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Real Housewives

Filtering by Tag: new york city

RHOBH Ssn 7/Ep 3 Recap - Going Commando

Glenn Rowley

erika-jayne-rhobh

Conflict is sparked this week on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills when a minor fashion moment leads to major tension between Erika Girardi and Dorit Kemsley. Plus Lisa Rinna and Kyle Richards hit the Big Apple with their daughters! Read on for all the white party drama...

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We open in New York City. Wait...which Housewives am I watching? In the magical happenstance of reality TV, both Kyle Richards and Lisa Rinna are in the Big Apple for business trips with their daughters. After the runaway success of her pop-up boutique last season in the Hamptons, Kyle's decided to open another Kyle by Alene Too on the Upper East Side and has brought 16-year-old Sophia along for the trip. Meanwhile, Lisa Rinna is hustling to launch Delilah Belle's modeling career. I've said all along that Rinna wants her daughters to become the next Gigi and Bella to come out of RHOBH and getting a foot in the door for her eldest and blondest is the first step in the master plan. Via confessional, Rinna admits that sometimes she wishes she could turn to former 'Wife Yolanda Hadid for advice on how to pageant mom a modeling career or two, but after last season's M-word mess, that bridge has officially been burned. 

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Back in Beverly Hills, Dorit Kemsley helps Lisa Vanderpump find the perfect birthday gift for her husband Ken Todd's birthday on Rodeo Drive while Erika Girardi visits the rehearsal for her latest Erika Jayne video, "Xxpensive." Out of the dozens of sexy, sassy hopefuls, Erika and creative director Mikey Minden selected four backup dancers who now must learn and perfect the song's choreography. An insane amount of work still has to be done before the actual video shoot, including wardrobe fittings, hair and makeup, a tech scout and wig consultations. I, for one, am just counting down the days until we get to see Erika Jayne drop into the bikini-clad split we've been promised.

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Later that evening, Lisa Rinna and Kyle meet at a rooftop hotspot for dinner with their daughters. Delilah Belle recounts her cringeworthy meeting earlier in the day with iconic magazine CR Fashion Book, at which her mother dazzled the room with a story involving her narrow hips, birth canal and Delilah's elongated head as a newborn. Never change, Lisa Rinna. Other topics of conversation on the rooftop include Rinna's plan to leave her two teenage daughters in New York City by themselves for two days while she jets off to Pennsylvania for a QVC appearance and 18-year-old Delilah Belle matching with mystery 35-year-olds on dating apps for the rich and famous. (Don't worry, the 45-year-old producer just off-camera in the girls' confessional is too old for her.)

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Over the course of just a couple years, Eileen Davidson has suffered six deaths in her family, including her sister, her father-in-law and most recently her mother. The sheer amount of tragedy has thrown the soap actress for a loop, and she's decided to meet with a therapist to process her feelings. In the session, poor Eileen admits to feeling embarrassed about how many people in her life have died - as if they're a maximum amount of death that's allowed to happen within a certain period of time. The therapist helps Eileen identify that, in her life, the emotion of sadness often gives way to embarrassment, which creates internal shame. This is a cycle that goes back as far as Eileen can remember, even to feeling shame as a young child that her parents were always fighting. After such an important breakthrough, hopefully Eileen can begin to heal and break the shame cycle that's been operating so pervasively throughout her life.

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Kyle's finally back from NYC, so she and a few of the other 'Wives are headed to a White Party at LVP's West Hollywood hotspot PUMP. (Sorry not sorry, but like I said during my livetweet, there ain't no white party like a Kyle Richards white party.) Dressed in her best white, Kyle meets LVP, Ken, Dorit, PK and Erika at the Sofitel for pre-party drinks before realizing her white underwear is showing through her dress. Oops! When Lisa Vanderpump jokes about the faux pas in her classically cutting way, a small spat breaks out between the women over British vs. American humor. Erika suggests she and Kyle start adopting fake British accents so they can insult people, but when Dorit chimes in that Americans need to "calm down" with their sensitivity to British humor, Erika bluntly checks the newbie by reminding Dorit that she was born in Connecticut.

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This somehow opens the conversation up to Dorit's initial impression of Erika, whom she describes as "very poised" and "a bit guarded," which she finds shocking considering the general fabulousness of Erika's alter ego. As we've learned, Erika is simply cautious when meeting new people, choosing to operate under the "respect is earned, not given" way of thinking and describes herself as a naturally shy introvert. Dorit, however, doesn't buy this explanation, describing her fellow 'Wife via confessional as "snooty," "cold" and "frigid." Changing the subject, LVP playfully reaches up Erika's skirt and asks if she has any underwear Kyle could borrow, to which Miss Girardi reveals she isn't wearing any. After all, who would want to break up a stunning Thierry Mugler design with a panty line?

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The next day, Dorit and PK are discussing the party at home and it quickly becomes apparent that Erika's commando moment has snowballed into what will forever be known as #PantyGate. According to PK, Erika didn't have her legs crossed during drinks and (being the straight male that he is) he couldn't resist taking peeks up her skirt like her ladyparts were being served on a silver platter. Excuse me? His excuse is he was simply distracted by Erika's inadvertent flashing throughout the evening but he apparently didn't have the courage to mention it to Erika, deeming it too "inappropriate." Then, in a shining moment, PK questions what he was supposed to have said, particularly when he "didn't mind the view." Again, EXCUSE ME? Dorit seems rather unfazed by her husband's misogynistic reaction, choosing instead to lay the blame on Erika for having an "unladylike" moment. If it had been Dorit, she claims she would've done everything possible to keep her legs crossed. However, she plans to have a laugh about it with Erika the next time they're together and it seems that #PantyGate is just getting started...

