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Greetings Hamptons MouthPiece Readers…Thank God I am alive and well and able to speak to all of you. This has definately been an adventurous journey we have been through with Hurricane Sandy. My heart goes out to many people who have lost their homes, and have had tremendous home damage. 

This is going to be a very long journey to get things back to normal and everyone is going to need to be patient and not critical of what they perceive others to be doing to help their situations. It will be an uncomfortable road for many New Yorkers who rely on the subways to get to school and work, it will be uncomfortable for many people who rely on the LIRR, NJ Transit, Metro North and Amtrak, people who have lost their cars, people who have lost electricity, people whose companies have been heavily impacted with water damage. This too shall pass and Yes my friends we will get through this, but it will take patience.

In thinking back to Katrina, we as Americans are so very blessed that we did not experience what Katrina victims suffered, I shudder to think if I would be here writing this article. This has been a wake-up call for all of us and especially states like New York, New Jersey, Connecticut. My hope is that we will prepare ourselves and in areas where evacuation is mandatory those residents will never question again; so many lives could have been spared. 

Many people have reached out to me to ask what can they do to help, where can they drop off items and what items are needed….

I have put together a list of items needed from information that has circulated throughout Facebook and I thought I would share this information with you. 

Here is a list of items needed for Hurricane Sandy Victims…

•     Water- 

•    Warm winter coats

•    Boots* men*women*children

•    Dust masks (particulate masks, not painting)- 

•    Thermals and blankets- 

•    Batteries including C&D batteries for flashlights- 

•    Candles and flashlights- 

•    Ensure/Pediasure – To keep babies and older folks well nourished- 

•    Warm gloves/Heavy duty gloves/rubber gloves- 

•    Diapers  (adult and babies)

•    Headlamps – 

•    Nuts / Healthy snacks – 

•    Baby formula and baby items- 

•    Industrial strength heavy-duty garbage bags, – 

•    Cleaning implements and supplies- 

•    Socks, 

•    underwear in packaging- 

•    Toiletries and hygiene products- 

•    Instant Coffee- 

•    Non-perishable food- 

•    Boxes for donation sites- 

•    Generators- 

•    Hand sanitizer, 

•    toilet paper- 

•    Paper goods, 

•    disposable cameras – 

•    Plastic bins- 

•    Dog and cat food- 

•    Manual can openers- 

•    Rain gear

•    gift cards
Sanitary Napkins/tampons 
Blankets
hand and feet warmers

If you cannot donate any of the above items you can donate to the
·      American Red Cross www.

redcross.org

Gift Card Drive for Hurricane Sandy Victims

The Hampton Bays Mothers’ Association is spearheading a gift card drive to help the families that have lost everything due to Hurricane Sandy. We are here to help our neighbors and those of other communities.

Gift Card Drop Locations:

▪   Scotto’s on Main Street in Hampton Bays

▪   Southampton Stationery on Hampton Rd. in Southampton Village.

▪   Stevenson’s Toys, Southampton

▪   The Southampton Publick House, Bowden Sq., Southampton

▪    C’s Home and Office Management 3331 Noyack Rd. Sag Harbor

▪    Katherine and Co., Westhampton Beach, Main Street.

▪    Agaves, Bridgehampton

▪    Quench Wine and Spirits 90 W. Main Street, Patchogue

There are many other towns that need help, so we will continue our drive and help as many people as we can! For more information contact Kerry Wilkie at 631 741-7014

Suggested gift cards: Target, Old Navy, Lowes, Home Depot, Amex, Visa, or MasterCard.

You can updated with what’s happening on the Hamptons end through my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/HamptonsMouthpiece or follow me on twiiter @hamptonsmouth

There are many wonderful people with heart of gold that want to help so badly, please let us help you. I know that it is difficult to ask for help, but put yourself in our position. If you were in a position to help you would probably be doing what we are doing now.  This is not a handout, this is an act of kindness helping people who are not in a position to help themselves at this moment. As Always Hamptons Mouthpiece keeping you in the know!!!

