Raspberry Chocolate Creme!

I never would have thought to put these colors together… I brought home these two pashminas to try out from our new summer collection, and I loved them both so much that I couldn’t decide which one to wear!  My husband said, “Why not both?”  I’m glad I listened to him!

(The two pashminas will be called “summer purple” and “Andrea’s Brown” – I paired it with the creme ruffled waves sash and a fabric pin!)

After the tichel was decided the outfit came easily:
andrea grinberg wrapunzel

Tichel Love? MELANIE Love!

I’m very happy to introduce you to Melanie!  I met her on facebook about a year back.   She is inspiring in both her enthusiasm for tichels and helping others… really, just all aspects of life!  Her upbeat posts and support of everyone is infectious!  Oh, and let’s not even begin to talk about her incredible wrapping skills – I’ll let you see for yourselves!  I know she’ll make you smile ear to ear!

photo 1

Hi Melanie!  Can you tell us a bit about yourself!  How you grew up, what you enjoy doing, how you spend your time, etc.? I was adopted out of foster care at a young age. I grew up a military child, moving around a lot. I really enjoy my children, reading, and creating things. I have 4 children. 3 boys and an angel little girl we adopted. We are foster parents and LOVE living the life of all things child related. We homeschool and spend lots of time together as a family. I love it!

What led to your covering your hair with tichels?
Oh my so many things attributed to me covering my hair…the beauty of it drew me in like flames in a fire. It has been a journey of discovering who I really am.  I feel like I am hiding a piece of me that I used to let define me (as a former hairdresser) and saving it for my husband. When I do this I feel like I am showing others the true “me” not just what I wanted them to see which was for me, mostly about my looks and hair. I want to be modest and for me, that includes covering my hair and saving it for my sweet man!

How has your life changed since starting to cover? Many things have changed since I started covering. Most for the better, but let’s be real – sticking out like a (beautifully covered) sore thumb in an uncovered community has its moments, some encouraging and some just down right hard. In the hard moments I hold my Tichel up high and remember I am a Queen and I do this for the love and  respect of others whether they know it, or understand it. So I’d say it has made me more humble.

How did people around you react? They are still reacting. At first it was like an elephant in the room, sometimes that elephant is still there. When I feel it there I picture myself wrapping a beautiful Tichel on it… Then I start mentally wrapping up other women’s heads. That normally helps! Haha! Most are curious why I do, some want to argue about why they think I do, and some surprise me and start covering their own beautiful little heads! I tend to be flooded with compliments by complete strangers. Some women have started covering and will send me pictures of them all wrapped in beauti-mus-ness! I love that SO much! Overall I would say it has been taken very well by others 🙂

What do you love most about tichel tying? Everyday is a new day and a new Tichel! I am excited every night to wake up and put on a new/different Tichel the next day! I love how different ways of tying & colors and textures bring out different features of my face and my style.

PLEASE share with us your tips and tricks!! When I started buying scarves I was all over the place, anything that caught my eye I bought it. Now, I have a method to it. I like to buy lots of plain colored scarves to use as a base, I will watch for sales and stock up. So when I see different textures, odd sized pieces or wild colors I know I am bound to have a “base” that will match it. I also buy a lot of solid color clothing, that way I can be a little more wild & free when buying my Tichels and don’t have to worry about having something to match them.

What is your favourite tichel? Impossible question! Haha! Israeli Tichels are my favorite “type” though.

What recommendations would you make to someone who is just starting to learn how to tie? Watch videos of others tying, master one look you really like…and just keep trying! 😉 AND a velvet band is a MUST!

Can you tell me any interesting stories about the women you’ve met during your covering journey? A funny flattering story…I was in the grocery store with the kids, we turned onto the drink aisle and a container of juice had spilled all over the floor. I sent my oldest to go get a sales clerk and while he was gone a woman came down the other end of the aisle. She just kept staring at me. I was thinking she had seen the juice but she just kept walking straight for it, staring at me. Eventually she got so close and was about to walk right into the lake of grape juice all over the aisle so I lunged forward and said “stop!”. She was utterly shocked and snapped out of her fix on me, I said “ma’am there is juice on the floor be careful” she said…”I cannot stop staring at how beautiful your wrap, (is that what you call it?) is on your head….you are a breath of fresh air, and I cannot get enough! You are so modest AND beautiful! I don’t see this everyday!” It made me smile for a month! I promise! Haha!
I also had a case worker for one of my babies, who covers her hair and knows the lovely Zarinah El-Amin Naeem! We were so excited for the pictures from the last head wrap expo and wanted to come so bad! She would bring pictures and calendars of beautiful wraps when she would come over and we got to connect through our wraps. The first time she came to my house we both just stopped and stared at each other. It was funny and we laughed about it later. We were both so shocked to meet and have that in common!

