Are we ready to bare it all? Should we be?

What exactly constitutes indecent exposure?  No shirt, No shoes, No service; we all know that. But when the weather warms up, things come off and people tend to push the limits with what is acceptable attire.  How much is too much?

Apparently in New York there is no way of knowing.  You really never know what you may find.  Just the other day I saw a lady walking down Broadway with blue lipstick and painted lines on her face.  Maybe she was an actor off to a gig, I don’t know, but nobody budged.  New Yorkers are immune to crazy.  They eat crazy for dinner.

The girl I saw this afternoon, however, was different from most.  It all began in my office actually. My coworker approached me and told me that she had just passed a girl on the street wearing jeans and no top.  I asked the obvious questions: “you mean no bra? No sheer shirt? She was wearing nothing?”  When the answers all pointed to “Yes, this girl was bare breasted, no top in sight,” I was shocked that someone would have the balls to walk around like that.  Then I ventured out of the office and went to the park.  People were lying around, half-naked, trying to capture as much vitamin D as possible.  No harm in that!  Then I noticed everyone starting in one direction with looks of amused disbelief (are you getting that image?).  I turned around to see what the source was and that is when I saw her; jeans, shoes, tote bag, and no top to be found!  Was she trying to form a public opinion about something?  A crazy journalistic scheme?  Honestly, I think she just thought it was OK.  OK to sit there and not have a top on.

Was it? Is it?

our lady is top right.

My sister has a vivid memory of our first trip to France.  It includes breasts;  naturally.  We were living with a family in Provence and spent the afternoon at a rocky, sea urchin infested beach (I am bitter because one of these creatures got stuck in my foot. Story for another post!).  Maybe I was so upset about my foot that I wasnt as affected by the exposed woman on the beach, or maybe it was my inner European/French side taking flight.  Anyhow, my sister remembers a woman who had a tattoo of the sun encircling her nipple.  It was only this past weekend that her “traumatic” event was exposed (pun intended?).  Seeing woman with their breasts bare, even on the beach (sun tatoo or not), was culturally shocking to my sister.  I have to imagine it would be like this for most Americans. We are prudish when it comes to nudity.  Even when the nude are children.  For example, this weekend our neighbors at the shore had their two little girls running around outside, playing games and walking their baby doll in a stroller, stark naked.  Not the usual bottoms-only beach attire that kids sometimes have, but entirely naked.  I really didn’t think much of it, I actually think that’s part of the beach baby look.  My relatives however, seemed to think it was the most “hippie” thing ever!  “So granola,” they said.

In France, babies and woman wear bottoms-only at the beach while men walk around in tiny Speedos.  Same in Spain and most of Europe I assume, although I have not traveled to all of the world’s beaches (now there is an idea..).  It is an acceptable part of their culture and people don’t gawk at the site of saggy boobs or sunshine tattoos.

I am not saying that “naked lady in the park” should have been exposing her chest to the world, although after some research I have found that it is entirely legal activity.  It does bring up some cultural conversations though.  Maybe we Americans need to relax a bit; loosen up.  After living in Europe, I appreciate America for its ability to harvest our craziest dreams.  On the flip side however, there are so many issues that we are stuck-in-our-ways about.  Drinking age, topless beaches, filtering movies and songs because of content…

Are we uptight?  Is one bare-breasted lady ready to start a revolution? Should we be taking our tops off….ok ok I have gotten a head of myself:)

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Celebrating my Mom

I am always a little sad as I travel back into the city on a Monday morning.  Especially after spending such a nice weekend with friends, family and sunshine.  So with gray skies and rain again on the radar, I am planning on reliving my weekend by sharing it all here with you this week!

Visiting me in Franceland!

In France Mother’s Day will be the last Sunday in May but for us Americans it was this past Sunday.  I feel the need to tribute my mom with a post 🙂

My mom is the best!  Simply put.  I have found that during the past few years I have developed a new relationship with many members of my family.  Part of growing up I guess.  My mom is no exception, as our relationship has grown into a very give and take sort of thing; advice and support dished and received from both parties.  I also feel that I might appreciate my mom more than ever after living in a foreign country where I saw many different versions of moms (and where I “played mom” some days myself).

