Build That House

Mobwives' Renee Graziano, Jennifer Dalton, and Jennifer Aydin at the Jennifer by Delice launch party.

Mobwives’ Renee Graziano, Jennifer Dalton, and Jennifer Aydin at the Jennifer by Delice launch party.

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of spending the evening with Jennifer Dalton, who you may remember from The Real Housewives of New Jersey season 5 and Pregnant In Heels season 2. Jennifer was celebrating the launch of her new fragrance and face and body bar line called Jennifer by Delice. Having attended several events together and sharing a close mutual friend, I’ve gotten to know Jennifer and was part of the group she arrived and left with.

Jennifer Dalton and I at the party.

Jennifer Dalton and I at the party.

Jennifer, like so many people I have met through my TBB blogging experience, is chasing her dreams. Like me, she is following a path, one that isn’t always easy or paved with definitive destinations. She’s on a journey, and though that journey may not be clear cut, the final destination is one of success, and self reliance, and she will get there. How do I know this? Because she’s not a quitter and she’s not one to just stand still and let the grass grow under her. She’s on the move, she’s setting goals, she’s leaving no stone unturned. As we close out 2014 and move into 2015, I want us all to embody those qualities that I see in Jennifer.

I’d like to share a little story with you. When I was a senior in high school I signed up to take a cooking class, I think it was a cooking class, though I don’t remember doing much cooking. The one thing I do remember, however, was our final project, which did indeed involve cooking. It was actually the main reason I signed up for the class. The fall semester students of this course got to design and create, from scratch, gingerbread houses for their final project. The houses then had the chance of being chosen for the holiday display at a popular inn north of New York City.

I had seen a Mexican Adobe Villa with sugar wafered patios and Twizzler Spanish tile roofing in a magazine and immediately knew this was the house my group had to make. My gut told me that choosing such a unique design that wasn’t typical for gingerbread houses would give us a leg up when it came to winning a spot in the display. If memory serves I got the the 3 other people in my group to agree to this. I can be pretty annoying  convincing when I have an agenda.

Making a gingerbread house from scratch is not easy, in fact I remember it being a complete and total pain in the ass. The gingerbread has to be cooked precisely, cooled to a certain hardness, angled a certain way. Any missteps and it literally all falls apart. There are strategically placed cans involved in getting walls to stand up and long drawn out minutes of holding the roof “just-so” until the icing sets enough so that you can let go.

After several days of fiddling with the gingerbread, repairing cracking pieces, scrapping parts to have to bake new ones again, our house was finally standing. We were excited to begin the decorating process, with just a couple of days left until the deadline. The morning of decorating day we walked in to find our house in ruins, the victim of some imaginary candied natural disaster. There sat our house in a heap of creamy frosting coated crumbly chaos. Our teacher could see the devastation in our eyes. “It’s ok,” she said, “I know how hard you all worked. You’ll get the A.”

That A, however, wasn’t good enough, at least not for me. “Can we start again?” I blurted out, while the eyes of the others, happy to be off the hook, shot imaginary daggers at my skull. “Well, there’s not much time, and it’s really not necessary. If you all want to then I suppose so, but you won’t be ready in time for the contest. Discuss it.”

There was no discussion, I was outnumbered. Nobody else in my group wanted to start again. They were satisfied to have tried, they were content with never touching gingerbread dough ever again. I went to my teacher and told her my dilemma. “It’s ok,”she said, “you don’t have to do this. Like I said, your grade is fine.” I explained to her it had nothing to do with a grade, it ran deeper. I had signed up for her course to make a gingerbread house and even if I had to sleep in the classroom I was going to make one. She tried to talk me out of it, she pointed out that if as a group it was a challenge, then surely on my own it would be a ridiculously daunting task. “Let me try,” I asked, “I want to be part of that contest.”

And so I persevered, working all alone with molasses and sugar while everybody else in that studio worked in groups of 3 or 4. For the last couple of days whenever I could get to that classroom I worked on that Mexican Adobe Villa like my life depended on it. Not only did I finish in time for the contest, I won!

Unfortunately I think I lost the only photo I had of that house, or maybe it’s buried in a box at my mom’s somewhere. However, I keep a mental picture of that house, and anytime a task feels too daunting, a dream too impossible, or somebody tells me “you can’t”, I flip to that mental picture and tell myself I can.

As we move into the new year I want each and every one of you to decide what your “gingerbread house” is and go for it. Never let anybody tell you, you can’t. If you want something so bad that you can taste it, you can make it happen.

Have a blessed holiday! We will be back with more TBB in January! See you next year!

 

Regards and Hugs,

Tara (The Bravo Blonde)

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The Survivor-An Interview with Amber Marchese

imageSpeaking to The Real Housewives is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. This is truly the case when chatting with Real Housewives of New JerseyAmber Marchese. On the show she comes across intense, a fact that she will openly admit to, but over an iPhone she’s quite calm. She describes herself as laid back, a quality she regrets we didn’t see much of on her rookie season. Currently enjoying the comfort of what she calls her own little world, she can easily reflect on the ups and downs of Real Housewife-hood, with a level head. However, don’t mess with her husband, or those claws will still find their way to the surface…

TBB: Congratulations on surviving your first season of Housewives. How did you get involved with the show?

