Miss Understood: How Assumptions can Ruin Relationships


How making assumptions can ruin great relationships | The Champagne Supernova

As an attorney, my career is devoted to collecting information, assessing the information, and reporting the information to my clients.

I try to predict how a jury will react to the information and whether they will find a plaintiff, his or her medical providers, and witnesses to be credible. (After all, just because I perceive the “star witness” to be a lying schmuck doesn’t mean a jury will see him that way.)

The devil’s in the details, and I try to turn over every rock so I don’t miss something important. The minutiae that accompany “lawyering” can be daunting, and I wrote an entire blog post about it here.

You would think I’d adopt this “information collecting” to my personal life.

Nope.

Conclusions.

Assumptions.

Inferences.

I’ve done it all.

Take my husband, for instance. Last week, I got mad at him because of something I assumed without first bothering to collect all the information.

I came home from work on a Friday and was waiting for the babysitter to arrive so we could have a “date night” at an event that was on our calendar for months. Per our plan, which we specifically discussed, the sitter would arrive at 6, and we would be out the door by 7.

When I got home at 5:30, my 4-year-old had her towel and bathing suit in hand, and was adamant that she wanted to meet her friend, Katie, at the local swimming pool.

Do you mind if I take Arden to the pool to meet Katie?  My husband asked.

I could feel my temperature begin to rise and my eyes were probably bloodshot.

I was trying not to lose my cool in front of the kids. I was trying not to disappoint Arden, who clearly had her heart set on meeting Katie at the pool. I didn’t want to break it to her that she’d have to stay home with a babysitter instead.

So now I was the “bad guy,” especially because my husband was seemingly asking for my permission, and I’d have to be the one to say no.

After all, it would be impossible for him to drive her all the way to the pool and be home on time for us to get to the event by 7, as we planned.

As we specifically discussed.

More than once! 

My mind was racing.

Epic Classical Academy

Why would he offer to take her to the pool when he knew we had to leave our house by 7?

Why would he call Katie’s dad to make plans?

This whole thing was his stupid idea. It definitely was! 

Why, why, why?

I was livid.

When we were alone in the kitchen, I gave my husband an awful look.

It was an accident, he explained. Katie’s dad called me when I was in the car with Arden. He didn’t know the speakerphone was on and invited us to meet them at the pool. Arden heard it and got excited and has been begging to go ever since. I haven’t been able to diffuse it.

I wanted to crawl under the counter and hide.

I felt bad.

I got unnecessarily worked up because I created a story in my mind without having all the facts.

I owed him an apology.

Let me tell you. This anecdote was tame. I’ve made worse assumptions in other facets of my life.

Then, I started thinking.

How many good relationships have we ruined, or opportunities have we missed because we didn’t have all the information?

How many times have we been annoyed with one of our friends or colleagues because we created a tale in our minds about something that never even happened, but convinced ourselves it was true?

How many times have you confronted someone about something (or were passively displeased with them) because you didn’t have all the facts? Or you had some “facts,” but those facts were wrong and incomplete?

How many times have we judged someone without knowing them, all because of something unsavory another person said that we assumed was true?

How many times have we heard of friends or, worse, family members go years without speaking because of misunderstandings and false assumptions?

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How many times have we gotten a “weird vibe” from someone and assumed they didn’t like us when, likely, they were just shy or introverted and it’s not personal?

It’s so easy to think we know what’s happening inside someone else’s head.

I’ve learned lot of headaches and relationships can be saved by collecting all the facts.

In his popular book, The Four Agreements, Miguel Ruiz points out:

“If others tell us something, we make assumptions, and if they don’t tell us something, we make assumptions to fulfill our need to know and to replace the need to communicate. Even if we hear something that we don’t understand we make assumptions about what it means and then believe the assumptions. We make all sorts of assumptions because we don’t have the courage to ask questions.”

Ruiz goes onto state that of the four agreements, this one is the most life transforming.

I can see that.

I’ve painted pictures in my head because I didn’t want to ask questions and appear confrontational, and because I thought there was only one plausable explanation for why something happened, which only caused stress and hurt feelings.

I’ve believed my own assumptions too dang many times.

What a waste of energy.

From this point forward, I’m going to adopt my work persona as being a “social sleuth” into my personal life. I’m not going to allow my incorrect perceptions to victimize me.

Today is the last day.

Cheers!

    Giving Back and Back to School: Share-A-Haircut


    Back to school philanthropy from Hair Cuttery | The Champagne Supernova

    Disclosure: I received promotional consideration from Hair Cuttery in connection with this post. Notwithstanding, I think Hair Cuttery rocks and am totally behind this.  

