Notes on a Housewife

Aviva Drescher sits in a dimly lit NYC espresso bar. She is wearing head to toe black with gold accents that play off of her long wavy golden locks. She sips wine and shares a cheese plate with her blond companion. Sounds like a scene from Real Housewives of New York except the other blond is not Ramona Singer or Sonja Morgan. The second blond is actually me, and though sitting across from Aviva in Manhattan’s Italian eatery, Bottega Del Vino makes me feel slightly like one of the Housewives, there’s no drama this afternoon.

Let me rewind to how I got to this  moment. Notoriously one of the most responsive HW’s on Twitter my friendship with Aviva began with a few tweets, that turned into some direct messages and then emails and an interview. Since I interviewed her we began talking about our children and our lives, always checking in to see how one another was doing. Naturally we knew we had to meet so over a month ago she suggested we have coffee and though we had to flip through the calendar to find a day that we both were available we set it for September 27th and talked about it frequently so that neither one of us could forget.

Being that she lives in the city and I only visit, I let Aviva choose the venue. Knowing she recently celebrated a birthday, which she may not be happy I am sharing, I ordered her a special token of  my friendship, a bracelet  made by RHONJ matriarch Nettie Laurita. Here’s the thing about Aviva Drescher, despite requesting a red carpet and banner on TV, a comment she feels came out sounding  more serious than the sarcastic manner she intended, she doesn’t really like anyone making a big deal about her birthday or her for that matter. “I don’t like to get gifts or have a party.” She told me when I asked about her birthday plans. “I don’t like having all of the attention on me.”

Ready with her belated birthday gift I wait for Aviva outside of BDL. As she walks toward  me she is unmistakable. Five foot nine in very high Chanel heels that boost her to at least 6 feet and supermodel slim, to say she stands out in a crowd would be putting it mildly.We greet one another as if we are old friends and as we approach the door she ironically bumps into an old friend from high school. Very well mannered, she introduces me right away and he shares with me that she once bought him a fake Rolex watch on the street when they were 15. “I thought it was real,” he jokes.

Inside we are shown to a cozy table. “Take the booth,” she insists, “you’ve been sitting on the train, you deserve the cushions.” I present her with my gift and she is touched and beyond grateful, putting it on her wrist right away. She orders a glass of white wine and an iced tea and I order a cappuccino. “Are you hungry?” she asks. “How about a cheese platter with pepperoni? Wait, you don’t eat pepperoni, ” she says remembering I’m a vegetarian, “but olives, do you like olives? We will have a cheese plate with olives,” she tells the waiter.A few seconds later she is spotted by a friend who jokingly refers to her as “the celebrity,” and again, being very well mannered she introduces me a second time.

Almost immediately Aviva is asking me questions. She wants to know my whole story, “How did you get here?’ she asks with the curiosity of an enthusiastic child. She hangs on my every word and insists she is “fascinated” even though I feel I’m even boring myself after a while. She periodically checks that I’m eating, “Did you have enough?” she asks. When I insist that she take the last piece of cheese she is hesitant, “No really, I’m full, I eat small lunches,” I say. She states how she loves to eat and finishes that last piece.

We talk about everything under the sun and I share some pictures of  my kids in their new Halloween costumes. “We had that one year, I may have gotten it from The Children’s Place,”  she says when I tell her I found them at  Pottery Barn Kids. The conversation lasts two hours, and suddenly Bottega is dimming the lights and putting out candles for the dinner crowd. Reid calls on her cellphone to firm up their evening plans. “I’m with TheBravoBitch” she tells him, “He says he loves TheBravoBitch,” she reports back to me.

At this point it’s getting late and I have to get home. She insists on treating and then we head outside for a picture. I’m five foot seven and in flats, I literally look twelve years old in the photo. “I didn’t wear my first pair of heels until I was 26, so I always wear them now,” she says. We say our goodbyes and part ways for the evening. And though she may be a Real Housewife, when it comes down to it Aviva Drescher is a down to earth real woman who shops at The Children’s Place and Bed Bath & Beyond, where she met her husband. Even if she does wear Chanel shoes, which I point out are lovely and she quips back, “Ebay!”

