Wednesday, September 28, 2011

ATF 'Brief' Hiatus

The Fam and I are headed back to Joisy for my cousin's wedding so I will be out of pocket for the next five days.  However, don't despair, All Things Fashionating will return next week with oodles of new and fashionating topics.

Missoni for Target Hits the Streets...For Real!

Image: Jet Acker

Image: Jet Acker

Yesterday, I decided to wear my new Missoni for Target duds to work. I even brought my camera so my friend Jet could take my picture; only to discover that my battery was at home charging. Sadly, we had to take the photos on my Blackberry and the quality just wasn’t the same. However, I am happy to be posting ATF’s first self-defined Street Style.

In the photo, I am wearing my coveted Missoni for Target knit dress and shoes; Gucci Sukey Medium Tote; Prada sunglasses; Calvin Klein tights; and models own underwear and smile.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A 'Fashionating' Journal Entry from 1996

Jason & Tracy (Image: Courtesy Rachel Yarnevic)
I wrote the following journal entry back in 1996 before I moved out to Southern California and met my amazing husband.  This Saturday is his 41st birthday, but we will be back in New Jersey celebrating my cousin's wedding, so he will have to take the back seat this year.

For all of those women out there who are single, In mid-90s, I had been solo for quite some time; I found Shakti Gawain and the "Power of Positive Thinking." 

I know this is going to sound far-fetched, but I swear to you...this is what I put out there into the Universe...about the man that I wanted to find, that I needed in my life; whom I eventually found.

March 15, 1996
I am in love with a man who is tall, dark and handsome.  He is very masculine, but gentle at the same time.  He's very downtown, but can be very Wall Street. 

He loves to hang with my family and friends.  I can take him anywhere and the best thing is that he totally loves me for me:  He loves me fat, skinny, make-up, no make-up. 

He's so strong that he can handle me.  He's totally beautiful and we make an incredible couple.  He loves me and respects me.  It is a very deep relationship -- one that is based on trust and respect. 

He knows all about my past and I know all about his, and we could both care less.

He is neither rich nor poor, but we always do very exciting things.  He would do anything for me and I for him.

He's the most incredible, intelligent, funny, witty, caring, thoughtful and sensual human being that I know.  I am truly grateful to the Universe for shedding light on him, on us, for this deeply satisfying relationship.

I love him and I'm able to love me as well.  I've never been happier.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Crushing Hard: Foxy Faux-fur Trimmed Coat

Image Victoria's Secret QK-274-587  $168

Even though fall has yet to come to Southern California, I've already been in search for my new winter coat; But alas, I need to look no further. 

Victoria's Secret Fall 2011 Catalogue actually had multiple options that caught my eye but a faux-fur trimmed coat stole my heart.

The buckle-front coat with "soft" faux-fur trim on the cuffs (which are removable) and collar is feminine yet the hardware makes it edgy.  It's a wool blend, so perfect for our mild SoCal winters. The best news yet is that it comes in black and camel.

So come on winter, bring it on.

