Wednesday, November 30, 2011

OPI Conquistadorable Color

This one of my favorite wintertime shades. Due to the flash, the color looks brighter than it is, while it is actually something like dark raspberry.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Which Love

It always seems like when I have to babysit then Rabbi Yisroel Reisman's shiur is the most interesting. 

From the bits and pieces I heard third-hand:  

Why was it that Bilaam was gung-ho on cursing Bnei Yisroel, but then when he arrives all he can emit is a bracha? 

Because hearing and seeing are two different things. Once he saw, all he could do was bless.  

Why did the wife of Lot have to turn into salt after seeing the destruction of S'dom? 

Because when she looked, she didn't look as one who would repent upon seeing such horros; she was looking for entertainment. 

The eyes are connected to the heart, while the ears are connected to the brain.  

(I was thinking of the first time I saw the Kosel or Yam HaMelach or Niagara Falls. I felt as though my heart was full. My head was wiped of thought; all I felt was emotion.),_tb_q010703.jpg
When I heard this point, all I could think of was this saying: 

"Men fall in love with their eyes, and women fall in love with their ears."- Woodrow Wyatt
Woodrow Wayatt
So, therefore, we can conclude that men are emotional, and women are rational.  

Ha ha.

Monday, November 28, 2011

My Favorite Chanukah Song

Bound to stumble and fall but my strength comes not from man at all
Bound to stumble and fall but my strength comes not from man at all

Friday, November 25, 2011

Shabbos Face: Eyeshadow II

This step is not really necessary; I omit it often. But it can add extra dimension and depth to the eyes, so if one has time and is intrigued . . .  

When applying more than one eyeshadow shade, I prefer not to use differing colors, but rather lighter and darker shades of the same hue. 

I favor gray eyeshadow for Shabbos and occasions for a smoky eye. My current faves are Illamasqua's Incubus and Feline
Taking the lighter shade first (in my case, Feline), I apply it to the lid. The brush for this step does not have to be a specialized one - I just use whatever comes to hand. 

Then, using my specifically selected eyeshadow brush (which I discussed in Eyeshadow I), I apply the darker color into the crease.
When using brown eyeshadow - the lighter shade can be gold and the darker shade more brown. Such colors make brown eyes really pop.
Next Friday: Highlight!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Online and Lying

My one experience with online dating was when I received an email that someone I know (who's name was left anonymous) thinks this guy could be for me, and to find out who I have to join Saw You At Sinai.

I wasn't sure, but under parental pressure ended up joining. I listed myself as "Modern Yeshivish," despite the inaccuracy of the label, but it was the only option that vaguely described me.  

A suggestion pops up. His photo was taken with a unsophisticated camera phone, leaving him blurry and indistinct. One thing was for sure, however, he was not "lean" as he had listed. (His Facebook page backed that up). 

He listed his employment as "lawyer," but when I went on Martindale-Hubble there was no record with anyone of that name.  

His Modern Yeshivish was vastly different from my Modern Yeshivish. 

I said, "No, thank you," and changed my status to "Inactive." I am not cut out for internet dating.  

His stretching of the truth, however, is rather common in the online dating world
Since the community has currently decided to focus on paper profiles, the same finagling and misrepresentations appear. A lot of the statistics cited sound very familiar:
Do online daters have a propensity to lie? Do we really need scientists to answer this question?
If you are curious about numbers: about 81 percent of people misrepresent their height, weight or age in their profiles . . . On the bright side: people tend to tell small lies because, after all, they may eventually meet in person.
On average, the women described themselves as 8.5 pounds thinner in their profiles than they really were. Men fibbed by 2 pounds, though they lied by a greater magnitude than women about their height, rounding up a half inch (apparently every bit counts).
As you may recall, I have previously mentioned male inhonesty in terms of height, although they were never so tame as to restrict fantasy to a mere half-inch; why be 5'8" when one can be 5'11'?
People were most honest about their age . . . probably because they can claim ignorance about weight and height.

