Thursday, December 18, 2008

Awwwww...This Kitten Loves Broccoli!

I want this broccoli lovin' kitten for Christmas. So cute.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Guilty Pleasure: MTV's The Hills

Ok, I'm late to party but I'm officially a fan of The Hills. I know, I shouldn't pay these privileged brats any attention. But the vapid cast is somehow so hard to resist.

Love Audrina's raven locks and dazed moments of silence. Can't stand that witchy Lo (if this weren't a PG-13 blog I'd really let her have it). I think Spidey deserve each other. Horsey Heidi isn't all bad (she's just a dim wit who wears way too much makeup), but that Spencer is pure evil. How could she marry a man who disrespects her mother every chance he gets? As you can see, I'm way too involved. And I really like that Whitney. She's probably the classiest member of the cast and I'm looking forward to watching her NYC spinoff The City. I really gotta get a life.

But now the real reason for this post. Again, I'm late to comment on this. But what's up with Lauren Conrad's 'stache? I'm sure she bleaches, but it's not working. Lauren's "character" is the best friend to all and done-wrong by many good girl, but I'm not buying it. I'll be watching you Conrad. And if you shed any more crocodile tears I'll...still be watching.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Hot Mama Daily

Hello everyone....well, I hope there's someone out there reading this blog.

I wanted to give you an update on the new blog I'm writing for b5media. It's called Hot Mama Daily and it's a beauty and style blog for women of color. The logo was just redesigned to be more reflective of the content and I'm really proud to lend my editorial two cents to it.

So please subscribe to Hot Mama and tell a friend about it; even if you're not a woman of color there will be plenty of celebrity style commentary, beauty and fashion tips, and budget shopping alerts.

And the more folks who visit the blog, the more this Hot Mama gets paid.



Saturday, November 08, 2008

'Tis the Season for Swag

I've been to several beauty events recently and scored goodie bags filled to the brim with beauty products. One event was to celebrate Spa Week and another was a launch party for Pier 1's beauty product line. Two other swag-full events were Shecky's Beauty Night Out and Shecky's Girls Night Out. Look out for Shecky's Holiday Night Out party in NYC (Dec. 18-20)

The events gave me great holiday gift ideas. Here's a list of my favorite products:

1) Boots High Shine lip gloss ($6.99,

2) Crabtree & Evelyn aromatherapy body wash ($25,

3) Boots Mediterranean Olive Sage Almond Wonderbalm ($7.99,

4) Prann hand and body lotion ($2.25 - $9, Pier

5) Lush Fair Trade foot lotion ($19.50,

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Clothing Swap Profile on WCBS: Check Me Out on the News!

Click Here: I'm interviewed in a clothing swap profile on WCBS. Check me out!

I consider myself a clothing swap queen and budget shopping expert. Besides the recent interview on WCBS, I've written about clothing swaps for the New York Daily News and have been interviewed by New York Magazine , and by a Columbia U student for an article on the Really Really Free Market at St. Mark's Church.

Speaking of swaps, here's what's coming up:

Friday, Nov 14 starting at 6:30

The Greenpoint Church of the Messiah

129 Russell Street between Nassau and Driggs

5 bucks admission donated to the church

Take the G to Nassau and walk 7 blocks to Nassau and turn
right, the church is located in the middle of the block across the street from
McGorlick Park.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle at the Flatbush FreeMeet!
sponsored by Sustainable Flatbush and Freecycle™ New York City

Saturday, November 22, 2008, 12pm - 3pm
P.S. 217 Playground
(1100 Newkirk Avenue at Coney Island Avenue)
Flatbush, Brooklyn
Rain or Shine

Directions: Q train to Newkirk Ave or F to 18th Ave. By bus, take the
B68 to Coney Island Avenue and Newkirk. You will find the
FreeMeet underneath the scaffolding next to the playground.

WHY: New Yorkers discard some 12,000 tons of waste each day
that is exported to landfills and incinerators in other states!
Here's your chance to help NYC reduce waste and keep our environment
clean by finding new homes for your old stuff, and getting some
things you can use in the process. Leftovers will be donated or
recycled to every extent possible.

WHAT TO BRING: Bring unwanted clothing, housewares and
other reusable items to share* or simply bring a tote bag to fill.
Bring friends and family too!

