A Very Jewish Christmas

Lesley with her late father; Holding up the traditions of yesterday, today.

Lesley with her late father; Holding up the traditions of yesterday, today.

By Lesley Rousso

So I’m sure some of you have seen my Christmas pics on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For those of you who don’t know me well, you’re probably wondering why the girl who was posting pics from her sons Bar Mitzvah six months ago is now posting pictures of a Christmas tree.  Well, my husband is a Jewish New Yorker, as are his parents, who now live in Miami.  My Mom and her family are Jews.  Obviously I am, as are my children and my sister and her family.  So why Christmas? Well, we celebrate it for someone who wasn’t Jewish and doesn’t attend anymore.  That person, is my father.  My dad passed away almost eleven years ago. He went into the hospital December 10, 2002 and didn’t leave there until a few days into 2003.

Let me give you a little back story here.  Christmas was our thing, my dad and I.  Every year we went, just us, to get the tree. We both had silly santa hats with our names on them, that my Papa Alex (also a jew!) bought for us when I was seven.  Every Christmas Eve, we wore those hats while opening presents. We did the Eve in our house because my dad was Italian and that’s how his family always did it.  Every year we ate deli, lots of corned beef and Pastrami and exchanged gifts.  As “Head Elf” I would find a present, give it to him, he would read the tag and I would deliver it.   I did it as a child, I did it as a rotten teenager, and I did it twice preggo, and always with my hat.  For those of you who know me, you know I have a big head.  I have no clue how that hat fit me all those years and still fits me to this day. It’s like the sisterhood of the traveling hat.  Unbeknownst to me, the last Christmas we would all spend together was 2001, and I was seven months pregnant with Ethan.  Now I don’t recall much, every Eve was similar, but there are two things that stick out in my mind.  One was that he was laughing at how many tollhouse cookies I consumed in one sitting.  The other was that he was looking down at this hand rubbing it, like it was hurting him.  I remember feeling a little sense of doom right then.  It just bothered me.  An inkling of what was to come perhaps.  It has stuck with me all these years, I can picture it clearly right now.

The next year, like I said, my dad entered the hospital and my mom was not up to having Christmas in her home.  She was insistent, however, that we have it still and we all agreed.  My dad was not conscious at that point, and he was the type who would’ve told us to get off our asses, cut the crap and just do it.  Until that time, I had planned not to have a tree, we were raising our children Jewish. I figured we would just do Christmas at my parents’ house.  By this time, we were all so spent from spending every second at the hospital, that we really needed this.  I decided to host the holiday.  My mom went out and bought a little fake tree, because by the time we decided to do it there were no trees left.

So began, our new tradition.  The following year Darren, the kids and I went out and bought a tree.  My mom passed over all the ornaments to me and we bought some of our own too. We had the whole family over and continued on, as my father would have wanted.  Everything is basically the same, we still get deli, and it’s still a bunch of Jews sitting around celebrating.  The adults all draw names now though and everyone gets something for the kids.  The kids get for everyone, which is hysterical, as the presents prove to be very interesting.  My father in law got a GIANT alarm clock from Ethan this year.  I’m still cracking up about it.

So yes, things are different, but still very much the same.  I have passed on the job of head elf to my kids.  I now serve as “Santa”.  I gave Max my original hat, and I glittered his name on the other side. I took my dad’s hat, put my name on it, the other side still reading Michael.  It’s bittersweet for me every year but I adore sharing this same silliness with my kids.  For us, Christmas doesn’t mean anything religious, but I respect those for whom it does. For us it’s about family getting together and having fun. Oh and lots of laughing, always tons of laughing in this house.

Do you have a holiday tradition you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you! Comment below!

The New York Cosmetology and Beauty Chamber of Commerce 4th Annual Holiday and Beauty Networking Event

imageBy Madisa Duperval

December 3,2013 was a night to remember for the The New York Cosmetology and Beauty Chamber of Commerce.  It was their 4th Annual Holiday and Beauty Networking Event.  The New York Cosmetology and Beauty Chamber of Commerce is the first and only Chamber of Commerce that serves the beauty industry.   The evening was elegant from the red carpet area to the runway.

The event was covered by My Lifestyle Magazine.  Among the honorees were celebrity makeup artist Paolo Divaldi Master Beauty Artist of the Year, who has worked with the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Thalia ; Master Hairstylist Keisha Doxy who received an award for Business Community; and Clara Morfe, who received an award for Stylist of the Year.

An array of beauty professionals played front and center. Danny Williamzon, Celebrity Hairstylist, out did himself with his interpretation of modern Gatsby themed hairstyles.  Celebrity Make-up Artist, Waldemar Torres and Brazilian native Yuri Scarfield; Stylist, Make-Up and Eyebrow Specialist; gave the models  looks of distinction and class.

The finishing touch was lady of the night Xiomara Hernandez, famous for being the designer of Martha Stewart’s  “Coming Home” poncho.  Xiomara Creations fashion line  was stunning. The models were dazzling in the pieces as they walked the runway. The collection included about twelve beautiful gowns, one symbolizing the joyous start of the holidays with her signature crochet detail.  I will be saving up to get one of these fabulous gowns for a future red carpet event.  The whole production team was acknowledged at the end of the evening. The night was a huge success! Congratulations to the all the winners, Xiomara Hernandez and The New York Cosmetology and Beauty Chamber of Commerce.

imageMandisa Duperval is the CEO of Sweet Dreams Makeup. Hard work is no stranger to Mandisa. She maintained a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Bridgeport in 2009 with a double degree in Psychology and Human Services.  The following year she made a decision to never have to work for anyone else ever again. She quit her job as a teacher’s aide and followed her entrepreneurial spirit and blossomed in the cosmetic industry.  She soon found that her true love was making women feel beautiful, whether it was a follow up call or a photo shoot. Sweet Dreams Makeup has appeared in magazines, company campaigns, commercials, various fashion shows, and has work with a number of high profile clients such as Lori Ann Marchese (Ms Connecticut, America 2013) and Renee Bhagwandeen (Miss Trinidad and Tobago, World 2012/ America’s Next Top Model
 season 20).
Follow Madisa @SweetDreamsUSA


Reality Roundup

Orange County Housewife Tamra Barney and her husband Eddie Judge (Source: Splash)

Get ready for some new faces and, inevitably, some new drama. Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Orange County will be welcoming two new cast members next season.