Friday, September 23, 2011

I Love L.A. But My HEART Will Always Be In New York City

In just a few days, the fam and I will be headed to New Jersey for my cousin Jacqueline Rae’s most anticipated wedding.
I love being on the East Coast during the fall.  It is certainly my favorite season and one that we don’t get too often here in Los Angeles – unless you choose to drive up to the mountains.
The anticipation of boots and sweaters just get me all riled up.  It also makes me nostalgic for my younger years while growing up, but especially when I lived in New York City.
To me, there is nothing like a crisp fall day in the city – especially on a weekend – and you have all day for brunching and shopping. 
To this day, I still have a recurring dream that I am in New York – specifically Tribeca – with a day of shopping ahead of me.  The feeling that envelopes me is so happy and positive, I am always disappointed when I wake and realize that it was only a dream.
I first moved to New York City during the summer of 1989 and, in only a matter of weeks, my first fall cascaded around me like autumnal leaves falling from trees.
This was during my Betsey Johnson years so, when my co-worker and good friend Chrissy asked me if I wanted to be her roommate, this opportunity was a dream come true.
I had wanted to live in the city ever since I was in high school.  I applied and was accepted to Pace University, located near Wall Street; however, I had to change schools at the last minute due to lack of funding. 
Tracy at the Bethune Street House
I can barely explain my excitement on moving day.  Chrissy was sub-letting a furnished brownstone located on Bethune Street in the West Village (right off 12th Street and a few blocks away from West Side Highway).  This is, and was, prime real estate; however, our place left a lot to be desired.
The apartment was owned by an older woman who summered in Connecticut.  The apartment was huge and took up the entire first floor as well as a basement level.  Jennifer Grey, from Dirty Dancing, was our neighbor on one of the upper levels.  It even had a decent sized backyard, which is pretty much unheard of in New York.
Before I moved in, Chrissy had let me stay over a few times when we had gone out after work.  I knew the place was sort of like a mausoleum.  It was filled with old antiques and was over flowing with newspapers and magazines.
It was cool in an Adam’s Family kind of creepy way.
So once I received my invitation to co-habitat, I was in complete denial that the place was a dump.  In my youthful naiveté, I was able to ignore certain things that, as an adult, I would not be able to look the other way.
The number one concern was that the apartment was infested with mice.  I lived in one other flat – more to come about that one later in this post – but in that rodent scenario at least we only actually encountered one.
I had the pick of a few bedrooms rooms but the one I selected had a fireplace, cast iron bed, and was walled with bookshelves.  It was straight out of an Emily Bronte novel and I was thrilled.
I remember that first night clearly.
I had put away all my clothes, put out some picture frames, new yummy bedding…just sort of made the room my own.  I turned out the light and snuggled down into my cozy sheets and tried to relax.  I was so excited as I lay there and listen to the city sounds in the distance.  (Bethune is a pretty quiet street off the beaten path.) 
Suddenly, I thought I heard a sound in my room.
I thought I must be crazy.  So, I snuggled down deeper and heard the sound again.  This time is sounded like scurrying and instinctively, it all started to make sense.
Sure enough, I turned on the light and caught those rodents red handed.  There were about a half dozen mice running around on and around the bookshelves.
I was skeeved beyond imagination and barely slept a wink all night.
And if you think that was bad…
The first time I tried to cook dinner in the 1920s stove that was in the house, more mice than I would like to say ran out of that antiquated appliance like Armageddon.
I never did cook at that apartment and ate all my meals at the Greek diner by the 12th Street subway.  I’d say that was very Seinfeld.
The last and, in comparison, grievance I had was that the water never seemed to go down the drain in the shower…ever.  I ended up wearing gardening clogs every time I bathed because as much as I loved Chrissy, I really didn’t want to share her bath water. Yuk!
Despite these pitfalls, I absolutely loved that old brownstone and the thrill of living in the city.
I loved taking the subway down to the “Village.”  I would get off and stop at my diner to eat a Greek salad or Gyro and then walk down my picturesque street complete with flower boxes and geraniums.  The outside of our brownstone was beautiful and inviting.
I came to know and love the West Village and today, when I head into the city for any significant amount of time, I always try to get down there.  It is like an old friend.
At the end of October, our sub-lease came to an end.
Chrissy and I decided to carry on as roommates and find another apartment.
We looked at a lot of places.  But, with our budget -- just about $1,000 a month -- we definitely didn’t have a lot of good choices.
We knew a couple who were friends and they lived in the East Village.  They let us know that a place was available in their building.  It didn’t have a doorman, but a reception area with a locked security door and it was in our price range.  Can you believe that back in 1990, the going rate for a one bedroom was $1,000.  Looking back, I think that was crazy expensive.
They referred us to the management company who told us to contact the current tenants and set up an open house. So we did and went to Avenue A and First Street – the infamous “Alphabet city.”
We showed up and met Thommy Price, the drummer for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.  Thommy and his wife lived in the apartment and were moving on.  We met them and hit it off, they liked us and gave us a glowing recommendation, and the rest is history.
Chrissy in the Betsey Pink Kitchen
When we moved into the one bedroom apartment; the place was dingy and depressing.  Working for Betsey Johnson, we decided to paint the apartment hot pink and then the place had attitude. 
Unfortunately, we had to do a few coats of paint where Thommy’s greasy head would lean against the wall by their bed.  I mean yuk and super yuk!
After a few months of living there, we started to hear noises under our sink.  We just could not figure out what it was all about.  Was it the building settling, squeaky pipes, or…rats?
Apparently, the mother of all rats lived in our building.  After our rodent problem on Bethune, Chrissy and I were not tolerant of any more furry creatures with whiskers.  We went up to the management company – in person – and said you’ve got to do something about it.
They did sent an exterminator and there were no more noises.  We lived there for a few years and the neighborhood at the time was less than desirable.
Even though today, it is a chichi place to live, we had our fair share of…men chasing us to our building and not out of innocent flirting (more like I have a knife give me all  your money);  the 24 hour key making kiosk (can you say D*R*U*G*S); and the best for last…when a water main broke on our street and it was closed off for three months, a mysterious rolled up cheap (shag for the sake of creative license) rug showed up in front of our building during the frigid cold winter.  With the spring thaw, they found a body rolled up in that rug.  Ewwww!  Jerry Orbach and Chris Noth from Law & Order showed up to check it out but, sadly, the crime went unsolved.
One day, while working out at the gym, I hurt my foot; Later, after a night of dancing and clubbing, I broke it.  This was the beginning of the end of my stint living in New York.  (I spent plenty of time there afterward working and staying with my friends, just not living there.)
Since I didn’t have insurance, I went home so my mom could take me to the doctor.  I had broken my foot clear across and would have to stay off it for a few months. 
The night I broke my foot: Marianne, Amy, Scott, & Tracy
I suppose living off Top Ramen and icing glazed animal cookies -- not to mention cockails, cocktails and more cocktails -- just wasn’t sustaining moi. 
This was a defining moment for me.  Living in New York City and putting every penny I made – that I didn’t spend shopping and looking fabulous – into rent had gotten the best of me.
My mom was concerned and, as a good mom, she should have been.  So, on a cool crisp autumn morning, my dad showed up with his truck and – with so much regret – I allowed him to move me out of my Alphabet City apartment.
I remember driving home and feeling melancholy.  In retrospect, I never really left New York City since it was and will always be a part of me; however, random people always used to say…you seem more like an L.A. girl than a New York girl.
And that was the truth.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

