After Sandyhook- Bubble-wrapping Our Kids

When my firstborn daughter arrived in this world, it was only 2 months after 9-11. I remember thinking “What kind of world am I bringing a human being into?”

11 years, 3 more children later I still have those thoughts after every senseless horrific tragedy that befalls our fragile world. From mumbai, to Itamar, to this week’s Sandyhook and too many incidences in between, I fantasize wrapping each precious child of mine in bubble-wrap every time they leave my protective arms.

They say after you have children your heart remains outside your body following them wherever they go….sadly that is not enough to protect them from the crazy world we are part of.
Are we any different than our ancestors before us?  Nope.

Think of the world our grandparents endured in Europe when the maddest of all men set out to destroy them and nearly succeeded. The choices they had to make to protect their own was unfathonable. Yet here we are in 2012 with similiar fears. If we don’t fear daily, we fear for the future as we see such a rise in antisemitsm, terrorism, extremism…ISM’s really suck don’t they?
So what to do? How do we survive as parents without literally barricading our babies in a steel enclosed bunker?
Well, the answer is obvious and for those of us lucky enough to have been raised with G-d in our lives, pretty simple.

Our bubblewrap exists in G-d. If we live our lives believing that there is a higher power, a higher purpose and that whatever happens is part of the greater plan…good or horrifically bad….we have no choice but to go on.

G-d determines who lives and dies. G-d creates miracles. G-d gives and G-d takes.

When I was young and full of questions I used to wonder if G-d really did exist…later I grew up and said, who cares….we have no choice but to believe because without belief we are a quivering lost mess.  I’ve been through my share of challenges and tragedies and I personally have seen G-d’s hands in my life…but even if I still had doubts I would need to believe.
The U.S.A took G-d out of their schools so as not to offend….it’s sad.

We who grew up in private sachools and we who send our kids to private schools are lucky, despite the high pricetag. We give up on luxuries so we can instill in our kids the necessary tools to survive our world. Faith. Morality. Fear of G-d. Belief.

How do Israeli’s survive day to day surrounded by millions of psycho exretimists who fantasize driving each one, from 1 month old to 100 to the sea…
They believe in G-d.
They have no other choice.
Our grandparents lived in a world we can’t even imagine, they had our parents who had us. We all survived through good times and bad and we will continue to survive come what may.  And through faith so will our precious children, bubblewrap or not.

May the souls of all those precious children and adults whose lives were cut short rest in peace.

Dec 16, 2012 / Musings

Sandy’s Haves & Have Nots

Sandy  left in her wake much more than destruction, flooding, fallen trees, lack of power and gas and worst of all loss of life.

During the aftermath of this historical storm Sandy left behind the haves and have not’s…those who have a warm home with electricity and internet and those who don’t. Those who have a home all together even if without power, and those who don’t.  Those who lost their home but have a place to go to and those who don’t. Those who have all their loved ones safe and sound, even if they lost significant things and those who don’t.  This new social system does not discriminate…and is not based on race or wealth or status…it’s simply based on dumb luck.

And just like in real life, post-Sandy reality has allowed for peoples true colors to shine through, like the rainbow that G-d projected after the Flood.

(a rainbow that appeared the day after Hurricane Sandy.)

There are those who bitterly lament the loss of their freezer while there’s a mother out there who lost her two babies to Sandy’s wrath. And there are those who suddenly feel flush with luck now that they have more than their neighbor. The test is how generous those who have will be to those who have not.

There are have nots who once had and never really showed any generosity or empathy…hopefully Sandy will teach them to be kinder. Sometimes it takes a natural disaster to understand that nothing in life is permanent. That wealth, status, material possessions can be ripped away from you in the blink of an eye.

There are haves that never had much to offer before…now they can give a hot shower to a friend, a working computer,  a warm hug and these small acts will make a big difference…the test will be if  they come through.

