Cast Blog: #RHOC

Making A Difference

What has Gretchen been up to since OC's explosive reunion show? Bravo's most controversial Housewife talks.

 

Hey Bravo Fans!

Wow - has it been forever since I talked with you guys or what? I am so sorry for my very long absence in blogging. I have had so much going on in my life and it has been one heck of a rollercoaster! I am almost embarrassed to say it, but I never got to see the Real Housewives of Orange County reunion show! I was out of town when it aired and I forgot to TiVo the show! I know I'm a dork, but honestly I still haven't seen the dang thing. From all my fans that write to me everyone says it is probably better off I don’t see it! So I have never watched it. I keep thinking I'll see a rerun, but due to all the very exciting things happening in my life I just haven’t had the time for TV. I do remember that day of filming very clearly though and I think it was just horrible the way it all went down. It’s all good though because I do believe the core essence of a person will always come out in the end!

I do remember that day of filming very clearly though and I think it was just horrible the way it all went down.

So I wanted to write to let you all know what has been going on with me! Although it has been one of the toughest times in my life, I have been able to really create some amazing things out of all the pain and heartache that has come with losing Jeff. No one will ever be able to truly understand or I will never be able to explain in right detail the last six months of my life. The pain, the tears, the hopelessness, the regret, the sorrow, the sleepless nights, the dreams, being angry at God, or the sad void in my soul. I have come to realize that no one can or will truly understand, and it is up to me to decide how I will handle it and how I will move on. No matter what anyone says, I have to do what is best for me. Jeff taught me that lesson, so I am taking his advice. I truly believe he continues to look over me from heaven and takes care of me by bringing great people into my life and teaching me about the poisonous ones. I have a little shrine of him in my house, with his ashes and all our pictures together. I get to walk by him every day and say hi and talk to him. Sounds corny I know, but it helps me get through the day sometimes.

One of the wonderful things that has come from such a horrible loss has been the ability to bring awareness to this disease that affects close to 900,000 individuals today! Did you know that every 10 minutes someone dies of this disease? What a shame that so many people have to lose their loved ones to this horrible cancer. The good news is that The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is doing something about it! With all the recent research there has been so much advancement in cures and drugs that even within the nine grueling months Jeff struggled with this cancer, new developments were happening. This was due to the everyday people like you making a difference by donating to this great charity! WE can all do something to help, even if it is small!

Raising awareness and money for a great cause helped bring me back to life after losing someone so close to me.

It was a great honor to be nominated as one of the candidates for Man/Woman of the year campaign for LLS! I decided to take that nomination in honor of Jeff because it made me feel like I was able to still do something despite losing him. Lots of times after losing someone and especially during the time they are sick, you feel so hopeless and depressed. The campaign gave me a new mission -  to make Jeff’s life count! Raising awareness and money for a great cause helped bring me back to life after losing someone so close to me.

I have started my 10-week fundraising campaign for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We had our kickoff gala March 27th where I was announced as part of the Man/Woman of the Year campaign. It was a very special night and my dear family and some close friends were there to support me in my efforts to raise money, and awareness in honor of Jeff.

My campaigning started the weekend of April 4th. I was asked to participate in the Orange County Boat Show, autographing pictures, selling little sailor teddy bears for the kids, and selling wristbands that said “relentless” with all proceeds going back to the Jeff Beitzel fund and LLS. A portion of all ticket sales went back to LLS and the Jeff Beitzel Fund as well! It was a really fun event and I got to meet a lot of great and wonderfully giving individuals.

The next opportunity I had to try and raise money for my cause was during the Bravo A-List Awards that aired on April 15th! I attended the awards and was also nominated for an award! “Reality’s Guiltiest Pleasure”. It was a very fun honor and I want to thank all my fans for voting for me! If you watched the show, you know the award went to my girl from Atlanta, Nene, who more than deserved it! She and I hit it off and I enjoyed spending so much time with her and ALL the Atlanta ladies that weekend! Wow - they are fun and vivacious woman with class and character like you wouldn't believe. I would spend time with them in Atlanta all day long. We have kept in touch by phone since the awards and I feel like I have a whole other group of friends now.

NeNe and I hit it off and I enjoyed spending so much time with her and ALL the Atlanta ladies that weekend!

During the show there was an opportunity to vote by text or online for your favorite fashion show outfit! I really enjoyed going to Fred Segal and hanging out with all the other ladies from the other towns to shop for the day! Some of the women played nice, some not so nice, and some even cheated on the price point, but oh well! I thought my outfit was fun and young and I had a good time showing it off on the catwalk! The great news is that I have the opportunity to raise money for my charity if you guys continue to vote for me on Bravotv.com. You can vote here: /bravo-a-list-awards/vote The winner will be able to donate $10,000 to the charity of their choice! Of course mine will be for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society/Jeff Beitzel Memorial Fund! So be sure to cast your vote to help my charity win (even if you don't like my outfit !)

