Review from Sleeping Bag Studios

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Abby Berman "In a Different Life"

by Jer@SBS

Original release here

Abby Berman – YouTube Singles – Singles Review

“Abby Berman…Abby…lady-friend…how on earth is this my first experience with your music?

I suppose there’s a chance that this is the case for a few of you out there reading as well…maybe you have yet to hear the name Abby Berman or any of her music…but I am more than confident, you will.  I frequently point out the grey in my beard here all the time…it’s there for a reason – it’s the markings of experience & a whole bunch of time spent immersed in music…and I like to think that at this point, closing in on the final stretch somewhere towards my 2000th written review, that I have a fairly good idea of what’s exceptional…what stands out for all the right reasons.  Abby Berman is the kind of artist with a massive future in front of her…maybe she knows that, maybe she doesn’t yet – I honestly don’t know the answer to that – but as sure as I am that you’ll know her name & music by heart one day soon enough, I’m equally sure that what I hear in her voice is the sound of an artist that could reach the highest potential.

She is…I mean damn…she’s like a complete combination some of the best of the best out there.  I could see comparisons to artists like Adele, Amy Winehouse, Regina Spektor, and even Nancy/Ann Wilson perhaps, just to name a few – Abby resembles them all at times throughout these singles I’m listening to – yet I still feel like I could pick Berman out of a lineup blindfolded, just by the sound of her voice.  She’s got incredible technique & natural talent, remarkable instincts, and a truly beautiful & bold approach to her vocals…I’ve been checking out all kinds of her songs over this week, and I’d be lying to you by omission if I somehow neglected to mention that I’ve been sincerely impressed with everything I’ve heard from her so far.  Abby has that intangible X-factor…that rarest of rare abilities to transform words into sounds and those sounds into emotions…you hear what she’s saying – but you feel it even more.

I’m even a huge fan of what she’s doing visually in the videos from these singles I’m reviewing.  The first track I checked out from Abby…the FIRST experience I had with her music, was a song called ‘In A Different Life’ – and there she is, center frame, staring right back at us all through the screen.  Now…I know what you’re thinking…you’ve seen that…I get it, I get it…but you’ll see something in this video you likely haven’t seen before so closely, if you look.  What stunned me the most, beyond compare, was that even in the heavily animated filter that gives the video for ‘In A Different Life’ its overall look, you can still see EVERY ounce of passion, intensity, and desire to sing right there in the eyes of Abby Berman.  Believe me, you can hear it in her voice too – that goes without question – but you’ll see something really special in those eyes of hers…it’s that old-soul breaking free into a new era of expression.  She puts herself in a beautiful piano-led melody, capitalizing on the chord changes with remarkable shifts of her vocal tones & flow.  Watch & listen to moments like around 1:49…you’ll see that Abby is able to ‘go there’ – she can throw every ounce of herself into her material, and she’s giving you everything she’s got.  That doesn’t always mean BIG notes – it means the perfect ones, with the right energy to suit the meanings of the words and sound of the song…Abby finds countless ways to complement the vibe & atmosphere surrounding her on ‘In A Different Life.’  Combined with the impressive weight of emotions, thoughts, and imagery in her poetic lyricism…how she manages to get across what she wants to express exactly as she’d naturally say it…her connection to the words & music is honestly breathtaking.  Listening to her surge with confidence into the second verse and throughout this entire single, amidst such a tale of emotional turmoil and love from an unwanted distance where you can see what you want but can’t quite reach it…I mean…this is stunning, isn’t it?  Please – someone out there come at me on this one…tell me what you’d change, and like, why?  Because if you’re hearing something out of place here, I don’t even know what to tell ya…it’s your ears you use to listen, correct, yes?  Abby shows more than potential here on “In A Different Life” – this is a world-class star in the making here.