Sandy has turned the east coast upside down and has given all of us, whether we are lucky or not, great opportunities and lessons to learn.

Hopefully we will come out of this with our priorities straight even while everything around us seems upside down. Hopefully we will learn about our capacity for kindness even if we have to fight against our own instinctual self-preservation.

The beauty and ugliness of the human race is always revealed in trying times. There will always be heroes and there will always be looters.  Most of us will fall somewhere in between.

Let’s all strive to be the brilliant rainbow after the storm and give what we can… be it an outlet, a playdate, a warm bed, freezer space, a ride, a thought…a smile.

And to those of us who lost much, let’s always remember how it felt to be in need when this is all over…and it will be over…and let’s learn to be kinder and more giving.

So thank you Sandy for this not so gentle reminder that all of us Haves & Have Nots are really all the same, at the mercy of G-d above at all times.


Nov 2, 2012 / Musings

A Sukkah Decorating Story

The Jewish holiday of Sukkot was always a favorite of mine growing up. I distinctively remember my Mom draping the four Sukkah walls with white sheets and covering every conceivable surface with tinsley decor in greens and reds and gold. These were disposable and no doubt  intended for Christmas, especially the bright flashing lights we hung throughout the ceiling. By the time we were done I felt our sukkah was the brightest, shiniest and most adorned on the block.

Fast forward 20 years later, I am exposed to my in-laws more refined version of Sukkah decorating. The colors are autumn…rich oranges, reds and dark leafy greens. Think thanksgiving with dried corn and grapes hanging from every corner. There is no tinsel. Their decor is meant to last and to be carefully packed away every year.

I was lucky enough to inherit their decor (It can get pricey) so year in and out my Sukkah theme became an autumn harvest copy of my in-laws with a few additions every year.

Then one day I spotted online a picture of a Sukkah that blew me away. It woke me up to the realization that I don’t need to do the same thing year in and year out. That I can decorate this temporary space to my liking and there are no rules that say it must be autumny or shiny. So I was on a mission.

Problem was it was the Thursday before Yom Tov. I had 4 days (one of which was Shabbat) to pull this together. In addition I still had to cook…
What does a determined girl, bored with my old decor and ready for a change do?

My canvas Sukkah’s biggest issue was the walls. Blue …traditional… but not jiving with my theme. So I called up the owner of the Sukkah that originally inspired me Sharon Langert (AKA. Fashion-Isha) to find out where she got her fabulous black and white fabric. To make a long story short, she graciously offered to lend it to me and since we had plans to meet at Jezebel Thursday night for drinks, she schleped the fabric with her from Lakewood.

The next morning (Friday) I showed it to my husband who didn’t seem so enthusiastic about this sukkah redo project. His only request was that I not destroy our Sukkah by punching holes in the walls and that I have some Jewishness in the theme and not just try and turn it into a copy of the W hotel. So I racked my brain on how to hang heavy canvas without destroying the walls and my creative friend Breezy of Breezy’s suggested Fishing Wire and bendable wires.

Since I have poles going across the tops of my Sukkah walls I made tiny holes in the fabric with the wire and wrapped it around the poles like shower curtains. It worked great!

I spent an hour at the Party Store looking for chandelier art and paper balls and at Michaels purchasing other things that works with my theme.   Saturday night I went out again to Michaels and purchased inexpensive wood frames and gold spray paint, checkered duct tape and foam balls, glitter and glue. I envisioned hanging glittery balls throughout, but when I went next door to TJ Max I spotted gold glitter pears for a fraction of the cost without me having to work…I got as many as they had. I found some gold snowflakes in the x-mas section and a clip board I thought would look cute and that I can reuse in the house. I found an old gold mirror in my house that worked perfectly along with a checkered clock.

my supplies.

Saturday night I began to decorate until the wee hours and Sunday my kids joined in and within a few hours we were done! My vision complete.

I even held up to my side of the bargain and put up all my jewish posters (with checkered duct tape frames) and my kids art (displayed in the spray painted gold frames and the clipboard.)

