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Archive for December, 2008|Monthly archive page

The Power of Women

In Advice, Politics, Women on December 31, 2008 at 9:00 pm

It is a consistently amazing phenomenon to me the power that we as women hold. We as mothers, wives, sisters, caregivers, are endlessly compassionate. Women around the world are the voice of reason the voice of kindness. Many of us can remember the cool touch of our mother’s hand on our hot foreheads, or the calming balm of embrace of a friend or sister in difficult times. With the situation in Israel escalating Jews the world over are engaging in vigils to say tehillim-psalms for the safety of the Israeli soldiers and Israel.

Today in my office we had such a service. One employee an-Israeli transplant-spoke of the call she received from her brother for him to say goodbye. His unit was being deployed to Gaza and he would be out of contact for three weeks. He did not know if he would return home. I looked around the room. It was mostly filled with women; women whose eyes, were swimming with tears. Who silently cried as the tehillim was read responsively. I suddenly realized that if only we, as women banded together we might be able to change the world. For thousands of years women have been trying to keep men from sinning. In the bible when the Jews are all set and ready to make the golden calf- they run to their wives demanding their jewelry. The wives refuse. In their honor they were given as a holiday Rosh Chodesh- or the festival of the New moon which takes place once a month.

In more recent times women are assuming power in countries stained by slaughter and tragedy. In Rwanda a country who saw a genocide that killed 1 million people. Women now nearly half the seats of the lower parliament and more than 50% of small businesses are owned by women. Chile a vehemently patriarchal society has recently elected Michele Bachelet, a single mother who is a self-describer agnostic in a very Christian country. After having many leaders who turned a blind eye to the suffering of many of its people, the people spoke and chose a woman.

Standing in that room today made me realize that we as women have the power of change. We have all heard the stories of Jewish women and Arab women forming friendships. Deep down all of us aspire to peace, to love, to harmony, to live a life rich and full. I call on Israeli women, on Palestinian women, and all women to join together and end this fighting. It is in our power to do so. We as women just need to stand together and remember we are fighting the same fight for good to win and evil to be vanquished.

May we see peace in our days; may we see the safety of Israel, its citizens, the IDF, and all innocent women and children who are used as pawns in the games men play.

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DIY Series: Hair dye

In At home beauty, DIY Beauty, hair dye, Women on December 23, 2008 at 8:54 pm

For those of you who have been reading my blog you know that I have had my fair share of at home hair dying experiences. For those of you who don’t I refer you to some of my earlier posts. I have tried many brands of hair dye and have dyed my hair many colors. Recently I went back from being blond to a reddish-brown I used loreal preference and it was a great experience. The dye was extremely easy to use, just mix the color and developer together and voila masage it into your head and you are done.There are many hair dyes out there some are better quality that others. I have found that loreal makes a great product as does clairol. If you’ve never done this before you’ll need a few tricks:

  • Put some face cream, or vaseline around your hairline and the nape of your neck to prevent any staining of the skin.
  • Wear ratty clothes that you could care less about and have a ratty towel or two.
  • Make sure to use a timer and start it as soon as you are done applying the hair color. This is extremely important because without you may over or underestimate your time and end up with bad results because of it. Kitchen timers work great for this.
  • I have a white bathroom and at the corner of my doorway is a brown stain. If your bathroom is white find another place to do it, or cover surfaces with newspaper, because hair dye always splatters.
  • A way to really have the color set is to pat a plastic shower cap on your head. The heat helps the color sink in.
  • Most importantly monitor the color, each type of hair is unique some take the color faster some take it slower. Don’t be afraid to leave it on for an extra few minutes.
  • When dealing with bleach don’t freak out if some pieces get really light, thats ok they’ll blend. Don’t wash the bleach off before you’ve bleached the whole head properly.
  • Make sure to use color safe shampoo and conditioner. Blondes and redheads especially should use color depositing shampoos between colorings as well to keep color vibrant.

Last but not least if you end up with something you are not happy with, remember hair color fades give a few days you might love it. If not wait a few days and try it again. If anyone has tried perfect 10 by Revlon let me know I hear it’s really great.

Here’s to being a blond, brunette or redhead by choice. You don’t have to be born with it to work it.

Bargain Jewess.

In this Economy……DIY

In Politics, Uncategorized on December 18, 2008 at 10:00 am

With the economy crashing and burning faster than you can say recession people are opting more and more to conduct beauty treatments at home. Many companies are now putting out do it yourself products with salon results. In my ever increasing motivation to be a resource of bargain knowledge I am going to try out these products and review them for you here to help you weed out the good from the bad and save precious dollars that can be used for necessities.

