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Hats Off To Life!

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Hats Off To Life!

1 Comment 25 May 2010

“Be the change you wish to see in the world”-Eleanor Roosevelt

There are life events that change us forever.

Using all of her inner resources, Margie Bijou was able to transform heart wrenching grief  into a positive energy that has added  to the  joy and glamour of hundreds of weddings and Bar-Mitzvahs.

In her own words, this is Margie’s story:

Chapter One: Ezra Abraham:

“My Mom called me one day and told me that my 16 year old cousin Eddie  was going in for a biopsy of a cyst on his knee. It wasn’t a big deal but she was just wanted to make me aware. (Ironically on ER that week, there was a girl who was a soccer star who came into the ER with a sprained knee and walked out with an amputation due to a tumor in her lower leg.) So I told my mom that she shouldn’t ever assume anything.I repeated the epsiode details and she shouted some line in arabic which meant “HOW DARE YOU EVEN BREATHE such negativity!!!!!!!

I still remember the email my dad had printed for us that told us Eddie had at the most 3 months to live. He was 16.
We weren’t the closest of cousins. My uncle had moved his family to New Jersey and as hard as it is to be close with my family that lives a block away, its is 4 billion times harder when they live in another state.
I only got to know Eddie because of his illness..

Chapter Two:  Sherri
My cousin was having a Bar Mitzvah for her son and needed a hat to complete her outfit. Of course, none were to be found across the entire tri-state area, so I decided to search the net. I got hooked on Ebay and started buying every vintage hat that  I could find. Federal Express showed up at my door every day for 2 months and the hat boxes started to stack up underneath the baby grand  piano…..About 200 hats later I finally found something in the same vicinity of the green we needed. A veil arrived. I sewed it and made it to fit…..Ah finally the outfit was complete.

A week later I received a frantic phonecall from  Sherri whose son’s bar-mitzvah was in three days. “Margie- my dog Othello jumped onto the dining room table and chewed my hat up into a thousand little pieces!!”

Two minutes later, Sherri showed up at my door with the chewed up remains of two months of searching hours online and a over a thousand dollars in useless old hats.
It was a catastrophe!!
The next day an idea popped into my head. I ran out and bought a green kippah and sewed it back together.I still remember sitting at the dining room table pushing the needle throught the suede and into my fingers…
After 4 hrs I had reconstructed it to what it looked like before (except for a few teeth marks).
Othello was sent to live with a very nice family in the country and Sherri looked like a supermodel!

About a year later I moved into a new house and the hats were packed into bins and stuffed into a closet way up on the 3rd floor.

Chapter Three: Fate

One week after mothers day in 2005 , my mothers only sister, my aunt Merle died of melanoma on her lung. She had been only just diagnosed 6 months before. That same October of that year,  2 days before Yom Kippur, my fathers mother, grandma Margie died.

Two days after that,my cousin Eddie succumbed to a 7 year battle with rhabdomyocarcessarcoma.

Not something you see every day. My uncle Irwin sat shiva for his mother and son in the same week.

What a crazy year.

These tragedies inspired me to want to make every day of my life meaningful and not to waste one moment of the precious time that we have.

When Eddie passed away, my Aunt Susan gave me his hats that he wore during his illness to add my collection. It was then that the idea to lend out the hats to raise money for his foundation came to me. He motivated me to want to give back to others.”

Chapter Four: Hats Off To Life

A room in my home has been converted into a “Hat Room” where many Jewish women of all ages try on gorgeous hats  and have a great time till they find just the right one!

The majority of the women that come in, are ones I have never even met or seen before, yet we bond as we try on dozens of hats…of course they bring over their  possible choices of outfits, shoes, and accessories, and  together we assemble their beautiful look for their momentous day.

Through out the last few years  I have accumulated many many stories some funny, some sad…and some just out of control!  Some days I seriously feel like a bartender and and not only  do I decorate ladie’s heads ,but  I also listen to what’s in their hearts as well…

Our hats are part of a private collection that consists of mostly vintage dress hats.Many of the hats have also been donated by people that don’t have a need for them anymore.

People are sharing! Women are calling other women to borrow hats. Designers are  calling me to donate their hats.

People are giving more than just money, they are giving of themselves.

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Life Does Not Have to be Perfect to be Wonderful…

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Life Does Not Have to be Perfect to be Wonderful…

1 Comment 29 April 2010

by Jodi Samuels, founder of MetroImma- an online community for Jewish moms.

“Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful”

By all accounts we had the perfect life. I met my husband the year after high school and we were married by the time I was 20. We travelled the world together, living and working in truly exotic places. My husband is a doctor and he worked for the Royal Australian Flying Doctor Service, which allowed us ample opportunity for adventure. After living in four countries and nine cities, we won Green cards and came to New York to start another adventure. We became very active in the community, hosting thousands of guests and enjoying life in NYC to the fullest.

Then we had two exceptionally cute kids (I am their mom, and they are exceptionally delicious to me). We have a great marriage and family. Many of the singles that we work with through our group JICNY have this “when I get married I want a life just like the Samuels” mantra.

On February 25th, 2008, our third baby was born and we broadcast a message to our 8,500 plus database announcing the arrival of our perfect princess. Two days later we received a bombshell when the doctor raised suspicion that our perfect princess had Down syndrome. 48 hours after that, chromosomal studies confirmed this fact.

