Cast Blog: #RHONJ

Not Even Coal

Jacqueline shares her thoughts on the Ashley gift situation.

So that was a RHONJ Christmas! What did you think? Good stuff, huh? We have so many family traditions on Christmas that I would love to share with you, but that would take a whole other blog to explain. Maybe I'll list those on my website that I keep waiting to be launched (should be soon). I will say that I can remember every Christmas as a child, begging my father to tell us the story he would tell every year of how the angel got on top the Christmas tree. It somehow ended with the angel pissing Santa off and telling the angel to, "Sit on it!" (Very age appropriate tales my father told.) You've got to love his sense of humor.

I also remember waking up early Christmas morning and grabbing my two brothers out of bed and getting so excited to go downstairs to see what Santa brought for us. I also wanted to see if he ate our cookies and drank the milk and to see if the reindeer got the carrots we left for them. We were not allowed to go downstairs until my father was up, cut his nails, shaved, showered, dressed, made coffee, and set up the camera to take a picture of us as we ran in the living room to see the gifts Santa brought us. It was torture every year while we waited impatiently at the top of the stairs for my father and my mother, who acted like Mrs.Butterworth taking their own sweet time. We tried to scoot our butts down one step at a time trying to get closer to the living room only to get busted and sent back to the top of the stairs. TORTURE! I barely took the time to wipe my a-- Christmas morning, because I was so excited to get down those stairs. I think my parents enjoyed having that power and making us wait. They had a smile on their faces the whole time as they went at a snail's pace.  I do the same thing to my kids now. Funny how things come full circle. 

I like to buy a lot of little cheaper stuff so it looks like a lot and then everyone gets one big expensive thing. Chris picked the go-carts because HE wanted them. You know how boys are with their toys. I thought it was cute the way they all rode around the house on them. Their smiles were priceless. I personally have been dying to take those go-carts on the high school track to race them. Is that even legal? It's almost worth getting into trouble to do it at least once. Try and catch me.

I enjoyed watching everyone else's Christmas. 

LOVE the Manzo family bracelets! Love the sentiments behind them! LOVE the tight bond they all have! XOXO! Caroline got some great bling in this episode. Not only did she get the family bracelet, but she got that absolutely gorgeous ring from Albert. That was so romantic and so adorable of Albert to propose to Caroline all over again in the same place where he proposed to her the first time with that gorgeous new ring. This time on his knee! This reaffirmed the love and commitment they have for each other. I guess they will no longer have that ongoing joke between them that the engagement wasn't valid because he didn't get down on his knee to propose. Thank God he put that to rest. The more years Albert waited to get down on his knee to propose properly, the harder it would have been for him to stand back up. I think he knew that this had to be the year. (Teasing, haha!) Congratulations and best wishes! You are now engaged, married, and have three kids, all on the same day! With their kids grown and almost all out of the nest, it is time for them to start a new chapter in the book of life and enjoy the rest of their lives together. XOXO!

I wanted to say that I'm very surprised that the Manzo boys plus @GreggyBennett haven't gotten their own show yet since their webisode series was so funny. I think the boys are hilarious! Perhaps maybe the BLK Beverage Boys & Bennett would be an even greater show. (Yes, that was a pitch.) I thought Albie was adorable with his smitten little boy face over Alexa Ray Joel. Can you blame him? She's adorable, self-reliant, and extremely talented. That girl can SING! Never mind who her beautiful, talented, famous parents are (although I love them too!) Alexa can hold her own in the spotlight. She's amazingly good. Check out her website at 

Melissa Gorga is spoiled rotten and she OWNS IT! You've got to love it! Melissa wasn't kidding when she said that she lives a life most girls only dream of. (Her and her beautiful kids.) Joey is a keeper! I'm SURE she will get her "bling bling microphone" before long if she hasn't gotten one already. She will probably have one in every sparkling color of the rainbow. You go, GIRL! Sing and make Joey proud, but I think you better let him release his toxins whenever he damn well pleases. Throw your hubby a bone. It's a trade off, girl! Jesus doesn't care if you're having sex with your husband on his birthday. Excuses, excuses! You have to give a little to get a little. Don't be selfish now. Work it, work it! Kidding, I know that Melissa does take care of her husband as in addition to taking care of their kids all year long. Showing appreciation for each other, even if it's in little gestures, is so important to keep a marriage healthy and strong. (An expensive pair of shoes, Louis Vuitton luggage, a gold Rolex watch, and a recording studio will do the trick too!) SCORE!

