Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Get Satisfaction

I met a friend for lunch. When the bill came, I plunked down some cash and airily told the waitress to keep the change. 

Three hours later and halfway across the city I froze. I had underpaid.

Oh, shoot

In my defense, I cannot add. When scientific calculators were granted to us in high school I was weeping with joy; I aced my algebra exams but basic math functions is still beyond me.

It was a broiling summer day, and the idea of plunging into the hellish abyss of the subway was daunting. So I began to tell myself that I was imagining things. That I skimped the bill by only less than $3. That, c'mon, you know you can't add, so how can you know for sure if you underpaid?

But  I was raised in a rather moral household, and an invisible hand had clenched my innards; I knew I would have no peace unless I rectified the matter.

I took the three trains back to the restaurant. 
I entered the establishment slick with sweat, miserable in my own skin (I loathe summer), and explained the situation to the manager and waiters. Three employees gazed at me in shock. "And you came back?"

I once heard it said, "Whatever you do, you do for yourself." When we do things in life, we can tell ourselves that we are being selfless. But resulting feeling of satisfaction proves that it does more for us than for others. 

The manager followed me out the door, saying the clientele should only be like me. I floated back to the sadistic subway, buoyed by the joy that I had done a kiddush Hashem.

"Grosseh naar," my father said. 

"Idiot," my mother said. 

I slept the sleep of the just.

Monday, July 30, 2012

From Where? You Know.

Rabbi Yisroel Reisman is not a fan of segulos, but he mentioned this one. I like the sound of it since it is not like the usual newly-invented segulos, but one that has more history/weight. 

"Esa enai el heharim": This Shir HaMaalos (Tehillim 121) is connected to shidduchim; Yaakov Avinu supposedly said it while seeking a spouse. "Esa" connects to "nisuin," and "heharim" is "horim"—that when one is searching for a spouse, one should look to values from their own background.

But in the end, "ezri may-im Hashem"—it all comes from the Eibishter. Spouses, ultimately, is from the Big Matchmaker in the sky. 
Artwork by Jackie Olenick, jackieolenickart.com
One should say this kapitul with the following mindset: While I am in the field, I must have the proper perspective of what is important in a marriage, and understand that everything comes from God.

I like this "segulah."  

While the visual is a little grainy, there is certainly nothing wrong with the audio. A most appropriate tune for any wedding.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Maybelline SuperStay 14 Hour Lipstick

I initially had picked up two shades of this product because: 

1) It was almost Shavuos and I wanted to see what other longwear options were available; 

2) Perpetual Peony and Eternal Rose are probably the only two colors that have no sheen in any of the long-wearing lipsticks I checked out (unlike L'Oreal Infallible. So much glitter, feh.)
All long-wearing lipsticks cause lips to dry out. I have managed to keep lipstick on for a three day yontif, but by the time I was done my lips needed major TLC—they were dried to a crisp, flaking, and cracking.

The consistency of the Super Stay lipsticks are not quite like any long-wearing lipstick I have already tried; instead of sinking its dye into the lips, it seems to stay on top with a tacky, sticky finish. The smell, also, is distractingly sickly-sweet, but it wears off. 

I gave it a test drive a couple of days before Shavuous to see what it can do. 

Starting time: 7:45 a.m., following breakfast. All's well until 12:30, following my lunch; despite my extreme care not to let my lips come into contact with food, there is distinct wearing away on the lower part of the upper lip. So much for 14 hours; it seems to be behaving like any other lipstick I own.

This should get it thrown out of the running, except there is one perk: Usually by now, with any long-wear lipstick, my skin screams for some balm. But the tackiness of the lipstick seems to be providing sufficient moisture.

I wanted to see how it would last the night so I removed it, brushed and flossed, then applied again. This time I applied a long-wearing lipstick beneath that usually dries the heck out of my lips. 

I know for sure that my sheets unintentionally came into contact with my lips during the night, but by morning it was still wearing strong, and my lips weren't painfully dry, the way they usually are with just the long-wearing lipstick. 

I drank my morning water with a straw and carefully ate my cereal; it stayed on pretty well.

Perpetual Peony has really grown on me. It is more of a 60s-esque shade of pink, but there is a vibrancy to it despite it's paleness. Any skin color can pull it off. 
Via cheriebeautyblog.blogspot.com

Eternal Rose is a vibrant shade of pink that I also am fond of. 
Via lipstickrules.com

So, I was able to successfully use it over Yontif. My next post on the topic will explain exactly how.  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I'm Not!

