“Keeping Up…” – RealITy TV Fun on Any Budget
Today, reality TV seems to consume a great deal of our time, interests and cultural activities. Watching people live their lives, whether staged or not, on camera has become a fascination and a constant source of conversation for even those of who don’t watch it faithfully. Although most of us don’t know them personally, the reality TV craze has allowed us to know many of them by name. Of course, there’s Kim Kardashian, NeNe Leakes and (the unfortunate) Honey Boo Boo. We all remember Omarosa, one of the first “mean-girls” of television. Lisa Vanderpump, Nicole Richie, Bethenny Frankel, Phaedra Parks and Rachel Zoe are just a few that even if we don’t watch the shows we are well aware of who they are and how they live their lives.
The TV networks edit the camera footage such that this uncommon group of women seemingly portrays partying, shopping, traveling to exotic locations, fighting, arguing, dating and marrying as their sole purpose in life. All the while flaunting designer fashions, living in massive homes and driving tricked-out SUV’s and cars with cameras cued up ready to capture all the extravagance and drama as it unfolds. The more outrageous the drama, the higher the ratings. These women have become the standard by which many teens and young adults have begun to live their lives. The “Housewives” phenomenon often depicts the role of housewife and mother as a woman with a lot of time on her hands. She fills her days looking great, spreading gossip, creating strife and fighting with family and friends. Dare we forget the planning of one pointless party after another in amazing venues that benefit no one in particular or some obscure charitable organization, at best.
Despite all of the over-the-top drama, I think we can all admit that the lifestyles portrayed on most of these shows are quite alluring. Who wouldn’t want to experience the lifestyle of a Kardashian, at least for one day? Or have NeNe Leakes’ shoe collection? However, as Christians, our goal is to be examples before God and live the best Christ-lead lives we can. So instead of modelling our lives after these reality TV personalities, we strive to model our lives after The Word. But do these lifestyles need to be mutually exclusive?
Well the answer is no, not entirely! Short of the wine glass slinging, hair weave pulling, cursing and all of the other attention-getting antics, we can indeed enjoy a reality TV lifestyle! It is possible to bridge the gap between the lifestyle of a God-fearing woman and that of a Bravo TV starlet. How, you may ask, can a Christian who loves God and believes that Jesus is The Son of God and that he died for us, was buried, rose on the third day, ascended into heaven and is now seated at the right hand of The Father enjoy a reality TV life? Is it really possible to enjoy that lifestyle, and at the same time not sacrifice our Christian witness?
Yes! Not only is it possible for a Christian to experience a similar lifestyle, but I believe she can do so on a budget! And I am not talking about the “faith” budget… the one for which you have been believing and confessing. But the “right now” budget. Young women and teenage girls (my daughter, included) who watch the Kardashian/Jenner clan religiously can, in fact play as they do and enjoy the same fun.
So how do Christian women and teen girls enjoy a glamorous, good time without comparing themselves to reality TV stars that don’t necessarily live their lives representing Jesus, but more for the motivation of fame and large checks. Here’s how.
The following are ideas, tips and suggestions that will allow anyone to enjoy the lifestyle befitting a reality TV show (sans the drama, of course):
1) The Girls. The first and most important element is your group of women: “The girls and I are going on a vacation.” “I’ve invited the girls over for dinner.” Many events on reality TV shows include a group of women involved in a specific activity. And of course, they must invite the resident “drama queen” to stir the pot. The cameras are always cued-up and ready to capture the drama that ensues.
However, for the Christian woman, the key to having good time with a group of young women of all ages, and statuses is to find a group that has previously agreed to not allow division and strife to enter into the group. They should not want to engage in gossiping, lying, cheating, spreading lies and creating competition, which are all detrimental to any group. Make sure your “girls” consist of women who are God-fearing, self-respecting, loyal and generous. This is the backdrop of a good time to be had by all during the following activities.
2) Pool-Side Glamor. In the summer months, grab your bathing suits, sun block and shades and enjoy a luxurious lounge by the pool! Bring lots of current fashion and style magazines or the latest good Christian read. These are great conversation starters for a group of classy, stylish women. If no one in your group has a pool at their home, visit the local gym or fitness club as a group. If one member of your group belongs to the gym, perhaps they can request free passes for the rest. Regardless of where you swim, keep your swim attire classy, as we represent Christ (and not Andy Cohen) where ever we go!
