September Raves

By Tara Cushing (@TheBravoBlonde)

It’s fall ya’ll, and as much I try to protest the end of every summer, I always surprise myself with how much I really do enjoy this season. There are some wonderful smells, foods, events, and fashions that just don’t feel right any other time of year. On that note, here’s what I’m raving about this month.

Harry & David Pumpkin Macaroon Candle

Harry & David Pumpkin Macaroon Candle

Nothing is more fragrantly fall than anything pumpkin. It’s mandatory to burn pumpkin scented candles in my home each night from mid September to Thanksgiving. This year my pick is this pumpkin macaroon (yes macaroon, not macaron) scented candle from Harry & David. Even better was the price. I picked it up from Home Goods for $5.99. It has kept my home smelling perfectly pumpkin. I may have to go pick up a second one, just because.

Rare find on Facebook!

Rare find on Facebook!

Speaking of Home Goods I’d like to give a special shout out to them and Pier 1 Imports. I recently moved and both stores have been my go to for decorating my new space, without overdoing on decor and dollars. If there’s anything I’m raving about this month it’s minimalism. I’ve always been a minimalist, but moving gave me the best excuse to purge. I got rid of so much stuff that I didn’t use via Goodwill and Facebook sale groups. I’m totally raving about Facebook sale pages. Not only was I able to get money for and recycle things I no longer needed, but I also found some great furniture that I did need. I picked up a fabulous sleigh bed for my son and an amazing (possibly one of a kind) entry table with mirror set. Check out your local Facebook buy/sell/barter pages. You never know what you might earn…or find!

Eve's Tree hoodies clockwise from top: The Sophie in Evergreen, The Ashley in Sienna, The Lisa Golden

Evy’s Tree hoodies clockwise from top:
The Sophie in Evergreen, The Ashley in Sienna, The Lisa Golden

Finding things is awesome and my favorite recent find is a small company (that’s growing larger by the minute) called Evy’sTree (evystree.com)After I purged I made a vow to never again buy ANYTHING unless I absolutely NEEDED or LOVED it. I just can’t take having unnecessary stuff (or spending) in my life. Well, I may not need everything from Evy’s Tree (though I have convinced myself that I do), but I LOVE everything they make, and when I love something (as evidenced by the throw blanket on my couch that I bought in college) I’ll hold onto it forever, getting more than my money’s worth. I found Evy’s Tree on Instagram while I was doing work for a social media client. They make fashionably addictive and comfortable hoodies with feminine touches like ruffles and patterned lining. I purchased one and commented about it on Twitter. After that they asked me to test run two of their products. Brilliant of them, because I’ve bought two more since. They release new hoodies each month and offer them at pre-sale prices. I can’t wait for my next two to get here. I finally can feel like I’m wearing sweats all the time, but look polished and pulled together. Prices range from $79(intro) to $119 (full). Follow them on Instagram @evystreeofficialTwitter @EvysTree and find them on Facebook. Tell them I sent you, and then thank me when you are luxuriating in the highest quality, most comfortable hoodie you’ve ever owned.

Dare Maple Leaf Creme Cookies

Dare Maple Creme Cookies

Fall flavors are fantastic. Say that one ten times fast. Costco makes a pumpkin muffin to die for. It’s one of my weekend cheats, as you all know I eat clean Monday-Friday (I need to write about that again as it’s really working, people keep asking me how I’ve gotten so slim). Another fall treat in my home are Maple Creme Cookies by Dare cookie company. I dare you to try these and not get addicted. I first had these maple leaf shaped treats on a trip to Vermont many years ago. They are extremely popular there. They look beautiful in a glass cookie jar. Tasty, and fall functional.

The Skinnygirls await my housewarming party.

The Skinnygirls await my housewarming party.