30 Rock, "Reunion":

Liz has a high school reunion, but she doesn't want to go. She recalls times of being the geeky, uncool loner, mocked by the cheerleaders. Jack convinces her to attend, claiming she looks pretty good now, and he'll even loan her his jet to really make 'em plotz. 
So Liz enters the room, with her head held high. But it doesn't quite turn out as she thought. Apparently, she wasn't the "geeky, uncool loner" her memories claim she was; rather, she was the school bully, despite her braces and thick glasses. That killer whit had been used for evil, tearing down egos and tormenting, even, the popular cheerleader who's still in therapy. 

She spends the whole evening trying to prove how she's changed, only to unintentionally reaffirm her cattiness. 
Interesting, how one's perception of themselves and their past could be so off. 

Our memories can play tricks on us all the time. Like Susan Shapiro, who nursed grievances for 25 years over a "cad" and "jerk" of a boyfriend, only to remember that it was she who murdered the relationship, not him. And not only that, he was willing to support her all the way. 


I found it a little pathetic how despite marrying a wonderful man, she still clung to fantasies of "proving" to the ex her fantastic-ness, hoping to get him to regret letting her go. It was a quarter of a century ago, lady. Move on. Does your husband know about this?

But in any case: Record your memories accurately, just to avoid looking stupid later on. And I speak from experience. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Here Fishy Fishy Fishy

One of my reasons for avoiding canned salmon in my sandwiches is that by the time lunch comes around, the "juice" has soaked through my bread. Ew.  

When I was younger I used to make for myself salmon patties all the time. I don't know why, but I had fallen out of the habit. I decided to reclaim that favored dish. 

The fun thing about salmon patties that you can really just add what you want. There are no rules, no official recipe needed. 

I put up in an olive-oiled frying pan some finely diced onions, and let that go a bit. Then I added finely chopped mushrooms (I've used both fresh and canned) and celery. I let the whole bunch saute until it became as small and shriveled as possible. This step isn't necessary; a ground raw onion will do the same. But I wanted to make things interesting. 
While that was cooking, I chucked two cans of salmon into a bowl along with a can of "blah" tuna that needed to be used up. I went seasonings crazy: a squirt of mustard (the regular yellow stuff is healthier than the Dijon), garlic powder (a fresh clove, smashed and diced, could be used as well), black pepper, parsley, dill, and a spoonful of mayo. 

For binding materials: bread or breadcrumbs. Usually I would use a piece of soaked stale bread, but since I didn't have any leftover challah I used Bob's Red Mill Cornmeal and Quaker Oat Bran.

I had completely miscalculated this for my first batch which fell apart, since a healthy amount of bread-ish substance is needed to absorb excess liquids. I have found 1/4 cup of cornmeal and 1/4 cup of oat bran did quite well (or 1/2 cup of either alone).
If more bind-age is needed, chuck in an egg. But I have found the bread or crumbs or meal to be enough.

I mixed into the fish mixture the onions, mushrooms, and celery from the pan. Warmed the pan up again, and not much oil is needed; just enough to coat the bottom. Fry those babies up for a few minutes on each side.
As I mentioned, my first batch didn't have enough breading agent so they oozed apart. I chucked it into my sandwich the next day; it didn't need to be pretty to be fabulously tasty. The last ones came out beautifully shaped.

If one would prefer more official recipes, just google "salmon patties"; a whole bunch of tasty options pop up. These are not only a great lunch, but perfect for dinners as well with some potatoes or pasta (whole-wheat, of course) on the side.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Semi-Precious Engagement

One day on the train I noticed the girl next to me had on an engagement ring. 

At least, I think it was an engagement ring. The diamond on it was a microscopic fleck. 

I perfectly understand that when it comes to finances, one should always stay within their means, especially when it comes to something unnecessary like an engagement ring. However, where is it written that it must be a diamond? What if, by choosing something more affordable, like semi-precious, one could have a larger stone? 

I love colored stones. I also love large stones. If I had to choose between a huge emerald-cut "something" or a teeny diamond, I'd rather go with the "something."  

The world is filled with a bright, rainbow array of beautiful stones! Yet why do we covet the colorless ones?  ("They sparkle so," Ma says longingly . . .)