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Finale Thoughts…and Fabellini

I have had anxiety about writing this article all damn day. For one there’s so much to cover that my thoughts aren’t as organized as I’d like, and second I HATE confrontation and it seems that, taking a cue from the ladies of Real Housewives of New Jersey, everyone wants to fight over this. WHY? It’s a show. I say the same thing about sports. But I guess fans are fanatics and we can consider last night’s RHONJ  season finale the Superbowl of suburban women who would rather watch flying extensions over airborne pigskin. So without further ado, whether you are “Team” Teresa (Giudice) , “Team” everybody else, or, like yours truly, an independent, I will try to answer all the questions you have tweeted me, express my opinion, and try to see all sides. Being there is so much, the best way for me to get through this is to  list in no particular order:

1. Teresa’s “beating 500” heart– Many of you feel that Tre’s remarks regarding her quickened heart rate point at guilt, I disagree. In the finale part 1 Teresa‘s first encounter with Angelo, the shady salon PR guy (do salon’s really need that???) she feels ambushed and uncomfortable. If I recall many of you were singing her praises for not wanting to even deal with him or Kim D‘s attempts to frame Melissa as a stripper. Why the 180 a week later? Is it not possible that Tre’s anxiety came from the fact that she knew Angelo was there to cause trouble? After all, he was, and due to her previous encounter she knew he was bad news. I mean my heart was racing, and I was watching from my living room a year later. Yes she knew the shit was about to hit the fan, we all did. And she warned Melissa, in the bathroom. She didn’t sit back and enjoy the show with a smirk on her face.

2. Pete Giudice’s congratulations– Did Tre’s brother in law say why he was congratulating her? I’m really asking here, because I missed this chunk due to angry tweeters and a little Fabellini  buzz, which I will address later. If he did specifically say “Congrats on outing your sister in law as a stripper” well then there’s a big smoking gun, however, just a vague congratulations could have been about anything and taken out of context, and chronological order, by Bravo’s production team. Need proof this happens? Two weeks ago during Dina Manzo’s overly hyped appearance Dina was live tweeting. In the show she said to Tre , “I guess blood is not thicker than water.” In the context of the show it appeared she was discussing her sister Caroline, however, Dina tweeted, “I said that regarding her relationship with her brother (Joe Gorga) I should have known they would do this. It is what it is.” Need further proof that this stuff happens? Richard Wakile tweeted that he never said his wife tasted like fish. This may be Reality TV folks, but foremost it is TV.

3. If it looks like a dramatic set up and smells like a dramatic setup…well then-On the radio this morning I heard a quote from ex Idol judge Steven Tyler of Aerosmith who stated the new panel will “Be put in situations that make them uncomfortable, but that’s Television.” I honestly do not believe that Angelo  forgot his mic was on. Have you seen those mic packs? They are bulky and uncomfortable. You’d have to be pretty numb or stupid to forget. This was made to look like an accident, but when it comes to ratings there are very few accidents. I have no proof, this is just my opinion which is based on intuition and an embarrassingly over abundant knowledge of how Reality TV works. Angelo had a small chance to make an
impression, and he made the most of it.

4. Blaming JacquelineThis was ridiculous. I felt for Teresa up until that comment. It was the wrong way to handle the situation. I’m also pretty sure, having met Jac and knowing she has much more important things to focus her attention on, framing Teresa or anyone just isn’t on her agenda, or something she could even be capable of. Now as far as the texts go, that’s another thing I need to re-watch as I was distracted by tweeting at that point too.

 5. My version of “impartial”- I got a lot of heat these past two days. The Teresa “haters” were after me for my participation in Fabellini Wine’s Twitter party. The Jacqueline “haters” were all over me for my coverage of her Sparkle Speaks event. Let me make these statements only once, and I will forever direct anyone who asks to Finale Thoughts Exhibit 5. I am a firm believer in “If you haven’t anything nice to say don’t say anything at all.” I have met every current NJ Housewife. Not a single one of them was rude, phony, or unapproachable. In that respect I am happy to support anything and everything they do, especially when it involves raising money for charity as in the case of Sparkle Speaks. In the case when it doesn’t think about this: I earn about $30 a month off my blog currently. I put in hours and hours often staying up late into the night for this $1 a day. I do it as a labour of love and  in hopes that it will lead to a full time PAID job in media. I spend more money on the gas I use getting to events than what I pull in. So I will endorse products, I have to. Like any publication advertising is my best potential for revenue. That being said I did NOT get paid for the Fabellini  Twitter party. I was given the product for it, however. I liked it so why not tweet about it? Should I get paid by them or anyone down the road, however, that is no one’s place to judge, people will though so know this: I will not endorse anything I don’t like or that is toxic. I also do not see how endorsing could change my site considering that A. I don’t bash people on this site and B. I only print what I hear or experience…all truth, not much opinion. I leave the opinions up to all of you. You all have so many and I enjoy reading them and sharing them, and I’m quite sure you are going to do that right now…waiting for the virtual feces to fly…

