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Fashion. Get the latest fashion tips and style ideas from Venice, Italy. 

I’m often asked “Where’s the best place to shop in Italy.”

In addition to helping people live their best lives by elevating their spirituality, I am often sought out for help with life’s daily challenges. After all, we are physical people in a physical world. Our bodies are the protection for our souls, so here are some great tips to keep you at your best.

As a trusted mentor for people from many backgrounds all over world, I’ve found there is one thing that unites us: we are all trying to “make every day the best day.” One of the best places to focus on is with the things that affect our daily lives. And that includes the closet dilemma. More precisely: what to wear, when to wear it and how to wear it.

We can all relate to how good we feel when we get dressed up for a special event. It shows in how we walk and in how we talk. The reality is, every day is a special occasion. I often say, “I woke up today, so it’s already going to be great”! Although we can’t control everything that happens each day, we do have our own free will. We can determine our approach for the day and how we will react and respond to everything else.

🤍 Many of you ask which products I use and recommend. This post contains some of my affiliate links for “making every day the best day” while cooking, entertaining and living life.  If you buy something through one of these links, you won’t pay a penny more, but I’ll get a small commission which helps keep the lights on. Thanks!

Fashion Tip 1: Find Your Personal Style

This fashion how-to will add confidence and positivity to your life. Choosing a personal style doesn’t need to be specific, like Vintage, Artsy, Casual, Chic or Bohemian. We all have different inspirations and this can determine how we want to dress each day, depending on how we feel. Defining your signature fashion style can be in more general terms, like Dignified or Classic.

What works for you and what feels good should be your primary focus. Your style can change from day to day.

Fashion Tip 2: Organize Your Closet, Organize Your Life

Of all the latest fashion tips, this one may seem less significant, but it can make a world of difference. The first place to start is with buying good hangers that dont get tangled. Buy hangers that slide well. This makes taking out and putting away clothing very easy. It’s also helpful to get all the same type of hangers. It not only provides a uniform look, but everything hangs the same width, giving an overall neater appearance in your closet. Velvet non-slip hangers are great for your items that like to slide off as you are putting them away.

Separate everything by season. There are many advantages to this. First, you’ll be able to better see what you have, and more importantly, what you still need. Storing your clothing away properly keeps it in better condition. It makes it less susceptible to the elements for the majority of the year when a garment isn’t being used. You will save money in the long run because your clothing will last longer when its protected.

Now, you can organize everything by color range. This is easier than it seems and will help you find that black top that seems to always get lost in your closet. Instead of having to go through each and every one of your garments, you can now quickly swipe through just the dark ones.

Fashion Tip 3: Make a Plan and Stick to It

Lay out or at least plan what you will wear the night before. Five minutes invested in choosing a complete outfit is easier than rushing in the morning. And, you’ll reap the dividends for the rest of the following day when you feel good, whether you are heading out to a meeting, working from the home office or keeping your castle under control.

In the evening, although tiredness from the day may be settling in, it is a more opportune time to plan your next outfit than when you are stressed or short for time in the morning. There’s something about planning your day the night before that is energizing. When you know that you are looking forward to the following day, even in a small way, it is invigorating. It makes you feel good mentally and physically. You’ve already accomplished something for the next day, and it hasn’t even begun yet!

If you’re not following me yet on Instagram, I’d adore your support. I’m at Instagram: RebbetzinUnplugged

Fashion Tip 4: Accessories & Layers

Fashion is like good friends. You don’t need a lot, just a few good ones. A few statement pieces are key. Once your closet is cleaned out according to season, you’ll be able to see everything you have. Take out your accessories and layering pieces and put together some outfits. Write them down. Trust me on this. After following the above fashion tips, I found that I have much more to mix and match than I thought. I have an outfit list taped to the inside door of my closet.

Now that you have a really good idea of your complete outfit possiblities, you can decide on a few types of accessories and color combinations that would be nice additions to what you already have. It doesn’t take much. All you need is a nice selection of classic pieces that you can rotate, and that work well with the majority of your clothes. Add one or two unique items that fit into your budget for those special days. With this strategy, your accessories and layering items will last and won’t need to be replaced as often. Fashion blogger, Tali Kogan is an endless source of ideas for fashion tips, especially on accessorizing and layering.

Fashion Tip 5: “Get dressed and live your life.”