“Daters lie to meet the expectations of what they think their audience is,” Professor Toma said. 
Having recently turned 26, I am definitely 26 if a guy 28+ is redt; if he is 26-, then my folks are taking into account the Hebrew leap year ("It was your legal birthday already, but not your Hebrew one yet . . . ").
Scholars say a certain amount of fibbing is socially acceptable — even necessary — to compete in the online dating culture. Professor Ellison’s research shows that lying is partly a result of tension between the desire to be truthful and the desire to put one’s best face forward. So profiles often describe an idealized self; one with qualities they intend to develop (i.e., “I scuba dive”) or things they once had (i.e., a job). Some daters bend the truth to fit into a wider range of search parameters; others unintentionally misrepresent their personalities because self-knowledge is imperfect.  
How many of us are so honest with themselves? How many weigh themselves regularly, how many measure themselves regularly, how many go into denial when birthdays roll around? 
The standard of embellishment can frustrate the honest. “So if I say I am 44, people think that I am 48,” said one man interviewed by Professor Ellison and colleagues in a separate study. 
Been there.
Women want men who are — wait for it — tall and wealthy . . . women prefer men who are slightly overweight, while men prefer women who are slightly underweight and who do not tower over them. These were the women who had the best chance of receiving an introductory e-mail from a man.
So even the gentiles are leery of tall females . . . I'm sorry, men, but it appears that according to statistics only a tall guy would be able to tolerate my genetics. But, I still stand by my original statement: I do not care about height (within reason).
And even though men may get away with carrying a few extra pounds, they are also burdened with the expectation of carrying a fatter wallet: The scholars found that women have a stronger preference than men do for income over physical attributes.
Exactly. So as I also pointed out, the response to a fellow who requests a picture is not for a photo in turn, but for specific details about his income ("Be a dear and fax over his bank statement. Then I'll dig out a decent photo.")
Some people indicated that they were willing to date different ethnicities, but they didn’t. “What people say they want in a mate and what qualities they actually seek don’t tend to correspond,” said Coye Cheshire . . .
Sort of like the guy who claims he wants a mature woman who has seen the world and ends up with a 19-year-old? Or the woman who weeps that it is so hard to find a nice guy, but ends up with a gorgeous jerk?  It just goes to show that there is no point in being honest, as no one is even honest when speaking "honestly."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Come Say What Now?

A friend of mine was being called by mother of a guy. She has fielded some crazy questions on my behalf, but this takes the proverbial cake. 

"Is she put together?"

"Yes, of course."

"Well, I mean, does she dress . . . cheap?"

"Um . . . no." 

The question is, what did she mean by "cheap"? Did she mean: 

(a) Vegas pole-dancer

(b) strictly H&M wardrobe ($14.99 a top) rather than designer ($1,490 retail).

The first option doesn't seem viable in terms of tznius code. With the hem/collar/sleeve requirements in place, it's difficult to dress like a floozy.

As for the second option, how many dudes are in tune to women's clothing? She's seriously asking that on his behalf? I could put on something that I have owned for three years and Ta will say, "Oooh, new?"

Lady, at least pretend to be interested in my middos. Which she didn't inquire about at all.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ah, Young Love

Since our demographic tend to wed young, I clicked on this article to check out gentile experience with youthful wedded bliss. 

Katie Arnold-Ratliff speaks of her experience as a young bride. The numbers are against her; the divorce rate is pretty high amongst those who marry in their early twenties. They were a couple since high school, and roommates when they attended college. So they got married, believing in a future together.  