Each experience only strengthened my love of Berman’s music, full-stop.  I’m not gonna necessarily say each song was better than the last – I think the high quality of her material is spectacular straight across the board; I might have my favorite in this set of three, but it’d be by the slightest of margins.  Consistency speaks volumes in my world though – and that’s exactly what these next two songs revealed…that confirmation that, no, I’m not crazy at all – Abby is completely as incredible as I initially thought.  You want further proof?  Try ‘You Said The Same Thing About Me’ and listen to one of the most tragically poignant & accurate tales of what love is/isn’t all about…this is masterful songwriting.  Best way I can put it, is that there’s a lot of people out there that are going to find they can relate to this song in one way or the other…and depending where you fall as a character in that scenario would play a big role in how you hear this song.  For myself personally, ‘You Said The Same Thing About Me’ was like listening to one of my various family scenarios growing up…I ended up with five moms & three dads through the multiple marriages & divorces throughout my childhood – but it was the…ugh…you know, there’s just no other way to say it other than the icky way each scenario played out was all too similar to every other one of them along the way.  So even reading the title ‘You Said The Same Thing About Me’ had my emotions on red-alert…I knew this track could potentially hit really, really close to home with the way that Abby can write with such impressive detail and thought-provoking lyricism…and it did, 100%.  Here’s the thing…I have to assume this is based on real experience…because that’s just how connected Abby always sounds with her material…I believe that has to come from a place inside her; otherwise, if it’s not, if these are fictional experiences that she’s tapped into through observation or research or whatever…I mean…she should get an award for her accuracy.  At the end of the day, what matters is that strength in the connection…and she’s nailing that, every time – everything feels real – and in the case of ‘You Said The Same Thing About Me,’ for some, it’ll be almost too real.  If you’ve ever been left behind by someone you loved, only to watch your former other-half go on to do all the same things you used to love to do with someone new that’s not you – then look out…because this single will hit ya right in the heartstrings.  That being said – she’s turned this into an empowering and inspired experience overall – make no mistake you cheaters out there – Abby’s calling you out on this song.  I can’t say enough about the words – I think she’s created an extraordinarily real song with ‘You Said The Same Thing About Me’ that many will relate to, and I think the fact that Berman sounds so incredibly inspired, bold, and powerful in her performance on this single speaks to the fact that there is NOTHING that can slow her down; that ultimately, she’s been through this situation and she’s stronger now because of it.  Strong enough to have the ultimate last laugh by turning tragedy into art – take that guy!

So…look…obviously I’ve been stoked about what I’ve heard so far…but if for some reason I hadn’t been sold on Abby yet, she’d give me about a hundred more reasons to dig what she does with the brilliant performance & songwriting you’ll find on ‘Me & You.’  The melody is gorgeous & graceful…the lyrics are some of the sweetest you’ll likely ever get the privilege of listening to – like to the point where even Abby realizes just how over-the-top these feelings are in the first verse of the song, going on to explain exactly why that is, and why that can’t be helped.  ‘Me & You’ is a beautiful display of what the feelings of love, admiration, and real respect for someone is all about…and how timing & perception plays into all of that; sometimes things don’t make any sense at all…and yet because of that, they completely do.  “Me & You” speaks to that push/pull many of us have experienced with relationships and navigating the lives we live together with that special someone…but also makes a ton of time to reflect on the multiple amazing moments and memories we’ll experience along the way.  Berman sings this song with extraordinary soul, remarkable melody, and once again, the perfect energy & style to suit every single second you’ll hear.  The piano, strings, and drums surrounding her on ‘Me & You’ create a flawless atmosphere for Abby to thrive in, delivering another noteworthy performance with serious heart, vibrantly passionate vocals, and music that really hits the mark all-around.  Through the structure & pace of “Me & You,” you remain captivated and listening intently, hearing the rise & fall of the energy and emotion involved…the sweet reflection and dreamy intentions…it’s a really wonderful song.

‘Every minute I’m with you…is a minute that I love…’ – those are her words, not mine; but I also can’t think of a better way to describe this first experience in listening to the music of Abby Berman.”

Thank you so much for such a beautiful review. I could not be more grateful Sleeping Bag Studios! You are amazing.

Please check out more of their tasty reviews here: http://sleepingbagstudios.ca

xoxo-Abby

Album & Poetry Book Release

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Today is the day!!!

This is just a quick link list… A pretty webpage/store is to come!!!

