Sunday, November 30, 2008

Seller Spotlight: CONTEST | The Fashion Dungjen

Hilary's clocks are pretty awesome, right? She was nice enough to make a clock for the buy local Seller Spotlight series of The Fashion Dungjen. One lucky reader is going to win a handmade, one-of-a-kind melting clock.

Hilary's clocks are often electric colors of reds, blues, greens - anything you can think of. The clock for this contest, is a fabulous shade of blue. If it wasn't wrong for me to do so, I'd enter the contest because I want to keep it.

Here is the question for this contest:

Hilary is inspired by the work of Salvador Dali and surrealism. What artist or piece of art inspires you and why?

The deadline to enter this contest is noon, Friday, Dec. 5. (This way, if you're a University of Cincinnati student, you'll know what time it is and won't be late for any of your exams!) Post your response to the question in a comment to this entry to qualify!

Ready, set, GO! ENTER! WIN!

Seller Spotlight: Pragmatic Effects | The Fashion Dungjen

"Everyone has a story. It's fun to know you are helping out a stay-at-home mom, a college student or a starving artist."
-Hilary Wiezbenski

My parents think it’s really funny that I can’t tell time. Seriously, parents, it’s not that funny. I don’t know what keeps me from being able to read an analogue clock , but I just cannot do it. Some neuron in my brain doesn’t fire when I look up to the two black hands pointing to numbers. Thank goodness for cell phones and digital clocks.

For others, you know you’re really good at telling time when you can make time. And by making time, I don’t mean you’re a fabulous planner – though you may be – or that you get everything done on the never-ending To-do list, I mean, actually make time. Like clocks.

Hilary Wiezbenski – try saying that last name three times fast – is the woman behind Pragmatic Effects on

After attending the University of Cincinnati for a quarter, she realized it just wasn’t for her. Now, Hilary, 27, is a stay-at-home mom who uses melting clocks to supplement an income.

“In my early 20s I started doing artwork that worried my parents,” Hilary said.

They kept worrying until they visited the Dali museum in Florida and realized their daughter wasn’t crazy, just working in a different art genre, surrealism.

“The [melting clock] idea of course was Salvador Dali’s, and I never for a minute pretend that I came up with the melting clock concept,” Hilary said. “My melting clocks are unique in that they are completely hand crafted. Try as I might, I haven’t found any others like mine.”

Hilary has been on Etsy for nearly two years – her shop opened in February, 2007. Since opening up for business, business has been steady and Hilary has – get this – clocks in 17 countries around the globe. (Everywhere from Latvia to North Korea.)

Despite her impressive sales to customers in other countries, she hasn’t had as much support locally.

“I had two of my clocks and a butterfly headboard in a store called Originalities in Hyde Park Square last year for a few months,” Hilary said. “After no sales and no responses I took them out of the store and both clocks sold the very next day online.”

Though the market for melting clocks isn’t as big in Cincinnati as it is in other places, it doesn’t mean there isn’t interest.

Hilary has sent photos of her work to the Salvador Dali Museum in Florida. Though the museum is in the middle of relocating, they have said her work is outstanding. It is not yet known whether her work will be carried at the museum.

Hilary’s love for painting and art has made her a successful artist and business woman.

“I am successful with my clocks because I found a niche,” Hilary said. “Don’t go into unnecessary debt for your business. I got an e-mail from a lady who told me she was $10,000 in debt and wasn’t selling anything. With a little research she could have avoided that.”

Hilary accepts orders for custom clocks in addition to the ready-made clocks in her Etsy shop.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fab Friends | The Fashion Dungjen

After my few hours at work on Black Friday I was invited to eat Thanksgiving dinner with some of my favorite friends at Melinda's parents' house. I would be a fool to turn down this offer - Melinda's mom makes some seriously delicious food.

After trying corn pudding for the first time ever - which by the way, is so, so, so good - I had the chance to hang out with my friends Alyssa, Chris, Melinda and her boyfriend, Ryan.