What did you think of this week's RHOBH? When it comes to #PantyGate, are you Team Erika or Team Dorit? Was PK in the wrong? Leave me all your thoughts and opinions in the comments!

Before They Were Housewives - Countess Luann

Glenn Rowley

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In the first-ever Before They Were Housewives special, Luann de Lesseps takes us on a trip down memory lane through her enchanting life before The Real Housewives of New York City became a pop culture phenomenon in 2008. From her humble roots in suburban Connecticut and her days as a model in NYC to her time as an Italian TV star and her whirlwind romance with Count Alexander de Lesseps, Luann's pre-Housewives life is like something out of a classic novel. For this week's feature, I'm breaking down everything we learned about the Countess in her nostalgic special...

The Fairytale of the Countess

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The special starts with a look at Luann falling for Count Alexander de Lesseps back in 1993. When they met, the future Countess was living in Milan, Italy and working as a model throughout Europe. She also happened to be dating another man named Roberto at the time, but the moment she locked eyes with Alex at a dinner party at a glamorous chalet in Gstaad, that relationship was doomed. For the next five days, Luann and the Count were inseparable as they went skiing in the Swiss Alps, and at the end of the fifth day, Alex proposed. What a whirlwind! Of course, Luann had to deal with the problem of Roberto - whom she had been living with for the past two and a half years. Since Roberto was on a business trip, she ended up packing all of her things at their apartment and leaving "like a thief in the night," only calling to tell him she was engaged to another man after she'd left. Madly enamored, Luann left everything behind on a whim - the man she was dating, a successful career in Italian television, an entire life in Milan - all in the name of love.

Honeychile's Betrayal

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While she lived in Milan, Luann was befriended by Honeychile Wilder - an American socialite who had married an Austrian-Hungarian prince. Significantly older than Lu, Honeychile had made a name for herself working as a showgirl and appearing on comedian Bob Hope's popular radio show before moving to Europe and becoming a princess. In her time in Milan, Luann had been taken under Honeychile's wing and looked to the older woman as her mentor. (Luann even relays the story of a time when Honey once took her to Hubert de Givenchy's atelier to get dresses to wear to the Paris opera.) Despite having been with Luann on the night she met the Count, Honeychile became incredibly possessive at the thought that Luann would leave her. In an act of betrayal, the socialite tried to convince Alex not to marry Luann - citing that she was just a nobody from nowhere - and left Lu heartbroken. When she left with Alex to elope in New York City, she said goodbye to her longtime friend in a note, explaining that she was leaving her behind...for good.

A Big Apple Elopement

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Jetting off to NYC, Luann and the Count decided to elope after picking up a five-carat, pear-shaped diamond ring from a jewelry store in the Diamond District. Following through with their romantic plan, Luann and Alex took the subway to City Hall and got married right then and there, dressed in jeans and a blazer, with a truck driver named Lucille acting as the sole witness of the nuptials. Just like that, Luann became Countess de Lesseps after knowing Alex for only two weeks total. Now it was time to meet the family!

Connecticut Roots

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Next, Luann travels to her hometown of Berlin, Connecticut to give us a glimpse of the place she grew up. Born in 1965 as the sixth of seven children, Luann was raised in a large, middle-class, French-Canadian family in the Connecticut suburbs. With so many older brothers, Lu almost inevitably turned out to be a self-proclaimed "jock," which is a far cry from the Countess persona we've always seen on RHONY. Visiting her childhood home, Luann reveals that the house actually burned down when she was a child, which left the family basically homeless with nothing but a collection of photo albums her mother managed to save from the flames. Eventually Luann's father and brother rebuilt their home, but she still calls it one of the most difficult times in her life. 

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Bringing her new husband home to meet her family, Luann was nervous about how different her salt-of-the-earth background and upbringing had been to the Count's much more glamorous life. Never mind, of course, that she had decided to marry her now-husband after just a couple of weeks and her family still had no idea. Digging up some old VHS tapes that her son Noel came across, Luann sits down with her mother Nadine and her brother Michael to reminisce about the first time she came home with the Count. Apparently, everything went so well that no one in the family even had any idea Luann had married a titled aristocrat!

Lu's Lucky Little Red Dress

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Rewind to 1987. At the urging of a nurse's aid she worked with,  a 23-year-old Luann decided to enter the Miss Connecticut beauty pageant, once again on a whim. On a bridal shop's clearance rack, she found what she describes as "the perfect red dress," which would set her on a path she could have never imagined. While she didn't place at that first beauty pageant, a man in the audience stopped her after the competition and told her she had potential to be a model in New York City. The man encouraged Luann to enter a modeling competition the next week in Hartford, Connecticut, and opined that if she brought the red dress she would win. As luck would have it, the mysterious man was right - Luann won the modeling competition and scored a private photoshoot with a professional photographer in NYC as her prize. 

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Arriving in New York for the first time, Luann had no idea she was about to embark on a new chapter in her life. The prize package from the competition also included a contract with Mystique Models, and Lu quickly learned how to pose and get a good photo by watching the girls around her. Despite its reputation in the 80s as a dangerous place to live, Luann fell head over heels for the Big Apple and after six months of commuting back and forth for auditions, she moved there permanently. This risky move paid off, thrusting Luann into the glitzy and alluring world of New York nightlife - full of parties, dances and of course, plenty of handsome men. However, working as a model turned out to be much more difficult than the future Countess anticipated. Her life turned into a veritable rollercoaster with its high moments (landing the cover of Playgirl) and low moments (handing out flyers as a showroom model). Eventually, though, Luann met a man named Don who whisked her off to Europe, where she launched the next chapter of her career in Milan.

