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2013 HOLIDAY GIFTS THAT KEEP ON GIVING! Click it Forward!

What better way to be in the spirit of the holiday season then to give gifts that give back!  So this year I’ve teamed up with five outstanding organizagions where you can do just that for as little as 25!! So on your mark get set. . .  click it forward!

KIVA: GIVA KIVA GIFT CARD and HELP CHANGE A LIFE
Kiva Gift Card_NEWwoman in store

Here’s one that truly speaks to passing it forward  and it’s so simple because you can do it all online. For the past eight years, Kiva, a non-profit organization, has been using the internet to connect people through micro-lending to help alleviate poverty in 70 countries around the world, including here in the U.S. Purchase a $25 Kiva gift card online for your family or friends and give them the opportunity to Make a Loan NOT A DONATION that can Change a Life. Your gift recipient will then choose whom they would like to lend to – from a banana farmer in South Africa to a seamstress in Detroit – there are thousands of borrowers. And, once that loan has been paid back, your gift recipient can choose to take the money back or re-loan that money to a new borrower, essentially doubling the power of your loan money! Simple, meaningful and fun! Truly the gift that can keep on giving!

PETSMART CHARITIES: PAW-FECT FOR THE PET LOVER

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I am a huge love of PetSmart Charities not only because I love pets but because it’s rated in the top 1% of charities by Charity Navigator:  receiving their highest 4-star rating for ten consecutive years! Best of all, just $25 will save a shelter pet’s life by giving them shelter space, food and crucial veterinary services. And ninety cents of every dollar goes directly to help pets in need, one of the highest percentages among all charities. Also, if you’re in a PetSmart store you might see these adorable Chance and Lucky dolls. 10% of the proceeds from the sale of these cute critters will also go to PetSmart Charities to help save homeless pets.

WORLD WILDLIFE FUND: ADOPT A TIGER…IT’S GRRREAT!

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Here’s a novel and critical gift idea for the holidays from World Wildlife Fund.  Make a donation to WWF at Donatewwf.org for a symbolic tiger adoption. Tigers need our help more than ever before.100 years ago, there were an estimated 100,000 tigers living in the wild. Now, there are less than 3,200. 97% of the population has been lost. Tigers have also lost more than 90% of the forests they call home. And your donation will be put to work helping reduce threats to majestic species like tigers, and other species in the wild like elephants, rhinos and polar bears threatened by poaching, habitat loss and climate change. And, you’ll get something too! For your donation, you’ll receive a thank-you gift of a cute tiger plush, photo, fact sheet and certificate that you can send to a friend or family member. World Wildlife Fund has an entire Gifts That Give Back catalog with more than 200 thank-you gifts to select from to share your commitment to conservation. For more than 50 years, their vision has been to build a better future in which people live in harmony with nature. WWF works around the world to reduce the most pressing environmental threats to wildlife, wild places and people.

MeeGenius:  WILL MAKE YOU A GENIUS…JOIN THE CLUB!

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I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this one and wish it were around when my son was young! Check out MeeGenius, it is an incredible library of interactive books for children that works on computers at home, iPads, and iPhones!  I think of it like ITunes for literacy since the library includes over 700 classics, best sellers and MeeGenius-original children’s titles that are hand-picked by editors and educators.  Every single book is beautifully illustrated and includes optional “read to me” narration so kids can have a book read to them while each word is highlighted, promoting their own reading comprehension. And for the first time ever MeeGenius is launching their brand new Reading Club which parents, grandparents, whoever can give as a gift.  You get three months of unlimited access to their entire library for just $19.99 or a year for $59.99 – And, MeeGenius will donate 10% of all sales to PBS KIDS. A genius boredom buster idea too for holiday travel and chants of ‘are we there yet!”

Carpet One Floor & Home:   YOUR SUPPORT MAT-TERS

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This is the second year that the folks at  Carpet One Floor and Home asked me to partner with them to design a welcome mat  of which 25% of  the proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  And, this year we took a ‘graphic’ twist on my signature cocktail…the dirty martini! A terrific holiday gift for the hostess with the mostess that not only looks good but giving one does so much go0d! The mat is a terrific holiday hostess gift  that looks good and does so much good!

Happy giving holidays all!

