Archive for November, 2008|Monthly archive page

The Other Side of the Bargain

In Politics, Shopping on November 25, 2008 at 9:38 pm

Some may call me naive, but when I go bargain shopping I never think about who’s making the product or where it’s coming from, I’m just excited to be getting such a fabulous deal. The truth is that while I have my cheap stores that I frequent, I also try to find bargains at better stores. What I’ve come to realize though is that other than the really high end expensive stuff, most of the stores I frequent are involved in producing clothes that violate international human rights and working conditions. After reading an article on Twitter on how to increase your visibility I decided to start posting some interesting articles. I typed in “bargain shopping” and found an expose on MSNBC of working conditions in Bangladesh. What I read had me in tears over the conditions that these people are forced to live in.

What amazed me was that these people don’t realize how little they’re being paid in comparison to “how much” the product is being sold for here; and how many Americans just don’t care in their pursuit of me. As one Rabbi I know puts it the I-Pod generation, emphasis on I. I love a bargain and I don’t intend to stop looking for them, but I do think that as a human being it is extremely important to know how our actions in this global marketplace affect others. Two summers ago I took a class on International business. It was my first foray into learning about the global economy. With ever increasing  technology our economy becomes more and more international and we encounter many more ethical dilemmas. We as consumers therefore must be educated. The piece asks consumers if they would pay 25-50 cents more for a pair of pants marked $12.84. I know I would since I’d still be getting a bargain, and I think most people I know would. Especially if they knew that they could allow a worker in a foreign country to eat more than just rice and lentils. Maybe I’m wrong but all these people voting for Barack Obama-a symbol of change-should be aware that if we want change we need to extend that beyond our own needs and realize that by bettering the world we better our lives as well.

To read this piece go to

I love to hear feedback so please comment or email me at or follow me on twitter BargainJewess.

To paraphrase a great bargain outlet-Syms “An educated consumer is our best customer”.


Jewish Hatred and Cheap Chanukah Gifts

In Politics, Shopping, Women on November 24, 2008 at 7:56 pm

So the title of this post may seem a little strange, but I’m addressing two different topics so bear with me. Last night I logged onto Facebook and saw someone I knew had posted a blog that they thought was dead on. I checked the blog out and found out about these new terms that are being used to classify certain types of people ie: Jews that other Jews take issue with. The terms are “hot chani” and “slimy shmuli“. At first I thought this might be funny but the more I read of both the posts and the comments I just felt incredibly sad. I understand that bloggers feel the need to make social commentary, I do it myself, but I do not criticize people on the basis of how they dress or what community they belong to. Having straddled both the yeshivish and modern orthodox world I have gained insight into both. The “hot “hot chanis”  bloggers speak of, are mostly good people. I know many both from my parent’s shul and from the various schools I went too. I don’t think there is a sin in looking good. If they wear tight clothes that they consider tznius who are you to tell them that it’s not and judge them for it? Are you their Rabbi or their husband or their parent? I think the snarky terminology being used is just jealousy and overall Sinas Chinam and honestly I think it’s pathetic. My motto has always been live and let live. You cannot judge a person by how they look because very often you are wrong. I would say most of the people commenting on this topic have never even met a “hot chani” or “slimy shmuli” only seen them in passing and made snap judgments. Even if you have and they are bad people what’s the point of decrying it on the internet? Do you realize what others’ think when they see that we can’t even get a long with our kind? We know what it feels like to be persecuted by many different peoples so why do we insist on persecuting our brother’s and sisters. We want those outside of us to respect us but how can they when we don’t respect ourselves? I think the lesson we all need to learn without being preachy is to love each other. We are different and yet unique and special in our ways. We all pick and choose when it comes to religion. When did one person’s relationship to halacha and God become everyone’s business? I think we each need to worry about how we define the Torah for ourselves and stop worrying about how other people define halacha for themselves.

On a more fun note Chanukah is soon to be here. Latkes and Sufganiot await. Everyone is feeling the pinch this year in their pocketbook and many people may choose to skip gifts altogether. If you choose to give gifts there are many that are affordable and that the recipient will love. The most important part is to know your recipient.