What is your favourite colour? Oh my……the rainbow. Haha! I love all colors! I think purple and teal are my two “favorites” but it’s hard to say for sure! I love all colors!
What are you grateful for right now? The amazing, encouraging, sisterhood of women that cover as well!

 

Lady Wrap Star: Introducing Heather!!

The first moment I saw Heather’s glowing face when she posted a photo on the Wrapunzel Store facebook page, I was bowled over!  Her smile!  The infectious love for hair covering!  Wow!  Who is this woman?  A few photos later and it was more than clear that she had to be a Lady Wrap Star on this blog!  I was also very curious to hear her story and get to know the woman behind the smile!  Well, thankfully she was happy to share with us!  Let’s hear it for Heather!

I wasn’t raised frum.  I was barely raised with any real Judaism at all.  My idea of Orthodoxy was full of misconceptions and stereotypes galore.  In my own naiveté, the idea of hair covering brought up images of women shaving off their glorious locks, only to deprive them and their husbands, and made me cringe.  When my mother, a”h, learned I was becoming frum, she initially cried thinking that I would also do this.  I assured her that this wasn’t the case.

When I got engaged, I struggled with the idea of covering my hair.  My hair was my most prized physical possession. It was long and red, and k”h, pretty amazing.  So what changed my mind?

I was teaching at NYU at the time and living on the Upper West Side.  While I was waiting on the subway platform, someone came up behind me, and raked his fingers through my hair, from the nape of my neck to the ends and then just walked away.  I never saw his face.  Of all the parts of me to be groped on the subway (and as New York women know, unfortunately that happens) he chose my hair.  I immediately called my husband (then fiancé) and told him what happened, and we both decided that Hashem had just sent us a message.

That doesn’t mean that it was easy for me.  I started with berets (it was the 90s, and that was the cool thing) and moved on to hats of all sorts.  When I started teaching at the Yeshiva of North Jersey, I chose a sheitl because that seemed to be the thing to do.  My main problem was that I would have to cut my hair to fit under the wig, and every time I did it made me sad.  Wrapping allows me to keep my hair as long as I (and my husband) likes.

One of the reasons that I became frum was that I craved a connection to the past.  I tried to connect to the generations before me, all of whom lived a life of Torah and mitzvot.  When I came across the Wrapunzel website, the first thought was that the Imhaot did not wear hats and they certainly did not wear sheitls; they wrapped their long beautiful hair.  I could imagine them wrapping, and showing nothing but their beautiful shining faces, and I wanted to emulate that.  

Truth be told, my husband was not initially a big fan, as he loves my hair, and for him, a sheitl is as close as you can get in public.  But what I told him was this: The hair is for us, but the cover is mine.  He couldn’t argue with that.

I spent (spend) many hours watching Andrea’s and Rivkah Malka’s tutorial videos, and they are beautiful.  They are always smiling and glowing, and there is no way that radiance shows with the distraction of a sheitl.  To each their own of course, and there are some beautiful sheitls out there, but there is nothing like a wrap to show the true beauty of an Aishes Chayil.

Heather Okoskin Benjamin

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Our Lady Wrap Star: Naomi

Our newest Lady Wrap Star is a wizardess with scarves, deep, talented, brave, and genuine.  You may remember her face from the zig-zag criss-cross post:

This is Naomi. When this photo was taken she wasn't yet covering her hair publicly.
This is Naomi. When this photo was taken she wasn’t yet covering her hair publicly.

Additionally, she also happens to be a very special friend, and most recently she became my sister!  Yes, less than two weeks ago, my brother married this beautiful woman!  My husband and I were lucky enough to be able to stay in their area for the week after the wedding, and therefore I got to experience her ethereal head wraps.  These photos were taken during the sheva brachot (meals eaten for the week after a Jewish wedding), one for each day.

