Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Our Maine Event

View from Lori's office

We went to Maine. I didn't post from there, because I've read and watched the news. You don't post while you're away from home. No one needs to be burgled because you HAD to post on social media when you weren't home. #ThanksKyleRichards

We went to visit Camp Wekeela, a sleepaway camp in Hartford, Maine. I didn't go to sleepaway camp. My only idea of sleepaway is Meatballs, which is one of my Top 10 favorite movies. I guess a current camp owner wouldn't want their camp compared to Meatballs, but we can all recognize that it was the the early 80's and that's probably what sleepaway WAS really like then. I know when I went to day camp in the early 80's there was A LOT less supervision than there is at the same kind of camp E goes to now! But when I think of Meatballs in regards to sleepaway camp, I think of the sense of family, tradition, being unspoiled, utilizing the outdoors, summer.

It just happened to be coincidence & luck that I know the owners of Wekeela, Lori & Ephram Caflun. I worked for Lori when I was twenty till about twenty-two at a day camp, when I was home for the summer for college. Then I did winter camp for her somewhere else, and hostessed kids birthday parties on weekends at the Bergen YMHA. When they had their first son, I went to Boston with them to watch the baby while they were doing wedding stuff for her sister's wedding.

I'm going to give you an account of Wekeela from my perspective, not from brochure-speak. I didn't ask a ton of questions- I just sort of went in winging it, so I don't know all the facts & figures. This is more about the feeling I had from being there.

So, first, would I have thought of Maine to send my only child to sleepaway? No. That ride from Bergen County is no joke, and I didn't even drive. B drove there AND back. I also have an only child. The idea of sending my only child that far away should give me hives. However, really KNOWING the owners is a huge game changer. These are exactly the people I'd want to know I was entrusting my kid to for the summer.

I am fully aware that there are tons of sleepaway camps in the immediate area of NY/NJ/CT/PA. Originally, when I thought about sleepaway, I assumed I'd send him to somewhere in the Catskills. I don't know why- that's just what was in my head. Probably because I also figured I'd be sending him to some kind of (relaxed, practically secular) Jewish camp, because I could apply for some kind of financial aid. (The Jewish affiliated camps do that).

It definitely didn't occur to me that if I send E to camp so close, he's most likely going to be with all people from our area. Sending him to day camp twenty-five minutes away from home, I thought he'd get to make friends from other towns. Turns out, many other parents aren't like me, wanting their kid to have to figure out how to meet new people. They WANT their kids to be with friends from their own town.

The groups in his day camp are pretty much grouped by town. Different elementary schools in town, but still all people they know. It's nice because he gets to see his town friends that he doesn't really see during the school year, but for the first three years I made it so he WASN'T with his town friends. I wanted him to have to branch out and get to know other people. He did, but he was also confused why everyone he knew were in another group. "Why can't I be with x, y and z? Why are they all together?". I just played dumb. At a certain point I had to give in and let him be with the town friends. It didn't make any sense, and I had no good excuse as to why he was the only odd man out, in a group with all kids from somewhere else.

If I was going to seriously consider sleepaway camp, I really value the Caflun's opinion on the subject, so I knew I had to ask them. One of the first things, I've never forgotten, that Lori had told me about Ephram, back like twenty-five years ago when I met them, was that his dream was to own a camp. To have had that dream and make it happen is not something everyone actually does. If that was your dream all that time ago and you made it happen, you must REALLY love camp. When I think of them, I think of people who REALLY. LOVE. CAMP.

I emailed Ephram last fall or winter to ask his thoughts on the more local Jewish camps. He told me it was a much longer conversation than an email and to come over to their home in Ridgewood (how convenient for me!). They weren't trying to sell me- they just wanted to make sure I was fully informed and to give me some food for thought. One of the points they made to me about Wekeela is that they have kids from many different countries, nevermind all over the US too. If I really wanted E to experience some diversity, sending him to Wekeela in Maine would guarantee that he'd really meet people from all over the world.

*It just so happened that the first, friendliest, most outgoing kid E met this weekend was from Brussels, Belgium! This kid is nine, was recruited for camp IN Brussels, basically signed himself up and with no trepidation came across the world to go to camp for a half session (3.5 weeks). He told us that he's coming for the whole summer next year. Color me impressed.

