Category Archives: Around Town

New Life in New Zealand

Hello from Wellington, NZ! I’ve been here with my family for four months now … I’ve got the Energy Shop stocked and running, the family’s adjusted, and we’re all moved in to our little house in a close suburb called Karori.

House on the hill for my family of 6
If we press our face up to the glass on our bedroom window, we can see a corner of Wellington Bay, but mostly our view from the house looks like this:

Karori, Wellington, New Zealand

I love living up on the hill in this part of town. Every morning, I open the curtains and I’m reminded of where I am at. I can see the mountains off in the distance, and I can see what the weather is like 30-40 miles from my house. I’ve never had a view like this in my life!
We can drive just over the mountain we live on to the ocean. We arrived at the onset of winter, and we experienced a once-in-a-lifetime snowfall for the area back in August. But from what I hear, even when the weather warms up, the water stays rather cold because it’s coming up from Antarctica. We have yet to find out if we’ll be able to brave the cold and swim around the area, but we have plenty of beaches to enjoy:

Makara BeachSeatoun on Wellington Bay

And with fur seals on Cape Palliser

And that’s just the majestic views! Next time I have a chance to sit down with this blog, I’ll tell you all about the friendly “Kiwis” (what New Zealanders call themselves), the abundance of free family activities, and the amazing atmosphere in this country. All the best, Lisa



Filed under Around Town, New Zealand, Spirituality

More Real Housewives? Yes, Please!!

The Real Housewives make me happy. I used to be all excuses and “guilty pleasure” about it, now I’m shouting it from the rooftops. It’s good TV. There’s drama, there’s laughs, there’s heartache, and there’s joy–and usually, all of those things happen in each 1 hour show. Beat that.

I just watched the latest episode of Bravo TV’s Real Housewives of New Jersey. The previews for next week announced that it will be the last show for one cast member. All I can say is, Puhh-lease let it be Danielle. Please DO NOT make me say ‘goodbye’ to Dina, Caroline, Jacqueline, or Teresa. I am too fond of those ladies and I would miss them terribly.

I don’t like to comment on the play-by-play of each episode, mainly because there are already bloggers who do that really well. I do want to mention that hosts blogs by all the Housewives, and you can go there each week to read them give personal recaps on each episode. Here’s a link to Dina’s.

Dina Manzo from Real Housewives of New Jersey talking about the episode that aired June 7.

And speaking of Dina, if you love her bracelets and her positive energy, you’ll love my shop on Etsy. The store where she gets hers charges upwards of $95 per bracelet, but I use all the same gemstones that carry the exact same attributes, at much more affordable prices. ♥ The Energy Shop ♥ Jewelry to Fit Your Dreams @

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!!

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Hey, You with the Pool!

I read a lot of lists on these here blogs. Everybody’s got one, so I thought, I’ll start a list. But, I am not a multi-tasker. I can only think of one thing at a time. So, here’s number one on my list:

1. Make 8 friends who have a backyard pool.

That way, I’ll get invited to a different pool friend’s house everyday and twice on Sundays. That sounds so cool, clear, and refreshing because it’s getting MUGGY up in ‘here. When we were kids, we used to call this sort of thing “using.” Now, it’s just “logical.” Virginia temps are reaching the mid-90’s and to be outside is to be sweating. I’ve had it with the hot nonsense already.

On a related note, guess who saw a new fuzzy neighbor yesterday? That’s right–ME. This fuzzy neighbor happens to be the only person I’ve seen in our ENTIRE neighborhood who owns a backyard pool. My dog took a dump right in front of her house, so, that gave us plenty of time to small-talk. 5 more dog dumps like that one, and I can call her a friend and find out what time’s too early for me to show up for a swim.

1 down. 7 to go.


Filed under Around Town

Real Housewives of Anywhere in This Country? Yes, Puhh-lease.

Do you know what I think is so funny and categorized under: inside jokes that I create and enjoy all by myself? I found Bravo host Andy Cohen on Twitter and I want to type him questions and comments about the show all day long. I actually make fun of myself as I’m doing it, but I want to do it so bad, that I won’t not do it. You know what I mean?

@BravoAndy Jill Zarin calling man’s shoe cheap while cleaning dog feces off of it in her kitchen sink. Did I really just see that?

Alright, let’s do this damn thing. And please, if you have a blog or post where you like to talk about The Real Housewives of anywhere in this country, link up. As always, comment at will.