But in no time they were fighting.
I remember thinking that it was all so comically obvious, so dismayingly clichéd: We weren't ready . . . We'd weathered the rocky transition between adolescence and adulthood. We also loved each other, which we thought was enough to make a marriage work. It was suddenly so clear how naïve we'd been. How young we'd been. So when I moved to New York three months later—to attend graduate school at the college I'd turned down six years earlier—I had a goal in mind. I would go into the world alone and grow up, and then see if the grown-up me still loved him. If I did, I would just have to hope that the grown-up him still loved me, too.
She attended her dream college, which she had put aside due to her husband's unwillingness. She was experiencing new things and freedoms, but she missed her other half. So after a few months, she drove back to him. 
We were 24. It was all decidedly grown-up. We were decidedly grown-up. When I returned to New York a week later, he came too.
I love her description of their devotion: 
It might sound weird, but I love Adam like I love my siblings, or my parents, or the sky: I love him in a way that never entertains his absence. I'm not saying I take him for granted. I'm saying he's the bedrock of my life.  

Monday, November 21, 2011

Go West, Young Man

I was reading Anya Seton's Foxfire, and this passage jumped out to me. The book takes place in the early 1930s.
Dart shared with most native Westerners a large tolerance towards eccentricity. Here against the vast panorama of mountains and desert each individual became sharply silhouetted, traits intensified, passions more violent. The air itself bred sharper men then the soft and foggy East where corners blurred into a monotonous smooth mold.
There is no denying that there is a "molding tendency" in the New York area. I don't believe it is applied by outside pressure, but by individual choice to "fit in." Many who attempt to gain acceptance by "rule following" and do not succeed. For all that effort, I might as well do what pleases me, which I have done since I was a wee lass.

I think my brain is merely hardwired differently; I never got sucked into current trends as a child, unless I was actually interested. Fourth grade was Lisa Frank Stationary - I didn't see a benefit to spending my precious recess time auctioning off stickers. Fifth was Chinese jump rope - my reflexes aren't the best. Sixth - kugelach. Again, sucky response time. 

It never occurred to me to go along with these fads as a way to gain acceptance.

I wonder now if anyone I know would be different if they merely had a change of scenery. Would I be any different?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bon Voyage

I will be out of town for the next week and a half; I am not sure if I will have internet access where I am. 
However, posts shall be going up as usual; for those who comment, I am not ignoring you, merely I am incommunicado. 

Check out this video that Surfin' posted. The tune is stuck in my head something terrible; it also made me laugh.  

After seeing their other work, I thought of Guy in LA's comment about stalking swains.

For every stalker out there, this is your song. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Shabbos Face: Eyeshadow I

(While eyeshadow is not, of course, a Shabbos specific step, I shall just label it such. Feel free to use in the weekday). 

This is very serious territory we're entering. 

Since preferences and color-suitability differ from person to person, I will just relate what my eyeshadow routine is, and everyone can take what they like and leave what they don't or suggest alternatives. 

To begin, matte eyeshadows tend to have longer staying power, but even if the eyeshadow of choice has shimmer, the primer should keep it staying put.
The brush for this step has to be carefully selected, as the application here makes all the difference.

My favorite brush happens to be one I bought at Duane Reade by a no-name brand that has since ceased to exist. It was part of a two-pack called "crease brush duo." Most drugstores have some form of "crease brush duo." The smaller brush of the two doesn't get much use, but that's okay.

The brush bristles are firm enough to apply the eyeshadow accurately yet fluffy enough to blend it out. It's a delicate balance, and finding the ideal brush will take time and experimentation. 

The e.l.f. studio contour brush (purchased at Target) is also great; the bristles are deliciously soft, depositing and blending nicely.
e.l.f. contour brush
Starting first in the crease, apply color deep in there and travel down the lid. Color can be applied however desired; a crescent-shaped approach outlining the outside of the lid, or fully fill in the lid with color, or keep the shadow strictly in the crease.
Make sure to blend, blend, blend! That is imperative! Harsh lines must be buffed out. 

More details next Friday on eyeshadow color and using more than one shade. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Stocking Slump

As my background is Brooklyn in origin, there are a few givens. One of them being, stockings on Shabbos. 