My mom is a very tough lady (the only girl in between four boys might have been the cause)!  She has three daughters who still lean on her almost every day even though we all live under separate roofs.  She has an extremely challenging job working with autistic high schoolers.  She just went back to get her masters and earned a 4.0 while doing it.  She makes time to meet friends for coffee and stays actively involved in church and community activities.   And these are things in the present.  When we were all living at home and swimming 24/7, she was waking up early to get us to this or that practice, making sure a hot meal was ready to be eaten right when we walked in, taking us shopping before the big dances (and spending money on it too)…. I could go on forever.  She does it all and always has.

She and my dad raised my two sisters and me in a way where there were rules and structure.  When we reached a certain age, however, we were let go to make our own mistakes, decisions and create our identity.  We really weren’t given a limit to how high we were allowed to dream; for me, especially within the past few years, this is the biggest blessing!

As you get older you notice more of the nitty-gritty of your family.  Mine is far from perfect.  But even so, I am sure if I sat and compared it to others, I would quickly be able to justify the facts that my mom, the supporter of the whole crazy flock, is the best!  She is the glue, she is the enforcer and she has shown me exactly how I want to raise my family one day.*

Even this morning she got up early to make me monkey bread.  Last night I realized that I had forgotten to make it during the weekend.  Totally unnecessary and totally my mom’s love shining through deliciously buttery and sugary goodness.  She is the bomb.

Mother bird is a 4.0 student,  4.0 daughter, 4.0 wife (I’ll speak for you dad) and most of all a 4.0 mom.  I just can’t believe how much my mom does!

She is the best and I love her so much.

I am weird and my mom loves me for it 🙂

 

*My dad AND mom do a phenomenal job together.  It takes two as they say.  But this past weekend wasn’t Fathers Day, so dad will just have to wait for his praise  🙂

 

Un Nouveau Presdient

I wouldn’t be a good French wanna-be if I didn’t write about the biggest French news from the weekend: Elections!

After five years in office, Nicolas Sarkozy will not return to office for a second term. Socialist Francois Hollande will be sworn into office today after winning 50.8 percent of the votes.  It seems opinions are varied although it is noticeable that the young adults are excited for the first Left wing leader since 1995.  Hollande plans to implement higher taxes for the rich and lower the retirement age.  He also has a platform to decrease France’s high dependence on nuclear energy. 

Like America’s primary elections, France uses a two-round system.  Unlike America, France uses direct voting whereas we use indirect voting in the form of an electoral college.  Another difference between our two countries is the date.  In the US elections are held on Tuesdays in November but in France, Sunday is election day.  Campaigning ends at midnight the Friday before and ballots are cast beginning at 8am on Election day.  This excludes French Guiana, Martinique and Guadeloupe who hold elections on that Saturday.  With the time difference, these countries would be deterred to even cast a ballot since results are released Sunday at 8pm in France. 

I am no political guru but I am interested to learn more about this new president and reactions from the public.  I am also spurred to get my act together about all things “presidential election” since this year I am actually home (not in college in VA and not in Europe) to vote!

But for now, a bit about French political leaders.  I recently read this article in Vogue magazine.  It intrigued me to read about the trend of relationships budding between journalists and politicians.  Hollande was one such spotlight in the article as both his ex and his current partner are both active in politics. 

Hollande’s current partner, Valérie Trierweiler, is a journalist who formerly covered the Socialist Party.  His ex, Ségolène Royal, is a French politician herself.  In fact, Royal ran as the Socialist candidate against Sarkozy in 2007.  After her defeat, the two (Hollande and Royal) split and Hollande has since been linked with Trierweiler.  Of course, as the Vogue article explains in-depth, mixing journalist and politician can be tricky.  If not for the blurred lines created between what is personal and professional (I did mention that she covered the exact party her partner ran for), then for the lack of privacy that comes with celebrated persons.  As a result of all of these gray areas, Trierweiler has been removed from covering politics all together and was even blind-sided by Paris Match (where she is on the masthead) when they ran photos and a story about her relations with Hollande.

Oh the murky waters of politics…

Je veux boire un coup

My blog roll varies.  When I began blogging, I was living in France. I enjoyed following fashion, cooking and lifestyle blogs.  The genre of francophile/French blogs didn’t really interest me; after all, I was living there myself.  I wrote my own posts about being in France, but spent my time linking and reading blogs outside of my own genre.  It is fairly easy to find new and interesting (time-consuming) blogs to get lost in! 

