Character Assassination is Not Just Reserved for Politicians…it Just Hit My Dad

I have to say, I feel very lucky to have two amazing parents who have inspired me to become who I am today. Unfortunately, today I watched as some very hurtful people maligned my dad’s character and realized that while he’s never run for public office, I got a taste for what horrible people do in order to get elected.

This weekend, I wrote a letter that I was hoping my dad would share with members of the community he lives in where he was running for an unpaid board position. He didn’t do it and honestly, even if he did, I don’t think they would have cared. So instead, I’m sharing it with here so you know how amazing my dad is and how proud I am of everything he has done in his life. If you have ever met my dad and are lucky enough to become his friend, you’ll understand why.

To the Members of the St. Andrews Homeowners Community,

In light of a recent email that was circulated around the St. Andrews community by individuals who clearly do not know my father, I decided it was time to tell you what kind of person he is is by sharing some personal information I think you all should know about. Perhaps from this letter, you will be able to truly assess what a kind-hearted, hard-working, financially responsible and trustworthy individual Neil Stoller is and hopefully, when you vote today you will do so without being manipulated by someone’s malicious online web search.

My dad is truly one of a kind. From an early age, he was a performer – entertaining crowds starting at age three with his rendition of “Don’t Fence Me In.” From there, while he had a passion for theater, he also loved sports and in junior high, he played basketball on a team named “The Comets” with fashion icon Ralph Lauren! Although back in those days, Lauren was better known as Ralphie Lifschitz. Incidentally, my dad’s nickname was Butch.

As he grew up, dad auditioned for the High School of Performing arts and made it! And while his dream was to become a professional actor, Dad came of age when heartthrobs like James Dean were all the rage. And so, rather than move to Hollywood or try his hand auditioning for a Broadway show, Dad attended City College, worked in his aunt and uncle’s bakery in Brooklyn and eventually decided to become an educator after he married my mom (his childhood sweetheart) when they both graduated in 1962.

By the time my brother and I came along, Dad’s favorite sport was tennis – he played regularly on weekends and then encouraged both of us to take lessons too. While he was a bit of a tough coach, Dad actually was a great motivator and in high school, I even won a few trophies as a doubles player for my tennis team. My only downfall was that every time Dad watched one of my games, I usually choked and lost the match.

While my parents bought a home in the Poconos so we could escape the humidity and concrete jungles of Brooklyn, Dad used to work summers to bring in extra money. During the year, I remember that he worked by day as a special education supervisor and then he’d make extra cash selling roofs for Edelstein & Sons. I also recall when my mom was attending graduate school, Dad would serve us TV dinners – which he fondly referred to as “radio dinners” – giving us permission to watch our favorite television shows in the den while munching on fried chicken.

Despite his busy schedule, my father always did what he loved. From tennis, to performing in community theater, to taking us to the Amish Country, Gettysburg, Washington DC and eventually Israel, Greece and Italy too, Dad has always made the things he loves an important part of his life.

While he constantly worked hard to support our family, my father was also a dedicated public servant. He served as the president of the Paerdegat Civic Association located in Brooklyn, NY where he looked out for the hundreds of families who lived in our community. While working at the Board of Education, my father was one of the original volunteers for the Special Olympics – dedicating his time to handicapped and mentally disabled children.

Throughout his career, my father was a motivating force for children with special needs as a teacher and special education supervisor. He retired after becoming a school principal and then proceeded to work as a principal in a religious school for a few more years.

My parents covered the costs of my college and graduate school education, paid for my wedding and assisted with a downpayment on our home in Westchester. They did the same for my brother who now lives in Florida. Despite the fact that they both worked in the New York City Board of Education, my parents were able to afford homes in Southampton and Florida – the ideal locations to enjoy retirement and a relaxing life.

When I worked as a publicist at CBS, I used to take Dad with me to the CMA Awards so that he could enjoy the performances and help me out on the red carpet. One of my favorite memories was when Dad took on the glorified role as water boy – racing around the red carpet offering bottled water to Brad Paisley, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, among many other country music artists. My friends in Nashville loved seeing my dad every year and when he wrote them a song called “The Jewish Cowboy,” he pretty much became an honorary member of the Country Music Association.

