Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New Local Areas Added to Roxy's Best Of...Red Bank, Morristown, Lambertville and Pluckemin, New Jersey...Still Looking for Local Bloggers in Texas

Every day, I've been trying to add a little more local content to my Roxy's Best Of... WordPress MU community. While late night TV hosts can poke fun of our state with "yo! what exit?" I'm not actually watching late night TV because I'm too busy telling my readers all the great things I've found about New Jersey, from the beach in Bay Head to the greater Roxiticus Valley (Mendham, Bernardsville, and Chester, to name a few of the nearby towns). Over the past few nights, while Rex and the girls have been sleeping soundly, I've added four new blogs to Roxy's Best Of... Red Bank, Morristown, Lambertville, and Pluckemin, NJ. I'm going to add a blog for Santa Fe, New Mexico, since Rex's brother Jake lives about an hour and a half from there and we found many terrific art galleries and restaurants when we visited for Spring Break 2007.

However, I'm running out of friends and relatives who can blog about their local areas. SpicyBug, give that screaming kid a nice frozen teething ring and get to work on Florida! Bloggers, come out of your Round Rock TX homes, take a break from worrying about the Austin real estate market, and tell the world about your favorite restaurants and things to do for fun in Texas!

Please click the "Contact Me" link in my sidebar to sign up for your very own Roxy's Best Of... blog.

Waitin’ on a Rainy Day: London, Maddie, Rex and Roxy Explore The Grove at Shrewsbury, New Jersey

As we headed down to our beach house in Bay Head, New Jersey, for most of the month of August, Rex and the girls and I had a few things on our wish lists, but we figured we would save our shopping for a rainy day. Well, this year the weather gods smiled upon us, and that rainy day never came. We didn't see a single movie at the theatre in Brick, NJ, and every sunny day meant the errands would have to wait.

Finally, as Labor Day approached, there were a few clouds in the sky and the forecast offered up "scattered showers," so we jumped into our Chevy Suburban and headed north to The Grove at Shrewsbury. First things first…we were starved, so we enjoyed an outdoor lunch (the showers held off) at Pasta Fresca. Then we shopped till we dropped!

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Not In My Backyard? Better Look It Up Online

I don't know how many of my Bay Head and Mantoloking neighbors were aware that Dateline NBC's "To Catch a Predator" series used a Mantoloking beach house and local young adult decoys for a sex sting operation. In April 2007, twenty-eight (28) men were arrested after coming in from around the country and going to to the oceanfront home with intentions of having sex with a child. Prosecutors said the suspects range in age from 21 to 60 and include a convicted sex offender, an Air Force mechanic, and a school bus driver from Philadelphia. The show highlights the sting operation that catches men who have arranged to meet up in a Mantoloking home for what they think will be a sexual encounter with an underage girl or boy. Instead, Dateline NBC's Chris Hansen is waiting for them, complete with video cameras and police.

When I first heard about the Mantoloking sex sting from one of our friends, it got me thinking about the safety of my children and I looked up the areas surrounding our beach house and our year-round home up north in an online Sex Offender Registry. Thanks to Megan's Law, convicted sex offenders are required to register their whereabouts, and the directories share some of the details of their arrests, preferences, and how they typically lure their victims.

You Get What You Pay For....What's Up with All the New EntreCard Rules??!!

While I am totally not a morning person, I woke up early this morning and started to drop my Roxy's Best Of... and Bay Head Blog EntreCards all over the blogosphere....I was using London and Maddie's Mac, which is so much faster than my Windows Vista notebook, so I wanted to get through as much as I could before the girls woke up and made fun of me.

Over the past few days, there's been a lot about EntreCard in the blogosphere. Other bloggers posted about EntreCard being for sale in the range of $100,000 to one million dollars, but quick as you can say EntreCard they appear to have taken it off the market.

Then came the e-mail from EntreCard about new rules about transferring EntreCard credits. I have to admit, I didn't pay much attention. People who think "these rules don't apply to me" are a source of frustration, but this morning I was one of them. I wanted to transfer 100 EC from my Bay Head Blog to Roxy's Best Of... so I could buy an ad on a site that I otherwise didn't have enough EntreCard credits to afford. Since I hadn't finished my first cup of coffee, I was still groggy as I hit the transfer button and then....THEY CHARGED ME A 12.5% TRANSFER TAX!! For transferring credits between linked blogs! EntreCard, you have got to be kidding me.