Semi-Precious Options

Citrine (quartz family) is my top love. It has a warmth to it that flatters the skin, and looks beautiful with yellow gold.
Garnets' deep red evoke "Her price is far above rubies." 
Peridot is usually an olive green, but can vary in intensity.
Topaz can be clear like diamond, but has a large range of hues and tints. There is Caribbean-beach blue, barely-there green, or citrine-like yellow, just to name a few.  
Blue Topaz
Yellow Topaz
Tourmaline also comes in many shades, and I happen to like their pinks (and I am not even a pink person). Green tourmaline can look similar to an emerald. There are also "ombré" stones that change colors.
Pink Tourmaline
Kunzite is a pale pink-violet. 

Iolite is a rich, deep blue with violet undertones.
Morganite (or "Pink Beryl") is a pale pink. 
Aquamarine (beryl family) is usually turquoise. 

Amethyst (beryl family): purple. 

Green Amethyst (quartz family) is actually regular amethyst that has been treated with heat, morphing the lavender shade to that of a refined barely-there green. 

Pearl: With a variety of prices, quality, and colors, one can have a lot of fun there. 

Alexandrite (chrysoberyl family, which is not the same as beryl): contains more than one shade in its greens and pinks.

Ametrine (quartz family) combines the two shades of amethyst and citrine, hence its name. 
Avail thyself of rainbow hues to profess thy love.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The New BYOB

My single cousin emailed me with an official flyer for a "Table for 8" function. After I emailed back that, sure, I'd come too, she emails the organizers, who fire back a response requesting photos, resumes, and boys.

Apparently, they have none.  
If I have to bring my own boy (gives new meaning to BYOB), what is the point of attending a single's event where I know all the guys already? And if they have no males, why do they need photos and resumes?

Needless to say, we revoked our interest. "I'm sorry, but I plan to have a stomach virus that Shabbos." 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

I Am a Broken Shopper

I am in a very low place right now. 

While Daffy's did have a lot of mystery-fabric junk, they also had gorgeous cotton Italian hoodies for $20. I have found great boots from there, perfect Patrizia Pepe jackets, fun vases and furniture. They had not normally funky children's clothing for a fraction of the original price. The children's shoes! Made in Italy! Naturino! Noooooooooo!
Via paintingsilove.com
Where will these wonderful finds go now? 

They said they cannot compete with T.J. Maxx and the like, but I haven't found any clothing there in a really long time. Certainly no wacky tights, or non-binding Hue socks, or Kangol hats that have been seriously reduced. 

Some of my first childhood memories were in Daffy's. Ma dragging me around when I screamed I wanted to leave already; waiting in the car while she returned something; then finally, when I decided I liked shopping at 17, eagerly sifting through the newly arrived Italian-made merchandise. 

The stores will be liquidating its schoira now, so dejectedly shuffle over to see if you can find anything before the lights go out. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Yontif Eyeshadow

It has become obvious to me that amongst my matte powder eyeshadows, not all are created the equal. For instance, whenever I wear Illamasqua eyeshadow in Incubus over Shabbos, even with shadow primer, it is very possible a good chunk of it will be worn off by morning. 

However, the Stila Matte Mineral Eyeshadow in Sajama (a deep blue-ish gray) that I bought on Ebay lasts pretty much, well, forever with primer. I kid you not—three days of yontif, three days of eyeshadow. It's like a holiday miracle. 

When I initially bought Sajama it had already been discontinued; I had simply done a search for "matte gray eyeshadow," and there it was on Ebay. From what I have read about the other discontinued Stila Mineral Matte shades, such as Nanda Devi (a chocolate brown), they are also amazingly long-wearing. 
Nanda Devi
I'm doing research do find what other colors have great staying power—I have heard that Make Up Forever and Nars eyeshadows last long, but I really can't prove it at the moment. I simply purchased another pan (it doesn't come in a holder) of Sajama.
But know this: Sajama is very dark. 
Via karlasugar.net
Sajama is second from the left, and Nanda Devi second from right. Certainly not for those who prefer milder shades. 

I have noticed that darker pigments will last longer than lighter ones. Since I don't mind some makeup drama, that works for me. But for those preferring less intense color, the search may take a while.

(Yes, I know it's not Yontif for a while yet, but this is the time to plan. It's so sad to see frantic women in the drugstore makeup aisle on erev holiday, unsure what will last. I once gave a woman a whole tutorial in front of the Revlon display. Experiment now.) 