 

For the Album

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Don’t Kiss the Frogs:

iTunes

Apple Music

Spotify

Bandcamp

Reverb Nation

…and any other place music can be streamed.

 

 

 

For the Book

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The Frog Kissed Me:

Lulu Press

Amazon

(and pending online release for Barnes & Nobel and Kobo)

 

 

I’m so proud and excited! This has taken so long… but it was worth the time and effort. Thank you so much for taking the time to check it out, and thank you so much to all the people who were involved and supported!

 

Don’t Kiss the Frogs

All songs written by Abby Berman
Produced by Abby Berman & Gabe Dulek
Recorded & Engineered by Gabe Dulek
Vocals & Piano: Abby Berman
Guitar by Patrick Mazenod
Bass by Alex Kish
String Arrangements by Alex Kish
Drums by Brian Head & John Perry
Graphics by Erika Hernandez
Recorded at: Shabby Road Studios (Courtesy of Rick & Anh Perrotta )

 

The Frog Kissed Me

Poems & Lyrics by Abby Berman
Edited by Chelsee Finch
Graphics by Erika Hernandez

 

Where My Head Is: A Poem

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Where My Head Is

A poem by Abby Berman

 

I wish my life could be a timeline in front of me…

And I could see clearly…

Poured out like liquid…

Poured out for me to drink…

So easily, so sweet…

And heartache might be bearable…

knowing “better things to come” could really carry me away.

 

I wish sometimes I had the answers to life’s questions…

Laid out in front of me…

And all of the world’s mysteries weren’t a mystery…

And I could tell when magic is just illusion…

And when disappointment is really just reality…

Poured out like liquid…

Poured out in front of me…

I drink almost passively…

Obeying the laws of time and space.

 

-Abby

 

Where My Head Is: A Poem by Abby Berman

Regina Spektor-New Album, New Tour, Same Charming Musical Goddess

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By Abby Berman Mazenod

Regina Spector-www.tracingabby.com

Regina Spektor at the El Rey, Hollywood. September 29, 2016.

 

Last night, I was blessed enough to see the incredible musical performance of Regina Spektor. Celebrating her new album “Remember Us to Life” and the two and 1/2 month tour to support it, this  was the first full-length performance she had done in the three whole years… and she’s still got it!

I have never in my life been to a concert that was more of a sing-a-long than a viewing and listening experience. The small venue only fits 771 people and when looking around at the crowed, every one of those 771 people were accompanying her with every word to every song (excluding the songs she performed from her new album-which was release today). In songs like “Sailor Song”, the chorus of “Marianne’s a bitch” was chanted by the crowed like an anthem. In the final encore song “Samson”(a personal favorite), Spector magically lost her place halfway through while performing and the crowd graciously finished the song complete with “Ooo”s and “Ahhh”s.

Her demeanor as a performer is charming and whimsical. She has a shy and a friendly but quiet way about her, even though her songs are nothing if not open and revealing. An artist that I have often considered the Salvador Dali of modern music, her songs have such depth and an element of tragedy and desperation  while still maintaining a sweet quirky genuine character to them. This was the experience of a lifetime.

 

Regina Spector-Www.tracingabby.com

 

Songs that she performed from the new album included “Grand Hotel”, “Older and Taller”, “Bleeding Heart”, “Tornaoland”, “The Light”, “Small Bill$”, “Obsolete”, “Selling of Flowers”, and “The Trapper and the Furrier”.

regina-spektor-remember-us-to-lifeRegina Spektors new album-“Remember Us to Life”

Her new album, “Remember Us to Life”,  is exactly what fans had hoped for… at least it’s exactly what I had hoped for. Consistent with her traditional sound and storytelling in songs like “Grand Hotel”, she also breaks away from the singer-songwriter style in songs like “Small Bill$”, which has a creepy offbeat melodic chorus true to Spektor’s unique genius . A genuine masterpiece of an album… it is everything to be hoped for from this musical goddess.

 

Hope you enjoy the album as much as I do.