For those of us that can’t let summer go, you can enjoy the perfectly peach taste of summer year round with White Peach Margarita from Skinnygirl Cocktails. My awesome friends over at SG sent me some samples of their line to taste test on a few friends (a Skinnygirl “sponsored” housewarming party is in the works). I held a small unpacking party and this flavor went very quickly. It’s got just the right amount of sweet, which I think compliments any dessert, no matter the season!

So those are my current obsessions. Let me know what you think of them and tell me, what are YOU obsessed with? If there’s something you think I need to try for my next Rave Page give it a shout out in the comments!

Regards and hugs,

TBB

@TheBravoholic

imageBy Lesley Rousso

Wednesday September 4th, I was waiting at the deli in Publix, which is such a joy to begin with, when my phone dinged with a Twitter notification. I looked to see that I had a direct message from @BravotTV ! “Congrats Lesley! You have been selected as the next @TheBravoholic” it read. I actually gasped so audibly that everyone turned to look. I still had my entire shopping to do and I’m sure I looked like a crazy person as I was smiling ear to ear like a lunatic. After I called my husband and I texted my friends, I emailed Bravo and accepted. We exchanged some emails and they scheduled a call with me for Friday afternoon. We talked, they filled me in on what I needed to do, I signed a release that stated the contest rules, and I was set to start Monday at noon.

I got busy thinking about things I would tweet during the day and started downloading pictures and making notes. When Monday came I hit the ground running. I learned quickly who many of the former @TheBravoholics were and started exchanging tweets with them and everyone else. That first night was not exactly what I expected. Honestly I have no idea what I was expecting, but that first night was overwhelming to say the very least, and this coming from someone who is a professional multitasker. The first show I live tweeted was Tamra’s OC Wedding to which I mistakenly tweeted to the wrong hashtag. It WAS the previous week’s tag so I cannot be held accountable, rule number one of being @TheBravoholic, double check because things change! The new hashtag wasn’t my only surprise, I didn’t realize that my phone would be going off every 2 seconds for the next week. I tried to live tweet while feeding my husband and kids, and while doing homework. It was pure chaos. I got smart the next night. I grabbed my wine, headed upstairs, and locked my bedroom door which I would only open during commercials. I figured out a system and the rest of the week went really well, I think.

You’d think the time commitment would be my major dilemma, however one of the hardest parts of this job is being totally diplomatic. I usually just tweet whatever comes to mind about the Real Housewives, Million Dollar Listers ( I’m looking at you Josh Altman ) and the others. It’s not always complimentary. When you are representing the network they appear on though, you have be a little nicer. I would tweet questions and let others give the answers that I may normally give. I have to admit that it was nice to be free of the chains of diplomacy when my stint was up. I also got to have my question asked on WWHL by my one and only Andy. The guests for that night were Andrew Dice Clay and Kathy Wakile. I asked Kathy if she ever smokes anything else out of the Hookah. I asked this because I thought Andy would like it and Kathy is boring and I had nothing to ask her. Of course she said “No.” Buzzkill.

I had so much fun and would totally do it again. Too bad it’s not a paid job! I loved tweeting with all my fellow Bravoholics who understand my crazy obsession with all things Andy Cohen and Bravo TV. In real life people who get that as well as I do are few and far between! I thought that it was pretty cool to be chosen as one of like 34 who get to do this. At least I now have more followers than people I’m following. Meanwhile, I’m waiting for my swag bag. I’m pretty sure it’s Mazel glasses (shot and sun) and some coasters? Sounds like Turtle Time. Hopefully I’ll get it soon. Stay tuned…

2012 Final Thoughts

Dear Readers,

I started this website in hopes of gaining employment in the media industry.  I started this website with the intention of visiting book signings and appearances to give others who couldn’t attend the scoop on them while having a place to show my ambition and work ethic to potential employers.  That was nearly 8 months ago, and I have learned in those 8 months that things often do not go as planned.