Thursday, July 19, 2012


I moved with my folks a few years back. What was the most hard to deal with was sorting through the accumulated junk of 25 years. We weeded out what we could, but there was so much that we said, "Not that! I can't give away that!" and it was dragged along to the new house. 

Now, yet again, we found ourselves sifting through that which was brought with us. And now, none of us had any issues loading it up onto the thrift store truck. 

I would say it was that we simply needed time to get used to the idea of parting with things. Our minds couldn't handle it five years beforehand; now we couldn't understand why we kept all that crap to begin with. 

I was watching a repeat of "Inspector George Gentley" (a detective mini-series courtesy of the BBC), an episode entitled "Gently with the Innocents." The series takes place in the 60s. 

After various plot turns, the truth comes out: The murder victim ran an orphanage during the war years, and exploited his position to sexually abuse and torture his charges. Remember, this is the 60s; the concept of pedophilia was a new one. Not that it didn't exist; it has been around since the dawn of humanity. Rather, it was not something the general public was aware of.

Detective Gently is shaken to his very core. He can't sleep. The young victim, now a grown woman, was never believed by anyone she had asked help from. When she tried to kill herself she was imprisoned, as suicide was a crime back then. 

In one scene, Gently is sitting on a park bench, after dark. A teenage girl bounces over, "Hey, mister!" and starts chatting, even asking if she can have a ride in his snazzy car. Still shocked from that which he has just uncovered, he says kindly, "I don't think that's a very good idea, sweetheart." 

That was the 60s; girls would approach strange men without worry. And now, everyone, every parent, every child, is all-too aware of pedophiles. Children are terrorized into never talking to strangers. What Gently found out no one in his office could accept; but as time passes, the mind can find itself able to deal with unpleasant truths. Our own community is always at a time lag; we will be able to grasp it soon as well.

The NY Times had this article regarding the end of the Tal Law: 
In Haredi neighborhoods, where those who do join the military have historically had a harder time finding a suitable spouse, “you can see army uniforms hanging out in the laundry,” he said. “People are not afraid to wear them anymore.
“Not a revolution,” Mr. Herzog said, “an evolution.” 
Time has an amazing capacity to heal.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dressing for Men: Death to the Clog Master

The ladies' section of my shul gives a good view of male attire. 

There is one kid who never, ever, comes to shul wearing a proper laced-up shoe. He only wears a pair of battered clogs. 

All right, I thought. One lazy teenager may yet learn proper shoe etiquette. 

Yet, I saw another fellow from shul on the street on a weekday. Wearing, yes, the same dreaded clogs. 

To reiterate: the beauty of clothing is that it creates the optical illusion of a better figure. The feet deserve the same treatment. 

  • Clogs make the foot look gigantic.
  • I have never seen someone take a dignified step while wearing clogs, only unattractive zombie-like shuffling.
  • Clogs do not hold on properly, so painful accidents such as tripping over one's own feet and flipping over are a greater possibility than lace-ups.  
  • Crocs, which fall into the category of "clog," is hands down the most frightening item currently on the market. They are terrifying. Like real crocs. 
Comfort, you say? No. 

Get instead a pair of sneakers. 
Or a rubber-soled loafer.

Clogs can be equated with mules, and they are a hazard to men and women alike. In an NY Times interview, former French Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld had this to say:
NYT: You’re always railing against mules. What did mules ever do to you?
CR: I hate mules. I hate the noise when someone walks with mules. Clomp, clomp, clomp. I think it’s very not chic. I don’t even like a flip-flop. I don’t like this noise. I don’t think I’ve used mules one time in a story. 
According to WiseGeek.com:
Backless shoes can have distinct advantages, since they are so easy to put on. They also have some disadvantages, including the fact that an unsecured back may occasionally slip or not provide enough stability for walking long distances.
The one benefit clogs has is that it takes a second to put on whereas loafers maybe take two seconds. Make time for your feet; they deserve a little pampering.  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

After All These Years

Every Sunday in the NY Times Styles Section, nestled amongst the wedding announcements, is a column called "Vows," where one of the newlywed couples are profiled. After writing it for twenty years, Lois Smith Brady checked up on six of the marriages she had covered.
Love may be blind, but marriage can blindside you. That is one lesson that I have taken away from decades of writing the Vows column . . . The good news is that among the couples who remain together, no one sounded bored or worn out, the way long-married couples are supposed to sound. Marriage has always been portrayed as the downside of weddings. Weddings are glamorous and usually involve weight loss; marriage is dull and involves weight gain. Every bride and bridegroom is beautiful; every husband and wife is exhausted. At a wedding everything is new. And later, is anything new? 

