Monday, May 28, 2012

Tough Love New Orleans: Episode 7

This week on Tough Love New Orleans, the girls said goodbye to city life and had to adapt to situations out of their control. They were sent to a bayou for some times with their dates...and their dates' fathers.

If you recall, Danielle freaked out during last week's challenge, so this was her chance to redeem herself. She clearly wasn't thrilled with the day's events when they began. That continued as she cursed and made a less than positive impression on her date Corey's father.

Despina and Stephanie, on the other hand, handled meeting the dads properly. However, as Despina's date continued, she ignored her date Austin's dad and didn't embrace the challenge. Fortunately, Stephanie had better luck. She said that most guys don't take her home to meet their parents, so she embraced the experience with Jon and his dad.

Shalana embraced the challenge and had a great time. She, her date and her dad's date had a great time, although she screwed it by making out with her date in front of his father.

Elizabeth's date with Carl was next. Elizabeth completely freaked out when the guys picked up an animal from the water. However, she took control of her experience and improved.

Melissa and Chris had a bowling date instead of being in the water with the others. This was her chance to commit or make a clean break. In the confessional, Melissa said she was having a great time...but saw him as a friend. Melissa sat down with Chris and told him that she likes him but doesn't know if she feels a spark. She handled the situation so well. She was so mature and kind. Unfortunately, Steve Ward thought Melissa was making a mistake and may not commit with anyone during boot camp.

Steve brought the girls together and said that they need to show what they can bring to the table - literally. Each girl was told that she has to cook a traditional Louisiana recipe for her and her date. She also had to make a portion for what they were told was Steve and his mom - but that was a lie. The extra meal was actually for their date's mom. And, to top it off, the dish they had to cook was their date's mom's specialty. Donna, who's a chef, was told that she's not allowed to help anyone else, so they'd have to sink or swim.

Stephanie was charged with making Chicken Cacciatore. She made some mistakes, and Danielle and Shalana seemed to sink as well. Elizabeth had to make Crawfish Etouffee. She seemed to panic as the challenge went on. She forgot about what she was cooking in a pot and ruined them. At this point, she totally freaked out.

Elizabeth sat down with her date and began to relax...and then her date's mom showed up...and dropped the bomb that Crawfish Etouffee is actually her recipe. Fortunately, in a surprise twist, her date's mom said it was delicious. Elizabeth and her date's mom got along so well, and Elizabeth was thrilled.

Danielle was faced with her date's sister Richelle, who critiqued her recipe and didn't say the nicest things. However, she held it together and was personable.

 Melissa had a new date for this challenge. She made Fettuccine Alfredo for her date Ryan and his mom. The date did not go well, but that was Melissa's fault because she wrote Ryan off before their date even began.

Stephanie was next. Stephanie was respectful of her date's mother's wishes and said grace before the meal. However, Stephanie was overwhelmed when Joyce threw a ton of questions at her about God and religion. After the date, Joyce told Stephanie's date that she doesn't think Stephanie's right for him, even though she said he is. Hello, ridiculous overbearing mother!

Back at the house, Despina received a keychain from Austin. In the keychain was a flash key or something, and when put into a laptop, a video played. In the video, Austin told Despina to come to the airport for a special date. (He's a pilot.) When she arrived, a table was set up for them to have a private date.

The group session followed. Elizabeth was told that she did the best. She was surprised but admitted that she pushed through it. Feedback about her date was played, and her date's mom really liked her. Danielle was brought up next. The feedback about her constant cursing wasn't fantastic. Her date's sister said that she was cool, although the jambalaya wasn't fantastic.

Stephanie was up next, and wasn't sure if her date's mom liked her. The mom was a not-so-nice person. She said the food was bad, the makeup was bad, she was insecure and her intentions weren't right. Stephanie said this was her fear - not being good enough. Fortunately, she took this feedback to make her work harder.

Despina seemed to still fear commitment, but her date liked her a lot, so Steve convinced her to try to move forward and allow herself to feel something.

Melissa was last, and Steve decided to try something new with her. He brought out a whole lineup of guys and allowed Melissa to choose one that she thinks she can connect with. She was asked who she's attracted to and she chose some of the guys. She was told to ask them questions, and she asked what the wildest thing they've ever done was. Steve put Melissa on the spot and asked if she could be attracted to any of the guys, and she couldn't answer. Steve excused the guys and brought Melissa to the hot seat. Steve noted that she'd had 8 first dates and none worked. Steve told Melissa that she's acting helpless. She said that she liked Chris but she didn't like him all the way...and then she cried. Steve then got to the real problem - Melissa pushes guys away because everything she cares about goes away. Steve told Melissa how to handle things with Chris because she clearly does like him, and said he'd talk to Chris to try to make things right.

