Currently: June

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1. Erin Boyle writes a gorgeous piece on evenings on her Brooklyn rooftop after the kids are in bed.

2.  Some aspirational mudrooms over here.

3. What happens inside men as they balance life and work and what society expects them to value most.

4. Hanan is killing it with her casual style, something much more difficult to achieve than fantastic formal style.

5. Is there anything more appetizing than rose gold birks?

6. This is the drugstore concealer I’m loving these days! The sponge applicator is super gentle on the fragile skin under the eyes and the coverage is great.

7. Such a fresh, springy print.

 

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Chanukah Gift Guide 3: For the Ladies

They’re your girlfriends and they are just plain fun to shop for.

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  • Improv tunic sweater. A chic sweater jacket can be hard to find, but throw this on over a stretchy pencil skirt and flats, and you’ve never looked better running around town. The graceful seaming carves out a beautiful silhouette. It’s the perfect cozy gift.
  • Navy blue crystal studs. Navy is unexpected and so high-end mixed with shades of gray and blush. These studs are a variation on the basics we all own, but in a shade your friend is probably not buying herself.
  • Marc Jacobs shimmer finish polish. Shimmery polish from a luxe brand is a can’t-miss present. This shade is neutral enough to be work-appropriate but will transition beautifully to holiday events or hot cocoa at your neighborhood hangout.
  • Adele pageboy cap. I used to own a cap just like this and can’t tell you how often I miss it. It looks good with everything and adds a sassy touch on uninspired days.
  • Isaac Mizrahi leather clutch. What a great TJMaxx find! Beautiful navy leather is set off by a winter-friendly pop of floral. It’s an easy way to add a new neutral to the routine.
  • All Over Glow shimmer. This well-reviewed highlighter will bring a glow back to wintery skin and will be such a thrill to unwrap.
  • 13″ cashmere gloves. Nothing is as spoiling as cashmere gloves on a cold day. This extra long pair keeps wrists toasty warm and looks unspeakably elegant.
  • Ban.do love potion key chain. This key chain is the sweetest little treat. Clip it to your bag as a charm or use it to corral your keys.
  • Multicolored furry stole. This is currently half off at Ann Taylor and I’m sitting on my hands to keep from ordering it for myself. Layer it over a winter white sweater or dress up last year’s coat. It’s hard to find an excuse to buy oneself a furry stole, but getting it in the mail from a friend? That’s a friend who really gets you.

 

Currently: October

Things are spinning at a breakneck speed these days. Between the busy Jewish holiday season and this interminable election, adding lovely details to daily life can seem so unimportant and frivolous. It seems to contradict the concept of hunkering down and doing what needs to be done. When your sleeves are rolled up, does anyone care what you’re wearing? And honestly, with all the sexist language and “big questions” buzzing around right now, caring about these details can feel gendered, shallow and nonintellectual.

But the Torah commands us to serve God with joy. There is so much that must be done. So much time spent cooking, entertaining, building and praying. And all of these things can be done with blinders on, or they can be done with openness and joy. They can all be done with beauty just as well as any other way. And maybe the thing built with beauty enters the heart a little more easily. Maybe a small bouquet of flowers on the Sukkah’s table sparks our memory of the grace of this mitzvah. Maybe a lovingly chosen outfit honors the holiday and sets an example for our children that this life is something we show up for. That this is something that is important to us, that we honor and anticipate with excitement. Maybe an extra polish of the silver Shabbat candles sends the message that these rituals are precious to us, that we give them the very best of what we have.

So this holiday, I propose we don’t lose the joy in the work, or the excitement in the disillusionment that current events seem to often bring. Of all times, this is when it is most important to re-declare our priorities and our deeply-held values. To staunchly maintain the beauty of our traditions, to communicate to our children and families that this is what matters most, and that we show up here with our very best.

If you are blessed with the ability to beautify your life and the lives of those around you, do not discount that contribution. It is the difference between a life of obligation and one of joy and learning and growth.

For now, I leave you with one inspiring video, and a few links just for the beauty of them.

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Listening to Michelle Obama tell it, so vulnerably and openly, exactly like it is.

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Preparing for the next round of Jewish holidays. We are hosting most of my family for the holiday of Sukkot this week, so that is a lot of meals to plan and prep! It is chilly in Boston, so I’m preparing lots of hearty soups and pumpkin desserts.

