Friday, December 28, 2012

This Is Not Good-bye...Just Farewell for Now!

With almost 30K page hits under my belt -- I'm still not even sure if this is impressive or not -- but I just know that it seems like a lot to me, my blog All Things Fashionating is going on hiatus.

ATF has been my baby for almost two years but, over the past few months, I have found it very time-consuming to keep up with my writing.  Personally, I haven't felt that I was putting my most creative foot forward and that is really hard for me.

Right now, my focus has to be to my family and, that is not to say that once our busy lives slow down a bit, I will have the time to get back to being creative and revitalize ATF.  However, I can honestly say that the guilt of posting crap or not posting at all has become very difficult for me.

So, with the approach of 2013, I wish all my readers -- from afar and close-by -- a very Happy New Year and extend the warmest thank you for taking the time to follow and read my posts since 2010.

I promise to continue to pursue only the most fashionating things in life and hope to post about them again...in the future!

With much love,
Tracy Mausser

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Girls Gone Holiday Wild

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Edina Kiss Rose Gold Earrings with Smokey Quartz, $45


Every year, one of my besties Tracy has an all-girls holiday gift exchange.  Thoughts of a white elephant gift exchange may be conjured up in your mind and, if you aren’t familiar with the term “White Elephant” – according to Wikipedia – it is an idiom for a valuable but burdensome possession of which its owner cannot dispose and whose cost (particularly the cost of up keep) is out of proportion to its worth.

I still have a sombrero chip and dip platter that I scored at a family reunion many moons ago, so you catch my drift.

Well, Tracy’s party ain’t your grandmother’s white elephant gift exchange.

The premise is sort of a favorite things party.  Each woman – who wants to participate (as it is optional) – brings a nice gift valued at about $100.  Each player then selects a number based on how many participants are partaking in the festivities and predetermines the order.  Each woman can select a gift from under the tree or steal a gift from another gal. From there, it gets pretty wild, especially when the wine gets flowing.

Tracy has some ground rules but it is so fun to watch how “us” (and I include myself) women can get so catty by stealing gift after gift until it is locked.  Meow!

This party is such a guilty pleasure of mine and I always leave feeling happy and with a luxury gift that I wouldn’t normally splurge on for myself.

This year was no exception and the gifts were plentiful:  there were lots of fun vests, a shearling coat, Lululemon wares, bejeweled purses, gift cards and even a brand-new crisp $100 bill…along with some lottery tickets.  Fun!

Although part of the challenge for me is coming up with a gift idea that will incite a riot among the party goers.  

This year, I was pret-ty happy with my contribution which was Edina Kiss Jewelry: the 3-toned connected bangle and 20K Golf-filled hammered hoops.

Edina Kiss is a Manhattan Beach-based jewelry designer who started creating her designs as a hobby but soon became overwhelmed by the number of people who inquired about buying her jewelry. Today, her designs can be seen on women everywhere – even some of the hottest celebrities and models.  Edina Kiss designs have even been showcased in such publications as Elle, Marie Claire, InStyle, Life & Style just to name a few.

Edina Kiss pieces are designed with beautiful natural stones such as Amethyst, Lemon Quartz and Citrine. She also uses Fresh Water Cultured Pearls and Swarovski Crystals cocooned in fine strands of gold and sterling silver which serve to distinguish her collections from other jewelry lines on the market.

Right now, along with her latest collection, Edina Kiss is showcasing 24 gifts that sparkle at www.edinakiss.com. 
 
It would be hard not to find the perfect gift for every woman on your list and, unlike the girls gift exchange, you won’t have to put up a fight.
 

 

 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

'Shahs of Sunset' Back on Bravo

One of my most decadent guilty pleasures is back on TV. 

Last April, I posted about the Bravo Network's show, "Shahs of Sunset."  A reality television series which follows a group of Iranian-Americans who live in Los Angeles.

Well as of this past Sunday -- along with the belly laughs -- they are back on Sunday nights at 10pm local time.

http://allthingsfashionating.blogspot.com/2012/04/finding-funny-in-tehrangeles-with-shahs.html

Monday, December 3, 2012

It's The Bomb...in Beauty!

