Monday, March 10, 2014

Do You Apply Morals To Makeup?

As posted in Hello Giggles on 3/4/2014

I am thinking we are in serious need of new names for some of the make up products out there. "One Night Stand," "Bad Gal Lash", and "Hot Slut Nail Polish" (yes, that really exists!) are not names that inspire me to buy a product!

Let me clarify - I do not judge a "one night stand" because I understand the human desire to connect physically, especially when a long term relationship is not an option. But, it's not something I espouse nor is it something I want teenage girls to be learning from their beauty products.
Nars make up (one of my all time favorite brands) just came out with a blush palette that has 4 of my favorite blushes in the 6 blush palette case, but it's called "one night stand" -- so do I not use it??Why did they have to ruin with that name? The product is so great that people would love it even if it were just called 'Blush.'

Beauty and fashion pave the road for our youth as they follow these two worlds very closely. They copy the fashion runway's clothing and make up looks and make them their own.  Though a name on a beauty product may seem a non-issue, one of the reasons females buy products IS because of the name and its association!  In high school, I bought Benefit "bad gal lash" because it was cool and I thought I was a "bad gal,"but looking back....who was I kidding? I went to a religious all girls school, I never had a boyfriend and I did not do any drugs.  Seriously I should have been buying "good gal" products if there were such a thing.  I digress... We do buy products because of the names.  My sister just got her nails done in a beautiful maroon color because she liked the name of the polish "Rock Star Skinny" by Essie.

As you can see from the ages of 16 (my "bad gal" lash stage age) to 40, my sister's age, names of products still matter when purchasing.  And beauty brands know the power that they hold.  With all this knowledge, how awesome would it be if beauty and fashion companies would set out to inspire and motivate the youth and the adults of this generation?!  How about they name their products things like "Unique + Chic" for a nail polish or, "Spirit Seeker" as an eyeshadow palette or "Loyal Love" for a blush palette....just to name a few.  Beauty brands, those names are on the house...go ahead, I have not put a copyright on them...yet.

I know that not all brands seek to grab our attention by having a racy title. Some products go for our basic pleasures like Too Faced "Chocolate Bar" eyeshadow palette. I mean, if we are being honest, put the word 'chocolate,' 'wine,' or 'coffee' on any beauty product and watch the items fly off the shelves!

The beauty brands out there are so powerful, that for many, they control the way in which we look at ourselves and how we feel as girls, then as women, and then as mothers.  It may be easy to use phrases that empower us sexually since that is all about our looks, but I would love to see them use their strength and start empowering our essence. I think instead of women thinking about the guy they were with the night before, they might feel better thinking about their inner radiance when applying their blush and how it can affect their day ahead. Oooh thats a good one too "Rad Radiance" blush palette. I may have to start my own make up line!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

To Love is to Serve

Every year Valentines day passes with a flourish of pinks, whites and reds. The world around us starts raining roses and chocolates and cards with little hearts and teddy bears holding little hearts and balloons with little hearts as well. We are assaulted in grocery stores, in book stores, in pharmacies, by many and more products silently yelling at us to hold me, buy me, love me. Whether we believe in this Hallmark-iday oops, I mean Holiday or not, the colors, cards and sweets start seeping into our psyche and we think 'yes, yes, someone shout to me that you love me with cards, flowers, sweets, more sweets, more balloons, more, more, more.'

Although the above paragraph might give you the impression that I am a hater of Valentines day and that I do not believe in the hallmark holidays, I would like to make it quite clear that this in fact is not the truth.  I am a great lover of flowers, chocolates and sweet hand-written-notes. I just believe that all those wonderful things should come at many different intervals during the year. And for me great love is not hidden in flowers, cards etc..  For me the greatest display of love is hidden in the everyday.  

Dov waking up with my son heard correctly,  EVERY morning at 6am because he knows how hard that ungodly hour is for me. Dov doing all of the dishes that filled the sink without me mentioning anything to him.  When I'm sitting at the computer working and I'm surprised with an-eyes closed-Trader Joe's licorice popped in my mouth (have you tried the TJ licorice? I am obsessed!)