When I came home to the States, all I wanted was FRENCH FRENCH FRENCH.  I decided to continue writing my blog with a quasi-French perspective and began frantically bookmarking all the francophile bloggers I could.  These sites allow me to escape back to the place I love!  After some time now I have chosen my favorite daily delves, but am amazed to still find so many French-inspired sites lurking in the blogosphere.  Unfortunately, these blogs tend to sing the same song, or at least hum a similar tune.  Most of the “french” blogs chronicle someone’s move to France;  an expat’s perspective if you will.  From these, a staggering amount are centered around food; a good majority about baking.  So when I came across Forest Collins’ French blog I knew it was something special.  Forest has decided to write a blog about drinking in the city of lights!

martini by meredith_nutting

Her plan: Try a martini at various night spots and compare.  Simple enough, and super fun!  Inviting her friends along, they indulge on martinis and house cocktails taking notes as they travel the menu.  This then becomes a tell-all post for you and me as Forest gives her opinion on each spot every Wednesday.

In a Francophile world where conversation centers around macaroons and fine wine, it’s nice to read an expat’s adventure in Paris’ cocktail bars.  I may have to take my own notes from 52 Martinis as I prepare for my return visit to France this summer!

Heels in the night by Deniooo

Fashion Talks at French School

For five years the French Institute in NYC has invited its members (that’s me!) and those of the public to participate in soirées featuring fashion industry headliners.  This year Reed Krakoff, creative director at Coach for the last twenty years, kicked off FIAF’s annual event.

The night began with an introduction from Robbie Myers, Editor in Chief of ELLE magazine.  As I sat two rows back I had one of those, “only in NY moments.”  A moment where I realize how cool it was that I got to do something like this.  I miss France a lot, but for right now I think NYC has a lot to offer me.  And being able to go to an event where I am one among people I admire (Editor in Chief of a major magazine…right up my alley) is formidable!

So after Robbie’s introduction, Reed Krakoff and Pamela Golbin, Chief Curator of Fashion and Textiles at Les Arts Décoratifs in Paris, sat and had a casual chat in front of a sold-out crowd in the Florence Gould Hall on the Upper East Side.  Reed spoke of his beginnings at Coach and his newest venture, his self-titled brand which launched its first collection in 2010.

I loved having my eyes opened into this designer’s thoughts, inspirations and goals.  Reed didn’t grow up living and breathing fashion like some designers (Isaac Mizrahi for example).  He went through what he referred to as a “formal education” of fashion at Parsons School of Design.   Prior to Parsons, he had graduated from Tuffs with a dual degree in art and finance.  The later was his parents’ prerequisite before allowing him to pursue fashion at Parsons.  Before landing at Coach, Reed held positions at various American fashion houses including Ralph Lauren and Anne Klein.

Reed is a down to earth person.  One can understand that just by listening to him talk about his success (which abounds) and his goals for this budding brand, Reed Krakoff.  He is a family man (his 8-year old daughter in attendance last night was the only one to stump him with a question) and an extremely hard worker (with the millions of items developed at Coach every single day, he says that he still looks at each and every one).

I found it really interesting that Reed doesn’t think of FASHION when designing his collections.  He thinks more about shape and form, like an architect might (I haven’t met many designers, so this could be run-of-the-mill as that goes).  His creations are influenced by the culture which feeds him, but the fashion culture and trends are not what move him in certain directions.  His ideas are raw and pure.  He learned to be confident in his work saying that it is important to be sure as hell that “this is it” one day and then that it’s not the next.  But there also comes a point when you go with it and knowing when this is takes time.

Time is one thing that Reed has been blessed with in the industry that seems to constantly be in a rush.  “Today designers aren’t given time.  They get two collections and then must redefine a brand,” which is more or less impossible he said.  Shows like Project Runway where time is the game show factor attest to this.

Reed was also blessed with opportunity.  He realizes how lucky he was when Lew Frankfort, chairman and chief executive officer of the brand, took a chance hiring him back in 1996.  SInce then he has risen to the challenges before him while also creating new endeavors along the way, which is where RK comes into play.  A new goal and new adventure.

The two fashion houses are separate but related being that the same man operates both.  The operation however is different for the two, one being a powerhouse already and the other being a baby that still needs time to grow.   True to his driven personality he has big goals for the brand, wanting it to be a brand that people know intuitively.  A brand that similar to a bookstore poster he saw while in Paris which listed 20th century artists with one word, could be whittled down to a simple, all telling description.  For the man who took a 500 million dollar company to a 4 billion dollar powerhouse, I think this is possible!