 

Best wishes,

xoxo-Abby

 

http://www.tracingabby.com

The Joys of Moroccan Mint Tea

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Moroccan Mint Tea www.tracingabby.com

By Abby Berman Mazenod

 

In honor of my wonderful husband fixing my Moroccan Teapot today and also finding some awesome Moroccan tea cups a few days ago at World Market,  I decided that I wanted to celebrate something simply, deliciously perfect…  Moroccan Mint Tea!

 

Moroccan Mint Tea, www.tracingabby.com

 

I should start off by saying that, in my opinion, Morocco is one of the most wonderful places in the world. And from my experience, Moroccans are the kindest, friendliest, most warm-hearted people I’ve met to date. When visiting them in their home or enjoying any kind of hospitality, the first thing a visitor will receive is a cup of Moroccan Mint Tea. Even on the hottest days of summer, this piping hot tea is a comforting delight. To me, this tea represents friendship and kindness and is a reminder that all humans, from everywhere,  can find connection through something as simple as a good cup of tea.

This is one of my very favorite teas.  It a green tea, brewed with sprigs of mint leaves in the pot and heaps of sugar. It is supposed to be enjoyed outrageously hot and decadently sweet. The tea leaves are rinsed before the first brew and then steeped 5-7 minutes with the mint leaves and sugar is then added.

This is the perfect taste of Morocco!

 

Moroccan Mint Tea, www.tracingabby.com
Enjoy! Best wishes!

xoxo-Abby

http://www.tracingabby.com

Big Wedding vs. Small Wedding…Pros and Cons

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Big wedding vs. small wedding!!! Pros and Cons... Which one is right for you?

Big wedding vs. small wedding!!! Pros and Cons… Which one is right for you? http://www.tracingabby.com, http://www.socalfitmom.wordpress.com

By Abby Berman Mazenod and Jessica Ziegler

Abby Berman Mazenod (Tracing Abby) and Jessica Ziegler (SoCalFitMom) …we are  bloggers and best friends. We thought we should share with you our wedding experiences… “the good, the bad, and the ugly” of both big and small weddings while being in each others bridal parties. Here is our take on each of our experiences…

All photos from Abby’s wedding were taken by Andrew Perry. Hair and bouquet were done by Diana Strickland.

All photos from Jessica’s wedding were taken by Adam Booth.

 

Overall pros and cons of a Big or Small Wedding

-Jessica (big): I enjoyed many aspects of having a larger wedding. There were more people to party with and share your special night with, it was nice to see people we were not able to see all of the time, the fact that you get more gifts, of course ;), and a chance for out-of-towners to have a mini vaca! What was so great about people coming from out-of-town was that we were able to get together with them multiple times before, and after the wedding! Another big pro for me was that I could have all of my closest friends in my wedding party, my life time friend Abby (you may know her), my college roommate, my sister-in-laws, my long distance friend, and my two other friends that I had known most of my life. Even better, most of my bridesmaids already knew each other!

There are a few cons to having a big wedding. It does lack intimacy…I tried to grasp a little of that intimacy by having it in my parent’s backyard…I think that was a great choice! Another con is that because my budget was $10,000 and 145 people were attending, I had to really pinch penny’s. Looking back on it, the DIY and bargain shopping was half of the fun!

-Abby (small): Because there were fewer people, it was easier to chat with everyone. We could go a little further with our budget and really splurge on things like the dress, cake, flowers, alcohol and food. It seemed like it was a little less overwhelming altogether while still feeling special. But I do have a big con…I didn’t get to have a real wedding party 😦 …I had always dreamed of the girls I would have as my bridesmaids… my high school best friends, my cousins, my sister-in-laws, and they were kind of excluded from the intimacy of it. That was a bummer. I did have the best Maid of Honor though!!! (Thanks Jessica!!!)

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How many people came to your wedding?

–       Abby (small): Just our immediate family including my Grandpa and our nieces and nephews, and our MOH(Jessica J)+1, BM+1, and our Minister/Photographer (We got a two in one deal with our friend Andrew). 21 Adults + 6 Kids + Bride(Me) + Groom(Patrick)= 29 total

–       Jessica (big): We had 145 guests. My husband is from Montana and we wanted his whole family and friends to attend; therefore, we wanted to be able to have a lot of people, but have a small wedding vibe.