(excuse our technical difficulties--the date and location on the
website will be fixed today)

*please bring portable items only and log on to to give away furniture and other heavy

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pop Chick Spotlight: Róisín Murphy

She's not a new artist, but she's new to me. I discovered this Cupie-faced singer who reminds me vocally of Lisa Stansfield and Cathy Dennis dressed like Bjork while reading an article about Grace Jones. How's that for inspiration?

Watch and enjoy. It's not often this jaded music critic finds a new artist to tout, but after watching this and a few other videos, I must admit I'm a fan.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Weekends Are Made for Lifetime TV Movies

Lifetime Television for Women. How do I love thee? Let me count five ways:

1) You make it possible for me to lounge on my couch and watch endless hours of television without getting bored or feeling guilty.

2) You've transformed mild-mannered TV Moms like Meredith Baxter Birney and Joanna Kearns into psycho, vengeful matriarchs.

3) Any personal drama in my life pales in comparison to what Laura Leighton, Jenny Garth, Tiffany Amber Thiesen or any former female member of the cast of 90210 or Melrose Place endure in their Lifetime flicks.

4) Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and Lifetime movies allow real-life women to live vicariously through their fictional counterparts.

5) You can rely on that tale of a woman scorned to wrap up in the last six minutes, usually with the villain's reveal and self-defense take-down by the heroine, right before the police show up predictably late and the credits roll speedily by.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Leanne Won Project Runway Season 5, But I Still Love Korto

All three ladies put on a strong showing at Fashion Week. Although the color scheme of ocean blue and white was a tad boring, Leanne's collection was elegant, architectural and modern. Korto's collection was vibrant, Afrocentric and glamorous. And Kenley, while still a supreme brat, showed some vintage-inspired flair and designs that would fly off the racks at Beacon's Closet. But boy does she need an attitude adjustment.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Love Jones

I've written about my love for Grace Jones before (see my Sept. 17, 2007 entry "Amazing Grace"). And with news the 60-year-old siren has a new album (tentative release date Oct. 28), I need another Grace fix. So watch this gender-bending beauty in action in the androgynous, avant-garde video for "My Jamaican Guy."

Check out Grace Jones's Myspace page.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The $4722 wedding: I prove it can be done

Despite all the shameless self-promotion I've done recently, I'm actually more comfortable as the observer, rather than the observed.

But since I'm passionate about bargain shopping and helping others get the look for less, I'm truly proud of the budget wedding story I wrote for the New York Daily News. The positive comments were sweet and unexpected, and hopefully I gave other atypical brides ideas on how to cut costs for their big day.

Here's a link: The $4722 wedding: One Brooklyn bride proves it can be done (NY Daily News, Sept. 21)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Let's Swag: Fashion Week and Fall Freebies

The Fall season is a great time for swag. I struck goodie bag gold several times during Fashion Week and the freebies keep on coming. Here's a list of my favorites:

1. The Ottavia et Emma party at the Bryant Park Hotel: I went on a whim with my party-hearty friend Adena. I'd been invited by the event publicist, but neglected to RSVP since the 9 p.m. start time was past my self-imposed party curfew. When we arrived at the hotel entrance, we were greeted by a long line of hopefuls. That didn't stop us. As soon as the security guard turned his back, we bypassed the line and slipped in. So far so good. Once we reached the actual doorway to the party, however, a second imposing security guard asked to see our wristbands, which of course we didn't have. A bit dejected, I started up the stairs and was homeward bound. Then I saw Bryce, the publicist who invited me to the event. I told her I forgot to RSVP and she said no problem.

She asked, "Did you get a gift bag?"

"No," I replied, shocked that she would so freely offer a gift bag.

"Did you want a gift bag?" she responded.

"Are you kidding?" I thought to myself, and said "YES" aloud.

We followed Bryce past the security guard who turned us away just minutes ago. Bryce motioned, "They're with me." I've rarely felt so V.I.P. Inside, the scene was impossibly crowded and we didn't linger long. A photog snapped our picture holding our generous gift bags, which included a black Ottavia et Emma canvas tote (I've been carrying it nonstop); a cute, long sleeved black Ottavia et Emma t-shirt; a Chambord sample (love those); and beauty products from Elizabeth Grant, O.P.I., and Gotham Skincare.