As I commented on some of my fellow bloggers' posts about the new EntreCard rules, I guess you get what you pay for...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Hard at Work on Roxy's Best Of... Adding New Local Areas Every Week

With all the new TV network season premieres -- Desperate Housewives, Brothers & Sisters, Grey's Anatomy, Dirty Sexy Money -- combined with daily blogging, commenting on Other People's Blogs ("OPB"), driving traffic to my various blogs, and starting a back to school fitness program, it is amazing I get any sleep at all. What's been keeping me up at night lately is the effort I'm putting into new content for my Roxy's Best Of... blog. I've been trying to post several times a day about my New Jersey faves, and I've been recruiting new local bloggers to cover their home towns. After all, while Roxy's the expert on the Roxiticus Valley as well as Bay Head and the Jersey Shore, I don't know anything about northern California, where to find the best Atlanta Realtors, or children's ballet lessons in Detroit. I've been learning about Duck, North Carolina in preparation for an upcoming long weekend trip, but I need your help...if you're a local expert who knows a thing or two about realtors in Atlanta or restaurants in Charleston or art and culture in Cincinnati and you're interested in contributing to a Roxy blog, please drop me an e-mail or stop by the site and let me know.

We Got More Mermaids!

Back in May, I posted about the Mermaid Swim Team we bought at the Anchor & Palette Gallery on Mount Street in Bay Head, New Jersey. Artist Wendy McCarthy painted those lovely mermaids as part of her Mermoments trilogy (that turned out to be several more than three). London and Maddie have loved having the Mermaid Swim Team in their bedroom in Bay Head for the summer, and we'll be bringing the painting up north to our home in the Roxiticus Valley when we close up our beach house for the season at the end of October.

When we attended the Mermoments show at the Anchor & Palette in July, we were struck by the Mermaid Cocktail Party (shown on the left). While we don't have any space grand enough to display such a large work of art, we had to have these mermaids in our home, too. Luckily, around Labor Day, Wendy McCarthy completed a set of prints and we just picked up our framed & matted Mermaid Cocktail Party print at the Anchor & Palette in time to bring them home with us for the winter.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bay Head Halloween Parade Scheduled for Sunday, October 26th

London, Maddie, Rex and I always look forward to the annual Bay Head Halloween Parade. It takes place every year on the Sunday before Halloween, even if Halloween is a Sunday, and this year, the Bay Head Halloween Parade is scheduled for Sunday, October 26th. We take our costumes very seriously, as do our neighbors... in past years, we've seen princesses waving from their floats, broadcasting music through the town, from Mount Street to the firehouse. One family, frequently winners of the family trophy, has dressed up as the Incredibles, the Untouchables...what will they think of next, dressing up as the Bay Head police force, all decked out in 5.11 Tactical gear and writing parking tickets?

This year, London and Maddie both want to be Sharpay from High School Musical (one Sharpay Golf, one Sharpay glammed out for the end of school celebration), and they have their hearts set on seeing Mom and Dad marching along as Ken and Barbie. We'll hope to see you out there...look for the blonde with pigtails in the 1970s floral print dress!

Special thanks to our sponsor, 5.11 Tactical Outdoors, where you'll find a complete selection of tactical gear, whether you're a professional or just dressing up for Halloween. Please click on the disclosure link in my sidebar under "Hot Topics" to review this site's policy on sponsored posts.

Did You Hear About National Stay At Home Week?

As if spending the rainy weekend watching the Wizards of Waverly Place marathon on the Disney Channel wasn't bad enough, there were endless promotions during Desperate Housewives for something called "National Stay At Home Week." Reading between the lines, I believe they (and who are "they" anyway -- who are the creators of this special week?) are proposing that we all stay home with our families and watch TV! What's more, ABC has made it seem incredibly attractive to stay at home and watch the season premieres....Desperate Housewives, Brothers and Sisters, Dirty Sexy Money, Grey's Anatomy.

Who'd like to join me?

Those Other Desperate Housewives Return Tonight! Sunday, September 26th, 2008 on ABC

Well, I don't know about you, but Rex and the girls and I just can't get enough of those chubby chicas, the little Latina Girls who showed up in Gaby's bedroom, trying on selections from her couture wardrobe and smearing on her makeup, during the season finale of Desperate Housewives on ABC. It is 8:30pm EDT on Sunday night, and I'm headed up to read bedtime stories to London and Maddie, who will beg to stay up and watch the "five years later" season premiere of their favorite non-Disney Channel program.

I may not be nominated for "Mother of the Year," but their bedtime is 9:41pm after all... looking forward to hearing all of your thoughts on those other Desperate Housewives.


