Monday, November 30, 2009

On Being Thankful

My Thanksgiving did not turn out as I had planned. My grandpa passed away the day before Thanksgiving.

I will miss my grandpa. He was a really good guy. He loved eating sand dabs, wearing his University of Arizona hat, and his family – especially my grandmother. Watching my grandparents together was like watching two peas in a pod. I can only hope that whoever I end up with loves me as much as they loved each other.

Tonight, we had a shivah at my house in his honor. More than a hundred people came (bearing a ton of dessert, as Jews do best) – to pray with us, be with us, and be there for us. They packed into the kitchen and the den, sitting and standing, hugging and kissing, eating and drinking.

During the short prayer service, I stood next to my family and looked around. There were people, literally, on all four sides of us. We were completely surrounded by people – family, friends, people from Adat, rabbis, coworkers, people from Federation, people from elementary school and middle school and high school, people we’ve known forever and people we just met a few months ago. Our community was there, to surround us, comfort us, and give us love.

On the day of Thanksgiving, I didn’t say what I was thankful for. But it’s only a few days late, and I want to say it now: I am so thankful for my community.

I am so thankful to have a community that loves me and my family so much. I am so lucky to have people who take the time out of their busy lives to call, email, Twitter, text, Facebook, or visit me when I need them. I am so thankful to be a member of my community.

For everyone who came and prayed and gave us hugs and kisses and condolences and cake, thanks so much. It’s because of you – our community – that we have the strength to get through the bad times. And for that, I am very thankful.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Vegas, Yenta Style

A sure recipe for a fab weekend in Las Vegas:
- 15 “prime of life” Jewish ladies
- 3 young gals
- 10 rooms in 3 different towers of Caesar’s Palace
- 1 $1,000 jackpot
- 1 Cher imitation in the middle of Spago
- 2 Shabbat services in hotel rooms
- 1 wheelchair scooter
- 3 wheelchair scooter incidents
- 8 rounds of Happy Birthday sung in very public places

Suffice it to say, this was not my typical weekend jaunt to Vegas.

The reason for this trip? My mom’s good friend Rochelle turned 50 a few weeks ago, and to celebrate, all of the valley Yentas decided to head to Vegas. Of course I can never pass up a trip to Vegas, so when Rochelle’s daughter, my good pal Maya, told me she was going, I immediately invited myself along as well!

the birthday gal herself!

Since lately my sister has been telling me my stories take F O R E V E R to tell, I won’t give a play by play. Instead, I’ll give you some highlights:

- Since some members of our group were more religious than others, the weekend started with lovely Kabbalat Shabbat service as all 18 of us packed into a hotel room for a FULL service. I may or may not have videotaped this and captured one particular special moment when Maggie became so OVERCOME with love for the Lord that she was literally bouncing up and down on the bed. I won’t lie, the service was actually very nice, but I confess that I did give my mother a look of horror when I arrived in Vegas to find out our first group activity was…praying. Let’s just say I added my own prayer – the Shehechiyanu – for the first time I ever did Shabbat in Vegas!

- Speaking of Maggie, I love her. But I would not call her a very experienced gambler, and WOULDN’T YOU KNOW IT, she stuck $37 bucks into a penny slot and WON A THOUSAND DOLLARS. The best part? She didn’t even REALIZE IT. I am not at all joking when I say that if it had been me or my mom, we would have wrecked our vocal cords for life screaming and jumping around like lunatics.

- My own personal favorite moment of the trip? Poor Susie, who just had knee surgery, was having trouble walking around our enormous hotel, so she rented one of those wheelchair electric scooters. Cut to us on Saturday morning, making our way through Caesars on our way to lunch at Joe’s Stone Crab. I found an elevator and held the door open for Susie. What does she do? She hit the gas instead of the brakes and PLOWED into the wall of the elevator. I have never seen a group of people laugh so hard – the ladies were CRYING. I tried not to laugh, especially after I realized that Susie had hurt her shoulder – whiplash!- but it really was one of the funniest things I have ever seen.

- The grown-up ladies went to see Cher perform while us little kids stayed behind. Afterwards, we all met up at Spago for dinner. I was jealous that they had seen Cher, so decided to put on a little show of my own… I may or may not have climbed up the Spago staircase and performed “If I Could Turn Back Time” with a mini hairbrush and a glass of tequila for THE ENTIRE RESTAURANT. I have NO shame.

- I’m not kidding when I said we sang Happy Birthday to Rochelle 8 times. Everywhere we went, someone sneakily whispered to the waiter, and out came a cake and a candle and the song – at the airport, at Mesa Grill, at Spago, at Joe’s, etc. But the best one? That would have to be approximately 10,000 miles in the air – the plane had just taken off when the flight attendant came on the intercom.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the captain has not yet turned off the seatbelt sign… Federal law prohibits gathering near the cockpit… and WHERE’S ROCHELLE? IT’S ROCHELLE’S BIRTHDAY! LET’S ALL SING HER HAPPY BIRTHDAY!”

