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Real Housewives of Potomac Recap, Season 5 Episode 9



In the midst of these very unprecedented times, in the face of completely extraordinary news and events, it’s hard for something to really break through. For something to shake me to my core. After everything we’ve been through as a country, after all the chaos and destruction, it’s hard to be roused. So I, along with so many other people, have been searching, yearning for anything that can make us feel excited. Even if it’s just for a moment. Was it baking sourdough? No, it was not. Was it a puzzle? No, it most certainly was not. Was it Patti LaBelle vs. Gladys Knight? Y’know what? I did feel a stirring when Dionne Warwick materialized from the ether like a Baba Yaga to bless us with a song. But that feeling faded.

Did seeing Monique grab onto Candiace’s wig and shake her so hard that a cheese tray on a marble slab fell to the ground, all while Ashley was in the bathroom, make me feel alive? You’re goddamn right it did. Holy shit. Let’s get into it.

Can we first applaud this episode for giving us the most in-depth “Previously On” in the history of the Real Housewives franchise? I think some of those clips were from Candiace’s third-grade dance recital.

We’re still at the winery. Monique is still flipping Candiace’s hair and asking her “Do you want me to? Do you want me to?” when suddenly, there’s a flurry of hands. My notes suddenly go into all caps: “WINE IS IN THE FACE PRODUCERS ARRIVE MONIQUE HAS GRABBED HER WHOLE HEAD THE TABLE HAS FALLEN OVER.” It was a whirlwind and it was EXHILARATING. Wow. I feel positively electric. We’ve certainly seen plenty of Real Housewives fights but did we ever think that the first hands to really be thrown on Potomac would be Candiace and Monique? And by “Candiace and Monique,” I mean “Monique’s eyes turning black and her entering a violent fugue state where she is capable of a destruction previously unknown.”

The producers rush in to pull Monique off Candiace and usher her into a hallway. Candiace immediately starts running her mouth again. Ma’am. If your mouth got you into this mess, SHUT IT. She screams that Monique is a “Hoodrat ass bitch.” Okay, Candiace. First of all, shut the full hell up. Second of all, after walking around for numerous seasons with your mom paying your bills, calling other people “ghetto” and “hoodrat” is not a good look. There are plenty of reasons to find Monique a baffling and dangerous presence so let’s just avoid the classism, shall we?

Meanwhile, Monique is in the hallway with the producer, pacing back and forth coming down off what I can only imagine is an unbelievable high of smacking Candiace around just a little bit. But Monique has to make the whole thing feel incredibly gross when she keeps saying, “She asked for it. She asked for it.” Monique also claims that she completely lost control and doesn’t remember what happened. Oh, bullshit, Monique. You’ve been lying in wait too long to snatch that bitch’s wig and are retelling the story of how you feel afterward with too much sick glee to have blacked out and woken up being dragged down by five different producers.

Then Ashley comes back from the bathroom. WOW. OKAY. What a fucking delight. The image of Ashley trying to figure out what happened in the two to four minutes she was in the bathroom will comfort me as I fall asleep like a weighted blanket. Plus she was in that quirky li’l cape.

Candiace is about to be scuttled away in a car when Monique slips away from production and leaves the winery through some back basement door, shouting that she’s going to kill Candiace. This is where I knew that this woman was completely unhinged. She’s jogging through a rustic, autumnal winery lot trying to murder a former Miss United States. This is a Lifetime TV movie that I would watch every year on Halloween and dress as the main character.

What about the emotional states of the other women? Well, Robyn and Gizelle are standing around alternating between laughing and complete horror. Both of them firmly place the escalation of the fight squarely on the shoulders of Monique, but put in a pin in that. Wendy just screams at full shrieking volume and then bemoans the state of Black womanhood, as Karen flops around in her Fendi poncho wailing that Monique and Candiace are good people and it didn’t have to come to this. I mean … Monique seemed intent on beating Candiace’s ass, so we were gonna end up here. We might have been on a hayride or on a Venetian gondola, but we were gonna end up with a fistful of hair in Monique’s fist.

