The RHONY Season 7 Premiere and TBB on Huff Post Live!

Sonja and Ramona on Huff Post Live. I chime in around 7:30 and then I'm back at the end.

Sonja and Ramona on Huff Post Live. I chime in around 7:30 and then I’m back at the end.

By Tara Cushing (@TheBravoBlonde)

The Real Housewives of New York City are back, and they are back in a big way, a big Bethenny (Frankel) way. If you love Bethenny this is great, if you’re not her biggest fan, well it might not be. “The show was at least 40% about her,” my husband quipped at the end of the Season 7 premier episode which aired last Tuesday. So what happened in the other 60?

Ramonja– Ramona Singer, fresh from a very public divorce, and Sonja Morgan, who is acting like she’s fresh from her divorce, continue to be best frenemies. They fight for dominance of conversation, of the camera. Hey ladies, give up, Bethenny wins.

Heather Thomson– I love her, but was she even in this episode?

Kristen Taekman– Her daughter is finished with physical therapy, which will leave her plenty of time to go for the psychiatric variety she will be needing from having had a mother on Housewives.

Carole Radziwill– Carole has missed a deadline for a book deal. Perhaps Aviva Drescher‘s suggestion of a ghost writer wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

Countess LuAnn DeLesseps– She looks very, umm, refreshed. Hey I’m not knocking it, I just want to know what she’s done. Spill the beans please Lulu!

Dorinda Medley– Though Sonja and Ramona assured me on my Huff Post Live appearance (see clip below) that she “hit the ground running”, she seems more Real Housewives of New Jersey to me, than RHONY. Maybe it’s her boyfriend who seems the Jersey dry cleaning stereotype.

Bethenny Frankel– Aaaand back to the star, hey, she has no control over how much they edit her in or out. She’s back with the one liners and she’s as interesting as always. One thing that lit up Twitter was her scene with Million Dollar Listing New York‘s Fredrik Eklund, in which a displaced B states she is homeless, in the same breath that she talks about having bought a house in the Hamptons over the summer. In the words of Ramona on that evening’s Watch What Happens Liveshe should rent something while she works on renovating her new apartment, and figuring out what to do about the one that her soon to be ex still inhabits. Between her and Kim Zolciak‘s similar statement on last season’s Don’t Be Tardy, I think it’s time for a new series…The Real Homeless Housewives, now that would be an interesting show. Skinnygirl dumpster dive recipes anybody?

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PS: I was not at the premier party this year. I blame the harsh New York winter that made me a hermit on my absence of an invite. I turned too many invites down over the last few months. I love everybody and sincerely wanted to go to everything but, I don’t love you more than I hate the snow!

What did you think of season 7 opener? Share your thoughts with us!

My 30 Seconds of Semi-Fame

Heather Thomson and Kristen Taekman return to your television tonight on RHONY !

Heather Thomson and Kristen Taekman return to your television tonight on RHONY !

By Lesley Rousso (@mommyrou)

On Friday I was asked via Twitter by a producer of Huff Post Live to appear on Monday’s show featuring The Real Housewives of New York City’s Heather Thomson and Kristen Taekman.  I thought, wow, cool! Of course there was no way I was passing that up.  I appeared by webcam, along with another fan, Jack, who was from Australia.  It was only 4:30 am his time.  Now that’s some Housewives dedication! It was a fun experience, I’m hoping they’ll ask again.  I even got a shout out from Miss Yummie herself.  Now, watch what happens…

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My Week of Clean Eating

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Caprese salad with chickpeas makes an awesome lunch! Recipe below!

By Tara Cushing (@TheBravoBlonde)

Ah the signs of spring…sunlit evenings, chirping birds in the morning, people dieting like crazy for the impending swimsuit season. Add social media to the mix and the diet game has achieved a whole new level. There are now Facebook groups devoted to challenges of all sorts where people can share photos of food, exercises, and bare midriffs to show their progress.

I’ve always been very self motivated when it comes to fitness, I’m also extremely competitive, so when a friend posted about an ab challenge I was all “Sign me up!” One week in and I started seeing a difference, at which point I got invited to do a clean eating challenge. Sure, my abs will really look awesome…”Sign me up!” About an hour later I regretted that choice. The group, lead by my friend and Beachbody Coach, Maria, came with guidelines, rules, and forms to fill out. I hate guidelines, rules, and forms. However Maria convinced me it would be fun, besides, it was only for 5 days. How hard could it be?

Day 1: 

My first obstacle, I realized, would be my morning caffeine ritual. Healthy Tara starts her day with green tea, but on the way to work, unhealthy Tara stops at Dunkin Donuts for a Vanilla Chai. I know it has 330 calories, but I’m a runner, so I ignore that. My Vanilla Chai is my security blanket. I shuffle into work clutching it each morning. It is my lifeline. “Are you aware that it has 45 grams of sugar?” Maria texts me. ‘Killjoy’ I think. “Go ahead and have it,” she tells me “just be aware.” Ha, permission I think…or maybe it was reverse psychology, because by the time I pulled into DD all I could imagine was a syrupy cup of sugar. I reluctantly ordered a small skim unsweetened cappuccino. I saved myself 250 calories and 36 grams of sugar, and I actually enjoyed it. This may actually be an easy challenge. Later that day a colleague offered me a pretzel which I declined (no processed foods on this challenge) she shook her head and as she walked away I heard her  say “Who doesn’t eat pretzels?” Lesson learned day 1, gain healthy habits, become the office weirdo.