Elizabeth Rovsek and Shannon Beador will be joining the cast for season nine of the hit reality show, Us Weekly confirms.

Elizabeth, “Lizzie”, is a former model who was crowned Miss Kentucky USA back in 2002. Lizzie is in her early thirties and has her own swimwear line, Sun Kitten Swimwear by Lizzie. She and her husband, Orange County real estate executive Christian Rovsek, have two sons, Kingston and Presto.

Shannon is married to construction mogul David Beador, who is the owner of Beador Construction Company, Inc. The couple has three children, including one set of twins.

Orange County Housewife Tamra Barney broke the news of Shannon’s addition to the cast via Facebook and Instagram earlier this month after posting a photo of the two together with friends at a recent USC-UCLA football game.

“Excited to be going to the game tomorrow with Shannon & David (new housewife) can’t wait to see you…,” Tamra wrote on her Facebook page.

The Facebook post and Instagram photos with Shannon have since been deleted.

The two newbies will be joining the returning ladies—Vicki Gunvalson, Tamra Barney, and Heather Dubrow are all set to return next season.

Orange County bombshells Alexis Bellino, Gretchen Rossi, and Lydia McLaughlin will not be returning for season 9 of the hit reality show.

The Real Housewives of New York City star Countess LuAnn de Lesseps is moving on after splitting from her beau Jacques Azoulay.

LuAnn was recently set up with Sean Rooney, a computer software developer, during a recent segment on Steve Harvey’s talk show.

“He’s a software developer and lives in Denver, but he comes to New York a lot,” LuAnn told Life & Style. “He used to live in Paris, so he speaks French. He’s very charming!”

It looks like there will be a sixth season of The Real Housewives of New York City after all!

Bravo unveiled a season teaser, which confirms that Carole Radziwill, Heather Thomson, Aviva Drescher, Sonja Morgan, Ramona Singer, and LuAnn will all return.

Take a quick look at what’s to come:

Season six of The Real Housewives of New York City will air in early 2014.

Is there beef between Lisa Vanderpump and former NYC Housewife Bethenny Frankel? Recently a fan tweeted her excitement that Lisa’s SUR eatery serves Bethenny’s popular line of Skinnygirl Cocktails. Lisa tweeted back that it was in spite of Bethenny “trashing”her. Frankel has had both Brandi Glanville and Kyle Richards on her show and Vanderpump’s name has come up on those interviews. 

Speaking of Bethenny her talk show continues to struggle for ratings and has been removed from its original time slot in Cleveland Ohio. In a statement to a fan the network said they really  “talked” f or a “long time” about what to do, but the final decision was to move Bethenny to a 3 AM time slot and replace her original one with Family Feud. Ouch!

Teresa and Joe Giudice are not the only Real Housewives of New Jersey couple in legal turmoil.

According to the New York Daily News, a former employee of The Brownstone is suing Caroline Manzo‘s husband, Albert, and his brother, Tommy Manzo, for harassment and failing to pay overtime.

Lanise Jackson, a former waitress at the popular catering hall, says that she was terminated because “she could no longer endure the racial, sexual, ethnic and country of origin epithets hurled at her hourly.”

Jackson also claims that oftentimes she would work more than 40 hours a week, yet she was never compensated with overtime pay.

Albert says he is “appalled” by the lawsuit, “I’ve never spoken to any employee in that manner.”

Despite the negativity, big things keep happening for the former Real Housewives of New Jersey star Caroline Manzo.

Caroline’s memoir Let Me Tell You Something: Life as a Real Housewife, Tough-Love Mother, and Street-Smart Businesswoman, is now available in paperback!

“Walking through Barnes and Noble, and I see myself on the shelf — surreal!” she tweeted this week, along with a photo of her book on the shelves at the bookstore.

Caroline and her family are currently filming their spin-off reality show, Manzo’d with Children

Every installment of The Real Housewives has had some cast changes since their first season and Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Atlanta is no exception. NeNe Leakes is the last standing original housewife on the popular reality show, and things just are not the same.

 “I never thought in a million years that I would say this, but I kind of miss the old girls a little bit,” NeNe said.  “The deal is, we started together, and it was a sort of like a journey that we had together, so I miss them in that way.”

Expanding on the success of the original hit series The Real Housewives of Orange County, Bravo headed South for its third installment of The Real Housewives franchise. Season one of The Real Housewives of Atlanta followed the lives of five glamorous Southern belles — DeShawn SnowKim ZolciakLisa wu Hartwell, NeNe Leakes, and Sheree Whitfield.

Currently, The Real Housewives of Atlanta is the highest rated installment of the franchise as well as the most-watched series on the Bravo network.

Catch a glimpse of the women from season one:  Season 1 | Hot-lanta. I love how real the conversations were. No scripts, no staging! You can even see the overhead microphone in the shot! I miss the rawness of reality shows!

Tell us— Do you think NeNe has outgrown Real Housewives? Which original Real Housewife of any franchise would you like to see return? Leave a comment below and voice your opinion! Your email will never be sold or shared.

Do you have a submission or idea for next week’s Reality Roundup? Email your thoughts to brent@tbbreality.com! Your email will never be sold or shared.