Saturday, August 30, 2008

London and Maddie's Kit Kittredge American Girl Treehouse Fund Update: Over 1,000 Seashells Sold in Bay Head, New Jersey!

Those of you who have been following the story of London and Maddie's road to entrepreneurship, posted here at the Bay Head Blog and over on my Roxiticus Desperate Housewives blog, know that the girls have been painting seashells and selling them for 25 cents out on the sidewalk in front of our beach house in Bay Head, New Jersey. They started at the beginning of the Summer of 2007 and earned about $150 from May through the Bay Head Halloween Parade in October.

At the beginning of this summer, when the previews for the Kit Kittredge American Girl movie began to appear on TV along with the required best friend Ruthie doll and related merchandise in the catalogs, Maddie and London started begging for Kit's $250 treehouse. At first I balked at the notion of young girls growing up in the 2008 Recession having the amazing opportunity to spend $250 on the treehouse of a young girl growing up during the 1930's Depression, while families in both eras faced foreclosure and sought debt relief. I realized, however, that having a serious financial goal would be a terrific learning experience for the girls, and I agreed to pay half if they worked hard to raise $125 this London and Maddie got busy painting shells, folding napkins, making their beds and cleaning their rooms. You'll be glad to hear that the girls met their original goal by the end of the third week of July and the Kit Kittredge American Girl Treehouse (some assembly required) was on its way.

Judging from the entrepreneurial spark I've seen in London and Maddie, having fun working all summer long to reach their goal, these are two girls who will be successful in their chosen careers and will never have to worry about debt relief. This summer's seashell sales have exceeded our wildest expectations. We've expanded our inventory to include Christmas ornaments for $1.00, and hosted a Tom Sawyer-style seashell painting party for all the kids in our neighborhood last week. The girls were photographed for a potential appearance in a regional magazine and they have a new goal for the remainder of the seashell season -- raising $90 for their 50% share of new tennis outfits. So stop by and buy a London and Maddie original seashell if you happen to visit the beach in Bay Head, New Jersey!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Roxy, Rex, London & Maddie Frolic in the Private Sandbox of the Rich

From the Roxiticus Desperate Memoirs:

Thursday, August 28, 2008, after 5:30pm

It smells so good out here on the beach...ocean air, sea breeze. Our girls have grown up to the point where they will disappear for hours at a time on the beach with their friends, their shovels, their buckets, barbies and Polly Pocket dolls. "Act your people!" they'll shout, if unlucky enough to be stuck playing dolls with mom or Aunt Veg. There's a pack of about 10 or 15 of them now...cute, though, unlike the newly minted teenage hoodlums.

I envy my girls their childhood...when I was growing up, I didn't even know enough to wish for what they have today: the sisterhood, the easy summer friendships on the beach. I loved the day trips I would take with my parents to Lavalette or Avon-by-the-Sea... but I don't think I ever tried to socialize with other kids on the beach, maybe knowing instinctively that the groups of kids my age shared a history of summers together.

One of our neighbors called to our attention a recent article about Bay Head and Mantoloking, New Jersey in The Canadian Press: "Welcome to the Jersey Shore. Now Go Home" where visitors to our fair beaches whined:

"They treat it like the private sandbox of a privileged few.

Tactics include charging as much as US $12 to use the beach for a single day and severely restricting parking near the beach (IF there's parking at all). Then there's the lack of restrooms and showers, a ban on food and drinks on the beach, physical barriers preventing beachgoers from even reaching the sand."

I guess we and our neighbors do care for our beach as if it were our own private beach, but I'm so deep into it that I can't see the outsiders' point. Bay Head charges $6 for a day pass for visitors over 12 years old, which Rex and I gladly pay when we have more than two adult visitors (we buy four annual passes for $65 each). Why should we provide public bathrooms or allow food on our beaches? If you want that, go somewhere else, like Pt. Pleasant Beach or Seaside Heights. Go to a state park beach, where they have the capacity to clean up after you leave half of your picnic on the beach and go home. Or rent a house or a hotel room here if the beaches that provide restrooms, showers, and food for day trippers don't have the appeal of Bay Head. There's a reason our beaches are pristine...don't ask us to put trash cans and portajohns all over our beaches for your day tripping convenience...just go somewhere else.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I Don't Want to Go Home! Southside Johnny at Martell's Tiki Bar on the Boardwalk in Pt. Pleasant Beach, New Jersey

Oh, I know that it’s getting late
But I don’t want to go home
I’m in no hurry baby time can wait
‘Cause I don’t want to go home

Listen to the man sing his song
I don’t want to go home
I don’t mind if it takes all night long
‘Cause I don’t want to go home

Listen, baby, I know we had to try
To reach up and touch the sky, baby
Whatever happened to you and I
That I don’t want to go home?