It was all-in-all a unique night for me.  One that I hope I will have the opportunity to do again sometime.

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Rêveries Musicales (Music Musings)

I walked into Rockwood Music Hall last night and was immediately taken by the power of the voice coming from behind a grand piano.  The lights were a dim red and the small saloon-type venue was dark.  Above me I could see plush couches and chairs behind a cast-iron railing.  This balcony seating mixed with the little circular tables scattered on the ground level hugging the stage reminded me of the Moulin Rouge.  From the movies of course, as I have only ever posed in front of and never stepped inside of Paris’ iconic bar.

My friend Sissy had proposed the idea of going to hear Heather Christian sing last night.  Sissy is quite critical of singers and she has every right to be.  She herself studied music at the New School and is making a career being a singer.  I can only imagine the critiques that go through her head when listening to a new song or artist (similar to me after taking my film class at JMU. I literally couldn’t just enjoy a movie without picking apart the technical aspects).  So when she said that Heather’s singing was indescribable and amazing I knew this had to be good stuff.  Based on the number of goosebumps crawling my skin during the entire set, I can attest that this was indeed good stuff!

Heather has an almost soulful vibe with a southern twang (a Mississippi girl).  She has no apologies for performing both high energy sound that features unique quirky sounds (she was like her very own instrument at times) and thought-provoking ballades.  Her lyrics are relatable but what draws you in first is the sound.  I found myself just listening to the way her voice effortlessly carried through the room.  And when those sounds did travel up to my brain and process, I heard the words and was moved (hence the goosebumps formed).  Her guitarist for the night, Gabe (Gabriel Gordon from Wax Poetic) even mentioned that he found himself getting mesmerized and lost in her words while on stage.  So much so that he felt he messed up on his cords (this is so not true by the way–no flaws were noticed).

After the show, when we were discussing the show (normal post show affaire), someone said how great it was to not be able to “place” Heather’s music into a genre or be able to say, “she sounds like so-and-so.”  It is something a musician strives for; individuality and uniqueness in their craft.  So hats off Heather!

**a short video of her show will be on my tumblr later today**

Old Hollywood with a largely French influence…j’adore

I am a sucker for an awards ceremony.  Fancy dresses, the red carpet, a packed venue, awards and the surprises.  It transports me to “Old Hollywood” where things feel glamorous and special.

The Oscars epitomize this feeling.

For me, last night’s 84th Academy Awards ceremony had a more prominent “Old Hollywood” style feeling.  Popcorn was served, the performance portrayed “a night at the movies” and a silent black-and-white film won best picture.

I began the night early with the preshows.  I spent my night watching everything leading up to the big event allowing me to get a real inside look.

It began with the fashion on the Red Carpet.  If you follow my tweets you are already aware that I literally sat with laptop on my bed, E! on the TV and disclosed my every thought about everything I saw.  That’s what Twitter is for, so no apologies 🙂

Then I flipped over to ABC where they featured some nice behind-the-scenes interviews about what goes into making global production a reality.

Sidenote: Did anyone else notice the amount of French during this year’s program? I’m not only talking about Jean Dujardin or his movie “The Artist”* or even the Paris based films “Hugo” and “Midnight in Paris,” but the commercials as well. I felt like for a while every other ad featured a French song or had French words or used a picture from France.  No complaints by me but interesting all the same.

Top 5 moments for me:

1. Cirque du Soleil (I’m already proving my above point!) performance. How do they do it?  This gave an extra magical feeling to the evening.

2. Seeing Christopher Plummer (stud from Sound of Music) win an Oscar at 82, making him the oldest person to do so.

3. The winner in the documentary category about women victim to acid burns in Pakistan.  I am interested to see the film because it is an issue I am not familiar with but intrigued by.

4. The French in me was more than ecstatic about “The Artist” winning best picture and Jean Dujardin** overtaking Hollywood big timers Clooney and Pitt.

5. Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis presented.  Loved the skit they did, especially dropping the cymbals on the floor at the end.

Now here I am at work, exhausted from staying up late after an already busy weekend.  But I just can’t deny my love for movies and of course my love affair with the fantasy of an award show.

*I have yet to see this movie but it has been on my “list” since I left France in October.  It premiered in France first and I remember being excited to see it before my fellow Americans.  I never did make it happen before jet setting back home and now I am itching more than ever to go.  A friend told me about an old theater in NYC with a chandelier in the middle of the room and everything. I feel this is the perfect place to see a black and white silent film!  Talk about time traveling to an “old Hollywood” era.