Over the course of the weekend, I met campers and counselors from all over the world- Alabama, Belgium, Iowa, Maryland, Scotland, England, Massachusetts- and those are just the places I remember.

Obviously I have no other sleepaway camp to compare it to, but what I was struck by was that all the kids and the counselors, looked happy and relaxed the whole time we were there. There is a structure to every day, they're all on a schedule, and they were participating in their activities, but they all just seemed like they were on vacation, if that makes sense.

Ephram was driving us around on a golf cart to show us around when we first got there. He took us to different kids doing different activities, and it just seemed...slower paced. Slower than the pace of life I'm used to with E. There were what looked looked like tween girls playing volleyball, no one just sitting, but it wasn't an intense seeming game. Teen boys were playing some game on the waterfront by the lake but it was more like Hacky Sack vs something competitive. We went by arts & crafts where the oldest kids, BOTH boys and girls, were all engaged, making scrunchies and dream catchers. No one stood out as over dressed or overly made-up. They just looked like normal kids.

Why would I point out that they seemed like "normal" kids, or even think about that? When I say "normal", I mean, you can't tell by what they're wearing, what kind of money they come from. Sleepaway camp isn't inexpensive. For that reason, some sleepaway camps can get a bad rap for having spoiled and entitled kids (and parents!).

Who could forget the post that went viral - The Running Of The Jews - about visiting day? In a nutshell, it's commentary on the ridiculousness that goes on where parents are bringing mountains of candy, baked goods, and gifting expensive gifts to the rest of the kids in the bunk on visiting day. Being there hours early to scout out the best spot on the camp lawn with tents and generators to spoil their kids. The same way I didn't want to move to certain towns, I don't need or am I interested in a place where parental wealth (or our lack there of) is a "thing".

Knowing Lori and Ephram personally, I couldn't see them humoring this kind of behavior, but who knows? Maybe it's just a thing every camp does. Luckily, I remembered to ask Ephram about it and he just looked at me like I had nine heads and said- "No, we don't do that. A mom once asked me what she can bring- like towers from Dylan's Candy Bar and Baked By Melissa cupcakes. I told her nothing. She said, "What do you mean? I've heard people bring all this stuff". I told her that you need to bring nothing and asked if this is why you chose this camp. That kind of thing is not why you chose us". That made me feel better. I'm not bringing any iPads as a bunk gift (I feel like I've heard of that happening in other places), nor would I want E in the position of being given extravagant items that we don't/wouldn't even give him.

We came up on a Saturday, mid-day, and I asked if they do anything special on the weekend. I was told there is no "weekend". There is a four day schedule - A, B, C, D. Those are structured days and they just go in order. Then they have the a fifth day which is or could be a trip. I'm not totally sure how that works. I think they go to local water parks, attractions, and such. Then every night there's an activity after dinner that the whole camp participates in. The first night was a staff soccer game that the kids were all watching and cheering for. The kids were all into it- some even performing a half time show.

The second night was Casino Night with a Great Gatsby theme. Most of the kids got dressed up. Including my own kid, who I spied in the dining hall, wearing his friend from Brussels button down shirt. And, for some unknown reason, the same shorts he'd been wearing for two days. We were leaving before "Dancing With The Staff" night, which I would've LOVED to see. I'm bummed I missed that.

After Ephram had showed the three of us around, Lori had put E into a group/bunk of kids his age. That was pretty much the last time we saw him until mid-Casino Night the next evening. He just joined right in and became part of their group. The kids were the nicest, most welcoming bunch of nine year old boys I've even encountered. I mean, REALLY nice. Surprisingly nice. They took E in, and literally gave him the shirts off their backs. I was afraid they'd be so bonded, they wouldn't be into having an "outsider".

E had the option of staying in Ephram and Lori's house (on the camp campus) with us, but Lori gave him the option of staying in the bunk. He jumped on it. Before the words even fully came out, he said- "I'm going to stay in the bunk. I don't care if I have to sleep on the floor". They pulled a mattress into the bunk and he did, in fact, sleep on the floor. I'd brought a sheet, a pillow and a blanket and he was set.