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“ME TARZAN, YOU JANE” MEET WE HOUSEWIVES :)

As the legendary  comediene Phyllis Diller once said, “Housework can’t kill you, but why take a chance?” Brilliant words indeed.  And, it’s how i approach the level of attention I give to it which in part led me  to embracing and admitting that i am an accidental housewife vs. Martha Stewart or Suzie Home-maker. I’m all about doing just enough to keep my son from starvation; my home looking terrif with minimal upkeep; health inspectors away and lest we not overlook: my sanity and manicure in tact.   That’s why whenever I discover something that also saves me time, money and the environment it’s a tri-fecta and I’m all over it…

Which leads to a new carpet that my buds at Carpet One Floor & Home sent me to try out.  It’s called Tigressa…love the name-somehow conjures up images of ‘me Tarzan you Jane’ lying on the carpet getting wild…or in their case lyin on a Leopard skin:

Okay well maybe that’s a stretch , must be my imagination going wild with a mild case of heat stroke courtesy of the record-breaking warm weather here in the NorthEast!  So forgive my di-gressa from Tigressa 🙂  

Lots of companies send me products to try out, and having worked with Carpet One a few years back and their commitment to Breast Cancer Awareness, I was happy to oblige when Terri Daniels, their head public relations guru, all around terrif person and fellow Dirty Martini lover reached out to me.  That, and two other reasons:

1. I am a humongous slob and notorious/repeat red wine spiller…another reason for my ‘accidental’ moniker!  And, why God created my favorite carpet cleaning service Stanley Steemer whom i now have on speed dial!

2. I am thinking of refinishing my basement and want to be sure I put in carpet that looks good, is soft on my feetsies, durable, affordable and mega stain resistant for my many ‘accidental’ spills…( a reason i am thinking of drinking only clear libations …long live my ‘Tini LOL!)

And, dare I say Tigressa is the besta:

  • Looks terrif-love it’s black since it doesn’t show most any dirt or stain!
  • Soft on my feet and comfy to lie on solo or …
  • Passed the Accidental Spill Test: Though i didn’t do this accidentally, I did spill my fave dirty tini on the rug and to my delight it pooled up making it a housewifely dream to blot and quickly clean up.   That also means moisture won’t get trapped below and possibly cause mold to grow–major sanity saving plus!  

    Look mom! No gloves required...Love that! Back to 'tini time!

  • And, just in case that glass of red leaves a  mark, Tigress comes with  a Lifetime Stain Warrantee (20 years) which means they’ll replace it gratis…love that!
  • Oh one more thing too–it’s eco-friendly!
So my friends, if you’re in the market to do some Spring Freshening of your floors that is also terrif if you’ve got messy kiddies (duh! is their any any other kind) and pets,  visit a Carpet One store (www.carpetone.com/tigressa), take your shoes off, spill some water (or wine if you have your sippy to go cup but don’t tell ’em i told you to!) and see all the 1000 colors and textures Tigressa’s avail in…Not to mention it’s on sale now….BTW, imagining yourself as Tarzan ‘n Jane will be your call…of the wild. Meow!  Spread the glove!

FROM NYC TO NO PLACE TO GO BUT MARS ‘N BETTER TV

Been a ‘better’ few days…so to speak…this week.  For one, i ppeared on BETTER TV with my bud and it’s co-host Audra Lowe.  

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I always love ‘spreading my glove’ of housewifely wit ‘n wisdom  because of the folks on and off camera and particularly  Audra.  She and I bonded a few years back when she was having her first child and who is THE MOST adorable baby girl.  Audra is one of the real peeps in this world, she is incredibly genuine, always has a welcoming smile and put’s being a human being before anything else.  And, though we see each other half a dozen times a year, when we do it’s like seeing an old friend you’ve grown up with and  seems like no time has passed when we reconnect.  

The other ‘better’ part of the week was that my buds at MamaDramaNY once again invited me to see a quirky yet incredibly timely one man show called “NO PLACE TO GO” at the Public Theatre in NYC…It’s a clever and irreverant musical journey starring Ethan Lipton who is also the show’s creator, writer and chief bottle washer (kidding).  The show’s premise is that Ethan’s company is relocating from New York to Mars…yes Mars and Ethan really doesn’t want to go…can you blame him? But what I enjoyed most about it aside from the scruffy Woody Allen meets Dylan with a better voice Ethan and the amazing base, guitar and sax trio behind him, (forgive I know this is a run on sentence and my college English professor would kill me!) was how he balanced the woes of the economy, politics and personal angst in an entertaining and uplifting way with lines like “Anxiety is just excitement in disguise” to lyrics/songs like “Three Tear Plan” which literally is about his plan to ‘cry, weep, then go to sleep”….

to LOL songs like “Shit Storm Coming”.  