Monday, May 21, 2012

My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding: Rebelling Against The Culture

On My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding this week, we met Mellie, a young woman who wanted to rebel against her Gypsy heritage.

Mellie, a divorced Romanichal Gypsy woman still in her early twenties, has set her mind on rebelling against her Gypsy heritage. While this is looked down upon by her peers, I think Mellie has very good reasoning behind her actions.

During the episode, we learned that Mellie married while still in her teens and lived through an abusive marriage. Her husband beat her and the memories haunt her to this day. Because of it, she's turned off to the idea of remarrying, especially if she'd be marrying a Gypsy man.

On the show, Mellie acted out in inappropriate ways, like getting trashed beyond belief in Atlantic City, but I do have to give her credit for standing up for her beliefs: living for herself, having fun, and being open to dating non-Gypsy men. In Gypsy culture, it's important to marry other Gypsies to keep the bloodlines strong. This is understandable, given the limited number of Gypsies and the fact that the culture is seen as dying out, but there is a negative side to Gypsy culture, and that's spousal abuse. Per my research, it's relatively common in Gypsy relationships, and many women endure it as part of their cultural responsibility. Also, a Gypsy woman may not find her match within the Gypsy community, but it's still frowned upon to look for a husband elsewhere.

I also give Mellie credit for not wanting to live as a housewife, the destiny of most Gypsy and Traveler women. There's nothing wrong with being a housewife, but it is frustrating from an outside perspective that Gypsy women are always expected to do that as their primary job, rather than working outside the home. I understand that it's important for a mother to raise her children and maintain a home, but there's so much that Romanichal Gypsy women could offer the world if they were allowed to do so. We've seen some working Gypsies on the original installment of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, and they seemed to be happy, well adjusted people who are excellent in their respective lines of work.

The reason I'm so focused on this situation with Mellie is because while her family is supportive of her, they repeatedly said things like 'she just needs to meet the right Romany man and she'll settle down' and things of the sort. But why? Why can't Mellie date anyone she wants? Why can't she have fun as a single woman? I realize it's taboo in Gyspy culture to do these things, but Mellie is a strong woman and I give her credit for doing what she thinks - and knows - is right for her.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tough Love New Orleans, Episode 6

The show opened with Melissa's inability to connect to her date Chris even though he was great for her. The girl appears to be picky, but she admitted that she's scared to move forward.

This week was about how a sense of humor is important to a relationship. First, Steve and Joanne Ward set up matches for the girls who needed them. Danielle was set up with Corey. Donna was given a guy named Chris. Melissa got a new date as well, Brock.

The girls were told they'd be having a normal dinner with their dates, but Steve said he'd be giving the girls problems to see if they can find humor in tough situations. He warned us that there could be a serious meltdown factor if things go wrong.

Donna's date was first, and she said she felt comfortable with her date. Things went smoothly until Steve's surprise went down - the waitress 'accidentally' spilled bouillabaisse on Donna. She fortunately handled it well and laughed a lot, and she enjoyed how much her date stood up for her. She was great!

Elizabeth was next. She handled the spilled food situation well, too. She told the waitress that she could just wash the dress and it was no big deal. She was actually happy because the situation allowed Carl to be close to her, um, private places.

Danielle was third. She and her date seemed to really hit it off. After the bouillabaisse was dropped on her, she got sarcastic with the waitress, saying that she can buy her a new dress, and stormed off to the bathroom. She proceeded to stay in the bathroom way longer than necessary. She then completely tuned out with her date and said she couldn't continue the date.

Melissa was fourth. She was great! She said, "Shrimp and perfume, my favorite scent." Melissa handled it well and even noted that Brock seemed more awkward than she did in the situation!

Steve gathered the girls to discuss the events on the dinner dates. Donna was complimented because she handled the situation well and calmed her date down while doing that. Her date's feedback about her was very positive.

Surprisingly, Danielle's date was impressed with her behavior, even though on camera, her behavior didn't look so great. The benefit for her was that her date wasn't turned off by how she acted.

Steve then dropped the bomb that he'd be sending the girls to a comedy club and they each had to do some jokes about themselves. To help, Steve brought in some comedians to help them write their jokes.

Stephanie hated this challenge because she's been made fun of before, so she doesn't want to be the target of her own jokes. She went as far as to pack up to go home. It was noted by one of the other girls that she probably wants attention, and Steve noted that she's acting like a brat and throwing away a potential relationship by running away.