Making It Big in Italy

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While Lu immediately loved living in Milan, her modeling career hit a major slump. Turned down by nearly every agency in the city, Luann found herself quickly running out of money and desperate to make something happen. Her Italian lover at the time, named Genaldo, convinced her to represent the United States in the Lady Universe pageant - an Italian beauty pageant featuring women from countries all over the world. In another moment of pure luck and good timing, Luann was crowned Lady Universe. As part of her duties, she embarked on a tour across Italy, which led to her attending a cocktail party at the home of Prince Egon and Diane von Furstenberg. At the party, the prince suggested Lu work in television and made introductions for her to impersonate actress Sharon Stone and present an award at Italy's version of the Emmys.

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Three months after successfully pulling of the Sharon Stone act (complete with blowing a kiss to Arnold Schwarzenegger in the audience), Luann was cast as the cohost of Pressing, the top-rated Sunday night show covering Italian soccer. Almost overnight, the TV gig turned Luann into a bonafide celebrity in Italy and the entire world was in the palm of her hand. Ultimately, this change in her life led her right into her title as Countess de Lesseps. 

Living the Jet Set Life

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After marrying the Count, Luann's life continued to be something out of a dream - watching him race cars in Barcelona, traveling to Hong Kong and Beijing, heli skiing in the Alps and jetting off to her homes in Portugal and Gstaad. She even became a close personal friend of Constantine II, king of Greece. Soon after marrying, Luann gave birth to her daughter Victoria, followed quickly by son Noel 22 months later. Spending their summers in the Hamptons and the rest of the year in Europe, life didn't seem like it could get much better for Luann and her young family. That is, until a terrible freak accident changed everything in the blink of an eye...

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In 1997, Luann was spending the winter in Gstaad. One evening around dusk, she was driving home from a tea party with the kids when she hit a long stretch of black ice on the road. Before she knew what was happening, Luann found herself and the two young toddlers trapped in the car, tumbling down the side of a mountain. Miraculously, the car landed upside down in a local resident's backyard, though neither Luann nor the kids were seriously injured. Digging herself out through a broken window, Lu then proceeded to walk with the kids - Victoria barefoot in the snow - until they reached a farmer's house, who kindly offered to drive them home. The accident had a profound impact on Luann, who suffered through months of PTSD and nightmares. Feeling isolated in the secluded Swiss Alps, Luann eventually decided to come back to the U.S. for the sake of her mental well-being, not knowing the decision was the beginning of the end of her marriage to the Count.

Becoming a Real Housewife

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Moving back from Europe in 2006, Luann concluded that getting back to work would be the best thing for her. Approaching a local television station, Luann talked her way into creating The Countess Report, a cable access show featuring just the Countess and a camera. From there, The Real Housewives of New York City fell into Lu's lap when she met a certain redhead by the name of Jill Zarin at a high society party in NYC. About a month later, Jill sent an email asking if she wanted to film a show she was working on for Bravo called Manhattan Moms, which eventually turned into RHONY. From there, the franchise we all know and love was born and Luann became a Bravolebrity. 

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Early seasons of the show presented Luann's life as the Countess through an idyllic, rose-colored lens, featuring Alex, the kids, her nanny Rosie and the family puppy Aston. However, while she was getting bucked off of a camel in Morocco and singing with Natalie Cole on camera, her marriage was falling apart behind the scenes. By the Season 2 reunion in 2009, the Count had broken up with Luann over email, leaving the other Housewives shocked. Recognizing that she had a family and an image that needed protecting, Luann had tried to hide her marital struggles from Bravo's cameras. However, she ended up learning the difficult lesson that - no matter how hard you try to hide it - the cameras see everything. After 16 years as the Countess, Luann's life was about to enter yet another era...

Looking to the Future

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As viewers have seen on the current season of RHONY, Luann has fallen in love with her newest soulmate, Thomas D'Agostino, after being introduced by fellow 'Wife Dorinda Medley. The pair are currently engaged, with plans to be married on New Year's Eve of this year. After eight years as a New York Housewife, Luann ends the special by saying she doesn't live her life with regrets. The many chapters of her life have been something of a modern-day fairytale, and as this next chapter begins with Tom at her side, Luann can't wait for whatever happens next.

What did you think of Luann's Before They Were Housewives special? Did it show you a completely different side to the Countess? Do you want to see a Luann wedding spinoff? Leave your thoughts and opinions below in the comments...

RHONY Ssn 8/Ep 11 - Invitation Interrupted

Glenn Rowley

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It's a new year on The Real Housewives of New York City and there are big changes afoot for the Big Apple broads. The Countess is in love and ready to shout it to the world, but none of her fellow 'Wives react exactly the way she was hoping. Plus, Bethenny plans a tequila tour of Mexico, but when a couple of the ladies get excluded from the guest list, the group dynamic becomes even more divided. Read on for my full recap of all the drama in the city that never sleeps...

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The episode picks up three weeks after Ramona Singer's ill-fated holiday party, which means our timeline is officially in 2016. Luann de Lesseps is still crashing at Sonja Morgan's townhouse on the Upper East Side. But the Countess has some major news: she's in love and she's moving out to get married! Sonja is baffled by this announcement, but she's even more floored when she discovers that the paramour Luann has been hiding all this time is Tom D'Agostino. In fact, her response is "my Tom?" Apparently Ramona isn't the only Housewife who has a past with Luann's new man - according to Sonja, she's been hooking up with Tom for quite a while. However, Lu refuses to let this revelation rain on her parade because the Countess is in love and doesn't care who knows it. Oh and also, Sonja's decided to quit drinking in the wake of the Tipsy Girl debacle, so there's that.

