Monday I attended the third annual Glitz and Glamour Holiday Shopping Event at the famous Brownstone owned by the Manzo family. As with most events organized by The Sparkling Event, owned by Caroline’s nieces Candice Laurita and Cristina Granelli, every three feet there was a member of the Laurita/Manzo family. “We have such a strong resemblance,” said Cookie Laurita, sister of Caroline and Dina (Manzo). “Even before (RHONJ) I would go to the mall and get stopped by a stranger who would ask, ‘Do you have a sister? I saw someone who looks just like you.’ ”
Proud mom, grandma, and great-grandma Nettie Laurita was there selling her line of faith inspired handmade jewelry. “I can’t believe how busy it has been,” she told me referring to how many orders she has received as of late. Nettie’s pieces are increasing in popularity but she is adamant that they are for a special purpose. “I can’t tell you how many customers we have had that have told me they wear their bracelets or necklaces to their chemo treatments and it lifts their spirits,” says Nettie’s friend Andrea Virella who has been helping the Laurita matriarch get her creations and message out to the public.
Next to Nettie’s table was two set up buy Housewife and entrepreneur Kathy Wakile who has a line of jewelry, The Goddess Eye collection, as well as her cannoli kit that debuts this week on QVC. Kathy was selling samples from the kit at Glitz and Glamour. “I want to be very involved in everything I do,” said Kathy as she filled some cannoli shells from one of the pre-filled bags included in the 24 shell dessert kit. Helping her fill shells that night was Victoria who still can’t speak about where she is attending college (Bravo contracts) but assures me that she is enjoying the experience.
Also manning, or should I say “Manzoing” a Cafface table at the event was Lauren Manzo, her boyfriend, Vito (Scalia), and Albie’s girlfriend Lindsey Andrews. When I asked mom Caroline if there were any impending engagements she replied, “Both Lauren and Albie are so involved in their businesses right now. They want to be set before they think about marriage. Lauren is right now opening up several Cafface counters in the area…Chris and Albie’s restaurant opening was delayed by Hurricane Sandy but it should happen in January. It will be called Little Town and Chris has went all around the local area looking for the best of everything, the best hot dog, the best beer, to feature at the restaurant.”
Wednesday I attended Commit to Hope at the Soigne K Boutique in Manhattan. The event was held to benefit Maya’s Hope, a charity devoted to helping children in orphanages around the world. I met up with Miss Advised’s Amy Laurent and celeb stylist and fashion designer Tamae Ishii before and we all arrived (fashionably late) together. Amy headlined the event with RHONY’s Sonja Morgan and Gallery Girl Liz Margulies. Liz and I had only tweeted previously, but she recognized me almost immediately and waved through the crowd. I was surprised by how tall she is. “Well I am wearing heels,” she said and told me she is 5’7 the same height as me,however I felt much shorter and I had heels on as well. “Perhaps I’m shrinking in my advanced age,” we laughed. Margulies is not sure if her show will get a second season, but she really enjoyed the experience she told me. She also pointed out that a man in the crowd who my intern and I thought was Eli Klein was actually his brother. “He recently lost a lot of weight so now they look so much alike.”
Sonja looked divine in a silver lace and sequined dress and though she said I looked “familiar”, we had previously met at Gretchen Rossi’s fashion week party, she was gracious despite the fact that she didn’t instantly recognize me. She posed for a quick picture and then put her coat on. “I just got over being sick, ” she said, “and I still feel so dizzy.”
My week of Bravoleb elbow bumping concluded Friday with Elvira Grau’s Hurricane Sandy Relief fundraiser at her venue Space Odyssey in Englewood, NJ. There was a sushi table (the tuna tartar pizza was out of this world),passed appetizers, and glittering cupcakes from NJ cupcake queen Melina Milionis. In attendance was several of the Housewives cast. Also there was Pregnant in Heels alum, and best friend of Lil Kim, Jennifer Dalton. Dalton was wearing an organza and rhinestone gown. She told me that baby Reign is now 8 months old and Lil Kim was actually playing the role of babysitter for the night. Rumor has it that Dalton is the newest housewife for season five, something Teresa’s (Giudice) SIL Sheila Giudice told me on Twitter. As always, I’ll believe it when I see it, as Bravo knows how to keep their audience, even the inside ones, guessing.
Speaking of Teresa, like Sonja, it took her a second to place me. Was it because I chose to wear my hair up? Recognizing me right away though was Melissa Gorga whose sister Kim (Pirrella) I had the pleasure of meeting a few weeks back. Melissa was there with Joe (Gorga), the Wakiles, and songstress Kim Sozzi (Feel Your Love) who was getting ready to make her debut in My Big Gay Italian Wedding the next night. “You saw the show, but without me,” she said disappointingly. No worries Kim, I will come see it again. Sozzi was there with her boyfriend Randy Narod, a very prominent New York name in the world of PR, branding, and bagels!
Always a pleasure to see is Richard Wakile. He has a genuine love of people and story telling. That night he told me and a small group of party goers that he had met Kathy on a plane. “My girlfriend of eight years dropped me off at the airport and I met Kathy on the plane and instantly fell in love with her. Look at her, she’s the whole package, how could I not?”
It was a long week, but a lot of fun catching up with everyone. Next week I will be attending Kim D’s holiday fashion show on Monday and a Toys for Tots benefit on Friday. If December stays this busy you can find me at the mall on Christmas Eve, buying whatever is left on the shelves!
*For more about the event for Maya’s Hope see Drew’s View later this week