    Going back to school is stressful. It can be difficult for parents to accept their kids are growing up too quickly (read about my experience here), and alarming for children to think about how they will navigate the lunchroom, remember the Pythagorean theorem, and get voted into the student council.

    The last thing children need to worry about is their hair. But the sad reality is that for many families struggling to make ends meet, even a haircut is a luxury.

    Hair Cuttery to the rescue!

    From August 1-15, for every child’s haircut purchased at one of Hair Cuttery‘s nearly 900 salons, a free haircut certificate will be donated to a child in need in your local community.

    By getting the word out about this awesome charity, you are helping children in the community go back to school looking and feeling their best.

    Hopefully, that results in them performing their best.

    “A new haircut for a special occasion is something we all take for granted,” said Dennis Ratner, Founder and CEO of Hair Cuttery. “Our Share-A-Haircut program ensures that children in our communities aren’t deprived of that simple, but essential, service. If we can send those students back to school with added confidence and a smile on their faces, then we’ve done our job.”

    Before summer comes to an end, Hair Cuttery is aiming to donate tens of thousands of free haircut certificates ahead of the new school year. Certificates will be distributed with the help of more than 100 local government and non-profit organizations in communities across the country.

    Since 1999, the Share-A-Haircut program has donated more than 1.89 million free haircut certificates valued at nearly $30.35 million.

    2016 marks the 17th year of Share-A-Haircut, with Hair Cuttery’s most recent campaign donating 55,000 haircuts to victims of domestic violence this past spring. The company has an established history of charitable giving and has supported a range of local and national causes, including St. Baldrick’s Foundation, American Red Cross, The National Network to End Domestic Violence, American Cancer Society and Girls on the Run.

    That’s something I can get behind.

    Check out some of my awesome haircuts through the years:

    Uneven bangs courtesy of Mom and Dad circa 1982.

    Uneven bangs courtesy of Mom and Dad circa 1982.

    I don't know if this can properly be considered a mullet. For 1983, it worked.

    I don’t know if this can properly be considered a mullet. For 1983, it worked.

    "The Wave" bangs copied from D.J. Tanner on Full House. 1991.

    “The Wave” bangs copied from D.J. on Full House. 1991.

    Oh man, I can't even. High school awkwardness in 1998.

    Oh man, I can’t even. High school awkwardness in 1998.

    Not pictured: the haircut my oldest daughter recently gave to her Rapunzel doll.

    Now go and get your kiddos a haircut at Hair Cuttery before Junior tries to cut his own hair.

    Cheers!

      On Your First Day of School


      How to mentally prepare when your kids are starting school | The Champagne Supernova

      My oldest daughter starts Pre-Kindergarten in a couple days.

      She’ll be going to a different school than the daycare she’s attended the last few years.

      Everything will be new.

      She’s four.

      She loves Peppa Pig, Anna and Elsa, wearing dresses, swimming, trying to do cartwheels, painting, reading books, eating watermelon, building sandcastles, saying memorable one-liners, and drinking Shirley Temples (with extra maraschino cherries, of course!) She hates having sunscreen applied, pinto beans, and having her tangly hair brushed.

      Can’t say I blame her.

      It’s hard to believe it’s time for her to start “real school.”

      Just me and a million other parents across the country, commiserating about our kids growing up and crying into their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that we’re up late at night preparing for the next morning.

      According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in the fall of 2015, about 55 million students attended elementary and secondary schools. Of that figure, 35.2 million were in Pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade.

      Woah.

      That’s a whole lotta school buses, Crayolas, graph paper, and number 2 pencils.

      A lotta life chapters opening and old ones closing.

      I don’t like it.

      Not one bit.

      The idea of getting older is scary. I can’t accept being at a stage in my life where I see friends losing their own parents, there are wrinkles under my eyes, teenagers think I don’t understand them and call me “Mrs.” and that 1996 was twenty years ago.

      I certainly can’t accept my children getting older.

      While my oldest daughter is my “baby,” she’s developed into a miniature person who is smart and has feelings and opinions.

      When and how did that happen?

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      Seems like yesterday I was nine months pregnant and ironing the baby clothes I’d bring her home wearing from the hospital and now here I am, ironing her school uniform and getting ready to drop her off at a “big girl school.”

      It sets me off on an emotional tailspin.

      There’s so many things I want for her and hope for her and dream for her and pray for her.

      And I feel conflicted between putting her out in the world to be her own person, letting her make mistakes, and learning valuable lessons and wanting to keep her inside our sheltered home forever and ever.

      So.

      On her first day of school…

      I’ll help her put on her outfit, socks, and shoes that we carefully laid out the night before.