Both funny and philosophical, No Where to Go was tons ‘better’ and far more original then many shows I’ve seen on THE GREAT WHITE WAY so please make your way to this limited run production and support Public Theatre in NY at Joe’s Pub if you’re in town…Food and drinks were terrif there too! Spread the glove! 



GETTING INTO THE GROOVE WITH SPRING ALIVE AND ABBOTT ‘N COSTELLO

Last eve my best bud Marla, Franky, Doug and  I ventured into NYC to see an Off Off Off B’way musical called Spring Alive starring Spring Groove (I know quite a name!) which I learned about and saw thanks to Mamma Drama NY’s co-owners Erin Leigh Peck and Holly Fink.  

The show is a one act, one person terrific musical  of one Jewish woman’s journey/evolution from a typical NY gal to a rasta haired Yogi ….Or as the booklet described, its the ‘sing, pray, love’ version of  the wonderful book, “Eat, Pray, Love“.  Marla loved it and could relate totally as she’s a certified Yoga instructor.  I on the other hand am not a Yoga person and though I have dabbled in it my idea of doing The Sun Breath or Crouching Dog Position(forgive me if I’ve got the name of that pose wrong) is to crouch on my couch breathing in the bouquet of a fine wine..But i love theatre and particularly entertainment that elevates and inspires which is exactly what Spring did…along with an ensemble of dancers who brought another level of calm, grace and energy to the production.

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Spring de joie...love those pants want a pair

But part of the fun of the eve was simply trying to find the theatre after eating at a hip enough restaurant called “Inoteca” located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Not only was the food and wine terrific but Marla and I agreed that the lighting was perfect too:  as in low enough to make one look good no matter how tired or over 30 you are!

Anyway,  pleasantly stuffed and with a slight buzz on ’twas time to find the theatre…As you may be aware NYC is filled with theaters all over the place and peeps trying to make it here cause as  Liza Minnelli has sung time ‘n time again if “You make it here, you’ll make it anywhere.  It’s up to you .New York. New York”. And, while most of us are familiar with Broadway shows and some off broadway hits like “The Fantastics“, there are lots of hopeful gems like Spring Alive which are Off Off Off Broadway.  And, for we New Jerseyians who were off, off, off our beaten path, we couldn’t find  the theatre since it had a dual address: Dawson Place and 179 A Christie Street. So as time tick ticked and we walked up and down the street again and again, each of us taking turns asking ‘where’s dawson”, “who said it was on Christie” , I felt like we were somehow living a version of Abbott & Costello‘s famous baseball routine “who’s on first?”

Now, past 8:00 and curtain time, we decided  to call for help. Marla buzzed her son  Zach whom lives nearby and is, I might add, the coolest twenty something year ole, successful hard-working hipster living the NYC dream that I know and have known since he was five. Well, within seconds,  Zach quickly pointed us in the right direction which was  right across the street from where we were standing!!!

But we weren’t home free yet since being late we were directed to the back stage entrance.  As we went down the stairs, I began to get that ‘something’s not right here’ feeling, and did my own version of crouching dog laughing when I saw that the next door said “Stage Members Only”.   At this point, my wine buzz now a distant memory, we decided to throw caution to the wind and hope the door didn’t lead us to Spring on stage and our Off Off Off Broadway debut.  Well, the good news is it didn’t.  Nope it led us onto the balcony and we took our seats without disturbing anyone.  Within seconds we settled into the calm and got into the Groove with Spring. And, the rest as they say is Namasta…Spread the glove!


KARIM RASHAD, BUBBLY IN PINK ‘N ENJOYING MORE W/LESS

Happy Over the Hump Wednesday!