First on my list is the manicure pen. When I went to Scandinavia in may my nails were atrocious. I had heard about the new OPI nail pens and picked one up in a fabulous shade of hot pink. All you do is press a button-like a ball point pen or mechanical pencil and onto the brush flows nail polish. You then polish your nails regularly. The pen allows for more control and a steadier hand which leaves you with less smudges, and a more professional look. I suggest using a base and topcoat to get a truly professional look, but for the $5-$7  they cost it’s totally worth it. Considering I went and got a manicure with a friend last night and with the tip it cost me $14, save your money and invest in doing your own nails.

Two to try :

Sally Hansen color Quick Fast dry Nail Color Pen

OPI Nic’s Stics Paint and Go Nail Lacquer.

Check back regularly for More DIY beauty tests.

Bargain Jewess

The Eternal Fountain of Youth

In Advice, beauty, Women on December 17, 2008 at 8:18 pm

In our culture there is the ever increasing search for the mysterious fountain of youth. On the gossamer whispers of there being some magic essence that might keep us young, the beauty industry sells thousands of products and makes billions of dollars. The thing is, is it our physicality that makes us young or our minds? There is no doubt that our bodies age, based on our DNA and how we have treated it and that this is one aspect of whether you look young or old. Is it possible though that our minds play any role in our youthful countenance? Can a youthful outlook keep us looking and feeling young?

I was looking at an event on Facebook. As I looked at the girls going I thought about the fact that they are all older than me. Then I thought about how even though I am a college graduate, with a real job and married almost two years I still think of myself as a girl. My mindset in how I view myself and those close in age to me,  to the context of the world has not changed. That’s not to say that when I turned 24 on October 15th I didn’t feel old or worry about what I was doing with my life, since most people my age are in grad school, or graduating from grad school. If anything though maybe that’s what has added to my feelings of youth. The fact that I am still unsure of myself, that I have yet to become disillusioned with the world or think that any of my dreams are not possible. I still entertain the idea that I will be wealthy, famous, and successful one day.

The people I know who look the youngest, are those who act young, who enjoy life. They may have laugh lines or gray roots but in their eyes is the spark of life, of fun. In their smile, the joy of dreaming.  So if you’re looking for the fountain of youth, stop searching because you already posess it, in your mind.

Looking To Get Beauty Services Cheaper? Read This.

In Advice, beauty, hair dye, Women on December 16, 2008 at 9:00 am

Social Media has learned a really great trick that marketers have used for years- targeted advertising. In the past few months every time I log onto Facebook there are always ads targeted to me; they range from discount shopping, Israel and Jewish related ads and this new site called Lifebooker, which offers beauty services at fairly decent discounts. I tried one of their salons once for a Brazilian. They did an OK job but they left all these little hairs and my aesthetician left the room to converse in Chinese with her friend/co-worker mid-wax. Plus people kept looking in not the experience you’d want. Needless to say I complained because even with the discount it wasn’t super cheap. Amazingly the place did not charge me and apologized so I got a free, albeit crappy Brazilian.

I’ve checked the site recently and they do have some great prices for various services. I’ve seen single process color for as low as $30 and highlights for $75. Half hour massages at Sothy’s Institute, will run you $30, a pretty great bargain. I suggest checking them out the next time you want to book a beauty treatment. http://www.lifebooker.com

If you really want things done on the cheap consider local beauty schools such as the Aveda institutes here in NYC. You can find them by Googling them. They’re super cheap although you will be working with a student and not a trained stylist. You can also call all the chichi salons and make an appointment for their training nights. The following is a training night list of New York’s best salons.

Antonio Prieto Salon
Cutting classes are Thursdays at 8:45 am, $20. Color appointments are Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11pm-7pm. $20 for single-process, $50 for highlights. Clients must sign up and pay in advance and in person; cash only.
25 West 19th St., 212-255-3741

Arte Salon
Training sessions held on Tuesdays at 10am. Cut and color, free. No appointment necessary.
284 Lafayette St., 212-941-5932

Aveda Institute
Appointments with supervised students are Tuesdays through Saturdays. Colorings, 9am or 1pm; $30 to $75. Cuts, 9am to 3:30pm; $15. They also hold advanced classes for which models are recruited, free of charge.
233 Spring St., 212-807-1492

Bumble & Bumble
Model calls are Mondays from 5 to 6pm. To find out more about the program potential models should call 646-282-1008. They can also sign up for a model call invitation on the web site.
146 E. 56th St., 212-521-6500