To Be Brown, Or Not To Be, That Is The Question:

Friends, Followers and Country or City Women:

I am facing a major dilemma!  I need to replace my everyday boots and  found the perfect pair.  Vince Camuto's Braden Boot; however, I am in a quandary.  My safe place is to just replace in ordinary black, but a part of me is thinking I need the Whiskey -- a.k.a. brown -- color to add a little go-go juice in my life.

I'd love to hear what you think.

Braden Boot in Whiskey

Braden Boot in Black

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ladies in Red

Image: Express
At my senior prom, my boyfriend sang the song, “Lady in Red,” in my ear. I was never really crazy about that tune or that boy, but I am so in love with "Ladies in Red" right now.

I haven’t been a big fan of Express since before the Millennium, except Editor Pants for work are the bomb.  But, when their fall catalogue arrived in the mail and only because I am a fan of Bath & Body Works as well as Victoria’s Secret– I was blown away.

The deep blood reds throughout the collection caught my eye.  The red suit, which highlighted the audacious hue from head to toe, was hellacious.  I especially loved the color blocked dresses -- who knew that a mixture of red, orange and magenta -- which seems so wrong, could looks so right.
Image:Frazer Harrison
And on Sunday night, it wasn't just the television personalities getting all the attention:  Red dresses in hues from cranberry to coral to cherry to ruby rocked the red carpet at the Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. 

My favorite of the night was Nina Dobrev who looked absolutely stunning in her Donna Karen fish-tail va-va-voom dress.  As a fan of "The Vampire Diaries," I was ecstatic to see her holding her own.

Red is trending hard right now but, regardless of the season, I know that any shade of that vibrant hue adds instant glamour.  Whenever I need a little pick me up, I throw on a red top and/or shoes – there is no need to be red allover.  It could even be as simple as putting on your red lips for an instant pop. 

No matter your hair or skin coloring, there is a little lady in red -- dancing cheek to cheek -- in all of us.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Calling All Followers: How Can ATF Become More Fashionating?

Time flies when you're having fun: It has been six months since I launched my blog, All Things Fashionating. 

On a personal level, I have been very pleased with my level of commitment and, for the most part, the content of the posts.  When I set out to create ATF, I was concerned that it would be one more false start.  Not to pat myself on the back, but I am proud that I have kept up with my personal forum.

I’ve tried to balance it out a bit with my individual essays as well as covering themes such as fashion, health and beauty products, current events and trending topics.  Mostly, I like to write about things that are important and intriguing to me and, hopefully to those loyal followers, who have stuck with me during this time.

During the last half of the year, I began following my peers – other bloggers who cover similar topics and e-zines – to keep up with current trends.  I don’t presume to be an expert on all topics and truly attempt to educate myself as I write my posts; however, my goal is to write about subjects that move me.

However, I feel that All Things Fashionating has somewhat plateaued and I would like to continue to grow it.

I have received some feedback from friends who have suggested more photos and other technophile ambitions such as linking up with other blogs of similar content.

My blog is unique in that I created this forum as a way to have my voice heard by using my past experience as a journalist.  Obviously, after researching other blogs, I realize that my format is different and not as cutting-edge.  I have been blown away by the many amazing bloggers I have discovered.

As a working mom, my biggest challenge is that my time to be creative is very limited –  squeezed in between 9 plus hours of work a day, homework, sports practices and games, training for a half-marathon, among other aspects of a busy life – I try and find time to write after my son goes to bed. 

Sometimes, I find myself falling asleep on the keyboard and hoping my drool won’t short circuit the computer, yet somehow I get it done.  Now, I’m not looking for empathy just reinforcing – to myself mostly – that this blog is important to me and I have to work to make it happen.

The result is that I don’t have very much time left over to figure out how to cultivate it.

I am prepared to research and figure out a game plan, but I feel that going to the source may be the best way to start.  So I’m hoping my friends and followers would be willing to offer me some assistance.