**Last year in France my favorite movie that I saw was “Les Petits Mouchoirs” (“Little White LIes”).  This was my first time seeing Dujardin and c’etait le coup de foudre 🙂

Long weekends are a gift

Thank god for a holiday tomorrow because I need an extra day to relax and catch up after a busy weekend.  Good busy, as it usually is, but busy nonetheless.

It began Friday night with a concert at Nublu.  Since my move up to NYC I have been catching up with an old friend who has been in the city for a few years now.  She is the lead singer of Wax Poetic and so when I found out the group was performing I just had to go hear her.  I invited a few friends whom I knew wouldn’t mind an adventurous night of new music and new venues and headed to the East Village.

Sissy and the band put on a great show and en plus, I think I have found a new place to hit up on the weekends.  Of course it was a late night for this girl–the concert didn’t even begin until 12:30am and in true rocker fashion our party continued long after the last set!  Vive la vie à New York 🙂

Then Saturday we went out to celebrate my uncle’s birthday at Buddakan.  When you’re 20-something and trying to make it in the big city, it’s always nice to have family around to take you out to dinner –and it doesn’t hurt when the restaurant is amazingly chic!  You might be familiar with the spot for its cameo in Sex and the City Movie (rehearsal dinner scene).

It really was a cool place with a quasi VIP style and amazingly delicious food!  It is served family style and comes as it is prepared.  We tried a variety of things and ended with birthday apple cider doughnuts served with the most delicious creme fraîche ice cream.  Wish I had some right now.

Today I spent the afternoon in Brooklyn with some girlfriends.  We ate at a really neat South African themed restaurant.  Spending a Sunday surrounded by friends, drinks, food and reggae music was relaxing– especially knowing that the next day doesn’t mean work.

How did you all spend the weekend? Any good eats devoured or fun venues discovered?

NYFW

My dream: go to a fashion show.

My reality: take pictures outside of a fashion show of people going into a fashion show.

Even though the reality was less glamorous than my dream (it was snowing and windy today in the city and I was snapping photos with no gloves on–enough said) , I had such a great time today trying my hand at being a street fashion photographer! I took some pointers from the more experienced ones out there and made sure to be aggressive and outgoing.

Some of the pay offs to freezing my buns off in front of the Lincoln Center:

1. The extravagant fashion samples I came across.  At one point I felt that my pictures could have been put together for a visual shopping wish list.

2. The people I got to see.  Before I tell you who I spotted you must know that I am a daily follower of many bloggers (my blog roll is to the right).  Some write about food, others fashion or beauty and most revolve around my love affaire with all things French.

One of my all time favorite blogs is that of Garance Doré.  I love the way she writes and the stories she tells (and it doesn’t hurt that she is French).  I also love her relationship with Scott, the photographer behind The Sartorialist (also holds a place on the blog roll).  Another blogger I adore is Elin Kling‘s.   Her simple black and white style and stellar jet setting life style interest me enough that I follow her on twitter as well.  Being a writer, and more specifically a blogger, I was definitely more excited to see these well known bloggers and photographers than I was to see celebrities.  Even so, you also should be aware that I am addicted to Rachel Zoe and her outlandish reality show.  She and Roger are just to die for.

Now that it is all out on the table I’m sure you can take a stab at my spottings of the day.  There is of course a story for everything so here I go:

I got to Lincoln Center in the early afternoon (right before the DVF show).  I didn’t really have many expectations and actually thought I would’ve been happy to just take a picture of the building to say “I was there.”

I sarted just taking pictures of people I didn’t recognize in clothes that I loved.  I was drawn to a nice shoe, a vibrant bag and actually lots of the men ensembles.

(stop by my tumblr account to see many more inspirational fashion shots from today!)

love the mix matching of prints and the lips: to die for!

Then I stumbled across some familiar faces as well…

Joe Zee: ELLE's creative director

Solange Knowles

Louise Roe, fashion journalist

And I got hooked!

I was freezing cold but just kept standing there looking around for–honestly I don’t know who I was searching for.  I think in the back of my head somewhere I wanted to see some of the above names but wasn’t sure it was even a possibility.

Then Rachel came walking down with Roger.  Bananas!

I was late on the photo op

And after that I saw Scott from the Sartorialist.

