Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hanukkah Tablescapes

So if you follow me on Facebook you would have noticed that I went on a bit of a Hanukkah rant this morning. It went something like this......

When did blue and silver become the Hanukkah colors??? I'm kind of a little upset about it. It never used to bother me, but seriously. WHY? I'm doing research for my next blog post and all that comes up are blue and silver. Not sure why it bothers me, but I'm very much annoyed. Anyone else bothered by this??? Perhaps it's just me and my "out of the box" - "non conforming" self.

After a very interesting discussion, it was established that the colors stem from the Israeli flag of blue and white. So I guess it was decided, by the powers that be, that in order to combat the holiday season of green and red the "Jewish" colors of blue, white, and silver had to be the Hanukkah ones. Hmmm.... I guess you could say that it's a color war of sorts, right?? LOL.

When I was a teacher, just starting out, I taught middle school girls at a modern orthodox school in Beverly Hills. We used to get into some very interesting conversations and one time it happened to be about Christmas. One of my students mentioned that Christmas was very similar to Hanukkah and she wanted to know how that came to be. If you're a history buff like me you will find this fascinating, but I won't bore you "others" with the details. I just want to point out a couple ideas that can be "food for thought."

- Ever wonder why Hanukkah is called the Festival of Lights? Seems similar to Christmas.... look at all the lighted houses!

- Did it ever occur to you that Chrismas and Hanukkah are on the same "days?" Hanukkah = 25th of Kislev and Christmas = 25th of December.

- Besides the fact that Santa Clause was a made up character by Coca Cola why do both holidays have a gift giving element???

As I said before I won't bore you with the details, but if you want to know the answers to some of these questions you can read about it here, here, and here.

SO, let's now get back onto topic of what I really wanted to show you guys........ HANUKKAH TABLESCAPES!! I had so much fun looking for some this morning and I was surprisingly able to find some colorful ones as well.

The first one I want to show you comes from Breezy's. They were lucky enough to be asked to do a Chanukah buffet table for Elegant Impressions Magazine! You can read all about this super fun and oh so yummy tablescape on their blog. I love the color combo of turquoise and purple!!! BTW - Recipes are included and as always I love Breezy's tricks and tips!

    Milk and Cookies anyone?
The next one I found was at - If you have never been on that website, you can thank me after you go to check it out. Now that I am redoing my entire house due to my house debacle, I need a lot of inspiration  Houzz helps - a lot!

#1-  I L.O.V.E. this vase!!!

#2 - This is soooooooo crafty it's genius. 
#3 - The coins garland on the fireplace is so so so unbelievable!!!!!
Kind of loving the yellow polka dots of this theme......


This next one comes from the most recent issue of Joy of Kosher. Loving the HUGE dreidels!!

dreidel center piece

And if you need an invitation for your next Hanukkah shindig check out this adorable invite from SweetLEX on
Quirky & Fun HANUKKAH PARTY Invitation: Digital printable file

Quirky & Fun HANUKKAH PARTY Invitation: Digital printable file

Hope these ideas inspire you this Hanukkah Season!!


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Turkey Day!!

I've always wanted to make Thanksgiving.
There's just something about a beautifully set Thanksgiving table.
So warm and inviting.
The delicious hot yummy meal.
I love the Fall.
I love the changing of the leaves.
The colors are so striking.
But alas, I never get to make it.
Thanksgiving is always spent at my Aunts.
Gathering once a year for a family reunion.
I am most thankful that we can still all get together.

Even though I can't put a Thanksgiving feast together in my actual home, I can at least post what I would do!

 I would try to find a set of eclectic turkey dishes. My color scheme would be hunter green, mustard, gold, and berry wine. I would get huge glass vases and add cranberries and chestnuts to the bottom and put XL pillar candles inside. Small candles would accents around the table.
I would would find an eclectic set of turkey dishes.

 Setting my table in a formal setting would be a must.

For the kids table, I would go with something playful and fun. It's always best to engage the little ones with a colorful and festive table.

the kids table
Frog Prince Paperie

I am really loving homemade candles this season so I would make as many as I could. 

Thanksgiving Tablescape...
Macintosh Apple Candles

gourd candles
Gourd Shaped Candles
I would also put together some beautiful crafts for the holiday decor.

thanksgiving2011 Happy Thanksgiving
Love the handmade pine cones.


 Not only am I thankful for my family, but I am also thankful to all of you. 
My fans are what keep me doing what I love to do!

Here is my gift to you! 


Happy Turkey Day! 


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Kosherfest Round Up and a Kick in the @$$

Honestly, I have been feeling a bit uninspired lately. 
Setting up the rental house and being a mommy to my 5 kids. 
Sometimes we need a little motivation. 
Other times we just need a good kick. 