Where did you have your wedding?

-Jessica (big): Originally we were going to have it at my parents neighbors house across the street. While in the processes of planning, she ended up selling her house. My next option was my parents house. I am very glad that we ended up having it there because it added a little intimacy, and his family and friends were able to see the house I grew up in. It added that intimacy that otherwise, would have been lost.

-Abby (small): At a local restaurant where we live, The Villa, in Woodland Hills. They had a separate room for dinner parties upstairs, with a balcony where we had our ceremony, and their amazing staff did everything! After the ceremony and fancy dinner, we had some of our friends meet us for  casual drinks and karaoke at our favorite bar, The Oaks Tavern, in Sherman Oaks.

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What was the most stressful part about your big/small wedding?

– Abby (small): I kept worrying about making everyone else happy. I knew that certain people wanted a big wedding for me, so I kept feeling obligated to make it bigger and kept feeling guilty that I wasn’t making it bigger. After I decided that I didn’t care about giving those people the wedding of their dreams for me, everything was smooth sailing.
-Jessica (big): hummm…deciding where I wanted to have it based on money or how much work I wanted to put into it. I realized early on that either I spent a lot of money, or spent less money and did A LOT of work. I went for lots of work for a few reasons: 1. I’m cheap! 2. I wanted certain things that a venue wouldn’t allow (my cute Golden Retriever Dexter, and alcohol from an outside source…my dad brews beer).

 

How were you able to budget? Did you stay within your budget?

– Jessica (big): As I stated earlier, I had a $10,000 budget, and hit it right on! I did a percentage system. I went through and decided how much (percentage wise) I would spend on each part of our wedding. If I didn’t spend that amount in one area I would use that money and put it in an area I went over my percentage budget. I was shocked at how well this way of organizing and budgeting worked! One area we were able to save was on alcohol, because of my dad, and a friend of ours who is in the wine business. We saved on the cake because I reached out to a high school friend who kept posting the cakes she was making to Facebook. I ordered my flowers from Costco (they were beautiful!) and cupcakes from Vons grocery store…we got so many compliments on those cupcakes! We hired the neighbor girl who had just received her bachelores in hospitality to be the bar tender. We had an ecletic decor because I borrowed dinner wear from Abby’s mom, my mom, and my moms other friend Linda. To save even MORE money, we used tea pots with flowers in them as the center pieces…as you can see, I reached out to many people and found ways to make expensive things affordable by innovation and compromising!

-Abby (small): I also had a $10,000 budget. Which I felt was huge for a wedding of less than 30 people! We were able to totally splurge on the top shelf open bar and dinner, our cake, and my dress. We were able to save by buying the flowers at a local flower market and the vases and supplies at a wholesale mart (Thanks Mom!), and I was able to do the table flower arrangements with the help of some awesome friends (Thanks Ladies!). After everything was said and done, we decided that we couldn’t have this incredible night without celebrating with some of our friends! We decided to do a small open bar after the main event at our favorite bar, which our really good friend happens to own, The Oaks Tavern in Sherman Oaks. In the end we didn’t do too bad… I think we only went $400 over budget!

IMG_6981   …Abby’s cake, made by The Bread Basket.

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How much was your partner involved in the planning?

-Abby (small): I have to give him some credit, he planned a lot of the after party. It was actually his idea! We felt weird about not celebrating our marriage with all of our amazing friends, so a casual bar afterwards was perfect!  He approved of almost everything once I had picked it out, but I did all of the big stuff for the actual wedding, along with the help of my mom and Jessica. My mom was really awesome and was really excited to help me. I would have freaked out if she hadn’t taken on so much. (Thanks Mom!)

– Jessica (big): 0%! Ha! I am just joking. He picked out the groomsmen’s outfits and never seemed annoyed by the millions of questions I would ask him everyday. He is good at knowing what he likes and doesn’t like…that helped me a lot because I am indecisive! As Abby stated, I have to give SO MUCH CREDIT to my mom…she made her backyard look SO BEAUTIFUL and I know it was a lot of hard work! Also, our friends were just so much help with setting up the rental equipment and making sure everything was in order. There is NO WAY I could have done this without them!