Some Cheap Ideas:

Board Games: I personally find that you can have a great time getting together with friends and playing some board games.  Some fun ones Scattergories, Taboo, Jenga, Settlers of Catan, and Blokus. Check out or for these games and many more. For Settlers check out

Picture frames with personalized pictures: A picture frame can be relatively inexpensive.Putting in a fun picture of you and that person, or photo’s of them that are really great is a thoughtful and cost effective gift. For really pretty picture frames check out

Books: Books are always a great gift idea which you can tailor to every person. For cooks there’s always a new cookbook, for history buffs a biography will always suffice. There are so many book types I don’t have time to list them all. Check out or Also if you really are on a tight budget you can join a sight like which allows you to swap books for free. All you pay is the shipping  for those books requested from your collection by others.

If you have a skill like sewing or knitting you can always make homemade gifts that people will love. A hat, a scarf, a personalized apron, all can be big hits. Baking is also a great gift. You can make cookies or mini cakes and most people will truly appreciate your time and effort.

The key to budget gift giving is essentially thoughtfulness. Before you go out and buy cheap garbage, think about what the person you are gifting will really want and work from there. The look on their face when they receive it will be worth the time and effort.

I would love to hear your budget gift ideas. Please comment or email

You can also follow me on twitter, Bargainjewess, and keep up with all my latest posts.

Generation Instant Gratification

In Advice, Women on November 20, 2008 at 3:07 pm

In a world where the flick of a button can bring you 1,000’s of TV stations at a moment, or a microwave can cook you dinner in 5 minutes or less, my generation has come to associate that everything in life should be instant gratification. If things do not happen automatically then they are not worth the time and effort it takes to spend on them. Women of my generation especially are told we can achieve anything. Our mothers worked hard so that would be the case. What most of us have not learned is that we have the opportunity to achieve great things but we must first put in the hard work, the grunt work and pay our dues before we receive the great paying, exciting jobs we desire. We also as women expect instant gratification in our relationships. That men will fall madly in love with us and understand us as no one else has ever before. This is clearly not a reality no matter how much a man loves you, he cannot read your mind.

I am a person who personifies the instant gratification problem. I expect that if I do things the way I am supposed to I will produce instantaneous results. What I have never mastered is that some things take longer and are harder to establish. One must have a patience, a virtue I am trying to learn to acquire. I am a quitter when things don’t come easily to me. I have major issues with not doing well at something it bothers me in a way that should instead motivate me to work harder. I saw this firsthand when I started studying for the LSAT. In the beginning as I got crappy score after crappy score; I just wanted to quit. I thought maybe I was mistaken, maybe I just wasn’t lawyer material. Then my dad told me to remember I was a rock star and could do anything and I started to believe it. I’m at the point where I think I’ve improved somewhat, I’m not quite where I want to be but I also understand that working hard will help.

I’ve learned this in my relationships too. I used to think my husband should understand exactly what I needed without my telling him. After being married for a year and a half, this is a very unrealistic expectation.  Your partner wants to please you, but they cannot read your mind. You must also understand what type of person your partner is. Some people respond well to hint dropping or leaving open magazine pictures or websites they will see.  Others need to be told in explicit terms. What we as women need to get over is this idea that men need to understand us perfectly and that it’s unacceptable to be involved in romantic overtures. If you teach a man what it is you want, eventually he will get what that is and the instant gratification you desire will be yours.

On one final note sometimes we find something that we love to do and it falls by the wayside and we think it will never be anything that will produce lucrative results and so we give up. I have always been a writer, I was writing stories and making “books” in the third grade. I was told by my eigth grade teacher that my stories had tremendous promise and that one day I would be a published writer. The thing is writing is not something you can do, finish and immediately be happy with. So many factors play in to it. Life experiences, inspiration, a story that grabs peoples attention and many careful edits to achieve something people might not want to read. When I started this blog I started it just because I needed a forum for my opinions and advice. I wanted people to know that they could look great on a budget. I also began to realize that I wanted to share my opinions on the world and what went on in it, especially as it pertains to women. Now that the blog is growing and people are reading it I have begun to realize that consistency pays off. I am finally at a point where I have actual gratification that kind that lasts not instant, which wears off once the novelty has passed.

Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.

In Shopping, Uncategorized on November 19, 2008 at 4:36 pm

For those of us who are fans of old movies and glamor most of us can vividly picture Marilyn Monroe in her pink taffeta gown belting out every girl’s favorite catchphrase “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend”. Marilyn is of course dripping in diamonds the kind that a girl can only hope to own. Here’s a little known secret you can. How you say? Those diamonds cost thousands of dollars and I’m a working girl on a limited budget. The funny thing is none of Marilyn’s diamond jewelry was real it was all paste. If paste can look that good, why not wear it!

There are some who will say that if it’s not real it loses cache; I think it’s perception. I have many fabulous costume pieces that people go crazy over, it’s all about your confidence. There are a few things to consider. Don’t buy fake  unless its truly quality fake like Banana Republic. Opt for sterling silver settings which look exactly like white gold and real gemstones. Also consider 10kt. gold as opposed to 14kt. or 18kt. You can also look into sterling silver plated in gold or platinum a great alternative for those looking for something that packs punch but is easy on the wallet.

A few of my favorite bargain jewelry sites:

  • As mentioned above Banana Republic is fabulous. Although there pieces are totally costume they are incredibly well made and last. I have a magnificent multi gemstone coktail ring that people go absolutely gaga over. Ever time i’m there I drool over the stunning affordable pieces they have. Check it at
  • A fabulous place to find real and costume pieces at bargain prices is HSN. They always have beautiful pieces frequently in silver with real gemstones or in 10k or 14K for ridiculously cheap prices. I bought a magnificent London blue topaz vintage style 14k gold ring for my mother’s birthday last year for get this $68.00 dollars. Keep in mind that gold prices have risen so you may not get a deal that good, but you can steal find fabulous fun affordable pieces.
  • QVC is in the same league as HSN with fabulous affordable pretty pieces. One over that they have on HSN is Judith Ripka You can get gorgeous signed Judith Ripka pieces in sterling silver for incredibly reasonable prices. The pieces all have the signature Judith Ripka look. I bought my mother in law for her birthday a stunning blue topaz tear drop enhancer, the piece was wow. No one will know that you didn’t get it at Judith Ripka on 5th avenue.
  • You can also check out Gilt Group. The y Frequently have designer Jewelry sales. Some sales are affordable. I recently got awesome leaf design 18k gold plated earrings for $60. This is a members only sample sale group if you’re interested  in joining send me a message with your email address to
  • Finally there is This is another television shopping network website where you can fabulous finds. One of the great things is you can purchase unset stones and set them in your own settings. This a great resource for those who make jewelry or want to make affordable one of a kind pieces. They also have a large selection of affordable rings, bracelets, earrings and necklaces. Check them out at

If you find anything fabulous let me know, I would love to hear about. I am always happy to have helped you find affordable pieces that make you feel fabulous. You can email comments and suggestions to

Always remember that faux can be fabulous.

Le Smoking A Tribute We Should All Be Wearing.

In beauty, Shopping, Uncategorized on November 19, 2008 at 6:16 am

Saturday night had me shopping in as you already know one of my favorite stores, Forever21. I bought this fabulous cloche with feathers and tulle and it inspired me to wear the hottest tribute this season the fitted tuxedo jacket popularized by the late great Yves Saint Laurent who passed away a few months ago. According to the December issue of Glamour magazine, the new night out cover up is no longer the eponymous pashmina but the ultra chic le smoking. Back to the hat. I decided the perfect outfit would be a women’s tuxedo skirt suit. I found a fabulous one at H&M where you can buy the pieces separately, great if your top and bottom are different sizes. I bought it for a wedding I have in December and I plan on wearing it with lace patterned tights and and sky high red heels.It’s sick just thinking about wearing it get’s me more excited than cheesecake and that is indeed a hard thing to do.