I would love to get some feedback from my readers on how I can take my blog to the next level.  What do you want to see more of on the pages of ATF?  What can I do differently that will make my posts more fascinating and help me acquire more followers?

I am truly at a crossroads and, unlike the other blogs that I read, I hardly get any comments.  From my stats on; I know that I have a decent number of readers out there, so I would love to hear from you.

Please let me know what you are thinking: What are your likes and dislikes about ATF?  How can I make it better?  I will take the good, the bad and the ugly. 

Some have said ATF is like the extinct television show “Seinfeld” – it is a blog about nothing.  Although I know this was meant as the highest compliment possible and, if that is a good definition than I am willing to accept it, but if my readers want it to be more of a blog about something, I’m willing to listen to your voices. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Crushing Hard: Doll Lashes

Lancôme Doll Lashes
Now ladies, my eyelashes are these light, wispy things that tend to stick straight out.  You can't believe how hopeful I became when I saw an ad for HYPNOSE Doll Lashes by Lancôme Paris.

According to Lancôme's website, "The secret behind doll lashes is finally revealed!  Lancôme's most flirtatious lash look. A volumized, extended and full lash fringe for a wide-eye look."

Lancô also reports the secret behind this amazing results.

"A new, unique, cone-shaped brush provides an extremely smooth and clean application, precisely defining even your hard-to-reach corners and lower lashes. Combined with the exclusively developed FiberShineTM formula, it sculpts, curls and loads each lash for the ultimate shiny lash fringe. Lift and thicken every single lash without weighing it down. Push up your lashes for your most flirty, wide open eye look."

At this point, I've got nothing to lose so I'm gonna run out and get me some HYPNOSE Doll Lashes.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Spiritual Sabbath

A little "Eat, Pray, Love" inspiration this morning...
“Your job then, should you choose to accept it, is to keep searching for the metaphors, rituals and teachers that will help you move ever closer to divinity. The Yogic scriptures say that God responds to the sacred prayers and efforts of human beings in any way whatsoever that mortals choose to worship—just so long as those prayers are sincere.

I think you have every right to cherry-pick when it comes to moving your spirit and finding peace in God. I think you are free to search for any metaphor whatsoever which will take you across the worldly divide whenever you need to be transported or comforted. It's nothing to be embarrassed about. It's the history of mankind's search for holiness. If humanity never evolved in its exploration of the divine, a lot of us would still be worshipping golden Egyptian statues of cats. And this evolution of religious thinking does involve a fair bit of cherry-picking. You take whatever works from wherever you can find it, and you keep moving toward the light.

The Hopi Indians thought that the world's religions each contained one spiritual thread, and that these threads are always seeking each other, wanting to join. When all the threads are finally woven together they will form a rope that will pull us out of this dark cycle of history and into the next realm. More contemporarily, the Dalai Lama has repeated the same idea, assuring his Western students repeatedly that they needn't become Tibetan Buddhists in order to be his pupils. He welcomes them to take whatever ideas they like out of Tibetan Buddhism and integrate these ideas into their own religious practices. Even in the most unlikely and conservative of places, you can find sometimes this glimmering idea that God might be bigger than our limited religious doctrines have taught us. In 1954, Pope Pius XI, of all people, sent some Vatican delegates on a trip to Libya with these written instructions: "Do NOT think that you are going among Infidels. Muslims attain salvation, too. The ways of Providence are infinite."

But doesn't that make sense? That the infinite would be, indeed ... infinite? That even the most holy amongst us would only be able to see scattered pieces of the eternal picture at any given time? And that maybe if we could collect those pieces and compare them, a story about God would begin to emerge that resembles and includes everyone? And isn't our individual longing for transcendence all just part of this larger human search for divinity? Don't we each have the right to not stop seeking until we get as close to the source of wonder as possible? Even if it means coming to India and kissing trees in the moonlight for a while?

That's me in the corner, in other words. That's me in the spotlight. Choosing my religion.”

Friday, September 16, 2011

NYFW Titillates My Fashion Senses

One of the things that I would like to do before I die is attend fashion week in New York City.  OK, I would take Paris too; but, since New York is like an old friend to me, I know that I would love the vibe in the Big Apple best.

So every February and September when I hear the buzz about the upcoming Mercedes Benz fashion week, I get this unfounded excitement as if I will actually be there. I experience a titillating exhilaration for the unknown fashion which will be trending the following season. 

Yet, living in LA and ensconced  my normal existence, I am not assaulted by the news of fashion week in New York.

I have to fight for my exposure through social media (thank you Twitter), my new best friends (all the fashion bloggers extraordinaire that I now follow religiously – and those who actually got seats at the shows – Bitches! Yet, I mean that in the most endearing way), and just searching any online publication.

Courtesy: Rebecca Minkoff

Yesterday, Lincoln Center and lesser venues said good-bye to the Demi-Gods of fashion: models boarded planes to London; clothing was delicately placed back in its garment bags; and janitors folded up those metal chairs that, for one fleeting moment, were the most coveted seats in New York City.