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What wedding drama did you encounter?

– Jessica (big): Very little actually! I should have hired another professional “helper” to make sure things were running smoothly. It was too much work for one person, and I was really hoping my mom wouldn’t feel like she needed to step in to help, and she did. That is also just the nature of my mom.

-Abby (small): We didn’t invite our extended family… and we freaking LOVE our extended family. We seriously absolutely adore our aunts, uncles, and cousins, so it was really hard to not invite them. They were of course invited to the after party, but most of them couldn’t come from out of state/country for an after party… that’s just ridiculous. I still feel a little guilty about that.

 

What was your least favorite part of planning your big/small wedding?

-Abby (small):  It’s annoying figuring out how to stay within your budget, it’s annoying asking people to help you make flower arrangements (even though they didn’t mind), and it’s annoying to limit your guest list.

-Jessica (big): This is hard for me! I had a lot of fun planning, but if I had to choose…having to communicate with people about their venue…or about anything really. I just wanted it to be simple. All pricing should be listed on their website. I just wanted to look up everything on websites and no one would post prices! It was driving me crazy! I would have to e-mail or call different venues and that takes too much time for an impatient person. Now you have got me all heated…thanks Abby 😉

 

What will you remember most about your wedding?

-Jessica (big): Getting married of course! I’m reminded every day when I wake up next to this super cute guy I call my husband, and hold our amazing little girl who is 1 year old already!

-Abby (small): When Andrew, our Minister, finally pronounced us “Man and Wife”, it was such a little group that everyone immediately stood up and started hugging everyone else! It was the cutest thing ever! I don’t think I’ve ever seen my parents happier! I will never ever forget that moment. Possibly the greatest moment of my life.

 

What was your favorite part about having a big/small wedding?

-Abby (small): It seemed so special. I’ve never had a happier day! I think I needed a small wedding because I am naturally a total stress case. Having a small wedding allowed me to relax. The big things to plan were easier, because they just weren’t that big.

-Jessica (big): It was great to have our friends and family come from all over, even ENGLAND, to celebrate our marriage with us! We still hear stories from our wedding and it is 3 years later!

Why would you recommend a big/small wedding?

-Jessica (big): I would recommend a big wedding on a budget. It is simple to DIY and saves you A LOT of money. Get together with your girl friends and make the center pieces, or do your own bouquets. In a big wedding you lose some of the intimacy, but you gain anonymity. Having a big”ish” wedding allowed me to invite people on our guest list that we would have cut otherwise, and if that happened we wouldn’t have invited a friend of ours from Idaho, and my MOH wouldn’t be getting married to him in September!

-Abby (small): Intimacy. We are people who enjoy taking time to enjoy the company that we are with individually. I hate leaving somewhere and feeling like I didn’t get time to connect with someone. Also, I feel like it was much easier to stay within budget while splurging on the fun stuff!

 

What did you like about each others weddings?

-Jessica (big): Abby and Patrick’s wedding was so beautiful and intimate!!!! Almost everybody knew each other and we all felt included and special to be celebrating with them! This is just how Abby and Patrick are…so thoughtful and giving even when it is their day! The food was AMAZING, and the staff made us all feel like royalty!

-Abby (small): Jessica and Jesse’s wedding was awesome! It was the giant party that you think of when you are picturing a great wedding! They had a d.j., a dance floor, open bar, a photo booth, and the food was great! What was really cool was that even though there were a lot of people, it seemed like everyone knew each other. That’s probably because cool people like Jessica and Jesse always attract other cool people 🙂 . It was all together a great party, and because it was at her parent’s house, it still had an intimate feel that many big weddings can’t achieve.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read about our weddings! We had so much fun planning and attending them and we know that you will too!