Greetings Hamptons Mouthpiece Readers……My Friend Tara Posted on her Facebook Status Favorite things about me…see the post listed below…I loved it so much I thought that I would do a blog about this topic. We live in a very superficial world where everyday you are judged on your appearance. We are saturated with inflated images of what is considered beautiful. These photos have been photo-shopped to give us the PERFECT woman, where in reality no one looks likes this. Did you know that you really cannot believe anything you see in a photo in any magazine. Everything can be changed, the eye color, the shape of the head, nose, mouth, ears…your lips can be altered and the list is endless…If you can look in the mirror and like what you see then you should never let anyone tell you that you are not good enough.
“My favorite things about me: my mind, my body (from the top of my head to the tips of my toes), my eyes, my smile, my voice (has made me $) my shoulders-never needed pads, my breasts-nuff said, my waist, my juicy booty (yeah, that’s right), my thighs, my upper and inner knees, my ankles, and toes, my sense of humor (I find me hilarious), my ability to love/forgive/laugh. I love that I speak my truth (even when it’s hard) I also love that I am a different thinker, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Vanessa Leggard, you’re up!”
For many years I did not like what I saw in the mirror when I looked at myself because I could not get past the realization that my imperfection did not inbody who I was. I was in an accident when I was younger and both of my feet suffered 3rd degree burns. My entire young life and young adult life I lived in fear of someone seeing my feet and the look on their puzzled faces. I would always hear men talking about women’s feet and defining who that woman was based simply on the fact that she had beautiful feet. I would see the emphasis that was placed on a women’s beauty solely based on her feet. I never thought that anyone would ever want to date me or see me as beautiful. I could not embrace someone telling me I was beautiful because I was not perfect. I indulged myself in dating many men because I was trying to fill a gap that I was craving, my self esteem was so  low. One day as I was working at Mrs’ Field’s Cookies in Bloomingdale one of my co-workers said to me…you are so pretty no one is looking at your feet….that one statement gave me the courage to take risks. I know that this is going to seem odd for you to hear but it is true…the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life was the very first day i wore shoes with no stockings…I was opening up myself for ridicule, pointing and whispering…I was taking a risk…It was the best thing I have ever done and it gave me the courage to take other risks in my life. I now live my life where I just don’t care who talks about me, it is irrelevant, because I like me and that is all that matters. I live my life with this one statement “God has a plan for everyone” I believe my plan was to be empathetic to all imperfections and to never judge but to get to know that person for the special gifts they bring. I am no saint I still judge but never on imperfections…I might judge because you are wearing something utterly ridiculous and that can be fixed….
So Tara…here is it: My favorite things about me:
•    I love my body from my head to my toes
•    I love my feet (I am grateful that God spared them and I have the ability to walk, and that is all that matters)
•    I love my smile, my voice, my lips
•    I embrace my voluptuous breast (maybe I would like to go a size smaller)
•    I love my laugh
•    I love my ability to love
•    I love that I am a good friend…I make mistakes but I try hard to be a good friend
•   I love my daughters and my husband
•    I love my mind
•    I love my sense of humor
•    I love my ability to forgive
•    I love that I am opinionated
•    I love that I love to talk
•    I love to wear sexy dresses
•    I love that my friendship and my love come with no conditions
•    I love to help people…makes me so happy
•    I love that my family loves me unconditionally
•    i love to cook for my friends and family
There are always things that can be improved, staying in shape is for health reasons…My life is filled with so many blessing and I thank God everyday that I wake up to see another day. I thank God for my beautiful daughters and my hubby who is my ROCK and #1 FAN…So Hamptons Mouthpiece readers take the time to make a list of your favorite things about you…and I am happy that I have been able to share something personal about myself with you. LOVE YOURSELF, LIKE YOURSELF and if you are not there yet, find a way to get there, it will change your life for the better.
Special thanks to my friend Tara Sharp for this inspiration for this blog post….

big-brother-watching-youGreetings Hamptons MouthPiece Readers…..Big Brother is Always Watching
Has social media and texting decreased your phone time? When is the last time you called a friend to hear their voice? Everyone is so busy all the time that they do not make the time to pick up the phone to call a friend. I find when I speak to some of my friends on the phone, I feel rushed like they are keeping watch of the time and therefore the conversation feels weird and often times one-sided. I realize that I am a talker and can often talk for a long time but I am also incredibly busy and if I have made the time to talk to you on the phone it must say something about our friendship. Texting has become a way of life to many people that goes back almost 20 years when AIM was introduced with AOL….since then the technology has advanced and now you can have your chat all the time wherever you are. I wonder how many people use SKYPE to communicate face to face, that would be a welcome relief and more personal and even better than texting on the phone.