This weekend, I had the chance to get away with my BFF Leslie for a little R&R in Ojai.  While there, we talked about most things that women are age -- who are moms -- talk about: kids, fashion and beauty.

At one point, Leslie brought up the topic of a Beauty Bomb and I said, huh?  I'm not one who is typically stumped but -- I am wont to admit that I sadly do not know everything...damn -- but I had never heard of the Beauty Bomb or otherwise known as a BB.

Leslie let me know that BBs are an all-in-one balm that includes your moisturizer, foundation, SPF lotion, primer and other good things which helps your skin to look fantastic but protects it as well.

I thought of my morning ritual: a swipe of regular lotion as soon as I get out of the shower, my SPF tinted moisurizer, primer, foundation -- layer upon layer which takes about a full hour to apply.

I let Leslie know she was the bomb for letting me know about BBs.  With Santa on his way, I will definitely hope to find a BB in my stocking hung by the fire with care.


Smashbox - Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35
Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream

Stila - Stay All Day 10-In-1 HD Beauty Balm
Sila Stay-All-Day 10-in-1 BB



Bobbi Brown - BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 35
Bobbi Brown BB Cream SPF 35

Friday, November 30, 2012

One for You and One... or More... for Me

To me, holiday shopping is like being a kid in the candy store.  Normally, I am a very calculated shopper and head out with a very specific game plan.  It never fails that – when I have carte blanche – I can’t find anything. 

The complete opposite is true when I am shopping for friends and family during the Christmas season.  For every one gift that I find for a giftee, I always want one for myself or seem to find a plethora of other items that I want under my own tree. 

 Here are a few of my favorite things this holiday season:

 

Wild Fig & Cassis Cologne by Jo Malone. Inspired by breakfast in Tuscany - the moment of breaking open juicy figs, fresh from the tree - Wild Fig & Cassis is a delicious fragrance. The scent of sun-warmed figs and delicate cassis is entwined with notes of hyacinth and cedarwood, enveloping the wearer in the warmth of the Mediterranean.
 

 
Daily Yoga Jacket by Lululemon is a versatile layer we can pull on pre- and post-exercise class. The loose fit and tall, cozy collar make it an easy piece to transition from class to cafe and home again.

 


Bobbi Brown “Uber Nude” eye and lip pallet.  Monday to Sunday, a pocket-sized palette has it covered with Bobbi's most timeless, tried-and-true colors for eyes and lips. With three eyeshadows, two lip colors and a mini glitter lip gloss, the Uber Nude compact includes everything you need to achieve a classic, but modern look.

 

 

Stella & Dot Serenity Stone Drop Earrings.  Need I say more?

 

 
Le Vernis by Chanel comes is a variety of classic and trend-defining shades from the runways of Paris. State-of-the-art formula strengthens and moisturizes nails as it delivers long-wearing, high-shine, chip-resistant colour. The polish applies evenly without streaking.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

One Couple Finds Reckless Abandon in Spain




Jason and I with Gaudi Architecture in Barcelona, Spain

Right now, my friend Lynn is in Spain with her sweetie and I couldn’t be more envious. 

Back in 2002, my hubby and I had our last solo European sojourn before our son was born. We spent two glorious weeks in Barcelona.

A few days before Lynn departed; I gave her some recommendations while staying in the second largest city in Spain, besides Madrid, and found myself longing for the cobblestone courtyards of Catalonia.

My menagerie of European countries is not as vast as my husband’s but, out of all the countries which I have visited to date; there was something absolutely magical about our vacation in Barcelona.

Right off the bat, it looks like every other European city and, by viewing photos, I would be hard pressed to tell the difference between a café in France, Sweden, Norway, Denmark or even London.  However, I think it was our state-of-mind at that period of our lives which made this trip such anadventure.

At 33-years-old, I was grown enough to know that Jason and I were coming to the end of an era.  We had been married 4 years and together for almost a decade; we knew that trying to start a family and the sacrifices that came with that commitment were just around the corner but they were not with us when we arrived in Spain.