I loathe the term "pantyhose" - it sounds like torture device, which in 80+ degree heat, it can be. It has benefits, however; holding in flabby territory to ensure good fit, shoes are nasty on bare feet, legs get a flattering hue.  

Outside the frummie territory, stockings are fading away, alone and unloved. It has a negative image of . . . being Bobbish

True, stockings can look grandma-like. That's why females should take care to purchase stockings that add a hint of color and shine, rather than being blandly white.  

That's why I like Filazi 14 Silky Sheer in Bronze and Melas Sheer Control Top in Honey. 

But since summer is thankfully behind us, my stockings have been removed from sight as I lovingly take out my opaque fashion hosiery.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

No Questions, Please

A friend of mine, a listed reference, was called by the mother of a boy. 

"Does she have a television?"

My friend, hesitant, decided not to whitewash anything and replied that I did. 

"Oh, good. She's normal."

My point here is not regarding normalcy (those without televisions, of course, can qualify as "normal"). My issue here is the concept of "references."

My family has long been with the "shidduch system." My siblings, my parents, my grandparents all met for the most part via a third party, be it family or friend or acquaintance. But this concept of resume/profile/rap sheet is a new being, along with "references." 

When my sister was dating twenty years ago, there were no references. If my mother happened to know someone in the same neighborhood, then she would call them to casually ask for some filler info. Often my sister went out no matter what was said. 

To be a reference is a lot of pressure. For instance, if my friend has decided to lie or stretch the truth, thinking that was what this woman wanted to hear, that wouldn't have been good (although, I'm not sure if I ever ended up going out with that guy). In the end, references don't know what information the other side wants to hear, and may say the wrong thing despite a true desire to say otherwise. 

I, personally, do not bother with references. I've gone out with guys who were supposedly "nice" and "wonderful" and "I wanted him for a brother-in-law," and they were actually affirmations that chivalry is not only dead, it suffered miserably on the way out. 

Then, I have gone out with guys that didn't get ringing endorsements and I found them perfectly pleasant. 

Maybe I don't know how or what to ask. But if the guy lives close enough and meeting up isn't complicated, it's just easier for me to put on some makeup and find out what he's like by myself.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Stuff Romance Is Made Of

When the Words Don't Fit by Sara Healy is a pleasant debunking of Disney myth. 

She begins her tale as young, sweet, 21-year-old; on the flight to her sister's post-elopement party (eloping being a family tradition) she catches the eye of a dashing fellow traveler. When she departs from the plane, he hands her a poem. 


One would think it the ideal beginning of an epic romance; two strangers meet and profess their undying love. When she returns to the airport he is there, they take the same flight back, and become a couple. 
He walked me to my car, and we kissed in the parking garage, under orblike yellow lights. It was a still kiss, a postcard kiss, a Disney princess kiss, the kind of kiss that makes blue cartoon birds chirp and swirl in the sky, their beaks holding garlands. And this is exactly where the story should end. It should cut to credits, and the music should be triumphant but soft. Your last image should be of the young girl and the handsome poetry-writing boy frozen in a movie kiss. You should brush the popcorn off your lap and leave the theater smiling because everything worked out the way you knew it would. You can leave remembering that time when you were young and lovely, and things like that could happen. 
But as the audience may recall, this is real life. She held on longer to the relationship than he, since, after all, they have a fabulous story, right? 

The man she meets right after the poet became her husband. They met through mutual friends at a bar. 
My husband and I don’t have a great “meeting” story. We met in a conventional way and had a conventional wedding. And in some sense, we lead a conventional life. 
Her parents had the epic love story, but she knew it was not easy. Their marriage was over fifty years old but it had its ups and downs. As does hers. 
But my husband has seen me at my worst, at my most vile. And he has seen me at my best. He knows the things I don’t tell anyone, and the lies that I tell everyone but him. I have made sacrifices for him and been angry about it. Sometimes his flaws are so egregious, so blatant, they are all I see. And sometimes his kindness is so stunning that I am humbled. And that’s love. Big, epic, fairy-tale love. The kind of love people write about. The kind of love that could inspire a poem. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hair Conditioning

Today's hair has it rough. 

