Cast Blog: #RHONJ

Fake It Till You Make It

Jacqueline Laurita was hoping all the fun in Napa would bring Teresa closer with her family.

This episode had me cracking up! I couldn't believe Vito shared his bear tattoo story with everyone. "It must have gone back in his cave?" What the...? LOL! Melissa had me laughing the most. She wasn't joking around. You can see the panic and fear all over her face. Clearly she wasn't going to drown in two feet of water, but I think the thought of those biting bugs at the bottom of the river sent her over the edge. It was funny to watch though. I hope she can look back now and laugh about it too.

I loved when Rich came back from getting groceries with a ball and a bat and Kathy told him to go outside to play in traffic like a good little boy. I also couldn't believe that Joey Gorga asked the neighbor for fruit in his underwear and introduced Tarzan to everyone. He is so funny!

OK, so surfing isn't my thing. I have tried surfing before, but I really didn't want to try to squeeze into a wetsuit at that moment in time and sharks freak me out. Don't they come into shallow water too? I hear a lot of that lately. Yikes! No thank you. I had fun watching. Everybody finally made it up on the board that day. I was proud. I really loved to hear that compliment my husband gave me. (Bonus points for him.) I'm glad that he is happy with my body. I wish I could be, but I love to pick myself apart. I'm a confident insecure person, if that makes sense. I'm OK not being perfect and I can laugh at my faults. Maybe I just need a new mirror.
Just for the record, when I spoke about Teresa being competitive to a fault at times, I was not just talking about her surfing. Not really important anymore. Clearly there was more going on between me and Teresa than the "articles" and the other stuff you are seeing. It was discussed with Teresa during our "talk." I also felt a whole lot of unnecessary pressure from Teresa at a time when I just couldn't take anymore. I wasn't in a position to take on other people’s problems, and I just needed peace around me. Like I told Teresa, had I gone after Melissa and Kathy for Teresa (the way she would have liked me to), they would have hated me by that point. And after Teresa decided to make up with them, where would that have left me besides having more added stress that I didn't need? I know Teresa said that she got over it, but I honestly didn't believe she did. I was hearing too many things. I honestly just wanted everyone to be open, honest, and real with each other. I wanted everyone to resolve their issues once and for all. My head couldn't take anymore fighting around me! I was getting too worn out! I felt like I was just going to shut down. That's one of the reasons that I got so upset with her about the Danielle thing. Teresa was finally so close to peace with her family (on camera) and I KNEW her public communication with that devil (Danielle) would start some trouble all over again. I thought she should have handled that issue in private. Even if she was faking for the camera, it still made things more pleasant for everyone. I was hoping eventually that the good times would outweigh the bad between them, and it would turn sincere. Fake it till you make it.
I didn't want to disappoint my friend, but I wanted to feel free to be who I was, and I wanted her to respect me for that. I like to find out who people are and judge them through my own experiences with them, especially people who I see so often. She knew this about me, but she still let me know how much I disappointed her in different ways. It didn't sit well with me, but I just didn't feel right doing the things she wanted me to. If I got involved with her fight against her family, it would have been so much more difficult and awkward for them to resolve things. It would only add more fuel to the fire. I didn't want to be involved with that. At the same time, it hurt me to see Teresa hurting. I wanted things to get better for her. It's also natural for me, when I see someone hurting, to offer my help. I'm a great listener and communicator, so I did feel a little shut out by Teresa in other areas, but I think I finally understand the way Teresa thinks now. I started to understand her boundaries more, and I needed to respect them. I also wanted her to respect where I was coming from.

Teresa and I both know that I never asked her about her financial situation, nor did I care to know any details of it. I was a good listener when she needed me, and I felt like I gave great advice. The times Teresa opened up to me about her grievances, they were mostly about her family. It became a little repetitive and petty after a while, so it became harder to hear at times, but I still wanted to be there for her. I was mostly concerned about the many personal, public articles that kept coming out in national magazines that she never acknowledged around us. All I knew was that Teresa told me she was putting out articles (as you saw at Jamie’s wedding), but I never knew what parts of them were true or not anymore. Some of them said scary things. Things that you would talk to your best friend about. Things I worried for her about. I figured that if Teresa took the time to share with the tabloids certain things about her life, friends, and family, which allowed many strangers to read these things and left people to speculate on what was real or not, that I just wanted the same (if not more respect) as her best friend -- to hear the truths straight from the source. I just wanted to know what was real or fake, if she needed my help at all, or to know if she was really hurting or not. The thought of her suffering in silence concerned me. I wanted her to talk to me about the things she was opening up to the tabloids about. Those seemed like much more serious issues to worry about than if Melissa was copying her feather skirt or not. I needed to lean on Teresa as a friend at that time as well, and I felt like I wasn't being heard or that she wasn't concerned with what I was dealing with. When Teresa said to my face that she didn't ask me questions because she didn't care, that cut me very deep. I, unlike her, wanted my friends to ask questions. It feels good when someone else cares and wants to help. I think we have a different perspective on the definition of true friendship. It doesn't make either of us wrong, just different. As much as I was trying to help Teresa, I felt like my efforts were misinterpreted and she was upset and disappointed with me more and more. It was frustrating. I wanted her to know that I had her best interest in mind, and when I didn't agree with her on things, it didn't mean that I didn't love her. I just felt that there were more important things in life to worry about or focus on.

Anyway, I was really glad that we finally sat and talked and that she initiated the conversation. I apologized if I had hurt her, and I meant it. For those of you that were on my back for not apologizing, now you can see that I clearly did. It really wasn't my intention to hurt her in the first place. I felt bad for losing my temper, because I felt hurt at Melissa's launch party. I already knew that she most likely wouldn't be accepting blame or apologizing for anything, because I know that is just how she is. I was OK with that, because I felt like maybe she finally understood me more and maybe it gave her more awareness of others feelings. I was just happy to be more at peace with her after our talk, because I was feeling unsettled at that point. I was definitely happy that she seemed to be getting along with her family and that we talked. Things seemed to be better between us, but somehow I knew things would still be different, although I was still hoping for the best.Lauren was going through a transitional phase during this trip. She was becoming more separated from her brothers than she was used to be. It had always been the three of them doing everything together. They lived together, went to school together, and shared most of the same friends. When siblings start growing more independent and venturing out on their own, relationships start to shift a little. This is life's natural course. They will all have their own families to focus on one day as well. (This is all too familiar with Teresa and Joey Gorga.) It doesn't mean they love each other any less. I think it was harder for Lauren than most, because her brothers were moving on together. They lived together, worked together, and were making new friends together, so Lauren was feeling a little left out. I understand what she was feeling. That could not have been easy. She felt left out of the good times they were having together without her and didn't feel included. She felt left out of their new private jokes. She just wanted to be kept in the loop and stay as close as they always were. I think it all came to a head on the trip, and that's why she was so sensitive about it. I actually found it endearing that she loves them so much that she got so upset about it. I don't think the boys intentionally left her out, because I know they love their sister very much. They were just looking at things from a different perspective. They were not thinking as deeply about it as Lauren was, because the boys were still continuing their lives together and just going with the flow of things. It's all good, they are still very close to this day.

For the record, Caroline did not call Lauren any names to her face, she was expressing her frustration with Lauren in the moment. What parent with a grown child has not gone through that moment? Trust me, Caroline loves all her kids equally, and she is extremely close with ALL of them. Her kids love her back just as much. I love how all of her kids want to come around and still enjoy time with their mom. What mother wouldn't want that? People that comment on their closeness negatively just seem a little jealous to me, because I think it's a positive thing. That's about it for this week. Take care! 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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