However, now it is time for the big reveal that allows us mere mortals to see what trends lay ahead for women in Spring 2012.

I am truly happy that we are finally seeing more sophisticated silhouettes.  As I have posted before, the past few years have been a bit difficult for me because, as I approached and now passed 40-years-old, I have a more mature style palette.  So, it has been harder for me to feel comfortable and pull off trendier, youthful designs. 

Sadly, I am officially no longer Forever 21 since – that number doubled – is the sum of my age today. But I am happy to report that I have absolutely no trepidation about chic styles that I saw clomping down the catwalk.

This spring, sheer fabrics will play a major role: you will see blouses, skirts, and dresses even some with flower-patterned fabrics and flowery appliques.

One dress in Rachel Roy’s collection had a refreshing, cool raspberry sherbet color mixed with blooming blossoming prints.

Courtesy: Callula Lillibelle
Designers like Caroline Herrera revealed fashions for sophisticated and demure women: Grecian gowns and pant suits; lady-like dresses in primary colors with accent colors of red; 40s style polka dot dresses; and palazzo pants dotted the runways.

Thom Browne wowed with his menswear-inspired line which showed double breasted overcoats, blazers, trousers, long evening gowns with plunging necklines in black, white and camel.  Very incarnate of Marlene Dietrich which reigns supreme this fall with designs like Gucci. [See my post "Gaga for Gucci" July 13, 2011.]

Although the 40s were not the only vintage era represented at the NY shows, the 80s are still hanging in there with color-blocking, bright neon hues, and drapey linen suits – shown in shorts and long pants – reminiscent of Miami Vice. 

Lastly, I thought Donna Karan’s collection represented a little bit of it all.  Her line was sassy and edgy:  form-fitting dresses in tribal prints; intricate draping in colors such as burnt orange and muted limes; plunging neck lines which mirrored high slits; lots of fur; and those deep jewel tones continue to hold their own as we anticipate the arrival of cooler temps.

So what that my butt didn’t have a much sought-after front row seat at the most popular shows; this weekend I will pick up every fashion rag at the market and live vicariously through all those editors and bloggers...all from a coveted seat on my couch.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sleepless in Seattle While Driving the Stars- Part II

I was either crazy or had amnesia when I agreed to return to Seattle to be the transportation coordinator for Richard Karn’s Star Days for the second year in a row. 
This time, Cindy actually came along so we could work as a team.  She even brought one more person, Christina, a former co-worker, who was also in the biz and had a lot of coordinating experience.
Cindy, Richard Karn & Christina
Even with the three of us, it was a lot of work; but it was great to have back-up to share the responsibility and actually enjoy the different perks of the event. 
At a volunteer event, Cindy made the mistake of letting one guy know that she worked in the entertainment industry.  He was a legally blind young man who was extremely ambitious.  His idea of networking was pseudo-stalking in my opinion and poor Cindy couldn’t shake this guy.
The best was when he told her that he was a “blind photographer,” and was winning contents for his photography.  Mind you, he was legally blind.  He was not a volunteer driver (Thank God), but he did some other unpaid work for the event. Trust me when I say photography was not his forte.  He talked Cindy into allowing him to take our photo and it might just be the worst picture of me that I have ever seen.
But even though there were three of us, we were still sleep deprived.
We actually broke the jobs up into shifts.  One person would stay late until each minivan had been returned, but would get to sleep in the next morning; while the other two coordinated the transportation in the morning.
One night, I was on the late shift and, when I returned to our room, I noticed that there was a person sleeping in my bed.  I looked around and saw the sleeping forms of both my roommates in their own beds.
It was between 2 and 3am, so I was trying very hard to be quiet.  I was wracking my brain, but could not even guess who would have been in my bed.
I locked myself into the bathroom and changed into my pajamas; all the while I was freaking out, “Who was in my bed? 
Tracy, Zachery Ty Brian & Cindy
Then I thought I heard a sound out in the room.  On such little sleep, I started to get paranoid.  Was it some maniac who snuck into the room undetected?  I was at a loss.
I tip toed back out to my bed and said, “Excuse me.”  The sleeping shape did not move.  This time, I put my hand out to gently shake the person’s shoulder when I realized it was just pillows.
Both Cindy and Christina couldn’t contain themselves anymore and started cracking up.  I was annoyed for one second, but also relieved to know it wasn’t a real person.
We literally were giddy with sleep deprivation.  I did feel like I was buzzed part of the time but luckily not one morning when this “total B list” Comedian needed a lift to the golf course.
We didn’t have one available driver and this guy had overslept, so he was trying to make it for his T-time.  Being my second year and never having left the hotel, I volunteered to drive the guy.
Big mistake: I got so lost and ended up making the guys even later.  He totally blew up at me and called me stupid or something.  I was so pissed; I told him that I was a highly intelligent human being even if he didn’t think so at the time. 
Finally, after getting some directions, I got him to the golf course even though he was an hour later.  It serves him right for oversleeping.
The clincher happened on one of the last nights.  One of the other gals had come back to the room after closing up shop.  We were getting ready for bed and chatting; trying to wind down after the long day.
Suddenly, we heard a loud crash and then a car alarm.  As we looked out the window, we were just in time to watch the red taillights of one of our mini vans disappear down a dark street.
We all just looked at each other and started cracking up.
The second year was still extremely difficult but, I can honestly say, it was oodles of fun to do it with Cindy and Christina.  It seriously brought us closer because we had to eat, sleep and live with each other 24/7.
The responsibility was divided three ways and that took away most of the pressure for me.
At the end, the three of us were able to attend the red carpet event again.  We had a blast mingling and dancing with some of Hollywood’s hottest stars at the time, but I think we were the brightest ones in the bunch.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mission Missoni Accomplished: Right on Target!