2. The Budget Fashionista fifth anniversary bash at Housing Works: As soon as I got in, a friend told me free jeans were being given away in the back of the store. I nearly knocked a couple girls over as I made a bee-line for the jeans, courtesy of Fashion Bug's "Right Fit" line. The jeans cater to each woman's body type ("Right Fit Red" is for moderately curvy women; "Right Fit Yellow" is for women with a straight shape from hip to waist; and "Right Fit Blue" is for curvy women with full hips), and using the forgiving system I'm a comfortable size 7. The night was full of other fun giveaways including an "I Love Shoes" canvas tote bag from Payless filled with plush thong slippers, Dashing Diva nail polish, and a copy of "How to be a Budget Fashionista."

3. Bond No. 9 "Andy Warhol" samples: I can't express how much I love Bond No. 9 perfume. I discovered the brand's popular "Bryant Park" scent a few seasons ago and have been a fan ever since. So I was thrilled when I scored a handful of samples of the brand's newest fragrance, "Andy Warhol," outside the tents during the Spring 2009 shows. I sounded like Britney as I pleaded with the kids handing out the samples to "gimmee more!"

4. Bag Trends "Arm Candy" party at Union Square Ballroom: Fashion Week is over, but the swag keeps on coming. I went to this handbag event and came home with a $50 gift certificate from Bag Borrow or Steal (renamed Avelle) of "Sex and the City" movie fame. You can rent designer bags for a week, a month or longer for a reasonable fee. You can also purchase used merchandise from the "Outlet" section on With my gift certificate I "stole" a gently used gold clutch bag by BCBG (marked down 75 percent to $45). I also received a $25 gift certificate for and ordered a much needed pair of stylish and sensible loafers by Naturalizer. My Mom will be proud.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Eco Chic Fashion

Eco-friendly fashion is trendy and good for the environment. Garments made from bamboo, organic cotton, hemp and recyclable materials are popping up in boutiques from Coast to Coast. This week I went to an Eco designer showcase in the Fashion District sponsored by Boho Magazine.

Here are a few of the featured designers:

Threads 4 Thought tees made with 100 percent organic cotton and recycled fibers.

eco Skin, chic, smart and sexy dresses and separates made from bamboo, naturally grown with no pesticides, insecticides or fertilizers.

Lilikoi, a Canadian company named after a Hawaiian passion flower specializing in garments made of bamboo, soy, organic cotton, and linen.

Smartglass Recycled Jewelry handmade from beer and soda bottles.

gg2g ReVinylized bags made from recycled billboards and lined with organic cotton. The company estimates that they have prevented thousands of pounds of billboards from ending up in the landfill.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New York Fashion Week: Black Girls Ruled the Runway

New York Fashion Week Spring 2009 is a wrap. But I was pleased that so many designers used black models in their shows. America's Next Top Model Cycle 6 winner Dani Evans burned up the catwalk at Style 360's Jordache show; Rubin Singer's sleek and modern show featured four gorgeous black models; and Gottex's swimwear presentation showcased several leggy women of color.

Although I didn't have the pleasure of viewing her show, I was blown away when I read that designer Sophie Theallet's presentation was modeled entirely by black women. Her explanation in Fashion Daily: "It came totally naturally, because I love colors and I think they look beautiful on dark skin. These girls are like princesses and I want to show that!" Right on.

Spring 2009 Fashion Week Recap and Slideshow

Read my insider's recap of Fashion Week on and check out Doucette Duvall's website

Clothing Swap Frenzy: My You Tube Video on the Freecycle Freemeet

Malan Breton's Sophisticated Spring 2009 New York Fashion Week show

Monday, September 15, 2008

Designer to Watch: Zulema Griffin

I've been a fan of designer Zulema Griffin since her stint on my favorite reality TV show, Project Runway (a tie with America's Next Top Model). Zulema's designs are always bold and innovative. Check out her Fall 2008 collection video presentation, "Revelations," featuring "Hostile Gospel" by Talib Kweli and jewelry by funky jewelry designer, Issy Salomon:

Friday, July 18, 2008

Fall 2008 Fashion Week Slideshow

Cool Vintage Clothes For Sale!

I'm a thrift hound or thrift gangsta as a friend put it. Whether I'm in Brooklyn, Montreal or Maui, I feel compelled to check out vintage, thrift and 99 cent stores wherever I go. Now you can reap some of the benefits.