Today, while my dad has been retired from the Board of Education for more than 20 years, he pursues his passions even more. He plays tennis and golf several times a week, he’s taken tap dancing lessons with my mom – and even made the cover of the Southampton Press since he was the only man among the group of Senior hoofers. Dad also performs every year in the Palm Isle Players sold out theatrical production in Boynton Beach Florida and leaves Southampton every October so that he can make it back in time for rehearsals. Dad has also applied his love of history, coupled with his incredible gift of gab when he was a docent at a museum in Stonybrook, NY. He is also the author of the children’s book Grandpa Fix-It.

All I can say is I am so lucky to have been raised by a man who truly loves everything that life has to offer. You too would be lucky if you elect him to serve as a board member for the St. Andrews Homeowners Community.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Beth Feldman

Affordable Retail Therapy in the Hamptons

Feeling much better after a little retail therapy!

The summer is almost here and for me, that can only mean one thing – it’s time to hit the Hamptons! Now truth be told, I do not have millions of dollars.  Luckily, my amazing parents, who were super smart back in the day, purchased a home in Southampton a few years before I got married and never left. That means that my husband and I have had a summer home away from home where we were able to bring our kids and our dog practically every weekend.  I’ve loved getting the chance to visit my parents and one of my favorite things to do is to shop!

Now for those of you who have never been to the Hamptons, the sticker shock at some of those boutiques can be daunting, but if you are a savvy shopper like me, you can track down some amazing finds in between all those ridiculous prices and come back with clothes and accessories that will have your friends constantly asking you, “Where did you get that?” So today, when one of my favorite stores was closed (I’m crossing my fingers she’s not out of business), I found another great store that just moved from Jobs Lane to Main Street that is definitely going to be my new personal fave…Therapy Life & Style.

Day 1 – Therapy Life & Style

This boutique moved to a new location in Southampton. They are now at 38 Main Street and they have the trendiest tops, dresses, coverups, jeans and more and the prices are fantastic!!!!!


The minute I walked into this boutique, I fell in love with all their cute tops, dresses, jeans, sweaters, beach cover ups, pretty much everything.  But the best part about the store are the prices!!!!  I was totally expecting to see price tags that were out of my range and thankfully, everything in the store is affordable!  Take a look at my fabulous finds..

Love these two tops from Therapy Life & Style in Southampton – totally could have bought out the entire store!


Day 2 – Piccolo Bella, 49 Main Street, Southampton

The secret is out – every summer, without fail, I find the cutest tops, skirts, dresses and summer sweaters at Piccolo Bella, a fabulous boutique located right next to my favorite furniture store, Hildreth’s. This year, we stopped by the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend and the store was closed and I was afraid they may have gone out business, but luckily, they were just getting ready for summer season and when they removed the paper in front of the windows, the results were amazing. I picked up a beautiful white silk top that will be perfect for our upcoming trip to Paris to celebrate my daughter’s graduation.

Day 3 – Southampton Farmer’s Market

One of my favorite things I love to do in the summer is visit the Southampton Farmer’s Market which takes place every Sunday from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The Farmer’s market is a foodie lover’s heaven featuring local cheeses, wines, baked goods, honey, gluten free items, flowers, pickles, chicken burgers and more.  But there’s more than just food – there’s also jewelry and today, I even found an awesome hat vendor. Take a look…

Check out this amazing new hat – super stylish in time for Paris trip!

Day 3 – Westhampton, Chic Boutique

While it’s easy to spend the entire weekend strolling the streets of Southampton, there are a ton of towns to explore and one of my personal faves is Westhampton. There are even more amazing boutiques to visit and today, I discovered Chic Boutique and it was love at first sight.  I picked up three gorgeous tops that are perfect for work, vacation and weekends too.  And best of all, the prices are totally affordable.