Planning my next quilt! Which fabric collection do you like?

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Wearing all my long sweaters  and, at home, my cozy winter slippers.

Longing for a professional pedicure. This yummy plum color would be perfect.

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Happy weekend, sisters, and happy holidays.

Straight out of: Call the Midwife

If you’re a long time reader of the blog, you know I love to put together a good “Straight out of…” post. (You can see them all here!) One of the best parts of reading a great book or getting lost in a movie or TV show is letting it transport you to another place and time, and I love gathering modern inspiration from some of my favorite literary and cinematic escapes.ctm collage with text.jpg

This week I am newly re-obsessed with the BBC/PBS series Call the Midwife, set in mid-century Poplar, London. Young midwives live side by side with a small order of midwife nuns, tending to the people of Poplar as new medicine, vaccines, and modern conveniences reach this bleak corner of the city. As times change, the women grow closer and share each others lives under the gentle narration of Vanessa Redgrave. Continue reading

Playing with Color: Spring 2016

Now that it’s March, once or twice a week the sun will bashfully peek out to warm up our shoulders and remind us that spring isn’t too far away. We won’t be enveloped in down coats forever. We’ll be able to wear fluffy skirts, or lace up heels, and our makeup won’t be smudged by rain and snow.

Today I thought I’d share four fresh color combinations for spring so that you can shop your closet now and be ready for that first warm day.

Blush and Cognac

This combo is fun because it mixes hard and soft textures and hues for a feminine but down-to-earth look. Try a rustic braided belt or bag with a soft blush sweater or billowy maxi skirt. Bring these flattering colors up to your face with browny pink lipsticks, deep blushes, or rose gold shadow. Rich medium-tone denim adds great contrast and fits the “girl next door, I woke up like this” vibe.

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Continue reading

Currently: February

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Listening to This is Your Fight Song Scottish mashup. On repeat, really, really loud. Because sometimes in this life you need something to help you take up the fight with courage and grace.

Wearing Garnier BB Cream Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector. This mousse BB cream is keeping my skin moisturized and blurs everything out just enough.

Proud of my first paycheck from my new freelance writing gig!

Trying to get back in the habit of taking photos every day. I can’t seem to get photos I’m excited about right now! Do you have any tips or links to get me back on track?

Baking chocolate chip pumpkin cake. Because I think we’ve all finally had enough distance from October to like pumpkin again.

Disappointed that my Jacquard Dyeset faded my painted silk scarves! Has anyone else tried another method to set dyes, without investing in a pricey steamer?

Planning a Shabbat with family. Maybe this and this for dessert?

Dreaming of bare feet and coral nail polish!

What are you up to lately?

 

Modern Women | Keepers of Tradition

“If you feel your value lies in being merely decorative, I fear that someday you might find yourself believing that’s all you really are.”

– Mrs. March (Little Women)

A few days ago, fashion blogger “J” of J’s Everyday Fashion published a controversial article, “Fashion and Faith: Can They Coexist?” “J” tells how years ago she was shopping for jeans on a tight budget and found the style she had wanted at a deeply discounted price. She saw a tag in the jeans that read, “God loves you”, and she broke into tears. “It mattered to Him. It really, truly mattered, because my heart matters. All of it. All of the tiny little things that make up my heart, including the creativity and joy in style… He rejoices in what your heart rejoices in…”

This article has churned up controversy among readers across diverse faith traditions. It raises questions about whether it is valid and respectful to turn shopping into what “J” calls “a God encounter”. Readers wonder if we can put words in God’s mouth, and accept His assumed approval for our consumerism or even vanity. Do we believe that God orchestrates our lives down to details of what clothes we find on sale? Does a tag on a pair of jeans prove that God is into this? What does God think of the conditions in the factories abroad that produce so much of our low-cost clothing today? And most of all, does God rejoice when we buy things that make us happy?

These are questions about Divine providence that reach to the very roots of faith. Some of us believe that not a leaf falls without God willing it, while others think that God focuses on large events and leaves the trivialities up to us. Still others believe in an absent God, or in no God at all. Today I offer my perspective as an Orthodox Jewish woman. Continue reading