Steve told jokes first, which was nice because it shows that he was participating with the girls. He called Elizabeth up as the first girl to do her jokes. She had great presentation when she told her jokes. She was very natural on stage. Donna did great as well. She was funny! Her routine was a bit raunchy but she totally played it off. Despina did well, Shalana was alright, Danielle did great and Stephanie pulled it off well. After all of her freaking out, she was amazing! She was incredibly emotive and had great stage presence. After her performance, Stephanie talked to her date and explained that she almost had a breakdown before the challenge, which was a bold thing to do.

Melissa, who I thought would do really well, kind of crashed and burned. Well, she REALLY crashed and burned. You could practically hear the crickets in the room. It's unfortunate because she had potential to do really well, but her act was just...well, awkward. Fortunately or unfortunately, Melissa's night wasn't over yet - he former date Chris was brought onstage. (If you recall, Chris has wanted another date with Melissa even though she'd turned him down.) He told Melissa that he really wanted another date with her and asked what he has to do to get that date. She invited him to come sit with her, and told Chris that she loved his presentation because it was dramatic like a movie. Later, Melissa, who's incredibly frustrating, told the girls that she still doesn't have feelings for Chris. Try harder, Melissa!

Stephanie's date confronted her about the wild night she had on a previous episode where she got drunk and made out with a random guy. To her credit, she told her date John the truth. He said he wasn't bothered by it, but Stephanie thought otherwise. In what was a probable defense mechanism, Stephanie asked her date if he thought the relationship would go anywhere. From Stephanie's perspective, John shrugged off her question. I'm sure from his perspective, he just needed some time to think without taking in the idea of a long term, long distance relationship. Stephanie's defense mechanism kicked in when she got back to the house, and she told the girls that she wants to end things with John before she gets hurt.

During the group session, Donna was told that she did the best this week. Her date said he made a connection with her and she has a great personality. Next, Steve asked Melissa what she finds attractive. She said she needs a guy who's bigger than her and she doesn't know how she's supposed to feel in a relationship. When asked if she likes Chris, Melissa still wasn't sure. That was unfortunate because Chris, again, really seemed to like her.

The hot seat was next, and Stephanie found herself in that spot. When asked if she knew why she was there, she said she wasn't sure if it was because she was threatening to leave or because of her conversation with her date. Steve said next time Stephanie tries to leave, he'll help her pack. Ouch! Stephanie broke down and cried about the situation with her date and how she felt like her date brushed her off after she noted her indiscretions at the bar the other night. Steve asked Stephanie if she'd be able to tell her date what she told him, and Stephanie said yes. This, of course, was a trick question, because as soon as she said that, Steve brought her date into the room. Stephanie and her date talked out their issues. She explained that her date can trust her and that she made a mistake because a guy paid attention to her. She explained that she wants to move forward, and her date said she wants their relationship to work out. It was such a happy ending to a tough date for the pair.

Sister Wives: Kody Takes His Wives on Dates (5/20/12)

The episode began with Kody coming home with the new car he earned as a bonus from working for the family's marketing company. Meri noted that the car will make a great date video. This led into Kody's description of the fact that he has to date each wife separately because they have individual relationships.

The first date was Kody taking Meri skiing. This was a promise Kody made 22 years ago that was never fulfilled. Skiing proved to be a challenge for Meri, but she tried really hard! She ended up taking a really hard fall and felt a popping in her knee. At this point, Kody decided that Meri would be done skiing for the day, although Meri wanted to continue. Kody had someone from ski patrol check out Meri's knee, and he recommended that Meri stop skiing and go to the emergency room.

The couple reminisced about their engagement. It took place on Christmas Eve, and Kody handed Meri a box, which she opened on her own.  They had their first kiss that night and got married four months later. Kody used to sing a song to Meri, and he was convinced to sing it to her at their wedding. I believe it was called Everything I Own by Bread. He also sang it to Meri at this point...and he seemed really insecure about his voice! The date seemed to go well except for when Kody mentioned Robyn, and that hit a sour point with Meri.

We saw some video of the wedding and it's incredible how different Kody and Meri look at their wedding. Kody has totally normal hair, and the couple seemed like such a normal, happy young couple.

While Meri stayed home recovering, Kody took Jenelle on a hiking date. Jenelle was happy because she's made such accomplishments with her health and weight loss, and she can hike and do other activities that she previously could not do. Meri had lost 10 pounds and 18 inches in the past six months...she's doing fantastic!