Yes, it turns out. The intact couples I spoke to described their marriages as full of ongoing surprises, challenges and unexpected turns, in some cases hairpin curves — survivable ones. 

The way people look at marriage, and live it, has changed over the years. It’s like farming, once considered drudgery and hard work, but now seen as a soulful utopian adventure.
Marriage certainly involves more effort now than it used to. Once a couple spent the whole day trying to eek out an existence, leaving not much time for chit-chat; now the freedom of supermarkets and technology offer a couple non-stop face time, or countless distractions.

With the ease our contemporary surroundings provide for us, there will also be difficulties; the leisurely life in some areas provide issues to be tackled in others. 

Of the last couple to be profiled, Susan Hawe and Marc Parent:
How do they stay so happy? “If I were to boil it down to one thing, Susan stayed nice and I stayed funny,” Mr. Parent said. “If you can stay kind and keep a sense of humor, man, you can get through anything.”
Kindness and laughter. Sounds good.    

Monday, July 16, 2012

Segulah Glitch

We are in an age of segulos. But one thing people fail to realize:

When a segulah was first done, it wasn't done with any sort of expectation. The person was full of emunah, with faith, with love for Hashem, and did something to reflect that. If Hashem chose to answer his call, all the better. 

But nowadays we fail to take that emunah into consideration. No matter how selflessly we execute a segulah, there is always a percentage of our outlook which says: "That worked for him." That small voice turns the segulah from a selfless, religious gesture to a stunt. 
So I offer an alternate; instead of following patented segulos, how about we invent our own? And since they haven't been test-run, there will be no expectations of success and our motivation will be pure, as it should be.  

I don't mean something without meaning like snipping off a lock of a kallah's hair and putting it into your face cream, or reciting Tehillim backwards, or starting an archeological expedition to find the exact location of the well where Yaakov first saw Rochel. I just heard one that made me cry: Hand-grating the potatoes instead of using a food processor for kugel.

A woman sent a story to the local paper stating her desire, as a married woman, to do something for her single friends. What did she do? Every segulah possible on her friends' behalf (mostly involving challah). There was no mention of, say, trying to set up her friends, or inviting them over so they can meet new people, or describing them to her own acquaintances on the possibility that they knew someone for them.  

We should focus more on helping others, yes, but by actually helping others. Rav Steinman said that miseries in life are occurring out of lack of bein adam l'chaveiro. I believe Hashem is more impressed by our interpersonal relationships than anything else, because: 
I sought my God and my God I could not find.
I sought my soul but my soul eluded me.
I sought my brother to serve him in his need,
and I found all three—my God, my soul, and thee.
(I first saw this in this Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb shiur.)

Other people don't take away from our relationship with the Eibishter. Au contraire, without them there would be no relationship at all. Just be kind and pleasant to everyone. It's the new proven segulah

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Rip-Off Me

I thought I was so original, blending Star Wars with makeup. Then I came across Pink Sith's blog. She's been up since 2008. I'm telling you, I had no idea she was out there.

And she also loves Milk of Magnesia for oily skin. I'm not crazy, Bad4!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Interview Me

It really annoys me when people say things like "Looking for a spouse is like looking for a job. That's why your resume should be up-to-date with a good photo attached."  

Really? I'm job hunting?  

When one seeks a job, one coweringly enters an office, praying that the person in the big chair won't be too hard on them. 

"Job interview" already has connotations of a one-sided relationship; the all-powerful vs. the eager-to-please intern. 

I am not seeking a boss. I am seeking a bashert.

I can't stand the term "resume." Bad4 feels the same way, and I quote: "It's not a farshtinkener resume! It's a profile!"  

My photo? Really? What employer would insist on that? If he doesn't want to get hit with a discrimination suit, he better be open to other qualities. 

Please, let him judge me on shallow grounds alone. We are constantly hocked to give people a chance; not letting one have a conversation first to throw physical attributes in a whole new light is not exactly fair. If he wants to see what I look like before he'll spring for coffee, he's more than welcome to pick up a girl that suits his fantasies in Starbucks. 

