So, I did this thing where I wrote this book. Here it is:

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 It’s a collection of humorous observations, told through more than 60 poems and accompanying illustrations. I did everything myself, from the writing to the drawing and design cover and more. Now I’m doing all of the marketing myself, which is about a million times harder than any of the rest of it.

In promoting it, I’ve been lucky to find some terrific supporters, and I’ve gotten a fair amount of press — including being featured in John Kelso’s popular column in the Austin American Statesman and as Cup #82 in Melissa Lombard’s Coffee With a Stranger project. You can follow the Facebook page for it here.

The book description is this:

Humorist/writer/sketch artist/mom Blythe Jewell offers a selection of humor poems and illustrations about everything from being a mom to finding hair in all the wrong places. Random, insane, potty-mouthed and sometimes sweet, it’s a collection that will leave you laughing, crying and occasionally scratching your head.

More than 60 titles include:

- Hair in My A*% Crack
- Lollipop In My Hair
- Shut the F*!% Up About Twilight
- Ugly Baby
- On Our Periods Together
- Neil Patrick Harris Gets the Paddle
- Leave the F*!%ing Cat Alone
- Has Anyone Seen My Glasses
- I Can’t Do Math

… and many more.

If you’re interested in supporting it, the best things you can do are BUY IT and REVIEW IT and SHARE IT with your friends. I’m depending heavily on word of mouth to promote this baby, and getting the word out is by far my biggest challenge. Any and all help is appreciated!!

I’m planning a small launch party and some additional events/promotional projects during National Poetry Month in April, so stay tuned for more news. In the meantime, any inquiries about the book, readings or other events can be directed to me.

I hope you’ll check it out!

Something Smells Like Pee

So… I did this thing where I wrote this book. And that was the easy part. Because, see, actually SELLING a book is hard. And expensive. And hard. So I put this really stupid video on Kickstarter. I’m hoping the world will overlook my dumbassedness and give me money anyway. It would be great if you would, like, share it and stuff. If you want. Or not. I don’t know!! I’m awful at this!!

ARGH! Anyway. Here it is. Oof.

Direct link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2042044912/something-smells-like-pee

(More on the book later. I’ll make an announcement here in a couple of days, when it becomes available on Amazon.)

Kickstarter

3 Steps to Market – Gen Y Style

Stressed out about marketing to Gen Y? It’s easy to be intimidated by a group that’s 80 million large, with the kind of spending power that can make – or break – your business. But the truth is, marketing to the younger set is a lot easier than it seems. In fact, just three basic steps can get you started.

1.     Connect

If you aren’t already in the online space, stop reading now. You can’t even think about marketing to Gen Y if you’re not making use of the digital landscape that so many of them call home.

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This is about more than just Twitter and Instagram (although those are great tools and you’d be crazy not to make use of them)… it’s also about making your web site tech-friendly, providing content that’s versatile and interactive, and just generally being a brand that’s easy to find and use. Accessibility isn’t something that Gen Y likes; it’s something that Gen Y expects. Consider this Rule #1.

2.     Engage

When marketing to Gen Y, communication is all about conversation. Don’t just start a social media account – use it to build relationships with your customers. It’s not enough to tell them what to buy; you also have to tell them who you are, why you love your brand, and why they’ll love it, too.

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Above all, give them a reason to celebrate! Gen Yers like enthusiasm, they like to shop and they LOVE a good party. They’re twice as likely to call themselves “Born to Shop” than any other generation… all they need is an excuse. So give it to them!

3.     Listen

Just like any other consumer bracket, Gen Y wants to be heard. This means soliciting – and then responding to – their opinions. It means taking their feedback to heart, and letting them help shape what comes next.

GenYimage3Consider online retailer ModCloth. The company’s popular Be the Buyer program lets customers vote on their favorite styles to dictate future production, and contests are often centered around ideas, rather than just dumb luck. The approach is really a win-win: Customers become active participants in the brand, while the company itself gets great input and finds new ways to keep its line fresh and relevant.

At the end of the day, marketing to Gen Y isn’t really all that different from marketing to any other generation. You might have to embrace some new tech and learn a little slang here and there, but when it comes down to it, as consumers we all just want a little respect. And that’s an easy thing to offer – to customers of any age.