Some might say we had a reckless abandon – our journey took us to private parties in abandoned buildings (think Eyes Wide Shut but not quite as risqué), drinking “real” absinthe, dancing at raves in deserted castles until the sun came up, and visiting one of the oldest Amusement Parks in Europe.

From the moment we arrived, we broke our normal travel pattern.  Jason booked us a hotel in the touristy La Rambla district of Barcelona, but only for two nights. 

La Rambla is a tree-lined pedestrian mall located in the center of the city – which houses many shops, restaurants, and boutiques – and is popular with tourists and locals. Despite being fun and hip, it is not where we wanted to stay for thenext two weeks.

Right away, we set off to explore and find apart of the city where we did want to plant our roots.  We traveled up and down the narrow cobblestone paths, but had no luck.  In desperation, we stopped at one hotel located in a very artsy area with lots of cafes and shops.  The lodging was small but very clean and the price was right, but the man at the front desk would not even give us the time of day.

We left discouraged and headed back to the main drag to drown our sorrows in Sangria.
 
The next day, we had to check out of our temporary digs and we went back again. The same desk man was there and Jason was very persuasive – aka – gave him a bribe and we got ourselves a room.
 
We weren’t expecting much so when we opened the door and realized that we had a small balcony that overlooked a cobblestone alley running right into the Plaça de Sant Jaume (where the main roads of the Roman colony Barcino crossed), we were stoked.

We soon realized that we were super lucky to have even found a hotel because we had arrived during La Merce Festival, which is the largest street festival honoring the Patron Saint of Barcelona and celebrates the end of the summer.

To say it was a scene is an understatement.

For a whole week, there were concerts at Plaçade Sant Jaume or human towers being built and – from our balcony we got to watch up close and personal the “Parade of Giants.” 
 
The best event – which we were not privy to until it was literally right upon us – was the fire run. 

Spaniards dressed up like devils and dragons would spray the crowd with flames from sparklers while low flying fireworks were shot up into the sky.  Well we did not get the memo about the danger of this celebration until we were literally getting burned from the sparklers and fireworks.
The smell of burnt flesh was pungent in our noses and the line to the Pharmacia wrapped around the building.  At first, I thought “these people are crazy”but then I realized that they are the same people who drown themselves intomatoes and run with the bulls.
 
We had to escape the mayhem and ended our evening watching a concert in the Plaça de Sant Jaume from our balcony.

We spent the next few days exploring and acclimating ourselves to our new neighborhood. One afternoon, we ambled into the Picasso Museum which houses more than 3,500 works of art from the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, co-founder of the cubist movement.

While there, we saw this eclectic tapas restaurant located within the ruins of an old structure that seemed like a castle.  Jason and I made plans to walk back that evening to have dinner. 

We were not disappointed.  The outdoor restaurant had muted electric lights but it was the hundreds of candles placed among the ruins that truly brought out the ambiance of that establishment. While there, we asked our waiter for recommendations on what to do after our dinner.  He told us that he knew about a secret club and would give us the password so we could attend the party.

Being the paranoid person who I am, I had pretty much made up my mind that I was not going to that party.  All I could think was that it was a set up to rob or mug us.  Luckily, my adventurous husband sent me straight and, after our dinner, we were off on our escapade.

The address our waiter had given us was in one of the courtyards off La Rambla.  We found the address and did a double-take. Could this possibly be the correct place? 


The author with the impressive skyline of Barcelona in the background

As we looked up at the five-story dilapidated building which – no joke – was probably built about the 16th or 17th century, I could not believe that there was a secret party taking place inside.

We did the secret knock and one of those little windows from the days of prohibition slid open.  We said the secret word, “Pipa,” and this massive 10 foot door slowly opened.

Since we didn’t really speak Spanish, we couldn’t really communication, so we just followed the muted sounds of music and voices up several shaky flights of stairs. I thought for sure I was going to fall through at any moment but, of course, we arrived on the top floor safe and sound.

