One of the fringe benefits for having been a rebellious teenager was that while my life was rocky for a spell, I was rewarded with just that: my life.
In my case, that meant I wasn't going to be a nice Jewish girl married to a doctor. I was instead going to be writer, painter and rebel anti-caterer! Who um... helps other women (and men) marry a doctor!
Works for me.
I have been a wedding caterer for more than two decades, and one thing I can tell from the moment a couple walks in the door is whether they are asking me for the wedding of their dreams or the wedding of their parents' dreams.
In fact, the first question I ask every couple I meet is, "What is your dream wedding?"
Not your mom's, not your dad's, not your sister's, not your florist's, not your DJ's. What is YOUR dream wedding?
"I heard you could do multi-ethnic foods. I'm Swedish, and my groom's from Korea. We love the idea of food from both!"
This sounds like my kinda couple.
"Um ... well, I read that we should ask guests what they want to eat for dinner on the wedding invitations. ... We love beer and barbecue, but my mother feels it's not elegant enough."
This bride is about as close to her dream wedding as Pittsburgh is to China.
I celebrate a woman's right to choose... HOW SHE WANTS HER OWN WEDDING!!
I counseled the beer and barbecue bride to do the wedding toast with her favorite Brooklyn beer and to serve all-day barbecued brisket as one of her entrees. I also gently suggested that the whole taking orders in advance thing is, you know, HORRIBLE! That instead we could serve the food tableside so the guests could choose what they want to eat while it's right there steaming in front of them!
Her face went from sullen to radiant. "Beer for the toast!!"
The Swedish and Korean couple, by the way, got gravlax with radish kimchi.
It was super tasty, but not quite as tasty as the jerk chicken on latkes we made for a couple of grooms, one Jamaican, one Jewish. Those boys celebrated marriage equality with the YUM factor! Yeah, baby!
The next question I ask is, "What is your budget?" Then I do my best to make the two meet up.
But honeys, let's be realistic. If your budget is $30 per person, you are not going to have a filet mignon supper in a ballroom overlooking the East River. You are looking at corn chips and salsa in a Taco Bell overlooking 195.
Be up front about your budget! Why waste energy on a plan you can't afford?
Besides, you might be surprised by the creative ideas that can percolate while trying to make a low budget work. A bowl of pretty apples for a fall wedding instead of a floral table centerpiece, a tower of donuts instead of a wedding cake, a bar featuring beer, wine and two awesome signature drinks instead of a full bar.
One couple fell in love with a wedding venue that only held 160 for dinner when they were expecting 220 guests and were therefore considering renting a soul-less space perfect for a corporate Christmas party until I announced, "Forget a sit down dinner! Let's do a floating supper!!"
I did my first floating supper in the early '90s when I had to cater a party for 700 in a space that only held 500.
"Why don't we break down the dinner into miniature? We can pass it all on small plates or in Chinese food containers. Nothing will require a knife, and we only have to do half seating!" I announced, feeling as though I'd solved the problems in the Middle East.
Not only was it fabulous, but it saved a fortune in rentals for silverware, tables, chairs, linens and more. The couple in love with the gorgeous rustic venue with 40-foot-high barn ceilings got to have their wedding and save a nice chunk of money, too!
My favorite wedding rule to break is any rule that starts off with "Well, everybody says I have to ... " Peer pressure was a bad idea in high school, and it's a bad idea now!
The last and most important piece of my Jewish mama wedding advice: HAVE FUN!!
For crying out loud, this is your wedding, not your funeral!!!! But if you need a caterer for that ...
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As a model when it comes to standing in front of a camera she knows just what to do.
So as Daisy Lowe posed for pictures at the Chanel Mademoiselle Prive private view in London on Monday evening she did well to showcase her pouting skills.
Striking various poses for photographers, the 26-year-old cut a sultry figure in a form fitted number.
Putting her enviable curves on display, Daisy slipped into a black ribbed midi dress for the exclusive event at the Saatchi Gallery.
A gold waist chain by Chanel, which was beautified with discs featuring diamond shape patterns, proved to be the perfect accessory for Lowe's ensemble.
Standing tall in capped toe contrast nude heels, the British beauty clutched onto a quilted bag as she wore her hair down in loose waves.