And so the entire plane sang Happy Birthday, once again, to Rochelle :)

the whole gang before dinner at Mesa Grill

Mommy, Rochelle, Maya, Sarah, Sheila, Susie, Karmi, Jill, Liisa, Felice, Debby, Nadine, Rebecca, Sharon, Gail, Maggie, and Nora, thanks for a fab weekend! I would go back with you anytime!

Friday, November 20, 2009

My Little Known Hobby

Did any of you know that I am obsessed with interior design?

It all started a little over a year ago – when Tal and I decided to move to a new apartment, I went a little nuts. For some reason, the idea of moving into a huge, beautiful, all-white shiny new apartment that was completely ready for us to fill with gorgeous stuff just triggered something within me – I started buying countless shelter magazines (Metropolian Home, Elle D├ęcor, Domino – REST IN PEACE) and subscribing to all these design catalogs.

Ever since then, I can’t stop – I still read the magazines, the blogs, and have amassed such a collection of things I’ve torn or printed out that I had to start a scrapbook. Call me lame, but my idea of a ridiculously relaxing evening involves my George Foreman, my design scrapbook, and a reality show on the TV.

If reading these kinds of magazines/blogs is something you’re interested in, I would definitely recommend starting a scrapbook. When I started tearing pages out, I had no clue what kind of decorating style appealed to me. However, once I started flipping through my book, I noticed a very clear pattern – almost everything I like is either modern or Asian/Indian-influenced. It was never a surprise to me that I liked bright colors, but now I have a better sense of the patterns and fabrics that I like – for example, my absolute FAVORITE is ikat. Anything ikat or ikat-inspired, I rip out immediately!

Have you heard of Madeline Weinrib? She’s a famous textile designer whose stuff I absolutely die over. Each year on my birthday, I go to a fancy store and treat myself to something fabulous. Last year’s purchase was a Vince leather blazer – unreal purchase, but I digress. This year, since the fam was in New York, I dragged them all to ABC Carpet & Home and bought myself an INSANE Madeline Weinrib rug that I’d been drooling over. Isn't it gorgeous? I got it in turquoise!

Here are some of my favorite interior design blogs. Definitely check them out if this is one of your hobbies, too!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. I'm off to Vegas with the Yenta's - more on that when I return!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Shop Til You Drop

Oooh ya’ll. I cannot stop shopping.

But that’s OKAY! Hey, right now America needs all the economy-boosting it can get. And that, ladies and gents, is where I come in – I am more than happy to do my part.

Want to see some fun stuff I’ve been buying?

I am really excited about this – Anthopologie’s Rinzu Robe. Okay, so technically it’s a silk bathrobe (Anthropologie has it listed under “Sleep Outfits,” which is just retarded), but the print is so gorgeous and so me. I’m planning on wearing it one night this weekend in Vegas with the Yentas (more on that later) with black tights, black ankle booties, and a black blazer. Cute, right?

This is the other outfit I’ve got planned for Vegas – I first bought this Dolce Vita dress in the multicolored chevron print, and I loved it so much I bought it in the grey print, too. I absolutely love the zipper up the whole front – exposed zippers are so sexy! I wore the multicolored one when I was in Tucson a few weeks ago – I wore it with a black jacket, my knee-high black suede Coach boots, and of course, a black bow headband. I was SOOOO Blair Waldorf!

Speaking of headbands – I’m really into them lately. I also just picked this up from Anthropologie also. I think my obsession started when I decided to wear a feather pin in my hair to Yom Kippur services and thoroughly flipped my mother out. “Very appropriate,” she said. I didn’t care – I LOVED it and felt fabulous in it.

Okay – no more shopping for me for a while. At least til I get to Vegas this weekend :) maybe I’ll win some money and really go to town. A girl can dream!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Food Truck Mania!

Please tell me ya’ll have tried at least ONE of the food trucks roaming around LA these days. I am OBSESSED!

So it all started with the Kogi Truck, and Twitter. Two guys came up with this ridiculously brilliant idea of creating a new type of LA street food – a fusion of Korean and Mexican food – and serving it out of a traveling food truck that hits areas all around LA. In order to get the word out, they turned to Twitter, tweeting their location each time they moved. The result? Insane lines, crazy amounts of press, and approximately three dozen copycat trucks.

As a total foodie, I am all about this new phase in LA food J So far, I’ve been to only a few of these trucks – my favorites being the Sprinkles Cupcake Mobile, the Grilled Cheese Truck, and of course, Kogi!