Alyssa looked adorable, as usual, in her green tunic, brown tights and long-sleeve T-shirt.
One of the first things she said to me was, "I'm cute, take my picture for your blog."

Christopher and Alyssa had story time. OK, no, they were looking at pictures of the house Melinda's parents recently bought in Michigan. It has an outhouse. It's on a list of famous, historic outdoor toilets. Seriously.

Black Friday reflection | The Fashion Dungjen

Because my brother, Tim, 17, is incredibly smart, he locked himself out of the house the day after Thanksgiving and I had to leave work three hours early to let him inside. It's OK, the parents gave me $17 to fill up my tank. Now if only I could find where I put the $17...

Anyway, I was able to spend six hours at the mall, wheeling and dealing with anyone willing to step up to the case. In the time I wasn't busy catering to customers, I made it a point to people watch. There were a lot of people to watch. Lots, and lots.

What I did notice about Black Friday were the lack of packages. People were carrying one or two bags, not even big bags. Just like they were out for an afternoon of shopping on any other day of the year.

It wasn't that these people had just arrived; I saw many of them on multiple occasions, walking to and fro, looking worried, with the same one or two bags.

I would be willing to bet that the economy still has people worried. Lots of people signing up for new credit though, from what I experienced at work. Found that very peculiar. Hmmm.

Did anyone else notice anything similar on Friday or am I deranged?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Black Friday! | The Fashion Dungjen

Since I'll be working 9 hours on Black Friday - though I'll be stuck in the mall - I won't get to poke around to see what's going on. Since many of you will be out on the town, I want the full update on who is having the best sales, what great deals you're itching to brag about and I want to hear about the craziest shoppers or sales associates you ran into. Spill the beans on everything that goes on! Let me know here, in a comment, or shoot me an e-mail at

I hope everyone has a fab Thanksgiving! My parents' house will be swarming with people, most of them I'm not even related to.

For now, I'm off to Kroger with Mom. Nothing like the last minute!

P.S. This is post 50!
P.P.S. Don't forget about the RetiredRecords contest! The deadline isn't until Monday, Dec. 1!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Where are you, who are you sparkly pants girl! | The Fashion Dungjen

Today on campus I saw a girl wearing a pair of sparkly blue pants. Of course I didn't have my camera on me to take a quick photo so I have no proof this existed. I'm banking on the idea you will all just trust every word I say - and you should.

Anyway, my first and natural reaction was to absolutely hate them, but, much to my surprise, I couldn't hate them as much as I wanted to. Blame it on what you will - a lack of sleep, a lapse in judgment, but it didn't appear terribly offensive.

It wasn't like they were covered in sequins or stiff from glitter like the jeans my mom bought me in middle school. They were very chic looking. She wore an ivory colored pea coat with a bright pink pashmina which I thought really helped to offset the extreme pants. A job well done to the girl in blue sparkly pants. If you're out there, reading this, say hi. I think I adore you.

P.S. Don't forget about the contest posted below! Deadline is Dec. 1! I received a new item in the mail today from MailleMystique for an upcoming contest so after you submit your entry for the current contest, get ready for the next one! GO, GO, GO!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Seller Spotlight: CONTEST | The Fashion Dungjen

So, here's the deal:

Karen from Retired Records - see below post - was kind enough to donate one of her incredibly awesome and unique necklaces from her store to give away to one lucky reader. It could be YOU! All you have to do is answer the question below and submit the answer in a comment to this post by Monday, Dec. 1 at noon. The winner will be announced that evening.

The necklace is a one-of-a-kind, completely environmentally friendly and 100 percent handmade piece of art. Generally her necklaces sell for about $25, but if you win, it's all yours ... for FREE.

Anyway, onto the question:

Because Karen's designs are influenced by and created from recycled records, tell me how music inspires you. Does it inspire you to dance? Create art? Write? Sing? What kind of music do you find is most influential?

You have until noon, Monday, Dec. 1. GO, GO, GO!

Seller Spotlight: Retired Records | The Fashion Dungjen

Though I didn't grow up listening to vinyl records on a regular basis - I did throw a few on the record player at Grandma's house at Christmas every now and again - it doesn't mean I'm a total stranger to them.