Luxury jewelry designer Rebekah Price says, “Get dressed and live your life.” In additon to making your bed each morning, this single piece of advice is one of the best I’ve heard. I want to give you a head start on tackling the day, so you can set yourself up for a great one. Even when working from home, I get dressed to the shoes first thing each morning. It puts me in the mindset of “Go and get it done.”

I hope these fashion tips will help you as much as they’ve helped me. But don’t stop there! Be sure to take care of your physical health too, beginning with your Daily Skin Care Routine.

Let me know in the comments what else you’d like me to share. Be in touch because I am always here for you!

🎬 You will love these Bisse Italian Cookies. Watch the Cook & Connect with the Rebbetzin Unplugged to find out how fun they are to make.

Join celebrity chefs and thousands of online viewers who watched from around the world, as they enjoyed an evening of connection, cooking and creativity as part of The Shabbat Project.

This special event was geared toward teenagers and featured a special message from Chopped champion, Rachel Goldzal.

These Italian biscotti are likely the most well known of the typical desserts of the Jewish Ghetto of Venice. These are one of my family’s favorite cookies…..crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.

Their “S” shape makes them perfect for dipping in a glass of cold milk or your favorite hot drink.

They are as easy to make as they are delicious.  

One of the best things about these Bisse Italian cookies is that they are made from ingredients which you most likely always have in your kitchen and pantry anyway.

They are inexpensive and the dough can be made ahead, as it stores very well in the refrigerator for a few days in a tight sealed or well-wrapped container. These cookies do not last long in my house. In fact, I usually have to make a double batch.

Try out this recipe and your friends and family will think you are a biscotti pro!

Bisse Italian Cookies

5 from 17 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 19 minutes
Total Time 29 minutes
Servings 19 Cookies
Calories 181
These are the perfect Bisse cookie – crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside

Ingredients

  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 3 1/3 Cups Flour
  • Pinch of Salt

Instructions 

Prepare the Batter

  • Beat the eggs and sugar together until creamy
  • Next, add in the olive oil and the zest of one lemon.
  • The zest is the yellow. You want to avoid getting any of the pith, the white, in there. It’s bitter. We only want that delicious, fragrant yellow zest.
  • The easiest way to do this is with a mandoline.
  • Next, add a pinch of salt
  • Finally, add the 3 1/3 cups of flour in two parts.
  • This makes it easier to fold in the flour and ensures that we don’t have any lumps. Check down at the bottom to make sure all the flour has been incorporated.
  • Once mixed, you can put the dough in the fridge for about 1/2 hour to get a more workable consistency, but if you don’t have time, it's not necessary.

Shaping the Cookies

  • Now, flour your cooking paper and your fingers with a little bit of flour. And take a large spoonful of the cookie dough and roll it out like a stick, around 8 or 9 inches long (20-23 cm). I like to use the length of my hand as a guide to make uniform sized cookies, with the stick of dough extending a bit past my wrist and the tip of my middle finger.
  • You want to work the dough the least possible, because an overworked cookie dough leads to a tough cookie.
  • Now, I’ll tell you a trick to get a perfect "S" shape.
  • What you want to do is pick up the stick from each end and as you transfer the dough on to your baking sheet, and just before you put it down on the baking sheet, form the "S". Once down, you can adjust the shape a bit if necessary.
  • Try to get 2 rows of four cookies on the baking sheet.
  • In between batches, stick the dough in the fridge to keep it at a good consistency to work with.
  • Bake the cookies for 5 minutes at 425F. (202C)
  • Then lower the heat to 350F for around 14 minutes. (175C)
  • Cookies continue to bake if left on a hot baking sheet, so as soon as they come out of the oven, you want to carefully slide the baking paper onto a cooling rack.
  • Place a new sheet of baking paper on the baking sheet and continue shaping and baking the cookies.
Calories: 181kcal
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: biscotti, bisse, Italian desserts, Jewish Ghetto, kosher, Venice Italy

Nutrition

Calories: 181kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 11mg | Potassium: 33mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 38IU | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg

If you love these Bisse Italian Cookies and Italian cooking in general, then you’ll love my gnocchi recipe. Let me know in the comments what other Italian recipes you’d like to see on RebbetzinUnplugged.com

Have you ever attended an online class or virtual event?  Nowadays, the likelihood is very high.  Have you ever hosted or co-hosted one?  These 10 tips will help you make a successful virtual event every time!

For nearly a decade, I have reached out to my international audience via online videos and vlogs here in Venice, Italy.  Walking through the city as I speak while teaching a particular subject or interviewing a guest, my videos are like virtual tours of Venice.