Best wishes,

xoxo-Abby & Jessica

5 Beauty Products You Can’t Live Without…

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By Abby Berman Mazenod

I love my beauty products. I feel like finding what has worked for me has been such a journey. It’s important to know what you do and don’t want in your beauty routine, and it’s really exciting to find something that really fits! This is just a mini list of beauty products that I use daily and I cannot live without. Take a look and try them on for size…

 

1. Dr. Jart+ Black Label Detox BB Beauty Balm-$36

This BB cream is almost a medium coverage foundation. It is rich, smooth and has a soft texture after applied. It is also moisturizing, anti-aging, and has a SPF(Sun Protection Factor) of 25, so I feel like I am nourishing and protecting my skin daily. I have used this product for 2 years, and I feel that visually it does as good a job as any medium coverage foundation, while giving the protection of a BB cream. It’s a little pricy, but a little bit it goes a long way. I only have to purchase a new tube every 6 months.

 

2. Clarisonic-$199+, $27 for replacement brushes

Give your skin a deep clean. This thing rocks! My skin feels polished and smooth from using my clarisonic daily. It keeps my face clear from breakouts and more importantly Healthy, it also makes it easier to apply my makeup evenly. They recommend that you buy a new brush every three months, but here’s a trick to save some money… clean your brushe like you would your makeup brushes: wash them in baby shampoo, soak them in rubbing alcohol, and then rinse them off. Now they’re clean and sanitary as new, and you’re not adding excess waste to the environment!

 

3. Moroccan Argan Oil- $17.99 or  whatever you’re willing to pay

I use Argan Oil as my Only moisturizer. Seriously. I have pretty dry skin, and this is the Only moisturizer that I use before bed, and when I wake up. It’s AMAZING! I was first turned on to Argan oil when we were in Marrakech a few years ago. Some sweet merchant in his suk told me that it would change my skin and my life… and it has. This thick oil moisturizes, and makes skin soft and glowing. I don’t bother buying any fancy brands, it can get pricy if you buy it from a cosmetic store. I just make sure it’s certified 100% pure USDA organic. I payed $17.99 on Amazon for a bottle that’ll probably last me a year.

 

4. Too Faced Matte Bronzer (Milk Chocolate Soleil)- $30

I have fair skin… In the past I have really have a hard time finding a matte bronzer that was light enough for my skin tone. I feel like so many of them, if they are too dark, just look like you have rubbed dirt on your face. This soft shade was the answer to my conturing problems. It’s worth the high price, I only have to buy it once a year… and I looooove to over-bronze.

 

5. Benefit- Powder Blush (CORALista)- $29

This blush is perfect. It’s simple, it’s innocent, it’s sweet, and I feel like it goes with every skin tone. It’s a creamy powder that blends well, and it comes with a blush brush in the cutest packaging ever! It’s another product that lasts a very long time because a little bit goes a long way. I only have to buy it once a year.

 

xoxo-Abby

http://www.tracingabby.com

Hidden Gem: The Japanese Garden-Van Nuys, CA

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By Abby Berman Mazenod

~Deep in the heart of the San Fernando Valley is a hidden gem.

Most people who live in “The Valley” don’t even know that this beautiful oasis exists right in their backyard. I came across the Japanese Garden last year when I was looking for wedding venues.  I’ll be honest, it would have been perfect… if it didn’t have the Tillman Water Reclamation Center right next door to it. (On a windy day, I’m told it can get kind of smelly.) This beautiful peaceful garden really is a place of serenity though. On my last visit I saw people meditating, reading, writing etc. The garden is full of so much tranquility, that it’s surprising that it could be located right in the middle of the chaotic Valley. And the coolest part… this 6 1/2 acre garden is watered exclusively with reclaimed water from the Los Angeles area! For us Californians, constantly feeling guilty about taking an extra long shower in the morning, the idea of a lush green garden seems too decadent for our dry bones. But guilt is unnecessary when strolling around this awesome place. They are literally watering these plants with the water that you and I have already used! Super cool!

It is located 6100 Woodley Ave, Van Nuys, CA 91406.

They are open until 4:00 PM, Sunday through Thursday.

To get in it is $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and children.