If it's lucky, it has been merely curled, ironed, blown, and permed. The hair needs a pick-me-up after such harassment. Once a week I use a deep conditioning treatment instead of regular conditioner, like Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask. It sinks into the hair for 3-5 minutes, then can be rinsed out.

I thought that was sufficient . . . until I started to get dandruff, which I am still a little stunned by (dandruff? Me? Who knew?) Dandruff isn't good for the scalp, and all I need to hear is "hair loss" and I'm searching for remedies. It is also annoyingly itchy.

Coconut oil is a pretty awesome being. It's good for practically everything - as a skin moisturizer, a hair treatment, a margarine replacement (try it in cookies).

Coconut oil had a bad rap for a while as some guy claimed he had a heart attack because of it, but here's the deal: anything that grows from the earth, providing it is edible and non-poisonous, cannot hurt you. Fattening, yes, but good for the heart.  The only evil oil out there is hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated, which is a  man-made process, and that should always be avoided.

I bought a tub of non-hechsher coconut oil (it's much cheaper) and began to work it into the scalp. Oh, how soothing it was! When working any product into the scalp, use the fleshy tips of the fingers, not the nails. While massaging, I felt the dandruff flakes loosening amongst the hair roots. Scalp massage also helps to stimulate hair growth.
Many recommend keeping the oil in overnight, but I wouldn't sleep comfortably thinking I was greasing up my favorite pillow. I keep it in for a minimum of a half hour. 

I then shampooed twice (that seemed to be enough to get out the oil) and my hair being thick and all, conditioned as usual, although other hair types may not need to.

My hair was softer than ever before. It felt healthy, it shined, and it wasn't as thick as it usually was. It was also more manageable. And my dandruff went on hiatus.

No wonder Indian women have been using this stuff for centuries.  

Coconut oil is now returning as a skin and hair treatment, so there  are products available for specifically that. Such as Cococare 100% Coconut Oil. Be sure to check the ingredients; some products claim to be natural oils, but the main ingredient is mineral oil instead (which is a pore-clogging, skin-strangling, petroleum-derived pollutant. Yuch.)

Coconut oil solidifies at room temperature, so to make it more manageable I stir in another oil, like olive or avocado or almond, which is also good for the hair.

Friday, November 11, 2011

New Hair Toy!

The humid summer season has blessedly left us, meaning my harsh hair treatment can be laid aside as well. I iron to defy humidity and its frizzing influence; now with the chill of winter, I need not be so torturous. 

I came upon the Infinitipro Spin Air Rotating Styler by Conair. It is the premise of blowdrying hair in one simple tool - the bristles rotate while it blows air.
The reviews were enough to convince me, and it arrived in time for Shabbos. 

Like by ironing, pre-drying is recommended. Leave some moisture in the hair. Divide hair. 

I decided I wanted to try the wavy look I thought only my hair guy could achieve. I placed the brush, which was on low, as close to the roots as I could, then pressed the rotating button as I drew to the ends. When I got to the end I stopped, turned off the spin feature and waited a few seconds, then pulled out, the way he does. It resulted in a lovely wave.

For a first try, my hair came out pretty good.  It shined healthily, free of split ends. While my hair guy is still not going anywhere, this toy worked great for me. Now I can give my locks a break from sizzling.  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Jacques Pepin Is The Man

I mentioned beforehand of my mother's interest in cooking shows, and while as a kid I would beg her to put on something more entertaining, I have now found myself intrigued. For instance, I have the cooks I love and the cooks I hate (the latter outnumbers the former). And my favorite chef is Jacques Pepin.

His recent shows are entitled "Fast Food My Way" and "More Fast Food My Way" (plenty of videos are available on YouTube) and they demonstrate that which is often lacking in cooking shows: technique and reality.

