RHONJ Premier Party-A New New Jersey

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I confess, I’ve distanced myself from the party scene a bit. I’m a person who doesn’t like things to ever feel too forced in my life, and I’m at a point when I need to quiet things down a bit, not out of necessity, just because at the time it feels natural for me. Honestly, as cool as getting dressed up and going out to parties can be, in the core of my heart I’m just a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl who enjoys sitting on the floor with her three year olds.

On the flip side, as much as I believe in a natural flow to life, I also thoroughly believe in signs, and anytime I get too far off the course of this crazy “other life” I’ve fallen into, there are mystical powers that set me back on the road to wherever it is this is taking me. My story of the Real Housewives of New Jersey season 6 premier party is one of those cases.

I didn’t really intend to go to this premier. In the past my prime connections to the show have been Caroline ManzoJacqueline Laurita, and Kathy Wakile. This is just the way things have always worked out. Remember, I tend to follow the natural flow of things…I can’t do a lifestyle of resistance. With those three ladies uninvolved I sort of felt removed from the show. Then friends of mine bought me a ticket making it impossible for me to say “no” (don’t worry I got them back by showing up with a lovely gift for their recent wedding anniversary).

My expectations of this party were quite different from the, for lack of a better word, reality of it. Having attended Kristen Taekman‘s Real Housewives of New York premier party I’d assumed this would be similar. Passed hor d’oeuvres and a screening, but considering the RHONY party was invite only, and the RHONJ one was open to anyone who purchased the $100 ticket benefiting Dina Manzo‘s Project Ladybug and the Deborah Hospital Foundation I knew it would be on a more chaotic scale. Chaos, for sure ensued.

The party was hosted by Velocity 1 Media. The venue, Pure in Parsippany, NJ, was a restaurant lounge located in a Holiday Inn. I have to say, once inside it felt more like a city lounge than one in a chain hotel off of NJ’s Route 46. After waiting outside in the humidity (one staffer said the girl’s were “fashionably late”) the masses were finally let inside, but instead of the all out come one come all mingling I’d experienced at Taekman’s soiree, the feel was very segregated. One side were the masses, and the other, behind chains and very serious bouncers, were the Housewives and their guests. That’s where one could find Dina, Melissa and Joe Gorga, Amber Marchese, and Untying the Knot star Vikki Zeigler. Further back from that, in a private room, was Teresa Giudice. She spent the entire evening either in there or stepping out to take pictures with the fans who were lucky enough to get passed the guards…and those guards were strict.

Fortunately for me, I’ve been to enough events that I’ve made friends in this industry who were already passed the proverbial velvet ropes. They let the guards know I was safe to let in. Not that anybody looked menacing. We all know HW fans can be quite intimidating on Twitter, but in person we’re mostly regular housewives and fabulous gay men, hardly a threat.

Even with my ability to get into the VIP area and freely rub elbows with Melissa and Joe, there was something about Dina that made me wary of approaching her. For one she was mobbed by fans on the occasions that she did come out into the general admission area, for two, I’ve historically done much press with family members she’s notoriously on the outs with. I honestly was concerned about how I would be received. Then, that fate that I mentioned before took charge in the form of an old high school classmate who recognized me from 20 years ago. Was she a Housewives fan I wanted to know. Actually she works for Dina. Hello divine intervention! I got my Dina introduction. She is sweet and so petite. Really folks, she’s adorable!

When I asked Dina how it felt to once again be experiencing premier night as a Housewife she was enthusiastic. “Tonight it feels amazing!” she gushed. We’re here raising money for two great causes, Project Ladybug being one of them, and meeting the fans has always been my favorite part of this. Everyone is so nice!”

As the hor d’oeuvres eluded me (I don’t eat chicken so I kept trying to get to the sushi tray, to no avail), I knocked back my complimentary Fabellini. Feeling a bit more relaxed after my drink (I clicked glasses with Joe Gorga) I scored some interviews with a few of the Bravolebs (stay tuned for those in the coming days!) and waited for the big screening. I still was thinking about how during the RHONY  party everything stopped and we all watched the show together (lucky me on the sofa with the cast). That moment never came. This was the big disappointment of the evening for me. As I was Instagramming party pics for you all, you were live tweeting the actual show that to this day I still did not get to see. Unless I wanted to watch it like a silent movie playing in the background it just wasn’t going to happen.