Before my parents moved, my dad's closet was full of old records - they stretched across the floor and took up most of his top shelf. I never appreciated them for what they were, but what little kid does?

For at least two children, records are a little different.

"My [two] kids always see what I'm making and say 'I want one!' so I always have to make something for them to
wear to school," said Karen Dengler, the artist behind's Retired Records.

(For now her kids still think Mom makes them awesome jewelry just because they ask; when they hit their teens they'll probably start scheming and hit her up for money for all the free advertising.)

Karen takes old - donated, found, thrifted or purchased - records and turns them into art. Usable, functioning art. From necklaces to soap dishes, purses and containers, Karen creates it all.

Aside from her part-time day job as a social worker at New Perspectives in Deaconess Hospital in Cincinnati, she uses art to keep her balanced.

"Creating art has always been a part of my life," Karen said. "I feel that I've learned a lot about myself through creating; it keeps my mind sharp. I love problem solving and feel a sense of satisfaction when I complete a project. It's visually rewarding [and] different from the social work I do. I have instant gratification."

Karen opened her store in August 2007. Since then, she's had some success locally while also selling items internationally.

"I do get some local support," Karen said. "But it seems in general that my style is a little to contemporary or modern for the majority of the population here in Cincy ... I have a repeat customer that lives in Iceland. To me, that is totally cool that someone found me and is wearing [or] displaying my art in another country that I would probably never get to."

Once she even received a custom order request from a woman in England; she wanted a Superman laptop carrier for her boyfriend.

"When she got the bag she sent me a message that said something like, 'You could probably hear me squeal all the way from the [United Kingdom],' " Karen said.

The different items and designs in Karen's collection are inspired usually by the records she has to work with; currently she's working with albums from the 70s integrating the bright colors of the decade into her work.

Though she works with vintage designs and colors, Karen also looks to designers like Charles and Ray Eames for modern lines and contemporary inspiration.

Karen earned a Bachelor's of Fine Art from Ohio University and her Master's degree from the University of Cincinnati. She sells her art on at, RetiredRecords, and in local stores NVISION and Originalities.

Mixing metals | The Fashion Dungjen

I don't believe in the foolishness that says you can only wear yellow gold jewelry with yellow and you can only wear white gold or silver with other white gold or other silver. Mixing metals is a growing trend whether anyone wants to admit or even like it. After working for awhile in the jewelry business, I tell people all the time that it's OK to wear different colored gold at the same time. They usually freak out and don't know how to react.

Breathe in. Breathe out. It will be alright.

Lately I've started pulling out my collection of bracelets and wearing them on an almost daily basis. And yes, I usually do so while mixing my yellows and white; as you can see from the photos, I even like to throw in my two-strand pearl bracelet (It used to be a five-strand bracelet until it broke three different times).

The notion of refusing to mix metals, materials and textures is asinine. Who thought of this rule anyway? I refuse to take fashion so seriously that I won't wear my favorite gold bracelets with my favorite white gold bracelets.

What do you think? Are you with me or will you stick to monochrome metals?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Taking measurements | The Fashion Dungjen

I’m having a really hard time sleeping – so instead of just laying in bed, tossing, turning and ending up incredibly frustrated, I’m going to post a few things I’ve been thinking about for a few days. Like I said, this last weekened was incredibly lazy so I’m making up for it now.

With all the talk of the holidays and with the gift giving and receiving seasons upon us, it’s inevitable that you’ll buy an article of clothing for someone or someone will buy something for you. (Hopefully everyone buys me some clothes because, even though I don’t have the closet space, I believe you can never have too much of a good thing. If you were wondering, I think clothing is a very good thing.)

The hardest part of buying or asking for clothing is sizing. Everything is measured differently and sizes are labeled funny. Some stores/brands use the easy short, regular, long 00 through 18 (or whatever size you are) and some like to make it harder and use measurements like 36, 42, 27. How do they compare? What the heck does it all mean?