What are my favorite things to order? Let’s see. At Kogi, you can’t go wrong with the Korean short rib burrito, packed with hash browns, scrambled eggs, and cheese. I never leave without ordering either the Kogi hot dog special – a juicy hot dog covered with kimichi sauerkraut – or the Kogi sliders (my personal favorite!), two adorable mini burgers made out of short rib meat, topped with Asian slaw and cheddar cheese.

I had the Grilled Cheese Truck for lunch today, actually. I ordered a Plain Jane melt on white bread with cheddar cheese and a side order of tater tots. The tots were INSANE! So crispy, hot, and salty – I was a majorly happy camper. My friend and I also ordered their dessert melt – Nutella and grilled banana on white bread. When I ordered it at the truck, the lady behind the counter said, “Oh! You’ve got the last one!” I peeked behind me at the hundred people waiting in line, turned back to her and said, “Shhhh! They’ll kill me!”

If you want to see where the trucks will be any day of the week, click here – some brilliant internet wunderkind compiled all the Twitter feeds onto a website, so you don’t even need to have Twitter to find your next truck fix!

Mmmmm… I’m getting hungry just writing about it!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

True Confessions

It's kinda like the Catholics do, except with no priest :)

  1. I got the Glee CD in the mail last week. I have not stopped listening to it on repeat. Particularly “Defying Gravity” and “Somebody to Love.” Also, if you’re driving by a cute girl in a black QX4 and notice she is literally singing her lungs out, quite poorly, to a musical theaterized version of Heart’s “Alone”, that’s me.
  2. I went to the So You Think You Can Dance Tour on Monday. Me and approximately 10,000 screaming fourteen year olds packed the Nokia Theater at LA Live to watch Season 5’s dancers perform selected dances from last season. Though afterwards, I professed to find it just “decent” and called it “really cheesy,” I must confess I found it completely and totally fabulous and spent the drive home wiggling in my seat and secretly wishing I had even the slightest bit of dance ability. I suppose I will have to be satisfied with my ability to belt out Heart (see #1 above).
  3. I may or may not have already selected the dresses I plan on having my bridesmaids wear at my wedding. No, I’m not engaged. Yes, I’m completely and totally single. No, I don’t think this is strange in the least. Isn't it gorgeous?
  4. I am making some B – I – G changes in my life. But I’m not quite ready to share them. When I am, trust me, you’ll all be the first to know! (Wish me luck in the meantime).

Got any good confessions of your own?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Night Fish Killers

Friday nights. They're for relaxing, right?

I imagine that in a normal family, every member arrives home from their various work or school or life activities and gathers together in the family room, where they share stories about their week and plan for family activities to do throughout the weekend.

Uhhhh, not the Silvermans.

About 20 minutes after we all came home from our various activities, my dad came in to the den, where me, Bay, and mom were laying around watching TV.

He was very excited, jumping around and waving a plastic bag at us.

“Who wants to watch me feed these baby goldfish to my lionfish?”

For those of you who don’t know, my father is a man of many useless hobbies. One of them is his enormously large aquarium. It’s filled with tropical fish and exotic coral, and at night, you can often find him sitting barechested in his PJ pants on a little stool, gazing happily into the tank.

Anyways, I digress. Normal people share a family dinner, or decompress by watching a funny movie together.

The Silvermans stood around the aquarium for a half hour watching three lionfish attack, mangle, and eat a bag full of helpless goldfish.

New life motto: The family that watches marine life die together, stays together.

Whatever you or your families are doing this weekend, I hope you’re having fun!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sleeping Bags + Closed-toed Shoes = Not In My Suitcase. Ever.

Tonight, I have to go to an overnight conference for the professionals’ organization I am involved in through work. The conference is actually tomorrow, but tonight is a special retreat/sleepover for “NextGen” professionals – young people who work for the Jewish community.

I kind of didn’t think much about it til yesterday – it’s being held at a summer camp, but I was told that we’d all be in private rooms and that the basic gist of the conference was going to be personal and professional development.

Imagine my surprise when I found out yesterday I’d be sleeping in a BUNK BED, and would require a sleeping bag – and my own sheets!

Oh wait, it gets worse. I was also advised to pack closed-toed shoes – for a special “night hike” and “ropes course activity”. WTF?!?!?!?!?!

I DEFINITELY don’t own a sleeping bag. I don’t even OWN closed toed-shoes! Okay, that’s a lie, I own a pair of Converse, but I only bought them a few months ago, and that was for the March of the Living – and the moment I got home, I threw them in the back of my closed and I haven’t seen since.

Methinks these activities have been planned for a verrrrrrry long time – and my two dear pals Anna and Jessie, who serve on the conference committee, have been deliberately keeping these details from me. Someone let them slip in a meeting on Monday – I stared daggers at Jessie til my eyes burned.

Well, like it or not, I am off to this retreat, yall. If you hear a story on the news about a girl who fell off a ropes course due to her inappropriate footwear of leopard/bejeweled ballet flats, you know where I’ll be!