Artist In Residence: Shula Singer Arbel

Shula Singer Arbel and I go way back... to when our boys were 12 years old Camp buddies and band-mates. Back then I knew that Shula was an artist but she had not pursued her painting while she was raising her 2 children.

Ten years ago, Shula's husband, architect Uri Arbel, strongly encouraged Shula to return to her love of painting. He was so insistent that he designed and built her a home studio.

I recently visited her studio where I got a glimpse of Shula's enormous talent and creativity. Shula has an MFA in film from UCLA and worked in the film industry for 10 years. She then returned to school where she earned her teaching credentials and taught second grade at Adat Ari El elementary school and became the Director of Education at Camp Ramah.

with shula in her beautiful courtyard outside her studio

with shula in her beautiful courtyard outside her studio

Shula at work

Shula at work

Ms. Arbel claims "painting has changed my life and how I perceive the world. I found my purpose the second I started painting."

Immediately following her first show, she began selling her art and claims that "it validated everything for me." Her work has been shown in galleries around the Los Angeles area.

Ms. Arbel's painting fall into different series. For example, her "Memory Series" was inspired by her parents, who are Holocaust survivors and met in a Displaced Persons Camp after the war. The faceless men and women of this series mean different things to different people. One woman felt the couple in the painting was part of a love story, while  another person interpreted the couple as victims of the Holocaust. 

"love and hope" from the memory series

"love and hope" from the memory series

My personal favorite, shula's "women of colors"

My personal favorite, shula's "women of colors"

The paintings of Ms. Arbel's various series develop organically. Often she does not know which painting will be the impetus for a series.

She works in acrylics because they are non toxic and dry quickly.

She derives her inspiration from "everything... even an invitation" she said citing my daughter, Serena's vibrant Bat Mitzvah invitation, as a source of inspiration for one of her series.

Ms. Arbel is in her studio everyday. She "needs to putter" because as she says she "works while waiting for the big idea to take hold" after which she works tirelessly.

Ginko Leaves

Ginko Leaves

Some of her collaborations include USC Keck School of Medicine and the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center where she has paired with a cancer research scientist; she used images of slides of cancer cells juxtaposed with the hand written lab notes of the scientist.

Ms. Arbel, who has exhibited in over 100 shows, donates work to benefit philanthropic causes such as the ADL, de Toledo High School and the Los Angeles Art Association.

"memories and empty rooms'

"memories and empty rooms'

My personal favorite series is her "Women of Colors" which I find particularly beautiful and expressive. What could be better than a wonderful female artist who paints beautiful and interesting women, full of strength, love and confidence, much like Shula Singer Arbel herself?

To purchase these or other works by Shula, visit her website:

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Mother's Day is fast approaching and I have found some fabulous gift ideas for the moms in your life!

This is definitely on my wish list!

The Keurig Cappucino and latte system

Packed with 100% natural ingredients including dead sea salts, this is one multi tasking scrub!

Arabica Coffee Scrub

There is nothing like keeping track of activity to maintain one's motivation to stay fit and healthy. I love the color of this one!

the fitbit

The Gold no 8 crossbody is one of my new favorite bags. I will be featuring their collection next month. I am in love with this line, which allows you to create your own reversible bag. I think that the crossbody would make a perfect gift for any mom!

Gold No 8

I first received this as a hostess gift, and have grown to love it so much that I have replenished it for years.

Joe Malone diffuser

The perfect gift for the summer....and it comes with its own message!

Floppy hat

Little Box of Rocks

  Who doesn’t love receiving a bouquet of flowers? They add beauty and fragrance to a room and are a way to mark an occasion. But let’s face it, after a few days, the “bloom is off the rose” so to speak, and that beautiful bouquet ends up in the garbage. When a friend recently sent me “Little Box Of Rocks,” I was completely intrigued.  I couldn’t wait to share this little gift of energy and love in the form of personalized rocks and crystals with all of you. My box, “Wildfire,” themed for success, was filled with Pyrite, Jet, Fire Agate, Sweet Grass, and a Clear Quartz rock on which you can make a wish. That’s exactly what I did!
  Conceived and developed by fellow Canadian, Kiera Fogg, Little Box Of Rocks is an idea that was born out of her childhood love of rocks and crystals; she would collect them during the many camping trips she took with her father. At the age of 32, she is the mother of three little boys, and now a busy entrepreneur. Her aha moment came while she was bathing her 6-month-old child, and thought that a little box of rocks would be a wonderful alternative to the gift of flowers.  Having once worked in PR, she possessed the skills and knowledge to set up a website and map out a plan. She made cold calls and emails to sites such as Gwyneth Paltrow’s “Goop” and Cameron Diaz’s “Body Book” websites. They agreed to feature her on their websites. The stars were aligned, the crystals shot their energy into the universe, and the orders started pouring in. Little Box Of Rocks was literally an overnight sensation. 
  There are 14 different boxes to order; each one is individualized and themed to resemble a bouquet of flowers.  “Success,” “birthday,” “health,” and “new journey,” are examples of the unique and inspired boxes. I have already ordered a box for my daughter, and plan to order more for friends and relatives. I loved opening my box, which now has a special place on my desk. When I open the box and look at the rocks and their message and meanings, I feel more optimistic and hopeful, something our world could use a lot of…. so spread the word and order yours here.


This week our family began celebrating the holiday of Sukkot. It is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the period when the Israelites wandered through the desert after they were freed from slavery. A Sukkah is also the name given to the huts in which Jews dwelled during the time of the harvest.

We build our Sukkah and decorate it with pictures that Yale and Serena drew when they were young as well as decorative fruits and vegetables that symbolize the harvest and officially welcomes autumn, my favorite time of year. We always invite guests to dine in our Sukkah, and we are  invited to dine in other Sukkot as well.   

Growing up in Winnipeg, we never built a Sukkah, mostly because the holiday arrives when the temperatures at night dip into a very chilly 30ish degrees, not particularly conducive to comfortable dining experience! Observant Jews will brave the cold, and will also sleep in the Sukkah as well.

The roof of the Sukkah is also temporary and is supposed to let some light through. We like to use palm frawns to give it a more natural feel.