Every counselor or boys side administrator that we encountered throughout the evening, that had seen E with "his group", said that he fit right in and that we were going to have trouble getting him to leave Wekeela to come home. That made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Like I knew my intuition was correct- that he was born for camp. 

**As an aside- The ONLY reason we even saw him mid-Casino night was because he went balls to the wall, didn't really eat well, didn't really sleep, and gave himself a migraine. He was supposed to sleep in the bunk again- we'd even bought him a sleeping bag while in town. He ended up, crying, in pain, and sleeping with us. 

I actually didn't mind that this happened though. While I don't ever want him with a migraine and nauseous, it was a great lesson. If and when he goes away to camp next year, he needs to pace himself and make sure he makes good choices. He needs to make sure  that he eats right, drinks enough water, and sleeps. Just like other kids don't learn until college. I guarantee that there are less kids who've gone to sleepaway than those who haven't, who go buckwild when they get to college. They've already had a taste of that kind of freedom and having to make decisions.

We all ate in the dining hall both days and I have to say, the food was pretty darn good. It was like being at my college and eating at Daly's. The first night, it could've been because I was starving, but I was a bottomless pit. It was spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread. It was comfort food and I loved it. B said he'd never seen me eat like that. One morning there were scrambled eggs, some kind of sausage, and potatoes. The next morning was pancakes and some other kind of sausage. There is always toast, cereal, yogurt, granola, etc. Just like college, you have to learn how to make good food choices.

They ARE nut-free. I didn't see that in my quick look-see of their website. I just remembered seeing that they work with all kinds of allergies. Lori just happened to mention that they're nut-free in conversation.

Speaking of "nut-free", they're VERY on top of their supervision. Since we were staying with Lori and just shooting the breeze at the end of the night in the house, somehow it came up that they have people patrolling the grounds after 12:45am, making sure no kids or campers have snuck out of their bunks to fool around. Being that this is a co-ed camp, not separating the sexes by a lake or anything, I'm sure this is more of a concern than for camps that are single sex or co-ed with some kind of proximity separation. So if sexual hi-jinks are concern for you with a co-ed camp, rest assured, Wekeela is ON that. This is where Wekeela and Meatballs definitely differ.

I love that it's co-ed with no separation. Sleepaway camp is like college, in the way that it's a microcosm of real life where we all live and work together- men and women. In their most awkward years, they're getting to learn how to live and work with the opposite sex.  They're learning how to find their confidence and relate to each other on a daily basis without having parents helicoptering all over them.

Also on the co-ed train of thought- at Wekeela, both boys and girls do all the activities. Believe it or not, five or six years into E's experience at his current day camp, I JUST found out that the boys do not get the opportunity to do dance, or other "typically girly" activities. Lori and I both found that to be bizarre. My kid likes sports well enough, but he doesn't LOVE sports. He certainly wouldn't choose sports all the time if he had options of other things to do. He is also a creative type that loves to dance. At his day camp, it's not expressed, at all, to the parents that the boys have limits on what they can choose for their optional activity. Like, if E wanted to do dance, he couldn't. That's just not offered to him.

At Wekeela, he could do dance, performing arts, art, whatever he's into. E got to do all kinds of cool stuff in the short time he was there. He said he even tried to water ski. His words were, "I didn't do very well, but it was still cool!". It was also the female grade level leader who came up to B and I in the dining hall, to tell us how it was a pleasure getting to know E. In many camps the sexes are so separated, she wouldn't have had any interaction with him.

I think it might be relatively smaller camp, in comparison with others that B knew about. I have no idea what the average is for this kind of camp. There were three hundred and seven kids there. I think that's a good number. Not too big, not too small. No big fish in a small pond or small fish in too big of a pond. I've heard with some smaller camps than this, it could be hard for new people to jump in who aren't from a long legacy line. Then, with some bigger ones, a kid might find lost in the crowd. I am comfortable with this kind of number.