Day One
Day Two (the first day was the wedding!)

Day Three:

Day Four:

Day Five - Morning
Day Five – Morning

Day Five – Evening

The only one we didn’t get was from Friday night (day six) where she paired a colourful sari scarf wrap with a black dress.

And finally, Day Seven - taken after Shabbat!
And finally, Day Seven – taken after Shabbat!

So yes, her wrapping skills are out of this world and she is a stunning woman.  However, she is so much more than these pictures can even begin to convey.  You’ll see.  I will now hand the writing over to Naomi so you can get to know her better.

The Weight of the Crown: Thoughts on the Visibility of Hair-Covering

My name is Naomi and I didn’t grow up religious. I want to write about hair covering, not my spiritual journey, but I felt I had to put it on the table. A lot of the practices of orthodox Judaism don’t mesh very well with secular American culture, and hair covering is definitely one of them. When you grow up identifying as an observant Jew, most people understand, even if they don’t agree with your religious reasoning, that you have a cultural practice of covering your hair. However, when you decide to become religious later in life, things become more complicated. For the rest of your life, you will have one foot in your new, observant Jewish community and the other foot at home with your non- (or less-) religious family and childhood friends. If you want to preserve your childhood and family relationships, you have to be ready to explain why you would obligate yourself to do all these frustratingly complicated things when you could have had a perfectly easy life by staying just the way you were.

Andrea and many other married Jewish women liken covering their hair to wearing a crown. Now that I’m doing it, I think this analogy is apropos on more than one level. It’s not just that both crowns and scarves are beautiful and royal-looking. It’s that by covering my hair, I become a public figure: a visible ambassador of an entire culture. To my non-Jewish friends, colleagues, and even to strangers, my behavior gets filed under “How Jews Act.” Like a queen’s crown, a judge’s robe, or a policeman’s badge, my head covering is not just an accessory. It has weight; it puts me under scrutiny. I carry on my head the heavy responsibility of giving people a positive impression of Judaism.

This certainly didn’t sink in for me right away. Even before getting engaged, I was spoiled rotten as far as preparation for hair covering goes. I poked through all of Andrea’s posts and videos. I sneakily collected scarves for months from thrift shops and piled them in a box at the back of my closet. When I was stuck at home doing laundry, I would have a complex, fancy triple-scarf wrap on my head just because. At this point, I loved hair covering in the same way that I loved cute shoes or nail polish. It was FUN, and I quickly became pretty good at it – even though I was secretive to avoid scaring my not-quite-fiancé. This period of girlish excitement persisted through most of our engagement, until about two weeks from the wedding. One day, I looked at myself in the mirror, and I realized that married me could never leave the house without a hair covering again. And then the old righteous I-should-be-allowed-to-do-whatever-I-want instinct and the why-should-“organized religion”-tell-me-what-to-do instinct kicked back in. I hadn’t heard from either of them in a while, but we all deal with them. Even those of us who stand strongly by the decisions we’ve made. It’s part of human nature to fight against obligations and limitations that make our lives more difficult, and maybe even more so when the only one to blame for the obligations is ourselves.

While I struggled to make peace with hair covering in the little time remaining before my wedding, other parts of my Jewish life blossomed in ways I had never imagined. The community around us came together and literally made our wedding. In the same sense that people say “it takes a village to raise a child,” it took our whole village to marry us. Our food was home-cooked by a couple of powerhouse local women who’ve personally catered over 150 weddings for couples who are still students or just starting out financially. Our florist lent us 30 vases and gave us a bunch of floating candles for free. I bought my dress for next-to-nothing from a Jewish vendor on Etsy who was getting rid of old inventory. Friends from the synagogue drove us around everywhere on errands since we don’t have a car.

Never before had I felt so welcome in the Jewish community, but I still had difficulty with the notion of becoming so visibly religious. What eventually helped me reconcile all of these feelings was this: When someone you trust with your life gives you a piece of advice, even if that advice is very strange, you don’t throw it out immediately. It might be hard. It might not fit the picture of what you grew up with, or what’s popular right now. Though the advice isn’t easy to take, the source of the advice is so important to you that you’ll follow it anyway. When we’re little, we think we should be allowed to eat cookies every day. Maybe we even have a friend down the street who does eat cookies every day and we resent the carrot sticks that we get in our lunches instead. But in the end of course, our moms were right – the carrots are healthier. We just weren’t in a place, as children, to understand.