And let’s just touch on what Twitter is all abuzz about: It seems like either Robyn or Gizelle’s hand was the hand that tried to gently shove Monique away from Candiace, which was the spark in the powder keg of this situation. Do I particularly care? I don’t think so. Monique was so looking for an excuse to really lay a hand on Candiace that she wasn’t even paying attention where the hand that shoved her was coming from. A hand came from her side that she believed came from Candiace who was standing directly in front of her. Monique was ready.

It’s the morning after the fight and … there isn’t enough story to support the rest of this episode. But seeing the fight almost unedited makes up for it. Wendy is just concerned that this kind of behavior justifies people denying marginalized people seats at the table when she goes on the news and speaks up for those people. So in her mind, Donald Trump is going to watch Real Housewives of Potomac and say, “Ah! I’ve got to keep discriminating against Black American women! This is what you get! If only you had interpreted Wendy’s high-pitched screeches as instructions to stop, I wouldn’t be forced to continue centuries-long systems of oppression! I’m Donald Trump and everything is terrible! You’re fired, Black ladies of America!”

Okay, Gizelle’s ex-husband is definitely doing something fraudulent by putting his new restaurant venture partially in his kids’ names. He claims he’s trying to “build generational wealth” and “teach them the value of hard work,” but I think he’s got “bad credit” and trying to avoid “responsibility if this restaurant doesn’t work out.” Also, can 13- and 14-year-olds in Atlanta work in a restaurant? Is it child labor if it’s your own child? Gizelle is using the trip to Atlanta to show off how great her relationship with Jamal is to her father, who isn’t a big fan of Jamal. Her dad says he just wants Gizelle to be happy and she has to trust her gut. But after they’re done eating a sampling of new desserts, her dad heads to the bathroom and says, “I’m done,” and wants his mic taken off. He also says that Jamal has six or seven baby mamas and this is a bad idea. I have to agree.

Literally no part of this equation is a good idea. Getting back together with your cheating ex-husband with multiple children scattered around the country? Less than ideal. Opening a restaurant in this economy? Terrible idea. Put those two things together and then add in your ex-husband putting part ownership of the restaurant in your children’s name but maybe not yours? Baby, you’re headed for an embarrassing episode of either Bar Rescue or Judge Judy. I honestly think Jon Taffer would be gentler on you.

Monique and Candiace check in with their respective Chrises and everyone is upset with Monique except Monique. She is surprised that her husband would be disappointed with her when Candiace was totally asking for it. Throughout Monique’s conversation with Chris, she’s trying to wash her daughter’s hair in the sink and she keeps messing up the temperature and her daughter’s sweet little voice keeps squeaking “Too cold!” or “Ow! Too hot!” while Monique is justifying trying to scalp another woman. It is both terrifying and ironic.

Also, Monique seems to be in an early Mad Men story line where she’s realizing the futility and limitations of her marriage and the roles laid out for her by society and starts enacting violence against the world in order to gain some control. Monique can’t go after Chris, so her anger needs an outlet. Monique is Betty, and instead of shooting the neighbor’s pigeons or slapping Helen in the grocery store, she’s justifying beating up Candiace while gently burning her daughter’s scalp.

Before we get to whatever Karen is up to, and it’s A LOT, let’s just quickly check in with Ashley. She’s trying to nail down Michael and follow up with that whole “falling asleep next to a woman you met at the club but not having sex with her” thing. Weirdly, no one is asking Ashley any more questions about Michael, so she’s got to handle this on her own. Ashley wants to figure out exactly when and where Michael decided to head to the club to find some strange. Girl, who cares? What answer could he give? The answer he does give is that things got a little too stable, a little too comfortable, and they weren’t having fun anymore. Read: Ashley had a baby, her body was healing, and there wasn’t exactly time for a threesome in the baby routine. Is there just one script when it comes to men cheating? So if Ashley found ways to make sure Michael was having fun, he wouldn’t have taken the first opportunity to run out to the strip club and the casino? Ashley says that he needs to be more disciplined and he agrees that he will in the future. What, my guy? No, you were SUPPOSED TO, past tense, and you fucked that up so now you have to agree to a post-nup. After all the issues ’nups have caused in this relationship, I’m very interested in how this will turn out.