Kosherfest did just that for me. 

Event #1 Kosher Food Blogger Conference. 

Look who was a sponsor!
The Kosher Food Bloggers are a community of bloggers, brands, and foodies that share a common passion for good kosher food and culinary adventure. Their first ever conference was held at the Carlton Hotel in NYC.  They had some really awesome speakers like Jamie Geller of Joy of Kosher, the genius photographer Noah Fecks, and the SEO master Joe Apfelbaum of Ajax Union.  

Why did I go? Why was I a sponsor? 
It's not like I'm a foodie.....

The truth is that my pieces lend a lot to the food world, especially kosher since I'm an Orthodox Jew. Food bloggers use my pieces in their photos, restaurants use my cake domes in their displays, and event planners use my custom pieces for their clients, weddings, and parties. 

Lunch Sponsored by Fairway
The best part of doing what I do is meeting the friends that I make online and seeing them in person! Melinda Strauss of Kitchen Tested  is truly one of those people. I finally got to meet her Kosher Food Blogger buddy Shelley Serber of The Kosher Home {on a budget}. Of course we became instant friends. Meeting Leah Shapira was also super swell. Not only is she the author of Fresh & Easy, but she also runs the website Cook Kosher and is a managing food editor for Ami Magazine

Event #2 Pre Kosherfest Social Media Dinner 

I had the privilege of co-hosting the Pre Kosherfest Social Media Dinner with my SweetUP  partner Esti Berkowitz and the KosherEye team. 

This year, KosherEye and SweetUP served-up the best in social media networking at the 2nd Annual Pre-Kosherfest Social Media Dinner at Abigael’s on Broadway. The who’s who of foodies, magazine editors, and lifestyle bloggers dined on an exclusive menu created by celebrity Chef Jeff Nathan. In true social media style, IPhones, instagrams, Facebook shares, and tweets were just as handy as fork and knife. People followed along from right in the room to miles away by following the designated hashtag for the evening, #kfeast12.

Upon arrival, guests were treated to glasses of champagne sponsored by Royal Wine! This gave people enough time to finally meet their Facebook and twitter followers in real time. 

The sponsors of this year’s dinner were a perfect fit for the impressive group of bloggers. The room was thrilled to hear about some of these brand new products from our Premier Sponsor, Manischewitz CompanyThe Chanukah House, Chocolate Covered Potato Chips, and Macaroon Dough!

Look out for my next post with some more details
on this super fun project for kids! 
Food man LLC, the creators behind Matzolah and winner in the Best New Passover Product Competition that took place before Kosherfest, brought down what Moses didn't have room for, Matzo granola!

As guests were served three courses, each just as delicious as the next, the “getting to know you” chat began. Each guest presented an “elevator” speech sharing who they were, and what they were about, in no more than 1 minute!

Once the main meal was concluded, delicious desserts were served, complimented by Cherry Heering Coffee Liqueur! A bottle of this lovely liqueur was placed on each table, accompanying after dinner coffee, and miniature bottles were included in the swag bags.

As the evening was drawing to a close, our very special guest, Alex Rapaport, founder of Masbia Soup Kitchen, shared a few words about his organization. When this event was conceptualized, the importance of recognizing and giving back to a non-profit organization was essential. Masbia was that organization and proceeds from the event went towards this organization. It was a great honor to give all additional food items from our sponsors to Masbia, who have been providing warm healthy meals to families affected by the hurricane, and to the teams helping with the aftermath of Sandy. The evening ended on a very positive note.

Esti Berkowitz and me - ready to go home after a wonderful night
In the next few months, the SweetUp Team will be putting on a Chanukah Hangout benefiting the children of Chai Lifeline, A Kosher Cupcake Cook-off, Social Media Soiree and Fashion Show! True to our mission of connecting Jewish bloggers from all backgrounds with brands that want to reach these bloggers, we are you one-stop networking team! Please join us on Facebook and on twitter @sweetup2012.

Event #3 Kosherfest!

Finally the BIG day had arrived! I had never been to Kosherfest before and I was soooo excited! I got to meet some really amazing people and eat some really delicious food. I came home a bit tipsy and stuffed.  

Susie Fishbein with her new Kolatin product!

 Paula Shoyer is like my other half.
She's from Long Beach  and went to HALB and HANC.
It's like she could be me, but I haven't been on the
Food Network nor have I written a book! 

Leah Shapira of Cook Kosher signing my new cookbook
Fresh & Easy

Jamie Geller  from Joy of Kosher
She graciously gave me a new copy of
Quick & Kosher to replace the one that got
ruined in my house debacle

Funny costumes!
He could braid those havdalah candles quick!

7th Heaven for my husband. 