This past Spring, the world was almost brought to a complete standstill because of Coronavirus. “What would become of the tourist and entertainment industry?,” I thought.  I came up with some ideas and discussed them at a virtual music industry event hosted by Jeff Pulver, the founder of VoIP (voice over the internet). 

My main point was that people may not be able to travel right now, but they still want entertainment! 

So, why was I at a music industry event? 

Because a vibrant music industry fuels growth in so many areas, including a city’s tourism development.  And tourism, of course, is Venice’s main industry.  Venice has many classic music concerts and is also near the famous Verona Arena, one of the most well-known outdoor music concert venues worldwide.  

Since then, I have encouraged organizations around the world, as well as potential participants, to view the virtual space as having potential that is as unlimited as the places one could go online.

Just as for decades people have enjoyed other modes of entertainment from the comfort of their homes, like tv or film, a virtual event can be entertaining, engaging and best of all, interactive and participatory.  I will share with you what I realized early on, and some ideas about how to make a virtual event successful.


1. Promoting a Virtual Event

Make a promotional schedule.  A good rule of thumb is to begin promotions two to three weeks before the event. Use great graphics and a free program like Canva to make an eye-catching advertisement.  Remember to consider the time zones for your target audience and choose accordingly for maximum viewership. 

2. Collabs and Merch

Many successful events are collaborations.  If you will be selling tickets to attend, many are more inclined to attend when an event is associated with fundraising for an organization, where a portion of the proceeds are donated.  Also, pre-selling merchandise at the time of ticket sales or even during the event can contribute to the event’s success.  This works especially well for concerts.

3. Pre-Check

I’ve found that proper preparation and system checks make all the difference when working in the virtual space.  

30 minutes prior to each event, I sign in and meet the event host for a sound check.  We also check the visuals, including camera angles, virtual backgrounds and lighting.

4. Houston, We Don’t Have A Problem

Whichever platform you decide to use, become very familiar with the program controls.  For example, Zoom offers an abundance of information on the ins and outs of using the program.  There are also plenty of how-to videos available on the internet.  

Make a list and double check that you have everything that you will need to make reference to during the event. If you will be showing slides or a video, you will need to have screen sharing capability. Discuss this prior with the host and ensure that the host has given you access to screen sharing before the start of the event, so that everything will flow smoothly.

This will also help you avoid that awkward disruption caused by waiting for the host to figure out how to hand over the controls to you. And in your Zoom settings, in the ‘Screen Share’ section, you can further avoid unexpected computer sounds by checking off: ‘SIlence system notifications when sharing desktop’.

Another Important Point

Have all of your slides and graphics prepared and open on your screen before the event begins.  You can either have them open and minimized or leave them up on the screen in the order of how you will be using them, one behind the other.  

Eliminating that lag time between finding and opening documents is key to keeping the momentum going during an event.  Also, keep a physical copy of your text as a backup. These details will come together easily with a little planning, and will add to the overall success of the event.

Consider the Details

An appropriate background can make all the difference in the presentation, whether natural or a graphic.  For a celebratory event, perhaps use a screen shot of balloons with a congratulatory message to give it that party feel.  For a professional event, I recommend sending each speaker the same graphic with the organization logo, name of event and the participant’s name.  This works especially well for a panel, when multiple speakers are simultaneously on-screen.  It gives a very professional look and also reminds viewers who is currently speaking.

Chat It Up

Encourage people to use the chat box.  People can message the entire room or they can click on a person’s name to message them individually.  This encourages networking and lends a communal feel to the event. It’s also great for Q & A. If possible, have someone besides the host monitor the questions, so the event keeps up a good pace. The chat can also be easily saved and printed by the participants at the end of the event, or anytime they need to leave.  

Keep in mind that messages sent to an individual aren’t actually private, rather they are just directed to a particular participant.  (I found this out when my husband attended one of my events and messaged me individually in the chat to tell me how proud he was……little heart emojis and all)! Anything written in the chat box is visible to everyone and every message will be printed with the others.

5. A Virtual Room with a Great View

In addition to the main virtual room, Zoom also offers breakout rooms.  These are great for networking and meeting people. The host can place specific people in additional separate rooms or the program can choose the participants randomly.  You can set the amount of time participants will remain in each breakout room.  Guests will see a pop-up notification on the screen letting them know they will soon be transported back to the main room.