 

The Tillman Water Reclamation Plant is also part of this property. It feeds water to the Japanese Garden, Lake Balboa, and other parts of the valley including underground reservoirs. You can actually take a tour of the plant… it’s really cool, really smelly, and they explain to you how the water treatment center works. There is also a detailed explanation of the process on their website.

http://www.thejapanesegarden.com

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Hope you choose to visit sometime!

xoxo-Abby

 

http://www.tracingabby.com

 

Weekend Getaway: San Francisco

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On a Budget: 7 things to do in San Francisco

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By Abby Berman Mazenod

 

I will be honest. I am no expert on anything San Francisco. In fact, when my husband and I went a few weeks ago, it was my first time going in my adult life…which is pretty embarrassing considering we live only 5 hours away. Luckily, we have some awesome friends, Dave and Camila, who were willing to give us an authentic “touristy” tour, while still being mindful of our budget. So here’s a little list of some things you can do on your weekend getaway that won’t break the bank, but will still make you feel like you’re  getting the whole Golden City experience.

(Quick words of advice: Bring a warm jacket, comfortable shoes, and be ready to walk.)

 

1. Take the BART into San Francisco

Cost: $4 each way

Save yourself the trouble and headache of trying to navigate the San Francisco streets and hills while giving yourself an authentic experience. Driving in from Los Angeles on a Friday, hours away, we were already hitting traffic in Silicon Valley. Taking the BART into the city and avoiding the last leg of our drive altogether was the best solution ever. This is a true Bay area experience that you do not want to miss out on. Parking at Millbrae Station is free from Friday to Sunday, and the ride in takes less than 30 minutes. It’s definitely worth the $$.

 

 

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2. Watch a Giants game at AT&T Park

Cost: $36+ depending on the time of the season and the opposing team

First, it must be mentioned that this is rated by many as the most beautiful stadium in America. Looking out over the bay, the view from even the cheap seats is still incredible. This is a city very proud of their stadium and their team. Everywhere we went everyone was proudly sporting their Giants gear. So when in San Francisco, do as the San Franciscans… go to a Giants game! If you feel like a ticket isn’t in your budget, or you really don’t want to sit through a whole game, you can also watch from outside the fence in right field. They allow 75 people in for  3 innings at a time, and it’s free!

 

 

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3. Go back to a “far out” time at Haight-Ashbury

Cost: Free

This cross street is a historic landmark, know for being one of the foundational places of the hippie movement. It still maintains that 60’s flair with head shops, record stores, and free-lovin’ wearers of tie dye t-shirts. Take a picture of the street sign…everyone else will too.

 

 

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4. Visit the Grateful Dead house

Cost: Free

Located right off of Haight-Ashbury at 710 Ashbury St., this Victorian row house was home to the Grateful Dead and is also said to be the birthplace of their sound. In the time of the Hippie Movement, it was know for being a safe-haven to any passer by who needed food or a place to stay. If you stop by now, there will definitely be some Dead Heads hanging out front and taking pictures.

 

 

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5. Take a cable car ride to Fisherman’s Wharf

Cost: $7

This is the place “Where little cable cars, reach halfway to the stars”… so why not take one? As the last manual cable car system in the world,this is a bona fide symbol of San Francisco, and the experience of riding through the rolling hills of the city is unforgettable. It’s also really fun! If you take the Powell-Mason line, you can ride it all the way from the Powell Market turntable to Fisherman’s Wharf. Just try to have exact change, it’ll make it easier for the operator, and faster for the people waiting behind you in line.

 

 

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6. Visit the Sea-Lions at Pier 39

Cost: Free

Okay…this is SUPER COOL!!! This pier is the comfortable lounging area for hundreds of sea-lions. They are absolutely beautiful, and you can just watch them sunbathing while also getting an incredible view of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. This is also the home to some great bars, restaurants, street performers and souvenir shops. At the low cost of… FREE, this is a cannot miss for anyone wanting to see some memorable sites.

 

 

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7. Have a picnic at Golden Gate Park

Cost: Free

The legendary Golden Gate Park. With botanical gardens, a japanese tea garden, an  aquarium, museums, and even a carousel, this is a great place to spend your afternoon and get in some excellent people watching. Bring a blanket, frisbee, and pack for a picnic… just don’t forget a sweater because it’s sure to get chilly at some point.

 

Happy travels & enjoy your trip!

xoxo-Abby

 

http://www.tracingabby.com