Kody and Jenelle reminisced about how Jenelle had the first baby and how that and the following babies helped hold the family together. Jenelle then noted that she thinks she's more in love with Kody now than ever. It's interesting because Jenelle seems to be having a much different experience than Christine, who we've seen struggle recently with the Robyn situation.

Christine and Meri discussed the issues that Christine and Kody are having. Meri advised Christine that she needs to change and make things better, but Christine defended the fact that Kody needs to make changes as well. Meri said that it does take Kody time to admit his wrongdoings, and Christine will have to fix herself. It will be one sided. Christine wondered how Meri could be so happy with things because Kody did nothing for her for her wedding or anniversary last year, but Meri said it hurts but she tries to be happy when she's with Kody and doesn't focus on their time apart. She advised that Christine should do the same and work on her own issues.

Christine noted that the root of her issue has to do with the addition of Robyn to the family. Her conflict and unhappiness comes from the fact that she was the last wife for a long time, and Robyn's taken that special place in Kody's heart. Christine felt as if Kody's not balancing his time for each wife, and per Meri, Kody's staying away from Christine because she's upset whenever they're together. She told Christine to act happy and fix herself, and things will fall into place.

Kody and Christine went on a date that Kody chose - a helicopter ride. Christine was thrilled. The pair enjoyed some fun time together and didn't think about their problems. At the end of the date, Christine apologized for the things that were going wrong in their marriage, and it seemed to help Kody and Christine reconnect.

Kody and Christine discussed their fast marriage and courtship and her desire to be the third wife. She'd always wanted to be in that position. She imagined that the first wife paved the way, the second wife was a tough spot and the third wife came in once things were ironed out. Christine noted that she was surprised to learn more about Kody after they were marriage - she thought he was the life of the party, but after marriage, realized he had a serious side that she hadn't anticipated. However, she did help to bond the three wives, because before she came into the picture, Meri and Jenelle weren't getting along.

Robyn's date was last. Before her date, she noted that she thinks things are going well between her and the other wives, although I think her views may be somewhat deluded, based on what the other wives have said on this episode and past episodes. On the flip side, she and Kody seem to have a strong relationship because Kody said he fell in love with both Robyn and her kids.

During their dinner date, Kody and Robyn reminisced about how they met, which was at a church dance. Robyn met Meri, and Meri encouraged Kody to ask Robyn to dance. Even though Robyn and Kody ended up hitting it off, Kody was originally turned off by Robyn being divorced. Clearly, he got over it because they're married with a child now. The pair discussed having more kids and the fact that Kody will be 63 when Solomon graduates.

Kody noted that Robyn hasn't really given him problems yet, which is interesting because it explains a lot about why she's the favorite. Not only is she the newest, youngest and pretty, but she's not presenting problems to Kody. Do I think that's going to last? No. Once Robyn's around longer, the problems will come out. But for now, she's keeping things smooth, which is probably a smart move that I believe is at least somewhat tactical.

Dayton and Meri had a joint birthday party. They actually share a birthday, which Robyn said has been a good bond for the pair. Meri agreed. Robyn continued by saying that Solomon's addition to the family has brought everyone together, and they're thrilled that the other kids have taken to him so well.

After the presents were almost done, Kody handed Meri a box with a piece of paper in it. The paper showed a picture of Mexico, where the pair would be taking a vacation. Meri was clearly thrilled nad speechless. You could see it on her face. It was really nice to see her look truly happy, because she struggles and has a major role in the family as the first wife. As many things as can be said about Kody and the wives, it was beautiful to see the connection between Kody and Meri and realize that there are many happy moments like that one.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Tough Love New Orleans, Episode 5

When we left off at the end of last week's Tough Love New Orleans, Tiffany was called up to the hot seat but refused to go.

When this episode opened, Tiffany still refused to go up and told Steve to talk to her in her seat. And he did - he called her out on her lies about her age, having kids, etc. Steve then asked her to reveal another secret, and she refused. Steve asked her if June 28th meant anything to her, and she said it's the day she was married. She couldn't remember the year - she first said 2009, then 2010. Steve showed her wedding pictures, and also a picture from Facebook where her husband refers to her as his wife. Steve said he interviewed several people about Tiffany, and all of them thought she was still married. And with that, Tiffany was kicked out of boot camp.

Steve announced that the Tough Love New Orleans ladies would be helping him answer questions about sex on a talk radio show. The goal of this exercise is to see how open the girls are about sex and if they view it the same way as others.