As we pushed open the door into the club, the first thing I noticed was all the hip, chic people who were perfectly placed through the rooms of a gigantic apartment in this abandoned building. 
 
It had no electricity and all the light was coming from hundreds and hundreds of candles placed throughout the club just like at our dinner.  In retrospect: what a cra-zy fire hazard in an ancient abandoned building!  Once again, thank you God for allowing me to survive.

The bar had a line that was mobbed and, when Jason finally got my Tanqueray and tonic (in honor of my first NYC supper club Nell’s), I was disappointed.  Since the club had no electricity, there was no ice. Not to mention that most Europeans seem to have an aversion to ice anyway.

I have chills just thinking about myself choking down that drink.  However, as we explored the various rooms of the club, another (fricken pardon my French) danger that was glaringly obvious…everyone was smoking. 

That’s right, cigars, cigarettes,cigarillos…if you could puff it; it was puffing.  Come to find out pipa in Spanish – not French this time – technically means pipe but that was just the code word for a “smoking club.”

Well, Jason and I – especially Jason – is not fond of smoking of any kind, so we high-tailed it down all 10 flights of stairs and found ourselves safely outside gulping in the clean night air. 

With one adventure of the night behind us, we set off for our next.

…Stay tuned for Part II: One Couple Finds Reckless Abandon in Spain




Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Pressure of a Picture Perfect Holiday Card

With all my thanks behind me; and Black Friday and Cyber Monday a distant memory, I am face-to-face with my biggest challenge of the holiday season -- the Mausser Family Christmas Card.

Ah, I remember the good old days when I could actually pick up several boxes of holiday cards at Big Lots (formerly known as Pic N' Save)...are y'all feeling me yet?  For my gal pals, I would proudly choose a cute kitty cat motif; for my peeps back in Jersey, I would always secure a religious nativity scene; and -- for my co-workers -- a "holiday" card would always suffice.

But then, my baby boy was born and so was the pressure.  The first year, we just sort of stumbled across our idea which was printed at CVS  (formerly Sav-on in the 11th hour) and it had a typo.  Arghhhh, as an English major typos are the bane of my existence.  However, the cute picture of 3 month-old Shane laying (face down) naked on a rug made of Mongolian lamb fur with the moniker, "Have you been naughty or nice?" was brilliant; If I might say so myself. 

Although, my late-grandfather thought it a tad racy.

I stumbled through the next few years and, when Shane was three, I captured an amazing photo of him at my Mom's small (non-working) ranch in New Mexico.  It was a simple Snapfish card which also included the lyrics of John Lennon's "Imagine." 

I received so many compliments on this card that my tiny bit of creativity was born.

The next year was a card with photos of Shane -- and some of the family -- which included a quote from the Dali Lama.  I continued the theme which always included a power quote or lyric from a song that promoted world peace and happiness.  My genre was born. 

However, along with the inspiration to create, came the obsession to try and "outdo" myself every year.  Now that we own a house and my formerly accessible disposable income is no longer disposable, I am now trying to get creative on a budget. 

The year I did the Minted card -- which consisted of a photo book and quotes from one of the Beatles...I can't even remember which one because we sent out all of those cards with none to spare...it wasn't quite a mortgage payment but rent on a small apartment.  OMG, you say you didn't get one of those cards?  Yes, if you didn't make the cut you got the alternate Shutterfly card that year. At $400 for 50 cards, sick, I tell you!  Sick!

Last year's card turned out perfect; It was cost-effective and cute.  Which leaves me back at square one...what can I possibly do to outdo myself this year?  The pressure is on!

For the past several days, I have spent hours scouring the Internet for ideas and concepts.  Unfortunately, I did not find anything too motivating but then I had a novel idea.  What is wrong with going back to basics?

Sometimes, I am my own worst enemy.  I must learn to be happy with the simple things in life; I must squash this need to go above and beyond. 

Is it so bad to have a Christmas card that only includes a single photo of my amazing son (so out-of-town relatives can see how much he's grown) and conveys the most sincere message to all of my close friends and family...We wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year?

I think not!

A real photo montage of holiday cards from years past.