Jersey Shore Poor

Our family sandcastle.

Our family sandcastle.

Memorial Day weekend I needed to get away. I’d been stressed and busy for so long that I needed some downtime away from it all to just reconnect with my family. Being it would be what America has accepted as the official start of summer, what better place to go than the beach? I found a three night deal at a typical Jersey Shore motel (aka, a humid room where your bathing suit never dries and the shower has the pressure of a watering can) and then left it up to chance. If the dog camp had an opening then we should go. The vacay gods were in our favor. Our dog got his accommodations and we got our own. Hooray, beach bound!

We booked our weekend in Point Pleasant, NJ. This was the same beach I shared with Rosie Pierri two summers ago. Now this is not the reason I went back, as much as I do adore Rosie. I’ve been visiting Point Pleasant since I was a fifth grader in camp. It’s great for both day trips and overnights from where I live. It’s been a happy constant in my life. So happy, in fact, that I was married in the neighboring town of Spring Lake in a beachside ceremony. Last summer I may have been Hamptoning with New York’s Housewives, but my true roots are in the land of Snookie.

Back in the day the Jersey Shore trip was the bare bones of summer family travel. The bulk of your budget went to the damp motel room, or share of a house not quite different from the shack John Candy and company ended up inhabiting in the 80’s film Summer Rental. You spent little during the day, sustaining yourself on pizza, ice cream cones, and funnel cake. The largest expense was if your sunscreen ran out and you had to be the chump who spent double for it on the boardwalk.

Lord how things have changed! My weekend in Point Pleasant left me feeling like the Point Peasant. That pizza is now upwards of 4 bucks a slice, parking (which I used to do for free on some side street) is now commanded by those municipal  meter machines (lining the streets like little soldiers of financial warfare) that charge $3 per hour, and dinner at restaurants that serve your tartar sauce in a package can cost your family around $80!  My vacation budget went right out the window!

Beyond food and parking there are the entertainment costs; $9.50 per adult to get onto the beach, $25 for the smaller book of ride tickets…and the rides cost 3-5 tickets each; if you want to go to the aquarium,funhouse, or miniature golf course, be prepared to shell out upwards of $30 for a family of four. It’s truly out of control.

I’m not sure if it’s inflation or the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, but being Jersey Strong costs an arm and a leg. It also seems you can build a pretty dope house with insurance money. The rebuilds there are  gargantuan mansions…and these are only summer homes?

On the upside we had a fantastic time and made many beautiful memories. Interacting with little ones at the beach is priceless. The joy as my twins and I (ok really I) built our first family sandcastle was worth every inflated penny I spent. However, if you are going to the Jersey Shore, or on any summer getaway, in the next 3 blissful months here are some tips for saving:

*Bring some things from your own supermarket to save on extra spending:water, juice boxes, iced teas etc. as well as easy to pack snacks. Having some of your own food and drink will carry you between meals and many motel rooms do offer a small refrigerator and microwave. If you rent a place with a kitchen you can cook many of your meals for even bigger savings.

*BYOB- Whats the beach without a cocktail? Bring a bottle of your fave and imbibe before or/and after a night on the town. If you are traveling with kids please do it after!

*Locate the nearest CVS or other big name pharmacy. Go there if you need any toiletries, sunscreen, etc. If you buy anything at a beach shop it will be 150% the price. Even better if you use a coupon!

*Locate the nearest Dunkin Donuts and grab your breakfasts there. At DD’s we spent an average of $10 per breakfast. The morning we went out for pancakes we spent $32! (Be really frugal and bring a bag of pre-sliced bagels and your favorite spread and put it into that motel fridge)

*Don’t always buy on the Boardwalk. An ice cream sundae cost us $7 on the good ol’ BW. It was half that at a popular shop in town.

* Go to budget stores like Christmas Tree Shops and invest in your own beach gear as opposed to paying umbrella and the like rental fees.

Oh and one last piece of advice, that silly ticket from the evil parking machine? Make sure it’s got center stage on your dashboard. We got a $48 parking ticket because an officer felt it was not displayed right. Then there was an additional $2 fee to pay it online. There’s a fine line apparently between Jersey Strong and Jersey Gipped!

Happy summer everybody!

Reality Roundup: New Jersey News and New York Ruse!

Teresa Giudice and Dina Mazno (Source: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images)

Start stirring your gravy and fryin’ your meatballs… The Real Housewives of New Jersey are back! Bravo has announced that the sixth season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey will premiere on Sunday, July 13th.