Finally, let’s see what’s up with Karen post-fight. She’s attending to Ray for his birthday and she’s hired a private chef to cook near her so she can pass off the chef’s cooking as her own. For Ray, it keeps coming back to the fact that Karen has devoted herself to her alleged business, but this time, he’s also saying he wishes she cooked him dinner more. What year are all these men living in? It’s 2020 where I am and GrubHub exists if you’re hungry, Ray. Ray also won’t agree to go to couples therapy, so Karen gently suggests a life coach. You can imagine my shock when the “life coach” isn’t a life coach at all but a radio host that’s maybe a friend of Karen’s. This woman is not a trained mental-health professional. She’s not trained to deal with the emotional problems of strangers or the relationship fallout when she starts getting them to open up. She’s trained in asking questions from an O Magazine relationship questionnaire and throwing it to Screamin’ Gene for weather and traffic. This is A BAD IDEA. Dear God, someone on this show find a real therapist.

Well, this woman pretending to be a therapist starts diving in and asking them questions about their relationship. Karen is annoyed with Ray because he snores and Ray is annoyed with Karen because she neglects him and her duties in the home for her business. They are on VERY different pages. The radio host asks if they still are in love with each other and Karen says she very much is, and Ray says “I think I am” and then chuckles. You cannot chuckle when you’re revealing to your partner that you may not have feelings for them anymore. Especially if the reason is you’re not getting enough attention. He says he doesn’t expect their feelings to stay the same over 20 years but maybe it’s just not bad. Then the radio host is just like, “Well, sometimes the truth hurts! Bye!” and just leaves. What…? Do something, lady! You did this! You uncovered this with your Table Topics cards! Ray says he believes he’s in love with Karen and doesn’t exactly know what the big deal is, and Karen says she appreciates his honesty but she’s allowed to be upset by it. She takes off her shoes and gets her mic taken off.

Things are DARK.

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‘There is no new normal’: Worcester small business owner pivoted during COVID-19 and expects only more change after pandemic



It took about eight minutes for the bank to reject Natalie Rodriguez’s application for a loan through the Small Business Administration.

Rodriguez opened Nuestra, a Puerto Rican inspired restaurant in Worcester, in January of 2020. When COVID-19 arrived months later she discovered Nuestra wasn’t eligible for the federal or state funding that thousands of other establishments received.

To qualify, restaurants were required to show payroll and salary for years before 2020. Those figures didn’t exist for a restaurant that weren’t open in 2019.

“[I was] determined and knew that ‘no’ is not an OK answer,” Rodriguez said. “A door may close but you may need to kick down another door.”

Rodriguez then applied for conventional loans only to be led to more closed doors. Less than 10 minutes after applying for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, she received notice that her poor credit score resulted in her application being denied.

Rodriguez used the dead end with the SBA to create a new path for herself and Nuestra.

She not only learned how to improve her credit but wanted to ensure others didn’t have to follow her journey as an entrepreneur.

Rodriguez extended the “Nuestra” brand to include financial advising. She started Nuestra Financial in April of 2020.

“Now I’m helping others. I’ve been able to restore my credit,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve been able to help others restore their credit and be able to help them make a business themselves if they so choose. I’ve been able to survive.”

Without grants and other funding, Rodriguez managed to keep her restaurant open through funds generated from Nuestra Financial.

“I was very quiet about it in the beginning. I didn’t want people to be like, ‘Oh look at this girl, she just opened a restaurant in the middle of a pandemic,’ and talk smack,” Rodriguez said. “About a month or two later, a light bulb hit and I was like, nobody pays my bills but me. I needed to mind my own business and not worry about what other people thought.”

In creating Nuestra Financial, Rodriguez said she’s helped Worcester residents restore their credit and purchase new vehicles and homes.