The easiest, and the only way, to be sure, is to do it yourself.

Here are some simple, really, really, simple steps for taking your own measurements.

First things first: If you’re going to wear clothing for this – I seriously recommend stripping down to your unmentionables – wear clothing that fits you well. A T-shirt and tights, though the combination should never be worn in public, is perfect for this exercise.

Second: Borrow someone you trust, especially if you’re doing this half naked at best. Ask them to do the measurements for you to ensure accuracy. Don’t worry about the numbers they call off. Chances are

they’re less concerned with the numbers than you are.

On to the fun part:


  • Let your arms hang naturally at your sides.
  • Have a friend measure you with the measuring tape parallel to the ground.

  • Have your friend measure under your underarms, around your back and over the fullest part of your bust.
  • Make sure the measuring tape is snug but not tight.


  • Bend over to one side to find the spot where your waist naturally creases.
  • Measure this spot; it should be right under your navel.
  • Keep the measuring tape parallel to the floor and snug against your skin, but don't pull it tig ht.


  • Stand up straight with your feet together.
  • Have a friend measure over your hips and rear, around the fullest part.
  • Make sure to keep the measuring tape parallel to the floor.

If this seriously blows your mind, here's a video that will further explain the spot on your body and the proper way to take your own measurements.

Black Friday sale | The Fashion Dungjen

Cincinnati-area businesses are hoping you bust down their doors, Friday, Nov. 28. Instead of going toe-to-toe with other crazed holiday shoppers inside of the closest mall, make a stop at The Gateway Quarter headquarters, on the corner of 12th and Vine streets - across from Mica 12/v - and pick up a reusable shopping bag for $3. The proceeds are to benefit Tender Mercies, an organization that provides help to the homeless in Cincinnati.

Once you've picked up your bag, tote it around to participating businesses in the quarter, where Over the Rhine meets downtown, and shop for 20 percent off.

In one shopping trip you will: stimulate the local economy, do a good deed, cross someone off your holiday shopping list and save money.

Sounds like a good idea to me.

Boots | The Fashion Dungjen

I will readily admit I seriously slacked off this weekend. And not just in blogging either. Oh no. I didn't do much of anything the last few days and it was awesome.

I've been thinking a lot about the boots my parents have promised to buy for me and what I want. Every pair I have is either in the process of falling apart or I've already had to bid farewell to. (In one case, both have happened. My parents noticed my brown boots ripping when they came to drop the rest of my stuff at school. As a result, Dad threw them in the trash on his way out. On my way in, I rescued them. I'm not ready to say goodbye.)

They haven't given me a price limit ... yet, though my instinct tells me I'll have to be way more sensible than I want to. But this whole buying only one pair of shoes thing is ridiculously hard.

What color? What style? Do I want any hardware? What material? Will these keep my feet warm?

Until I get my price limit, the only stipulation is that I'm not allowed to pick a pair with a heel; they're supposed to be winter boots. Since I don't play in the snow, they'll be less like the multi-colored monstrosity at the right and probably a little more classic and fashion-forward.

Suggestions, anyone?

Friday, November 21, 2008

What's in your bag? | The Fashion Dungjen

What an exciting night for 'What's in your bag?'

Another dear and wonderful friend of mine, Rachel Mason, a third-year graphic design student, offered to dump the contents of her bag for me and for you. She has some neat stuff. Lets explore, shall we?

Rachel's bag is big. And red. It's big and red. It's almost as big as my behemoth of a bag, but not quite.

Tampons, chai tea and bobby pins. She's set.

Rachel spent three hours in MarketPointe@Siddall - a University of Cincinnati dining hall - today talking to friends. While she was there she managed to pick the marshmallows out of three bowls of Lucky Charms. She's so productive and dedicated. Here we also have her laptop charger, hand sanitizer, several notebooks, an iPod, lip balm, lip gloss, pens, gum and a program from a theater program at the College-Conservatory of Music at UC.

I don't really know what these are, a prayer card maybe? Rachel's playing cards with some of the other RAs and I'm too lazy to crane my neck to yell for her to ID the cards.

