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Nov 10 2014

Free Stuff Alert: Win a HydroChic Swim Shirt for Your Winter Getaway

By at 3:14 pm

hydrochic giveaway

Getting ready for your winter getaway? You’ll be happy to hear we’re teaming up with HydroChic to give away one of their bestselling swim shirts to one lucky Kveller reader.

HydroChic is lifestyle active wear that doubles as swimwear, is sun protective, and is designed to be worn both in and out of the water. Their tops and bottoms–including short sleeves, long sleeves, skirts, skorts, shorts, and pants–offer a full range of UV protection and coverage, and are super fun to mix and match. There is a style for every shape and size: Missy XS-XL and plus sizes 0X-4X. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 23 2014

Orthodox Mother Challenges Convention With Her Own Dance Studio

By at 10:48 am

mina-tutu

One of the challenges of being female and Orthodox is straddling the line between halachic modesty, artistic expression, and personal empowerment. Take it from Mina Black, a professional dancer and Orthodox mother of four.

“Being an artist in our community, a dancing artist, is a very odd thing. You’re not allowed to express your body. It’s not modest. A woman is supposed to be covered, humble,” says Black.

One of 14 siblings, Mina was raised in a haredi Jerusalem neighborhood where professional dance was strictly forbidden, and she spent a lifetime struggling to find a niche for her talent. Today she lives with her family in Long Island, where she owns a ballet studio for Orthodox girls, blending prayer and spirituality with the art of dance. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 18 2014

My Conversion Prayers Were Answered Through An Orthodox A Cappella Group

By at 10:16 am

concert-Kol-Shira

I love music. I’ve been singing all my life. I belted out an elaborate rendition of “Old Macdonald” in my yellow bathing suit for the cable guy when I was 3 and sang on stage throughout adolescence and college. So much of my life has been set to music; every year a different show, a different song. It is how I built an inner confidence and poise. I have always felt that my voice was one of the things that brought me closest to God. A gift I was blessed with and never took for granted.

But marriage and careers and babies and more babies made it very hard to fit singing into my life.

I remember the first time I set foot in a temple for services. While it was a Reform congregation, the service and songs were primarily in Hebrew. Everything felt foreign to me. I knew that Judaism was calling to me but in that moment I couldn’t hear it. I felt lost, confused and disconnected. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 13 2014

Just Us or Was Modesty Totally Trending at the Golden Globes?

By at 12:52 pm

missmayim

If you tuned into the 71st annual Golden Globes award last night, you may have taken notice of this year’s fashion theme: modesty.

In a trend clearly borrowed from Miss Mayim herself (who looked gorgeous in a sheer-topped, black gown), actresses like Julia Roberts, Julie Bowen, and Elisabeth Moss left more than usual to the imagination, opting for sleeved dresses with little to no cleavage (oh my!) and maximum coverage. Ms. Roberts in particular takes the “frum chic” award home, donning an oxford shirt that appeared tucked into a form-fitting black gown. In my opinion, it looked like a glorified tuxedo, but to each her own.

Two great dresses in particular were the “Frum chic in the front/’bringing sexy back’ back” look worn by actresses Cate Blanchett and Emma Watson. Blanchett looked elegant and sexy in a high-collared black, backless dress, all the while dripping in Chopard diamonds. Watson wore a red backless flowing Dior gown, which was also backless and included pretty nifty sewn in cropped trousers. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 30 2013

When Do I Stop Being Naked in Front of My Kids?

By at 2:42 pm

bathrobe

Sarah Tuttle-Singer’s recent post on why she lets her kids see her naked reminded me of a piece I wrote almost two years ago about my family’s nudity policy (or lack thereof).

Unlike Sarah, I didn’t have a poetic, thoughtful, and profound reason for my decision to let my children see me (and their father) naked. My reason was pretty much the same reason I do all things; my belief that what’s easiest for me to do is ultimately best for my kids (a.k.a. I am Occam’s Mother).

But, when I wrote the above post, my oldest son was 12. And now he’s 14. There’s a big difference between 12 and 14–especially when he’s a boy. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 26 2013

Free Stuff Alert: HydroChic Modest Bathing Suit

By at 11:41 am

hydrochic skirtSummer is officially on, and we’ve got a giveaway to get you super excited about going for a dip. HydroChic makes sun protective active wear for water and sports, and specialize in modest swimwear that will you keep you just as covered as you want to be.

If you’ve been following Kveller over the years, you may recognize HydroChic as the bathing suit actress Mayim Bialik wrote a love letter to last year after her search for the perfect modest swimsuit. (You can see her sporting it on her recent trip to Mexico, too.)