      I’ll make sure her backpack has everything it needs to get her through the first day: pencils, crayons, and colored markers. And I hope her heart will feel good when she reaches inside and finds a note from ‘ole Mom telling her that I love her and am proud of her.

      I’ll make sure she has a hearty, healthy breakfast, but will probably give in when she asks for a glass of chocolate milk.

      Just this once.

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      On her first day of school…

      I’ll kiss her goodbye as I pull away from the drop-off circle, and I’ll be wearing my sunglasses with the dark lenses so she won’t notice me crying.

      I’ll pull over alongside the road where she can’t see me, just so I can watch her grab her teacher’s hand and walk inside the building.

      On her first day of school…

      I hope she’ll keep her head up in class and use brave words if she’s feeling scared.

      I hope she has someone to sit next to in the cafeteria at lunch and that the other kids are nice to her.

      I hope she has so much fun making arts and crafts that she doesn’t worry if she gets paint on her school clothes.

      On her first day of school…

      I hope she gets sweaty and dirty at recess because that’s what kids are supposed to do.

      I hope her teacher is patient if she’s having a hard time with the transition.

      I hope she loves whatever books her teacher reads at circle time and can’t wait to get home and tell me all about it.

      On her first day of school…

      I hope she comforts a friend who is feeling sad and wants his or her own mom and dad.

      I hope if she misses me, she knows it’s only a matter of time before she’ll see me waiting for her when it’s time to go home…

      … and when she’s home, she tells me about all the new friends she’s made, things she learned, and how she can’t wait to go back tomorrow.

      On her first day of school…

      When I’m at work, I’ll close the door to my office so my colleagues don’t hear me sniffling.

      I’ll drink ten cups of coffee so I can focus on the tasks at hand, when I’m really just thinking about her and wondering how her day is going.

      I’ll remember to soak in the moment because while the first day of school might be hard to get through, June will be here before we know it, another summer will come and go, and it will be time to do it all over again.

      Thinking about the moms and dads out there who are emotionally preparing for the first day of school in the coming days.

      Cheers!

        My Mustache: Why I Switched to Safer Products


        beautycounter_changes

        It all started out with a mustache.

        A melasma mustache.

        It was the fall of 2013 and I noticed a dark patch of skin in that area between my nose and upper lip. Freaked out and hoping it was merely my imagination, I ran into my co-worker’s office and asked her if she noticed it, too.

        She did.

        “Maybe you’re just forgetting to put sunscreen in that area when you apply it every morning?”

        That’s it! That’s definitely it!

        That wasn’t it.

        Turns out I had melasma, a chronic skin disorder that results in symmetrical, brownish facial pigmentation. It typically occurs due to hormonal changes during pregnancy and sun exposure, and women are more likely to develop it than men. It’s been nicknamed the “pregnancy mask.”

        What did I do? I hopped on the internet, did some Googling, and quickly learned that a popular chemical called hydroquinone is effective for getting rid of those pesky brown patches because it inhibits the production of melanin. In short, this is a topical bleach that fades the dark spot over time after many uses.

        Perfect!

        The chemical is easy to purchase and can be found in a host of bleaching products available anywhere from high-end brands sold at dermatologist’s office (like Obagi), and over the counter at your local pharmacy and grocery store.

        I slathered the bleach all over my mustache. For weeks. Months. Didn’t matter that it smelled bad and made my eyes burn because I was going to get rid of it once and for all, dangit!

        The mustache still isn’t gone. If you look really hard, it’s still there.

        When it wasn’t working, I started researching the chemical and was stupefied and horrified at what I found.

        Hydroquinone is directly linked to cancer, organ toxicity, and skin irritation.

        Wait, what?

        It’s sold here in the United States. It’s sold everywhere. So it has to be safe. 

        Wrong. So, so wrong.

        Most of the cosmetics on our shelves aren’t regulated. Congress hasn’t passed a major federal law regulating the safety of personal care products since 1938. There are 1,300 products on our shelves that have been totally banned in Europe. Banned. 

        Since 1938, more than 80,000 new ingredients have been introduced to our personal care products, including soaps, toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, perfumes, lotions, skincare, and sunscreens.

        More alarming, the Food and Drug Administration allows companies that use chemicals that are known to be extremely harmful, such as formaldehyde, phthalates, and lead, in the products we put into our bodies and our kids’ bodies every single day.

        Bottom line. Companies are allowed to use toxins that are known to cause cancer, reproductive issues, and hormone disruptors, without getting into trouble.

        It’s all about the Benjamins.

        Marketing has become a joke. For instance, companies can advertise their products are “natural” but it’s a gimmick. Read the ingredient labels and research the chemicals.