My new favorite shopping addiction in Westhampton…Chic Boutique

While my shopping adventure might be complete this weekend, there’s much more to come when it comes to the Hamptons.  Next up…my favorite restaurants. For now, I’m going to try on my latest fashion finds!

The Girdle Chronicles

thighfat-main_Full.jpgI don’t know why, but every time I visit my parents in Southampton, I immediately come to the conclusion that it’s time to suck it up and visit the nearest Weight Watchers center stat. Today’s incident du jour involved a stroll down Job’s lane and an unintentionally rude comment about my body shape by a tactless shop girl.
So let’s start with the stroll. If you have never visited the Hamptons and are packing on some extra pounds, this is your alert to stay far far away from Southampton. The reason my flabby friend is simple. The place has been infiltrated by long legged models, Italian tourists and wealthy socialites with perfect knees, pouty collagen injected lips, designer sun dresses, $1000 handbags and bazillion dollar sandals. Walking along the streets of Southampton used to be relaxing. Now it’s more like I’ve just stepped into a scene from the Real Housewives reality show.
Which leads me to the experience I’m sure I’ll one day forget when I’m residing at an assisted living facility in Boca. These days, we pretty much avoid most of the shops in the area since their prices have hit the stratosphere. Sorry Ms. Snooty Store Manager. I refuse to pay $300 for the same sequined top I saw in your store last season for $49 thank you very much. But there are a few shops with decent prices and so, when a gorgeous black and white flouncy dress caught my eye, I decided to give it a shot and step inside for a closer look see. After selecting three dresses in what I thought was my size (at least it’s my size at Ann Taylor), I slipped into the dressing room and then wrestled to get my body into the first outfit. At first, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t fit the dress over my thighs. And so, I decided instead to slip it over my head. Next, after I zipped it up and attempted to buckle a wide belt to complete the ensemble, I swung open the door to show my mom and then it happened.
“Oh, that dress doesn’t look good on you at all. It makes you look really hippy.”
Now who do you think uttered that phrase? Well, it wasn’t my mom. Nor was it a middle aged sales clerk because if it had been a woman who was 10 years older than me, she would have said, “Honey, you look lovely. Now let me show you some accessories that’ll accentuate your lovely neckline.” But to my chagrin, there was a twentysomething rail thin salesgirl on duty who pulled no punches.
Sure, I know my hips have expanded as of late – possibly because I spend way too much time sitting on the couch typing away on my computer then taking yoga, spinning and pilates classes, but isn’t there a salesgirl code of conduct or something? Are you supposed to tell your patrons when they look fat in a form fitting dress or just keep it to yourself? To make matters worse, she tried to shove another frock in my face that she thought would be perfect for my shape (Pear women of the universe unite). The only problem was, it was one size too small and it started cutting off the circulation in my jiggly arms.
And so, after trying on four dresses that pinched me around the triceps, clung to my hips and felt snug around my middle – where incidentally, I’ve actually never had a problem, I made a monumental decision. I will no longer shop at upscale boutiques featuring European fashions where sales girls shoot me telepathic messages to lay off the chardonnay and eat a few more carrot sticks. Instead, I’m going back to old faithful – Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor Loft – where I’m always a size six and the saleswomen tell me I look fabulous even if I’ve grown a little mushy around the middle. Let’s face it, flattery will get you my credit card. And brutal honesty, will send me racing for the door.
Some Great Weight Related Links of the Week
Why I am Now Cancelling my Gym Membership
Time Magazine – Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin (thanks to Jennie at Baby Name Wizard for sending this one over to me via Twitter!)
Weight Loss Guru Janice Taylor’s Weight Loss Offerings
From losing weight with watermelon juice, to Seven Ways to Go from Stress to Refreshed, if you haven’t visited the Our Lady of Weight Loss site and signed up for her Kick in the Tush newsletter, then you don’t know what you’re missing!
Motivation du Jour from The Mojo Coach
Check out Debi Silber’s latest Beware of Limiting Labels Feature in our Community Pages.