When I was younger in previous relationships, I often felt like those cards, flowers and teddy bears.  I would be standing in front of my date, boyfriend or prospective date/boyfriend and be silently screaming 'love me, see me, love me.' Most of the time in some of those relationships my silent screams never ceased because their showering of gifts never completed my need of what I really wanted, which was to not have to question where I am and who I am in my relationship with another.


A couple of years back, on our road trip to California from NYC,  Dov bought a t-shirt that had "to love is to serve" written across the front of it.  We both understood the meaning of the shirt and loved it because we felt its truth. Words are beautiful and abundant and we can use them to express love if we so choose. But the true test of love is not in our words but in our actions....

 I would truly like to write more on this subject but at this moment I simply cannot. Dov just walked in with a glass of wine, chocolates and a beautiful card. He came to wish me Happy Valentines day. He had no idea I was even writing this blog.  The timing is perfect and the card is sweet and has Dov's signature of writing little comments on the card's picture.

'To love is to serve' can be interpreted in so many ways. To me it is knowing your partner. 
While I am (almost) not in need of Valentines day, Dov is not in like of it though he still surprised me with all these goodies tonight because he knows my love of chocolates, wine and sweet-handwritten-notes.  Because I know that his love for me is not solely based on his needs. It is also balanced with what I need in terms of love and affection.

'To love is to serve' is found in the everyday mundane activities and the not so every day little unexpected surprises. 'To love is to serve' is unique to us all as individuals and our particular needs bring new meaning to the overall interpretation of love. Though poets and novelists through the centuries may beg to love truly, to love wholly, to love unselfishly is hard work and if "serving" my love, serves our greater love, I will gladly be the first in line to work for it.

And on that note I am going to hang out and watch some much awaited episodes of House of Cards with my very patient husband (I have been working for a while this evening).

*Even though we did not go out on Valentines day, I squeezed in some time between the Spa and dinner to do a Valentine's day date night look inspired by Naeem Khan's Fall 2014 show...oh, did i mention I went to the spa on Friday? I went during Kol's nap time with Dov's blessings, because that's what I needed.

Mac Eye Pencil in coffee
Mascara wand!
Stila shimmer powder (discontinued)
Use Stila Eye Shadow Trio in gold glow
Mascara CoverGirl LashBlast 24 Hr. in very black
Nars Semi Matte Lipstick in fire down below
Nars Lip Liner Pencil in amazon
Mac Eye Pencil in coffee (link is above)

Friday, February 7, 2014

My week as a Grammy artist.

The Grammy's are one of the most exciting award shows of award season. The Grammy ceremony is heavily sprinkled with some of the top musical acts in the business.  It makes for a very entertaining evening.  It also means that there are many people watching this televised event.  Many women who are watching, observing, taking notes and generally judging how the artists are looking in their Grammy get-ups.  We "oohh" and "ahhh" at the clothes and shoes knowing that most of the items being worn are completely out of our league.  Or, even if the gowns, dresses and footwear are in our financial league, honestly, when on earth will we ever have an opportunity to wear any of them?!

But the make up...the make up is something that not only can we afford, we can most definitely find an opportunity to wear!  We can always find an occasion to try the beauty looks influenced by the ladies parading down the red carpet.

As I watched Lorde perform her hit "Royals," I was saddened that her beauty team had made her look so mature. After all, part of the thrill of her success is that she is only 17 years old and her music is so exemplary for such a young artist.  I understand their need for not wanting her to look too 'pop,' but there should have been a balance, in my opinion, to her intense dark lipstick look with heavy foundation.  So the next day, I decided to do a lighter version of Lorde's look, or what I called a "night-to-day look." I tried to portray how you could wear a heavy deep burgundy lip in a fresher fashion; a bit of peach/pink blush on the apples of the cheeks and a lighter foundation did the trick.  I had so much fun experimenting with the "night-to-day look" make-under that I decided to try a new artist each day for the rest of the week.