So, I set my alarm for about 5 a.m. yesterday morning, only to realize that I was already too late to purchase Missoni for Target online. had crashed and my dream of purchasing my Missoni flats while in the comfort of my own jammies had become a nightmare.

I had to switch into plan B.

On the way to the freeway, I made an impulsive decision to stop by a local Target in Redondo Beach.

As I pulled up, there were a few women waiting for the doors to open, but it certainly wasn’t the mob scene that my friend Rachel reported from the Manhattan Beach Target Greatland.

At 8 a.m. on the dot, I rushed into the store – with about a dozen other women.  As I was headed up the escalator, I realized that I didn’t have a game-plan; but my fellow shoppers certainly seemed to have strategies.

And their off...
I watched in awe as most of them grabbed shopping carts and, as if they were on that game show “Supermarket Sweep,” they were off and shopping.  Once everyone got into the store and dispersed, there weren’t enough people to really make a big difference so I merely walked quickly – sans cart – to the shoe department.

But this wasn’t the case at the 1,762 Target stores across the U.S. and online.
The Missoni for Target collection – which is made up of 400 items ranging in price from $3 to $600 – with the Italian design house’s trademark zig-zag pattern was scheduled to run from Sept. 13 through Oct. 22.  However, most locations sold out in less than a day.

The Missoni chevrons covered everything from clothing to housewares to furniture and finally, to my favorite, bikes (which sadly did not come home with me today). 

Most items retailed for less than $40 and included knit sweaters, shirts, dresses, tights, shoes, rain boots, scarves, luggage, travel accessories, umbrellas, bedding, luggage, dinnerware and even iPad and iPod covers.

By the time I left my location, Target employees were already starting to refill in the empty shelves and racks.

The Score
I am happy to report that I scored the shoes that I wanted.  Also, I couldn’t resist picking up a few clothing items and additional accessories.

To some of my high-end fashionista friends, I may not be rocking the real deal with this lower-end version of the popular Italian powerhouse.  Yet, I remember how absolutely sad I was to miss out on scoring a piece from Karl Lagerfeld’s collection for H&M last year. 

With the new house, my designer dud spending sprees are on lock-down.  I am just happy to be able to represent.

Obviously, I risk finding myself face-to-face with another gal wearing the same outfit as me but, hopefully, the exclusivity of the line will keep that from happening.

Target isn’t expected to receive any more Missoni inventory.  So it is not surprising that there are already reports of the Target for Missoni line being sold on eBay at sky high prices.  The chevron zig-zag tote bag that I scored for $34.99 was listed for more than $100 with starting bids at $50.

With the sun setting on the horizon and the Target website still down, I still haven’t crashed from fashion high.

Mission Missoni accomplished.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

With My Apologies

Hi friends and followers:
Please note that I had some major technical/formatting issues this morning.

I apologize if my post "Sleepless in Seattle" is difficult to read;
However, I will try and fix it at a later time.

Thank you for your anticipated patience!

Sleepless in Seattle While Driving the Stars- Part I

In the 1990s, when I was in my twenties, I was still trying to find the right fit for my writing career. 

A very amusing way of saying, I was in-between jobs and basically doing my catering gig to stay afloat [May 26, 2011].
My good friend Cindy heard my SOS and threw me a life line.
Cindy, who worked in the television industry, was between shows and had been hired to be the transportation coordinator for a celebrity charity event.
She asked if I would be interested in working this event with her. 
The fund-raiser – which consisted of a golf tournament, comedy night and silent auction – had been started by Richard Karn who played Al on the television show “Home Improvement.” 