Day 2:

Maria (who by the way tells me this is not a diet but my new Vanilla Chai-less lifestyle) convinces me that my daily breakfast of 1/2 a bagel with vegan butter is devoid of protein. I’ve been eating this same exact breakfast every weekday for at least 8 years. I want to tell her that Dr. Oz says that we should eat the same breakfast everyday, but I bite my tongue. Maria suggests I add an egg white. I get up 5 minutes earlier to fry an eggwhite. I then proceed to stress my entire commute that I might have left the burner on and that my beloved dog will perish in a horrible fire. For lunch I’ve made some random chickpea, pasta, basil salad. It’s surprisingly delicious, but I’m also hungry enough to eat my desk. Maria was worried that I wasn’t consuming enough food for my active lifestyle, I’m beginning to realize that Maria knows everything and perhaps I should have her pick my lotto numbers too. I come home to find that my dog and house are safe. At dinner I enjoy some baked french fries without any (sugary) ketchup. I feel like I just did something sacrilegious. I plan tomorrow’s meals wondering if there’s a way to convince Kraft to make egg white singles.

Day 3:

I’m starting to feel the positive effects of this diet, I mean life change, though I honestly thought I was a pretty clean eater before; except for the Vanilla Chais, tortilla chips, pizza, and nightly sinful dessert. While on the topic of dessert, I’m a diehard liberal, but at this point I may sell my vote to the Republicans for a cookie. Maria says I should make healthy cookies, like I have time to make cookies. Overall I’m tired from staying up late watching Tuesday night Bravo, and it’s raining which translates to “I’m the hungriest I’ve been all week.” I succumb to eating part of my lunch at 11am and having some multigrain flaxseed crackers and cheese after work. The crackers are the crunchiest things I’ve eaten all week and it takes all of my strength not to eat the whole package. But the positives, yes those positives, my pants are looser, I have no bloat, and I’m wearing a top that I usually think reveals bumps and lumps in all the wrong places, it only reveals the right ones. Ah, progress. Oh I’ve also learned to check the burner on the stove 6 times before I leave in the morning.

Day 4:

I’m hungry again around 11 am. I decide that the drastic reduction in calories from the way I ingest my caffeine is the reason. However, I’ve grown quite fond of unsweetened nonfat cappuccinos so decide I will from now on eat the fruit portion of my lunch at 11 every morning instead of reverting back to Vanilla Chais. Speaking of fruit it’s been a stressful day and I’m missing the liquid variety, but I’ve sworn off alcohol for this challenge. Tomorrow night can’t come quick enough.

Day 5:

I’ve made it five days without any processed foods, sweetened lattes, decadent desserts, or alcohol. I’ve surprised myself with how many meals I can concoct from a can of chickpeas, a container of grape tomatoes, and a package of basil.I feel less bloated and have more energy, but I ran 7 miles this evening and it’s pizza Friday. I compromise with a salad slice and half a banana for dinner, and I fall asleep before I even have a chance to pour the glass of wine I’d worked so hard for. Tomorrow I have a baby shower to attend. Free from the bonds of clean eating I might just throw myself into the cake. I’ve decided that calories consumed on Saturdays (or any opportunity to eat cake for that matter) just don’t count.

What a difference 5 days of clean eating makes! Bikini season here I come!

What a difference 5 days of clean eating makes! Bikini season here I come!

In Conclusion:

Despite all of my whining, clean eating really wasn’t that hard, or that different from how I normally eat. The changes I’ve made were easy enough that I believe I will continue to eat clean during the work week and indulge just a little bit on weekends. The results I saw in just 5 days are enough to keep me going! Many of you have asked for my meal plan so here is a sample of what I ate in a day along with recipes where necessary:

Breakfast:

*1/2 whole wheat bagel w/ Earth Balance soy free spread, egg white, nonfat/unsweetened small Dunkin Donuts cappuccino

Snack 1:

* 1 mandarin

Lunch:

*caprese/chickpea salad: 1/2 cup chickpeas, 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, 1/2 cup sliced grape tomatoes, 1/3 cup fresh mozzarella in bite size pieces, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar,  1 tbs olive oil : layer all ingredients in lidded container & shake

Snack 2:

*2 tbs peanut butter w 1/2 a fuji apple

IMG_8207Dinner:

*salmon burger (no bun) spread with goat cheese

*handful Alexia brand yukon gold baked fries (no ketchup)

*broccoli w/ garlic & almonds: package frozen organic broccoli, 1/2 c slivered almonds, 2 diced garlic cloves: in covered pan on low heat, heat all together until broccoli is thawed and warm

Dessert:

* mock caramel apple pie: 1/2 fuji apple, 1 tbsp peanut butter : chop up apple half into teacup, place peanut butter on top, microwave until peanut butter is melted and apples are soft (about 30-45 seconds)

*For more clean eating ideas, recipes, and to find out about Maria’s coaching please follow her @MariaPaulercio on Twitter.