Rodriguez said financial literacy is rarely taught to children in school and wasn’t something she learned. When a situation arises like a rejection notice for an economic disaster loan, many don’t know how to respond or where to find answers.

Rodriguez said she’s helped young and old people, along with those who have bad credit or no credit.

“We lack the confidence, including myself, because we weren’t taught,” Rodriguez said. “So if you don’t know something, you weren’t taught, you’re not going to be confident about it.”

Coming out of the pandemic, Rodriguez remains confident about both her businesses. Nuestra, the restaurant, while closed for daily service continues to provide catering services. Rodriguez is still preparing what the future holds for the restaurant but plans to announce an update soon.

As masks start to become less a part of daily routines, Rodriguez, as a small business owner, doesn’t envision many differences from this year to last.

So many aspects of life remain uncertain from rising food costs to a potential third booster for vaccines and whether the country will ever reach herd immunity for COVID-19.

The pandemic arrived with Rodriguez immediately pivoting. As it approaches its potential end, Rodriguez will continue to do what helped her to navigate it.

“I feel like there is no new normal just yet,” Rodriguez said. “I think we’re all just trying to adjust and pivot at the same time and getting creative. I think it’s where we all are.”

Related Content:

Owner of Worcester’s Nuestra restaurant, closing due to COVID impact, has something she’d like to say to Gov. Baker

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Columbus Mattress Wholesale moves to newer, larger Gahanna store



More than four years back, Cathryn Clark’s boyfriend, Christopher Robbins, was on the hunt for a new mattress. He just couldn’t find one at an affordable  price. 

Clark, 29, and Robbins, 34, who are now engaged, were living in Franklinton, where they still live today.

They had no experience owning or operating a small business; Robbins worked as a retail assistant for SAS Retail Services while Clark worked as the communications director for two Methodist churches. 

But in 2017, Robbins, with Clark at his side, took the leap and opened Columbus Mattress Wholesale on the West Side, with the goal of  helping low-income consumers secure mattresses and other bedtime products.  

“We really wanted to bring a store to people that, you know, they weren’t paying an arm and leg, but they still could get a good night’s sleep,” Clark said.

Customers at Columbus Mattress Wholesale can pay cash or credit, for example, but the business also works with financing companies that serve people without credit scores, with bad credit or who are lower income. 

Last month, the business made a big move. It expanded from its original location on Harrisburg Pike to a store double the size at 435 Agler Road in Gahanna.

Clark said she and Robbins saw a need in the broader area, with many of their customers coming from outside the Hilltop, such as Linden.

Nestled between Dollar Tree and the Ohio BMV in Gahanna, the new storefront opened Memorial Day weekend and sells mattresses, bed bases, bed frames and pillows. Mattress prices range from under $100 to more than $1,000, depending on the size and brand, which includes some well-known names such as Serta, Beautyrest and Casper.

Clark said while she and Robbins originally sold solely Ohio-based brands, they’ve branched out to national brands as business has grown.

Columbus Mattress Wholesale also offers free same-day delivery on most orders from customers living in Columbus. 

Clark does a little bit of everything for the business, from running communications, to working on the sales floor, to managing the sales team, to ordering what they sell. 

She said a big mission for herself and Robbins, beyond doing business, is aiding the community.

“We’ve seen a lot of people struggle,” Clark said.

Clark said she and Robbins work to mentor other people who are hoping to open or currently own a small business. She added that the store starts employees at $17 per hour.

She and Robbins haven’t decided yet what they will do with the original location — which is currently closed — but said they might shift it into an accessory store.

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A Guide to Getting Mobile Deals with Bad Credit History



You’re interested in a new mobile deal but there’s only one thing that’s stopping; you’ve got a bad credit history. Does that mean that your hopes of getting a new phone contract are crushed? Well, not exactly. In this article, you will learn how to get a mobile phone with no credit check required and how you can navigate the issue to get a great deal even with bad credit history.

Why is a bad credit history a big deal?