The event raised money for cancer in memory of Karn’s mother who succumbed to the epidemic.
It wasn’t really a hard sell since the charity golf tournament was in Seattle (a place I had always wanted to visit), we got to work with celebrities (I was still fresh off the Jersey turnip truck and easily impressed), and a pay check that had four zeros (I was broke as hell).
So a night or so before we were to leave, Cindy phoned to let me know that she had actually been picked up for a television show and would not be able to work the event with me.
I was definitely disappointed and very apprehensive, but I have always had the “I CAN DO” attitude so I figured I would get through it.
I was so excited to arrive into Sea-Tac airport and a driver was standing there holding a sign that said “Richard Karn Star Days.”
I felt so important.
I was transported to the Sheraton Seattle, which was a sky scraper and very impressive.  I reported up to the production office high above the streets of downtown Seattle and that is when I started to have second thoughts.
My first order of business was to rent a fleet of mini-vans which would transport the guests – some of which were celebrities – from the airport to the hotel to the golf course and back to the airport at the end of the week.
The producer of the event told me that there were about 20 mini-vans waiting for me at the rental car company.
I looked him in the eye, as confident as ever, and asked just how was I – one lonely person – supposed to rent and pick up 20 mini vans.  I do believe his eyes bulged a bit when he realized that I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. 

Samuel L. Jackson & Tracy
With a sigh, he let me know that I had a list of “UNPAID” volunteers who have signed up to drive the guests around during this week.

Part of my responsibility was to make sure that we had enough drivers. Did I mention unpaid drivers?  Some of them were very diligent; however, some of them were absolutely unreliable.  I found this out on day one.
Luckily, I was assigned a few volunteers who had worked this event before and I was extremely grateful for them.  With a small group, we set out to the rental car company – which was only a few blocks away – and began the task of renting each car three by three.
Once that was done, I felt a bit accomplished as I walked back from the parking structure with all the vehicles parked legally.  Now I just had to get my head around the rest of responsibilities.
The first was the schedule.  It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was going to have to beg, plead and threaten to get these volunteers to work for me.  Especially since our hours were from 5am until about 2 or 3am.
I retired to my room about midnight that first night and had pretty much gotten myself staffed for the next day.  Small influxes of guests were going to start to arrive the next day, so it would be a good test run.
The day didn’t necessarily go smoothly but I didn’t have any major issues and was able to get acclimated to coordinating the volunteers, handing out cell phones, providing a little orientation, and just figuring out what I needed to do next.
But nothing had prepared me for the real deal.  I was back at my desk in the production office by 5am the next morning and I can honestly say that the next 48 hours were a blur of tears, anxiety, exhaustion and complete chaos.
I was in charge of coordinating the transportation for so many people that I can’t even recall any significant numbers. 
During those few days, I would only get about 2 or 3 hours of rest a night.
There were the die-hard golfers who wanted to get out to the golf course at dawn for a practice round; and on the opposite end of the spectrum were the partiers who would be out at the bars until 2 or 3 am.
I remember one call in particular.  A young man – in his early 20s – called me to say he was going to be back late.  (I couldn’t leave the office until all of the mini vans had been returned and I had the keys in my possession.)  So you can imagine how unhappy I was about this news.  I asked him what the holdup was and he let me know that Samuel L. Jackson had requested that the volunteer drive him to a strip club.
The young man told me that he had been invited to join him and was contemplating.  I was flabbergasted.  I told the volunteer that he wouldn’t be a volunteer if he went into the club.  As part of his agreement, he wasn’t really allowed to fraternize with the celebrities but, also as a driver, he wasn’t supposed to drink…or even be in a bar for that matter.
At that point, I called Jason crying so hard I had those hiccup sobs.  I’d hardly had any sleep since I had arrived and was certainly suffering from sleep deprivation.
Tracy & Patrick Warburton
I sobbed into the phone that I just wanted to leave.  I didn’t even care about the money.  I asked him what he thought would happen if I just changed my flight and went home tomorrow. 

My husband just said all the right things.  He told me to just hang in there as I only had two days left; he let me completely take it all out on him over the phone. He knew I would never bail and just needed to rant and rave.

Later, Jason told me that it had seemed like I was drunk.  I told him that I had barely left my make-shift desk in the production office most of that week.  Food was brought in so I didn’t even have to leave except to go to the restroom.  A glass of wine actually might have helped me, but I truly didn’t even have the time.
I can honestly say that this was certainly one of those times to appropriately use the cliché, “What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger.”
After the night that I lost it, things actually started to get better.  I was told that I could attend the big fund-raising event.  It was fun to go and schmooze with the celebrities.  Most people knew of me, but had never met me so it was really nice to put the voice with the face.
Lastly, the production company said they were very happy with me so that made me feel good.  It’s one thing to work hard and not be appreciated so it was really very nice to get so many compliments.
Actually, they liked me so much that they invited me back the following year and I was crazy enough to go back.

Stay tuned for Part II on Thursday!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Crushing Hard: Missoni Flats

Only one day left until the Missoni for Target line is available to the public. 