We’re teaming up with HydroChic to offer one lucky reader any bottom of their choosing–skirt, skort, shorts, or pants. To enter, just fill out the form below and we’ll choose a random winner next Friday, July 5th. Good luck, and happy summer!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Aug 8 2012

What Do You Think About Natalie Portman’s Wedding Dress?

By at 3:25 pm

natalie portman wedding dressI’m a huge fan of Natalie Portman. She’s a talented actress, an ethereal beauty, and a proud Jewess. Born in Israel, Natalie wears her Jewishness proudly as was captured this past Saturday night at her beautiful yet understated Big Sur, California wedding to Benjamin Millepied. A photo of the couple wrapped in a Tallis evokes strong emotion as it represents the melding of the beauty of the physical and the spiritual into one.

But let’s talk fashion for a moment… What about her dress? Fit for a true princess, Natalie’s dress, a simple tea length gown by Rodarte, was elegantly topped with a sheer lace overlay to softly cover her arms and chest. Bravo to Natalie for her sense of respect and modesty at such a revered time in her life. I believe her gown was perfectly apropos for her specific wedding setting; it was elegant, yet completely unstuffy. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 16 2011

My Giant Adult-Sized Onesie

By at 11:22 am

The 100th episode party last night for The Big Bang Theory was big and full of bang, held at the Science Center in downtown Los Angeles. The Barenaked Ladies performed, and we cut into giant cakes in the shape of the number 100 (the cake was, alas, not vegan, so I did not eat cake for the cameras). In any event, we got to give thanks and appreciation to our amazing crew and staff and it was an intense but lovely evening.

For me, though, the personal thrill (besides seeing Chuck Lorre and Simon Helberg each play a song on stage with The Barenaked Ladies on stage – what!?) was my outfit. You see, I have taken on the awesome challenge of trying to conform to some standards of tznius (religious modesty), in this incarnation as an actor. Matter of fact, I did an entire set of posts about this entitled “Operation Hot and Holy” around Emmy time last year. The rules are simple enough: cover to the knee, cover the arms, no plunging necklines, no “unnatural cleavage” (meaning, if what God gave me is in evidence, more power to me, but no pushing up, no padding, no exaggerating allowed, as it were).

The stylist I used was recommended to me by the make-up/hair woman who I think it the most un-Hollywood make-up/hair person ever. This is a good thing, since I don’t like Hollywood people who tell me I look “aMAzing” when it’s clear that I don’t, etc. So the stylist, as it turns out, is a very un-Hollywood person as well. Yay!

Said stylist (thestyleden.com is her blog) is low-key, very hip, very not obnoxious, and very adorable. She also is straight-forward and funky, as well as reasonably priced. But the best part is the following (hang on to your kippahs and sheitels (wigs), Orthodox world): she is working with me on the tznius (modesty) thing. I can’t say she is overjoyed about it, but here’s how last night worked as a great example.

We chose a sweet Alice + Olivia dress that had teeny tiny adorable little cap sleeves. Not gonna work for mama, I told her. She suggested a blazer. That felt too “covered up.” I proposed a solution: frum shell.

What’s a frum shell, you ask? Picture a giant adult-size onesie (they also come without the snap crotch but who doesn’t want a snap crotch?!) in any color of the rainbow you want. They even come with different textures, sparkles, bling…They are sometimes 3/4 sleeve, I prefer the long sleeve.

When I explained the frum shell to the stylist over email, she wasn’t sure…She kept asking about the material. I told her it’s tight and shiny and black, her response was “OMG you just made me so happy when you said that!!” because she was worried that I would show up in black saggy, baggy, long john cotton thermals under my gorgeous dress. When I told her they come in every color, she laughed and said,  “Then in every color of the rainbow you shall have them!” I know, you’re loving her, too, right!?

We did one more fitting for me to try on the dress with the frum shell. The stylist eyed me. She looked skeptical. She paced around me, hands to her chin. She eyed the place where the neckline of the dress met the neckline of the frum shell. A little was poking out. She said if I wear my hair down so it covers the neckline, I have her blessing. Amen!

I love that I got to wear a frum shell under this dress to the party. I love that the frum shell allows one to wear dresses that are hip and happening without showing one’s arms if you don’t want to. I love that the party was held in a hangar-size room that was impossible for heaters to warm up; people were literally shivering and having trouble keeping their lips from chattering while I was happy as a clam, arms covered, cozy, and allowing the glory of my inner soul to shine through. Okay, alright, that was a bit of religious hyperbole, but you get the idea.