Rainy Weekend, Never Made it to Bay Head

It's Sunday night, and our family spent a quiet rainy weekend in the Roxiticus Valley instead of heading down to our beach house in Bay Head, New Jersey. We never close up our house for the season until after the Bay Head Halloween Parade (Sunday, October 26th this year), but the back-to-school rhythm and the Fall weather conspire to make our visits less and less frequent after Labor Day.

With less than 40 minutes until the season premiere of Desperate Housewives, we're headed upstairs for bedtime stories with dreams of sunny skies tomorrow.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Disney Fifteen

I just snuck downstairs to do a little bloggging on London and Maddie's Mac before they wake up this morning, and here I am listening to Hannah Montana blasting up the stairs from the gym while Rex works out on the elliptical trainer. It is a little embarrassing how completely our family is immersed in Disney (think audio, video, live and animated characters, and California theme parks), though as a stockholder I can't help but be pleased. No matter what the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus critics (including Grammy, frowning over our giant purple tour bus in the family room) may say, all four of us enjoy both Miley's music and her Hannah Montana TV show on the Disney Channel. It looks like London and Maddie may both dress up as Sharpay from High School Musical for Halloween (Maddie as "Sharpay Golf," London as "Sharpay Summer"), and we're looking forward to a steady stream of Disney movies this Fall, including High School Musical III, which hits the theatres in October.

If I had to compile a list of my Disney Fifteen, the top 15 songs from my favorite Disney stars or movies, it would look something like this:

  1. If We Were A Movie -- Hannah Montana. As Dick Clark might say, "it's got a great beat and you can dance (or work out) to it." Pure Bubblegum pop, no apologies.
  2. This Is Me -- Demi Lovato and Joe Jonas (from Camp Rock)
  3. You Are the Music in Me -- Gabriella and Troy from High School Musical II
  4. G.N.O. - Girls' Night Out -- Miley Cyrus
  5. Who Will I Be? -- Demi Lovato
  6. Year 3000 -- the Jonas Brothers, just a cute bunch of boys from Jersey! "Mommy, how old was daddy when you were seven?"
  7. I have fond memories of the Garden State Balle performance of Be Our Guest from Beauty and the Beast, so we'll add that song to the list
  8. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious from Mary Poppins
  9. Amigas Cheetas -- Cheetah Girls
  10. That's How You Know -- Amy Adams from the Enchanted Soundtrack
  11. Hi Ho Hi Ho (It's Off to Work We Go) -- Snow White & the Seven Dwarves (Rex's favorite dwarf is Smarty Pants)
  12. I also like the music from the remakes of The Parent Trap and Freaky Friday
  13. Kiss the Girl from the Broadway Soundtrack of The Little Mermaid
  14. I don't think I've even seen the old Disney movie, Song of the South, but I've always liked Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah
  15. The Mickey Mouse Club Theme Song (M-I-C see ya real soon-K-E-Y why? because we like you M-O-U-S-E), from when Annette, not Britney, was a Mouseketeer
About a month ago, I posted over on my Roxiticus Desperate Housewives blog about how much London and Maddie have been enjoying their ScreenLife Games' Disney Bingo DVD game featuring all the princesses, Mickey and Minnie and other beloved animated Disney characters....but we'd love to see a version that includes our "Disney Fifteen": the "live" characters that the girls have come to know and love like Zack & Cody and the Wizards of Waverly Place. Who are your all-time favorite Disney characters? Do you love the current Disney music or hate it? If you have Disney fans in your household, check out the video and be sure to include or on your holiday shopping list, and get your own Disney Bingo game under the tree.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sad News from Artisan's Galleria on Mount Street in Bay Head, New Jersey

Just got down to our beach house in Bay Head this afternoon to learn that one of our favorite shops, Artisan's Galleria on Mount Street, will be closing its doors at the end of this year. Maybe you can change the owner's mind if you'll get out and shop, shop, shop...Maddie just picked out a beautiful set of handmade pajamas and robe for her American Girl dolls...get shopping!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Where Do You Find a Millionaire to Date in this Market?

Rex and I are celebrating our tenth anniversary with champagne toasts and a romantic dinner at The Bernards Inn tomorrow, so thankfully I'm not looking for Millionaire Singles... I do remember those days, and with the current economic situation, it seems like it would be a tough time to be in the market for a millionaire...maybe singles these days are better off looking for someone who has a great sense of humor?

What's In Roxy's Handbag?

Just in time for the surprise that Rex and the girls will be giving me for my upcoming birthday, Mariuca's Perfume Gallery tagged me with the Handbag Tag: Find a safe quiet place free of significant others, nosy meme makers, priests, nuns, all things religious and men in general. (If you're a guy just reverse this process to male and tell us about your wallet, tool box, briefcase or metrosexual accessory.)