We like to think about emotions such as "love" or "devotion" or "I saw her/him and knew." By boiling down our relationship status to a piece of paper we are stripping this whole enterprise of any warm feelings; only cold, clinical stats. 

I love Data, but I don't want to marry him. "Query: Why is there no mention of camps attended?"  

"Because I couldn't stand camp. I have no ruach."  

"Processing." (This takes a mili-second). "Elaborate as to why you abstained from this activity, whereas all other humans partake of such past-times."

Data's problem was that he tended to pigeonhole. 

Yaakov saw Rochel from afar and he was smitten with her looks. Then he loved her soul for how she treated the livestock. I am not going to announce all of my facets on a piece of paper. 

The mystery, honey, gets discovered in time. But in order to do that, buy a girl a coke.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Shabbos Face: Not Just for Shabbos?

Now, I thought it was only us frummies who were concerned with keeping makeup on for 25+ hours. However, this article testifies to the author's love of overnight Face.
She lists a number of long-wearing products from Revlon, L'Oreal, Maybelline, and Covergirl; I have found that drugstore cosmetics offer these rather than department store brands.

Ma's mascara "method" is also referenced: 
Mascara should be a strictly cumulative affair, if you ask me; it’s so much better after two or three days’ worth of top coats.
2-3 days? Child's play. I think Ma's mascara has never come off until that time she came down with flu and was bed-ridden for weeks. She washes her face every night around the lashes. 

The good thing is, even if part of the Face wears off, those leftover details provide enough to enhance and pretty-fy. At least I'll tell myself that when my lipstick finally hits the road on the third day of yontif.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

DYO French Nails

With support from ZP, I tackled french nails—and emerged somewhat successful, using polishes already available in my own home. 
I'm not a fan of the brush, which is the same thickness of a regular nail polish brush. To paint on tips, I painted them on sideways, in a long (and somewhat neat) line.
  • For the overall color, Essie My Private Cabana.
It gives my nails a rich, healthy, yet sheer pink, and I applied two coats before doing the tips. Technically tips are usually done in between color coats, but the polish has such a pink hue that it would taint the whiteness.
Ooh, classy!

Now for my second try, after finding:
I had been searching for a long while for a white nail art polish since the brush is much thinner as compared to standard polish brushes. I wanted to see what sort of accuracy it would provide.
  • For nail color I used Essie Spaghetti Strap. Still distinctly pink, it is paler than my previous selection. 
How did the Milani work out? Pretty well. Because the brush is much thinner I was able to get more technical in hard-to-reach areas. My left hand, however, wasn't very steady, but with practice I should improve. 
By my third try, the tips were much more even and accurate. Any boo-boos I tweaked with a nail art dot tool.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Battle of the Bulge: No Munching After Hours

According to the above linked article, organs have a "clock," times when they are operational and times when they rest. Eating late throws them off whack, making them very testy indeed. 

Even if one is not reaching for junk food, the body simply is not meant to digest at that hour. The researchers noticed that those (okay, mice) who ate whenever they wanted, even though they consumed the same amount of calories as the meal-eaters, gained weight. 
Tam Fry of the National Obesity Forum said: "There’s a pattern, which you should build up from childhood, of three set meals a day."
Additionally, I once heard it explained that when one goes to bed after eating, the body has to divert all that energy to digestion, so one's sleep is not as rejuvenating as it should be.

It is also a lot of fun to go to bed on an empty-ish stomach.  

Friday, July 6, 2012


There was once a very silly short story in a Jewish periodical about a single girl who asked her married friend to set her up with a chavrusa of the husband. The married friend, deciding to remain blissfully unaware, didn't follow up. 

The chavrusa got engaged to someone else, and the married friend was stricken with terrible remorse. 

The end. 


After a couple gets engaged, sometimes single girls or their mothers say things like "I was supposed to go out with him next," or "He was redt for me." 

There seems to be some sort of weird assumption that if a guy proposes marriage, it doesn't really matter to whom he is proposing. Meaning, he decided to get himself an ol' ball and chain, and whichever girl was there at the time is the object of his spousal hopes.  

I have this J.D.-like (Scrubs) visualization that a guy gets down on one knee, and while he's fumbling with the box another girl comes barreling out from nearby bushes, shoves the other female out of sight, and then sticks her proffered hand under his nose for the bling while he, apparently, doesn't notice a difference.  