        They ain’t natural.

        In the United States, one person under the age of 40 is diagnosed with cancer every eight minutes. One in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes. Two decades ago, one in twenty women were diagnosed with breast cancer. Now, one in seven women will develop breast cancer. More shocking? 90% of these women have no pre-existing genetic link to the disease.

        One in three children are born with severe allergies, autism, ADHD or asthma.

        Think about it.

        How many young people do you know who are in their thirties, were otherwise healthy, and have been diagnosed with cancer? How many young people do you know who have struggled with infertility? How many kids do you know with peanut allergies or are somewhere on the autism spectrum?

        I know tons of each of these types of people and it’s alarming.

        Bells and whistles are going off.

        Something’s gotta give.

        Most of you are annoyed reading this. You’re rolling your eyes. Another blogger using scare tactics about something. Microwaves. Cell phone radiation. Antiperspirants. Alcohol. Talcum powder. Asbestos in old buildings that you can’t avoid because you work there.

        I might as well never leave my house.

        I get it. I do.

        Look, I’m no hippie. I’ve tossed down a margarita or ten at the pool and have been known to indulge in fries and burgers from McDonalds.

        But at least I know alcohol and McDonalds are bad.

        And when I do it, I know better, but I do it anyway.

        When I’m using products, I want to know what’s in them, and then know about the risks I’m taking before I choose whether to make them.

        When I was having lunch with a good friend a while back, she introduced me to Beautycounter. The company sells an array of gorgeous, safer skin care products and she loaned me a “pouch” that included the skincare regimen to use for a couple days, commitment free.

        I loved it.

        I threw away my Neutrogena face wash and never looked back.

        Shampoos. Lotions. Makeup. Sunscreen. Kids’ products. Anti-aging and regular skincare regimes.

        I love it all and use it guilt-free.

        Here are some of my favorite products:

        Beautycounter_Regime

        This is the Face Collection that includes cleanser, exfoliator, day and night cream, eye cream, and rose spray.

        Beautycounter_Rosewater_Mist

        I spray this Rosewater Mist on my face throughout the day for a quick pick-me-up instead of drinking coffee.

        beauty counter cleanser, exfoliator, eye cream

        The cleanser, exfoliator, and eye cream from the basic collection.

        Beautycounter Lustro OilMy favorite of all the Beautycounter products, Lustro Oil. I was nervous about putting something called “oil” on my face, but it’s comprised of calendula oil and serves as a moisturizer. My skin has seen a huge difference.

        Other Beautycounter products that I’m obsessed with and use daily are the shampoo, conditioner, lip balm, eye cream, purifying charcoal mask, sunscreen, and kids products.

        They also have an entire anti-aging line, the Countertime Collection, with non-toxic active ingredients.

        In May, I decided to become a Beautycounter consultant. Not because having a full-time career as an attorney, raising a family, and managing my blog aren’t enough to throw me into a tailspin, but because I wanted to get the word out about the crap on the shelves and how there are much better alternatives.

        I wanted to help educate people.

        I wanted to be part of something important. This little grassroots movement.

        If you want to learn more about the products or making extra money becoming a consultant (psss… you get 25% off the products), send me a message and check out my Beautycounter website here.

        I didn’t want another friend like me, ignorantly slathering bleach all over her mustache.


        Epic Classical Academy

        Another thing: I don’t want you to just take my word for anything I’m saying in this post.

        Do your own research.

        The innate nature of being an attorney makes me skeptical. I didn’t believe my friend when she was telling me about this company, the mission, and the risks associated with the long term use of products on our shelves.

        I did my own research.

        Please do the same.

        In the wise words of Biggie, “if you don’t know, now ya know!”

        Learn more about the impact the environment is having on your health.

        Beautycounter created a “Never List” containing ingredients you should never use on your skin, as well as the reasons why you shouldn’t use them. Check it out here.

        South Tampa friends: if you’re interested in trying the products, I’ll personally deliver a pouch to your doorstep so you can try the skincare regimen for yourselves. Shoot me an email at Jennifer at The Champagne Supernova dot com.

        Cheers!

         

         

         

          Election Season: I Don’t Care About Your Politics


          Election_Trump_Hillary

          Ahhh… politics and election season.

          It’s a time you’re reminded that your “friends” think you’re an idiot because you can’t see how wrong your political ideologies are and how much of a lying, phony, nincompoop the person you’re voting for is.

          A time that people use the internet as a means of polarizing one another and promoting their own political agendas.

          It’s a time people share “news” stories in an effort to demonstrate their “side” is correct, and this is why you should agree with them and “see the light,” dagnabit.