Went to the launch party last night for uber hip and talented English/Egyptian designer Karim Rashid at one of the Bo Concept stores in NYC.   As an accidental New Jersey housewife, Karim and my world don’t meet often these days but when I was invited by my good bud and coincidentally their fab publicist Dolly Hiller I had to go.  For my fellow suburban moms, Karim is THE NAME in interior design, furniture, lighting and art with  permanent collections in 15 museums world wide including MoMA in NYC…So attending this soiree was a no brainer and a perfect excuse for a nite out!

Ok, so let’s begin with the man himself, Rashid…there he was standing around 6’4′ give or take an inch or two in a pink suit..yup pink…

Rashad loves pink cause he loves it’s energy, beauty and it’s positive sense/love of life.  And, how could I not immediately bond and love the work of a person who’s fave colors are the same as mine…pink and apple green!  Just wish i had know cause i would have worn my signature pink gloves and brought a pair for him!   

Rashad  loves pink so much he’s designed a loveseat for Veuve Clicquot Rose Champagne…

And, a limited edition chandelier cooler. My personal fave 

For any of my loved ones n fam reading this and wondering what to give me as a housewarming gift someday wonder no longer …BTW: Worry not, I’ll provide the bubbly and “D” studly handler for the cooler…LOL!

Now to last eve and his newest design tour de force “The Ottawa Collection”.  It celebrates his 30 years of design. Sleek, chic, affordable and oh so easy to maintain is the best way to describe this clearly urban collection that would have been perfect way back when I was a NYC working gal. Rashid described it to me as ‘sensual, calming and pleasurable without excess because at the end of the day less is more”  which is how i’m trying to live my life these days and what my whole “Living the Rid Life” (www.juliestips.com ) is all about. Here a few pix from the collection and you can learn and see mucho more by visiting his site http://www.karimrashid.com/ 

Jigsaw vases...how cool!

Love the rug! Won't show dirt!

After chatting with Rashim, the clock ticking and my free time running out,  I decided to enjoy the moment, feel the calm, the sensuality and pretend I was that NYC single working gal from days gone by.  So I kicked backed, put my feet up and enjoyed a glass of bubbly  because as RAshid said ‘at the end of the day less is more’ …Got that right! Spread the Glove!


OH THE PLACES WE’LL GO W/DR. SEUSS, JIM CAREY, ZAC EFRON ‘N DANNY DEVITO

Yesterday was Dr. Seuss‘s birthday and for most of us, both as parent and child, Seuss was someone to be celebrated for bringing so much joy, imagination, insights and special moments whether it was bonding with our children, our parents or simply ourselves. Personal faves for me were The Cat in the Hat, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Skeetches, Horton the Elephant (loyal 100%), Green Eggs ‘n Ham; The Lorax (now a new animated must see film starring Danny Devito, Zac Efron and Taylor Swift which shows how Seuss was an environmentalist way before it was trendy) and Yertle the Turtle.  

Whatever your fave, Dr. Seuss took us through our childhood with life lessons and an imagination that just won’t quit and stands the test of time.  For me, as a young new reader I could read and look at his illustrations over and over, but Yertle the Turtle was one that holds a special place in my heart.  It was about Yertle the Turtle who went from King of the bees and trees to King of the Mud due to a turtle named Mack whom brought him down to earth with a burp.  

Written in 1958 it was about power and freedom.  But when I was little I had a special kinship with Yertle since the only pets my mother allowed me to have were those that didn’t run nor have any chance of doing their business on her pristine beige living room rug . And, god forbid we did cross that line…my mother’s wrath we would incite.  But one fateful night when my parents went out my big brother Rick and I decided to throw caution to the wind and enter the DNC zone.  For that moment in time it was exhilarating and the carpeting beneath our feet was sooo soft since no one that we could remember had ever stepped foot on it…We made designs, played tic tac toe and then my bro decided to get really wild.  He jumped on the beige satin couch which like the carpeting we were sure had never had any human interaction.   Ahhhh what fun, what freedom and the cushions didn’t even show a dent since they had indeed never been sat on!   Time ticking before mamma would return, we needed to erase our tracks.  So i raced to get the trusty Hoover out to replicate my mother’s up and down perfect nap design…Then off to bed we went sure we’d restored all to their pristine state….