Dop Dop
Wednesdays at 6:30pm; cut and color classes alternate by week. $35 for color, $20 for cut; cash only. By appointment only.
170 Mercer St., 212-965-9540

Frederic Fekkai
Tuesdays at 6pm. $40 for cut or color; cash only. Stylings are determined by the class director, so call ahead for a schedule.
15 E. 57th St., 212-753-9500

John Barrett
Wednesdays at 7:30am, except during August. $35 for cut or color. Models are selected for an appropriate class based on the information they provide about their hair and on a first-come, first-served basis. In the fall, they will be offering training classes for children’s hair. Call for an application.
754 Fifth Ave., 9th Floor, 212-872-2700

John Sahag
Tuesdays at 6:30pm, except during the month of August. $40 for cut, $60 for color; cash only. Call on Mondays to book an appointment.
425 Madison Ave., at 49th St., 212-750-7772

Kim Lepine
Tuesdays at 5:30pm. $25 for cut or color; cash only. Book in advance.
667 Madison Ave., near 61st St., 212-832-6529

Louis Licari
Wednesdays at 5:30pm. $45-$75 for color, $30 for cut; cash only. By appointment only. They also offer appointments with assistants free of charge when available.
693 Fifth Ave., at 53rd St., 212-758-2090

Mark Garrison
Wednesday nights, color at 5pm, cuts at 6pm. $40 for color, $30 for cut; cash only. By appointment only.
820 Madison Ave., between 68th and 69th Sts., 212-570-5820

Oribe at Elizabeth Arden
Mondays at 11am; cut and color weeks alternate. $45 for highlights, $30 for cut or single-process color; cash only. By appointment only.
691 Fifth Ave., between 53rd and 54th Sts., 212-319-3910

Paul LaBrecque
Mondays at 6pm. $20 for cut or color. By appointment only; East Side location only.
171 E. 65th St., 212-595-0099

Peter Coppola
Tuesdays at 6:30pm. $40 for cut or color. Call in advance to leave name, number, and service desired.
746 Madison Ave., between 64th and 65th Sts., 212-988-9404

Prive Salon
Model cuts and color are done by assistants as available Tuesdays through Saturdays. $25 for cuts, $20 for single-process color, $40 for highlights; cash only. Call to request service, and a stylist will call back with availability.
310 W. Broadway, 212-274-8888

Salon Ishi
Cutting classes are Wednesdays at 6pm, color on Fridays at 5pm. Services are free. By appointment only.
70 E. 55th St., 212-888-4744

Space
Tuesdays at 9:30am for color, Wednesdays at 9:30am for cut. $25 for color, $15 for cuts. By appointment only.
155 Sixth Ave., at Spring St., 212-647-8588

Vidal Sassoon
Wednesdays at 6:30pm. $14-$18 for cut, $25-$50 for color; cash only. Stop by on Wednesdays at 6:15pm for a consultation for the following week.
90 Fifth Ave., at 14th St., 212-929-9668

For those of you living outside New York, I suggest calling up the hottest salons in your town and asking about training nights. Most good salons will have them and haircuts and color will be a lot less than normal. Just make sure that the stylist working on you is properly supervised as I have heard of disaster stories. Hopefully you’ll get lucky and discover the next Brad Johns or Orlando Pita.

I Hate Mondays!

In Bad Luck, overworked, Stress, The office, Uncategorized on December 15, 2008 at 3:38 pm

At around ten o’clock at night on Sundays I usually realize that the next day is Monday. This usually puts me into a crappy mood at the prospect of having to go to work the next day and deal with all the usual fun stuff.  This Monday was particularly annoying. Since I’m getting my brows waxed tonight for the first time in a hundred years I decided to dress up for the eyebrow waxer. I always worry that when I go to a beauty salon/Sephora and have  on no makeup and flats they’ll take me for a pig. Since this is a look I rarely rock it’s not a worry. The thing is I always end up getting all dolled up to have my hair done which in reality is pretty sad. So this morning I put on my four inch green python and suede Nine West pumps (on sale about three years ago for $29.99) and prepared to use the shuttle service to get to campus. Instead I waited for over 10 minutes and finally decided to walk the giant hill that is part of the morning trek I usually take.

