July Raves

1 purity cleansing wipes from Philosophy 2 Pet Odor Exterminator Candle Mulberry & Spice Scent 3  Shark Navigator vacuum cleaner 4 Lucky Brand strapless cotton romper 5 Puddle Jumper life jacket 6 Skinnygirl Cocktails White Cranberry Cosmo

1 purity cleansing wipes from Philosophy 2 Pet Odor Exterminator Candle Mulberry & Spice Scent 3 Shark Navigator vacuum cleaner 4 Lucky Brand strapless cotton romper 5 Puddle Jumper life jacket 6 Skinnygirl Cocktails White Cranberry Cosmo

By Tara Cushing @TheBravoBlonde

The lazy days of summer are finally upon us, but some things just need to get done. Here are my current favorite things that make what we must do this summer a little easier to accomplish:

One thing I confess to being lazy about is skincare. By the time I am able to shut down for the evening I’m too exhausted to do the whole washing routine. My first rave is for lazy face washers like me everywhere. In May I raved about Philosophy body wash, this month it’s their purity one-step facial cleansing cloths. They are a tad bit pricey ($15 for a 30 count package), but they get the job done. I’ve tried cheaper brands and even regular baby wipes, but they dried out my skin and left me looking like Tammy Faye (Bakker) Messner after a good cry. I purchased my purity wipes at Sephora, but they are also available at Philosophy ‘s website. Try them and never wake up with makeup stains on your pillow again.

Summer brings with it certain smells. The honeysuckle in the breeze, the brine of the ocean, the stench of your pet on a humid day. Recently I had an issue with this and was mortified when a house guest (ok home shopper) noticed a “strong dog odor” in my home. I went so psycho over the whole thing that I dumped an entire can of freshening powder on my carpets and broke a vacuum cleaner that was less than a year old trying to suck it up. We had to rent the industrial vac from Home Depot and buy a whole new vacuum (see next rave) after the debacle. In the end my house still smelled like the dog (turns out it was him, not the carpets). When grooming didn’t even help I turned to my local pet supply store and that is where I found the Pet Odor Exterminator Candle. They offer a 100% money back guarantee if it doesn’t work…it works. It works so well, in fact, that my realtor commented “The place smells amazing”and my house even sold! You can find the candle on Amazon. I recommend the Mulberry & Spice scent.

After I broke my vacuum I was faced with having to buy a new one for the second time in less than a year. Not wanting to spend a ton this time I looked for a less expensive brand. I’d heard many people rave about their Shark brand vacuums, including my mother. I got a Shark Navigator at Bed Bath & Beyond for about $130 with my coupon and it is THE BEST VACUUM I’VE EVER OWNED. I don’t know whether I should be excited or terrified by the amount of dirt this thing sucks up and it’s got such power it needs minimal push. Even better it comes apart and has a fabulous attachment for doing the stairs, upholstery, and the car interior. Now if you really really want to be lazy you could spring the big bucks for a Roomba, but, don’t let my husband read this, vacuuming with my Shark is kind of fun…almost.

Now that it’s hot out getting dressed is a chore, and uncomfortable. Since it’s not appropriate to be naked in most communities, one step lightweight clothes are the way to go. How to look cute when you just want to throw something on? Lucky Brand makes adorable lightweight strapless rompers with hints of lace so you can look put together, stay cool, and dress down. Perfect for the pool, beach, running errands, you will feel like you’re wearing nothing, without the risk of getting arrested. I got mine at Lord & Taylor (coupon!), but Nordstrom, Macy’s, and Bloomingdale’s also carry them (in fact Bloomies has it on sale until July 5th!).

So you want to be lazy poolside and just watch your little ones swim? You need to get them Puddle Jumper life jackets by Stearns. Unlike traditional floaties, these don’t have to be blown up. They are one piece that slide up the arms and fasten around the body, giving your child three areas of support. My kids love theirs and can spend the whole day wearing them without complaint. Kids who don’t complain are awesome. You can find them at Target and pool supply stores.