Using the amazing app Picstitch - I know, last to the party - I was able to capture the Grammy artist inspired look along with my own before and afters, and a pic of the products used...all in 1 framed pic!
[In tears...] All of your likes on Facebook have truly kept me going and have made my dream a reality! ...and that's me working on my acceptance speech...

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer in nude
Revlon Cream Shadow in not just nude
Nars Soft Touch Shadow Pencil in aigle-noir
Cover Girl LashBlast 24 hour mascara in very black
Nars Blush in orgasm
Burts Bees Beeswax Lip Balm
Cover Girl Lip Perfection in euphoria
(Unknown color in container received from Gucci Westman at one of the fashion shows)

Cover Girl Concealer truBlend Fixstick in light
Cover Girl truBlend Liquid Make Up in classic ivory
Stila Eye Shimmer (discontinued..sniff sniff)
Cover Girl Bombshell Intensity Liner in pitch black
Cover Girl Bombshell-Volume-Mascara in black
Cover Girl truBlend Mineral Bronzer in golden sunrise
Mally Beauty Melted Lipstick Duo in punch/mauve (I only used punch)

Chantecaille New Stick in ivory
Cover Girl truBlend Liquid Foundation in classic ivory
Lancome Color Design in gris fatale
Mally Beauty EveryColor-Shadow-Stick in gun metal
Cover Girl Liquiline Blast Eye Liner in black fire
Cover Girl LashBlast  24 hour mascara in very black
Nars the Multiple in laguna
Burts Bees Beeswax Lip Balm
Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in cruella

Chantecaille New Stick in ivory
Cover Girl truBlend Liquid Foundation in classic ivory
Revlon Cream Shadow in not just nude
Lancome Color Design in gris fatale (only the black shade)
Nars Soft Touch Shadow Pencil in aigle-noir
Cover Girl Bombshell-Volume-Mascara in black
Cover Girl Clean Glow Blush in peaches
Cover Girl truBlend Mineral Bronzer in golden sunrise
Nars Lipstick in Promiscuous (discontinued)
Substitute: Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in belle de jour

Monday, February 3, 2014

Carrying The Weight of a Miscarriage

As posted in Hello Giggles on 2/19/2014

I started the lucky #9 blog many moons ago because I felt there was not enough word on the street about the difficulties - and often muted truths - of parenting, specifically mommying.  Everyone spoke about the joys of being a new mom, but the exhaustion, stress, loneliness, post-partum, (and did i mention exhaustion?) was rarely talked about. And so I did what I've been doing since I was a little girl... I started spreading the word.  This word was not a warning to unsuspecting soon-to-be moms to stop in their tracks and run far away from children.  It was simply a warning from an educational point of view. Just a "heads up soon to be parents you may have some really shitty days but don't worry we have all been there or are still there and we feel you." I sincerely hope that my blogs accomplish this goal.

So in true lucky #9 form I want to broach another subject that is not really talked about...miscarriages.

Having just had one quite recently the pain and sadness of it was difficult for me.  I was early, yet my excitement at growing my family was huge. My husband and I were so joyful to be adding another soul into our family, a sibling for our son Kol.  I was bursting with happiness and couldn't control myself so I told some family members and shared the happy news with our parents.  After all,  I felt that if anything bad were to happen I would probably tell them anyway, of course thinking in my head that is just something you say because nothing is really going to happen.  I already have one beautiful, healthy boy with no complications so I believed that of course this go around will just follow suit.  But it didn't.

I went for an ultrasound and there was just no heartbeat, no movement on screen, the emptiness of the picture on the monitor stared back at me. I went into crisis mode. I didn't cry, I simply asked the doctor what this meant, what should I do, how do i move forward.   He gave me all the right medical answers, we made schedules and booked procedures and moved forward.