A few of my other favorite winter things; a fabulous perfect red lip with a barely there eye, silver nail polish, velvet jackets, school boy blazers, anything Blair wears on gossip girl and boots. Oh and tights. I think tights can really make an outfit. If you’re like me a girl who prefers colors that inhabit the dark side, bright or patterned tights can really punch up your outfit. I also recommend a colored coat it makes everything so much more stylish. My other favorite makeup look which I’ve been playing with is the heavy black kohl rimmed eye. So sexy if done right but not for everyone. I did it on my 16 year old sister-in-law it was a bit much. Save it for special occasions. The best shadow to get the look Milani Wet/dry in Black out. Get it at most drugstores for under 4 bucks. Apply it wet for major drama. Add falsies to really take it to the next level.

Lash out Ladies.

The Evolution of My Hair….

In beauty, Uncategorized, Women on November 18, 2008 at 8:40 pm

Since I am about 6 years old I have been on a quest for hair of more glamorous shade than my natural medium brown. At 6, I remember my mother saying my hair was a mousy brown, a comment that always stuck with me. When I was around 13 or 14 I began to use Sun-In turning my hair a weird shade of reddish-auburn; I did this for a few years. The summer before I turned 17 I dyed my hair for the first time. I wanted a reddish tint I ended up with eggplant-purple hair. I was working upstate as a counselor and my friends and I were bored. We decided that to assuage our boredom, we would die our hair. One trip to the local CVS/ Walgreens/Eckerd later we had hair dye in our hands. I had only Sun-Ined my hair previously. My friend had bleached hers and wanted to go back to her natural brown. Neither of us ended up with what we expected. She ended up with hair the color of a fire truck and I ended up with hair the color of an eggplant (even more fun was when I came back to school and my roots were noticed and I had to dye it back) and so began my life long fascination with hair dye and changing my look.

I am one of those people who does not believe in rocking a single look but rather many. Some days I want to be glamor, some days I want to be goth and some days I want to just be plain old jeans and a t-shirt. It’s one of the reasons I love fashion. Every year it evolves; what was old is reinvented and made new, dying your hair can do the same for your look, how you feel and even how you look at the world or rather how the world looks at you. When I would change my hair color somehow I could be totally different. Being a redhead made me feel sexy and different. Being raven haired made me feel like a goth/punk/ bad girl but it wasn’t exactly wonderful for my pasty sallow complexion. I looked more Morticia Adams than Elvira, my goth inspiration.  Being blond has had various incarnations for me. Right now I am between blond as I call it. Half my hair is blond the other half needs to be bleached and I’m too cheap to pay so I’ve been doing it on my own and screwing it up, which is a fun learning process in and of itself. More on that later.

My first foray into blond ambition was right after high school. I wanted to be blond but was afraid to bleach it. The colorist suggested effesol a color remover and a few highlights on my limited budget. I ended up cat orange. When the time came to do my roots I was too cheap to go to the salon and tried an at home bleaching kit. I ended up spotted like a leopard and having to get color correction back to my old shade at a salon. The interesting thing was as a blond I got totally different sorts of attention. No matter how many men say they love brunettes there is still a certain blond allure. A je ne sais qous that the fair tressed posses, that leaves brunettes in it’s elusive wake.

Don’t get me wrong some of the most stunning women in the world are brunettes. It’s not that I dislike brown hair I just have never felt glamorous having it. Recently when I was feeling down this summer I decided to lighten up. The compliments were astounding people loved it. The problem was again maintenance. I’m now realizing that learning to dye your hair is a process that I’m just getting started with.

Funny enough even though my husband frequently drools over blond celebrities he  tells me quite often he wishes my hair were still long brown and curly instead of short straight and blond. For now I’m gonna keep playing with the blond but I may just find that next week I’ll want to be redhead.

Change your Look. Change your Life.

Bargain Jewess.

Ps. please email me at my new email address with comments and suggestions, you can also follow me on twitter Bargainjewess.