6. No Dead Air

There’s nothing worse on a radio show than dead air, which is when there is nothing but silence over the airwaves.  The same is true for a virtual event.  Be sure to have a confirmed event schedule with a specific timeframe.  Each speaker should be emailed a copy of the schedule so they know these three key things: when they will speak, for how long and who they follow.  This will help make the program as seamless as possible. 

7. Cocktail Hour…..Almost!

Many guests sign in to virtual events early, so it is best to have the guests gather in the waiting room.  Guests should not be in the main room during the sound/visual checks and should only be brought into the main room when the event begins. This adds to the professionalism and anticipation of the event. 

8. Are You Ready for a Successful Virtual Event?

Be sure to have your phone on silent and to shut off notifcations. Even if notifications are on silent, they can still pop up while you are screen sharing. (Not everyone needs to know that you are out of toilet paper)! You can also put your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’.  If necessary, you can set the ‘Do Not Disturb’ in your phone settings to allow your favorite contacts or repeat calls to come through.  This can and should still be on silent mode. 

Close the door of the room you are in, check the room temperature and listen for any other sounds that could disturb the event, like a noisy fan or air conditioner.  And if you have one, unplug your land line. (What is that?).

9. Get Your Event Off to a Great Start

If you are a guest speaker, supply the host with your introduction information ahead of time.  If you are the host, review the information so your guest speaker feels welcomed and appreciated.  A proper introduction shows your guest speaker that you value them and the time they put in to prepare for your event.  No one wants to sound like they are boasting, so unless it was specifically agreed upon in advance, don’t make the guest introduce himself.  The introduction is the time to honor your guest speaker, but perhaps more importantly, the opportunity to get your audience excited about his or her credentials and the topic to be spoken about.

Remember, since the host will speak first, he or she sets the tone of the event.  It’s crucial that both the welcome/opening remarks and the guest speaker introduction be pre-planned and said with a smile and energy to get the crowd excited.

10. No Passport Required!

Although nothing can replace being there in person, a virtual event will not only transport you to a destination that isn’t accessible to you today, but opens the world up to places that you may not have ever dreamed of going or may not have the chance to visit.

We are living in very special times where, if we harness the power of the technology available to us, we can accomplish much more than we ever thought possible.  And at the same time, make the world a much smaller place.  

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10 Tips to make a successful virtual event

If you had a chance to go anywhere in the world virtually, where would you choose? Let me know in the comments below.

Whether you are a beginner in the kitchen or just want to begin again, check out my tools and tips for meal planning.

It’s so simple, and the best part is that once you start the system, it will grow, become more refined and make meal planning as easy as 1-2-3.

But that’s not all!  There are many benefits of using my guide to meal planning.

– Going to the supermarket becomes less of a chore.

– Think of all the time you’ll save while shopping.

– You only buy what you need, which means you’ll spend less money.

– You can budget better (and who doesn’t wish they had extra money in their pocket).  

– You’ll be able to coordinate foods to use in various meals throughout the week which will help minimize food spoilage.  That’s another big money saver!

With my system, you’ll end up making what everyone likes to eat, so as I always say, you can “Keep everyone around the table happy.”

What you want to do is print a blank calendar template.  And look! I’ve made one for you, and it’s a free download. Click here for my Free Meal Planning Calendar Template.

The Beginner's Guide to Meal Planning - Instant Download

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Here is how I started out and you can adjust this to suit your family’s tastes.

I started by choosing two evenings a week for meat/chicken meals. (We always have fish and meat/chicken on Friday night for Shabbat, so this is two meals in addition to that).  

Monday & Wednesday: meat/chicken

Sunday & Thursday: dairy

Tuesday: fish

Saturday night: pasta or pizza 

If you keep kosher, the advantage of choosing your meat days is that everyone in the family knows when the dairy days are and to not get fleishik by mistake).

It should look something like this:

SundayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturday
DAIRYMEAT/CHICKENFISHMEAT/CHICKENDAIRYMEAT/CHICKENPASTA/PIZZA





















Here I have one fish, two dairy, three meat/chicken.  It almost sounds like a Dr. Seuss book.  If you eat a vegan or vegetarian diet, just fill out your calendar template accordingly.

Start by filling in meals that you know your family likes to eat.  Do a little research though rebbetzinunplugged.com for other recipes your family will enjoy, including starters and side dishes. Then add those to your new calendar template.  

You don’t have to fill out the entire month at once.  Even if you have just two weeks filled out, you can repeat those meals. 

