Cast Blog: #RHOC

Independent Women

Tamra: Lizzie's Obsessed With Me

Shannon Settles the Score

Lizzie: Tamra Doesn't Fight Fair

Heather: Why Hate?

RHOC Reunion GIFs: The Gloves Come Off

Lizzie on That Kentucky Fried Nickname

Shannon on Heather's Double Standard

RHOC Reunion GIFs: Psychics, Opinions, and Shade

Heather Weighs in on the Dinner Party

The Difference Between Shannon and Heather

Lizzie Forgives Tamra

Vicki Wants the Best for Tamra

GIF Recap: RHOC Season 9 Finale

Vicki: I'm Tired of Tamra Causing Problems

Recap: 13 GIF-able Life Lessons from Bali

Tamra: Lizzie Is the Worst Kind of Person

Lizzie: Tamra Has it Out for Me

Shannon: There's No Hope Tamra and I

Tamra: Lizzie's Out for Blood

Heather: Can't Friends Disagree

Lizzie: What Tamra's Doing Isn't Right

GIF Recap: Kayaks, Crowns, and Elephants

Shannon Was Shocked Tamra Would Betray Her

Tamra: I Was a Fool to Defend Vicki

Heather: Newsflash It's Not All My Fault

Vicki's Warning to Lizzie

Shannon Isn't Putting Emotions onto Tamra

Lizzie: I Thought Tamra Was My Friend

GIF Recap: Lizzie's Lonely Birthday Dance

Tamra: I'm Going to Be a Tam-ma!

Vicki: This Episode Was Hard to Watch

Heather: I Did Owe Shannon an Apology

Shannon: Tamra Is Stirring the Pot

Lizzie: Tamra Is Stirring Up Sh--

GIF Recap: What Does Tamra Remember?

Vicki Is Trying to Stay Neutral

Shannon: Tamra's Lies Are Mind Boggling

GIF Recap: Lizzie's Dinner Party Disaster

Vicki Advises Shannon to Keep Communication Lines Open

Lizzie: "I Take Sun Kitten Swimwear Very Seriously"

Independent Women

Gretchen dispels any rumors about Slade and talks about her business.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day! Sorry this is a day late, but I was traveling for work and did not get a chance to write this until last night. This week's episode was fun for me to watch and had a lot of deep meaning for Slade and I, and where we are in our lives. Therefore this week I am going to focus my blog on our story line and not discuss the other scenes that I was not involved in. Although, I think it was fun to see all of the women in our own elements with no cat fighting for one week! Thank goodness!  

Slade and I actually work really well together, although we tend to bicker a lot about the funniest and silliest things. That's our way of communicating sometimes. As you can see, I am a very happy go lucky girl, but when it comes to business, I am very assertive and I am clear about how certain things are going to run. Slade is a great support system and gets that about me, so he never takes offense to my demeanor. He has told me many times that he actually finds it very sexy and refreshing for a woman to be so sure of what she wants and how things are going to be run. It's funny because that is the exact same thing that Jeff said attracted him to me as well. Secure men love secure women. Slade and I are very secure in who we are and in our commitment and love for each other. I really wouldn't have been able to accomplish what I have accomplished this past year without his extra help and support.  He is an amazing man, and I feel so lucky to have him in my life.

Now that's not to say he hasn't hit some hard circumstances in these past few years. The show unfortunately cannot tell the whole story in the short eight minutes or so an episode we are on, and therefore I will try to summarize this complicated situation here. When Slade's son got sick, his focus was on keeping him alive and being with him.  It went from working everyday to being in the hospital every day back then. This is something that Slade and I can truly relate to each other about. I did the same thing when Jeff got sick. I walked away from my thriving real estate career to be by Jeff's side while he spent close to nine months in the hospital. When a family member gets sick, the only thing that seems to matter anymore is spending time with them and getting them well. Work certainly does not seem like a priority anymore. I honestly think Slade has just been so depressed about his son's illness for a while now, and in some ways it has kept him from being everything he is capable of being. The medical bills seem endless, and it seems impossible to ever catch up with it all. When Slade realized that all his hard work of 18 years in the title business had been lost because of his time away with his son, I think his world crumbled financially, emotionally, and mentally, as you see him humbly address in this episode. It was a hard knock for him and a wake-up call.  

Watching the show sometimes is like therapy; back when I encouraged Slade to sell his paintings I can now truly see why he gets discouraged. He ultimately knows that selling his paintings is probably not going to cover the expenses that he has for Grayson. Slade also is keenly aware that his time is best spent looking for work that can actually pay a decent amount of money to get caught up on his obligations and medical bills that continue to come in for Grayson. Not just a job that pays $5 an hour as some of the other women suggested needed to happen.  

I was very disappointed in the little that was shown of the conversation between Slade and his mom. His mom specifically came into town to give us advice and help with his current situation. Since his mom has dealt with Grayson's mom in the past and the many issues that were at hand, we figured maybe having another perspective might help us figure out a solution to all this and for the sake of Grayson. What you did not see was that Slade's mom is not a very big fan of Grayson's mother and was not seeing light at the end of the tunnel in reasoning with her.  Slade's mom asking him what he does for work was such a small part of the conversation, they talked for close to two hours. His mom truly did not understand anymore what Slade did currently for work because she really isn't around as much anymore. She is enjoying traveling and retirement and all she really knew was Slade working in the title business before. Slade and his mom actually have never talked in detail about what he had been doing the last few years since he left the title business. She truly did not understand what his job was at the time. It seemed like she was ripping on him, and that was not the case at all. She was trying to figure out a plan for his current situation and how to make better and more consistent income. So she was offering advice such as being a lawyer. At the time Slade's contract with his last client had just ended and it was not paying all the bills, so he needed to rethink his current job and was discussing it with his mom. 