A girl named Amy called and asked what she could do besides sex. Steve gave the question to Melissa, who advised giving a blow job. Next, a caller asked how to tell when you're in love, and that was given to Elizabeth. She said it's all about effort on the guy's end - flowers, opening car doors, etc. Charlie called and asked if sex is okay on the first date. Despina said if you're looking for just sex, it's fine, but if you want a relationship, sex on the first date won't work. Dana asked how she could introduce the idea of using her vibrator with her man. Elizabeth was asked, and she said she doesn't believe in masturbation. Melissa said that she's been masturbating since she was "like three years old".

After this, Steve set up a party for the girls. The catch? The house was decorated with sexy, seductive stuff. The point was to separate the girls from the women. The ladies were told to dress provocatively - Steve wanted to see how they interpreted that.

Danielle was given a new date - Bradley. Melissa was given Steven. Donna had Julian. Most of the girls were having dates with people they've already met. Melissa was told something special was in store for her. To empower her, Steve gave Melissa a dominatrix outfit and a makeover. He wanted Melissa to be empowered and rock tonight's challenge.

When Melissa went to meet the girls in her new outfit, she looked great, but was clearly still a bit insecure, because she said, "I'm going to dominat...rix him." She wasn't sure of the word to use and doubted herself. Fortunately, things got better. She greeted her date with confidence when he came to the door.

 Donna seemed to be turned on by her date Julian. She seemed to open up well and conversation flowed smoothly. Stephanie, in her new, somewhat more natural look, seemed to be more relaxed than usual.

Steve pulled the girls aside from the party to announce another piece of the challenge. He called it Steve Ward's Game of Sex. The girls were instructed to play this with their dates and talk freely about sex.

Melissa's date asked her what her favorite sexual position was (a question from the game), and she said she's never had sex and is waiting to be exclusive with a guy. Steve was not happy with that. Also, she offered to show her date her vibrators.

Elizabeth had a lot of trouble with the challenge and blushed like crazy. She had trouble explaining how she has an orgasm. Stephanie, on the other hand, had no problem showing off her phone sex technique.

Despina was super defensive on her date. Her date asked her what her career passion is, and she felt that it was too deep and mentally pushed her date away.

After the party, Steve told Despina that she shuts down when a guy tries to make an emotional connection with her. Steve replayed the video of Despina asking her date if he's worried about her career. She stated that she's shuffled around her whole life. Her goal has been to become self sufficient. Steve pointed out that in doing this, she's isolated those around her.

Donna told Steve that she felt chemistry with her date. Steve commended her for doing well during the challenge. Unfortunately, her date realized that Donna wanted a serious relationship, and didn't want to pursue that right away with anyone. Donna felt terrible - she cried and said she felt old. Steve advised Donna that she has to convince guys that she and her partner can have fun and plan for kids - it can be done.

Stephanie said this was the first date that she felt comfortable and the chemistry was intense. Her date said that Stephanie's gotten much better at expressing her feelings. Steve told Stephanie that she's building emotional intimacy.

Steve asked Melissa how she thinks she did. Steve said she did embrace the challenge, but she didn't act confident or self-assured. Instead of saying that she's a virgin, she should have said that she's imagined different positions and stayed in character.

Elizabeth was put in the hot seat because she shut down when she had to talk about sex. She broke down because she's never had an orgasm and doesn't believe in masturbation. Steve said she's being judgmental...like her mother. She noted that she still wears a ring from her ex. Steve told her that she has to let go because it symbolizes a bad relationship and the wrong ideas. Elizabeth agreed to take off the ring, and she felt like a weight was lifted off of her the moment she took it off. Carl was willing to see Elizabeth again, and Steve encouraged Elizabeth to keep trying.

Sister Wives: 5/13/12

Sister Wives is back, and there's trouble in paradise. Last we left off, Robyn had a baby and immediately offered to be a surrogate mother for Meri. You know, because real women offer to birth other people's babies immediately after giving birth to their own.

The kids adjusted very well to Robyn and Kody's baby Solomon, which was strange, considering that they weren't thrilled about Robyn joining the family in the first place.

Robyn addressed the surrogacy issue and noted that Meri's thinking it over. Robyn also noted that she needs to wait for Solomon to be old enough for Robyn to become pregnant, so there's plenty of time for the family to decide what they want (or what will keep their show popular on TV, but whatever).

Just a note on the waiting-to-be-a-surrogate thing - in my personal opinion, and the opinion I've read on other blogs, many people think Robyn isn't being sincere. Also, there seems to be a sentiment that the Brown family seemed to have good intentions for having their TV show at first, but now seems to be playing things up for the TV cameras.