Jacqueline Speaks for Autism and Sparkles

Thursday September 20th was the night of the long awaited Sparkle Speaks event to benefit Autism Speaks. The event, held at The Brownstone House, was hosted by Real Housewives of New Jersey star Jacqueline Laurita and organized by The Sparkling Event, owned by her nieces Candice Laurita and Cristina Granelli. Though filled with all the reminders that this was RHONJ star sponsored, from the attendees to the bottles of BLK water on the table, the main purpose of the event was what truly sparkled:

“I’m not a public speaker, I feel more comfortable with a camera crew around me than an audience, “ Jacqueline said to me regarding the moving speech she made about her son Nicholas and how valuable Autism Speaks has been for her family. “I just spoke from my heart and talked about what I knew. I’m very grateful to  both of my nieces for having this event tonight for Autism Speaks. I learned a lot from (Autism Speaks), so I wanted to do something special for them. They really helped me navigate my way through Autism when I didn’t know a whole lot. One thing I have learned about this community is that everybody is willing to help and offer resources and information. It’s been incredible. I felt like a lot of people have helped me. The more I have networked the more I have learned and the more I learn the more I want to help other people. It’s all about finding ways to recover our children.”


Also speaking at the event was Michael Ginagregorio, Chair of Autism Speaks’ Long Island, NY, Executive Committee. “Autism affects one in eighty-eight children,” he stated during a very informative and heartfelt  speech in which he discussed both the organization and his personal journey as a parent of an Autistic son. Nicholas will only be a child for a short time,” he said as he pointed out the important role Autism Speaks plays in also helping adults with Autism.

Most of the Laurita-Manzo families were in attendance. Lauren Manzo, donated a basket from her shop Cafface. She looked fantastic, though is very shy when it comes to such compliments. Her mother Caroline Manzo is humble as well, “I still don’t believe all this, ” she said to me amid fans coming up for pictures and small talk, “I’m just a regular woman.” A regular woman who has quite a family. She and Albert Manzo, seated at the table next to us, spent the evening holding hands and gazing into one another’s eyes like teenagers in love. “We are very lucky, ” said their son, Albie, who was there with his girlfriend Linsdsey Andrews, who is even more stunning in person.

Also at the event was Chris Laurita and Chris Manzo. Nettie Laurita, matriarch of the family was beaming with pride. She’s an incredible woman and I thoroughly enjoyed speaking with her as our tables were next to one another.

My table consisted of a fun group of women put together by myself and my good friend, Miss Advised star and author of 8 Weeks to Everlasting, Amy Laurent. One of my guests, a mother of a teenage daughter with Autism, offered her advice to Jacqueline, who spent the evening talking to as many of the guests, many parents of Autistic children, as possible. I honestly don’t even think Jac sat down to eat. That’s how sweet and personable, and determined she is to make a difference in the lives of others.

I caught up with Cristina Granelli on Friday to find out how she felt after organizing and orchestrating such a successful evening which resulted in over 17k dollars raised, including a generous re-donation of the prize won in the 50/50 raffle:
“I can’t even begin to express  the amount of support that filled the room last night. Everyone had a story, we had a story. It’s funny because you may not have the known the person sitting across from you but it didn’t matter- there was a sense of unspoken truth that we were all there for the same reason. Either we know someone with Autism or we love someone with Autism. For us, we are truly blessed to love a very special little boy. You know, as we stood in front of a room full of moms, dads, sisters, brothers, grandparents, cousins, and/or  friends the love and support could truly be felt. We are so thankful to have been able to bring awareness to a cause we feel is so important. It’s truly a journey we all will take together. It’s nice to know, no matter what the day to day brings- we’re going to take this journey side by side.”



For information about Autism and how you can help visit: http://www.autismspeaks.org/

Related links:

http://thesparklingevent.com/

http://www.jacquelinelaurita.com/