Lord, look at how all the people stare
Said I don’t want to go home
In their minds I know they’ve all been there
I don’t want to go home

I know the words to this song are real
But, oh, I don’t want to go home
I know he’s talking ‘bout the way I feel
And I don’t want to go home

Listen, baby, I know we had to try
To reach up and touch the sky, baby
Whatever happened to you and I
That I don’t want to go home?

I want to hear people laughing and having a good time
I want to know why she told me she had to go
Why did she leave me lonely?

I know that it’s time to go
But I don’t want to go home
You can play play your blues, play ‘em soft and low
‘Cause I don’t want to go home

I know the words to this song are real
But, oh, I don’t want to go home
I know he’s talking ‘bout the way I feel
And I don’t want to go home

Rex and I made our annual trip to Martell's Tiki Bar on the Boardwalk in Pt. Pleasant Beach, NJ, last night to see our all-time favorite bar band, Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes. Southside was in top form, singing lots of our favorites and letting each of his bandmembers share the spotlight... Bobby Bandiera, the Loveman Mark Pender, Joey Stann and Eddie Manion on saxophone, and of course, La Bamba La Bamba La Bamba!

I took the photo at the top of the post with my iPhone, so it's not such high quality, but I hope it gives you the feel for the atmosphere last night at the Tiki Bar.

Self-Hosting the Roxy's Best Of... WordPress MU Community

As my loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives and Bay Head Blog readers know, I've recently added the Roxy's Best Of... self-hosted WordPress MU Community to my daily blogging responsibilities. I'm really enjoying the freedom from Google/Blogger that a self-hosted blog allows, but the change has challenged me from a technology perspective. When I first started my Roxy's Best Of... blogging community, I wasted about a month trying to use the web hosting company that hosts our investment banking firm's web site. Turns out our business web host is not WordPress or blog friendly and wouldn't support the most up to date WordPress platform even after I uploaded the files myself using FTP. I've ended up with my blog designer and author of WordPress for Dummies Lisa Sabin-Wilson's hosting company, Blogs-About dot com, and Lisa and her husband have made self-hosting a breeze.

If you're thinking about making the switch to a self-hosted blog and need to find your own new web hosting service, I found a site that can save you a lot of time by comparing the strengths and weaknesses of various web hosts and providing an overall web host rating for each one. While WordPress capability was the most important for me, you'll also find ratings and awards for "Best Budget Hosting," "Best Blog Hosting," and "Best ECommerce Hosting," to name a few. also provides helpful articles related to self-hosting, including a tutorial on using CPanel, a web-based application that allows you to control every aspect of your website...but something I knew nothing about after three years on Blogger/Blogspot.

I'd be interested in hearing from other bloggers who have made the switch from Blogger/Blogspot to WordPress or other self-hosted I the only one who needed personal training on WordPress for Dummies?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Best of the Jersey Shore: A Trip to the Pt. Pleasant Beach Boardwalk

For those loyal readers who have been wondering what happened to the usually prolific blogger who blogs here, there (Roxiticus Desperate Housewives), and everywhere (Roxy's Best Of...), it's not writer's block, it's a really, really good life.

Rex, London, Maddie and I have been working and vacationing at the beach for the past week, and our beach time continues this coming week. While we've been compiling lots of material for Roxy's various blogs in the form of our real-life adventures, we've just been having too much fun to blog. So, for now, I'll offer up a couple of photos from last night's trip to the Boardwalk in Pt. Pleasant Beach. The photo on the left is a spinning dragon, Jenkinson's equivalent to Disney's spinning teacups. Bleeech....I can barely even watch, but the girls really love those motion sickness rides.

Thanks for your patience...please click the photos or links to "drop in" and check out Roxy's Best Of...the Jersey Shore.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hide the Villeroy & Boch Stemware... Susan and Mike are Coming to our Beach House! How 'Bout a Cup of NewWave Caffe Instead?


We have a long-running joke with our dear friends Susan and Mike that involves the kind of tit-for-tat that sends each couple running to hide the good crystal when the other comes to visit. It started almost three years ago with the 2005 Children's Holiday Open House we hosted at our home in the Roxiticus Valley, New Jersey. Unbeknownst to host Rex or hostess Roxy, Mike broke one of the Villeroy & Boch white wine glasses in our dining room armoire. He believed he had cleaned up the damage, never to be discovered, though I never understood the mysterious shards of glass in our cutlery organizer. A month or so later, Rex, London, Maddie and I were having dinner at Susan and Mike's house when I whacked a glass full of Cabernet clean in half and sent it sailing and spilling into my steak and across their dinner table. Instead of being horrified, Mike got a big grin on his face, said "we're even," and proceeded to reveal his secret Christmas party crime. This chain of events has continued across so many visits that Susan told me as she made plans to visit our beach house in Bay Head that she's found a Villeroy and Boch online replacement shopping site and is prepared to stuff our stockings before this year's Children's Holiday Open House.