Kosherfest was just the right kick that I needed to restart and recharge my creative batteries. Can't wait to show you all the new Chanukah pieces I have been busy creating since Kosherfest! 

Till next time!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Long Beach

I spent my High School years in Long Beach, NY

The “City by the Sea” and hated it.
I never saw the beauty and I certainly never wanted to stay.
Who ever heard of a beach with a raised boardwalk and buildings along the shoreline?
Where were the mountains and palm trees?
The beaches in Malibu never looked like this.

I could never understand why everyone loved Long Beach so much.
It was so hard to get into.
The streets only went one way.
Why couldn’t my parents move to a more central location?
Why did they have to move somewhere so far away???

On the eve of Hurricane Sandy, I sent my husband to Long Beach to bring my parents to my Northern New Jersey home.
They were evacuating the island and my parents refused to leave.
“Don’t worry,” they said. “They blew Irene out of proportion, It’s gonna be fine. Nothing is going to happen.”

Fighting with old people never works.
You are always wrong.
They are always right. 
But you see.
My step father is battling brain cancer and my mother takes care of him.
Elliot can hardly walk.
And they wouldn’t get in the car.

They had just moved. 
His medication was there. 
They were just so tired. 

The bridges started to close and the storm was approaching.
My husband had no choice, but to leave without them.
My parents were locked in.
On a tiny island bordering the main Long Island coast.
With no hospitals.
With no help.
They were there on their own with my sister on the floor above them.
Why couldn't they just listen to me!
I was livid.
So very very worried.
And then the storm hit.

The wind was like nothing I have ever heard or felt before.
The sheer power of its force - Godly.
Green and red sparks lit up the dark sky as transformers blew up throughout the city.

All I could think about were my parents being washed away at sea.
Or trapped in their first floor house like titanic, holding each other as they died.
I swear I thought I would lose my mind.

At 4 am I was a nervous wreck.
I got an update from the Long Beach website that read:

“Long Beach and the entire region has suffered crippling flooding and damage from Hurricane Sandy…… There is no water and no sewer – your toilet and sink will not work. At this time water from your faucet is not safe to drink or use for cooking unless boiled. It is not safe to leave your home until later Tuesday morning. We will send out more updates as soon as possible.”

I couldn’t get a hold of them.

My brother called me around 6am Tuesday morning and told me he was going out to Long Beach.
He was going to try to rescue them.
Thank God, but what would he find?

My parents were safe.
My mother was helping my sister clear the front yard like nothing had ever happened.
Pieces of boardwalk and debris littered all around them.
Their cars were flooded with water.
They packed up their stuff and my brother drove them to my sisters in Queens.

And then pictures started to come in......

2pm at low tide. Ocean is getting rougher, it's getting windier.
Photo Credit: Jeff Rosner
Taken at sunset as the storm hit, 2 hours before high tide.
Photo Credit: Jeff Rosner

8 pm during high tide.
Photo Credit: Lauren Friedman 
The morning after. The Boardwalk has been ripped away.
Photo Credit: Jeff Rosner
The Clean Up.
Photo Credit: Jeff Rosner
The Boardwalk
Photo Credit: Matsi Chinskey

Chunks of boardwalk in the middle of the street.
Photo Credit: Matsi Chinskey

Like many historical sites. This one is destroyed.
Photo Credit: Lauren Friedman 
Wanna go on the beach anyone?
A beach ticket booth. Washed up 5 blocks from the beach.
Walnut and Long Beach Road.
Photo Credit: Matsi Chinskey

The Park at Magnolia Blvd.
Photo Credit: Unknown 

They can’t go home for at least a month.
They realize how lucky they are.
God was with them the whole time.
Their home was one of the only ones that was NEVER touched by water.
The ocean rose up to 4 inches from the door and then it began to recede.
Their car will be covered by insurance.
They have their clothes, valuables, and medication.
They have their life.
My children still have their grandparents.

But for now Long Beach is devastated.
I didn't realize how much I cared until it was no more.
My city by the sea will never be the same.
The National Guard is roaming the streets.
There is a strict curfew at night.
They are not letting anyone in except for residents. 
They is no power. 
No cell service. 
No sewer system.
Broken shards of boardwalk are strewn all over the city.  

Many cities throughout the tristate area have been plunged into darkness.
Candles illuminate dinner tables for thousands of American homes.
I cannot help but feel diminished and in awe. 

For it’s not the internet, nor cell phones, nor power that illuminates and gives light.
But it is He who said, “Let there be light.” Who ultimately controls the world.                                                                                                                 Ron Yitzchok Eisenman

To help rebuild Long Beach please click HERE and donate. 
Please watch this video of Rabbi Goodman, the Rabbi of the Bach. 

Tisku L'Mitzvot!