I think that one of my favorite quotes from all of Real Housewives is when Bethenny from NY said in a reunion episode, “That’s normal reality show banter.” It made me love her, because it’s so true. Everybody needs to unload sometimes, but these ladies have a camera–that not only absorbs it, but records it forevermore. Forevermore. And some people get into the show and just hate on these women. Let me be clear, I do not hate. In fact, even when I dislike a personality that I watch each week, I still appreciate the casts’ willingness to put their lives on TV to be watched, admired, and/or judged.

One of the reasons that The Real Housewives simply fascinates me is that the cast members with the most difficult personalities come to the show seemingly thinking they’ll be loved. The producers of a show like this–especially a show like this on Bravo TV–know exactly what they’re doing when they choose who to show the audience. Watching a character like Danielle from NJ think that she has a point the world can relate to is nothing less than captivating. And when I see Danielle drive toward Caroline’s fundraiser to crash it, I think of Jeff Probst who often describes what happens in Survivor production when something crazy goes down on their show: They’re popping champagne bottles. Reality TV JACKPOT! I love watching that, even though I don’t agree with Danielle. At all.

Now, I’m watching NYC and NJ simultaneously off the DVR and I’ve got to tell you, it’s all so delicious. Sometimes it tastes a little sour, even bitter, but most of the time it’s just sugar and empty calories–quite the indulgence. NYC is pure drama. P.U.R.E. Drama. I’m thinking most of those ladies are pretty sad, most of the time, but I love to see them have a good day. And NJ is off-the-charts fantastic. NJ has to be, by far, my favorite cast of all the Real Housewives on Bravo TV. When they’re not making me laugh, they’re making me smile and I think many of them know true joy.

I am also loving that all of the cast members have blogs on where they discuss each other and themselves after each episode. To try to get a conversation started, here is a list of my Favorite Housewives:

NeNe of ATL: NeNe is funny. I can’t be the only person who notices that she’s only mean to others when something in her life is making her really sad. I love her.

Candi of ATL: I love that she’s in the mix, because she’s so clear-headed and rational. The fact that she’s so sensical makes the nonsense on the show even more nonsensical. I love that. I wish her and NeNe could put their egos aside and become friends. I think they would have a great time.

Vicky of OC: If you don’t like Vicky from the OC, that’s understandable. She’s self-involved and her ego is too big for her house. She’s one of the cattiest, and she wants to always be right. People who throw their strong opinions out at will, and then run-away when confronted about them as too fragile and delicate for conflict, drive me crazy. I recently read a blog Vicky did on in which she sided with Jill Zarin 110% and basically implied that Jill was a victim of Bethenny’s mean and hurtful attacks. That’s typical of both ladies. They stir the pot and then, backhand to forehead, sigh and distress about how tumultuous the waters have become.

That said, I like Vicky’s work ethic. I know that she throws her work ethic in our faces CONSTANTLY, that’s only because I think she may be one of the most insecure women we’ve ever seen on TV. She’s constantly angling for a position of superiority. However, I think she means well. I think she really doesn’t know what she’s doing when she wrongs someone, or shows up at her son’s college house with a 6-pack. And that’s the beauty of her: she’s trying, in her own way, to be the best that she can be.

Teresa of NJ: You had me at, “I don’t want to live in somebody else’s house. That’s gross.” I adore this lady. She’s having fun. That’s what life is about!

Frankly, I think most of the NJ cast is extremely likeable, so I will tack Dina, Caroline, and Jacqueline into this Favorites category. Real Housewives of NJ is what I thought I was getting into when I started watching these series. I love seeing how they live, how they dream, and how they play. This is, by far, the easiest cast to watch, even with their own version of villain thrown into the mix (read: Danielle, below).

Bethenny of NY: I think she should narrate every episode of every geographic region. I think that would be hysterical. I’m team Bethenny, by the way, or at least, so far. I see that the tides are turning and Jill is about to start chasing Bethenny around like a heart-sick puppy and I may trade teams at that point. I want these girls to be friends, and I want them to vote Kelly, Sonja, Ramona, and LuAnn OFF the island of Manhattan. Ugh. New York has the most dramatic cast, and I find it the hardest to watch.

Jill of NY: I like her a lot and I love to see what’s going to happen next with her. I enjoy seeing her family dynamic and watching her ridiculous relationship with “Gingah.” I was fascinated when that dog went to the bathroom all over the room when the vet came to the house. But, I have my issues as mentioned under Vicky.