AM: Thank you I thought you were going to say breast cancer (laughs).

TBB: We will definitely talk about that later on!

AM: I was taking acting lessons and auditioning so my name was out there a lot and (Bravo) caught wind of me. They started asking me questions and asking about my life. Then they found out I was friends with Melissa (Gorga) and thought that was an intriguing fact, even though we were friends in our twenties.

TBB: What was her initial reaction when she heard she was going to be working with you?

AM: She texted me and said, “Congrats and welcome to the show!” I thought she was really happy, but as time went on I felt like she didn’t stand by my side in the way a good friend should have.

TBB: I’m assuming, since you knew Melissa, you had been a viewer of the show. What was your biggest worry coming into it?

AM: Actually I was not a viewer. I would watch it once in a while since seeing Melissa on there. I talked to her right before she was going on and she asked me if she should be going on and I actually told her not to do it! Now, here I am five years later and I’m eating my words. My biggest worry was how much time it was going to take me away from my children. It was a pleasant surprise that it didn’t really take me away from them at all. We filmed a lot together as a family and most of my interviews were in the house while my kids played upstairs. It’s truly a dream job for moms. Of course, my life is different and (the show) pulled me away sometimes, but I also have a very supportive husband who is an active father. We really are a team. Not to toot my own horn, but I am so good at being a mom and I devote my every waking moment to these kids that even with the show filming, I didn’t skip a beat!

TBB: What was your most cringe worthy moment that made the final cut?

AM: I think there was a lot of them, but the one that stands out is when I cried on the phone with Teresa (Giudice). There was so much behind that phone call. I was just getting my news about the 5 year (breast cancer survival) mark not going so well and there I was getting on the phone after I’d just heard someone’s bad news and I lost it. I was really hoping they wouldn’t include that one. Also when I was drunk in Florida and I smoked that cigarette. I wish they hadn’t shown that, but hey, I’m not going to beat myself up over having a brief lapse of judgement.

TBB: Was there anything you filmed that didn’t make it to TV that you wish had?

AM: More of my family, especially my Christmas.They showed everybody else’s Christmases but decided not to put my family’s Christmas on there, which I don’t know why. Also more of the tenderness of my husband (Jim Marchese) and how he was so super kind to Dina (Manzo) even after she was acting like a big baby because he said, “Does anybody here have an IQ  above 12?” after I was attacked at our best friend’s party. My husband actually took her out to dinner to apologize. He even gave her ideas for the Project Ladybug event that they filmed for the finale. He was nothing but kind to her, nothing but kind to all of the ladies, yet they decided to go after him and they deserved what they got!

TBB: Jim was quite the controversial personality on RHONJ. What are your thoughts about his on camera and online behavior?

AM: I think he gives out exactly what he needs to give out. He’s getting attacked all the time and there’s no reason for him to be called all the names he’s been called. (His) best friend (Bobby Ciasulli) gutted him! Bobby caused all the trouble and I think (Jim) did everything he should be doing. When people are calling him names he has a right to defend himself. It took a lot for him to get to the point he got with Joe (Gorga). Again, I had just been attacked and he was asking him about why we didn’t go bowling. My husband is so well respected in his position (at work) and he’s such a kind and generous man. He’s got a huge heart and employs many people who all adore him.

TBB: You are a proud breast cancer survivor. What is it that you hope having been on this show will accomplish for others with this disease?

AM: What I’ve seen so far since the end of the show has been wonderful. People have emailed me, direct messaged me, even wrote me letters saying they are stronger because they saw what I went through. Some said they had mammograms and got lumps checked out after seeing me and caught (cancer) in time. (Housewives) was a hard show to be on, but that was my purpose for being on the show.

TBB: Complete this sentence … “I used to think blank about reality television, but now I think blank“…

AM: I used to think it was easy to be on reality TV, but now I realize it is very, very difficult. I didn’t realize how cutthroat it is. The egos on the show are always competing. There are people out for blood and they will do whatever it takes to make it. It doesn’t matter who they hurt or not hurt. I just would never do that to anybody. I would never hurt another person, especially over a show.

TBB: Are you open to being on another season?

AM: I’m a very simple creature, if the money’s right then of course. If it makes sense for my family and it pays for my kids’ college tuition, then why not? It was fun. I enjoyed the ride. There were some good points and some bad points, like any job.

TBB: The holidays are right around the corner, how will the Marchese family celebrate? 

AM: The Marchese family always takes a trip every single year. This year we’re going to Hershey Park (PA). I love to create that magical Christmas for my kids…and of course there will be lots of family and food!

TBB: Is there anything else you would like the fans to know?

AM: I was just telling Jim that I feel so far removed from the show at this point because it’s been so long since I filmed, so it’s hard to imagine what I was feeling at the time. I felt like I stood my ground enough, that I didn’t buckle under pressure, however, on an everyday basis I’m pretty laid back and I don’t really feel like viewers saw that side of me. Of course I get angry and sad sometimes, but if you film only those points in my life than of course I’m going to seem intense. I really just love my friends and family and shutting the world out and staying within my family, my little world.