My G-d and my community, collectively, represent a force of kindness, caring, and pure knowledge far greater than I possess alone. Even though it is hard to look different, hard to explain to someone on the street, when a piece of wisdom comes from Judaism, I listen. The morning after my wedding, I did that same fancy triple-scarf wrap that I’d secretly worn while doing laundry. It used to take me five minutes. That morning, my hands shook and it took me over twenty. My husband was looking on in curiosity, but I had to ask him to go away because he was making me even more nervous.

In the end, covering my hair has been both easier and harder than I thought and feared it would be. In this and many other areas of Jewish life, I am still very much a child. I struggle with wanting to eat cookies instead of carrot sticks. But the weight of the queen’s crown, the responsibility of my visible presence as a Jewish woman, reminds me that I must make the best of myself. I’ve only been married a week, and already I’ve made a concentrated effort to greet people with a smile (Should a stranger’s only contact with an observant Jew consist of a distracted frown?). I try to show up earlier, tip more generously, and listen more attentively so others know that I value them. It takes effort to push myself like this, but I’m so glad my covered head is forcing me to do it.

It is tempting to live life pursuing comfort instead of growth. But if you stay comfortable, you will never find your full potential. Cover your hair beautifully, with inner commitment, and you will literally turn heads in the street. You are in the limelight now. It isn’t going to be comfortable at all, but you just might change the world.

Our Latest Lady Wrap Star – Tiona!

When Tiona sent in her gorgeous photo with a sweet note for the “Wrapunzel Ladies do the Zig-Zag Criss Cross” post, I was immediately captivated by her smile and wrapping skills.   Turns out that her beautiful wraps only give a hint to the person she is on the inside!  Here she is as a Lady Wrap Star!  Read on…

wrapunzel wrap star tiona andrea grinberg

Hi Tiona! Can you tell us a little about yourself? What are you all about, some likes/dislikes, how do you choose to spend your time?
Yes. Hi my name is Tiona Reed, I am a mother of four blessings and married to my wonderful husband Roderick Reed. I run my own bakery and absolutely love baking and decorating cakes. There is a fulfillment there when I see the smile on someones face because Ive added to their life memories. I spend all of my time raising my children in the most positive way I know how. I have also started the process of volunteering at the local hospitals cancer center to teach women how to cover their heads in a way to still remain confident. Personal experience has taught me that if a woman still remains confident and positive about the way she looks, her recovery is quickened or her last days are brighter. My husband is currently serving in Afghanistan so all of this is a great responsibility at the present time but I have strong and loving mishpucha helping me through.

How long have you been covering your hair? Can you tell us a bit about why you cover your hair and the process leading to this life decision?
I have not been covering my hair for very long, but I find the journey very rewarding. Becoming more modest had been my conviction for quite some time so when I decided to hold myself accountable and learn what it meant to be modest and cover my hair, I felt like I had accomplished something that would bring more clarity to my life focus. There were a lot of distractions regarding how I looked, in particular my hair. I use to be a hair model when I lived in Atlanta and that seemed to be the focus of my life. Funny story, when I met my husband, I actually missed a hair show I was suppose to be in because I was with him!! Anyways, I later felt there was too much focus on my hair and not enough on what was important, which is self and others. I slowly but surely began to wrap my hair and I have seen how it has transformed my life and the life of the people around me!

What is your favourite way to cover? Favourite colour and why?
My favorite way to cover are snoods!! I am a busy mom, so a snood is fast and easy!! Sometimes I dress it up and put layers underneath, but throw on and go fits my lifestyle. I like to save all the other fun wraps and scarves for Shabbos. Then I get to experiment and play with colors and textures. Just another way I set the day apart. My favorite color would have to be blue. All shades of blue just make me happy. It has a calming affect to me. It’s also a great canvas to add different textures and patterns to.