In addition to re-stocking the stemware at our beach house (we're down to three white wine glasses here), we've discovered Villeroy & Boch's cool NewWave Caffe mugs that you can see in the image at the top of this post. With an innovative design (yet a stable base to avoid the anticipated risk of breakage), these mugs seem just right to serve up an after-dinner cappucino and biscotti to sober up the crystal-breakers before our families head out to Take a Walk on the Boardwalk in Pt. Pleasant Beach. We don't have a cappucino maker here at the beach in Bay Head, but I did bring the Keurig down from our Mendham home so that I can make single-serve flavored coffees (or an individual mug of decaf for Grammy) through Labor Day weekend.

I'm pretty sure I've also seen these NewWave Caffe mugs in action over at Bay Point Prime, where Dennis Foy serves up big white mugs of crispy french fries as an appetizer for London and Maddie while Rex and I enjoy his signature Tian of Crab. My Southpaw Rex will be happy to learn that the NewWave Caffe line includes a left-handed mug, as well as a sister pattern NewWave Dinnerware, though we're quite content with our Villeroy & Boch Basket Weave pattern. The best news of all? It's all 50% off through the end of August, so no matter how many Villeroy & Boch mugs or dinner plates our guests break, we can replace it on the cheap before Labor Day. Wish us luck!

Sponsored by Villeroy & Boch

Introducing Roxy's Best Of...Bay Head, New Jersey

Please allow me to introduce myself
I'm a gal of wealth and taste
I've been bloggin' around for three long, long years
Stole many a man's soul and faith

And I was 'round when The Bluffs
Served beer and cocktails shine or rain
Made damn sure that

Dennis Foy
Washed his hands before you ate

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name (Roxy)
But what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game
I stuck around Bay Head Bistro

When I saw it was a time for a change
Theresa's South served up dinners
Mueller's Bakery set out a cake

I rode a tank
In the East Avenue rank
When summer camp raged
And the mussels stank

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name, oh yeah
Ah, whats puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah

I watched with glee
While London and Maddie
Caught their first waves

Out on Mount Street Beach

I shouted out,
Who's got clothes for me?
When after all
It was The W.A.S.P. and The Bee

Let me please introduce myself
I'm a gal of wealth and taste
And I made plans for Crab Shack dinners
every weekend 'til we reached Labor Day

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But whats puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah, get down, baby

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But what's confusing you
Is just the nature of my game

Just as every Point Beach cop calls me criminal
And Martell's Tiki Bar sinners saints
As heads is tails
Just call me ROXY
cause I'm in need of some restraint

So if you meet me
Have some courtesy
Have some sympathy, and some taste
Use all your well-learned politesse
Or I'll lay your soul to waste

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name (Roxy)
But what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game (Roxy)
Woo, who
Oh yeah, get on down
Oh yeah
Oh yeah!
Tell me baby, whats my name (Roxy)
Tell me honey, can ya guess my name (Roxy)
Tell me baby, what's my name (Roxy)
I tell you one time, you're to blame (Roxy)
Ooo, who
Ooo, who
Ooo, who
Ooo, who, who
Ooo, who, who
Ooo, who, who
Ooo, who, who

Now, I have to say that when I rewrote the Rolling Stones' Sympathy for the Devil as Sympathy for the Housewife to introduce Roxy's Best Of... over on my Roxiticus Desperate Housewives blog, weird (bad) things happened. My computer crashed a few hours later, taking Roxy out of commission in the blogosphere (not to mention my investment banking career) for about a week. Here I am, back in business, taking a chance by rewriting those risky lyrics yet again on the Bay Head Blog. Please click on any of the links to explore my new Roxy's Best Of...Bay Head and the rest of the Roxy's Best Of...WordPress MU (Multi-User) Community, and do let me know what you think!


The Great Bay Head Duck Derby -- Saturday, September 6th, 2008 from Noon to 3pm

Bay Head, New Jersey is having its very own rubber duck derby to benefit the Bay Head School Foundation. Scheduled for Saturday, September 6th, from Noon to 3pm, the Great Bay Head Duck Derby includes a $50 Diamond Duck Race, a $10 Dainty Duck Race, gift auctions and silent auctions. The day's events will begin at Noon, with the races taking place at approximately 2:00pm, rain or shine.