Finally I got home and could hear my thoughts. All my thoughts, my visions of pregnancy, labor, early motherhood, siblings, it all seemed to empty out like the picture on the monitor. And left behind was nothing but an ache, a sadness for what could have been, a sense of loss for this soul inside of me that was no more.

What do you do with this kind of loss. It is understandably private for most people. Most women I have talked to have had one or more miscarriages. Only several weeks pregnant, one might not have even shared the news yet. But people were telling me I was glowing, my skin, my hair was sparkling. And now, I have broken out, my hair is shedding as it did after I gave birth to Kol, and once again I am reminded about loss. Move Forward. Move Forward.

This is what I hear in my head.  Move Forward.  Take the time the doctor says to take and then try again. Move Forward.

I believe strongly in the mantra "dust yourself off and try again" but I have never just moved forward. I have always taken time to acknowledge where I am emotionally and how I feel internally.  I dissect things until i am comfortable with them.  So I thought about my loss, the week I found out about it, I bought myself a couple of bouquets of my favorite flowers in honor of the soul that was not to be ours, in honor of the soul that I was lucky to house for a couple of weeks, in honor of the soul that brought a glow to my skin and a sparkle to my hair.  I set the flowers around the house in every room and as I passed them over the next couple of days I smiled and greatly enjoyed the scent of them.  After the week was done and my blood finally started flowing, I placed the flowers in the bin.

I am starting on a vitamin regimen my doctors are suggesting for me. I have learned that a good way to go about taking care of yourself after a miscarriage is to make sure you are sufficient in your vitamins.  You need plenty of Iron since you lose a lot of blood (recommended is 2 to 3 25mg of Iron capsules) Take a pre-natal vitamin so you make sure to get all the good stuff that comes in that little bottle (speak to your doctor to find out which brand is good for you). Eat healthy food, exercise when you are ready and the best advice I received so far was from none other than my mother, who suggested to do something nice for myself.  I am thinking a day at the Spa is in order.  I will do all the things I am supposed to while I wait a couple of months for my body to heal.  And then,  I plan to move forward.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Back to bed yelled Fred!

Lately, I have been doing what most moms should never do.  Veteran moms know not to do this. But new moms like moi...wellllll, we forget sometimes.  What is this "thing" that I am was doing?  I was congratulating myself on how well my son Kol sleeps at night. You see, a veteran mom  knows that the moment you start bragging about how great your son's sleeping habits are, said son stops sleeping so greatly!  Somehow the sleep angel hears your bragging words spilling out of your mouth and she flutters on over to your child and whispers "your Mama is bragging about your sleep, child, go ahead! It's time to show her what's what!"  And then, your peaceful night turns into not so peaceful anymore.  Last night we were up from 3:00am to 6:00am with Kol.  He woke up at 3am and I thought it was a fluke so I did a 'check-in' and told him that he's safe and we're here and love him and he should go back to sleep.  As his cries grew louder and did not quiet down as they usually do after a check-in at that hour, Dov went in for a another check-in.  And still the cries for Mama and Daddy just intensified.  So I proceeded to do it all, checked his diaper, checked the temperature in the room, made sure he was not in any pain from a possible teething situation or from a fever.  Everything was fine.  So honestly what the hell was going on??? After about an hour of check-ins, I did what I had promised myself I would never do, I gave him a bottle of milk in his crib, but honestly after an hour of screaming at 4am you are truly not to be held accountable for your actions! And anyway the bottle held him over for no more than 10 minutes.

The cries only subsided when Kol was brought into our bed but, sleep still evaded him.  Every couple of minutes,  which is when I assume that damn sleep angel would prod him to speak up,  I would hear Kol's mind moving through his mouth.  I heard him discussing with himself "" which when decoded, means he wants to go under the blanket and make a fortress and then shout out SURPRISE to the "unsuspecting" parent above the blanket.  He also kept repeating in the same intonation as the voice on the app "peek-a-boo barn" an Ipad app that Kol loves to play (it is a fabulous app where kids learn the animal names and sounds they make.)  After every adorable sentence Kol spoke -- he truly has the cutest voice (warning I may be biased) -- I told him if he does not go back to sleep I will put him back in his crib.  That kept him quiet for a good 5 minutes each time!  Thankfully at around 6:15 am  he fell asleep til 8.