I just love how Ashley and I tell the story about her not getting me a Christmas gift or anything. (Not even coal! You know, like the one she does her extremely talented drawings with?) And then it cuts to the Cleaver family (the Wakiles) with their children putting their hard earned allowance together that they were saving for their college fund to buy their mom a laptop along with a beautiful heartfelt, supportive letter that brought tears to their parents eyes, because they are just so appreciative of her and all the air that she breathes. Why don't you just stick a knife in my heart? Kidding! That was beautiful! God bless them for raising such thoughtful, giving children. Ahem... Ashley, please take note. I hope you are preparing your letter of gratitude to me for next year. You have plenty of time if you start now. (Make some s--- up if you have to.) Oh, and I already have a laptop, so keep in mind I'm a size six shoe. Just teasing you, Ashley. I love you baby! XOXO!  I know she loves me too. We were going through some rough times last year. Take it easy on her. She's really not a horrible child. People develop maturity at different levels and stages. She actually has a very huge heart. She feels horrible now about not showing her appreciation. She's learning now from watching the show. We ALL are. Ashley and I have some really great moments together. I wish you all could see more of those nicer moments, but even if you never do, Ashley and I both know those moments are there.

Got to hand it to Teresa for staying on top of documenting every precious moment of her kids' lives as they grow up. NOBODY takes more pictures than Teresa. "Gia, remember that Christmas when you vomited on national TV? You looked so pretty. That was a cup of chamomile mommy gave you." Now there's a memory to cherish forever. Poor baby girl. God bless her!

I loved how Teresa and all of her daughters had matching pink satin pajamas. Can you get any cuter than that? Now they even have matching Mercedes SUVs. The kids looked so adorable and happy opening all of their gifts. They are very lucky girls. I loved the gorgeous navy blue coat Teresa got from Joe. He did a great job picking that out. I know for a fact that Teresa didn't return it either. It was a keeper. Good job, Joe! Oh, and Teresa, you asked who rocks a beige Louis Vuitton? I DO, thank you very much, and it goes with everything I own! So there! (You know I love you!)

I know Teresa was very disappointed when her brother left to go to Kathy's on Christmas Eve. ( Melissa leaving? Well, maybe not so much.) In-laws are a package deal, so you've got to learn to deal with it. They are both trying. Naturally it's still going to feel a little awkward. They obviously still need to practice the wise old saying, "If you haven't got anything nice to say, don't say it at all." Easier said than done sometimes when resentment is still lying dormant. 

Only Teresa would have Gucci dinnerware! I know she made a ton of food, but those dishes were just too pretty to eat on. I would have just wanted to sit there and admire them. 

I hope Teresa saw by watching the show that it was Kathy's intention to invite her to Christmas Eve also, but she just didn't get that far after her initial attempt by starting with, "It's really good to see you." (Times three.) The thought of the invite gesture abruptly ended there. I guess Kathy changed her mind and felt it wasn't so good to see Teresa after all. It happens. Mission invite failed.

I know Teresa usually has Christmas Eve at her house, but with all the feuding going on, family members made alternate plans. I hope Teresa saw that neither Kathy nor Melissa put any pressure on her brother to go spend Christmas Eve at Kathy's house. It was clearly her brother's decision to take those baby steps in repairing the relationship within his comfort zone. Joey decided to go to both parties and divide his time. They should keep the time spent together short and sweet for now. Keep it positive. Everyone gets credit here for making an effort. Can you imagine what their Christmas spread would be like next year if Teresa and Kathy were together? With Teresa cooking and Kathy baking, then add Melissa to the mix (she can even bring those pingoli cookies that are Teresa's favorite). It would be ridiculous! I feel pleasantly full just thinking about it! Just no mechanical bull, because that would not end well.

Although Teresa wasn't thrilled at the idea of spending New Year's with Kathy and Richie, she was trying to make an effort with Melissa and Joe. It was kind of an awkward situation, because Albert has known the Wakiles for a long time. How could Caroline and Albert invite everyone the Wakiles know, including their family, without inviting them to the New Year's Eve Party? Please try and understand. Caroline and Albert felt obligated. I get it. There are no hard feelings between the Manzos and the Wakiles, and we are all adults. There will be plenty of people there, so they can avoid each other if they need to. Besides, like Caroline said, New Year's is about new beginnings, family, and friends. Isn't it? Let's watch what happens!

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Visit my website I'm hoping it will be launched soon. I'll tweet when it's live. XOXO  

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Amber: I Felt I Like I Was Being Hazed

Amber Marchese dishes on her experience this season on #RHONJ.

We made it Housewife friends! As it was my rookie season, I felt like I was being hazed in a sorority, but as hard as it was, I made it! I learned so much about how strong I am as a person and some areas that I can work on. I learned that I really do have a “no surrender, never retreat” mentality. I will go to bat with anyone, at any time, and will defend myself and my family at all cost. I also witnessed the undying love that my husband has for me and his family. He was not going to let anyone hurt me and will unleash hell if someone tries. He is truly my modern day Spartan warrior. 