Jill drove me crazy when Bethenny was being the heart-sick puppy. She wanted an apology. Then Bethenny apologized and she said, “Well, did she ask how’s Bobby?” So Bethenny wrote a letter to Bobby asking how he was. Then Jill says, “Did she write me a letter?” It was never enough for her, and I think she really liked being chased. Again, just like Vicky, she stirs the pot, and then when it comes to a boil, feigns distress, like she may faint at any moment. I’m not buying it.

And The Others, who captivate me:

Kim from ATL: I almost want to leave this blank, because I don’t know how to explain how badly I don’t understand this chic. What is she doing? I never know what she’s doing.

Ramona from NY: Ramona is either chemically imbalanced or just absurdly insane. It drives me crazy when Andy and guests talk about her on What What Happens as if she’s a regular person like the rest of us.

LuAnn from NY: Is this woman for real? I mean, seriously. She is the most ludicrous housewife to date.

Jo from old episodes of OC: While wearing pig-tails, sucking on lollipops, seducing a minor, and baby-talking @National TV, Jo pouted for the 2 or 3 seasons she was on about how she couldn’t fit in with the other adults. I think she was under serious delusion that she was a real-life Gabby from Desperate Housewives.

Slade Smiley from OC: Is there a petition I could sign to get Bravo to stop putting this man on the air?

Danielle from NJ: I’ve seen crazy, but never like this before. I’m scared right now, because the NJ housewives keep alluding to something that’s about to happen that makes Danielle’s regular crazy seem mild. I’m scurrred. How many kinds of insane do you have to be before you actually get kicked off a TV show?

And, that’s that. You may disagree, but really,whose gonna check me, Boo? Feel free to discuss, link, and check back for more banter about reality teevee banter. In the happy meantime, check out this post from a recent episode of Real Housewives of NY, but prepare yourself for graphic language and raucous laughter:

Real Housewives of New York: These Are the People In Your Neighborhood by Richard Lawson

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Filed under Around Town

Backyard Shenanigans

You’re hearing from one woman who is having no out-of-town visitors this weekend. And that is OK. While I love me some weekend company, I also love me some occasional solitude. Sometimes, I don’t want to share my family. Sometimes, I want them all to myself, in my backyard on a sunny day.

The eldest son

The youngest daughter

The eldest daughter

The youngest son

Add some four-pawed chaos:

Happy 13th Birthday, Best Damn Dog Ever

Koosh Ball, without the koosh (summer-shave)

And the co-creator of all that is wonderful and right in my Life:

The Love

Happy 13th Anniversary. Here’s to us ♥


Filed under Around Town, family, relationships

Fuzzy Neighbor Update #3: No Love From Next Door

I’ve been busy hosting company these last few weeks and I’ve had very little development on the Fuzzy Neighbor front. And that is OK. I have all summer to make myself seen and heard. There’s only been 1 Fuzzy Neighbor happening, and it’s not good. In fact, I feel a strong sense of rejection. 

Our very next door neighbors have erected a “Jacobs Keep Out” rope. 

Jacobs Keep Out Rope


I’ll be honest with you, I was scared to take these shots. I’ve only seen rare glimpses of these neighbors. I’m not sure what they’re about, but I live in a very bustling, busy, kid-friendly neighborhood. My husband and I struggled with the erection of the rope, and simultaneously tried to figure out what we had done to cause it. We can think of a few things: 

1. Our children sometimes walk a path beside their yard to get to another neighbor’s house. 

2. My husband always cuts one mower’s length into their yard as a courtesy to us and them. Their yard is normally an overgrown mess. 

3. We recently increased the traffic in our backyard. It’s our first summer in this home. We added: 

A black and gold seating and fire pit area

And a sand and water play table

As you can see, my baby is now paranoid and constantly looking over his shoulder. But, I’ll tell you what I bet the real reason is, and please know that I risked life and limb to bring you this shot. 

No Trespassing Sign: Window on the left

These neighbors are just plain weird.

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Old House Vineyards

Unknown Mami

The photo I’m sharing is part of a Girls’ Weekend story I’m working on–it’s coming soon. We visited a winery called Old House Vineyards in Culpeper, VA, right in the middle of a beautiful day and I had to share the island with Sundays in My City. What a great place to relax and enjoy a delicious glass of wine:

The Island at Old House Vineyards

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


Filed under Around Town