Archive for the ‘"Jersey Couture"’ Category

This Jersey Girl Will Take ‘Jersey Couture’ Over Juicy Couture Any Day

June 1, 2010

The Homeshoppingista was a busy bee Memorial Day weekend, filing stories on actor Jon Seda and the new New Jersey reality show that debuts tonight on Oxygen, “Jersey Couture.”

NewJerseyNewsroom.com posted the story today on the new show.

Last month we got lost, of course (we still haven’t set up our ShopNBC GPS), trying to Diane & Co., the shop on Route 9 in Freehold, N.J., that’s owned by the Scali family. The shop is unassuming, just a small storefront, and we drove by it. But the Scalis run a huge women’s formalwear business, and that’s the subject of “Jersey Couture.”

The Homeshoppingista flanked by Kimberly Gambale on the left, and Diane and Christina Scali on the right, at the Freehold store, with son Anthony and father Sal standing behind

The store may look small from the front, but it’s deep, wirh 5,000 square feet of space. The place has several thousand dresses, in plastic garment bags, hung on its walls. We can’t figure out how the Scalis knew how to find exactly what dress they are looking for among all those frocks.

Family matriarch Diane Scali, deeply tanned and with a sparkly necklace on, was very outspoken and funny. She comes across a bit harsh, a bit abrasive, on the first episode of the show, but she’s not like that in person. She’s very warm and fun.

Diane & Co. in Freehold does its magic

Her daughters Kimberly Gambale and Christina Scali, both pretty long-haired brunettes, were down to earth and just couldn’t hide their passion for their work. It may sound hokey, but they really believe it’s their important mission to find the dress that will make a woman or girl feel her best during a key event, like her daughter’s wedding, the prom or a Sweet 16 party.

When we were there, the Scali ladies transformed a young girl in jeans into a gorgeous princess with a yellow dress with a skirt like a ballerina’s tutu. The teen was just beaming when she saw how pretty she looked.

We also got nosey and asked “Chrissy,” Christina, if she was still going out with the Spanish guy she mentions in Episode One. She said no. We know that feeling, girlfriend.

Some people are complaining that enough is enough with the glut of Jersey reality shows, but tune in to “Jersey Couture” tonight at 10 p.m. to make up your own mind.

Happy Anniversary: We Got Laid Off Exactly One Year Ago, Jan. 26, And Have Lived To Talk About The Joys Of Being Pink-Slipped

January 27, 2010

This is the only blog I’ll ever write in the first person here. I debated all day whether to write it, but I must.

Last January was the biggest month for layoffs last year, I’ve read. And I, and several close colleagues, were among those who were pink-slipped. The three boxes, with 16 years of memories, that I packed up that week are still sitting near the door inside my condo. Reed Business Information, my ex-employer, paid for the shipping.

Being laid off has its rewards, like getting free margaritas and meeting Bon Jovi's Richie Sambora

I guess there are a lot of people who are a lot more resilient than I am, but I took it hard. It’s tough when you’ve been getting in work by 7:15 a.m., and leaving at 6 p.m. or later, working on weekends, working on vacations, to screech down to zero miles an hour.

For several months, I could not eat. For several months, I could not sleep. For several months, I literally could not smile. For several months, I could not laugh. For several months, I could not listen to music. For several months, I did not have one minute of happiness. No exaggeration.

I saw “Up In The Air” recently — which features folk who were laid off in real life in the movie as actors — expressing their anger at being fired. I almost wish I had thrown everything off the table like some of those people, instead of acting “professional.” But what goes around comes around. The HR guy who gave me my bad news was himself laid off recently.

You know those cliches you hear about, about finding out who your real friends are? Those cliches are true. You don’t hear a peep from your good “friends” at work. The PR people who loved you at upfront parties don’t return your phone calls. The cable network presidents who always seemed to enjoy chatting with you when you were employed are curt during phone calls. Some idiot asked one of my laid-off compadres how they where enjoying their “vacation.”

People — and I’ve interviewed them in my new incarnation — have survived real challenges and tragedies, like cancer or losing a loved one. What about the people in Haiti? So boo-hoo for me being upset about not having a job. Big deal. Don’t whine. But like I said, it hit me hard. At one point, I even feared I could never write a story again.

New Jersey became the new Hollywood for reality TV, and I wrote about the trend and the shows, like Jersey Shore

But my family and true friends pulled me through, and this is my thank-you note to them. You guys know who you are, in Parsippany, Whippany, Staten Island, Wyckoff and Westfield, and Vermont.

And the tide turned for me.

When I filed my first major story after my layoff, for a startup Web site, the editor said it was the cleanest story he ever read.