MANY of the staff are former campers, which to me, says a lot. They obviously liked it so much they decided to work there. I met a husband and wife who work there- The husband was a camper. He is school psychologist during the year, which is awesome asset to have at camp. His wife is one of the nurses on staff. Their retention for their staff is high too. That's really hard when you have a lot of kids working for you. I just thought it was really nice that they have so many former campers who opt to still spend their summers there. I even met some kids who are children of former campers. Not to mention all three of their sons work there too.

It's also pretty comforting to know that Lori was a teacher and guidance counselor in the Bronx. That prepared her for just about any kind of personality. For example, she deals with kids that come there with anxiety. B asked her if there are a lot of kids there with anxiety. She said something very interesting- "They all do. Everyone has anxiety over something". It was just very telling that she's in tune with how the kids are feeling and able to handle any kid's stresses they bring to her attention. She's not going to just blow it off or push it on to someone else to deal with. As a camp owner, you really wear every hat. It's nice to know that she's also there to deal with the kids on such a one on one level that she's doing journaling and other exercises with the kids that need it, to alleviate their anxiety.

I've written about camp before and everyone knows my feelings. Not going to sleepaway camp is a huge regret of mine. Especially these days, when else does your kid get to just be a kid? Unplugged from electronics for three and a half or seven whole weeks? Away from all the stresses of regular life. I'm a firm believer that kids need to get out of their town, away from the kids they go to school with every day, away from their parents, and the only way to do that is camp. Day camp is great- E's gone since he's two years old. But sleepaway camp is the ultimate in a gift you can give to a kid. There is simply no other way to gain that kind of independence.

In my own town, I've seen tween turned teen girls beyond devastated as drama inevitably unfolded between them and their friends from school. They have no outlet- no other place to go, no other friends to turn to, so every argument between them seems like the worst thing that's ever happened to them. They feel like their life is over because they're fighting with their friends. I can't help but believe that if they'd had camp or camp friends to turn to, they wouldn't have been AS upset.

I also always think of Howard Stern when I think of sleepaway camp. He always talks about how much he hated school. He was bullied and didn't fit in at school, but he was the King of Camp. He counted down the days every year until he could get back to camp and reinvent himself. I want my son to have a place that's such a safe haven for him if that turns out to be what he needs. Kids have so much more pressure on them for everything now, including to fit in, so if there's another place besides home that can be a source of joy and empowerment, let that be camp.

B said it just before- he really looked at the kids at Wekeela and they just looked like "normal" kids. He's glad there's still a place where that exists, where kids just there, just enjoying the land they're on.

I've had a lot of parents, who don't "get" camp, say to me- "I could never send my kid away for x amount of time" - or at all. My answer always is- "BUT IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU". They say- "I'd miss my kid(s) too much". Well, we all are parents and I know we all do or would miss our kids when they're away. Parenting is more than just doing what WE want and how WE feel. Although, I guess you could say it IS about you in the way that you get to reconnect with the person you married, if you're married, in a way you haven't in years. Or, if you're not married, you could use that time to work on you, or date.

It's really about what's best for our kids. If you're only sending an oldest, you get to have one on one (or one on more) time with younger kids that you and they wouldn't ordinarily get. If it's your only, I know, there are just things I don't even realize I do for him that he could be doing for himself. I just can't see how giving a child the opportunity of independence, in the world we live in today, could be a negative thing. I know kids who are nine and ten who aren't allowed to cross the street without a parent. Or ride their bike alone. Or walk to school. I need to know that when I do send my kid off to be a functioning member of society when he's eighteen, that I've given him the tools to navigate the adult world to the best of his ability. To me, having sleepaway camp exist is the no-brainer tool to help that become a reality.

I really hope that E gets to have this experience and I'm so excited for him. This is a kid made for camp and while I know it will be a little nerve wracking for him to just jump into leaving us for that long, what he'll gain will be invaluable. I feel strongly about a lot of things, but the gift and experience of camp is in my Top 3.

If you have any questions about Wekeela, I can try to answer or at least point you in the right direction. But if you're thinking about sleepaway camp for your kid(s), I urge you to check them out.
If you send away for a brochure & information, make sure you let them know I sent you! I need credit for that. ;-P

***I barely have any pictures of E at Wekeela because he just took off with his new friends and we barely saw him there. I looked in his bag and saw he had a paper with all their names on it, presumably to get their phone numbers. B said when he went to say goodbye to them, he got all teary.