When taking a new phone contract, it means you’re entering into a financial agreement that requires you to make payments in monthly installments. As such, many providers of the service will want to ensure that they’re entering into an agreement with someone who will pay the agreed amount without violating the terms.

The best way for them to have that assurance is by looking into the credit history of the client. But does it necessarily mean that if you’ve got a bad credit history you can’t honor your side of the bargain in a phone contract? Of course not; which is why this article gives you the options you can pursue to end up landing a pretty impressive deal.

Although you might not find a deal that includes the latest devices in the market, you’ll not lack a relatively cheaper but functional option. For instance, if you’re a great fan of the iPhone, you might end up landing the iPhone XR instead of the latest release of iPhone 12. When the deal is cheaper, you stand higher chances of success as opposed to one that just dropped in the market and so it’s in high demand.

Another alternative is to find a contract that comes with a used handset as such tend to be less strict in terms of credit history requirements. That means you’re likely to pass the test of a contract with an already used gadget as opposed to that of a brand new phone.

Another alternative could be to go for SIM only deals especially if you already have an alternative source for a handset. Most of the providers won’t require you to sign any contract and so they’ll not look into your previous credit history. SIM only deals tend to be intensive on minutes, texts and data offers.

Networks that favor people with bad credit

There are networks that are more lenient to people with bad credit history than others. Major networks including Vodafone, O2 and EE usually come with strict requirements that might only frustrate you. The following are the alternatives you could consider looking into:

Smarty:The company offers SIM only plans that don’t require you to sign any contract. If you have an alternative handset, this could be a great alternative to consider as they won’t do a credit check on you. Their services and offers run on a monthly rolling basis which means you can walk away at any time in case you’re dissatisfied with the quality of service you’re getting. Their deals start at 2GB of data and unlimited texts and calls at a cost of £5 to unlimited calls, texts and data for £16.

Giffgaff:You won’t be subjected to a credit test here as well during sign up for one of the packages that the network offers. You’ll be required to sign up for a monthly bundle of your choice that’s inclusive of calls, data and texts. You can proceed with the same plan or switch to a new one after the month is gone. Most of their deals start at £8 a month.

VOXI:The network has numerous offers that operate on a 30-day rolling basis. They also won’t bother performing a credit check on you as it has no use in the first place. A bonus with this network is that they won’t include the social sites you frequent in their data charges.

Mobile phone to go with a SIM only deal

The SIM only deals we’ve highlighted above means that you’ll need to have a separate handset. In case you don’t have one already, you can take a separate mobile phone contract to go with your preferred SIM only deal. The other alternative is to buy one outright. But in case you don’t have money to make the purchase, you can always save up and buy when you’ve accumulated enough.

Some great smartphones that are classic and yet won’t put a huge wall in your pocket. Coveted brands such as iPhone and Samsung have great devices such as the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G that goes for £349 and the iPhone SE valued at £399. As you can see, with some savings, you should be able to get your hands on these gadgets and many others out there. And if you feel that these cost on the higher side, you can opt for refurbished phones. Refurbished phones refer to those handsets that have been used but have undergone intensive testing to ensure they still have got higher functionality.

When do credit checks apply?

Credit history is required by providers that have a mobile phone that requires a payment plan spanning several months or years. In most cases, the major network providers including EE, O2 and Vodafone will do a background check on your credit check before allowing you to sign up for their deals. Some factors that might make you have a poor credit rating is when you’ve missed several months’ payments, made late payments or placed too many credit applications concurrently.

Want to improve your credit rating?

The following are several steps you could consider to help you improve your credit rating. Most of these revolve around efficient management of your money, bills and other forms of payments.

  • Have a proper and functional bank account
  • Pay all your outgoing bills on or before the due dates
  • Ensure you’re registered on the electoral roll
  • Don’t share your account with a person with poor credit rating

That’s how you can work out things to get mobile deals even if your credit history isn’t a good one. But going forward, the best action plan would be to work towards improving your credit rating so that you can take advantage of the opportunities that come up in future.

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