It All Starts in the Kitchen-An Evening With Kristie Finnan RDN

Kristie Finnan RDN Source: Twitter

Kristie Finnan RDN
Source: Twitter

By Tara Cushing

We say that the kitchen is the heart of the home so how fitting it was that Habit Bergen, the Bergen County, NJ, branch of Habitat for Humanity, held a recent fundraising event literally in the kitchen. On November 19th, a crowd that included Real Housewives of New Jersey’s Jacqueline and Chris Laurita, and singer/songwriter philanthropist Lori Michaels, gathered at Modiani Kitchen Design in Englewood to hear the expert advice of Kristie Finnan, RDN. Finnan is a registered dietician who specializes in celiac disease, food allergies, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). She also helps busy moms, like yours truly, tackle such challenges as meal planning, weight management, understanding the dietary habits of children, and picky eaters.

  Finnan understands the challenges busy parents face when it comes to food. She is a former pharmaceuticals sales rep and mother of three, who took her passion for the gastronomical to the next level. In 2008 she self-published a children’s book titled Mommy’s High Heeled Shoes, which celebrates working mothers and teaches young readers about all the different “shoes” their working mommies wear. It was her own challenges with food allergies in her family that lead her to the road she currently walks down.

“A good dietician will tell you what to eat, not just what not to eat,” Finnan says. She aims to do just that by teaching her clients their endless options, as opposed to just lists of avoid this, avoid that. Her son follows a gluten free diet due to severe asthma. Finnan is cautionary when it comes to gluten free. “A lot of people aren’t doing (the diet) correctly. There is so much hidden gluten in products you’d never suspect.” She also warns that, although gluten-free seems to be the fad diet du jour, that it really isn’t for everybody. If you don’t have a gluten allergy, or sensitivity due to another condition, there really is no reason for people to avoid gluten.

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Finnan knows that it’s not only parents of children with food restrictions that are challenged. “It takes 19 times for a child to accept a new food,” she explains when broached with the topic of picky eaters. Her belief is to keep on trying. “Introduce new foods when your kids are hungry,” she advises. She also encourages adults to lead by example, “Parents’ attitudes towards their food can influence what their children eat. If you don’t eat vegetables, or make a face when tasting a string bean, children pick up on that. Contrary, if they see that mom loves string beans they too will be more inclined to eat them.” Lori Michaels, who runs a fitness and dance studio called Vibe, agrees with this and extends it to fitness as well. She talked to the group about encouraging kids to be active, the other piece to good nutrition and healthy attitudes towards eating.

Me with Lori Michaels

Me with Lori Michaels

So what should we do when our children are refusing dinner? Finnan quotes her favorite family practitioner, “We should all eat like toddlers. Kids are tired (by dinner time), we don’t need this big expectation that they have a giant dinner. Just make sure they eat something, and you can do that by having at least one thing they do like on their plate with everything else.” She also recommends calendar rewards charts for encouraging good eating habits, as well as making food “cute” by getting creative with the ways you serve healthy snacks. Cute little fruit constructed critters anyone?

For more from Kristie follow her @KristieFinnan

To learn more about Bergen County’s Habitat For Humanity Chapter follow @HabitatBergen 

Jacqueline Laurita On Being Back, Coming Back, and Backing Herself Up

imageOn an unseasonably cold November night Jacqueline and Chris Laurita attended an event to learn more about healthy eating habits for children. The event (which we will revisit later on) addressed issues like gluten intolerance, which is very personal for the Lauritas since their son, Nicholas, must follow a gluten free diet. After the presentation I was lucky enough to catch up with Jacqueline and ask her some of the fans’ burning questions like if she’s coming back to Real Housewives of New Jersey for season 7 (see her answer below). I was also lucky enough to have the Lauritas walk me back to my car post event. What can I say, it was dark, I was alone, and I’m terribly neurotic. Thank you Jac and Chris for looking out for me! Happy Thanksgiving!

TBB:Why did you come back to The Real Housewives of New Jersey?

JL: I came back because I actually never left (laughs). I had asked to go part-time because I’m working on a lot of other things right now and the stress from the show got to be a little much with trying to do everything I wanted to get done. So I needed a break from the show and they offered that. I said I would do part-time but then I was told my sister-in-law (Dina Manzo) wouldn’t come on full-time if I was part-time. So I said fine. I guess it was in March they wanted me to come back in so I said ok because it’s good money, I was done filming for Manzo’d (With Children) so I felt , “I’ll do it, why not?”