Thank you Lori, Ephram, and all the staff for an amazing eye into your Wekeela world! 

E eating veggies the kids cooked over campfire

E at "Cooking"

Dining Hall- E's over there somewhere

Dining Hall (Panoramic)

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Life Hack Review

Every half a year or yearly I end up doing a post or two about what I call my life hack products. One I wrote in May: Somehow Summer. I've said before that I love As Seen On Tv products and any kind of gadget. Doesn't have to be technology. Truth be told, I do love the idea of technology but I don't want to take the time to learn it. Thus why I need all the bells and whistles in my car, but by the time the three years of the lease is up, I've never used any of it because I don't know how and don't have the attention span to learn.

As an aside, my new Jeep Renegade has all the technological advances and they freak me the F out. I never had the bluetooth set up before or it didn't work the same in the old car, but now, I'm driving and the car starts reading my texts to me. "Briana said- "what a dumb bitch". Do you want to respond?" Meanwhile, E or someone else is in the car and I'm practically throwing myself at the dash board to turn it off. Not all technological advances are necessary or desired.

I wrote about the Better Brella last month. I got it but hadn't used it. I've used it. It's worth it. It's not any bigger or heavier than any other Totes automatic umbrella. The upside down and being able to turn inside out is key. We all know that once a regular umbrella turns inside out, it's done. Even if it doesn't LOOK done, it's done. I bought mine, the regular size (as opposed to a large), at Harmon for $19.99 then used a Bed Bath & Beyond $5 off coupon. Good deal and it's made well.

I said I'd be back with my review of the Cool Cabana. It ROCKS. By the amount of people who've asked me about mine, I'll bet that next year, the beach we go to will be chock full of cool cabanas. It's easier to put up than a regular umbrella & it doesn't blow away or inside out. It is also open so it doesn't obstruct anyone else's view. It's not like one of those giant tents that house a picnic full of people and is inconsiderate of others around you. I'd say that it takes up the same amount of room as the diameter of a large umbrella, just in a different configuration. My friend and I sit under the shade of one comfortably. But it's not for a bunch of people at once. I have us and my cooler.

Speaking of coolers, my friend Alex wants a Yeti cooler (which I had to look up) and while they had a great deal on them on Amazon Prime Day, it's not for me. I like a PackIt that freezes the whole bag, I don't want to have to get ice or use ice in a cooler. That's the whole point of why I use a PackIt. However, in the hot sun on the beach, even my PackIt loses it's ability to keep things cold, on the faster side. I saw in CVS the "Chill Chest". B pointed it out because he knows I love this stuff. I wasn't going to get it because it cost $29.99 there. Lo and behold, I got a CVS 30% off coupon like two days later and I bought it.

*I* definitely think it works. It looks like it would be cumbersome, but it's not. It's Styrofoam or something. It folds down flat too, which is key. As long as you keep it somewhat cool before putting stuff in, it keeps things cold. I put my whole PackIt Picnic Cooler Bag in the Chill Chest. I'd frozen two waters before coming to the beach and they were still almost totally frozen by the end of the day. It also doubles as a table next to your chair. I don't know *how* it works and don't care- I just know it was a good buy for me.

The only thing I wrote about that I can say I'd skip is the Alert Drops. They're the ones that Potsie from Happy Days is a spokesperson or something for. You spray it on your tongue when you're falling asleep while driving. It does shock you for a second because it's SO SOUR. But it's kind of gross, and it doesn't really work. B said it made him MORE tired, which is hard to believe. It didn't do much of anything for me. I'd say the $9.99+ and just take a nap before driving.

I bought into the whole microfiber towel thing now and bought three towels from Dock & Bay and one from Sand Cloud. Supposed to be fast drying and sand repelling. B doesn't like the Dock & Bay ones- he says it's like using a Shammy and he wants to go back to plush beach towels. I thought I'd like the Dock & Bay ones more because the Sand Cloud is more like a blanket or sarong look and feel. But I actually ended up liking the Sand Cloud more because it's softer. They both don't seem to dry any faster than other towels, that I'm seeing but they are thinner, so maybe they do absorb less? I don't know.

