Tova Gold, designer, full-time working mom, and Teaneck resident has a set of grandmothers, Madame P and Lady K, both Shoah survivors, who love their bling – their “muchness” – and are always impeccably dressed in their own inimitable styles. (The word “muchness” has been used in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” and by Shakespeare to express that individual style, that cutting edge, not-quite-over-the-top edginess that creates big personalities.)

As they say in the family, the apples do not fall far from the orchard. This little bit of glitter always came through in Gold’s joie de vivre until the day she lost her identical twins, Sunshine and Daisy, in her 24th week. The sparkle and the inspiration were gone, and Gold was in despair. Her muchness disappeared, wiped out by her grief.

To cheer herself up and bring back that sparkle – to revive her muchness – she began wearing sequins every day and surprised herself. It seemed to be working.”They seemed to light up the darkness I felt inside. Sparkles give me a reason to smile.” She launched a Facebook page and challenged herself to finding her muchness in 30 days.

image“Muchness is the joy, the spark of light and the positivity that fuels our days, our imaginations, our confidence. Kids are filled with muchness, but we adults lose it under the burden of day-to-day living,” Gold explains. She began posting photos of sparkly stuff on her page, and people began to respond to it. It became a place where lots of women and a few men took the 30-day challenge to find their own muchness.

“I realized that muchness is meant to be shared. The best part of finding my muchness was seeing how much it affected the people around me! And the best part of seeing how it affected the people around me was seeing how it affected the people around THEM!!!!”

Gold and her family live in a modest house in a cul-de-sac, and when you walk through the door, you do not expect a living room designed courtesy of HGTV’s David Bromstad and Color Splash, in an episode that will soon be aired. The coffee table is afloat with disco balls, the back wall is an ever-changing translucent rainbow of LED colors and fun, and there are outrageous accessories, including a bright turquoise couch and silver tub chairs.

As we sit and chat, I see her wrists are wrapped with Muchness Bands – sequined silk bands that can be worn in a number of ways. They are custom-designed with inspiring quotes. (Mine, in purple, has a quote from Albert Einstein, “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”) The bands come in silk pouches with a Finding My Muchness booklet and a pad of paper strips on which you can write an upgrade for your dreams and then slip into a pouch on the muchness band. They are “little bits of light to help you find your way through the darkness.”

You can provide your own quotes, as well. A portion of the profits from the sale of Muchness Bands goes to a number of charities, especially those that help prevent pregnancy and infant loss and those that support families who faced such tragedies. Funds are also donated to organizations involved in cancer research for children, breast cancer research, and LGBT/Human Rights causes.

Gold did not say so, but Muchness Bands would make great gifts to cheer up a friend or loved one. It might even be possible to create local muchness support groups for people who need help coping with their day-to-day troubles. It would just be a place to lift one’s spirits a bit by coming together to share sparkly stuff – from vintage disco diva butterfly shirts and polyester leisure suits, to crystal-encrusted jeans and rhinestone-spiked heels, or the perfect rose, a glorious sunset, a star-laden sky, the wonder of a child, the flush of pride in a loved one. Muchness is much in the eye of its beholder.

Says Gold, “Seeing the beauty and joy around you can sometimes be nothing more than habit. When we go through hard times, devastating losses, or just hit a rough patch, we get into the habit of only seeing the bad. We carry with us the negativity, and it tends to color everything we see with its murkiness. Taking the 30-day challenge literally forces us to put on rose-colored glasses and see the muchness – see the color, see the bright spots in our days, despite the darkness that may surround them. And when we change our habit, we change our perspective. By the end of 30 days you will feel lighter, more in touch with what makes you, you; what makes you smile.”

Gold says stay tuned for International Muchness Day, her first anniversary of meeting the challenge, and her birthday – Nov. 15 – when the website renovation will be revealed. “I am working on so many things for this site! Things that will make it just so, much MUCHIER! There will also be a contest and giveaways and picture-sharing, so start thinking sparkle!”

To learn more about Gold and finding your muchness, visit www.findingmymuchness.com or call (347) 404-4086.