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Meanwhile, Bethenny Frankel has gathered all the other 'Wives at Añejo in Hell's Kitchen for a night of guacamole and vacation planning. Surprise! B wants to take the ladies on a tequila-tasting trip to Mexico to help her gain inspiration for the latest Skinnygirl flavor. Poor Jules Wainstein is still distressed over her father being in the hospital, but she still shows up for to hear Bethenny's plan. However, the big question is whether Luann and Sonja will be invited on the trip and B proposes that the ladies discuss and vote on it. Ramona doesn't want to leave anyone out and argues that the Countess is always fun on an all-girls trip (pirate Johnny Depp, anyone?) but Carole Radziwill draws a line that if her nemesis is invited, she's not coming. All of the women agree that Sonja and a tequila-tasting trip are not a good combo and it's safer for Lady Morgan to stay behind in NYC. As the hostess, Bethenny just wants the trip to be fun for everyone, so for now it looks like the 'Wives playing Grey Gardens on the Upper East Side are still on the outs. Still, viva la Mexico!

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The next day, Carole visits Bethenny at home in matching white turtlenecks to reminisce over the couples trip they took to the Bahamas over the holiday break. (B's keeping the identity of the guy she's dating a secret for the moment, though.) Carole's also had a major come to Jesus moment internally. During the holidays, she rather unexpectedly had to give up the kitten she had been fostering to its adoptive family. Losing the cat without getting to say goodbye forced Radzi to realize that she's set up her life story to constantly be a temporary one. Even when she married her husband Anthony, he had already been diagnosed with cancer... Now that she's been seeing Adam for well over a year, is Writer Girl ready for a more permanent happily ever after?

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Over at Exhale, Dorinda's reached out to Sonja to get manicures together. Sonja is still upset by Ramona's hot-and-cold treatment of her as of late, but Dorinda lays down the cold hard truth that it seems the Singer Stinger has taken sides in all the recent drama...and this time it's not Sonja's. Dorinda also informs Lady Morgan about Bethenny's upcoming Mexico trip, including the fact that she's once again not included on the guest list. But don't worry, the silver lining is that this time, neither is Luann! The Skinnygirl vs. Tipsy Girl issue has become a major conflict of interest for Bethenny and Sonja's officially found herself left out in the cold. And in the Housewives universe, there's nothing worse than being excluded from filming with the other women...

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While Carole works with Adam and his gorgeous long hair on their cookbook proposal for The Reluctant Vegan, Ramona invites her daughter Avery as well as Luann to test out a line of hair extensions from Lux Beauty Club, a company she's getting into business with. Since the Countess has been rocking her signature shag for eight seasons straight, Ramona's anxious to get her into some shoulder-length extensions for once. As soon as Luann sits down, she's bursting to tell Ramona and Avery about the new turn her relationship has taken with Tom. When Lu reveals she's planning to marry the guy Ramona recently dated, the fake smile the Singer Stinger plasters on is nothing short of classic. Ramona then proceeds to inform Luann that her supposed soulmate calls his ex every single day, tells her he loves her and even bought the woman a gold bracelet for Christmas. Which was like yesterday. Yet Luann refuses to believe this piece of information and won't let Ramona burst her happy bubble. All the Ramonacoaster can do is warn the Countess to guard her feelings and warns her that only time will tell whether any of the gossip is true.

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Later that night, Dorinda and her boyfriend John Mahdessian meet Jules and her husband Michael for a double date. Dorinda is slaying in a royal shade of purple, but the Wainsteins arrive over an hour late and the tension between them is palpable. Apparently the couple was bickering over Michael looking for a hot nanny earlier in the day and in the wake of Jules's announcement that they're divorcing over his infidelity, the moment is pure foreshadowing for what lies ahead. Dorinda tries to help the situation by counseling her friend with a number of mixed metaphors, but she's already had one too many martinis for the evening and the marital advice comes out in rather amusing soundbytes. I love every version of Dorinda Medley, but Dirty Martini Dorinda might just be my favorite. 

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In the episode's final sit-down, Bethenny meets Luann for drinks at Bar Bordeaux. B shows up to the meeting late and a little disoriented, revealing to Luann that she's been bleeding rather profusely and has to visit an OB-GYN the following day to figure out what's going on. Because she's not at her best, poor Bethenny essentially gets railroaded by Luann during the entire conversation. First the Countess giddily repeats her revelation about Tom being her soulmate for the third time this episode and eventually brings up her non-invite to the upcoming Mexico trip. Bethenny has every reason under the sun not to extend an invitation, but within just a few minutes, Luann has singlehandedly managed to invite herself on the trip to Mexico and follow it up by accepting her own invitation! The Skinnygirl is left baffled as to what even just happened as the Countess sashays away in her winter white to meet her boyfriend at the Carlyle for a Tommy Tune performance and the episodes comes to an abrupt end. Umm...check please?

What did you think of this week's RHONY? Do you see the writing on the wall for Jules and Michael? Is there any way Bethenny could've stopped Luann from inviting herself on the trip to Mexico? Can you really find your soulmate in just six weeks? Leave your thoughts and opinions below in the comments!

RHONY Ssn 8/Ep 10 - Unhappy Holidays

Glenn Rowley

sonja-morgan

Have yourself a merry little Christmas? This week on The Real Housewives of New York City, the festive drama continues as Dorinda's explosive sleepover in the Berkshires reaches its conclusion and Sonja rejoins the ladies at Ramona's holiday party. Who's on Santa's naughty list? Did any of the 'Wives make the nice list? Read on to find out....