At that moment I realized that I might have the chance to see Garance!  I just had to search.  Finally I spotted her as she came walking through in her green army coat and high bun (read her blog and you will find she always talks about throwing her hair up like that).  I even had the chance to go up and talk to her as she was alone (seemed not too many people recognized her) and I was on a little fashion blogger high.  But as I mustered up the courage to go and say my opening line (in French of course) I was stopped by a few religious outreachers.  Nothing against religion but please do not come up to me and lecture me in the streets, especially when I am about to talk to my favorite person whom I’d never met!

Garance in lovely shoes

Garance and her peeps

Needless to say, Garance had slipped away by the time I got out of my Bible reading.

Darn.

At this point I was freezing and decided to stop while I was ahead.  As I was walking down the steps I noticed a tall woman in black and white.  At second glance I realized who it was and ran back up the stairs to get a better angle.  Elin Kling had arrived and I had full access to a photo shoot without the masses of other people.  She laughed, tucked her shirt in and posed for my photo!  Perfection.

As Elin passed me and entered into the ring of photographers I hurried back down the steps and ducked into a warm Starbucks.  I spent an hour defrosting (it literally took that much time) and I even got to chat with a French couple.  Love speaking French, even it is with strangers in a coffee shop 🙂

All in all I enjoyed this little Sunday in the Big City.  I will be dreaming of beautiful clothes as I start this work week.

Exercising body and mind

I went for my first run through Brooklyn this afternoon.  It was interesting to say the least.  First of all I have never really run through a city.  I am more a suburbanite who enjoys running through a nice park or through the winding roads of a friendly neighborhood.  So having to “look both ways” at each intersection, pass by millions of people (mind you all with their heads down at their phone making my run turn into a little martial arts as I leapt over trash bags and veered sharply from fire hydrants) was different.  Luckily no casualties occurred 🙂

I did get to see a wide variety of people, places and things.

The first group I came to were kids getting off the bus from school.  Some had the iPhone glued to their hand or iPod plugged into their ears (like my familiar suburbanites).  Other groups of boys were pushing each other and a group of girls were talking so loudly at one another I could make out every word with my ear buds in.  The most surprising thing in this group was the language coming out of most everyone’s mouths.  I was shocked to hear elementary school kids dropping the f-bomb in front of the crossing guard!

Finally I got to Grand Street and turned the corner away from the schools.  It was funny because this street is home to about a million 99¢ stores.  There were even a few bars that I wouldn’t mind checking out sometime.  Little hole in the wall places–you never know.

Then I came to the river and along with it a fellow runner (the only other one I saw today).  It was quiet down by the Williamsburg Bridge and a lot of old factories lined the street.

I made my way down the road until I got to the heart of Williamsburg: Bedford Avenue.  I turned the street and there were a very large number of people dressed in black.  It was as if I entered a party without the dress code memo.  I almost felt wrong jogging along in my spandex pants and Nike zip-up.

If you know anything about this area of Brooklyn you know that the people I had just bumped into were the Hasidic Jewish community.  Due to their distinct style of dress and hair cut (for the men), they are an easily recognizable sector of the Jewish faith and a lot of them live in Brooklyn.

The first time I noticed a family dressed this was actually at Elis Island the weekend I visited with the French boys.  I saw a woman and her many children visiting the museum and the boy with them had long curly sideburns.  I figured they were foreign, but not that they most likely lived in Brooklyn.  Then as I was moving in last weekend I drove by a large group of black clad men with huge furry hats.  My dad mentioned that they were Hasidic Jews and this spiked my interest.  So when I stumbled upon the neighborhood today, where a large number of this group resides, I knew I had to do some more research about what they stood for and the reason behind their distinct look.

What I found out was complex to me; one who does not study religions.  In basic terms this sector of the Jewish faith began as a reaction against the over legalistic Judaism during the 18th century in Eastern Europe.  The most prominent thing I noticed was the dress and hair.  To me it seemed they all dressed the same but in fact there are many different groups of Hasidic Jews and each has a slight variation.  It was also interesting to read that their style was a non theological practice.  It is mostly based on historical and sociological reasons.

The hair however, that idea comes from a biblical commandment to not shave one’s face.  They first shave a boy at age 3 and usually all the hair except for the sideburns is shaven off.

It all interests me so much and I would love to learn more about my new neighbors.

This move is already more eye-opening than I had imagined.