Do people ever ask you about your hair coverings? What do you say to them? A memorable hair wrapping experience you would like to share?
I don’t really get asked much about my hair coverings as much as I get complimented. There is always a look of curiosity, but not much in the way of conversation, other then a thank you response. My most memorable hair wrapping experience would have to be when I was in Israel and some of the ladies asked me to cover their heads when we were expected to be in areas where it was required. It was such an honor that they were standing, waiting their turns to be wrapped and they absolutely loved it! Some to this day have continued to wrap their hair even upon returning home.

Any scarf wrapping tips you would like to share with the Wrapunzel ladies? What are you grateful today?
Oh my, tips from me!! I would love to learn more tips from everyone else. The only thing I can think to contribute is to always walk away from the mirror feeling inspired and confident. This light is important for others who need the encouragement to cover their hair and still feel empowered. I am grateful for my family and the opportunities that have been placed before me. My life has truly been blessed and I only pray that I have been that same blessing to others.

Thank you for this opportunity!!

And thank YOU Tiona!  Thanks for reading everyone – let us know your thoughts in the comments section!

Lady Wrap Star Hannah!

This lady has only been doing hair wrapping for a few months!  Upon becoming friends on facebook, I knew that we had to feature her on Wrapunzel.  I’ll stop blabbering and let her speak for herself; Meet… Hannah!

lady wrap star hannah wrapunzel

 

I am quite honoured to be asked to be a Wrap Star.  I am quite new at covering my hair…only a few months!

I am a nice Jewish girl, and I grew up in Montreal in what I guess would be considered a culturally Jewish environment.  I am married to the most amazing man, who isn’t Jewish.  I have been on a journey which includes becoming more observant.  My amazing husband is completely supportive of this, and is actively raising our son to also be Jewishly observant.  

I have been keeping Shabbat for several years, and our kitchen is mostly Kosher (I only use Kosher food, but we still have to buy separate meat and dairy dishes…in time…).  My husband, son and I went to Israel this past May, and I was incredibly inspired by all the hair coverings.  

I have always liked the idea of married women covering their hair.  To me it seemed to be such a special Mitzvah.  I started covering part of my hair while in Israel, and then by the time we got home, I decided to take on this Mitzvah full time.  

My collection of tichels started with the five I bought in Israel: 3 sinar (apron) tichels and 2 square tichels.  

Like most families, we are on a tight budget, and I realized quickly that buying tichels can get pricey!  I had a thought…how many people buy scarves they don’t wear then give them away to Value Village?  I love buying the second hand scarves because they are so different than the ones in the stores here.  They are also much much cheaper, less than five dollars a scarf.  

I bought a few scarves and realized…I have no idea how to tie them!  I guess that is why I liked the sinar tichels so much.  I discovered Andrea and Wrapunzel and I LOVE her website.  Andrea shows so many beautiful wraps and shows how easy they are to do!  

I buy scarves that I like, but some fabrics are not always predictable once they are on your head.  Andrea has helped me troubleshoot my tichel issues.  I’m still learning to tie my tichels and some days even a simple wrap takes me ten minutes because I can’t get things to sit on my head properly.   

My friends have asked me how many scarves I have…and I really don’t have that many (I think)…and I keep thinking my answer should be “not enough”.  

I have a few favourite wrap accessories…my grip band and my colorful bobby pins.  I found a package of bobby pins in the dollar store in a rainbow of colours.  I like using those either because they are camouflaged in the scarf or they add a little flair.  I have a couple of fabric flower clips and I would love to find more pins and hair bands to help accessorize my tichels.  I also found a donut bun thing (what is it called??) that I find helps fill my wraps better.  Of course after I bought it, I discovered Andrea’s sock trick to do the same thing!   

Some other things about me…I used race mountain bike… while I was doing my Masters degree, my friend and I had a vegetarian/animal rights radio show…I used to be painfully afraid to speak in public and now that’s all I want to do!  (too many years of keeping quiet??)  In 2009 I went on the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP) trip to Israel and it was AMAZING!  I would love to make Aliyah with my family one day (my parents live in Israel now).  

Thanks Andrea for all you share and having me as a Wrap Star!  

lady wrap star hannah wrapunzel

 

And thank YOU Hannah for being our Lady Wrap Star!  Wasn’t that refreshing?  I think it’s so incredible to have so many women from different backgrounds sharing their stories and love for hair wrapping.  Questions/comments/encouragement for Hannah?  Post below!