TBB: Did you miss (RHONJ) during the break?

JL: No! (laughs) I didn’t miss it. It was very nice having a break, I enjoyed the break, but part-time to me is very manageable and it’s not as stressful. Once you’ve been away from it for a little while you get this temporary amnesia where you forget why you were stressed out.

TBB: Kind of like when you forget what childbirth is like and you have another baby?

JL: EXACTLY! That’s exactly what it’s like!

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TBB: Any desire to come back full-time?

JL: There has been talk about me coming back full-time and I’m still considering it. I would like to do another season of Manzo’d, but I am considering either full-time or part-time (for Housewives). I really haven’t decided. I think the network also is still deciding in what direction the show is going.

TBB: I have to ask about your behavior on Twitter. You really, really went after (Dina) a few weeks ago when part one of the RHONJ Reunion aired. It was the first time anything about the family feud had been spoken about publicly. Do you regret that?

JL: You know if I’m feeling something I say it and I stayed quiet for a very long time, but when I saw that my husband, my son, and I were being talked about, and Dina was telling her version of the story, I had to speak up. So that’s why I (did it). Twitter is my place, that’s where if I feel like saying something I say it and I don’t care who likes it or not. So I was basically just responding to things that were said and I wanted to get my side out there.

You know, I am ALWAYS open to reconciliation with ANYBODY, including Dina. We have tried so many times to make things good with her that it just became frustrating. We tried to get together before Lexi’s graduation to talk, but they weren’t open to that, so we did offer to take Lexi to dinner privately to celebrate her graduation and never got a response. That’s why I responded the way I did to what Dina said at the reunion. I don’t hate Dina, I’m just frustrated with Dina.

TBB: Will you see Teresa (Giudice) before she goes to her sentencing?

JL: I doubt it.

TBB: Have you spoken to her?

JL: I texted her, she answered me, and that was it.

So there you have it folks! No final decisions yet on whether Jac will be back. What are your thoughts? Do you want to see Jacqueline and her family return to RHONJ for Season 7?

 

Reality Roundup-November 8, 2014

image

credit: Charles Sykes/Bravo

By Tara Cushing (The Bravo Blonde)

The week started off with the big reveal. After years of beating around the bush, we finally know more about the bitter feud that has been keeping Real Housewife of New Jersey/Manzo’d With Children stars, sisters (and sisters in law) Dina Manzo and Caroline Manzo at odds.

During last Sunday’s RHONJ Reunion, Dina stated that she would “never do a show with family again.She then went on to specify that family specifically meant sister in law Jacqueline Laurita. “I don’t want a relationship with Jacqueline…I don’t need the chaos.” Dina also admitted to not knowing her nephew, Jacqueline’s son, Nicholas, “at all. There’s nothing I can do to help Nicholas, but I pray for him.”

Of course this story would never be complete without a Twitter rant from Jac herself, who has become quite infamous for her unfiltered use of the social media network. How major was this rant? So major that I was at a meeting at work and noticed a couple of co-workers scrolling through the tweets, totally hooked on every typed word. The diatribe, which was posted during last Sunday’s RHONJ Reunion was in response to Dina Manzo ‘s reunion appearance.

Here are a sampling of some of those gems:

Credit: twitter: @JacLaurita

Credit: twitter: @JacLaurita

 

Later that same evening Caroline appeared on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen where she weighed in on the issue stating that Dina hadn’t been involved in any family functions for years. Watch what happened in the clip below:

 

Dina responded with the video below:

To date this is the MOST that has been said publicly about the bitter feud that continues to keep the ManzoLaurita clan at odds. Do you think they will ever be able to make amends?

Move over Tre and Nene, there are two new Housewives trying to impress Donald Trump. Bravo TV‘s The Dish reports that Real Housewives of Beverly HillsBrandi Glanville and Real Housewives of Atlanta‘s Kenya Moore are going to be on The Apprentice at the same time.

“It’s official! I’ll be on the new season of #CelebrityApprentice and @realDonaldTrump isn’t ready for all this jelly!” Kenya tweeted.