1. Dump the contents of your handbag in a pile.
2. Take a photo of your handbag and the contents.
3. Be brave and 'splain to your fellow bloggers what lurks inside the handbag.
4. Tag others who might want to embarrass themselves.
5. Answer these questions:

Describe the contents of your handbag. Well, first of all, my existing handbag, as well as its replacement coming soon, is HUGE. When I was young and single, I used to carry a small purse during the work day, and an even tinier evening bag for going out with Melissa to the Jersey shore bars. After children, I've expanded to the point where you'll find everything but my computer in my handbag: my wallet, my iPhone, my journal, hair ties, notes for past or upcoming meetings, receipts, cough drops, chewing gum, pens and pencils, crayons, sketchbooks for the girls, coupons, a hairbrush or two, train tickets, new PATH SmartLink gidgie, my Invisalign case (sometimes with my aligners in it, sometimes I forget), spare change, a book to read on the train, some notes or clippings about cool local place for Roxy's Best Of..., well, now that I list it all out it sure seems necessary, if messy!
What's the most important thing in your handbag? My red Sky Dragon journal.
What's the most embarrassing thing in your handbag? My kids' crayons...essential for heading out to dinner with the girls at The Bernards Inn or Sammy's up in the Roxiticus Valley or Dennis Foy's Bay Point Prime or Theresa's South at the beach in Bay Head, but it can be downright mortifying when the bag tips over during an investment banking meeting with a client.
What's the smallest thing in your handbag? An old "Mercury" dime, sort of a good luck charm.
Is there anything illegal in your handbag? Newp. I'm allergic to illegal.

I'm going to go ahead and tag SpicyBug, Henson, Cindi and YOU! Please leave a comment so I'll know when to take a look at your blog to find out what's in your handbag...

In response to popular demand, I've dumped out my current handbag and taken a photo for you...what a mess!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Curiosity Killed the Cat...Satisfaction Brought Him Back

I have to admit, I Google my exes and lots of the people I went to high school and college with to find out what they're up to now. With my high school reunion coming up next summer, I'm even more curious, so I may have to take my search to the next level....there's a web site that provides free public records using the largest public records search database on the Internet. So when I have cocktails with the former football stars and cheerleaders, I'll have reviewed the most useful and direct links to their United States public records and state public records.... who's married, who's divorced, who else has their own business, what kind of houses and properties does everyone own, and of course, who's not going to make it to the reunion because they're dead or in jail!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Bay Head Memories: Maddie Sings in the Shower

Sipping my last 4 o'clock beer of the "Lifeguard Summer" (June 15-Labor Day) and looking back on wonderful memories from our family's best summer yet in Bay Head, New Jersey. Way back more than 15 years ago, before I met Rex, I remember being the last one to leave the beach every Labor Day evening in Pt. Pleasant Beach...shedding more than a few surfer girl crocodile tears because the summer was over. Thankfully, while the lifeguards have gone back to college, we'll be back to our beach house in Bay Head most weekends until the Bay Head Halloween Parade, which happens every year at 11:45am on the Sunday before Halloween. Only happy tears this evening...Rex and I have a great deal to be thankful for this year.

I'm taking a little bit of liberty with the photo below, as Maddie actually prefers the indoor shower and London is the one who takes most of her showers in the backyard, but Rex can't help being proud that our outdoor shower, which his son TallBoy built when he was eight, still sees action almost every day of the summer, all these years later. So please feel free to sing along with Maddie, as she belts out Daniel Powter's "Bad Day," even though she only has good ones here at the beach.

Where is the moment we needed the most
You kick up the leaves and the magic is lost
They tell me your blue skies fade to gray
They tell me your passion's gone away
And I don't need no carryin' on

You stand in the line just to hit a new low
You're faking a smile with the coffee you go
You tell me your life's been way off line
You're falling to pieces every time
And I don't need no carryin' on

Because you had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
The camera don't lie
You're coming back down and you really don't mind
You had a bad day
You had a bad day

Will you need a blue sky holiday?
The point is they laugh at what you say
And I don't need no carryin' on

You had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
The camera don't lie
You're coming back down and you really don't mind
You had a bad day

(Oooh.. a holiday..)

Sometimes the system goes on the blink
And the whole thing turns out wrong
You might not make it back and you know
That you could be well oh that strong
And I'm not wrong


So where is the passion when you need it the most
Oh you and I
You kick up the leaves and the magic is lost

Cause you had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
You've seen what you like
And how does it feel for one more time
You had a bad day
You had a bad day