On the positive side, they are thinner than regular towels so they do take up a lot less room. It makes the beach bag less heavy and bulky overall. I don't mind not having a plush towel, but it takes a little getting used to. If you're not keen on bringing sand home, then that's another major plus. 

I did just get an Echo Show on Prime Day and received it already. It seems pretty cool so far and B said the speaker is really good. They had it for $129.99 so I took a shot. I wouldn't pay more for it though so if you were thinking of picking one up and didn't, wait until Black Friday. I really want The Ring- the doorbell camera thing, but I don't really need it. I can wait.

Ok, that's all I've got for you right now. Hope you're enjoying your summer! It's going WAY too fast. I suspect that's how it goes the older and more self sufficient your kid gets. It's not like when you have a toddler and you're counting the hours until your husband comes home so you can hand him a baby and run.

Monday, July 16, 2018

The Real Reality

We live in Bergen County, so it's not unusual that we'd sometimes get a professional athlete, an actor, or some kind of celebrity or local personality in our store. I don't know professional athletes though. I don't watch sports and don't care about meeting anyone in sporting whatsoever. I also NEVER seem to be here when someone extra exciting, to me, comes in. Like this last time...

Everyone who knows me, KNOWS, I'm a Bravo-holic. B got me into all the Houseswives shows years ago, then he bailed when he felt each franchise jumped the shark. I never bail. I'm still watching Grey's Anatomy!

For most of the seasons of Real Housewives of NJ, the women featured on the show lived nearby- Franklin Lakes, Wayne, etc. One season, half of them lived more down the shore area, but every other season was local. At one time, years ago, there was more of "friend of" the Housewives, that used to come in but I was never here and she wasn't really ON the show. She was on here and there to stir up drama.

About a week and a half ago, Dolores Catania came in to have a lamp fixed. I had JUST LEFT. But I had to wait home for E to come off the camp bus and B said she was quick. He texted me that "Someone from the Housewives was just here. Maybe you'll be able to catch her when she picks up". He fixed her lamp quickly on a Monday so that maybe she'd pick up during that week.

I washed my hair every other day so if she came in, I would look okay enough for a photo. #ifyoudonttakeapicitdidnthappen My friends all watch the Bravo shows too and they would be tickled. I have a pic with Teresa from some event, but it's from a few years ago, so it's time for a new one.

Yadda yadda, washed hair and no Dolores. I don't know why we assumed she'd come during the week but we did. Well, I get a text from B on Saturday, while I'm on the treadmill (i.e. totally unwashed and gross hair), that she just picked up, but that her car was still out there. I should come as fast as I could, safely, and maybe I'd be able to catch her. Because clearly I'm a stalker.

I ran out the house- didn't look in the mirror, yelled to E that I'd be back, no pocketbook or wallet, did not pass go nor pick up two hundred dollars. B thought she'd gone into Stone & Rail, but she went into Giannella's Deli on the other side of my store. I saw her in the window, waved, and went in.

I quickly introduced myself, saying I'm B's wife. She immediately gave me a hug and was the nicest, down to earth person, ever. I've met moms at E's school for the first time who were less friendly. She had ordered breakfast and was planning to sit and eat, so she offered me a seat. Then....

She let me ask whatever I wanted about the show. I know this may seem stupid to those of you who don't watch, but I guess it would be like if you were into sporting and got to sit down and ask whatever you wanted about their sporting. As my friend Evangeline, who passed away, would say- "This is my Superbowl". Now SHE, who also attended some of the same RHONJ events as I have, would have TOTALLY appreciated this story.

Dolores was so open and engaging, and made me laugh because she was eating such a Jersey staple. Taylor Ham and egg on a hard roll. #ImWithHer She offered me some sour cream & onion potato chips, which was also nice to see she wasn't trying to front with some vomitous healthy green drink. I declined the chips I was waiting to eat my own bacon & egg flatbreat sandwich at home.