Go to Tracy's Pop & Shop Too to see the hand-picked selection of groovy vintage clothes for sale!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Santogold at Central Park Summerstage

I've been writing about pop music for a long time, and not much inspires me these days. So when an artist as hype as Santi White aka Santogold comes along, I have to give her props. In fact Santi's music reminds me so much of some of my teen new wave favorites (Missing Persons, Blondie, Siouxsie and the Banshees), I might actually make it to a Central Park Summerstage concert.

Below read my music review for Barnes & on White's solo debut:

As Santogold, Santi White, the scribe behind Res’ revelatory, alt-hip-hop-soul debut, How I Do, steps into the limelight -- or better yet, the streetlight, since much of her music is meant to be cranked decibels high ‘til the wee hours. This is not White’s first time rockin’ the mic -- she fronted the punk-y band Stiffed -- but as Santogold she’s, well, golden. The self-titled disc kicks off with the synthesized crescendo “L.E.S. Artistes,” on which she sounds like a ringer for Missing Persons singer Dale Bozzio. Throughout the disc, the Philly native winks at her influences without sounding derivative: Musical Youth on the rude girl, staccato protest “Unstoppable”; Siouxsie & the Banshees on the brooding “Anne”; Cocteau Twins on “I’m a Lady,” layered with bass and synths. Tellingly, the wailing, bhangra beat-laden “Creator” and a crushing, hiccupping remix of “You’ll Find a Way” will undoubtedly draw comparisons to M.I.A. White’s infectious blend of new wave sonics and contemporary beats (“Starstruck” hypnotically cross-pollinates ‘80s pop with new-millennium crunk) and witty lyrics (on “L.E.S. Artistes,” White describes herself as “an introverted excavator”), however, are worth their weight in gold. Tracy E. Hopkins, Barnes & Noble

Friday, May 02, 2008

American Idol Syesha Mercado Loves String Earrings

I read a post on the blog, You Thought We Wouldn't Notice, about Urban Outfitters copying a thread earring design from Etsy. But if you've ever read my blog, you know that I've been selling quality string or thread earrings -- which I discovered in Brazil in 2004 -- for several years at street sales in Brooklyn and via my own Etsy store. So this is definitely not a case of an Etsy designer being ripped off by Urban Outfitters. The earrings originated in South America and Central America. By the way, H&M also sells the string earrings and Old Navy sold poorly made knock-offs in spring 2007.

Above are pics of a pair of beautiful handmade string earrings I have for sale, modeled by American Idol finalist Syesha Mercado! You too can purchase this unique pair for only $25 at

Monday, March 17, 2008

Spring into Vintage

Spring is almost here, so it's the perfect time to shop for a new wardrobe. Or how about a new vintage wardrobe. I love thrift shopping and even have my own vintage clothing store on These flower power dresses ($18 each) and cool retro shirt ($12) are just a few of the items I have for sale.

To see these items and more, check out Tracy's Pop & Shop Too.

My friend Meghann also has her own vintage store on Ebay. Check it out at Less Than 3 Vintage.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Here Come the Brides!

I went to the Filene's "Running of the Brides" sale on Friday in Union Square primarily as a journalist who wanted to experience the chaos and secondly as a bride-to-be with slim hopes of finding the wedding dress that would inspire me to part with $300. I know that many brides are willing to spend thousands of dollars for the perfect dress, but this bargain fashionista is looking for a unique dress under $100. No billowy princess bride gown for me. I want simple, form fitting elegance. And although I didn't find a dress that suited my laid-back personality and my contemporary, slightly bohemian sense of style, plenty of women found gowns that brought them to tears of joy and inspired applause from the sisterhood of brides gathered around them.

Read my more comprehensive account of this crazy sale on at Inside the running of the brides sale

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Fashion Week Reality Check

Fashion Week was slightly lackluster. Granted, I saw some beautiful clothes. There was the glamour girl evening wear collection by Carmen Marc Valvo viewed by the reunited Salt and Pepa from the front row. Models sported tightly pulled hair buns and sexy secretary spectacles, ensuring that guys would make passes at these lovely ladies in glasses. And Zang Toi's show-stopping closer, featuring "America's Top Model" winner Dani, included urban ski-wear, downtown chic sportswear in a mix of stripes and patterns, a couture-esque group of evening gowns in stark red and black, and feminine satin silhouettes in black and white. Yet, the biggest celeb I saw in the audience was Rev. Run's baby girl Angela Simmons. How's that for star power?