I must admit that going to Jezebel Thursday night inspired me as well. Their decor is so eclectic and tongue in cheek.  My favorite was there shofar chandelier made of… you guessed it…shofars.

And so I made a black leaf chandelier made of the fake leaves I purchaseed originally for my vase.

My friend Rachel loaned me her Missoni by Target black and white dish collection and hand towel and my Sukkah was complete.

The only bummer was that it rained the day I actually was going to use it and my company ate in my dining room.

But I proved to myself that I can do it, and I can do it quickly at minimal cost (with the help of my generous friends). I also proved to myself that my Sukkah can change with my taste and I look forward to many years ahead of expressing mine and my children’s creativity through this beautiful Mitzvah. Hopefully next time the weather will hold, but regardless it was fun!

So if you get in the mood one year to shake things up…go for it! Think of a color theme or style and have fun! Visit your local craft stores for inspiration, search the web, borrow or search your home for things you already have and work around it. Most of all enjoy this incredible holiday month to it’s fullest!

Happy Sukkot everyone!


Oct 5, 2012 / Musings


by Michal Weinstein

So I know I am not a fashion blogger and my blogs focus more on things related to MLWDESIGN or my day to day experiences…but this morning when reading the Post, I came across an article in the style section that caught my eye.

Titled Red Carpet Rebel this article glorifies this woman Jenna Lyons (whom I personally never heard of before) fashion sense and claims all the ladies will be copying her come Fashion Week.

Jenna Lyons, to those as unfamiliar as I was, is the creative director of J. Crew…not exactly a brand I consider so fashion forward. Supposedly Jenna did a few creative things with J. Crew that made her into a fashion personality. So kudos to her on that.

However, the Post than shows several pictures of Jenna touting her incredible style and when I saw them, frankly I was shocked. It reminded me of  this cartoon:

Here’s a few of the looks the Post admires.

Can you say…I just rolled out of bed and threw on top of my boyfriends button down my grandmas old shirt from the 80’s….

Now I cut up grandmas shirt and threw on a pair of  my boyfriends army pants he wore when he was 9 years old for halloween.

My perfectly sexy outfit was too boring so I threw on a few jackets on top and found a florescent bag to make  myself seem cool.

No I’m not a dork…I wear orange lipstick to offset these glasses.

Check me out…if Sharon Stone can wear a GAP turtleneck to the oscars  than I can throw on a denim jacket over my satin skirt and look hot.  And don’t you just love the white trim I added making this even more modest….

Look how versatile my denim jacket is girls?  From oscar to the streets! And don’t I look cool wearing an overcoat over my denim over my unticked t-shirt with a red coming from nowhere belt? (don’t forget to clip on your keys…very ghetto)

Finally…it’s ok to wear lots of leopard! The more the better! And even though you may never think of putting gray with it, trust me…gray is fabulous with leopard simply because it does not match so it’s unexpected.

Now tell me the truth….if anyone, and I mean anyone else were caught with some of these looks they’s make it into “What were they thinking” section in People Magazine yet somehow Jenna has managed to not only pull these off, but get socialites to copy her. Amazing!
This brings to mind the famous story “The Emperors new clothes” where everyone had to oooh and ahhh over something completely non-existant.  I do wonder if Jenna is secretly chuckling at everyone.

Anyway, that’s my take on Jenna’s fashion sense. If you like it and want to dress like her …just close your eyes and grab 8 things from your closet.  Put them together and there you go…a perfectly Jenna inspired look..

Sep 4, 2012 / Blog / Musings

Making Central Avenue Look Good!

I love having local clients for many reasons. I love personally getting to know my clients and developing a relationship with them. I love the fact that
I not only know their target audience, I am their target audience. I love being able to see my clients growth. And I love being available to them when they need me, even for a quick meeting. For me there is nothing that compares to a local client and I am grateful to each and every one who gave me a chance to service them and who in turn recommended me to their friends.