Possibly the most exciting thing about my new BFF/stylist is that she already has a designer picked out who will design me tznius dresses for the awards shows I will attending this season. Those will include the SAG awards (our show was nominated for Best Ensemble which means if we win, I get to go up on stage!), maybe The People’s Choice, and – who knows? – maybe the Emmys.

I know you’re all wondering if she’s Jewish, this stylist I am crushing on. Truth be told, she and I haven’t discussed it and I don’t know that we need to. All I know is she’s from Houston and her last name is Kahn, a name associated with the high priests of Judaism since the Torah. I know better than to make more of this than I ought to, but suffice it to say, she had me at “OMG.”

Read up on Mayim’s fashion adventures, keeping it hot and holy.

Nov 16 2011

Remember That Thing Called Privacy?

By at 3:13 pm

do not disturb sign on dooro“Um…what do you do at night…you know… when you want to be together?” asked my friend who was pushing her first child’s stroller as I pushed my fourth child in his.

She knew I left the door open at night, that the kids often came into bed with us, that as infants, they slept with me all night.

“I lock the door.”

“Oh, makes sense,” she replied, almost meekly.

I loved having my kids in bed with us but there were times, of course, that their parents needed to be alone together.

This concept is known as “privacy.”

In an era of TMI and oversharing, it might be a good policy to review.

Of course, I did not pee in private for about 15 years as I raised my kids. And now that I take care of my grandchildren frequently, there are times I am demonstrating to yet another generation what it means to use the toilet. But, in the immortal words of James Marshall’s hippos, George and Martha, “There is such a thing as PRIVACY, you know!”

We take for granted that we need to teach our kids to share – Elmo, Big Bird and friends talk about it all the time. And we do, too, especially when screaming and pulling are involved. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 19 2011

Mayim at the Emmys: The Morning After

By at 12:07 pm

Mayim Bialik’s journey to the Emmys started like any other celebrity–with a search for the perfect dress. Unlike everybody else, her search was deemed “Operation Hot & Holy,” since the actress wanted to find a dress that adhered to traditional Jewish rules of modesty. You can read Part 1Part 2, and Part 3 of her story. Here are her thoughts post-Emmys, written at 4:30 am while nursing, of course.

1. Oh my goodness, my feet hurt so incredibly much from those spiky heels of death the stylist loaned me. Legs will tremble involuntarily after about 7 hours in the million dollar babies known as crystal-encrusted Rene Caovillas.

2. Jim Parsons won the Emmy! It’s amazingly exciting to work with an Emmy winner and he is so modest, talented, and kind. I am so proud of him and happy for him.

3. Host Jane Lynch remembers me and said hi to me. I used to see her in small theater in LA in my teenage years. Claire Danes and Zachary Levi and I also seem to be destined to be BFFs because we keep running into each other.

4. I got to be in the E! “360 Camera” which was like a 3-way mirror from hell times 9000 but was also super cool.

Me and Louis CK, the one person I wanted to meet!

5. I achieved a look I was comfortable in, proud of, and compliant with Operation Subdued Sexy aka Operation Hot and Holy. My persistence in looking for a tznius (modest) dress that covered my elbows and beyond and my resistance to backing down paid off. I got a LOT of questions on the red carpet about it: why so long, why so covered up… but also some very sincere compliments from interviewers who seemed genuinely refreshed to see something “different!”

6. My hair was Pink-esque and TALL, my make-up was fierce, and my jewelry was “unusual” by Hollywood standards but we pulled it off. It is possible to express individuality and still look competitive. Unless I make a “worst-dressed” list in which case, whatevs.

7. Publicists will attempt to take a sista down on the red carpet if they either a) don’t know who you are and think their client deserves more time on the carpet than you or b) don’t give a flying funk who you are and think their client deserves more time on the carpet than you.

Yes, I brought Hanukkah gelt as a snack.

8. A little quinoa and brussels sprouts makes a vegan very happy at the Governors Ball after the awards.

9. I will be waking up like usual at around 6:30 am and I am currently up at 4:30 nursing Fred. My boys don’t care if I was at the Emmys last night nor should they: what’s for breakfast?

10. I can’t escape my beloved YU Maccabeats; Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” was performed last night during the show and all I could imagine was the Maccabeats’ version which uses the lyrics to the Medieval Hebrew love poem about Shabbat, “L’cha Dodi.” It was a comforting coincidence.

11. I WENT TO THE EMMYS!!!


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