I am so blessed to have shared my experience and struggles with breast cancer -- the timing of my five year mark, the photo shoot, and growing my hair for five years then cutting it for charity -- it was nothing short of a miracle that the Bravo was able to catch that all. It was just meant to be and God was truly working his wonders. Cutting my hair was completely symbolic for me, since cancer no longer defines me. I will never forget, however the pain, fear, and anxiety is in my rear view mirror now. I can sometimes look back to remind myself where I came from, but it in no way defines my future. It is my promise to all of you, I will never take that for granted, especially knowing that there are thousands struggling with cancer every day. 

On to my perspective on the season finale! I am not quite sure why the twins make it a point to confront others in front of large crowds. As Teresa said, they had two weeks to call her and speak to her about what Victoria Gotti had said to us. If they had an issue or wanted an apology, so be it, but what ever happened to being a civilized human being and picking up the phone to call? They did the same thing to me. Two weeks went by without any phone call from them. In fact, they never returned any of my phone calls or texts! They decided to make a scene in front of an entire party. Difference is, this was at a charity event with children in ear shot. Can you blame me for not wanting to bring my babies to this event? I would have absolutely loved my children sashaying down the runway, but there is absolutely no way I would EVER allow my babies to hear what went on. I spoke with Teresa and I knew the twins never called her. So I knew exactly what was brewing, so did Dina. My children come first and mama was protecting her children. Dina was brazen enough to kick Jim and me out of the Florida home for less of an offense, why wasn’t Dina kicking the twins out because they were making a scene at her own charity function for children?! Can we say double standard? Where were her “heads rolling” that she claimed would happen if someone started anything at a Ladybug event? 

I will add that I completely understand how hurt the twins are. I can understand their anger. However, I cannot understand their way of handling conflict. That level of “hot headedness,” I would think, cools down at a certain age as we tend to calm ourselves, think clearly, and with wisdom. It is a level of discernment that should happen after a certain age or experience in life. 

Dina claims to be Teresa’s friend of 25 years, but does not back up her friend at all. If that was my friend, like Christine or Angelia, whom I have been friends for just as long, the twins would not have gotten to the letter T in stupid before I would be dragging them out of the event by their ears. Dina doesn’t have to agree with her best friend, but she should also never allow someone to call her friend of 25 years stupid, at her own charity function no less. Especially knowing what her friend is going through, which pales in comparison to some stupid rumor.

Since Dina has unwarranted venom towards my husband and has completely snubbed him for his previous contributions to The Ladybug Project, I am going to thank him on their behalf for coming up with the idea of the children's fashion show, as well as the connection to East Coast Stars. Since Jim did not attend, he also made a sizable cash donation on behalf of our family. Jim had also worked hard before all the drama to make sure Ladybug even had a venue with all costs covered, including food and beverage. The venue was ultimately not chosen, but Jim had still worked hard to give Dina an option for the event. Instead she chooses to focus on Jim’s comment about her IQ after she interrogated him at an extremely inappropriate, charged moment right after his wife was attacked. Despite her inappropriateness, Jim still ended up apologizing to her. However in my opinion she should have apologized to him for being so glaringly insensitive. 

It may seem as if my perspective is harsh for an end of season blog, LOL! But it is what I was feeling at the time. I owe it to you all to give you my honest interpretation of it. However, at the end of the season, I came out having a certain amount of respect for all of these ladies. Being on a reality show is hard; it pushes us to our limits and it is nothing short of psychological warfare. I truly hope you will support all of us, equally. Teams are good, and appreciated; however, keep the hate towards other Housewives out of it. Perspective are OK, different points of view are what make the world go round, however, when your perspective rises to a level of cruelty, it takes the fun out of our jobs. Allow us to be ourselves, with the good moments and even the moments when we could have handled ourselves a little better. At the end of the day, the Housewives are girlfriends that have strong personalitiesand disagreements -- we love, we hate, and we make up. That’s life. 

I have would like to thank: Denee Lockhart, Amy Malkoff, J. Vincent Jewelers, Cate Scaglione Photography, Castle Couture, Action Media Productions, Elinet Cakes, Christine’s Restaurant, Historical Names, East Coast Stars, Zaboyon, Greenhouse Flowers, Johnny Donavan PR, Anthony Palmieri stylist, Tony Bowls evening wear, and finally, my husband Jim and my mom, Pamula Aguero. 

It was an amazing experience that I would not change for the world. I want to thank all of you for you love and support. This was a wild ride. 

Many blessings to all!

Amber Marchese

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