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This insane sleepover in the Berkshires is now spanning the course of three episodes. Think about that for a second - three episodes is usually the amount of time we get for a major cast trip to somewhere like Turks and Caicos, Morocco or Montana. That's how full of can't-miss drama this night in Blue Stone Manor is. Picking up where last week left off, Bethenny Frankel and her gray onesie walk in on Luann once again dissing her just moments after the Countess sent her an apology via text for their earlier squabble over the creation of Skinnygirl. Now, round two of the argument pits Luann against the double-team of B and Carole Radziwill, who take turns painting a crystal clear picture of the reputation the Countess has developed for acting hypocritically and put on a facade about how proper and very Countess-like she is. According to her fellow 'Wives, in reality Luann has a "cunning, crafty, slithery" side to her and no man is off the table when she sets her sights on him - even if he's married or recently dated one of her friends.

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Luann obviously disagrees with this assessment, insisting that she's the most loyal friend anyone can have and speculating that her fellow 'Wives are "making a list and checking it twice" (nice Christmas reference, Lu) to take her down. Plus, it's not her fault if the guy Ramona Singer was going on dates with ended up liking her better than the Singer Stinger. So there. Carole laments that that type of attitude is exactly what she and Bethenny are talking about, but the Countess refusing to see anything wrong with the way she chooses to live her life. Inevitably, Ramona gets dragged into the conversation as well, siding with Carole and Bethenny that Luann essentially swiped Tom D'Agostino right out from under her. Of course, the most hilarious part of this tense confrontation is that in the next room, Dorinda Medley and Jules Wainstein are blocking out all the drama with a classic game of Twister. Nothing like a good old-fashioned board game to drown out your friends screaming at each other just next door, right girls?

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Thankfully, there's a break in the arguing just long enough for Santa Claus to make a surprise appearance! Santa gives gifts to each of the 'Wives around the dining room table, which turn out to be personalized wine glasses for the women - Bethenny's is inscribed with "Skinnygirl," Luann's is "The Countess" and Dorinda even had "Madame Martini" etched in the one for herself. The best part about the glasses is that they actually fit an entire bottle of wine in them. Does Dorinda know this group or what? (Side note: it's amusing to me that Dorinda's sister was the one playing Santa - for obvious reasons, she seems to have chosen to keep boyfriend John Mahdessian out of the equation for the evening.) 

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Early the next morning, all the 'Wives are suffering from an argument hangover, except for Jules that is. Having stayed largely out of the line fire the night before, Jules declares to Dorinda that the getaway has been the best 24 hours of her life without any kids or a husband to take care of. In fact, the newbie literally forgot to call her kids the night before - that's how much she enjoyed being away. Bethenny and Carole feel much differently about the sleepover and hide in bed while they plot their escape from Dorinda's country estate. Putting their boots and coats on over their pajamas, the pair make a run for the car, but not before Luann notices their not-so-stealthy attempt at a getaway. Recognizing that the other 'Wives will start sensing a pattern following their abrupt exit from Jules's brunch in the Hamptons, Bethenny and Carole somewhat reluctantly go back in the house to say their goodbyes, making the excuse that they were just putting their things in the car. Still, after a quick round of hugs - including one incredibly awkward embrace between Carole and Luann - the two 'Wives hightail it out of there, wondering if they should avoid going to the Berkshires altogether in the future. 

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After getting back to the city, all the 'Wives take a couple of days to recoup from the drama before one final holiday party Ramona's throwing at Black Barn. Dressing up in the most festive outfits they can muster, the women warily converge on the restaurant in an attempt at a happy holiday. Ramona's rocking a white (faux?) fur stole, but the OG isn't so sure how she feels about the red lace jumpsuit Luann is wearing from her Countess Collection and wastes no time in offering her unfiltered opinion on it. Dear Ramona, never change. As Bethenny and Carole arrive with gifts in hand, Luann saunters over to the pair for a (hopefully) calmer chat. Bethenny's already over their earlier fight and expressed remorse for how she spoke to Lu in the Berkshires, but the Countess actually wants to speak more to Carole. Luann apologizes again for all the drama that went on between her and Writer Girl last year when Radzi started dating her former chef Adam Kenworthy. Luann explains that she misses having Carole in her life as a friend and the apology sounds more sincere than her attempt over text, but Radzi just isn't sure. Regardless of how bad Luann says she feels for calling her a pedophile and attacking her character, Carole's choosing to keep her former friend at a comfortable distance. 

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Next, Sonja Morgan arrives fashionably late, which is a cue for Bethenny to make her exit. In the wake all the over the Skinnygirl/Tipsy Girl fiasco, the Skinnygirl told Lady Morgan that she didn't want anything to do with her and she was serious. Apparently, while in the Berkshires both Ramona and Luann repeatedly texted Sonja regarding her issues with Bethenny, with each OG telling her bluntly to make up with the Skinnygirl. However, Sonja rather appropriately reads the room and when Bethenny bolts, she doesn't chase after - opting instead to take a seat at the couch and point out that she and Carole showed up in matching red pantsuits. Almost immediately, Ramona and the Countess question why Sonja didn't address Bethenny, and it puts Lady Morgan quickly on the defensive. Naturally, she's still hurt about being excluded from the Berkshires sleepover by Dorinda, but the latter stands by her decision as the best way to protect Sonja from being attacked. However, from Sonja's perspective she's simply being excluded and we all know that being shut out by the rest of the cast spells impending doom in the Housewives universe. An angry Sonja decides to stand up for herself and after accusing the other girls of constantly picking on her, she storms off to make a dramatic exit from the party. 