The family went to look at a place to live where everyone can live in one area. The adults all went to look at three property sites. Surprisingly, they all agreed that the liked "Property A" - the first one that they looked at. The family has hardly been agreeing on things lately, so this was a surprise...but a good one!

Meri and Robyn went out shopping for the Sister Wives' Christmas presents. Christine admitted that she didn't enjoy shopping with the pair, so she opted to stay out of it. In the confessional, Christine turned on a sugary sweet voice and said something along the lines of, "Just because there's four wives, that doesn't mean we have to do everything together." At this point, the other wives laughed and one said "Really?" I think Christine was a little offended.

The Brown family announced that they'd be celebrating Hanukkah this year because of the meaning behind the holiday. Kody threw in one of those obligatory lines about having Jewish friends or something, but in reality, I don't think he needed to - I think it's wonderful that he and his family are enjoying the positive traditions of other cultures.

The family followed up on this explanation by saying that they used to celebrate Joseph Smith's birthday but Kody decided it was something he no longer wanted to do. The family noted that it's not something that most Mormons do - it was a tradition to Christine's family. Christine, of course, felt slighted that her tradition was being taken away, and while the family claimed it wasn't against her, I can see why she felt otherwise.

This led to Christine, Kody and Meri weighing in on the Christine-and-Kody situation. It started with Christine talking about how she felt her relationship with Kody was at a stand-still. She's hoping for improvement, but feels that they aren't even working on their relationship. Kody noted that Christine's different than she used to be and she needs to learn how to 'deal with her stuff'. The camera flashed back to Christine, who said that she feels fine as a person - basically saying that her problems are with Kody and the marriage, not herself. Meri weighed in, stating that Kody and Christine are blaming each other when they both need to look inward.

 Next, the family did some traditional happy family stuff - caroling and cutting down a Christmas tree. Unfortunately, these activities were not all fun and happy - Gabriel and Garrison got into a fight, which led to Garrison being punched in the nose. Kody continued stringing up the tree while Janelle managed the situation. It was evident that Jenelle was frustrated by Kody's absence, especially because he was physically only a few feet away.

Kody took Ysabel, Gwendlyn, Aurora and Savanah shopping to buy their moms Christmas presents. The kids whined and wanted to leave, and Kody seemed to have the same sentiment, only internally - he noted that buying his wives' gifts was a challenge.

The family got ready to go to their Christmas house, where they'd all be under one roof for the holidays. Meri had trouble packing because she didn't have help. On the flip side, lots of the kids helped Robyn pack up her stuff. When this was addressed in the group confessional, Meri was quick to say she could handle everything, but there seemed to be some jealousy involved.

The Brown family arrived at the Christmas house. The kids immediately staked their claim, but the moms looked to Kody to assign their rooms. Kody stepped in to divide up the rooms, but he seemed to cause trouble - the moms ended up getting upset with his ideas.

Janelle seemed to have her faith in family renewed when she saw the kids together in one home. It made her feel even more strongly about the families living in the same area again.

The kids decided to do a nativity play. Mariah led the efforts, but some of the kids seemed less than interested. When the kids gave her grief, Mariah looked like she was going to cry. It was so sad.

Kody put the Christmas tree up. It looked awful, partially due to the fact that when the Browns' cut it down, it lost a bunch of branches. Logan helped to put the decorations on the tree, but it was bittersweet. He's the oldest child, and a senior in high school. Within three years, he and four siblings will be off to college and may no longer be around for holidays like this.

In the end, the nativity play happened and the family agreed that it turned out well. It was nice to see the family united and not thinking about all of the problems that had recently been occurring.

Christmas morning came, and the kids did their gift exchange first. (Each kid chose another child's name from a hat.) Savanah gave Mariah a homemade gift. She drew a picture of four houses and a road in between. There was a picture of a car as well. This was taped to a box that had sand or something in it, and when Mariah shook the box, it made noise. It was supposed to represent the noise of a car driving from one house to another.

Mykelti gave Ysabel a present - a nail polish kit. She loved it.

Kody's gifts to the wives were next. He gave Janelle a tablet. Robyn was gifted a guitar. Christine got a ring that she wanted. The wives gave Koday an exotic gun. Apparently Kody has more guns that are kept in a safe, sot his was right up his alley.

Robyn handed out gifts to the wives - necklaces that she'd designed herself. It was revealed that the wives were looking into starting a fashion line and this would be the first design. The wives loved the necklaces.