Central Avenue, my neighborhoods main street, is home to many of my clients. I often pop in to check up and talk shop. Sometimes it makes my excursion to town longer than I thought it would be, but I enjoy it, even if it’s for a quick hello.

Come “walk” with me down Central and check out a few of my favorite clients. (Three more central ave. clients are in the works…looking forward to those jobs!)

Kiss and Makeup is an amazing store on Central that sells makeup, beauty products, jewelry and more. They also provide laser hair removal, eye brow shaping and spray tan services. This store is so fun to walk into and impossible to leave without picking something up. K&M was also one of my very first local clients who put their trust in me to create their website. I am so happy to see how popular their site is.

What can I say about Breezy’s, formerly Ketzys. Breezy, owner, has been a client of mine for years and it has been a pleasure. She’s so creative and hard working. Her store sells fine giftware and offers classes in topics such as cake decorating, cake pop making etc. Breezy’s also sells kosher baking embellishments supplies and bar none has the best packaging in the Five Towns with her black box, poka dot ribbon and wax seal.  I’ve been doing her ads for years and later her website and recently I was involved in her new cookbook launching soon.  I love seeing her business grow and even recently made my daughters cupcake party at her store. It was great!

The Levi Yitzchak Library  is a very special place on Central. Created in memory of Levi Yitchak, a special 9 year old boy who loved to read, this library was a labor of love and a place all children enjoy hanging out in. I helped with their social media and advertising and really enjoyed working with the wonderful people there.

I always loved the concept of this company where they consign your designer clothes on ebay. When they contacted me to help them with their logo/website/social media it was completely up my alley. (Fashion is how I started) I loved revamping their look with a new logo. There site came out just as I envisioned and the best news is that they moved to Central Ave. and look great! Walking in to their store feels like you are walking into your very fashionable friends closet.

Elena, a very popular makeup artist with her own line of makeup, wanted a site that will service all her clients who are constantly ordering her products via phone. In addition, as a makeup artist, she wanted to have her bio up as well. It was a pleasure creating website and facebook page.

The best thing I got out of working with Warren Levi Karate, a fitness center that has the best bootcamp classes anywhere,   was the fact that I joined and have been their regular client for almost three years! I helped create their website as well as marketing material and of course became good friends with the Warren Levi family along the way.

This new store on central is a great concept. They personalize everything…from robes, to wipe cases, to bags etc. I helped with their social media and print design and look forward to creating their new logo.

One of the most beautiful baby furniture and accessory stores you have ever seen, I helped create their website  which has a built in registry.

Oh the fun I had with Alyssa from 100% Kids! This store has the best kids to adult clothing in town and it was a blast creating the website as well as their very successful facebook page. I also was involved in many of their contests including the model search contest. Kids fashion is how I started my web design career so this job was great! We are in the process of finalizing their NEW logo!

Another beautiful store with beautiful things. It always helps when your client represents such fabulosity! It was a blast creating their website as well as their successful facebook page. (and blog!)

One of my newer clients, Koko Fitclub is a brilliant concept as it’s the first automated training system.  Coming this Fall in Cedarhurst and Hewlett it sounds like a great solution for those who want personal training at a fraction of the cost. Currently I am involved in their facebook, social media marketing strategies.

Another stunning store on Central that sells high end lingerie, robes and more. Their gorgeous site is in the works and I love how their facebook page came out!

A great concept! Fitness center for kids! I was involved in creating great ads for them promoting their birthday party services.

Last but most certainly not least is my favorite photographers who have been in business for decades. I updated their website and have been their ad designer for years.  Their facebook page will soon get a makeover as well!

So that’s most of my Central clients. Stay tuned for the three more on the way! And if you are local and love the idea of a local designer, call me at 917-301-2584 for a free estimate..

Sep 4, 2012 / Blog / Musings

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