When he slices an onion, I watch with fascination. Absolute perfection. It's all about the flick of the wrist (acquired from constant practice), as well as keeping his knives sharp, a necessity which I have never heard. 

If a side of his pie breaks open, he just pats it back together again. Other chefs have these unrealistically perfect dishes that never leak or fall or break. Mr. Pepin loathes waste after his wartime years in France, and doesn't throw away anything, not even apple peel. The way some chefs just cut off one end of a vegetable and toss the rest away is abhorrent to me. If my grandparents went through the war, I can be careful with baltashchis.

Mr. Pepin emphasizes technique, such as what is the best way to fry this or chop that or cook this or bake that, which transcends one-time recipes to cooking technique.
I barely cook at this point (I live at home with a fabulous cook), but I still find myself scribbling down his tips. He's on at various times on WLIW.

Just watch the man make an omelet. It'll change everything you know. 

This episode in entitled "The Egg First!" 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Olympic Shopping

Shopping is not a fun, casual outing meant to kill time. Oh ho no. Those who sleepily roll out of bed at 11 and leisurely consume breakfast then trot off to the mall at 2 on Sunday, I am sorry, but you are not a shopper. 

Shopping is a sport. It involves endurance. Strategy. Patience. It is survival of the fittest

1) Sleep the night before is key. One has to have the energy, and one does not want to get sucked into the "I'm tired so I'll just take that thing to get out of here" trap. This is clothing we're taking about, the very thing that identifies a person to the greater world. Just dragging anything off the rack won't do. Make sure bedtime is strictly observed the night before a shopping outing.  

2) Plan that to be the first one on the doorstep.  If the mall opens at 10, leave however earlier than that to be the first in the door. By 12 parking will be a nightmare, and no one wants to have a shouting match with a guy who can pass for a bouncer arguing over who had dibs to the spot.  

When there are less people grabbing and pushing, making an informed decision is easier. 

3) Going shopping in ballet flats? Uh-uh, I don't think so. For the hours I spend on my feet, I need sneakers. Not dorky walking sneakers, of course, but something that laces up, holding the feet in, with enough rubber on the sole to keep the foot supported.  Something fashionable, like the Puma Soleil in Black/Very Berry or Black/Limestone Gray.
4) Provisions! I usually take along some whole-wheat crackers and string cheese; stopping into a kiosk for a Haagen Dasz or frothy frappacino will defeat the purpose of the outing: finding clothing that fit right. Consuming sugary calories will alter one's current size.

5) Be prepared not to find anything. One can't go shopping with the attitude, "I need a beige pleated skirt, and I have to find it today." That's not how shopping works. 

In order to shop successfully, an open mind is key. Find something that really flatters at the right price? Buy it, even if it may not be so necessary. Next week an occasion may arise, and the perfect thing will be already hung in the closet. 

If nothing was found that suits for the right price, don't panic. I have often gone home empty handed; on the flip side, I have often emerged from the store laden down with bags. Shopping is about the search, and stores schora is often seasonal; there will be times when there is less or more merchandise in stock.

If an occasion is coming up, don't push off the search to a couple of weeks before; go now to look. More options, such as sales, will be available, so grabbing something and paying a fortune  out of desperation will be less likely. 
6) Make sure of the store's return policy. Sometimes I'll be in a dressing room weeping at the beauty of the clothing I tried on, only to realize at home that the hem can't be fixed or the price was too much or my waist is not defined. Return it rather than kill yourself over it.
If the store it was purchased in is too far away for a second trip to return, many department stores will accept returns by mail. I have sent back garments via Priority Mail boxes, and while $10 may seem like much it's a lot cheaper than gas and tolls. 