[post for an online marketing firm, specializing in brand promotion among younger adults; written and submitted November 2012]

3 Steps to Market – Gen Y Style

Sometimes I draw stuff, too. To purchase prints of my work, visit my page at Society6.
sketch 1

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sketch 2

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Sketches and Stuff

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Last year I helped LibreDigital, a leader in the digital reader industry, rework some of their web content to better communicate their message. A few of the pages I wrote are included below (click the pic to enlarge); check out the company’s web site for information about what they do.


LibreDigital

I wrote several pieces for the re-vamped Austin.com web site this year, and more might be coming! Check out my inaugural post about the Zilker Park KiteFest…. other pieces cover outings to InnerSpace Cavern, Central Market’s North Lamar Location, Kiddie Acres and the Old Gruene Market Days. Stay tuned…

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Austin.com

Here are a couple of print ads created for Vivian’s Muse, a popular boudoir photography studio in Austin. I do a lot of work with Julia; these particular ads were created for Austin Fit Magazine (second ad was part of a holiday campaign).

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… and an invite for her first event at her new Rainey Street studio.

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Vivian’s Muse: Print

I struggle all the time with how much I should share here about my humor blog. It’s potty-mouthed, obnoxious and often very opinionated… not exactly the most professional body of work one can present on what’s essentially a resume site. But at the same time, I’m proud of it. It represents a lot of time and effort spent on my part, and it’s told in a voice I’ve worked hard to cultivate over time.

I go back and forth on it because I know that not everyone will agree with the opinions I share there or the ways in which I share them. But today? Today I have no hesitation about sharing this post. Because this one is all about the numbers — and numbers are something everyone can agree on.

My Feelings About Election 2012, In Cat Pictures

The day after the Presidential Election was over, I published this post. Within an hour, it had gone viral. The traffic started pouring in from Facebook, and links spread all over Twitter and message boards across the Internet. It’s been tweeted no less than 50 times (including a share from Battlestar Gallactica star Tricia Helfer). I have no idea how many times it’s been shared on Facebook but I can guarantee it’s a lot more than 50.

In 4 days the post has brought more than 37,000 unique visitors to the site, and it continues to spread. To give you some perspective, the most page views I’d had in one day before this had been about 1,200, and that was nearly three years ago. In the three days after the Cats in Pictures post went live, I’ve averaged 6,300 page views per day.

Basically, it’s gone gangbusters.

Whether you voted for Obama or Romney, whether you agree with my political opinions or not — you have to admit, the numbers are good. And that’s why I’m okay with sharing it here. So — enjoy!

(Be warned, though — this is pretty much the only “safe for work” post you’ll find at The Bean. So if you’re easily offended or faint of heart, you might not want to bother.)

Cats in Pictures

Today you can check out my latest piece for CultureMap, about a roadside attraction called Animal World and Snake Farm Zoo. There were a few edits to my original text, but overall I’m happy with the piece and still super glad to be doing work with CultureMap. It was also featured as the Editor’s Pick!

They used stock photos for the article, but here are a few  took on the trip, too. Enjoy!

Me and Sam, at the entrance

Sam and Sophia with a zebra

Making friends with piglets

CultureMap: Animal World and Snake Farm Zoo

Written June 28, 2012

Howard Jones: A Little Too Moody at the Moody

I’ve always liked Howard Jones. He’s not the love of my life or anything (Simon le Bon’s the lucky recipient of that honor), but songs like “What is Love” and “No One is to Blame” helped provide a lovely backdrop to my 80s-era childhood, and I’ve always thought Jones’ insightful lyrics and catchy synthpop melodies were some of the best to come out of that time. Besides, his youthful look and signature spiky blonde hair made him adorable, and for a starry-eyed tween in the 80s, adorable went a long way.

So when the chance came around to see him live at the Moody Theater for Austin City Limits Live, I jumped at it. Ticket prices were reasonable and the venue’s a perfectly intimate setting, so it seemed like a no-brainer. With a couple of girlfriends in tow I arrived last night, ready to rock.

Well, okay, not so much rock as sway. It IS Howard Jones, after all.

The usual sense of anticipation set over me as the Welsh singer entered accompanied by only two band members – one taking his seat behind an electronic drum set, the other manning a musical control panel. As Jones and his signature hair (now gray but still spiky) took their place behind the center stage synthesizers, I felt a few goosebumps and leaned in a bit.