We were so overwhelmed as many thoughts raced through our minds-from “wow!”, to “why us?” to “what will life be like?” and simply “Oh my God, please help!” Within a short while of hearing the news, I came to the conclusion that God had sent me this baby for a reason. After two miscarriages between Temira, my second, and this baby, I felt sure God wanted me to have her. I knew that unless we embraced this baby, our life would be a lie. I looked at my husband and said, “We open our home to the lost, the lonely, the searching, and the challenged. If we open our home to strangers, how much more so should we embrace a challenge for Caila Sara, our princess? Because of who we are, God sent us this beautiful soul.” When we realized this, we came to terms with her having Down syndrome. Since then, she has only given us joy. Oh yes, parenting Caila is a lot more work. It’s sometimes scary, and more intense, but also intensely joyous.

I was asked to speak on a panel for a group of Rabbinic Interns. They are learning about special needs in the community and wanted the perspective of a parent. I caught their attention with my campaign, Caily’s World. I was happy to speak and share my story. Reflecting on what to say, I recalled the serious and sad looks of the pediatrician, the OB/GYN, the geneticists, etc. Even the books we were told to read only listed all of the potential problems for the baby. The list was never-ending; from major disease and heart issues to being flatfooted, short-sighted and having thin hair. Our family and friends were devastated. The most common responses were tears or “Oh, I am so sorry”. We even had a person ask us outright while Gavin was holding the baby why we did not abort. There was so much pain in the air.

Yet we were not devastated; in fact, we were not even sad.

We have had two beautiful years with Caily. Thank God, she has been incredibly healthy- hardly even a cold ever. She does not have anything on those awful lists that could make one wonder if they delivered a monster instead of a baby. Caily is beautiful, with long thick hair. She is engaging, playful, and full of life. She is the delight of our family, her school, and our community.

What I wanted to tell the rabbinic students, what I want to tell anyone who will listen is that they have the power to change the situation. Imagine if people around us all assumed that life could still be amazing, rather than just assuming it’s awful. Image if the geneticist walked in and said to us, “life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful.” Caily has taught me this lesson and I will continue to share it with those facing challenges ………… and those who are unintentionally creating them.

reprinted with permission by Jodi  Samuels founder of metroimma.com.

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Roll out the Red Carpet for Mom!

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Roll out the Red Carpet for Mom!

4 Comments 25 April 2010

By:  Irene Kassin

You know your Mom’s a superstar… This Mother’s day treat her like one!

We compiled a list of celebrity women who are devoted mothers, yet are effortlessly chic and stylish to boot! We know your Mom will love any of these carefully selected gifts… Now the only question is, what type of Mom is your Mother? Better yet, what type of Mom are you? (You know you can forward this post to people… AKA husbands!)

The Rocker Mom: Gwen Stephani

If your mom enjoys going to concerts more than you do, wears black studded clothing and used to play in a band, you’ve got yourself a Rocker Mom. She will enjoy these Mother’s day gifts, although perhaps not more than tickets to  Coachella!


1.Kim Seybert Jeweled Cuff Napkin Rings $88/set of 4
2.Skull and Crossbones Decanter $75 DOF $23
3.Kim Seybert Studded Placemats $75

Next up, The Bohemian Princess: Nicole Richie. This woman is a poster child for 70’s wild child chic. If your Mom has a penchant for long flowy dresses and walking barefoot through gardens, she will love these Bohemian Moroccan inspired vases and woven leather  tray, perfect for carrying drinks outside in summer for an impromptu cocktail party in the garden! 

4.Bohemian Vases- $100
5. Bamboo and White Leather Tray $96

The Minimalist: Demi Moore. If your Mother constantly chooses the simplest, and perhaps most sophisticated clothes and accessories, she may be a Minimalist. Minimalists like things as simple and as useful as possible. Form follows function to a minimalist and these simple bar accessories are just the number.
6. Nambe Cocktail Shaker $155
7. Nambe Ice Groove Bucket $100

Kate Hudson: The Tree Hugger Mom. Kate is all about the environment and the natural way. That’s why these faux bois vases are just her type.  Gift her those sequined pillows and you will be barking up the right tree!

8. Aram Bark Vases- $90-$240 also available in oxidized brown

9. Beaded Pillows- $125 each

The Glam Gal: Jennifer Lopez. If your Mom loves sequins, turquoise and all things glamour, she will love these crystalized trays and jeweled napkin rings! The Glam gal loves her accessories and she likes them to be bold!

10.Olivia Reigal Swarovski Crystal Tray $450
11. Kim Seybert Stone Napkin Ring $28
12. Olivia Reigal Tray  $270

The Sweetheart Mom: Reese Witherspoon may be America’s sweetheart, but you may have a sweetheart Mom all your own. Does your Mother love hugs, expressions of love, pink and flowers? All hearts and flowers, these gifts are perfect for that Mom who loves love!

13. Diane James Peony Bouquet $320
14. Michael Aram Heart Frame $69
15. Sabre Paris “LOVE” Dessert Dishes $30

The Classist: Gwenyth Paltrow. This Mom has style in spades, but her style is sophisticated and timeless… That’s why we chose gold for the Classist Mom. In our book, golden is forever. 

16. LObject Evoka 24 Kt Gold Plated Candlesticks  $339, also available in platinum
17. Michael Aram Gold Gooseberry Centerpieces $199-$490

All products available via

Parci Parla Too

510 Kings Highway

Brooklyn, Ny 11223

Get a 10-20% discount when you mention promo code: jewishhostess.


to order email kassin.irene@gmail.com or call

718- 618- 7397.


We hope you have enjoyed our celebrity mom gift guide! We know we enjoyed putting it together for you!



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