Unfortunately the press and one person in particular have perpetuated this very difficult and frustrating situation for Slade. The press and people stating that Slade is a deadbeat father is ridiculous. Just because a man can no longer pay $4,000 a month in support due to loss of a job and financial hardship does not make him a deadbeat father. Normally a man who is not present in a child's life, doesn't care, never sees them, neglects the child, or is abusive or demeaning to a child makes a deadbeat father. Let me be clear that financial inability to pay the same amount in child support due to external circumstances in no way makes a man a deadbeat father. If he was such a deadbeat father then why hasn't the mother of his oldest son been in the press talking poorly about Slade as well?  And furthermore wouldn't his oldest son, Gavin, who is now 19 years of age and has a voice of his own been a great source of truth regarding this statement. Why isn't he in the press saying that about his dad? I'll tell you why, because it's not true!  

It has become apparent this story is being told only through one person's eyes so it can benefit only them, not even taking into consideration how it is affecting Grayson's health, recovery, and relationship with his father. Slade has always chosen not to fight back using the press and stay silent for the sake of not dragging his son into it, but I have seen it hurt him too much now. I have sincerely tried to stay out of it all and not get involved; however I will no longer sit silently and allow this false picture to be painted of Slade as a father.  

I see Slade everyday working hard to try and find a good paying job so he can once again meet his obligations and continue to pay for Grayson's medical expenses. He submits resumes consistently to companies and has worked with head hunters, etc. Unfortunately the hard reality is that because of the false press that is out there, the second a employer googles his name an article stating that he is a deadbeat father is what they find. How can one parent possibly get a job, if another parent is in the press creating the very thing that is keeping him from getting that job to help? One cannot have it both ways, parents have to be on the same team or it will only hurt the child.

We have received so many e-mails and messages of support, and it means so much to us. We know our audience is a sophisticated audience, and we know the audience gets that some things aren't adding up. Slade went from being a loving, wonderful father and partner, who always financially could and did take care of his obligations to all of a sudden a deadbeat dad who doesn't care. Slade didn't just stop loving his children, and he didn't just stop caring one day. It just doesn’t add up! I am a person who goes off of someone's past record, and this perception of him doesn't match up to the last 19 years of his life and what his track record has shown as a father and as the financial supporter of his loved ones. Ignorant people and the press can go ahead and try and paint this picture of him, but I know many of you know the truth, just as he and I do. We will continue to fight and find any way for him to make money (including selling his paintings, which are available now at the Victor Paul salon in Costa Mesa www.victorpaulsalon.com) so he can meet his financial obligations. In the time he is not searching for another job or appearing in court to reduce his current child support of $4,000 a month, he is most definitely helping me build and grow my business. He knows I am committed to him and helping him find a resolution to this situation, therefore he is committed to me. I could care less if I am the breadwinner or he is. I do not have an ego. I just want to be able to meet our separate obligations and responsibilities in our lives as a couple (married or not). Therefore we have incorporated working together on everything lately.  

The reality is that Grayson's best interest could be protected if this was not a war being fought in the press or between cast members, but rather by combining our efforts together to use our voices and our opportunities to help bring more awareness to this horrible disease and for any parent that is suffering from this out there. If we could just for once put all our differences aside and lend support and help the greater cause, how great would that be? At the end of the day a child is sick and needs both parents, emotionally, financially, and mentally to get through this.  

With that said the Victor Paul Salon and I have decided to put together a charity event in honor of Grayson and help raise money to continue to get this little guy the attention and care he needs. We will be having the event at the Victor Paul Salon on Thursday, July 14th from 6-10pm (763 Baker St. Costa Mesa, CA 92626 Phone: 714.966.1188). We will be auctioning Slade's paintings (100% of those proceeds will go to Grayson's care) and we will be featuring some great vendors and sponsors and look forward to your attendance or donations in honor of Grayson. I will be posting additional information on my website www.gretchenchristine.com  in the next month. 

Now onto the fun stuff! It was exciting to finally see the footage regarding my handbag collection and how all my hard work was coming together and paying off. I do however find it disappointing that all the footage they filmed of me preparing, designing, and working with the manufacturerer on this collection was not a part of the show this season. However, a little behind the scenes fun fact for you: the hosting coach you see me meet with in Episode 1 was actually to prepare me for the launch of the Gretchen Christine Collection on the home shopping network Shop NBC this past summer! Check out this short promo about the launch here. Although cameras were unfortunately not able to capture me at Shop NBC we had great success there! It was one of the most nerve-racking experiences in my life, but it was so rewarding to see the customers and phones light up with excitement and orders! If you want to see the live footage check it out here.

We thankfully did so well that we went back into production and sold almost completely through all of the handbags again on my personal website! Actually there has been so much demand for the Balboa Pearlized Leather Tote (you guys saw this piece in the first episode during my hosting class -- it was light pink) that we have decided to give everyone that keeps requesting how to get one a shot at getting their hands on the very last three in the collection (two champagne and one coral color) by opening bidding on my E-Bay store today!

We are currently working on the new collection, and as we continue to grow I look forward to bringing you all things a woman can find in her closet! What a great honor it has been to bring the fans what they have asked from me. I have truly enjoyed building this lifestyle brand that is affordable and driven by the fans requests. Please continue to send me your thoughts, requests, and ideas to fans at gretchenchristine.com  Thank you for all your input (even criticism, because it helps me make it even better), support, and encouragement as I continue down this path of making my dreams a reality within the fashion and beauty spaces. 

Until next week!

Xoxo

Gretchen Christine

www.facebook.com/gretchenrossi and @gretchenrossi on Twitter