But, here’s the thing. This wasn’t your typical 80s retro show, where the headliner covers all the major hits with a few duds and (and maybe some covers) sprinkled in, then exits stage. Instead, Jones performed every song – every song – from the two albums that made him a star in the 80s and as it turns out, a large percentage of the audience (myself included) had no memory of most of them. Add to this the fact that both albums (1984’s Human’s Lib and the 1985 follow-up Dream Into Action) were decidedly moody and introspective to begin with, and you’ve got yourself a pretty low energy show overall. There were a few exclamation points when the trio rolled around to crowd-pleasers like “Things Can Only Get Better” and “Like to Get to Know You Well,” but for the most part this was a show of commas and semicolons. Not a lot of oomph.

To be fair, I don’t think the show was really designed for oomph. With minimal equipment on stage, static players and a backdrop display of streaming graphics that I swear were stolen from my 1996 Windows screen saver, this show was never meant to keep people on their feet. Jones’ running commentary between songs was often reflective and sweet, and after a fairly long break between sets, the second half’s more upbeat songs of Human’s Lib did offer a badly needed boost in energy. And with the encore performance of the super catchy “New Song,” it all ended on a definite high note.

Still, I felt a small tinge of sadness as my girlfriends and I left the theater. Jones still sounds just as good as he ever did, and if you listen to his critically acclaimed 2009 album Ordinary Heroes you’ll find that his songwriting skills haven’t suffered over time, either. The decision to play two older albums in entirety, excluding his newer material completely, left me feeling a little lackluster about the experience. It felt a little like a missed opportunity.

But, hey. Last night was a chance to see an 80s icon perform some of his biggest hits, and I’m still super glad I went. I remain a proud Howard Jones fan, and if he comes to town again I’ll gladly give it another go. Besides, as Jones himself would tell you – from here, things can only get better.

Concert Review: Howard Jones ACL

I’ve recently joined the ranks of contributors at CultureMap Austin, a daily digital magazine that publishes news, reviews and other content that’s centered around Austin and its surrounding areas.

My first piece was published a few weeks ago… a quick list of old school, kid-friendly Austin fun spots the whole family can enjoy.

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Another piece about New Braunfels “staycations” will be published later this week, and several more are on the front burner. So stay tuned!

CultureMap Austin

One of my best friends from high school is now kicking ass and taking names as the front woman of a popular band in town called Guilty Pleasures. It’s a balls-out, all-girl rock band that covers everything from Benatar to the White Stripes, with lots of legs and attitude. (They put on a tremendous live show; don’t pass up ANY chance to see them.)

They recently landed a big gig at the House of Blues in Houston, and needed a poster or two to promote the event. My friend knew I could find my way around Photoshop pretty well, so she asked me to help out. I came up with a bunch of templates, she picked her favorite and we made a few tweaks.

Even though she didn’t use all the drafts I sent her, I still really liked some of them, so I’m sharing them here. I absolutely love doing design work and will soon add this to my menu of services… until then, though — enjoy!

Warhol Lips

Smoky Glam

Rocky Horror

Hendrix

Guilty Pleasures

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When I’m pressed for time and just can’t get the creative juices flowing, I often depend on my 5-year-old son Sam to write my content for me. He’s brilliant, hilarious and clearly a chip off the old block. Here’s a post we “co-wrote” this weekend for the grand finale of Funny Not Slutty’s 80s Week:

5-Year Olds Just Don’t Get the 80s

Co-Written With My Five-Year-Old

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I’ve touched on this in other parts of the site, but wanted to offer a direct link to the book my work was featured in late last year. Adoro Publishing’s humor anthology My Funny Valentine: America’s Most Hilarious Writers Take On Love, Romance, Humor and Other Complications was released in December of 2011 and featured a piece I wrote for my column at FunnyNotSlutty.com. The post was titled “5 Things I Will Not Be Doing to Please my Man this Valentine’s Day” and can still be read, with accompanying pictures, on the site.

To buy a copy of the book, visit its page on Amazon.

My Funny Valentine: An Anthology

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Kidding Around Austin

For a while last year, I played around with the idea of running a local mom-review kind of blog, which I called Kidding Around Austin. I kept up with it for a few months, doing reviews of local spots for family fun, and I really loved it but then freelance work started pouring in and it ended up on the back burner.

I couldn’t bring myself to kill the blog altogether; just really loved doing those little reviews and I always thought maybe I’d give it another go. Now, I think I’m ready.

Before I resurrect it, I wanted to share a few of its past reviews here. Really had fun with this last year, and I’m looking forward to starting it up again!!

(Keep in mind, this is a personal review blog and language will be salty — it’s just how I roll, y’all.)

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