As you can imagine, we were both exhausted all day!  Even though we were both good sports about it, I stopped being angry about my night after my second cup of coffee. (Thank you coffee bean at The Grove for that!) and Kol played nicely with the bubbles lady at The Grove (God bless her- she stands there for hours entertaining all of LA's children) and he truly enjoyed the swings this afternoon at the park. He even calmed down enough to eat some dinner after a serious melt down at around 5 pm.  It is 6:45pm now, Kol is sleeping and I plan on going to bed really early tonight.  I pray we all have a quiet, restful night but I will say, if we do, I wont be telling any of you about it!

Good Night, Sleep Tight!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Gal Friday (Recipes included)

For most people, Friday is the beginning of the weekend. It is a day of excitement and the beginning of relaxation.  For those of us who keep the Sabbath, Shabbat, Shabbos or whatever you choose to call it, it is, hectic!  There is a huge dinner to prepare for the Friday night Shabbos meal and prep needed to be done for the Shabbos day meal, Saturday lunch. Included in prepping a huge meal, which is often reminiscent of a Thanksgiving feast, is also managing everything else going on in your life.  Your family, your work, your sanity.  The ladies (or men) who prep for Shabbos do not usually get a day off on Friday to leisurely shop in 5 stores and prepare the big evening meal with family standing near by  help chop all those little Brussel sprouts off the Brussel sprout stalks (you can find those awesome things in Trader Joes f.y.i.).  Unlike the prep for Thanksgiving, we are usually not drinking glasses of wine while we stir our delectable soup and slowly grab another cinnamon stick to throw in the bubbling pot.  In the actual Shabbat-prep world, for most of us, there are no other family members helping to chop and stir. There are children to take care of and work to be done and the world slowly does not exist.  In the real world of preparing for Shabbos every Friday, there is one word that is tried and true; RUSH!

Every Friday I rush and rush and rush.  You would think by now in my life, 6 years married and almost 2 years with a child, I would have organized my week better. I would shop on Wednesday and start cooking on Thursday. But no, what would be the fun if life ran smoothly?  And besides, I love bumping into all of my Friday friends at the local kosher markets in the morning.  We get to discuss what each one is making for dinner or lunch the next day and I always am inspired to make something new. 

Thankfully Kol is easily entertained and I can run back and forth between the kitchen and the living room switching records so he can dance on his own. The sunglasses are new and a must wear for my accessory man and he loves putting them on and taking them off. Notice the vacuum, yoga mat, and drum in the background. All great activities that last 3 minutes, enough time to open the oven door and place my chicken/brussel sprouts/cake inside before Kol comes rushing back into the kitchen saying "mama play!"

Through the rush I am aware of all that needs to get done before Sundown.  At sundown we light the Shabbat candles and no matter how busy or crazy my house was a minute before, peace begins to reign and it is truly magical!

I think this is why we happily go back to our Friday craziness.  There is nothing like that moment when Shabbos comes in and your world becomes calm.  There is no other time during the week that you are forced to become focused, to revel in your home and your family and to not allow any other distraction (work or play) disturb that tranquility that we bring into our home.  It is something so beautiful, real, and needed!

Everyone finds their own way to cope with the Friday rush. Mine has been creating a menu Thursday night so that when I shop on Friday, I know exactly what I need and then when I am home I know exactly what I need to do.  Since I can't be in the kitchen there with you,  I wanted to share 3 really quick and delightfully tasty dishes that may help enhance your Shabbat dinner and make your Friday run a bit smoother!