Next morning as Rick and i munched on a bowl of cereal smiling betwixt ourselves that we had gotten away with our ‘escapade’  my mother asked how our evening was.  Rather then ragging about how he had to sit for his little sis vs being with his friends, my brother said “great”!  The cat so to speak was out of the bag as my mother confronted us on our trespass.  See though we thought we had done a great job emulating her perfect vac design we had missed a spot.   And the rest how we say was misery. You see my mom at times was a cross betwixt Joanne Crawford in the classic  movie “Mommy Dearest” and Bride of Frankenstein so we were doomed.  

Dare I say never  again did Rick nor I venture into the Living Room until she finally replaced that beige carpeting with area rugs that didn’t show nuttin…And the couch still looks the same as it did 30 years ago and is in the Guinness Book of Jerry Seinfeld Records since no one other then my bro has sat on it still. Now back to why I loved Seuss’ tale of Yertle…

Since i couldnt have pets that pooped nor peeed anywhere then in their own space, I had ‘Goldy’ the goldfish who lived a record four years, and the closest thing to a pet i could walk, Mack…my pet turtle.  I named him after the turtle that ‘burped’ and brought Yertle the Turtle back to earth.  And though i didn’t put him on a leash for fear of ”accidentally’ strangling him I did take him out of his tank for walks on my green and white shag rug (which didn’t show footprints nor dirt LOL).  I would also read to him this Dr. Seuss tale and share why I named him Mack…Hey as an 7 year old I believed Mack understood what I said whether his head was in or out of his shell.  My kingdom was Mack and all he could see.  And, when Mack and I were together we were free that and much later in life free thanks to 3 years of intense therapy 🙂 

“And today the great Yertle, that Marvelous he, 
Is King of the Mud. That is all he can see. 
And the turtles, of course . . . all the turtles are free 
As turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be.”

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss and thank you for making my early years and those with my son special!  Spread the Glove!

ALL I WANNA DO IS NJOY SHERYL CROW, SURI, VUE ‘N BREWS

As moms, wives, working women or just over-scheduled and over-worked peeps in general, we rarely have the luxury or feeling that someone is there taking care of us.  I guess that’s why folks at Apple now feature Suri–our very own personal assistant on their new Apple 4S.  And, god knows we could all use someone to remind us of our kid’s dental appointment: call, email or text our significant other when we’re running late or maybe if I can find time sched a hair coloring appointment before those greys over populate! 

This is where and why technology is truly a good thing making me life easier, and not something that confuses the heck outta me since in addition to being known as The Accidental Housewife, I am also known as The Queen of Technological Darkness!  Nope Suri has made me feel special.  And, a few weeks back I shared another techy ‘good thing’: my new LG Hom-Bot which stays in its little charging station on call to vacuum my house without me lifting a finger.  Plus, it can bring me a martini or cup of coffee…Life is good!  

And, now I found my latest ‘make my life easier and tastier’ techy must have… 

Enjoying a cup of fresh VUE-brewed cappuccino with Michelle Stacy, Pres of Keurig!Mmmm Mmmm Yum!

See last eve I attended a launch party for the new Keurig VUE single cup coffee maker.  Now, i don’t know about you but my day just doesn’t quite start off right without that first cup of coffee which i generally have to reheat 2-3 times since i’m too busy focusing on getting my son up and fed for school.  Needless to say over-reheated coffee with the milk forming a thin waxy-like top isn’t exactly that yummy, ‘get my day going’ cup of java!  And, then if i’m running late which is just about every day, I  try to take a cup with me as I shuttle myself or my son in days gone by before he got his license (yeah chaufeur duties relieved!) and it be cold.  Yuk! 

But last nite I met Suri and Bot’s ‘new take care of Julie’ mate Vue…Now, please note i have tried several single cup coffee makers and generally have been disappointed since the coffee tastes weak, cools off too fast when i add my 1/2 and 1/2 and though I’m no Sheryl Crow  when it comes to being green (whom i love by the way as an artist and performer)–she had suggested we portion  toilet paper which for those of us with kids might save the forest but not the amount of laundry we’d be doing and thus not water nor energy conservation…The point here is I try to do what I can and if it fits into my everyday lifestyle all the better and the VUE pods  are recyclable so it’s mindless mother earth friendly! Love that!

So my fellow overworked, overscheduled housewives, check it out,  coffee, tea, hot, cold Keurig’s new VUE has a brew for you so as Sheryl sings “all i wanna do’ is enjoy a yummy cup of brew along with Suri and Bot! Happy weekend all…Spread the glove…