The other thing I feared wouldn’t happen would be some time with Teresa. I get terribly nervous about this all the time as I know many of you are die hard Tre fans. Honestly I always try my best to get to her. She’s not that easy to get access to. Fortunately when things got a bit calmer (meaning the general population was thinning out) I got a moment with the star. She looked absolutely stunning in a fitted strapless floral dress. However, the evening had taken its toll on her. She was adamant that though she would take a picture, she wasn’t doing any press. The scenes in the premier of her recently deceased father in law really got to her. “It’s been an emotional evening for me,”she said when she spoke of seeing him on the show. She also was looking for her cellphone, and anyone who has ever misplaced their phone knows what an “Oh sh*t” moment that can be. However, she was gracious and poised as she always is when I see her at an event.

Her brother on the other hand was willing to chat. Joe assured me that he and his sister are no longer feuding. “Things are good, very good,” he said about their relationship and though there will be friction on the show it will be the “young blood” against the seasoned cast members. “We’re back to normal.” And what is normal in RHONJ land? Well, when asked to describe the season in one word he said “You know how it is…DRAMA!”

What did you think about the Real Housewives of New Jersey premier episode? Share your thoughts below, your email will never be sold or publicized.

Painting the Town RHONY

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Last week was the long awaited return of  the Real Housewives of New York City and the ladies were super excited! As newbie Kristen Taekman pointed out this premier was a long time coming. Taekman was the host of one of two parties for the cast. The event was held at the Bleecker Street Arts Club in New York’s SOHO, my personal favorite section.

The multilevel space was the perfect fit for the quirky blonde beauty who, as she stated in episode one, is not much for the sometimes stuffy Upper East Side. Complete with Elvis Presley coiffed bartenders and a screening area on the upper floor, the mood was light and social. It was the perfect coming out party for the newest cast member who has made a great impression on fans, especially by filling the venue with some of the Twittersphere‘s most enthusiastic bloggers and Bravoholics.

I asked Taekman how her first official night in the limelight felt. “It’s all surreal”, she gushed. “It’s been a year in the making, this whole thing started a year ago so I just feel like  it’s overwhelming. I keep thinking this is just a fun Elvis party and all my friends are here and I keep forgetting that the show is going to come on in like 20 minutes.” 

When asked what the biggest surprise of her whole Reality TV experience was she said, “The biggest surprise is the girls I met. I really formed some great friendships. I didn’t go to college and I would imagine that this is sort of what a sorority would be like. Love or hate…I formed this bond with these women and even if I was enemies with somebody that’s standing over there we still have this bond.” I guess we have to keep watching to see who she may be referring to.

Even if Taekman has any enemies among the cast it wasn’t apparent that night as the girls all showed up in support, except Sonja Morgan, but we will get to that later. Even Ramona Singer was out, sans wedding ring but with her steady date of Pinot Grigio. I sat next to Singer during the screening, who was also with a mystery man, but my guess is he was a friend…a friend that made sure her glass remained full. Singer seemed a little stressed when the night began, some even felt she wasn’t happy to be there, but eventually even I got a smile and a wink from her. Despite all the scenes of her and ex hubby Mario, she kept from becoming Ramotional. I told both Taekman and Heather Thomson how I felt a little uncomfortable watching some of the show with Ramona, to which Thomson replied, “Ramona is all good. She’s absolutely fine.”

Thomson was there with husband Jonathan Schindler who I caught having a laugh with Countess LuAnn De Lesseps. When asked how her first season as a part timer went De Lesseps joked,”When I heard the lines for the new season I was like ‘THANK GOD!’,” referring to the tag lines at the beginning of the show. “You know it’s fine I’ve enjoyed this season so much. I really had a great time so this actually works out perfectly for me. We made a deal, Bravo and I, and I’m very happy with it. “

Keeping a comfortable distance from one another were Carole Radziwill and Aviva Drescher who was there with husband Reid. They were all smiles posing for group photos, but I didn’t spot any warm fuzzies between the two beyond that. Drescher and De Lesseps actually both left before the screening.

Back to Ms. Morgan, who was in Austin for the SXSW edition of Watch What Happens Live, but made it back in time to have her own post premier party at the swank Tokya Lounge on the East side of Midtown. Everything that Taekman’s party was this one wasn’t. Where the Bleecker St. affair had a feeling of the more the merrier, Morgan’s party was exclusive, and she wanted it that way.