Needless to say this is a worst Monday than usual. There is a highlight to my week though. I’ll receive my two new pairs of suede platform pumps that I got on ridiculous sale for $29.99 a piece and my new minifall which, while way more than $29.99 is still a bargain .  At this point all I want to do is stage a protest and go home to my bed but it’s Monday and the week has only just begin……

Weddings: Budget Part Two

In beauty, Shopping, Weddings, Women on December 11, 2008 at 5:39 pm

There are a few more tips and tricks to think about on wedding day. Here are some ideas.

Photographers:  Some people are happy using a standard wedding photographer some want a photo journalist. whatever your preference work out a package. Both my photographer and Videographer came together as a package. which of course saved me money by having everything from one place. I had an orthodox Jewish wedding which had separate and mixed dancing. Because of separate dancing most orthodox Jewish weddings have two teams of photographers. One to photograph the men dancing and one to photograph the women dancing.  We had one team at my wedding and still had a tremendous amount of pictures so feel free to get one team instead of two. In terms of packages some photogs will offer a certain amount of pictures or albums etc for a set fee. Try to negotiate. Never been hesitant to ask, the worst you hear is no and with today’s economy there is probably someone who will say yes.

Tuxedos: For some men only Ralph Lauren will do for others they’ll bring home a shiny polyester disaster that will have you running for the hills. There are affordable tuxedos for every man. For the designer guy check the discount outlets. Century 21, Syms, Off Fifth, Neiman Marcus last call, etc. You can find all the top names for discount prices. Chances are these will be also be pricey but definitely a lot less than paying retail.

Some guys don’t care or they do but cannot see themselves paying that kind of Money. Cheaper Alternatives include renting a tux from a place like Http://ZellersTuxedos.com or http://menswearhouse.com. Men’s Wearhouse also sells tuxedos and Syms sells non-brand name tuxedos for discount prices. Also check out your local suit outlet you can usually find a deal there.

Hair and Makeup:  Some people have used the same salon forever. If that’s you your stylist knows your budget and will hopefully work with you. For those trying a new place price various places. Ask if there are packages and price shop. Sometimes they’re cheaper sometimes they’re not. If you are just wearing a veil or no headpiece at all don’t tell them your a bride salon’s always charge more for the bride. If all else fails do what I did. Charge it to your credit card and pray you’ll have it to pay after the wedding. Probably not a smart financial decision but hey,  I’m a bargain guru  not a finance expert.

I think that just about cover’s the important points. The most important point is that you are about to begin the most incredible journey of your life, and whether you have a fabulous blowout or a small intimate affair the thing that matters most is that it fits both of you and what you want because at the end of the party the only two people left are you and him/her and those are the only two people who need to be pleased.

Weddings: how to have a beautiful one without spending a fortune.

In Advice, Bad Luck, beauty, education, Politics, Shopping, Uncategorized, Women on December 1, 2008 at 9:19 pm

Every girl has a dream of what her wedding will be like. Some  want small and intimate while, others want a big over the top blowout. Some may want a designer gown complete with cathedral veil while others prefer a simple sheath, with loose flowing hair and flowers intertwined. whatever your dream there is a way to make it happen.

  1. Time Counts: Unfortunately the time of year you get married dictates many things, most importantly the price of your venue. Anytime between may and September will be pricey with prices declining from there. The least expensive time of year is December through March. I got married in February in a beautiful country club for a fraction of the price. The pitfall is that you will deal with snow as we did but our wedding was still rockin’. If venue is not important than you won’t have an issue because certain places are affordable year round. More ways to cut costs is to eliminate the wedding cake, have a smaller smorgasbord or cut it completely and opt for chicken only as opposed to a choice. I wanted an elaborate wedding so I gave up my June wedding for February but had a beautiful place, a huge smorgasbord, free flowing liquor and three entree choices. You really need to decide what is important to you.

Some venues to check out:

One of the most reasonable venues in New York is the New York city parks. In my neighborhood at fort Tryon park I have seen some beautiful weddings. This is obviously easier if you are not kosher but I’m sure there are vsome parks where kosher food is offered.  Another option is the Rotunda at Cuny Kingsborough located on the beach. http://www.kingsborough.edu/center/rotunda.html This is truly a magnificent setting as the college is on the beach and possibly affordable as well.

2. Flowers: Flowers can truly be an exorbitant expense. If you get married certain times of the year such as spring you may have more options but florists will jack the price way up. One way to be cost effective is to choose one type of flower for the centerpiece. A really striking flower clustered in a bunch together can be exquisite especially if it’s showy. Add flashy greenery like ivy and different grasses along with tall branches to really make a statement. if you like tall centerpieces see if your florist will rent you the vases. Most should. Just make sure the Maitre d’ is aware that people can take the flowers only. If you would like to use the centerpieces for the ceremony make sure they are in floral foam so they can be moved into smaller containers. Another way to save is to wildflowers in baskets, have votives with small mini arrangements clustered together. If you’re really on a budget scatter rose petals on tables with votives or tapers, and  buy two small arrangemnts for the bride and grooms table.