In fact, reality stars had the run of the tents. That was a treat for a reality TV junkie like me and I got a kick out of seeing Nikki Taylor and the cast of Bravo's "Make Me a Supermodel" (Perry is so dreamy) and meeting models from "America's Next Top Model" and "The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency." But what, no Sienna? Not even one Olsen?

Along with the C-list TV personalities were loony Fashion Week fixtures. That is, people too old to to try to wiggle their way to the front of the standing room line and into the tents with the seat assignment guests. It's actually a little depressing to witness such desperation at an age when you'd think women wouldn't need something as superficial as the fashion industry to make them feel special. Lighten up folks, it's just fashion.

Check out my unbiased report on the fall fashion trends for the cool women's lifestyle website, Fashion week fall trend report

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Fashion Week, Making Me Weak

Fashion Week Fall 2008 got off to a rocky start. It rained. No, it poured on Friday but I was determined to get in my first show of the season. After all, this was the first time I'd officially registered. Oh yeah, I waited in line outside Bryant Park for an hour on Thursday thinking I would beat the credential pickup rush. Wrong. Anyway, back to the rain. I navigated my way through semi-flooded NYC streets to get to Yigal Azrouel's show at some out of the way location on W 21st and 10th Avenue. Bit I was excited because I actually had an invite. I soon learned, however, that an invite doesn't mean squat except that you are guaranteed standing room. Gee thanks, but I got standing room seats in the spring without paying $65 for a press credential. Excuse my crankiness, but it was cold and rainy and I was feeling over Fashion Week before it began.

Once I took my place with the rest of the standees, I had ample time to check out the industrial loft space scenery. Billy Joel's pretty and pretty young wife Katie (she was born in 1981 and the Piano Man was born in 1949, you do the math) was also amongst those without a confirmed seat, so I guess I shouldn't feel too bad. Vogue editor-at-large Andre Leon Talley came in and curiously took a seat towards the back.

After about a 25 minute wait, I got a decent seat and enjoyed the show. The clothes were extremely wearable. Layers, earth tones, pinstripes, and pleated school girl mini skirts seem to be trends for Fall. Hot colors include olive, purple, gray, chartreuse, and black.

Friday evening I went to Bryant Park and was finally able to pick up my press credential. With no invite necessary, I got standing room for the packed Nicole Miller show. The bohemian collection was inspired by "a modern day Joan of Arc" and featured a bevy of metallic dresses in gold and silver, hooded capes, and a modern take on "the little black dress."

I also popped in an exhibition at the Steinunn showroom where live models wearing creepy yet cool white face paint posed alongside and were at times indistinguishable from mannequins. Next up was "Project Runway" designer Victorya Hong's show at the Altman Building in Chelsea. Plenty of "Runway" cast members past and present were in the front row including first season winner Jay McCarroll and this season's super talented but truly annoying Christian. Hong's Nabe line looked like something you'd find at Macy's -- lots of suiting and separates in black and white -- but so far I hadn't seen anything in terms of presentation or design that really blew me away.

That all changed Saturday night with Alexandre Herchcovitch's show in "The Tent." First off, I'd never seen a show in the big tent. Fashion Week staple and "America's Next Top Model" judge/photog Nigel Barker was in the house. And photographers frantically snapped photos of some downtown "it" girl in the front row. I googled and found out it was Leigh Lezark, but I still don't know why she's famous. Miss USA Rachel Smith also sent bulbs flashing. At first I couldn't place the face, but then I remembered Rachel was on MTV's "Pageant House." No disrespect to the stunning beauty queen, but OMG you have to check out the You Tube clip of her free fall.

Back to the show, where the true stars were Herchcovitch's minimalist collection (see lead photos) and compelling production. The lights dimmed and a recorded voice echoed: "People, all different, sitting in the darkness, all wondering....what is behind that curtain?" Then the models emerged. The techno beat pulsed. Brilliant. I actually got chills. The first half of the Brazilian designer's collection was all black. Black dresses in modern, geometric shapes and a variety of lengths. The second half of the collection showcased flowing sheaths in vibrant colors and bold patterns. The last dress was bright orange, a perfect contrast to the sea of black dresses that opened the show.

My final show of the weekend was Verrier, a "From Russia With Love" meets Upper East side, ladies who lunch collection. I loved the crystal-encrusted, pretty in pink cocktail dresses, but most of the clothes were a bit old-fashioned for my taste. And why the heck did the models have on white bras showing underneath their sheer blouses?

(some photos courtesy of