3) Lavish Lunch. Plan a brunch or lunch and invite your friends to bring a dish. Keep in mind that fair purchasing is important. Don’t allow one person to purchase the more expensive items for each event. Store-bought items work wonders! (Go to House of Pearls for quick, easy and extravagant recipes!) Keeping it fair and even will prevent any “side-eye” or complaints during and after the event.
There are few standard items you should have to bump your brunch up a few notches and maintain an overall posh atmosphere on a budget! Instead of those big red plastic cups that scream “budget”, opt for plastic goblets from Party City. They add a touch of class and sparkle. Make sure you never use plastic tablecloths. They too scream cheap and I have never seen a plastic tablecloth that I thought was pretty. They will also have great options for dressing the table. Remember to keep it simple, clean and elegant. You can also use all white Chinet plates to continue that crisp, clean look. Finally, to add a tad more panache, simple fresh flowers in a clear vase will do the trick.
Keep the menu light and healthy to keep you and your guests from over indulging. I would also suggest drinking water with lemon or other fruit-infused water. Why not cleanse while being fabulous! And this will help keep the mood fun and light! Although realty television stars will tell you that they eat these items their bodies will often tell you something totally different. Anyone in front of a camera is very cognizant of what they eat and so should the women of God be! Even though we are not revealing them to the world, our bodies are temples of God and should be treated accordingly. See Body of Pearls for more fitness wisdom.
4) Don’t be Tardy for the Fashion Party! House parties are seldom talked about anymore but they are still the cheapest and easiest way to have fun! If you have a house or apartment, you qualify. Plan an Avant-garde fashion show at home complete with hair and makeup! Call a small group of your more easy-going, less dramatic Christian girlfriends over. Get as creative as you want. Think bright colors, big hair, crazy hats, wild patterns and the whole gamut! Make the “selfies” craze work for you and have fun with it! No criticizing or critiquing allowed! Fill your Instagram page with great fun photographs that will give you and your friends plenty of good laughs or giggles for weeks to come as well as continuing the trend of having fun parties at home with friends.
Of course, make sure everyone leaves with the same items they arrived. Also, be sure to establish boundaries up front around what pics are social-media approved. The subject of the pic should have final say as to if their photos are posted on any social media site
5) Watch What Happens Live. Cell phones, computers or tablets should never become a substitute for communication and laughs with friends that are all in the same room together. God said that “It is not good for man to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18). We need human interaction. People today are increasingly spending more time staring at a screen. So when you’re with your girls, make sure they are the priority of the moment. Put your phones and devices aside. Make eye contact. Listen intently and engage fully. Interacting with each other reminds us that we are all human and it’s good to be human.
6) You’re on Candid Camera! Recorded memories will forever be precious. Take pictures with your friends and lots of them. Cherish each minute. Pictures are funny, especially when they are spontaneous. Never post friends pictures to social media outlets without their permission. Never violate someone’s trust and then expect them to be fine with you when they feel violated. They are not overacting or blowing things out of proportion, it is their right to decide if they are to be placed on social media. Remain respectful to keep the group and the fun intact for future parties. Among Christian women, there should be no TMZ, paparazzi-like conduct.
7) Top Chef. Cooking together is always fun. Invite friends of both sexes over and create dishes together. Prepare gourmet salads, impressive seasonal vegetable dishes, homemade pizzas, etc. using unique and uncommon ingredients. Prior to the gathering, the host can select one or two unique recipes for the group to make. When I’m feeling creative in the kitchen, my go-to is epicurious.com. Because some of the ingredients can be hard to find and expensive, be sure to review the recipes first and choose ones that are reasonable. Prepare the dishes together while enjoying great conversation and fun.
8) Nail Salon Takeover. A Mani /Pedi party at home with the girls is always great. Everyone should bring a nail polish, polish remover and cotton balls. Keep it clean literally, use towels to ensure that polish isn’t spilled on carpets, comforters or clothes. Most importantly have a blast and be creative while taking pictures.
These are just a few suggestions to get you motivated to plan something fun! Life is full of adventures and it has so much to offer! Money should never determine the degree to which you enjoy your life. It’s not lack of money, but lack of imagination that can lead to extreme boredom. So when you’re in a lull, take the bull by the horns and plan something fun with your friends!
If you do watch reality TV, let it just be another means of entertainment and not a basis for comparison. Never look at others and think, “If I had their money, I would enjoy my life more.” Use your real reality and seize every opportunity for fun with the friends and money you have now. And always keep your camera cued-up and ready to capture all of the fun and excitement of your own reality show!
With Prayers & Love
First Lady Lynda