Chuppahs are expensive no matter how you slice it. Sometimes you get lucky and the place does it for a lower fee than a florist. Their are also gemachs that do this check out the bridal secrets website for more info. http://Bridalsecrets.com

3. Gowns, Veils and Tiaras: These can cost multi thousands or sometimes hundreds it all depends on what you want. It also depends on material beading etc. I payed on the lower end for my gown and it still cost 2,000 dollars. Natural silks, and lace are the most expensive. Polyester satins are relatively inexepensive and can really look beautiful. If you cand find a good reasonable dressmaker it can sometimes save you a lot as opposed to buying from a bridal salon.

Filene’s Basement has a huge bridal sale every year. This year’s takes place February 27th in their manhattan location get there early to get the best selection.

Kleinfeld’s the fabulous designer bridal outlet holds their sale on February 5th. Look for designer names like Reem acra, Monique Lhuillier, Priscilla of boston, kenneth Pool and Many more. Gowns start at $499.

In your local bridal salon be honest about what your spending know what you want and tell them that. Don’t look at things out of your price range only to have your heart broken. Also ask if it’s an older style say from last season, if the sample is for sale. A friend of mine got a $2,000 dress for $800 doing that.

What is a bride without a veil? When I got married I was super shocked at how much they wanted for a simple piece of tulle. My friend loaned me hers but my mother-in-law’s cleaning lady threw it out. Do not ask. I ended up finding a beautiful cathedral length veil to match my train with three layers:blusher, fingertip, and cathedral. It cost me $20. So I seriously advise checking eBay. Also look into rental places or gemachs they usually have a nice selection for far less. if you’re really crafty consider making one yourself. You can find instructions by googling it.

Tiaras, Hair clips and Ornaments- one of the best places to find these is in the garment center btween 36th stree and 5th ave and 40th street and 8th avenue. Look online as well because you can find many affordable things on the web. If you are looking for something really unique check out gemachs and rental places. I got the most magnificent tiara from a gemach in Boro Park for get this nothing. It was really and truly out of this world. Be creative. My new favorite look is one side swept back with a jeweled feathered clip. Tres Chic.

4. Liquor: I discussed this earlier but i feel it needs it’s own paragraph. A good way to have liquor but cut costs is to wither only serve it at the smorg or have wine bottles on every table. This will significantly cut your liqour costs.

Weddings done on a budget can be really beautiful. It’s just how you go about doing it. For more tips feel free to contact me.

Stay tuned for Part Two.

May we only have happy Occasions.

Bargain Jewess

How to Turn Tragedy into a Learning and Growing Experience

In Religion on December 1, 2008 at 7:15 pm

When I came home on Wednesday night and found out about the Mumbai terrorist attacks I was horrified. As I looked at the information my heart ached for those there experiencing such chaos and utter terror. Hearing that the Chabad rabbi and his family were missing brought the tragedy home as I looked at his kind smiling face, I suddenly realized that what was happening was actually really close to home. When you can see the face of a victim, a living tangible human being, things become that much more real. Although I knew what was going on, not seeing faces or images made it seem awful but very, very faraway. I suddenly felt a real true connection to this human being and I began to pray in my own words that God should spare his and his wife’s life. I probably should have been praying for everyone so forgive me for that, but I prayed for what seemed real.

After hearing that unfortunately both the Rabbi and his wife had been killed, along with many others I felt sick. At first I was angry and rightly so but I realized that anger needs to be channeled into good. Anger gets us nothing but fighting and hatred. I realized that we all need to rise above anger and turn tragedy into our growing experience. It saddened me that it took a tragedy to bring all types of Jews together, but also made me happy to see all the solidarity among various different Jews. It made me want to expand on that. In memory of the Holtzbergs, I am taking upon myself to stop judging, critiquing or looking at my fellow Jews with derision or scorn. We are all one family. In the world today it so important to love each other whatever our beliefs or methods for finding God. Every time I think an unkind thought I will think of the Holtzbergs and their amazing commitment to Judaism and Jewish values. I will bite my tongue and try not to think these things. I urge you all to join me and actively participate in a campaign to love one another.

Am Yisrael Chai