On April 22nd I will be heading to Philadelphia for a Green with Fashion event that will also be benefiting LLS. A loyal fan contacted me at my website www.gretchenrossi.com and they asked me to participate in the event they were putting on. She will be donating all the funds raised from the fashion show to my cause! What a great fan that is huh? If you are fans of the show and live in Philly (or want to come in for the event) be sure to stop by this fun fashion show. Visit greenwithfashion for more info on the event. I will also be making a stop by their NBC 10 morning show to talk about my fundraising campaign. So check me out there on April 22nd at 10am.

The next event I will be attending is the Gumball 3000! I am so excited to be a part of this event! I will be racing in the rally to raise funds once again for my cause! "Rossi Racing for the Cure" is what I am calling my 3000-mile drive across the country! It starts May 1st in Santa Monica and ends up in Miami Florida on May 8th. If you would like even more information about this event and all the cities we will be visiting, please visit my site www.gretchenrossi.com. If you are interested in being a sponsor for this event, please e-mail me at my site as well. Many spectators come out for opening day (Santa Monica) and we stop in many different cities. I have spent a lot of time on the design for my car and all the different outfits I will be wearing throughout the rally. So come by whatever location is closest to you, say hi or make a donation to this great cause! I hope you can join me as I "race for the cure."

On May 13th I will be putting together a fun shopping and wine party at my friend’s boutique in Laguna called, “Eclectique” located in Laguna Beach at 1936 PCH. Everyone is invited to join us from 2pm to 7pm for some wine and cheese and shopping at a great boutique. 20% of all purchases will be donated back to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society! It will be a great way to buy fun clothes and also help a very worthy cause. Tell all your girlfriends to come out and play with us!

After Gumball I am planning on heading out to the Indy 500 on May 24th for additional fundraising in honor of Jeff by spending time in one of his favorite places...Indianapolis. Check back at my website for the latest details on this event - you don't want to miss it.

I will be ending my campaign on June 5th with a big Gala for all the hard work all the candidates have done throughout the last ten weeks! I look forward to continuing in the fight against cancer way past June 5th!

Be sure to visit my LLS website for more information on all these events and to donate! www.lls.org/ociegrossi or go to my website www.gretchenrossi.com.

I have so many other excited adventures to share with all of you. I am working on my makeup line with my makeup artist as we speak! I have always had a passion for makeup! I am also working on bringing my fans my beauty secrets - from hair, to clothes, to exercise and facial products. I have had an overwhelming response from fans since doing only one season of The Real Housewives of Orange County, and I am listening to all your requests and questions! Therefore I am in the process of launching a whole new web site! The site will be very interactive and a place where you can come inside my world! I hope you enjoy it! I am very excited about it all.

I have been so busy with the campaign, my website, and new ventures that I haven’t even been able to tell you about all the new business ventures I have invested in. I have been able to partake in a lot of different business opportunities that have me very fired up as well, and I can’t wait to be able to share them all with you.

After I lost Jeff, it was a hard realization that I had to get back to making a life of my own. I spent almost a year in the hospital taking care of Jeff and therefore was not out making money like I was before. That is a very scary thing to face, now all alone with no income coming in. I was struggling every day to try and make sense of what I was going through. But I am coming out of it and I am working so hard to get back on my feet again. I have always been a self-sufficient woman and I know I will be again. It just takes a lot of dedication, time, energy and work to make it happen. I bought my own home and in these tough economic times the last thing I want to do is lose the asset I worked so hard for!

After I lost Jeff, it was a hard realization that I had to get back to making a life of my own.

I have gotten back into the world of real estate and I am slowly building my clientele back. I have invested in other entities of companies that I am hoping will be a good return on my investment. I hope my story is one of strength and courage. Despite all the rumors and crap that has hurdled over my head lately due to press and the way they spin things, I have a lot of untold story left to tell. A story of not letting anyone take you down despite how hard the days might seem at times. A story of repair and rebuilding everything from my financial situation, to my work, to my relationships. I had to move on, because that is what I know Jeff wanted me to do! So here I am, doing it little by little.

I cannot say thank you enough to all my loyal fans out there. I have had it pretty tough lately, but I know that the true essence of my heart will be revealed despite what is being said! And just for the record, I am a gold digger! A girl that digs for gold in the souls of others! If that is a bad thing, then call me a gold digger all you want!

And just for the record, I am a gold digger! A girl that digs for gold in the souls of others!

Thanks again to all my fans for the continued support and love! Hope to see you guys somewhere along my campaign trail.