phone+askew-71055980Has America become to reliant on the advancement of technology? It used to be a time when you called a place of business and a live voice would answer the phone, today that service is only administered by very few. I don’t know about you but it frustrates me when I make a call and I get an automated recording in which it takes me nearly 15-20 minutes before I can get a live voice. I find it rude and incredibly unprofessional, but yet this is acceptable in our society because everyone is doing it. Has the position of a receptionist faded and become antiquated? Who are the gate-keepers for the abundance of sales people that come knocking on your door everyday? Where is that personal touch that makes you different than your competitor?
These my friends are all reasons why some businesses fail and other succeed….Adapting to new technology is essential but keeping some of the old-fashion ways of doing business is just as important. Our society may have tossed out using the phone for talk time and substituted for texting with friends but they have not when they are conducting business or placing an order. There has to be a balance and I am finding that many businesses are having a hard time locating that balance. Here’s food for thought…..would you advertise with a company that has a live person that answers the phone or a company that never answers the phone and you are left to deal with the automated service. We all would like to save money on services, but is it worth saving a few pennies and not have the customer service. I choose to spend more money for better customer service if I need to use it. I like texting, sending emails and chatting with friends on Facebook, but that can sometimes be impersonal and hearing someone’s voice or seeing them in person is priceless, warm and embracing.

I leave you with this thought….BIG BROTHER IS ALWAYS WATCHING and not everything should be said in an email or by text….just saying……

Greetings Hamptons Mouthpiece Readers…..Say it ain’t so, could Sag Harbor become Mainstream? Over the last year I have noticed some changes occurring on Main Street in Sag Harbor and it is becoming very scary. I have always loved Sag Harbor because I thought it was different than East Hampton and Southampton but equally as popular. In both East Hampton and Southampton for the last 5 years Main Street has become so Mainstream where so many big chain stores dominant and many of the smaller local businesses have been forced out with extremely high rents. Many of these businesses primary focus is to reach their Manhattan clientale and therefore close up shop in early October leaving Main Street to look empty and deserted. I am frustrated with the GREED that is dominating the Hamptons, instead of Main Street looking unique and special it is looking like 5th avenue in NYC. What made the Hamptons so special was the unique retail stores that were a one-of-a-kind, you could only find it in the Hamptons.

We have seen how the seasonal and pop-up businesses in these towns have been a huge disruption for both towns with the many local year-round businesses. Many local mom&pop shops have been forced out and leases have not been renewed because others are secretly going to the landlords and offering them significant increases making it too good a deal for a landlord to turn down. The small mom&pop locations cannot compete and therefore they are seeing their life work disappear before their eyes. Many of these new businesses are not focused on reaching the community only the seasonal people and are prepared to take a loss in the winter months.

I have always loved the uniqueness of Sag Harbor because it has always been immune from big chain stores on Main Street and to some degree still is, but I wonder how long will this last. In 2010 we saw the Cigar Bar close due to many misfortunes and yet this spot still remains empty. In 2011 the spot next to the old Cigar bar remained empty, the cleaners closed and at the end of the summer season the Pizza Shop closed, then in early December the Bike Shop closed its doors and Baystreet Theatre announced that they would be leaving Sag Harbor because the landlord wants to increase their rent.