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Seeing that Sonja is on the verge of tears, Luann runs after her, but her friend doesn't seem to want a shoulder to cry on. When the Countess opines that maybe the party wasn't the right time to talk to Bethenny, Sonja lashes out that the right place would've been at Dorinda's - had she been invited. Sonja then storms into the stairwell, where she continues to vent (loudly) to Luann about being excluded from the group. As she stomps down the stairs, Sonja reminds the Countess that Carole just barely told her inside the party that Bethenny didn't have any hard feelings toward her. Well, if these aren't hard feelings then what are they? Soft-boiled? With that, Sonja leaves the party in a huff and we'll have to wait until the new year for the drama to heat up again...

What did you think of RHONY this week? Would you trust Luann or do you think she's cunning and crafty? Is it right for Sonja to be excluded from the group? Leave your thoughts and opinion in the comments section below!

RHONY Ssn 8/Ep 7 - Airing Your Dirty Laundry

Glenn Rowley

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Wow. That may have just been the most entertaining episode we've seen in years on The Real Housewives of New York City. Possibly in the history of the entire Housewives franchise. As Bethenny clashes with Sonja over her "cheater" brand, Ramona, Dorinda and John get into an epic - and I mean EPIC - screaming match on the streets of the Big Apple. Read on for a complete recap of all the drama and chaos...

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The Countess is officially moving into Lady Morgan's townhouse! Luann de Lesseps arrives on the Upper East Side with her luggage in tow, anxious to rehash the events of Sonja Morgan's birthday party the night before. She was supportive yet surprised by the announcement of Tipsy Girl, Sonja's line of Prosecco and rosé, at the party and asks whether Lady Morgan has mentioned the new business venture to Bethenny Frankel yet. Sonja hasn't said a word yet to the Skinnygirl mogul. While Luann points out the obvious similarity between the names of the two brands, Sonja thinks it's just a happy coincidence that they both have "girl" in their names. Besides, she's convinced that as her unofficial business mentor, Bethenny is going to be excited about the fact that she's getting into the alcohol business and be nothing short of completely supportive. 

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However, word of the new business has already reached Bethenny courtesy of an article in Page Six about the similarities between Skinnygirl and Tipsy Girl. She meets Carole Radziwill and Ramona Singer for dinner at NoMo in the heart of Soho and Ramotional fills the other two 'Wives in on all the details from Sonja's birthday party. Bethenny finds being dragged into the press by the Page Six story to be an annoyance to say the least, and thinks Sonja's only using her to get publicity for her latest fake business. Ramona wonders aloud if Sonja really knows what she's doing, but both Bethenny and Carole believe Lady Morgan is precisely aware of the game she's playing. Bethenny calls the move "disgusting" and chalks it up to Sonja being narcissistic, then informs the other 'Wives that Sonja dropping by the Skinnygirl offices the next day. However, Bethenny's already hurt that Sonja would so blatantly attempt to rip off the brand she's spent years building, so Lady Morgan might not love the visit she's in for. Bethenny also declares that it's the last conversation Sonja's going to have with her - as Carole points out in her confessional, Sonja bumbling her way into this shady business deal may have just cost her a friendship.

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The next morning, Dorinda Medley invites Ramona to breakfast at iconic NYC eatery Sarabeth's Bakery. The restaurant holds lots of history for the longtime pals, and Dorinda's hoping that the setting will remind Ramona of the importance of their friendship, which is currently being strained by Ramotional's constant drama with her boyfriend John Mahdessian. Dorinda spends much of the meal advising Ramona over her floundering friendship with Sonja, but at the same time is trying to get the OG to see how her advice also applies to the two of them. Eventually, Dorinda comes right out and tells Ramona that, for the sake of their friendship, the constant John-bashing has to stop. She explains that she would always be supportive of the choices Ramona makes - especially when it comes to dating - and she's simply asking for the same thing in return. Even if Ramona has to fake it, she needs to be nicer to John. 

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Sonja arrives at the Skinnygirl office somehow under the impression that she's walking into some sort of business meeting with Bethenny. She's excited to tell her unofficial "mentor" all about Tipsy Girl, but Bethenny is ready to give her a cold, hard reality check. As soon as Sonja starts talking about her new Prosecco and all the distributors she and her partners are working with, Bethenny demands names. When the only thing Sonja can come up with is "all the distributors," B goes in on her hard, calling her a "fraud" who's managed to create smoke and mirrors around "six fake businesses." Bethenny calls B.S. on everything Sonja's done - from the toaster oven and the Caburlesque to the Gold and White Diamond Collection and the Nigerian football team that never was. The Skinnygirl educates Sonja on the fact that when someone deliberately rips off another person's successful business idea, it's called a "cheater brand" and accuses her of doing exactly that with Tipsy Girl. Sonja's defense is that she's merely trying to get back to where she was before filing for her chapter 11 bankruptcy. Sonja starts breaking down in tears as she tries to explain that she looks up to Bethenny and just thought that breaking into the alcohol industry would be a good way for her to get ahead too, but B isn't buying it. Once Sonja stops crying, Bethenny declares that she's done with the conversation and sends Sonja down the elevator in an entirely different type of walk of shame than she's used to taking. 