Lots of journals, paper, writing utensils and her wallet - the brown thing - in the back.

What's in your bag? | The Fashion Dungjen

Aldawna Hammel, a second-year nursing student and a dear friend of mine, was nice enough to open up and spill the contents of her bag for me so everyone can see what she totes around on a regular basis. Here's what we've got:

digital camera, highlighter, body spray, crackers, gum, car keys, notebook, pens, pencils checkbook, folded up paper, lotion, some loose change and, of course, lip gloss.

WTF | The Fashion Dungjen

I've never been a House of Holland fan. Ever. Not since those awful graphic T-shirts were popular a couple of years ago. In fact, I expressed my distaste for HoH in a column last year. Today when I was looking through different Spring/Summer '09 collections when HoH was the next designer on the list.

Never have I been more horrified with a collection. Everything seems to be inspired by grandmas that like to garden ... or the 90s. Maybe grandmas from the 90s that liked to garden...? (I guess grandpas too if you take into account the guy below in hole-filled jeans, a floral pocket and ruffles.

Seriously. Seriously? How does someone let this happen?

This jumper looks like this girl has a reverse camel toe ... or a saggy diaper.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Scarves! | The Fashion Dungjen

The rest of the scarves that I am considering:

Cowl neck, $48, from jenerijewelry.

Blue and forrest green reversible tube scarf, $25, from hierapparel.

This scarf, $35, is from Etsy seller Feudal.

Scarf, $40, by angelicasalinasjones.

What do you think? What's your favorite? Why?

Ring-a-ling | The Fashion Dungjen

I found out my favorite ring broke today. I don't really know what happened, but I was cleaning, or at least picking up the three tons of dirty laundry, and found it on my couch in two pieces. I am heartbroken and now I'm in the market for a new, large, very large, ring. Know of any good ones? (That aren't outrageously overpriced.)

In light of its death and destruction, I'm paying it tribute by posting a photo of it, and then posting pictures of the rest of my rings! I'm a little obsessed. With all of them. Hands down, they are my favorite accessories.

The carnage.

This ring, like most of the ones featured here, was given to me by my Oma. It's 14 karat white gold, though I'm not sure what the stone is. It's a pale, sea foam green color. I'll have to ask Mom.

Again, given to me by Oma. No clue what the stones are, and the shank isn't stamped, but it's pretty anyway. And old. Really old.

This ring used to belong to my mom. It's 14 karat gold with pearls and tiny diamonds. I don't wear it often because the ends are sharp and poke my finger. No fun.

This is one of my favorites. It was given to me by Oma. It's turquoise and silver. I love the leaf detail on the right side of the ring. I get lots of compliments on it.

I bought this at Macy's. Awesome, right? It's mother of pearl and sterling silver. Lucky Brand.

This is from Oma also. A 14 karat gold filigree ring. Fabulous!

I hope you enjoyed my little collection. I have a few more that I can't find, but I'm almost positive they're in the pile of jewelry I've thrown into a little drawer.

I'm excited to announce... | The Fashion Dungjen

For the last two days I've been busy corresponding with some incredibly talented Cincinnati-area artists who sell their work on Everyone I've talked to has been incredibly helpful and really receptive to what I am so excited to announce:

From now until New Year's, I will be featuring different artists who sell their items on Etsy or artists in the Cincinnati area to promote buying handmade gifts for the holiday. I'll be posting links to all the Etsy sellers that are being featured on the blog so you have access to them anytime.

But wait, it gets better!

Some of the artists have offered to donate items to The Fashion Dungjen for several contests. YES, YOU CAN WIN ONE-OF-A-KIND STUFF! It's just in time for the holidays so you can keep it to treat yourself or you can give it as a gift! One seller has even offered a 20 percent discount on purchases if you mention The Fashoin Dungjen blog at checkout! Talk about a steal!

Keep checking back for more contest details and for profiles on different artists! Links to all of the Etsy stores of participating artists will be posted tonight!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Scarves! | The Fashion Dungjen

The high temperature for today is 39 degrees. That's cold.