Xoxo

Lizzie on That Kentucky Fried Nickname

Lizzie weighs in on Tamra's nickname for her -- and opens up about her body issues.

We have finally made it to the Reunion and I am happy to say I survived my first season of Housewives. . .Well almost. Next week is Part 2 of the Reunion and I have to admit I pretty much left in tears. I am not a large part of this week’s reunion, but I would like to take this week’s blog and focus on female bullying and body image. As women, I think it is our job to build each other up. We are all mothers, sisters, and daughters. There are so many body image issues among young women and I write this blog for any woman who has had insecurities about her body. If it talks to any of you than it will not have been a waste of time.

I am sure everyone is aware of Tamra's nickname for me, "Kentucky Fried Titties." When I first heard her call me this I thought, "Nah, I won’t even give it energy."  It really is trashy and frankly low-class. However, it was a trigger for me and it really touched on something that I had been self conscious of for my entire life. It sounded exactly like the pre-pubescent boys in my middle school P.E. class. "Hey Lizzie, can I get some fries with that shake." The girls would snicker, "Lizzie's sprouting!!" I grew up hearing a lot of derogatory names targeted at my large chest. I was the girl in fourth and fifth grade that cried when friends had pool parties and wore T-shirts over my swimsuit to cover up my chest. My mom's friends would laugh and say, "One day you will love your assets." But I was always self-conscious.

I grew up dancing and cheerleading and finding uniforms and dance recital costumes was always such a struggle for me. I literally thought about quitting just because of my boobs -- I was so self-conscious and embarrassed. Thank goodness I have such a loving mother that made me feel so much more important than that and didn't let me walk away from something I loved because of body image issues. Even when I started competing in beauty pageants the swimsuit competition was a big thing for me to over come. Some mothers assumed my mom bought me implants at 15. My boobs have always been "up for discussion." At Miss Teen USA, I had to have a special seamstress come in and sew cups in my BodyGlove competition suit because I was bouncing all over when I walked. When I competed in Miss USA, I also had to call in a special seamstress to alter my competition bikini top so it fit my little back and large chest. And, as many of you naturally larger chested women know; real boobs do not "stay put." After I moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career I found myself victim to my large chest yet again. I would only be called in for "Hot Girl #2" and roles like that. How could anyone take me seriously with these 34DDD natural boobs at age 21? I had a college degree. I graduated top of my class, I was so much more than "Hot Girl #2", or so I thought.

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At age 23, I couldn’t take it anymore, I cried enough over being insecure about my body. It was time to do something about it. I talked to my mom and she took me for my first breast reduction. It was the best thing I ever did. I felt free! It felt so great to go swimsuit shopping and to buy dresses that I didn't have to wear a minimizing bra with! I can honestly say it was the best thing I could have done for myself. I am 5'7" and I always had boobs, so one thing I didn't want to do is get rid of them completely. I still wanted to feel like me and keep some of my natural curves. Perhaps going 34D wasn't small enough or maybe I just have incredible growing breast tissue. Whatever the case, my boobs were huge again six years later. I decided to have another breast reduction right before my wedding. I was the perfect size. Not too big and not too small. . .and then I had kids. So, now I have very large boobs again. I will probably get another reduction when I am done having children, but we want more kids so now is not the time. I guess God wants me to have big boobs! So, excuse me everyone for finally embracing my body.

I know some of you are probably thinking, "Oh poor Lizzie and her big boobs." But it was a real thing to me and I think as women we all struggle with insecurities. We have all struggled with body image issues at least one time in our lives. I have always been a big believer in beauty shining from within. Think about it. How many people do you know that have such beautiful personalities that it shines through and makes me them even more gorgeous human beings? How easy is it to overlook an attractive person who is mean and ugly inside? People start looking like their personalities sooner or later.

How does all this translate into adult female relationships? I think there are many similarities. I think it has a lot to do with self-esteem, acceptance, and respect for others.

I am sure there are tons of people that applaud Tamra for her name calling of me, or of Alexis when Tamra coined the term "Jesus Jugs." I see nothing more than a 47-year-old bully when I see Tamra. I see bullying. Tamra didn't just call me a name in a fit of anger. She made up the name and announced in her interview. Later, she announced on Watch What Happens Live. My question is why? Why is she so proud of this name? (Which, I have to be honest, I have heard before, it’s not even original.) What kind of message does this send to young women? I don't have girls, but I have nieces and I would never want to teach them to be "mean girls." This may seem trite, but I always felt sorry for the bully. Why do they act like that? It always seemed like bullies have a difficult time connecting with people in meaningful ways and thus use relationships for manipulation. Look, if we can put someone on TV and afford them fortune and fame for being a bully, we are exalting that poor behavior, and sadly we as a society give it life.

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