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We get a brief respite from the drama courtesy of Jules Wainstein, who's interviewing for a new nanny after her previous one up and left without so much as a goodbye to the kids. Within 10 seconds of the interview, I'm laughing out loud as Jules grills her prospective nanny on whether she's willing to stand in line for hours at the Bonpoint sample sale and if she can do blow-outs. The interview turns into an impromptu test when Jules asks the would-be nanny to hypothetically put together an outfit for two-year-old Rio and while the applicant passes with her outfit in shades of gray, she fails for not being able to speak Spanish fluently. Back to square one, Jules.

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Meanwhile, Carole's back in domestic bliss now that her hot boyfriend Adam Kenworthy has returned from Ethiopia. The couple has decided to combine their respective talents as a chef and a writer by penning a cookbook together, tentatively titled "The Reluctant Vegan." This is very interesting, but I'm too distracted by how amazing Adam's long mane of hair is to pay more attention to his actual vegan diet. As for the book of essays Writer Girl was supposed to be working on all last season? Yeah, she's decided writing a cookbook about her love of processed foods is more fun, so she and her editor mutually decided to part ways and revisit the other project at a later date. As it turns out, Carole didn't seem to be enjoying her process with that book last season anyway, and I'm fine with whatever allows for Writer Girl to pen her weekly blogs for Bravotv.com.

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That night, Luann meets Ramona and Sonja downtown for dinner at Sushi Roxx, which has been referred to by the New York Post as NYC's "most bizarre new theatrical dinner experience." It's the trio's first stop of the night, and Ramonja spend much of the meal breaking wine glasses and gossiping about Luann's revolving door of male paramours. (This is apparently happening off-camera.) In fact, the Singer Stinger can't resist but repeat a vulgar tidbit of information she learned from former Housewife Aviva Drescher's ex-husband Harry Dubin about the Countess's proclivities in bed. It's too forward to write in this recap, but feel free to go back and re-watch the episode if you're dying to find out. But as Ramotional would say, when it rains, it pours and when you're wet, you're wet. Changing the subject from this lively, salacious subject, Sonja fills Luann in on her terse exchange with Bethenny over Skinnygirl vs. Tipsy Girl. The Countess claims she can't believe Bethenny would be so aggressive, but earlier in the episode she specifically commented on how nonchalant Sonja was being over the similarities between the two brands. 

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Leaving Sushi Roxx, the three 'Wives head to Madame Paulette's, where Dorinda and John are throwing a party to showcase the designs of fashion designer Malan Breton. Dorinda is shocked to see Ramona show up - considering the event is at John's place of business, Dorinda specifically chose not to send the OG an invite to the party. However, Luann is even more stunned to see someone else at the party: some creepy guy named Rey whom she had a summer fling with in Ibiza. After a tense exchange where Luann questions whether her ex is sober and an obviously inebriated Rey claims he's having a mental breakdown upon seeing her at the party, Luann hightails it out of the event and hails a cab back to Sonja's. Seeing the Countess in such obvious distress, Ramona naturally invites Rey over to see if he has any dirt. He's very drunk and very obnoxious, as he drunkenly gets in Sonja's face, calls her a bitch and begs the pair of 'Wives not to tell Luann about his "super-hot" girlfriend. How exactly did this guy get into the party? Seeing Rey starting to cause a scene, John walks over with Dorinda to ask him to leave, and this is where things take a disturbing, chaotic turn. For some reason, Ramona decides that now is the appropriate time to insert herself into the confrontation by sticking up for Rey. The argument quickly escalates as Ramona takes a stand against Dorinda's boyfriend, and John decides to kick Ramona out of the party along with the creepy ex-boyfriend and puts his hand in her face to make his point.

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This sends Ramona into a rage as she screams at both Dorinda and John that she never wants to be in the presence of the mafioso dry cleaner ever again. However, even as Ramona storms out of the party with Rey on her heels, the fight isn't over. Continuing the screaming match out on Second Avenue, Dorinda can't believe Ramona had the audacity to ruin yet another of her parties, especially after she promised to be kinder to John just the day before. Ramona shrieks that she doesn't even know how the altercation happened and it's not her fault, at which point Dorinda redirects her rage towards a sloppy Rey. The entire situation devolves into chaos as Dorinda threatens to call the cops on Luann's creepy ex if he doesn't walk away, all while Ramona's still screaming about how everything was John's fault. Once she angrily forces Ramona to leave the event, Dorinda decides she's done too and hails a cab. As John begs her to stay (while at the same time calling Ramona "not even a woman"), Dorinda lashes out at him as well, slurring that he should know better than to put his hand in a woman's face. The episode ends with emotions all around at an all-time high and viewers left wondering what exactly what kind of brawl they just witnessed on the sidewalks of Midtown...

What did you think of this week's episode of RHONY? Are you Team Skinnygirl or Team Tipsy Girl? Who's to blame for the blow-up at Madame Paulette's: Ramona, John, Dorinda, Rey or all of them put together? Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!

RHOBH Ssn 6/Ep 17 - Lymes in the Sand

Glenn Rowley

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We're coming up on the final stretch of the season and, as the episode title implies, lines are starting to be drawn in the sand. As this season-long battle of manipulations, accusations and spinning of webs ramps up to its climax, we're heading halfway around the world for an Arabian adventure in Dubai. But first, we must pick up where we left off at the end of last week... 