Teresa Giudice and Melissa Gorga are the only Housewives returning this season. In addition, RHONJ alum, Dina Manzo will be re-joining the cast.

“Well I guess the (hairless) cats out of the bag,” Dina tweeted when filming started. “Yes I’m back. Unlike the past this time it felt ‘right’ … See you on Bravo my friends.”

Dina’s sister-in-law Jacqueline Laurita, who has starred on the show since it’s inception, will not be part of the season six cast. Caroline Manzo has also departed from the series. Caroline’s upcoming spinoff pilot, Manzo’d With Children, was recently picked up for season one and, according to her Twitter will air in fall 2014. We caught up with Caroline at a recent event! Find out what she had to say about Manzo’d with Children and her departure form The Real Housewives of New Jersey here!

Although Kathy Wakile is no longer part of the cast, she and her sister Rosie will be making an appearance or two in the upcoming season, Melissa Gorga revealed during an appearance at the Tampa Home and Garden Show last week. When we recently saw the sisters, they too confirmed their involvment on the show.

Three new Housewives will be joining the cast this season! Amber Marchese and identical twins Teresa Aprea and Nicole Mauriello are sure to fuel some great drama this season. Amber, a breast cancer survivor, is a New Jersey native with a no-nonsense attitude. Teresa Aprea, and her husband, Rino, are the owners of famous restaurants, Angelo’s of Mulberry Street in Little Italy, and Ponte Vecchio in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. She and her husband have an 18-year-old son, Giovanni. Nicole Mauriello is a two-time divorcee (Hey, at least that’s better than 19 engagements…), a fashionista and a mother to two teenage boys, Joey, 14, and Anthony, 16.

Teresa and Joe Giudice’s legal drama will be a major story this season. After pleading guilty to multiple fraud and tax evasion charges, Teresa and Joe are currently awaiting their sentencing hearing, which is scheduled for July 8th.

“Obviously, Teresa is going to be a key character in the upcoming season, and Bravo wants to maximize her storyline,” an insider revealed to Radar Online last month.

Viewers can also expect some catfights, yelling, and stripping & cheating allegations. Oh yes, more stripping & cheating allegations!

Check out the season six trailer below!

Holy cannoli! Catch the Real Housewives of New Jersey season 6 premiere on Sunday, July 13th, 2014 at 8 p.m. EST.

Adding on to the success of the explosive sixth season of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Bravo will be airing a special, The Real Housewives of Atlanta: Husbands Revealed, tonight, May 18th.

The special will feature NeNe Leakes’ husband, Gregg Leakes, Cynthia Bailey’s husband, Peter Thomas, Phaedra Parks’ husband, Apollo Nida, and Kandi Burruss’ new hubby, Todd Tucker.

Bravo told Us Weekly that during the episode, the husbands will participate in a Guy’s Night Out and bond over drinks and table talk. The men will be “keeping it real” on everything from who really wears the pants in their relationships to how hard it is to please their leading ladies.

Don’t miss The Real Housewives of Atlanta: Husbands Revealed tonight at 8 p.m. EST!

Pink slip or just no trip? Fans of The Real Housewives of New York City have been questioning the absence of Aviva Drescher from the show after her dialogue was erased from the opening credits.

TheHollywoodGossip reported the mother of four was being “disciplined by producers with a forced three-episode hiatus,” while other reports suggest Aviva’s disappearance is simply a publicity stunt to drum up interest in the ratings starved show.

Aviva broke her silence regarding the matter, telling Radar “I wasn’t (disciplined) … back on in two weeks,” adding that she did not want to go on the Berkshire trip due to health concerns involving her prosthetic leg and asthma.

However, Radar has learned that these recent episodes are not the only ones Aviva will be cut from this season.

“Aviva has had a really bad time this season,” a source revealed. “Because she refused to go on two separate trips with the rest of the women the producers are fuming at her and they’re taking her out of the show as punishment.”

“Aviva also refused to go to Montana with the women, so she won’t be in those upcoming episodes either and they’re planning to do the same thing with the opening credits – take her out of them,” the insider continued. “No one would want her to risk her health or anything if that’s the reason she claimed was why she didn’t go, but the producers are fed up with her now.” 

Aviva’s frequent absences may lead to a major cast change. “Aviva might get axed from the show at the end of the season,” the source said. “Her storyline about Bookgate was dumb and then not being part of the rest of the show is making her more difficult so the producers are seriously considering firing her at the end of the season.”