 

 

Reality Roundup- December 13, 2014

Noelle Reno and the late Scot Young. Credit: The Independent UK

Noelle Reno and the late Scot Young.
Credit: The Independent UK

By Tara Cushing (The Bravo Blonde)

The week started with some tragic news. Scot Young, boyfriend to Ladies of London‘s Noelle Reno, fell to his death on Monday. The wealthy Londoner tumbled from a fourth floor window of the apartment he shared with Reno in a what one witness called “a horrific scene” that shocked the police who responded to the incident. The accident has not been deemed suspicious. Young leaves behind two daughters he shared with his ex-wife.  Our sincerest condolences to his family and Noelle.

*Update: British publications are connecting Young’s death to a “Ring of Death” that includes some of his associates who all passed in similar suspicious circustances. The Telegraph reported on the 12th that all men were involved in a “mysterious property deal” called Project Moscow with ties to the Russian Mafia. The “project”is suspected to have been a scam that fleeced Young and his contemporaries of their fortunes and left them with huge debts. Sounds like a Lifetime movie in the making to me!

Did Vanderpump Rules’sStassi Schroeder tell Jenny McCarthy that she was hit by her ex-boyfriend? Somebody pointed me to a story this week in which there was an interview that Schroeder claimed that Jax Taylor, her ex and co-star on the show, hit her. Unfortunately when I had a chance to listen to the clip it was no longer available on Soundcloud and I couldn’t locate it on Google. Jax and Stassi dated before breaking up during the show’s second season. Tell us, do you think Jax would hit Stassi?

Maybe Jax’s rage starts with his paycheck. TMZ reports that the cast of VPR makes Pump chump change. Reportedly the stars of the show made just $5k for the entire first season. They were raised to $3k per episode for the second season and now get $5K per episode on season three. Considering a season on Bravo is usually 6-12 weeks that means they are getting a maximum of $60K. No wonder they all still live in those shoebox apartments.

Sonja Morgan shows off her cover and dress from her upcoming line. Photo Credit: OK Magazin

Sonja Morgan shows off her cover and dress from her upcoming line.
Photo Credit: OK Magazin

Sonja Morgan dished to OK Magazine about the current filming of Real Housewives of New York City‘s latest season. At the party to celebrate her cover on Latino Show Magazine where she sports one of the dresses from her upcoming line (2015) Sonja Morgan New York. Morgan admitted to not knowing Carole Radziwill and Heather Thomson well on prior seasons but says that now there are “real friendships” and that the “girls are fully integrated.” Morgan (51)  also showed off her 24-year-old boyfriend Dominik Persy at the event. Where was I you may wonder, as I usually cover Sonja’s events live? Yours truly got her invite, but I was on mommy duty that night with my two favorite stars. Thanks for the invite Sonja, will definitely make the next one!

On season 5 of The Real Housewives of New JerseyJoe Gorga told his sister to, “Cook a book.” It seems like Teresa Giudice may indeed be cooking up something. People.com reports that everybody’s favorite table flipping Fabulicious Housewife has been spending her last few weeks of freedom creating cooking videos. The You Tube video, hosted by Glam, called Get Cooking with Teresa Giudice, features Tre showing how to make devil shrimp over anger hair pasta. You can watch the clip below. Teresa will be surrendering to a Connecticut prison on January 5th. Tell us, would you watch a Teresa post prison cooking show?

More out of RHONJ, Bravo-Dish is reporting that the Manzo-Laurita feud is over. Jacqueline Laurita told Radar Online that the whole family, including Dina Manzo, “had Thanksgiving together for the first time and it was peaceful and normal and great to have everyone together.” Jac also stated that Dina finally met her youngest son Nicholas and that “he loved her. He even sat on her lap and played with her hair.” Dina and Caroline Manzo appear to have also turned over a new leaf. After the holiday Dina tweeted “Things have been good for a bit and just wanted to keep it private for a minute~Not everything needs to be done w cameras” to which Caroline responded “True – we kept it private :)”. I reached out to Jacqueline for a comment and am awaiting a response. In the meantime you can read about the feud in her own words in her November TBB interview.

If you are wondering if this could all be to smooth things over before next season (if there is one) of RHONJ starts filming, you aren’t alone. I heard through the Franklin Lakes grapevine that Dina does not want to return to the show. Could the reconciliation be just one aspect of getting her to stay? What do you think?

Fans of Real Housewives of Orange County‘s Vicki Gunvalson, got a little extra Woohoo from the original Housewife when she inadvertently Instagrammed a topless photo of herself. Vicki was posting a thank you for a pair of Beats headphones Bravo gave her for Christmas when the packaging reflected her naked body into the photo. Vicki claimed she was getting dressed for work. Blame it on multitasking. I can’t help but think of the classic Elaine Christmas card episode on Seinfeld. Season’s greetings Vicki!