Christine and Kody talked about their issues. Christine noted that she doesn't think Kody wants to be with her, and Kody made it seem like being with Christine can be negative, which is why he stalls when it's time to go over. Even with that discussion, it seems that the pair came to an understanding and would work on their relationship.

The whole family went to see the cul-de-sac where they planned to live in the future. The kids seemed thrilled at the idea of living in homes next to each other. The kids were given kites to fly around the property and start getting familiar with the property. And with that, the season premiere of Sister Wives was over.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Join HGTV to See a TV Host in the Making

HGTV's new show HGTV Design Star 2012 will be premiering on Tuesday, May 29, at 9 p.m. ET/PT. It's a show that airs on cable television network HGTV and is now returning for the seventh season with host David Bromstad who was the winner of the first season of the show. What's the show all about, what can the viewer expect?

The competition
The race for victory is for nothing less than the winner's own HGTV show. Which means that whoever wins the show will receive his or her own HGTV design show as a prize. Making sure they find the right person, the network has handpicked the participants, from talented interior designers to superb stylists and great artists. T

Together there are 12 competitors. Their task each episode is to display their star quality on-camera, create inventive designs and pretty much make sure they leave the best impression of themselves. The contestants of the seventh season of the show are Jordan Cappella, Danielle Colding, Bex Hale, Rachel Kate, Miera Melba, Yuki Northington, Luca Paganico, Stanley Palmieri, Britany Simon, Kris Swift, Mikel Welch, and Hilari Younger.

The judges
As mentioned, David Bromstad is the host and the mentor of the show. The judges are HGTV designers Genevieve Gorder and Vern Yip, each week they are joined by celebrity judges such as multi-platinum recording artist Vanilla Ice from DIY Network, Emmy award-winning actress Marg Helgenberger from CSI, Entertainment Tonight host Mark Steines, Kardashian mom Kris Jenner. They are also joined by entrepreneur and TV personality Daisy Fuentes.

The prize
The winner of the show will receive his or her own HGTV design show. May the best man, or woman, win!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Tough Love New Orleans, Episode 4

After Elizabeth's outburst at the group session, Joanne Ward wanted to meet with her. At their meeting, Elizabeth began to cry. She admitted that she was trying although Steve couldn't see it. Joanne shared a story about her life - she married young but wasn't in love, so she left her husband even though her family cut her off. She later remarried and reunited with her parents, and everything worked out.

Steve introduced this week's lesson: class versus crass. Steve sent the women to a club in the city of New Orleans while Steve Ward and his mom Joanne Ward watched. Donna started the party off by dancing. Melissa branched away first to see if a guy would talk to her. A guy, Frank, approached her. The other girls thought Frank was perfect for her because of how he dressed. Melissa did a good job of flirting with Frank.

Elizabeth danced up close with a guy, even though she said it wouldn't lead anywhere. Tiffany had dollars thrown at her while she danced. Stephanie got trashed made out with a bad boy, Brandon. In a drunken state back at the house, Stephanie tried to convince herself and others that she did nothing wrong with Brandon because she's not in a committed relationship.

Steve discussed the events at the club with the girls. Melissa was given props for flirting in a classy, respectable way. Tiffany was criticized for taking the dollars that were thrown at her off the stage. Stephanie heard Steve's wrath for her actions.

Steve brought in an etiquette coach to teach the girls good Southern manners. The end result was that the girls would have a cotillion dinner that night. Each girl would wear a cotillion dress chosen by Steve. While most of the girls would find their dresses upstairs, Stephanie's was at a salon, where she'd be given a makeover to go with her dress.

When Steve brought Stephanie to the salon, he told her he wanted her to look natural, but she didn't take it well. She said she worked hard to get the Barbie look she has, so she was hesitant to change. After all was said and done, Stephanie admitted that she didn't look as fake as she usually did and she seemed to like it.

At the cotillion, each girl was presented as she walked down the stairs and she was united with her date. Elizabeth was united with a guy named Carl who she seemed to like. All of the girls were already at the table when Stephanie made her entrance. Stephanie looked like a person, not a Barbie doll. The only think her look needed was some confidence - she looked insecure to not be covered in makeup.

Steve challenged the girls in another way - he gave them escargot as the first course of the meal. Fortunately, the girls handled the first course well. Shalana did especially well - she engaged her date without dominating the conversation. Stephanie's date brought up the club the night before, and Stephanie admitted that she drank, but not what she did.

After dinner, Steve pulled Stephanie outside for a horse and carriage ride. She felt that she finally connected to her date.