The cross country reality duo will be joined by a cast that includes Vivica A. Fox, Ian Ziering, Geraldo Rivera, and former reality star Kate Gosselin, among many other famous (and infamous) personalities. Will the queen of the goblet and the queen of the scepter get along? Tell us what you think!

Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills‘ Kim Richards has had more downs than ups in recent years and it appears she’s faced with more very serious issues in her life. Rumors that Kim has been battling addiction again have been circling and according to Radar Online, the cause could be related to the declining health of her ex-husband Monty Brinson, the father of 28-year-old daughter Brooke. Richards and Brinson were only married for one year in 1985, but Radar‘s source states that they remained close, so close in fact that Kim could possibly be living with Monty, helping him in his last days. Kim and Monty will be on the new season of RHOBH together at Brooke’s wedding which was filmed over the summer. Brinson, who has terminal cancer, walked Brooke down the aisle in what is already being called an “emotional” episode.

If losing one of her best human friends isn’t enough for the fragile former child star, Kim may also be losing her best friend of the canine variety. Last Saturday her pitbull Kingsley bit sister Kyle Richard‘s 18-year-old daughter Alexia multiple times and left a wound on her hand that needed surgery. In a statement Kim claimed that she had told the girls that her room, where she keeps the dog when company is over, was “off limits” but “the girls” didn’t heed her warning. She went on to say that her family’s safety  “always comes first ”  but that ” (Kingsley) is my best friend. This is a very difficult decision and time for all of us.” However, according to TMZ, this is not an isolated incident, as a matter of fact it is one of four and that “the dog is no stranger to the L.A. Department of Animal Services.” Although it’s been reported that the dog has attacked 3 others beside Alexia, including a friend of Kim’s whose arm was bit “to the bone”,  there won’t be any hearings unless a formal complaint is made. Last season’s RHOBH featured Kim’s story of how hard it had been for her to gain control of Kingsley. What are your thoughts on the dog?

One Beverly Hills lady who is having good luck these days is Lisa Vanderpump, whose spinoff Vanderpump Rules premiered for its third season last week. The restauranteur and reality star triple threat (she’s a former Dancing With the Stars contestant) can now add acting to her growing resume, sort of. Lisa makes a cameo appearance in the first episode of HBO‘s The Comeback opposite Friends alum Lisa Kudrow.  She told E! News:

“I was in free fall, but then (Kudrow) kind of carried me…I saw the script and I said, ‘OK, I’m good to go. I’m safe here.”

Oh I hope they sing Smelly Cat ! You can watch The Comeback with Lisa and Lisa on HBO at 10pm on November 9th. RHOBH comes back to Bravo at 9pm on November 18th. You can read about guest blogger Jamie Bertolini‘s encounter with the Vanderpumps on Monday right here on  TBB.

Who is the highest paid Housewife? According to The Daily News both Nene Leakes (Real Housewives of Atlanta)  and reborn Real Housewife of New York City Bethenny Frankel are getting paid $250,000 an episode, however Nene isn’t happy that there’s another rich bitch on the network. A source told the New York paper that both women want to have the title of highest paid Housewife. Nene feels that she deserves the biggest check since she gave up other projects to continue RHOA, according to the source, which is the highest rated Housewives franchise. Bethenny is set to save the sinking good ship RHONY with her season 7 return. A feat that, if she can pull it off, is worth her weight in gold (make that Nene’s weight, not Bethenny’s.) Personally I’d be happy with $250K for the entire season. Keep that in mind Andy Cohen.

Lastly, Lydia McLaughlin couldn’t cut it as a Real Housewife of Orange County, but maybe she has a future in a revival of the classic My Three Sons! The petite and pixie like Lydia gave birth to her third son on Tuesday, November 4th. Roman Scott joins big brothers Stirling, 5, and Maverick, 3. Though Lydia and husband Doug originally told Us Weekly they were hoping for a girl when they announced the pregnancy last spring, they seem to have adjusted well to the change of plans:

“Baby Roman has captured our hearts and just like that our lives are forever changed. We are so grateful to now be a family of five,” she told US, who she gave the exclusive story too.

May he be blessed with all the bounty you so outwardly gloated about on air Lydia. Tell us, do you miss the McLaughlins on RHOC?

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Got a tip? Email tara@tbbreality.com !