7) Unless the man in one's life will be a help, don't bring him along. Leave him with the kids at home; dragging around a whining crew will torpedo any chances of finding anything. They'll harass  you so much you'll be too frazzled to shop successfully. Without hubby and children, purchasing a wardrobe for both in peace is more probable.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Irrationality In All Its Forms

An episode of 30 Rock entitled "Gentleman's Intermission," has Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) at her wit's end with her 80-year-old father (Buck Henry) who has decided to have a mid-life crisis forty years too late. 

He decides that he is bored with his wife;  he puts on teenage clothing and takes off his glasses so he can "play the field." Liz goes to her mentor, Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) after failing to convince her father to go home to Mom. Jack asks for her father's cell number, and Liz, relieved, says, "You'll talk some sense into him?"
Jack chortles. "Oh no. He's being irrational. You can't be rational with irrational people. The only thing irrationality responds to is fear."

He gets on the phone and, affecting a Brooklynese accent, pretends to be the outraged boyfriend of a woman the old man has hit on. "I'm a corrupt cop! My brother is a corrupt fireman! He's going to set you on fire, and I'm not going to report it!"  Liz's father is docilely on the next bus home.

For some reason, what popped into my head with this was another example of irrationality in our day-to-day lives: tantruming children.
When it comes to children, I have a motto: Do not negotiate with terrorists a.k.a. Do not reward bad behavior

First I provide a safe environment for the kid to flail (a bed or floor). If the screeching and thrashing doesn't taper off after a while, I boom, "DON'T YOU DARE KICK ME!" That usually stops the legs in midair, and the bawling is reduced to aggrieved sniveling. As Jack Donaghy said: Fear.

I would not advocate peace talks. 

If one is pressed for time, meaning one can't wait until they scream themselves limp, here's the plan. Threaten removal of a given rather than offering a bribe. "If you don't stop screaming I will take away your new toy," vs. "If you stop screaming I'll get you a toy." The latter simply reinforces the bad behavior, while the former provides an unappealing consequence. Fun things are not a given, they are earned.

And be sure that whatever is the threat, that it is carried through. No chances. Say it, and if they don't stop in ten seconds, get up and say, "I'm going to take it away," and reach for it. If that doesn't do the trick, take it away and put it on top of the closet.  

I can guarantee you, if the kid sees swift repercussions, he won't misbehave so quickly again. He is out of control, and he knows it. He wants to know that when he's lost it, the parent (or aunt?) is cool and calm.

Always, always, follow through on consequences. Not punishments, consequences. One pours water down their neck, one gets wet. Simple common sense.

And don't try to have a rational conversation with a toddler going "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" about what he's feeling or why he is screaming. If it didn't work for Liz, it won't work for you. Usually it can be solved with a good night's sleep.

Friday, November 4, 2011

If Avrohom Wasn't Crying Crisis . . .

I was reading an old Mishpacha magazine at my sister's house. There was an article by Rabbi Dovid Hofstedter which I would recommend.  

Here are a few points he mentions: 

He was saying that Yitzchok Avinu was 37 when his father decided he should be married. 37 is the equivalent of ancient bachelor nowadays, a quintessential example of the shidduch crisis, the Rabbi writes. 

Some sources say that since Rivkah was his bashert, he had to wait until she was 3. But another source responds that if Avrohom knew that specifically Rivkah was for Yitzchok, he then would have simply given Eliezer instructions to get her, rather than the general task of finding a bride.
Avrohom decided to marry off his son after the akeidah, a spiritual test that Yitzchok actively participated in. This elevated him to a new level.
Rabbi Hofstedter says that one shouldn't marry just because friends are getting married. If a boy or girl is currently content with the companionship of friends or studying then they should hold off. 

Only when they realize that they cannot complete their purpose in this world without a spouse, the way that Adam asked Hashem for a helpmeet, is when one is ready for marriage. 

While marriage itself may shlep one up a few rungs of maturity, it should not be relied upon to be the means to do so, he writes.

Huh. I like him. 