Finally, what’s the summer without a cocktail? Again, I’m lazy, I don’t want to mix my drink, hey, I’m on vacation. My favorite ready to go cocktail du jour is Skinnygirl White Cranberry Cosmo. Made with “vodka, triple sec, and natural flavors” one serving is only 34 calories, which is awesome when you are spending your days running around half-naked in the heat. The flavor is fruity but not too sweet and seriously, who doesn’t love a Cosmo? It’s also clear in color, which is great for when you spill your drink and are too lazy to try and coerce the stain out of your strapless romper.You can order Skinnygirl White Cranberry Cosmo online (if your region allows) at Total Wine.

Will you or have your tried any of my raves? What are you raving about? Share with us, we’d love to hear from you!

Secrets and Wives- Bravo Finally Nails Long Island

From Left: Liza Sandler, Amy Miller, Gail Greenberg,Susan Doneson,Cori Goldfarb, and Andi Black of Secrets and Wives Photo: Bravotv.com

From Left: Liza Sandler, Amy Miller, Gail Greenberg,Susan Doneson,Cori Goldfarb, and Andi Black of Secrets and Wives
Photo: Bravotv.com

By Tara Cushing (@TheBravoBlonde)

Cori Goldfarb, Gail Greenberg, Andi Black, Amy Miller, Liza Sandler, and Susan Doneson. It may read like the roster from my childhood summer camp, but this is actually the cast from Bravo’s latest reality venture Secrets and WivesThis is Bravo’s second attempt to bring us catfights and crazy from Long Island, NY, and I think this time they may have gotten it right. Princesses Long Island was just too young, and the drama was too juvenile. Even myself, who is fluent in the language of the Jewish American Princess, couldn’t get into it. However, with SW, the princesses are all wearing their big girl panties, and dropping them for one another’s husbands. Throw in all the talk of blow jobs and it really is like my summer camp.

The cast of Secrets has all the makings of reality star success. The women are unapologetically raw with their language, they think out loud, and they live over the top in magnificent mansions…some floated by ex-husbands. There are lots of ex-husbands and ex-husband drama to boot. Liza Sandler (@TheLizaSandler) is the typical Long Island blonde tanorexic. She lives in a fabulous home that her ex is trying to sell out from under her. Episode one featured her crying in frustration into the steering wheel of her Mercedes after he pushes her buttons via phone.

No need to worry too much about Liza, as she’s never alone. She’s got her BFF Andi Black (@TheAndiBlack) to share her home and fart in her bed…yes this was really a conversation on the show. I’m still not sure exactly what Andi is doing at Liza’s. I often miss some of the details on the show because I’m trying to tell all these bottle blondes apart, hence why it’s taken me two episodes to review.Thank heavens for Susan Doneson.

Susan (@SusanDoneson) is the token brunette, and Italian (or wannabe Italian…is Doneson an Italian name?) on the show. Italians and Jews are like peanut butter and jelly. We all have the same values…food, family, loud talking, and food. Susan lives on the South Shore of Long Island, which means in comparison to her mansion dwelling North Shore counterparts, she’s slumming it a-la Antonia Gorga in a nice sized colonial. She also works, and doesn’t cease to remind the wealthy housewives around her of that fact. Susan is not only the resident Italian, she’s also the resident pot stirrer. She’s got a story and opinion about everybody and has outed Liza as the group slut. Susan’s husband is a Tony Soprano type who hung out with Liza in high school. Note most of these women have known each other since high school. These days Susan’s husband seems better suited to hang out with Dorinda Medley‘s boyfriend on The Real Housewives of New York City

Amy Miller (@amydmillerr) is the hopeless romantic of the group, in an equally hopeless relationship. She’s sweet and vulnerable, and is with a veritable jerk. Well, he’s only a jerk in front of other people and cameras. Like Snuffelupgas was to Big Bird, this is Amy’s boyfriend to everybody else. Nobody, not even her own son, has seen the supposed soft side of this man. The women all talk about Amy in worried whispers. To me she’s the most down to earth and I hope she gets her happy ending.