I personally think that Bay Street Theatre leaving Sag Harbor will be a huge lost for the town and Main Street, many IMG_0176businesses will feel the lost of their presence. Now the newest drama is Java Nation will also be leaving its current location, according to the East Hampton Star it is  because the landlord will not be renewing the lease. In several local publications it is noted that Collette Cosignment will be taking over the location and has offered the landlord a considerable monthly increase to rent the location.  I spoke to the owner of Collette to get a statement from her but she refused me and indicated that she would not be speaking to the media because rumors are escalating. I say why not set the record straight and tell your side, but once again is the primary focus to reach the local community or just a seasonal clientale who can afford to shop at this store. I am in no way indicating Collette Consignment is like one of the big Stores dominating both East Hampton and Southampton but her business reaches an affluent clientele and it’s businesses like hers that are dominating Main Street throughout the Hamptons. It has also been rumored that there are plans to put in an upscale coffee spot, I have no idea if this is true, only time will tell what will be occupying this location. According to the East Hampton Star the owners of Java Nation were not even offered an opportunity to stay and even if they were would they be able to afford such a heavy increase? Whose is the culprit for the turnover throughout Main Street in the Hamptons…I say GREED! I am disappointed that Java Nation will be closing, although I am not a loyal customer of this establishment many others are and the owners have built a very nice following. I am told it really is the only place to get fresh coffee beans and it will be a lost. My daughter says and I quote “What’s the point of coming home now”I personally thought to see her parents, but clearly it was to visit Java Nation…my feelings are somewhat hurt 🙁

It is only a matter of time before we start to see pop-ups on main street in Sag Harbor. I really hope that Sag Harbor continues to keep its uniqueness and charm of catering to everyone and not just the rich because that would be a real shame. Since I have lived in Sag Harbor I have only seen it extremely quiet in late January and February, it is busy all the time and people from all over the world come to Sag Harbor because it really does feel like you are on vacation.

We must Save Sag Harbor from the horrors of Big Brother….but how can we do this….A change is coming but are we ready for it. I hope that change is not coming this year because I love being able to support the local business. What are thoughts on what’s happening on Main Street though-out the Hamptons?

Are you Part of the 99 percent? How will the Trillion dollar Cut affect you? Greetings Hamptons Mouthpiece readers…last week I watched a web program with Kurt on the state of the economy and I was instantly worried for my future, my children’s future , my family, my friends and most importantly for the 99% of Americans…Many people tend to focus on what is happening in the NOW and not care what is happening in the rest of the country or the world. They are only focused on how does this affect me now, I have a job, a place to live, food to eat, enough money to take a vacation and that is pretty much what they care about. Let me tell you, what happens in the rest of the world will eventually involve you and therefore it is important to know these things.  It’s interesting when I post things on Facebook or twitter like: Congress appointing a super committee to tackle the job of coming up with a plan to reduce the deficit and the due date is 11/23/2011 has  no response with any of my friends on Facebook, yet when I post more personal stories they have more traction.  This my friends is very serious, yesterday this super committee announced that they would not make the deadline to produce a plan to reduce the deficit by November 23rdand therefore according to US Law the $1.4 Trillion dollars must be cut from the budget. Two weeks ago 73.4% of the wall street big wigs predicted that the Super Committee would not make deadline and 83% predicted that even if  the Super Committee made deadline it would not pass in Congress…So what now…What does this mean to you?  To me it means a possible Economic Devastation, Social Tragedy and a possible Stock Market collapse…It means $492 Billion CUTS in Health, Education, Drug Enforcement, National Parks and Agriculture programs…It means a further devastation in the Housing market , higher Unemployment numbers, a possible dump of USA risky bonds and US stocks and worst possible scenario would be an Earth Shattering downgrade of the US credit rating. We saw what happened when the US credit rating was downgraded by S&P in August, the stock market went out of control….
I am worried…Could the housing market be worst than it is today? The Hamptons are often exempt from what happens because the 1% that have the disposable income tend to keep the Hampton afloat…but what about the 99% that live here full-time? Will people have the extra income to rent in the summer, many people rely heavily on those summer rentals to survive for the rest of the year.  It was announced  2 weeks ago that many on Wall Street would not be getting bonuses…How will this affect the summer rentals in the Hamptons? In my estimation I believe 1 in 4 people are either Real Estate Brokers, Builders, Plumbers, Electricians, Landscapers, Painters, Roofers, Home Furnishing store owners and Real Estate Lawyers…how will their business survive if Real Estate takes a bigger dive with the fallout of the Deficit not being passed…how will this affect the local Banks, the  people that work for these people and the list is endless…My objective is not to make anyone scared but to make you aware that these are the potential consequences that could occur and why it is important that we pay attention to what is happening in Washington and to put pressure on our Elected politicians…They need to be held accountable for their actions…
If they think Occupy Wall Street is dying down they are in for a rude awakening , it has only just begun….