Continue reading

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sweet Charity Event September 18th at McLoone's in Sea Bright, New Jersey

I was over at the Anchor & Palette on Mount Street in Bay Head, New Jersey, and picked up a flyer about a fund-raiser to be hosted on Thursday, September 18th, 2008 by Sweet Charity, a new division of Toys.calm, a non-profit organization dedicated to easing the anxiety of ailing children that goes along with being in the hospital. Sweet Charity is hosting a unique live and silent auction of one-of-a-kind chairs in all media. All proceeds of the September 18th Sweet CHAIR-ity event will benefit Toys.Calm and Jason's Dreams for Kids. Both charities specialize in taking care of children and families deailng with catastrophic illness.

Toys.calm was founded by Erin Puck, who was 12 1/2 years old when she was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. While undergoing her own treatment, she started collecting toys for other children because she found that sometimes toys could calm fears better than words. Now that Erin is healthy and strong, her wish is to continue calming the fears of children suffering through difficult treatments, surgeries or medical procedures, and the loneliness that these experiences bring. By giving children toys, books, videos, crafts, and other items, or supplying the hospitals with laptop computers so kids can stay connected, Erin hopes to make the time children spend in the hospital much more bearable. To this effort, Toys.calm has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide toys, games, books, movies and laptop computers.

Jason's Dreams for Kids is a 501(c)(3) organization which was founded in 1992 in memory of Jason Douglas Creager, who passed away on January 18, 1992 after losing his battle with cancer. The organization is devoted to granting wishes to children diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses. Bringing a little happiness and putting a few smiles on these children's faces is our goal - and hopefully, their parents faces, too. Jason's Dreams for Kids, Inc. fulfills the wishes of children through a variety of fundraising events as well as individual and corporate donations.

Sarah Frank and the Sweet Charity division of Toys.calm will host "Sweet CHAIR-ity" to be held September 18th at McLoone's in Sea Bright, NJ. Sarah is a Sophomore at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School who, after being ill for three years, decided that there is a lack of support for teenagers who are being treated in the hospital. The Sweet Charity division of Toys.calm was founded to help keep a connection for hospitalized teenagers with their families and friends, making sure that appropriate age movies, books and games are available in local hospitals and to make sure that a birthday or holiday is not forgotten because a teenager is hospitalized.

Sweet Charity is seeking local Jersey Shore artists who specialize in all media: painters, sculptors, photographers, welders, woodworkers, jewelers, designers, glassworkers and needleworkers. Make a difference by donating a chair of your choice and artistic expression. Or, if you own a restaurant or have theatre, sports or concert tickets you can donate dinners or events for the portion of the Sweet CHAIR-ity auction with a "Best Seats in the House" theme.

Pull up a chair and make a difference today. To donate a chair, please call 732-995-3373 or e-mail

Shore Thing Duo will provide music for the evening, September 18th at McLoone's, and there are sure to be other surprises and fun, so mark your calendar!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Lil' Sumpin' for Roxy's Chilly Nights at the Beach


Either here on the Bay Head Blog or over on my Roxiticus Desperate Housewives blog, I know I've posted about my daughter Maddie's special monkey blanket, Tonkie, that travels with us everywhere. In fact, Maddie announced the other day that her Tonkie is actually a member of our family, increasing Maddie's number of siblings and my number of responsibilities. Rex is a naturally warm person, both personality-wise and temperature-wise, so he prefers a great deal of air conditioning, which hasn't worked so well for those of us Van de Kamps (Roxy and London) who prefer to be snuggly warm but do not travel with our own personal Tonkies.

Aunt Veg and Uncle Quiet flew in from Pasadena to see their nieces in the big Annie's Playhouse show back up north and west in the Roxiticus Valley, and to enjoy the sun, surf and sand of Bay Head from our beach house for a couple of days. Aunt Veg, who shares my genetic predisposition to feeling chilly all the time, told me that the airlines no longer carry blankets or pillows on board. While none of the airlines have made a big public announcement on this hot (cold?) issue, the fact is that coach class travelers won't find blankets and pillows readily available.

Brent will also tell you how chilly I get when I visit our LizWorld NYC headquarters. There's an air conditioning vent pointing directly down on my side of our partners' desk, and I've been known to wrap myself up in an embarrassingly large Nantucket blanket when we're not in a client meeting, providing Rex and Brent with their laugh for the day.

Forgive me if I'm oversharing, but all of this background information is leading up to some good news for my chilly nights at the beach in the form of the Cabin Cuddler: a six-in-one grown-up travel blankie and own personal Tonkie for the beach, home, or office. Discreet but entirely functional, the Cabin Cuddler comes in two colors, black or cranberry (to match my purse). There's a patented pocket to keep my feet warm under my LizWorld desk, and the contour cut of the blanket will cover every inch of my body without causing a laugh like my stylish Nantucket office wrap. A rich, reversible tote bag carries both blanket and inflatable pillow, and turns into a hygienic pillow, a bit unlike our dear Tonkie, who doesn't get washed as often as the other members of the family.

Sponsored by Cabin Cuddler