Tuesday, April 25, 2017

OOTD | Back to Basics, The Burgundy Pencil Dress c/o SheIn

Back to Basics | The Burgundy Pencil Dress 

c/o SheIn

I know, I know I have been MIA for a while. Did anyone miss me? Eeeeeep! *bear hugs* to you amigo! The computer crashed, the internet connection died and basically a lot of stuff went way out of control that left me as if stranded on a deserted island for almost over a month... except for Instagram once a while (that is when the ever elusive 3G connectivity on my phone allowed me to actually post anything). Long story short, I finally invested in a new computer. Yay for me (Nay for my depressed looking bank account). This also means, I am not getting a tripod for a while longer now. Phew!

Let's keep going with the mirror selfies then, shall we? This one is a super delayed OOTD of easily my most favorite dress from SHEIN.

I ordered a size M for this and it fits quite well. I LOVE the color and am completely satisfied with the the make and quality of the piece. The fabric is super soft and stretchy. I love it. Seriously. The delivery was super quick too (a little less than two weeks).

Get the look

Burgundy Pencil Dresshere

Mother's day outfits and gift ideas

What do you think? Tell me your thoughts in the comments down below. Follow me on Instagram for exclusive sneak peeks and updates!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Interview with Lori S. Kline, author of Almost a Minyan

Doodles, doodles everywhere congratulates author Lori S. Kline on the release of her book, Almost a Minyan! Let's welcome her on the blog for an interview with DDE today. Read on!

1. What inspired you to write, Almost a Minyan?

When I moved to Austin, Texas, 30+ years ago, I found a lively and embracing Jewish community here.  I felt surprised and concerned about how difficult it was to daily, “make a minyan” (a quorum of 10 adult Jews necessary to recite certain prayers and chant from the Torah scroll), especially because we so often had individuals present who needed to say the special mourner's prayer.  That led me to think about how important it will be for the next generations to carry the torch in preserving the minyan ritual, as well as continued overall communal support that is so critical in the Jewish tradition.

2. Can you give our readers an idea about what they should expect in the book? 

First, I hope that my readers will find a fun, flowing rhyme in the text of the book.  There is also vocabulary that may be new and intriguing to many readers.  Next, the story presents characters who are eager to join in traditional religious rituals, and their excitement in knowing that soon the privileges  and the responsibilities of being an adult Jew will be theirs to carry.  Last, Almost a Minyan speaks of the bittersweet nature of the human life cycle and how Judaism responds as a community—to be there for each other in our times of need (as is the case when someone passes away) as well as our times of celebration (like when a young person becomes bar or bat mitzvah). 

3. Do you decide the character traits before you sit down to write the book, or as you go along?

When I sit down to write, the flow of the pen in my hand (or my fingers on the keyboard) begin trickling a story. As I re-read and re-write various sections, hopefully the story swells to a river of a tale.   Once the story has basically claimed its space on paper,  the characters are refined as I work and rework each draft—usually over the course of several years.  It's up to me to pour my energy and time into doing this, and yet, to a large degree, I am simply the medium through which the message flows.   I think we all have gifts, which, when we are fortunate, we find within ourselves and cultivate.  I am enormously grateful that I possess the gift of being an author. 

4. Can you tell us what kind of research went behind the story?

This story unfolded over 2 decades as Jewish practices and egalitarian roles evolved.   My research; thus, took the form of my living and viewing the paths of various sects of Judaism as they approached the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st centuries.

5. If you had to pick one favorite character from the book, who would you pick and why?

I think it is most easy to identify with the protagonist in most children's stories.  I identified with her  excitement in becoming bat mitzvah and in celebrating communal practices and rituals.  At various parts in the story, I also felt/identified with her sadness, confusion, awkwardness and ultimate thrill as she became bat mitzvah.

6. What do you do when you are not writing or reading?

I feel passionately about serving as a volunteer for Refugee Services of Texas, love my lay-leadership involvement in the Austin Jewish community, and relish most every moment camping and hiking.

7. Tell us something personal about you that you readers may be surprised to know.

In younger years, I rode a unicycle that currently adorns the wall of our home's garage, goading me to attempt just one more thrill (but more likely remind me of the wrath of gravity).

8. What's next?

I've a few other, “Almost a...” ideas in mind, but am still in the percolating and researching process. 

9. Lastly, any special thoughts for the readers?

I have been overwhelmed by the wonderful outpouring of support and readers' praise along this path to publishing Almost a Minyan. Please know that every kind word you have sent has arrived with a soft, warm landing in my heart.  Thank you.  

Almost a Minyan

An endearing book for children from 5 to 105 years old.

by Lori Sales Kline

Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Published by: Sociosights
Page count: 40

Chosen as the Children's Book Pick for 2017
by the Jewish Women's Archive

Will she be the one to take grandfather’s place? 

According to Jewish tradition, a quorum of ten adults is required for public worship. Almost a Minyan traces the story of a young girl whose father and grandfather are regular participants in the town’s minyan - until her beloved Zayde passes on.

Without him, it is even harder for her father to find enough people to make a minyan. Then one day, he brings Zayde’s tefillin to his eldest daughter. 

A striking new addition to the diverse books movement, Almost a Minyan shares important Hebrew terms and religious concepts through a compelling and beautifully illustrated story for children. 

"Kline has packed her latest picture book, Almost A Minyan, almost to bursting with themes of Jewish prayer, community, mourning, ritual items and egalitarianism. Set in a small town that sometimes struggles to meet the quorum of 10 adults needed to make up the minyan, or quorum for community prayer, a young girl observes her father's daily participation. Unabashedly egalitarian, both in the narrative and illustrations, the full inclusion of women in the minyan is presented as normative. Families and organizations who share this view are especially likely to appreciate this depiction of Jews and their communities that reflect their realities."

-Rabbi Deborah Miller,
Books and Blintzes

"A warmhearted introduction to coming-of-age in a worship community."

Kirkus Reviews

Buy the book

About the author

Lori Sales Kline heralds from Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh, PA, which hosts a wonderfully rich Jewish community that fueled her love for Jewish tradition, ritual and practice at home and at “the shul.”  Following her undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Texas in Austin, Lori chose to make Austin her home, largely due to the spiritual connection she felt in the close-knit Austin Jewish community.

In her spare time, Lori enjoys camping, celebrating Judaism with her husband and son, and friends. She previously authored the children’s picture book,  Josiah’s Dreams. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Fall of Saxon England by Mike Kelley | New Release Spotlight

The Fall of Saxon England

by Mike Kelley

Publisher: Self-Published
Published: April 16, 2015
Page count: 295

England was never to be the same again after this eventful year.

Here is a powerful story, where you can feel the tension, live the actions and be amazed at the intrigue. This story covers just one tumultuous year, from Christmas Day 1065 to Christmas Day 1066. You will meet the heroes who stood against overwhelming odds to protect their families, and the traitors who sold their country for a price.

What was it like to stand behind an English shield-wall on foot, against charging cavalry?

What was it like to see 10,000 Vikings sack Scarborough? What was it like to be at the battles of Fulford, Stamford Bridge and Hastings?

What was it like to see the rape of your beloved country? This is a book you will never forget; all based on real events.

Buy the book

About the author

Having worked in the Middle East and North Africa for 30 years, Mike has been able to draw on his considerable experience to write these gripping books.

Ratings and Recommendations by outbrain