A very kind PR executive at a local hospital chain gave me a break, and let me do volunteer work for her department. Several of my press releases got placement, in papers including The Star-Ledger. I had the honor of interviewing people who wept as they told me how the hospital had saved their lives. I loved writing their stories.

Bon Jovi released a new album, and Showtime aired a documentary on them. I got to go a screening, where they served margaritas (my favorite), and I later interviewed the band. It became another story that generated a lot of Web traffic.

All of a sudden New Jersey, of all places, became a mecca for reality TV shows like “Jersey Shore.” And I was able to write stories about the shows, and about the trend. They were among the Web site’s Top-10 viewed stories.

Who wouldn't want to write about Kurt Sutter, creator and showrunner of FX's Sons of Anarchy?

I got back on the cable-network PR radar, and was able to interview and write about Kurt Sutter, creator of one of my favorite shows, FX “Sons of Anarchy.” Hey, he’s from Jersey.

I realized I still had my reporting chops when a got nice exclusive for TVNewscheck. It felt great.

Cablevision, with 900,000 customers in New Jersey, and Food Network got in a fight. Another story for me.

I posted a note on my bulletin board shortly after I was pink-slipped. It’s a quote from Western author Louis L’Amour: “There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. Yet that will be the beginning.”

It turned out to be true. Without my layoff, I would never have been able to tell the tales of those who were saved by the hospital, and I would not have met the great women in the PR department there.

I would not have sat down and eaten in a soup kitchen, as I did as part of my research for a series on the Salvation Army. The people eating there, some homeless, were so kind. Seeing me as a newcomer, and not knowing I was a reporter, one came over and welcomed me.

I launched my home shopping blog when Suzanne Somers moved from HSN to ShopNBC

I wouldn’t have had the nerve to start a blog, on home shopping, timed to coincide with Suzanne Somers’ move to ShopNBC from HSN, a seismic shift in that little world. In only five months, people in the home-shopping industry tell me Homeshoppingista is now a must-read for them.

I have had to think long and hard about what I want to do.

On “Southland” — right now airing on my TV, and on TNT — one character says, “You’re a cop because you don’t know how not to be one.”

I’m a writer because I don’t know how not to be one.

Oxygen Jumps On the Jersey Reality-TV Bandwagon, In The Wake Of ‘Real Housewives Of New Jersey’ and ‘Jersey Shore,’ With ‘Jersey Couture’ Show

January 11, 2010

Oxygen's potential show Jersey Couture is about a Freehold, N.J., women's formalwear boutique that sells dress like this.

Well, we’ll be damned. Jersey girls rule on reality TV.

Our beloved Garden State, the new mecca for reality-TV producers, will be the site of yet another “docu-soap.” This one, in development by the women’s network Oxygen, has a working title of “Jersey Couture,” echoing the name of that overpriced brand for tween and teen girls, Juicy Couture.

The show was announced Sunday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, a shindig we attended last year, just two weeks before we were abuptly laid off. NewJerseyNewsroom.com just posted our story on “Jersey Couture.”

From what we understand, “Jersey Couture” is about an upscale Freehold, N.J., women’s formalwear shop, Diane & Co. It is owned by Diane Scali and her family.

“From canary yellow beaded sheaths to gold lamé, the Scali family offers over-the-top dresses to satisfy every girl’s special event needs,” Oxygen said in a press release.

New Jersey, once the butt of jokes, is now the new hot spot for reality-TV shows that in many cases play on stereotypes the rest of America has about us. We’ve had Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” MTV’s “Jersey Shore,” TLC’s “Cake Boss” and “18 Kids and Counting,” and Style Network’s “Jerseylicious,” which debuts in March.

We wrote about this new trend in Jersey-set programming for NewJerseyNewsroom.com, where experts told us that TV producers believe that the Garden State’s “loud and proud” residents are perfect for reality-TV shows.

Before Oxygen's Jersey Couture will be Style Network's Jerseylicious, which is about the women of the Gatsby Salon in Green Brook, N.J. You go Jersey girls!

“Jerseylicious” is about the women who run the Gatsby Salon in Green Brook, N.J. We visited the place during one of the last weeks it was shooting in December, and filed a package of stories for NewJerseyNewsroom.com.

As for “Jersey Couture,” here’s the sketchy info that Oxygen has provided.

“With a no nonsense attitude, the Scali family’s extravagant dress store is the premiere glamour stop in New Jersey,” Oxygen said in its TCA press release. “Get ready for the Cinderella experience of a lifetime. Whether it’s for her bride’s maid’s needs or her high school prom frills, when it comes to ‘what to wear’ to that elegant affair, no one gets the job done like the ladies at Diane & Co.”

Remember that “Jersey Couture” is just in development, which means Oxygen has not committed yet to pick it up as a series.