Rabbi Hofstedter has come out with a book, Dorash Dovid (volume 1), which delves into the parsha. I think I shall get it. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The New American Dream

"I'm so nervous for my son," the sweet crossing guard tells me. "He lives near Wall Street, and those protesters may start getting violent." 

She's not American by birth, so she doesn't understand. I try to explain. "Americans are too lazy to riot," I reassured her. "What the Londoners did? And the Greeks? Americans can't exert that much energy." 

She was still rather dubious, but then Joel Stein arrived, not a week later, to validate my theory. (Time magazine now requires online readers to be actual subscribers, so I will try to synopsize and quote the funny bits).  

In his article entitled "Nice Work If You Can Avoid It," Stein writes about the joys of laziness, something I can relate to. American's work ethic has plummeted, and narcissism has arisen.
People like me have worked not-hard to replace the work ethic with the leisure ethic. We value innovations such as Angry Birds, Avatar and Facebook instead of laying down railroad track and getting to the moon. We have even invented a euphemism for laziness: work-life balance. Just like not so long ago, we invented a euphemism for narcissism: Oprah
Is it a bad thing? Stein says not.
Some will bemoan our nation's laziness. Not me. And not just because bemoaning sounds like a lot of work. It's because laziness is the mark of a mature society. China is exciting right now with all that dynamic growth, but you don't want to live there with its smog, dangerous infrascructure and insistence on learning math. You want to live in Italy, where no one has worked for centuries . . . Americans were so ready for a lazy cafe culture that we spent the last 15 years building nothing but Starbucks
He does have a point. The place where I want to visit is Italy, where the government may be corrupt but where life is worth living.
There was no leisure culture until now because leisure culture sucked. Of course our grandparents liked to work. When they weren't working, they were at home with their eight children. Without television. 
Shiver. And now, my favorite line from Stein:
Our great-grandparents worked hard so we wouldn't have to. To strive is to dishonor them.
(Wiping away a tear) Sniff. Too true. Too true.
In your honor, Zeidy.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wearing Black Responsibly

Black is getting a lot of flack, I've noticed. It is a shade associated with obnoxious matchmakers and "typically" dressed females. 

I possess very few all-black outfits. Two suits, tops. OK, I'll confess to three black dresses.

While I do object to daily all-blackness, it is still, no matter how one slices it, an excellent choice for weddings; black is always appropriate for evening wear, shoes are a breeze, it slenderizes the figure, and black stockings are an option. (Although I do have wedding wear that is distinctly not black, which I don season permitting). 

But for ensembles, mix it up. 

I find that matching two shades of black is difficult; one black looks bluer or grayer by comparison. Therefore, I rarely wear a black skirt and black top together. 

For instance, I have a great black sweater. The skirt I wear with it is red. Sometimes white. Maybe camel. Pretty much anything but black. Black tops really makes the face pop—black is a very flattering hue to the face.
Carolina Herrera
As for the black skirt, I have red jackets, winter white jackets, orange jackets, and so forth.
Ralph Lauren
As for dresses, there are black frocks available with little punches of color.

Letting go of black completely is being rather unreasonable. Black is and should be a staple in women's wardrobes, but a balance should be found to snazz it up. Like colorful shoes or brooches.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Respectful Makeup

As I mentioned beforehand, I am a recent convert to daily makeup. When I began to apply paint every morning, I could detect a change in people's attitudes. Their voices became more courteous, they gave me a wider berth on the sidewalk, I get called "ma'am—simply put, I get more respect.

As always, it turns out it's not in my head. 

Catherine St. Louis writes of studies that show that women who wear makeup—not much, even just a light dusting—are considered more competent in the workplace.

For those who protest that such a thing shouldn't be, of course not. But like many unfair quirks of our culture, that's how it is. Have you ever seen photos of celebrities sans cosmetics? It's not pretty.
Today Show went bare, and the children cried in fear.
If I had known, I would have put on makeup for my college years; the professors would have treated me better. She never would have dared to give me that B.