As time goes by, add new meals that your family enjoyed and you can remove ones that didn’t go well. (Eventually, you will have three months worth of meals to choose from).

When you have about three weeks worth of meals, take a weekly calendar board like this one, and pick 7 meals from your filled out calendar.  Add a green vegetable and a starch and youre ready to go.

It’s as easy as that.  It takes about five minutes and you’re all done!  If you’d like to take a peek at my three months worth of meals, you can check that out here.

From Spaghetti and Meatballs, to Vegetarian Lasagna and Risotto, these meatless lentil meatballs are so easy and delicious, they’ll be stars amongst your dinner rotation ideas.

Everyone’s Looking for New Ideas for Dinner 

How about a new twist on an old classic.  Spaghetti and Meatballs is known to be a crowd pleaser, but more and more people are becoming acquainted with a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.  Or how about that guest who is on a keto-diet?  

Have no fear, lentils are here.  Lentils are a delicious and easy substitute for meat and cheap too.  In additon to being a great source of protein, lentils are also rich in iron, folate and relatively low in calories.

Meatballs without the Meat

Although canned lentils are fine for ready to eat food, I recommend using dried lentils for this recipe.  Dried lentils are better for cooked foods like soups and stews, whether cooked in a traditional pot or in a crock pot.

Dried lentils are easy to use.  Just rinse them well and cook lentils like rice, one cup of lentils to two cups of water.  Each cup of dried lentils yields approximately two and a half cups of cooked lentils. Another benefit of using dried lentils is that you control the salt/sodium content in your food.

Alongside rice, lentils should be a staple in everyone’s pantry, whether you are new to cooking or very experienced in the kitchen.  Lentils come in many varieties and can be seasoned in a myriad of ways, making them an ideal addition to your cooking, from a simple meal to an extravagant one.


Easy & Delicious 3 Ingredient Olive Dip. Green and black olives, olive tree sprigs

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Real Life Meatball Story:

This story has become one of my children’s favorites.

Before we got married, my Italian husband and I were speaking on the phone.  Hearing the pots clanking and the water rushing from the faucet, he asked what I was up to in the kitchen.  

In his Italian accent, he started the conversation with:

Him: Are you cooking?

Me:  Sure am.

Him: And, what are you going to cook for dinner tonight?

Me: I’m making Spaghetti and Meatballs.

Him: What?

Me: Spaghetti and Meatballs

Him: What’s that?

Me (concerned): What do you mean?

Him (questioningly): You’re having pasta and then you are having meatballs as the main dish?

Me: No, just the classic Spaghetti and Meatballs.

Him: Um…..classic? How does that work?

Me (puzzled): What……..?

Him:  Like, are you going to eat it all at once, everything together?

Me: Um, yesss..…

Him: What do you do, put a meatball on top of the pasta?

Me: No, they are small. Some on top, but most mixed into the spaghetti.

Him: Interesting…..we don’t usually eat the meatballs mixed into the spaghetti.

And so, there you have it! American girl meets Italian boy and now he loves my Spaghetti and Meatballs! Especially when it’s with these meatless lentil meatballs.

Meatless Lentil Meatballs

No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4
A Meatless Dinner That Everyone Will Love

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup sliced onion
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 egg

Instructions 

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Rinse lentils well.
  • Add lentils and water to pot.
  • Bring water to a boil, then simmer for 25 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, saute onion until carmelized.
  • Add shredded carrots and continue to saute’ for 5 minutes.
  • Combine cooked lentils with onion and carrots and add remaining ingredients, except the egg.
  • Preheat oven to 425 F / 220 C
  • Pulse with immersion blender (or food processor).
  • Add egg and pulse a bit more.
  • Form meatless meatballs and bake on a baking sheet.
  • Brush with extra virgin olive oil.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes. (depending on your oven, you may find it useful to rotate the vegetarian meatballs halfway through cook time).
  • These meatless meatballs are great with spaghetti, as a meatball sandwich or as a Vegetarian / Vegan pate’, similar to refried beans.

Notes

Tip #1: One cup of lentils to two cups of water.
Tip #2:  Use parchment paper for quick and easy clean up (Save even more time by using the pre-cut kind).
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: dinner, lentil, lunch, meatless, pasta, vegan, Vegetarian

You May Also Like…..

If you like these Meatless Lentil Meatballs and Italian cooking in general, then you’ll love my Bisse Italian Biscotti recipe. 


What other ways do you incorporate vegetables into your meals? Waiting to read your responses in the comments below!

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