Sweet and Spicy Brussel Sprouts:

A bag of brussel sprouts, 3 Tablespoon e.v.o.o , 3 Tablespoon maple syrup, 1/2 Teaspoon kosher salt , 1/4 Teaspoon black pepper, a dash (or two if you like spicy) crushed red pepper flakes.  Bake on 350 degrees for 20 (make sure to toss the brussel sprouts during the cooking time) minutes or until the brussel sprouts are browned.

Fluffy Brown Rice:
2 cups Brown Rice (make rice according to the package) , 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon basil, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon garlic.  Add spices, fluff rice with fork and serve.

Mid cooking selfie:

Taken to share what real women look like when they are cooking a big meal and doing 1,000 other things at the same time. I love you foodie blogger world but please start posting what you look like when you spend all day in your kitchen. Thank you- Management.

Basil Chicken: 
Recipe given to me by my sister Hindel. There is no pretty plated picture on this one, I did not get a chance to plate it before sundown. That being said, this is one of the most delicious chicken recipes I have ever tasted.  It is a classic in my home and will probably stay that way for a long time!

1 Chicken, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 2 tablespoon fresh garlic, 2 tablespoon dried basil, 1/4 cup olive oil.  Mix all ingredients in a bowl and then pour over the chicken.  Cook chicken covered for  1 1/2 hours  on 350 degrees. (uncover for the last 1/2 hour).

This is what my kitchen looks like about 30 minutes before Shabbos starts every week.

And this was the best part of the day!

Hope you had a great weekend too!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

iHeart "Gifted"

 Some people are queen B's of gifts. I use a capitol B since you all know what it stands for and I believe these incredible gift givers are major B*****.  OK, most of them are not, in actuality they are some of the kindest, generous friends we all have, I am truly just jealous. But the difference between a great gift giver and a mediocre to poor gift giver is, well, that they are poor.  The previous sentence is incorrect but up until recently I actually thought that to be true.  I have always thought myself as a terrible gift giver, and even though I would not categorize myself as poor I have always had these elaborate ideas of what gifts I would love to bestow on family and friends for such momentous occasions as one's birthday.  I would graciously like to buy my sister a pair of Christian Louboutin's shoes, Or for a graduation present...I envision trekking around the villas of Tuscany with my two,  2013 high school graduate nieces (you go Shulas!! Yes they have the same name).  Since my lofty ideas of extravagant presents have not yet come to fruition I am always disappointed and seem to get gifts last minute because honestly what could possibly trump Tuscany in the summer or Louboutin's any time of year.

Yesterday on our Whats App, my sister Rik sent us photos of a beautiful leather bag a friend of hers bought her as a gift after a recent trip guessed it...Italy.  As we all drooled over the deep moss color and how soft the leather looked and I imagined felt, I complained how I never buy anyone great gifts.  My other sister Hindel went on a bit of a rampage, most people find rampaging sisters too intense but I was honored by what she had to say and honestly doesn't intensity just mean passion!?!  Hindel reminded me (passionately) that I was always getting her stuff, lipsticks, nail polishes, magazines, books, Ziploc bags (yes you heard right, ?iplocks, she lives out of the country and this is a HUGE gift) and her list went on.  She is right! To be honest I get very excited when Dov comes home with a $1 Slurpee from seven eleven.  It really is not the amount you spend on a gift that matters  but the thought, and the excitement of not expecting a gift.  OK and maybe it should matter an eensy weensy bit that the gift represents the receiver in some way.  A friend told me once that a gift is always a little bit of the giver and a little bit of the receiver. That line completely resonates with me, as I'm sure it does with you, when you look back on the gifts you have been given!

Tomorrow I have a birthday dinner to go to.  And though I can not afford the Chanel bag that I know the birthday girl is coveting, I will be picking out a luxurious Chanel lipstick and a matching nail color for her. Because we all know the next best thing to your shoes matching your bag,  is a matching lip and nail color!

                                       Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in La Somptueuse

                                             Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in Dragon