The Fashion-isha Five: How to Infuse Glamour into a Yiddeshe Mama's Life

Thursday, November 20, 2014

It's 5 pm. An ethereal dusk sky peeks through the window. The house is aglow and dinner is in the warming drawer. I shut the curtains and a chill passes through me. It's frigid outside.

I pour myself a glass of wine, light a lovely scented candle and move to my living room couch where I pull a plush throw over me and open up my laptop. The wheels in my brain start revolving and a world of creativity opens up to me. This is the beginning of a dark and cozy evening in November.

Sounds nice, right?

Well, not always and not exactly. Here's a little secret: I suffered for years during those hours. Come dusk, the world would feel suffocating and depressing, like everything was closing in on me. My mom, who was a geriatric nurse, told me the term is "sundowning." She explained how her elderly patients would act up and cry during this time of day. It was a downright depressing vision, and even more upsetting that I felt it, since I was a young, vibrant "yiddeshe mama", with a young vibrant household...and yet I felt so gloomy and trapped.
I belong in a place where the sun always shines and the weather is always warm. Or at least a vibrant city where action and artificial lights make this whole phenomenon just a little bit less depressing. But I don't live in either of those places.

So over the years I've worked hard to find the tools that would infuse my life with uplifting elements of glamour, in order to supply myself with enough of my own sunshine to get through the rough patches. 

Here are the Fashion-isha may be surprised what I consider glamorous. Hint: Shoes are not on the list.
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The Fashion-isha Five: Five ways to infuse glamour into a yiddeshe mama's life: 


Here's the rule: If a friend accepts your limitations and loves you for you, she's a healthy friend. If she is demanding, judgmental, or makes you feel guilty, she is an unhealthy friend. Positive and inspiring? Healthy. Perpetually whiny and negative?  Unhealthy. Go through your friends and weed out the bad ones. 

You may have a difficult time doing this if you're a people pleaser or you want everyone to love you (hi). Friends don't really love you if they give you grief when you can't give them what they want. They love themselves. It took me years to learn this.

Don't worry if you're only left with a handful (or less) of the good ones, that is enough. With friends, it's always quality over quantity. You do not need to say anything to the unhealthy friends. Just gently ease away. Do not always be available. Be strong in the knowledge that you are good enough even if they try to make you feel guilty. 

Positive friends are the most glamorous accessories a girl can have. Healthy friendships are so powerful they can literally save your sanity, not to mention a lot of money on therapy.

Now go make plans to spend some time with some of the good ones.
Some of my besties, from left: Chavie of Pret-a-Partee, Margalit of Margalit Lankry Designs, me, Chaya, and Rebecca


I got involved in the YTT Expo 17 years ago. I was a new parent in the school and needed SOMETHING to do. I started off at the bottom, making phone calls for simple prizes...a free pizza pie or such... for the auction, and within several years I was one of the coordinators of the event along with some of my amazing new friends. We designed ads and auction books, worked with vendors, set up tables. I remember spending hours on the phone during that dreaded dusky time of day, and the project became our winter careers. We re-branded the entire event and built it strong like it was our own business. From our very first expo meeting in November, up until the heady, glamorous and adrenaline filled night-of (usually in February), the project swept away those winter blues and brought excitement, camaraderie, and creativity into our lives. 

Then there were the Hatzolah events, designing my clothing line, creating Fashion-isha, a kidney donation, a Simcha book collaboration, Couture for a Cause, a Team Lifeline marathon, and the Tour de Simcha bikeathon. 

Working towards a goal or for a cause with passion is the most glamorous feeling ever. Sometimes there are dry spells, but the key is to stay passionate about life and living the heck out of every day. 
The Couture for a Cause Simcha Handbook I co-wrote and edited with Toby Fishman of Eff Creative.

Me and Sarah Lasry of Patchke Princess fame at the Eden Roc, before the Team Lifeline/Miami marathon.


I cannot stress the importance of this one enough to those who feel that this is unimportant or shallow. We are women and we like to feel pretty. Go ahead and get dressed!
 Photo credit Sarielle Photography

Photo Credit Steven Langert

A thoughtfully assembled outfit, even of a few dollars, may awaken your creativity, and make you feel like a million dollars. A touch of mascara and lip gloss may do wonders for adding that transformative touch of glamour we all crave.  Take a moment (or 20) for yourself. You're worth it. Your outside appearance should reflect your inner self, and if it's a mess, then likely, so will be you. 

Which leads to...


Want to feel glamorous? Eat healthy and work out. This is not about size or weight. This is about loving and respecting yourself enough to take care of the body that G-d gave you; the body that serves you with miraculous functions every day. Just as with toxic friends, ease away from toxic consumption.  And just like with good friends, make a date with exercise. Tomorrow.

And then reward yourself with a treat.

And finally...


If you follow me on Instagram and Facebook you know I'm all about the smile. There is nothing more glamorous than a genuine, open smile that sends waves of positive energy to the people around you and into the world beyond. No matter how horrible things may seem, there is always something to smile about. 

Bonus: Studies show that facial expressions tell your brain how to feel so smiling actually makes you happy. Try it.
Photo credit Sarielle Photography

Barring number 5, these things are not always easy to do. But don't let fear and hard work stop you from soaring. Start with baby steps towards these goals and you will begin to feel the sunshine your life may be lacking for a brighter and more glamorous you.


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  1. Dear Sharon,
    Thank you so much for this as it is just what I needed today! Your thoughts are perfect and enlightening. My friend you inspire me beyond!

    The Arts by Karena

  2. Sharon I know exactly the effect you refer to...I feel it especially and maybe only in the cold weather. These are very good tips and I will remember them. It's easy to not take care of yourself when all you're going to do is stay inside and home and this can get to be a bad habit

  3. Perfect tips and reminders as usual! Those shoes are the ultimate antidote and you are so right about city lights!! Wishing you and everyone a wonderfully bright and sparkly weekend!!