This is the thing. A lot of these reality people are not down to earth. They travel with an entourage. They don't let you take pics with them. I had it out with Bethenny (RHONY) over Twitter, some years back, because hundreds of people, including me, waited outside in the rain to have a book signed by her, only to be told that she wouldn't take pictures with any fans. Listen, we're in the age of social media and we all want pictures. #OrItDidntHappen

I actually can't think of anyone else on the Housewives franchises that would just sit and have their breakfast with a stranger. I'm trying to imagine going up to Ramona or Nene, Tamra or LuAnn, and them just engaging like that. Nope. Not happening. And DEFINITELY NOT BETHENNY.

We've had reality tv personalities ask for things from our store for free or heavily discounted. We've donated items to their charities without as much as a personal thank you. You never know what you're going to get. I've met many of them at their book signings, but you get like half a second to say hello, and this jerk at the book store rushes you off. OR, this just happened, where someone is HYSTERICAL on tv and radio, and was a total DUD, upon meeting in person. 

Dolores had just come from yoga, had little to no make-up on, and was dressed in workout clothes. She was such a good sport. She'd taken a picture with B before I got there, because he knew he had to be my proxy.

I sat with her for at least an hour. Just chatting. I showed her my "Lampshamed!" photos from the reality shows that I have on our work Instagram. Including one of her boyfriend's chandelier shades and Siggy's butt (she was standing on a chair fixing something on the chandelier). I'm glad she thought the photo was funny vs insulting.

E was home wondering to where the hell I vanished. I was supposed to be at the pool, where I lost my spot by showing up late. It was WELL worth it though. I still have more questions. I thought of them later since I had to think of them on the fly when I was with her. Note to self: keep general questions in my phone just in case. She came BACK into my store so I could get a picture with her too. Then she told me to put it on her Instagram story for her because she didn't know how. Neither did I, which I didn't want to say, and why it then took three tries. But she didn't have to do that. Most of the housewives have paid endorsements and they won't promote anything when they aren't being paid. She didn't give it a second thought.

She's just a real Jersey girl. We got into deep conversation quickly and it felt like I'd known her for years. It was so worth losing my spot at the pool. I hope she comes back, even for a few minutes, because I need to ask the rest of my questions. Plus, she also enjoys the C word, so I know she's my people. 

I'm posting the pic of Dolores and B because I don't know what happened to the one with me, but I looked terrible anyway. They just finished filming Season 9 not too long ago, so I have to think we're going to be seeing it in the fall? Maybe sooner? #didntget2askthat

Oh, and her teeth are REALLY white. I wonder if she endorses a dentist or toothpaste because her teeth looked fantastic.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Get Your Papes Here!

E fell in love with the Disney movie, "Newsies" the first time he saw it. He LOVED that movie and watched it like a hundred times. Just like with every other kid movie, I've seen parts but never watched the whole thing through. I did recall the one scene, in the street, with the whole Seize The Day thing.

We knew it came out on Broadway and always thought it would be cool to see. Realistically, we knew we weren't getting to Broadway though. It's too expensive and we really don't have time to get into the city for a play. We could've made it work if we were given free tickets or something, but since we don't have a fairy godmother, we were just never seeing Newsies on Broadway.

Just recently we saw on Facebook that Jake Aboyoun, our friends' Eddie & Sherri's son, is IN a local production of Newsies. Well, that was a game changer. Broadway is out, but the Rhino Theater in nearby Pompton Plains, NJ was totally doable.

We bought tickets and went this past Friday night. It didn't disappoint! Rhino Theater is small and intimate. So it's kind of an interactive experience which really makes it cool. Every seat is a good seat. The acting was terrific and we really enjoyed the show.

Newsies is running until July 8th. So if you have a free night - Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, with or without the kids, it's a fun time. We go to all the Glen Rock High School plays and we missed seeing Jake do his thing. He's home from college for the summer, so it was nice to see him act again. The whole cast was fantastic. It was just a really good show.

Rhino Theater - get your tickets here and see the rest of the schedule. Freckleface Strawberry is up next once Newsies closes. We'll probably go see that too!

E never met a step & repeat he didn't like