I’m so glad you could make it,” Morgan said to me from a booth she was sharing with her closest friends. “It was so much to put this together with the press room and the no plus ones.” Even without plus ones, Morgan and Singer, who co hosted the event, had quite a turn out, an estimated 250 people that included designer Malan Breton, gossip hound Rob Shuter, Long Island Princess Ashlee White, Flipping Out star Jenni Pulos, and Real Housewives of Miami’s Lea Black.

“I came to do the Bethenny show tomorrow and I was  in town so Sonja asked me to come so I came by!”  said Black, who tries to watch most of the NYC franchise. She has been quite busy since her own series has been on a break. “I work full time, I’ve got a skincare company, I’ve got a handbag company, a charity, and a 12 year old, and a husband so things haven’t slowed down for me,”she said. She also says that the rest of the Miami cast is doing well. By the way she had one of her handbags with her and it was stunning! 

There was no George appearances at either party, but infamous Housewife ex husband and ex boyfriend Harry Dubin attended both. “I don’t really watch the show,” Dubin who I spotted at two filmed events last summer stated, “but I’m REALLY in it a lot next week.” He then asked me if I’ve read ex wife Aviva’s book Leggy Blonde yet and advised me not to. I’m sure this has to do with what Aviva told us last month…and it only makes me want to read it more.

Parties and Bravoleb sightings aside this was about the premier of season 6 and both Taekman and Thomson have been anxiously awaiting my thoughts on the first episode. In a nut shell, I think it’s the start of a great season and Taekman brings a lot to the show, but, and please don’t hold this against me, no more forced Aviva and Ramona scenes…pleeeeease. Did I just lose my next invite? Hey this blonde can’t help but be honest! Ya habibi!

For more on the RHONY premier check out this video from John Basedow for Examiner.com!

http://www.examiner.com/article/heather-thomson-likes-aviva-drescher-the-least-aviva-hates-carole-radziwill?cid=rss

What do you think of RHONY Season 6 so far? Share your thoughts here, your email will never be shared or sold!

Gramercy Girls- Heather Thomson Honored at Karen Karch

From Left: Matchmaker Amy Laurent, Good Charma's Pam Fink, Heather Thomson, TBB

From Left: Matchmaker Amy Laurent, Good Charma’s Pam Fink, Heather Thomson, TBB

On Tuesday June 25th the RHONY ladies gathered in a Gramercy Park boutique to celebrate Heather Thomson and the work she has done with The Kellner Family Pediatric Liver Foundation. Thomson’s own son is a “liver transplant survivor” making both Pediatric Liver Disease and organ donation close to her heart.

Jewelry designer Karen Karch opened up her store at 38 Gramercy Park North to Heather and her friends, new and old. Among the guests were of course some of the ladies from the Real Housewives of New York. Ramona Singer, just back from a South African holiday, said she had a most memorable vacation which was part of the high school graduation festivities for daughter, Avery. “Avery had a great time when we visited the schools,” she said. “The children there have so little, the schools need so much, yet they are all so happy and full of smiles. Avery was singing and dancing with them.”

With Singer was best pal, and Ethel to her Lucy, Sonja Morgan. “We need to catch up,” she told me about Ramona, “I’ve missed her.” Sonja looked stunning and svelte in a black cocktail dress and edgy Alexander McQueen heels. Both myself and Thomson’s husband, Jonathan Schindler, were admiring the skull ornamented black suede stunners.

Also in attendance were Carole Radziwill, rumored new Housewife Kristen Taekman, and Countess LuAnnn DeLesseps who greeted me very French like with a kiss on each cheek. DeLesseps’ beau Jacques Azoulay, who is cute as a button and much taller in person, told me that his mother’s first visit to the states in 7 years is going very well.

Thomson, as always, looked stylish and confident. In addition to her TV family she was surrounded by many childhood friends like Good Charma jewelry designer Pam Fink, who is near and dear to both myself and matchmaker Amy Laurent. For me the bees knees of this event was spending time with my girls, whom I needed around to laugh about being walked in on in the bathroom AND being walked into by a waiter with a tray of champagne. Hey, but what’s pride in this biz? At least I didn’t find out until after the fact that the woman who saw me wiggling back into my silk skorts was TKFPLF ‘s founder Samantha Sheeber Kellner. Kellner was talking to me after the run in, and having being intro’d casually as Sam, I never made the connect. At least I know she will never forget me!

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Carole Radziwill

Missing from the gathering were Aviva Drescher and the other rumored addition Amanda Sanders. No word as to why. Hope we see all the girls together next season! What do you think?