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The episode kicks off in New York City, where Kyle Richards, Erika Girardi and Kathryn Edwards have come to attend the Global Lyme Alliance Gala and see Yolanda Foster accept an award for raising awareness of the debilitating disease. The women are blown away at the scope of the event, which is held at the iconic restaurant Cipriani. As Yolanda's daughter, supermodel Gigi Hadid, gives a heartwarming introduction of her mother to the audience, Kyle is already in tears. However, all I can think of is that she somehow stole her black-and-white Peter Pan collared dress straight out of the closet of Kris Jenner. I'm almost positive the Kardashian momager has worn the exact same outfit in the past. With the 'Wives looking on, Yolanda delivers her acceptance speech, revealing to the crowded room that both Bella and Anwar also have Lyme and vowing to continue searching until an affordable cure is found.

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In her confessional, Kyle admits that she feels terribly guilty for ever doubting Yolanda or talking about the kids. Now that Kyle has learned about and seen the wide scope of lives touched by the disease, she's starting to feel differently about the situation. She voices this to Erika and Kathryn, and the newbies point out that ignorance can't be an excuse any longer and that both Lisa Rinna and Lisa Vanderpump were the ones talking about Yo the most. Kyle admits in her interview that if she knew what she knows now about Lyme disease, she would have shut down the Munchausen conversation and defended Yolanda more vehemently. Once Yo returns to the table, Kyle tearfully apologizes for her part in all the confusion and questioning. She gets it now. If only the other 'Wives could've been at the gala to learn about Lyme as well...

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After returning to Beverly Hills for a quick packing montage and a scene of Lisa V. giving Max a brand-new Jeep, all the women (minus Yolanda) are ready to head to Dubai. I can't even express how much I love that Erika is secretly bringing her glam squad and a complete look book on the cast trip. Spending a week in such a conservative Middle Eastern country - where things like swearing and immodesty are punishable crimes - should be interesting for the ladies, to say the least. Any bets on who's going to be thrown in an Arabian jail cell first? (According to my Twitter poll during the episode, most of you think it'll be Lisa Rinna...) Dubai, here we come!

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Following a nearly 19-hour flight, the Housewives arrive in the United Arab Emirates and are simply blown away by the glitz and extravagance surrounding them. They check into Atlantis, The Palm Dubai, which is described as a hotel but looks more like an imperial palace straight out of Agrabah. I mean, Kyle and Lisa V. are sharing two-bedroom suite that is nearly 10,000 square feet in total. Each of the women has a personal concierge available to her 24/7 around the clock during their stay. Eileen Davidson's room is a three-story underwater suite with sharks swimming past her windows. This is straight out of Sex and the City 2, but better because it's actually real and doesn't set feminism back half a century. It's RHONY's Season 4 trip to Morocco on steroids. (Sorry Carrie Bradshaw, I still love you.)

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Meanwhile, back in Beverly Hills, the Fosters' Malibu estate has finally sold (for a measly $19.495 million - take that Dubrows!) and they're packing up to move. That's right: goodbye Yolanda's fridge. Goodbye lemon orchard. We'll miss you terribly. But lo and behold, look who has come to help: none of than former Housewife and certified villain of Beverly Hills Brandi Glanville! I'd recognize those legs for days anywhere. Now, I've never been remotely a Brandi fan whatsoever (#TeamKyle for life), but after 17 episodes away, I have to admit I don't hate to see her. However, there is simply no justification or logical reasoning for her new confessional look. B is giving us Studio-54-meets-I-Dream-of-Jeannie golden realness and it is utterly baffling. Rather than do any actual lifting, Yo fills the former 'Wife in on all the drama between her and the other women - specifically the Munchausen accusations coming from Lisa Rinna and all the drama from Camille Grammer's charity event. Brandi has a very specific message for Lisa R. and the wig B claims she wears: "get a fu***ing life, eat some food...and get some help." She takes it a step further by opining that this is just a classic example of how the Housewives operate in Beverly Hills - every season they prey on the weak. 

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Donning their prettiest Arabian caftans, the other 'Wives convene in Kyle and Lisa Vanderpump's room for some pre-dinner cocktails and baba ganoush. Naturally, conversation turns to the Lyme Gala in NYC as Kyle, Erika and Kathryn fill the Lisas and Eileen in on everything they missed. However, underlying tensions surrounding Yolanda's illness creep into the conversation as Erika tells Lisa Rinna the gala would've likely resolved some of the lingering doubts she's raised over the past few months. Rinna insists she's never doubted whether Yolanda was sick, she merely questions how Yo uses her illness to her advantage. According to Lisa Rinna, just because you have a chronic illness doesn't mean you shouldn't be held accountable for how you interact with the group. Is it any of her business? No. But she had strong opinions about it? Of course! Obviously, Erika sees the situation much differently and defends an absent Yolanda, but Lisa isn't budging. Erika concedes that Lisa Rinna can have whatever opinion she wants about Yo's illness, but points out that opinions are different from actual facts. 

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Moving on, Lisa Rinna maintains that she's "enraged" by seeing the picture on Twitter of Yo out with Kim Richards and Brandi. She's still upset that Yolanda hung with the former 'Wives rather than coming to Erika's dinner party that night. Erika, however, insists that she's fine with the situation. This, of course, prompts Lisa to pry a bit more about the dinner party and at this point it's just blatant pot-stirring. Erika admits that her dinner party didn't exactly go according to plan, but she's already moved on from the ugly encounter with Kathryn. Seriously, no more beating all the dead horses, please. After all, it's only the first night of the trip. Putting a stop to the brewing argument, Kyle suggests the women go out to the balcony to see the city. Looking out over the lights a world away from Beverly Hills, the episode ends with the 'Wives toasting to good health, happiness and friendship. How long do you think those good vibes will last?

What do you think of Yolanda's illness after seeing the gala? Are you ready for next week's super-sized 75-minute Arabian adventure? As always, leave your thoughts below in the comments and use the Share button to share this recap on social media!