The Italian fashion house has been selling its colorful knit patterns since 1953, but my closet is sadly missing any real representation. 

With Target's newest designer collaboration -- which includes clothing, home decor and kitchenware -- I am hoping to make that Missoni change. I am really crushing hard on the Ikat print bike that hit the bulls-eye for me; but I will settle for these super cute flats that I just adore.

I'll be setting my alarm clock super early on Tuesday morning to hopefully score them online because they are going to go fast!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Memory of September 11

On the tenth anniversary of the worst terrorist attack that the United States – actually the world – has ever seen, I want to take a moment to remember how that day changed the world.

I remember that morning distinctly.  I was living in Los Angeles and worked downtown.  Before commuting into the office, I watched the breaking news on how four airplanes had been hijacked and were being used as weapons of mass destruction: first at the Twin Towers; then the Pentagon; and when I went to work – yes, I worked for a news wire so I had to go into the office – the third plane, which eventually crashed into a field in Pennsylvania, was still unaccounted for in the air. 

When I arrived at my skyscraper, the National Guard was outside and told us that our building was evacuated and we had to go home.  My boss man said that, if we went home, we were fired. 

I remember how surreal it was that day.  Los Angeles was eerily quiet.  There wasn’t a soul on the streets and our usually crowded freeways were completely empty.  Everyone was afraid to leave home; glued to their television sets and computers watching this catastrophe unfold.

Our New York bureau was closed so we were taking their calls.  I sat there and cried as I spoke to hundreds of people -- husbands, wives, mothers, sons and daughters who were looking for their loved ones.  One woman said her husband always took the PATH train through the World Trade Center and she wasn’t able to reach him.  I had no words for her or any of the worried callers that reached me that day.  I went home and decided to take my chances on getting fired.  (Which I didn’t)

My insignificant experience was nothing compared to those of the 2,947 victims who lost their lives; or individuals and families that live with the loss of loved ones on that terrible day a decade ago.

I know that like most of the world, I felt scared and out-of-control that terrorist could do this to our mighty nation.  It didn’t help that the media kept playing the images of the Twin Towers collapsing over and over and over again.

From her apartment on the Jersey shore, my Nana told me she could see the Towers burning.  She said it seemed like Armageddon.  I felt so far away from my family and friends back in New Jersey and New York.  Watching the devastating images of a city that I had called home just paralyzed me.

It felt so hopeless because I couldn’t be there with my loved ones. My Aunt Barbara lost her best friend and my best friend’s husband (at the time) lost a close family friend. 

It seemed that everyone I knew had lost someone or had been affected in some terrible way, but it was the stories of the survivors that were hard to even comprehend.

Not too long after September 11, I met a 9-11 survivor who recounted his harrowing experience from that day.

He had lived in New York and worked in one of the Towers.  Every morning, he and a few co-workers would ride the elevators down to the lobby and take a mid-morning coffee break. 

On September 11, 2001, he went down with his friends as usual and, was just about to head up in the elevator with them, when his cell phone rang.  He took the call and the first plane hit – everyone in that elevator perished.  He said he didn’t really know what was going on but, his first reaction was to escape and run outside the building.

He and a woman did this together and, just as he was about to step outside, jet fuel and fuselages rained down on New York City.  He watched as the woman and other people who were standing just outside the glass doors were crushed or burned to death. 

This man lived to tell his story; sadly the woman he met in the lobby did not.

So many people senselessly lost their lives.  So many heroic Americans sacrificed their lives to help those innocent souls. 

As a nation, we banded together to help our neighbors and fellow countrymen affected by this attack.  Uncle Sam set out to get those bad guys and our military went to the Middle East to kick some ass.  Along with the rest of the world, I was happy to hear that they took “THE” bad guy -- Osama Bin Laden-- down.   I don’t like to promote a tit for tat, but I felt relieved going to bed that night knowing he was no longer in this world.

Over the past decade, it seems like Americans have lost that loving feeling.  The unity that existed in our nation and around the world after the catastrophic events of 9-11 is now gone.

Our nation faces the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression and we need some hope and optimism.

This morning, my son asked me what happened on 9-11.  It was a very difficult question to answer.  I always try to be honest but, at the same time, I didn’t want to frighten him.

Jason and I tried to explain to him in the most basic terms that the terrorists or “bad guys” killed a lot of Americans to hurt us because they have different values that are extreme.  But that the army – or GI Joes to put it in a scope that he could understand – were able to get the bad guys and the men and women in our armed services continue to protect us so other bad guys can’t hurt us that bad in the future.

He seemed to understand this explanation and, so far, it hasn’t seemed to upset him; however, I need for him to know what happened 10 years ago today and how that changed our world forever.

My goal is to teach my son that he lives in a great country, but life isn’t always fair.  The terrorist attack on September 11 is proof of that statement; too many good souls were lost.

“Gone, but not forgotten."