It didn't quite work out that way for the original Leah. 

If only he had gone out with me, these women seem to be thinking, I would be the one getting married. 

Um, they do realize it has something to do with that specific female, right? And who knows? Maybe you wouldn't have liked him anyhow.  

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Counting Sheep

He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. he has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him a spinal cord would surely suffice. — Albert Einstein
"Why did you take apart my room!?!"

She stands there, attempting to look contrite. My dear niece, and also the biggest pain in the—

"It was his idea," she says with accusing finger, pointing to her cousin, my dear nephew, an even bigger pain in the—

"I. DON'T. CARE. You have a mind. You knew it was wrong. I don't care whose idea it was!"

I never understood the "herd" excuse as justification for bad behavior. 

I know that I am not immune. Someone makes a comment and I laugh, because everyone else is guffawing even though it isn't very nice. But if accused, I couldn't say, "Everyone else was laughing so . . . " So . . . what? It makes it okay? 
My niece has always sought her cousin's company, and went along with his schemes to gain non-existent favor. Choosing to exercise bechira for "evil" is still bechira. It isn't an exemption to free will.

Every time I open the newspaper there are articles claiming how we are not responsible for our own behavior. All of our responses can be filed away under "not-my-fault" whether it be due to major cognitive issues to the fact that I didn't have lunch yet.

I was stunned to read in a Jewish periodical a first-person of a young couple that got into serious debt. After mindlessly spending and ending up thousands in the hole, he buys (yes, another purchase!) a finance book that has this amazing concept: Individual responsibility. Wow! Never heard of it before!

Dear God! 

We were the people that invented "individual responsibility"! How did we come to this, not even cognizant that the more money I spend will mean the less money I have?

Psychopathy, it seems can be diagnosed in childhood. However, according to long-term studies, that is not a life-sentence. 
 . . . Those studies revealed two things. The first was that nearly every psychopathic adult was deeply antisocial as a child. The second was that almost 50 percent of children who scored high on measures of antisocial qualities did not go on to become psychopathic adults. Early test scores, in other words, were necessary but not sufficient in predicting who ultimately became a violent criminal . . . That gap is what gives researchers hope. If a genetic predisposition to psychopathy is a risk factor, the logic goes, that risk might be mitigated by environmental influences — the same way that diet can be used to lower an inherited risk for heart disease. 
This should not be a surprising concept to us. We know of the strength of the human mind and will. We can overcome the unpleasantness within ourselves. And if we don't, we aren't getting a free pass.  

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

TM, I Have Not Forgotten Thee

There is a branch of makeup that I am woefully neglecting, despite the fact that I owe so much to it. Tinted moisturizer was my best friend for so long, and because of one bad experience I have cast it aside. Well, no more. 

Tinted moisturizer is great for those who need light coverage, just enough to conceal minor skin issues, letting the natural beauty of the skin to shine through. 

The way I typically wear it is underneath mineral makeup, as it provides some moisture which my combination skin needs and a slight amount of coverage. 

The first one to come out with a tinted moisturizer was Laura Mercier. For years I only used hers, only I seemed to be clueless that it didn't match my face at all. I had really liked one by Kiss My Face, even though it had barely any SPF, but they seem to have phased it out. Then was Hourglass, which was the first of anything to match me perfectly, however it glittered and left my skin shiny in no time. 

So for a while I dabbled strictly in foundations, both liquid and mineral, but no joy there yet. Now to go home again.

1) Bobbi Brown SPF 15 Tinted Moisturizer Oil Free. I bought it in Extra Light. What I was surprised by was how it didn't, well, moisturize. It dried to tight matte-ness.

It's easy to apply, and leaves a lovely finish without much work. But it doesn't moisturize at all, and while I don't need much I need some. It was returned. 

2) Miracle Skin Transformer SPF 20. This probably falls into the new category of "BB Cream" as well as Tinted Moisturizer. It claims to do amazing things for the skin, specifically "A five-in-one formula designed to hydrate, prime, enhance, mattify, and protect your skin in a single step." It claims that it will fix skin, reversing damage, make the face look divine. 

I purchased it in "Light" the fairest available shade. While it may claim to perfect my skin, it doesn't do at least one thing it says it does, which is mattify. My skin was shiny immediately. Well, at least it's a good moisturizer. 