The launch event at the famed Kings Road venue opened the exhibition by Chanel made up of haute couture pieces.
The display will also showcase the fashion house's re-issued 1932 'Bijoux de Diamants' high jewellery collection, which was the only jewellery ever created by Coco Chanel.
Enjoying her night out, Daisy took to her social media platforms to upload a picture of herself trying her luck on a slot machine in an image she captioned: 'Win win win!!'
Meanwhile, body confident Daisy recently told the Daily Express: 'I'm a size eight, and to read that I'm curvy if you are a size 16 or 18 must be quite frustrating.'
Lowe, whose parents are Gavin Rossdale and Pearl Lowe, went on reveal that she's be just as happy being several sizes bigger if she wasn't paid to stay in shape.
She continued: 'I hope that I make those girls who are a size 16 feel good about having curves because if this wasn't my job I'd happily be a size 14 and enjoy that feminine shape.'
'But the industry is changing and there are some amazing curvy models coming through. It's just a shame we have to call them curvy models. Why can't we just call them models?'
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Title IX is a provision of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972, intended to prevent discrimination based on sex in any education program or activity that receives federal funding — including public schools. Although it has been effective at mitigating unfairness in schools, violations of Title IX continue today.
For example, I believe dress codes, which are protested by high school students nationwide, are violations of Title IX because they disproportionately impact the education of girls.
This issue has popped up locally. In recent months, students at Riverdale High School have assembled and protested the dress code at their school due to its inherent sexism. One of the major proponents of the movement against the RHS dress code is Sarah Gordon, a senior at the school.
In a July 2015 article in the Huffington Post, Gordon refutes arguments that dress codes are not a violation of Title IX, which prohibits exclusion from educational opportunities because of sex. Dress codes affect girls more than boys, she writes, which makes it clear that removing a student from the classroom because of their attire does violate Title IX.
Gordon is not alone in her perspective.
“Dress code violators could argue that they are being targeted precisely because of their sex. Rules about short shorts or spaghetti-strap tank tops are aimed directly at women’s attire,” said Jessica Valenti, a writer for The Guardian in New York, in a 2013 article.
Despite community interest in creating a more forgiving dress code, the Riverdale School Board has drafted a harsher dress code. This year’s policy prohibits any clothing that reveals skin from shoulders down to mid-thigh; dirty clothing or clothing in disrepair is also not allowed. Consequences for multiple violations of the dress code quickly ramp up to in-school or out-of-school suspensions.
In addition to becoming more stringent, the dress code now provides the school board’s reasoning behind the provisions. Last year’s policy did not outline the rationale behind the dress code, while this year’s seems to say the intent is to prevent distractions in the school environment.
On the district’s website, a July 2015 document describing the updates to the dress code states that “dress and grooming affect the attitude of the students in their work and study habits.” I take that to mean dressing in certain ways will negatively affect a student’s ability to concentrate.
In other words, violations of the dress code are distractions to other students, and violators will be removed from classrooms.
The rules include that students cannot wear see-through fabrics, cutout sleeves, halter tops, strapless tops and off-the-shoulder tops. Some of the rules are positive in intent and prohibit messages on clothing, accessories and personal items, including vulgar language, depictions of weaponry or drugs, and degradation of other races, genders, sexual orientations or religious affiliations.
A post on the district’s website states, “Our dress code is not based on gender — it is based on equal standards. The dress code is not designed for shaming, instead it is a collective illustration of community norms.”
However, this ignores the possibility of the community norms being inherently sexist, and the inequity still seems clear to me. To investigate the unfairness of the dress code, I conducted a survey among students at my school, asking three questions:
n What is your gender?
n Have you been dress-coded at RHS?
n How many times have you been dress-coded?
Of the male respondents, 23 percent had been dress-coded, while 64 percent of the female respondents had been dress-coded. Of the boys who had been dress-coded, only one had been dress-coded more than once, while nearly 90 percent of the girls who had been dress-coded were dress-coded more than once.
The information suggests the dress code affects girls more than boys, and if that is the case, it is my opinion that the use of suspension as punishment would be a violation of Title IX.
The Riverdale School Board should reconsider its dress code, revising it to be more liberal with its policing and punishment.
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