Gail Greenberg (@Gailygreenberg) is the group outcast. The second (or is it third) wife of the North Shore’s most prominent plastic surgeon, she shuffles around her palatial estate with her little dog and maid in tow. Whether packing for fabulous vacations, or being the star of Soul Cycle class, Gail is forever chasing the fountain of youth in pigtails…yes she wore pigtails in episode two, just ask Susan.

Cori Goldfarb (@Corigoldfarb) may just be my favorite. She’s an entrepreneur who traded in her Hamptons vacation home to open Truth and Beauty, a luxurious spa that appears to be bleeding money as she and her husband struggle to get it off the ground. Cori is no nonsense and blunt, but retains her class at the same time, which is more than I can say for the others. She raises her daughters with the right dose of love and sarcasm, the same sarcasm with which she nurtures her marriage.

If Secrets and Wives can retain its natural flow between the women of the cast this show could be the reality savior Bravo has been looking for. However, if history repeats itself and the women get caught up in faking drama we will end up with Real Housewives Of New Jersey with a side of Challah bread. For now however I give Secrets and Wives two tackily manicured thumbs up.

She’s A Lady-Why Caitlyn Jenner Looks Better Than We Do

Bruce Jenner no more. The former Olympian reveals his softer side as Caitlyn on July's Vanity Fair.

Bruce Jenner no more. The former Olympian reveals his softer side as Caitlyn on July’s Vanity Fair.

By Tara Cushing (@TheBravoBlonde)

She’s he-ere! After months of speculation (What will her name be?What will she wear?When will we see her?) the female is out of the bag, and it’s the bag from a very high end store. Bruce Jenner ‘s long awaited spread with Vanity Fair made it’s debut today and tongues have not stopped wagging.

Caitlyn Jenner (I was still hoping for Jennerfer), as he has chosen to be called, graces the cover of the latest VF in a champagne body suit with killer hair and makeup. Stealing the thunder from stepdaughter Kim Kardashian, who announced she is expecting her second child with Kanye West just yesterday, Jenner’s big reveal seems to be the hot topic du jour.

Now I could go into the family’s reaction, the quotes in the article…blah blah blah, but really you can find that on dozens of sites. I want to take another perspective, the one that you, me, and most of the female population is thinking. God-dammit why is “he” prettier than me?

Jenner looks stunning in a very glamorous larger than life Jessica Lange kind of way. She’s got flowing hair, radiant skin, and breasts so round and perky that even my 18 year-old former self is jealous. So why is Bruce more beautiful than the rest of us who were born with a double x chromosome?

For starters the photos were shot by legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz. You can put lipstick on a pig and it’s still a pig, but if you put lipstick on a pig and have Annie Leibovitz photograph it, it’s Christie Brinkley. In addition to the best photographer, Jenner also had the best of the best when it came to her beauty squad. Oribe for those amazing locks, Mark Carasquillo for makeup, a Deborah Lippmann  manicure (we know she loved that), and designer threads from Donna Karan, Badgley Mischka, and  Zac Posen. Toss in the magic of high end fashion mag air brushing and who wouldn’t look good?

Even though us average females may pale in comparison to Caitlyn Jenner, I’m still overjoyed for her, as is the transgender community. I reached out to  Lauren Foster, one of the first transgender models to be in Vogue magazine in the 80s (and on Housewives as a recurring appearance on Real Housewives of Miami), to get her thoughts. Foster, who is working on a website for the transgender community (she describes it as the “Cosmo for #GirlsLikeUs) had this to say to me when I asked her for her thoughts on the big reveal:

“I’m very proud of Caitlyn Jenner’s moment,” Foster says. “ I hope she continues to open minds and hearts by living on her own terms.”

Still, as happy as we are for the hard C of the Kardashian empire, it’s enough to make any average lady feel a little intimidated when the former Olympic champion face of Wheaties can rock a bustier better than she can. However, when you wait 65 years to put on a dress, in the words of RuPaul, “I’ve got one thing to say…you better work!”

You can follow Caitlyn Jenner on her new Twitter account @Caitlyn_Jenner. I bet this is why the name was so secret, so she could protect that handle!