I never found new employment, well I haven’t found it yet, but what I did find was an amazing team of interns that wanted me to employ them.  I have never been any one’s boss before.  I have been able to take some bad boss experiences in my own life to help mold me into the boss I would want.  Drew and Brent may be young, but they have more drive and ambition than many adults I know.  I am blessed to have them and just knowing they are here makes me want to work twice as hard to turn TBB Entertainment (more about that in 2013) into a company which, if they chose, they can work at long after their college years are through.

I went to only one book signing, and one wine signing (Thank you Teresa Giudice) but I have been to countless events, starting as a ticket holding guest and evolving into a respected web journalist on a press pass.

I sought to get quotes from reality stars on Twitter which somehow morphed into interviews, invites, and in some cases friendships (much love to Amy Laurent, Aviva Drescher, Heather Thomson, Lori Zaslow, Lauren Foster, and Kim DePaola)

I found that though I probably could work for somebody else, on my own I am more of a powerful force than I ever imagined.  I was looking for my escape from my everyday, and found my niche and people who believed in me (Thank you John BasedowPam FinkNyk FortuneSharie ManonVictoria DoroshenkoNicole LotitoMarysol Patton, and Elvira Grau).

One thing I never was looking for, however, was a fan base.  I reached out onto Twitter to connect with those who could maybe help me find a new line of work, and I got followed back by all of you who, for the most part, have been supportive, loving, and forthcoming with your lives and loves and feelings.  I’ve been inspired by all of you and your appreciation of my writing is more than any amateur journalist (or seasoned author) could ask for.

It hasn’t always been easy.  The competition in reality television blogging is stiff, at times brutal.  Not every follower has been kind.  The occasional troll pops up and, believe me, they aim below the belt, and it stings.  I’ve been called an awful mother, a spoiled bitch, and a “corpse”.  But every time I felt like quitting one of you has lifted me out of it.

As we move into the new year, I am moving into both a new domain and a new business.  Along with Lindsey from Cinderella’s Glass Closet, I am laying down the plans for a full fledged media relations business.  Along with Drew and Brent I am moving to a new web address and layout.  We will be bringing you a full fledged magazine layout site with more articles and interviews than ever before.

So thank you to all the reality stars who have appeared on TBB, to Bravo TV and Bravo PR for allowing us to function in your world, Andy Cohen for the occasional tweet of confidence, Bethenny Frankel for being my role model, and you all of my fans and readers.  See you in 2013!  Onward and upward!

Regards and Hugs,
Tara
TBB

*Additional Thanks to: The Manzo, Laurita, and Wakile Families;Donna Delmas, Melissa Callery, Dazzle Candy, The Cherished Decor, Initials Inc, Mitzy-Lou LLC,The SS Collection, Peggy Tanous, Slade Smiley, Gretchen Rossi, Sarah Winchester, Brooks Ayers, Josh Altman, Heather Bilyeu, Jenn Zucher,Lawrence Thompson, The Cast of Miss Advised, Tamra Barney and Wines By Wives, Tipsy Girl Wine Designs, Koppers Chocolate, Good Charma Jewelry, Yummie Tummie, Dee, Lori M, 3 Ice Cubes, Sheri Morgan, Amy Poliakoff, Liz Margulies, Makeup By Eric, Buzz 60, Positive Andrea, Jairo Arias, Rosie Pierri, NJ Sweet Spot, Mom’s Thoughts Show, Not So Soccer Mom Radio, Gina Cutillo, Diamond Kesawn, ttracyh, Matthew Drozd, Kristen Schiano, Fabellini Wine, Sheila Giudice, Brando’s Cucina, Melissa Gorga, the cast of My Big Gay Italian Wedding, Elaine Lancaster, Lynda Erkiletian, Stacy Vance, Isabella Staycer, Pam Ermizian, DramaFollower, FabFeathers, Victoria Cumberbatch, and most importantly my family for being so flexible and understanding when the hours were long and my patience was thin, I love you more than I can ever express and everything I do is so the four of us can have the best of everything!