As for coverage, zippo. Supposedly it can be built up, but no matter how much I applied nothing was concealed. While all the claims of skincare should thrill me, it does not do what I need it to. Farewell. 

3) Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30 / PA+++ has no parabens, is non-comedogenic, has fabulous sun protection, plus it claims to transform the health of skin. Just reading their description made my mouth water. 

When it first came out it was so in-demand that it was sold out of Sephora for months. I would regularly check the website, but I was constantly hit with "not in stock" messages. Finally it became available, and I feverishly purchased it. 

The claims:
Infused with lush, naturally derived ingredients, this lightweight tinted moisturizer immediately helps thirsty skin feel hydrated. It has been proven to help reduce the appearance of discoloration and dark spots caused by hyper pigmentation for a clearer and brighter complexion in just four weeks. Oil-free and luxurious, it obscures the appearance of lines, wrinkles, pores and other imperfections. SPF 30/ PA+++ adds a translucent veil of protection . . .  This dermatologist-tested product is free of oil, synthetic fragrances and is non-comedogenic.
My, my. Do you do dishes as well?

I got the lightest shade, Finland, which I can say matches pretty well, since it is miraculously sheer enough to allow my own skintone to shine through, while covering up redness and discoloration. It's very light, blends easily, doesn't feel heavy at all.

Now that it's summer, I don't use it much since my skin doesn't need the moisture; I'll end up using it more in the winter. But I tap it lightly around my eye area to protect the skin there before applying the rest of my makeup. It doesn't sting the way my regular SPF does there, and it keeps on eyeshadow very well. 

(Sigh of contentment). Let the honeymoon begin.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Battle of the Bulge: No Snacking

I did not realize to what extent, until I read this article, how snacking is a basis for childhood. 

For both morning and afternoon recess, children are armed with snacks. Whenever I take kinfauna somewhere I grab a baggie of something to keep them quiet. Then I shouldn't be surprised when they harass me constantly at home for snacks, usually following a hefty Shabbos meal, or right when I have FINALLY sat down.

I certainly have learned that I, personally, cannot snack; it is the slippery slope to constant munching. I had to deprogram myself to stop expecting mid-morning and -afternoon snacks; it certainly paid off weight-wise. (For me, this kept me on the straight and narrow; however, everyone is geared differently, and some need that snack to ensure no overeating).

Rose's hypothesis is that the French do not provide their children with regular snacks, and we all know how the French have low obesity rates (at least, that is what everyone says).

If a child is supposedly hungry, it is not the end of the world if they wait until the next meal; it does not qualify as child abuse. The French want their kids to be hungry for a meal, which is a guarantee they will eat well. Considering how the kinfauna never eat a meal when they are supposed to (always before or after, but never during), she's got a point.

So if kids aren't supposed to snack, I'm guessing adults shouldn't be, either; she says the jury is still out on those "frequent little meals" diets. Even if they are healthy, those unnecessary calories can really add up.

If I don't give those kiddies snacks, maybe they would actually eat their meals when they are supposed to, and let me sit down every once in a while. 

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and make sure they're square.    

Monday, July 2, 2012

Judgeth Not

Rabbi Dovid Forhman is one of my favorite thinkers. He brings before you simple pshat, and can blow your mind. 

I heard him speak on Pirkei Avos, and he shows how each one can be divided into three categories: Torah, Avodah (service to God, bein adam l'Makom), and Gemilus Chassadim (kindness to mankind, bein adam l'chaveiro). 

So here we have from Perek Alef: (6) Yehoshua the son of Perachia and Nitai the Arbelite received from them. Yehoshua the son of Perachia would say: Assume for yourself a master, acquire for yourself a friend, and judge every man to the side of merit.

"Assume yourself a master" = Torah. (Rabbi Fohrman explains this establishing for oneself a role model, not necessarily a rav.)

"Acquire for yourself a friend" = Gemilus Chassadim, since friendships are based on doing favors for one a another. 

How does "judge every man to the side of merit" = Avodah?

Judging is something we do automatically; it can even be said to be logical. However, there is one problem: It is not our job to judge. Whose job? Only God's. By us saying, "I do not judge, for that is not my purpose in this world," we are testifying to God's existence. We are serving Him.

If I haven't already, I recommend his book, The Beast That Crouches at the Door, about Adam, Chava, and beyond.  

Sunday, July 1, 2012

"Sunshine" Music Video

And this one with The Dirty Heads is stuck in my head.