Despina spent time with her date and admitted that she's had issues with commitment. Melissa also admitted that she didn't feel a spark with her date Tom, and she's upset that she hasn't met someone that she's connected with yet.

This week at the group session, Shalana was told that she did the best. Her date said they hit it off right from the start. Her date rated his interest level in Shalana an 8 out of 10. Steve told Despina that she needs to be able to let the right guy in and she agreed to try. While Melissa wasn't interested in her date, he was interested in her. Steve asked Melissa if she'd not become mopey next time a date didn't go perfectly, she said it depends on the time of the month. Steve didn't accept that and said she was BSing and needed to get over that.

While some girls believed that Stephanie would be in the hot seat, she was not. Steve told her that she was more attractive when not dressed like a Barbie. Steve criticized Stephanie for making out with a guy at the bar. However, she may have redeemed herself because her date seemed to like spending time with her. Still, Steve said she should have told her date about her indiscretion at the bar, and got upset that Stephanie used excuses to cover up why she did what she did.

Tiffany found herself in the hot seat, but refused to go because she didn't believe that she should be. And that's where the episode ended. I guess we'll see the outcome of that next week!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Dance Moms Miami: Sammy and Hannah Do a Duet

This week, the instructors began by saying that the dancers aren't doing well enough, which isn't a promising start.

Kimmy was at the top of the list. Sammy was second. Jessi was third for nailing the group routine. Fourth was Lucas because he made a lot of mistakes. Hannah was last, despite her improvement.

This week, the Dance Moms Miami team attended a dance competition called Energy. Kimmy was given a solo. Sammy was told she has a duet. Jessy was given a solo. Lucas was not given a solo. Finally, Hannah was told she'd be in a duet...and it would be with Sammy. The theme for the week was named, and it was discipline.

The theme focused around being in jail, and each child was given a pretend crime. Lucas' crime was tax evasion, which apparently hit a little close to home because his mom recently had to pay unpaid back taxes. Jessi was a thief.

The moms began to talk and they agreed - Sammy and Hannah dance differently, and putting them in a duet made no sense.

Jessi's solo rehearsal was next. Her lyrical routine was called Cry Baby Cry. Sammy and Hannah practiced next. The goal of the contemporary routine was to teach of the girls a lesson and get them to work together. As they practiced, it was evident that the girls had different dance styles. Victor and Angel noticed, and tried to get the girls to do a trust fall. Hannah wasn't able to do it, and Victor and Angel wouldn't let the girls move on until it happened. When Hannah couldn't follow through, the instructors noted that she doesn't want to do the duet. After a lot of tears and talking to her mom, Hannah did the exercised and maintained her spot in the duet.

As the team rehearsed, a huge fire broke out near their practice space. As it got closer, Victor and Angel told everyone to evacuate. There was chaos - kids whose parents weren't present cried, and Victor and Angel coordinated carpools to their homes. Victor and Angel were so brave and organized. You could see that they really cared about the kids.

Kimmy's song was about being bad. The instructors asked if Kimmy had ever done anything bad, and even her mom Ani said no. Lucas and Jessi were called down to help Kimmy learn to be bad. They were asked what bad things they've done. Lucas admitted he put all of his mom's bras in the garbage one day. Kimmy was given the homework to do something bad in order to learn what it's like to be a bad girl.

The duet rehearsal continued and it was still off. Hannah's mom Debi felt like she was being set up to fail because Sammi and Hannah's differing styles made Hannah look bad, in her opinion. Brigette took matters into her own hands and told the instructors that Debi thinks Hannah's being set up to fail. Debi was confronted by the instructors, and an argument ensued. You know, the usual.

The competition

Jessi danced first. She was good, but it wasn't my favorite dance of hers. You could really see the emotion on her face, which was a plus.

Kimmy was asked what she did to be bad, and unfortunately, she was told that she failed. All she did was through a pistachio back at Jessi, who threw a bunch at her first. Despite her inability to be bad, Kimmy's dance was good. She was adorable during her jazz routine.

Kimmy ended up taking fourth place in the teen solo competition. Jessi took second place.

The group number followed. I didn't love it. The dancing was good, but the costumes and choreography were not my favorite.

The dreaded duo was last. Before the kids went on, it was addressed by the instructors that this solo is not an act of sabotage, no matter what anyone says. Arguments ensued, and so on, and so forth. After everything, the duo worked. Like, it really worked. It looked great.

I guess the group number went over better than I thought, because it took first place. The duet also did great - it got a platinum award.