing a yellow dress. Julianne Moore, too.

Claire Danes

Julianne Moore

While my favorite funny ladies did not win anything, both Tina Fey and Amy Poehler looked glamorous. They’ve both had red carpet blunders in the past, but there were no missteps this time around.

Tina Fey Jon Hamm

Amy Poehler

Awards I was not happy about: Jon Cryer’s win for Two and a Half Men. Nothing against Cryer personally, that show is just terrible. The Daily Show winning was a letdown, only because it would be nice to see The Colbert Report win one. And Mad Men won NOTHING. What the hell?

Okay, more fashion. Only Sofia Vergara could pull off this look:

Sofia Vergara

While I no longer support Ginnifer Goodwin’s haircut, I love this dress:

Ginnifer Goodwin

My pick for worst look of the night goes to Girls’ Zosia Mamet. It is weird and unflattering and her severe hair does not help.

Zosia Mamet

I’m leaving you with the finest moment of the evening, the opening. See you next year at the Emmy Awards!