We reached out to Aviva when the first Aviva Free episode aired two weeks ago, but she was unresponsive.

Tell us— Should Aviva stay on The Real Housewives of New York City? 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!

 

RHONJ Season 5 Episode 18: AKA “Salon Farewell” The Nightmare Before East Part 2

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Bravo calls it Salon Farewell. I call it The Nightmare Before Easter. When I introduced you all to my title last week I couldn’t exactly say why. Now that I know what was aired…and more importantly what wasn’t…I hope by the end of this article you will all understand. I hope I can clarify a few things for you, even though I personally will never be able to make sense of what I witnessed that night.

The Posche 2 party occurred on Saturday March 30th which was the eve of Easter 2013. It was an odd night to hold a filmed event, an even odder night for the mayhem that ensued. There was nothing holy about that evening.

As I previously wrote the party started out light and fun. Chris Laurita and Joe Giudice got a little dose of metrosexual pampering, Jacqueline Laurita had her hair and makeup touched up, Melissa Gorga was in a great mood and socializing. Only one person tipped me off that there might be a problem. Someone loosely affiliated with the show motioned to Penny Drossos and told me she had a “bad feeling” that something would happen simply because Penny was there.

In the background you can see people mingling on TV. You can even see me if you look for my pale face and blonde hair. I stick out like a piece of Wonder Bread in a bakery of whole wheat loaves…I will never be tan enough for New Jersey. It wasn’t until we saw Johnny The Greek walk in looking really pissed off that we knew we were about to see some major drama. At this point my pale white ass got stuck in a sea of spectators. We all turned towards the back of the shop where JTG approached the escalating argument between his wife and the RHONJ cast.

This is when things got ugly and two thirds of my team went running for the hills. JTG’s voice got loud and the last thing I heard was “Ask your f*cking sister.” Then I heard smashing, thrashing, and glass breaking. I was caught between staying put, backing up, or moving closer to get more of the story. I decided to stay put. I couldn’t see what was happening, but I could hear enough to know it was bad. I was jostled back and forth, frontward and backward as the crowd backed up to avoid the debris. Yes I said debris, because my head would never have been able to wrap around what all that crashing and banging was unless my eyes hadn’t seen the aftermath.

While I was being tossed around the Manzo kids burst through the door and into the crowd like superheroes. I later found out they had been dining nearby and came when they received a text from Caroline that there was major trouble. I’m pretty sure that Albie and Chris were strictly there to protect their mom and weren’t involved in the fight. While this was going on Jaime and Brent of TBB had escaped to the sidewalk out front where a group of people on the street gathered. They wanted to know what was going on. When they were told it was a RHONJ filming they started asking Jaime and Brent to take pictures with them, so while I was being tossed like a salad, my staff was getting the star treatment.

As quick as chaos tookover, it suddenly subsided. JTG was escorted out the back door and the crowd began to disperse. Kim D was visibly shaken and screaming at Penny who I was shocked to see didn’t walk out with her bleeding husband. Yes, bleeding, there was blood everywhere. It was splattered on the walls, on the floor, even on some of Kim’s inventory. Speaking of Kim’s inventory I’m sure thousands of dollars of her cuffs and fashions were ruined along with the display cases, which would account for some of the shattering. The rest of the shattering came from two hairwashing basins that were in the area. You know those giant thick porcelain sinks that you lean into at the salon? Well two of those were smashed to pieces.

In my lifetime I had never seen such brutality and I hope never to again. I’ve seen bar fights and people rough eachother up. I’m not THAT sheltered, but this was beyond. After it was over I spoke to a shaken castmember whose name I will not reveal. “Can you believe all this for a show? That this is what our show has become. It’s sad, it’s not worth it anymore.”

However, let’s go back to the finale, because after all this is supposed to be my final season 5 recap. I was pleased to see this season end on a high note. Kudos to Sirens Media for putting the drama first and all the love and light at the end. This was much better than how season 4 ended, and even though it was known the night of March 30th that the party would most likely make the finale show, it wasn’t known just how perfect the finale would end. All the cast at the Giudice’s shore house laughing and eating, it was like the old times, like the last two seasons were some ridiculous Dallasesque bad dream and everybody finally woke up.

So where do they go from here? It feels like there’s nowhere to go really. The conflict was resolved, everyone was happy, in the land of scripted television that would signify the end. There are many rumors about what will and won’t be next season. I more wonder should there even be a next season? What do you all think?