Considering the University of Cincinnati campus simulates a wind tunnel and is on one of the highest points in Cincinnati, it's probably going to feel like 25 degrees outside when the air whips you like a wacky wind sock.

There is only so much a winter coat can do. That's what scarves are for.

I have a problem where I hoard scarves. Mostly fashion scarves and not ones that are practical for cold weather, but at least they're nice to look at.

But when my head starts twitching from the cold, the aesthetic that was there before as a result of the pretty scarf is not only gone, it's been punched in the face and knocked into next week. You feel me?

Anyway, I'm on a quest for the perfect scarf. Never mind if it will go with my jacket, I'm just concerned about my neck for now. I can worry about which coat to wear later.

On I found some fabulous scarves that I would like to share with everyone and see what the general opinion is. Basically, I'm asking you what do you think I should ask Mom and Dad to buy me out of pity? (They never see me and always feel compelled to buy me stuff ... sort of. Mommy, Daddy, if you're reading this, I still love you ... sort of.)

I present, fabulous scarf number one. This Etsy seller is based out of Atlanta, Ga., so I'm wondering why she makes such great scarves. Atlanta is hot. I'm not going to question it so much, I'm glad she produces these over sized, super cozy looking masterpieces. I think I could properly keep my entire body warm with that bad boy. Selling for $99, I'm going to have to get a sugar daddy or pretend to cry in front of my daddy.

While there are plenty of other marvelous scarves across the many pages of Etsy, I'm about ready to fall face first onto my laptop from exhaustion.

It's bedtime, baby.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Yes Please! | The Fashion Dungjen

Still buzzing from my buy handmade pledge, I found myself spending an unprecedented amount of time browsing shops when I came across this top, $84.

It's 100 percent wool and 100 percent handmade. Sandmaiden, the creator/seller offers the top in a few different combinations: deep brown opaque or deep brown sheer, gray opaque or gray sheer. It's absolutely fabulous. If you like the sweater or like the design, check out the rest of her items on her Etsy site!

The only question left is who is going to buy it for me? Wink, wink.

Indie Holiday | The Fashion Dungjen

The economy sucks, we all know this. Who is hurting the most? The little guys. You hear more about the big businesses suffering, but when one big company goes under, so do all the people that work there.

Support local or handmade gifts this holiday season. Shoot, do some DIY projects. I'll be posting a bunch of tutorials from now until after New Year's so you can be decked out in indie-made accessories and clothing.

For now, take the Buy Handmade Pledge and support those independent artists!

I Took The Handmade Pledge!

If you have any suggestions on what tutorials you'd like to see, let me know. I'll do my best to accommodate!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Photo shoot! | The Fashion Dungjen

Emily Lang, The News Record photo editor, came over today to take photos for "Bargain Shopper: The $9.48 Woman," which is going to appear in the paper tomorrow (Monday). Our shoot was fun and the photos are hilariously fantastic.

These outfits were thrifted in Cincinnati-area thrift stores (minus the floral belt which I took from my Oma's house this summer). Fabulous, no?

*All photos were taken by Emily Lang.

Yes Please! | The Fashion Dungjen

It's finally legitimately cold outside. In fact, I've heard rumor there was snow on rooftops this morning. All this talk of the impending winter has me super excited for coats. Though I've just bought one, which has already lost three buttons, I feel as though you can never have too many. (This is also my motto for shirts, shoes, pants, earrings, etc. This is also why I have run out of closet or drawer space.)

I was scanning runway collections on and came across this triangular Stella McCartney jacket. I can't decide if I love it or think it's fantastic. What happened to her arms?! To wear the jacket you probably have to be no bigger than the model who is wearing it for it to not look any more absurd. If you did look more absurd, you would at least have a very warm neck.

Lumber Jack | The Fashion Dungjen

Photo by Emily Lang

“Taylor, that shirt you’re wearing makes me think you’re going to go home to your log cabin tonight, turn on your lantern and use one of those, what are they called, those things you dip in ink.”

- Thomas E. Smith