          Sigh.

          Raise your hand if your opinion about something important has ever been swayed by a social media status update or an adversarial conversation with someone who vehemently disagrees with you.

          (My hand is down.)

          What people ignore is that divisive comments carry an implication that someone isn’t “smart enough” to know what the issues are, understand the issues, and make an informed decision.

          I’ve been down the rabbit hole in the past. I’ve participated in dead-end conversations like these.

          It doesn’t feel good.

          When I was in law school (what seems like many moons ago), I was standing in a group having a conversation with a classmate who was a bleeding-heart (political party, which I won’t name, because that could make people miss the point). She clearly had different political philosophies than the rest of the people in the group and, in an ill-fated attempt to suggest that her views were right, and everyone else’s were wrong, she declared:

          My parents are highly educated, and they are huge financial supporters of (politician) and (politician’s) charity organization.

          Oh.

          So you’re assuming nobody else’s parents are “highly educated?” What if some of our parents couldn’t afford a formal education, but remain informed? Do their views not count?

          She’s a nice girl, and I haven’t seen her in nearly a decade but, when I think of her, I’ll always remember that ridiculous comment.

          I think most people are “smart enough.”

          Smart enough to know someone’s support for Donald Trump doesn’t make them a bigot, their support for Hillary Clinton doesn’t make them a freeloader, their support for Bernie Sanders doesn’t make them a communist, and their support for Ted Cruz doesn’t make them an ignorant Bible-thumper.

          It’s more complicated than that.

          Smart enough to know another person’s pro-choice stance doesn’t make them a murderer and their support for life doesn’t mean they think women shouldn’t be able to choose.

          It’s far more complex than that.

          Smart enough to know a person’s opinion that “Black Lives Matter” doesn’t mean they think police shootings are justified, or that disagreeing with Caitlyn Jenner’s lifestyle doesn’t mean they hate her.

          There’s more to it.

          Most people are smart enough to question what the media tells them; therefore, they do their own independent research before making (and voicing) an opinion.

          Smart enough to know that while they might be a Christian, their religious beliefs could have been different if they were born to some other family in India, Indonesia, Israel, or Iran.

          And here’s the thing.

          I don’t care about your politics. 

          Unless I explicitly ask, I don’t care what you think about gun control, immigration, same-sex marriage, Planned Parenthood, global warming, affirmative action, ISIS, euthanasia, estate taxes, legalizing marijuana, Obamacare, waterboarding, or the death penalty.

          I just don’t care.


          Epic Classical Academy

          I also don’t care who you’re voting for, why you’re voting for that person, and why you think supporters of another candidate are imbeciles.

          Here’s what I care about:

          Whether you’re a good person. Whether we have a good time when we’re together. Whether you’re loyal and sincere. Whether you confidently live by your own rules instead of hustling for the approval of others. Whether you work hard. Whether you are kind and humble.

          Whether you are respectful of others’ opinions and ideologies, even when they aren’t the same opinions and ideologies as your own.

          I care about whether you have a sense of humor and aren’t preoccupied with keeping up appearances. Whether you’re proud to be an American and grateful for the opportunities you’ve been given, even when there is room for improvement.

          I care about whether you’re not afraid to admit you’re not completely passionate about your job, or that you need a glass of wine because your kids have you “on edge.” Whether you’re willing to acknowledge things aren’t perfect all the time. I care about whether you’re dependable and are supportive during the bad times as much as you are during the good times.

          Those are the things I care about.

          I don’t care about your politics.

          Cheers!

           

            Baby Bellies: Don’t Ask if She’s Pregnant


            How do you know when it's okay to ask a woman if she's pregnant |The Champagne Supernova

            Rule of thumb. Or bump.

            Two years ago, I did something evil.

            It wasn’t planned and, for all my lawyer colleagues, there was no malice aforethought.

            It happened one week after I delivered my second daughter.

            Overcome with a cornucopia of dreadful emotions, my husband convinced me to get out of the house and treat myself to a good old fashioned mani-pedi.

            Perfect!

            So I got into my mom-mobile and skedaddled to the nearest “spa,” one of those stereotypical Asian nail salons wedged between a dry cleaning place and Mediterranean cafe in a strip mall.

            I’d been there a couple times before, but stopped going because, despite there being multiple female technicians, I always got stuck with the older man who never stopped talking.

            Don’t get me wrong.

            I love chatting.

            But when I’m trying to “relax,” I certainly don’t want to make small talk about the weather, my summer plans, or if I’ve been to any good restaurants lately.

            I just don’t.


            Epic Classical Academy

            It’s substantially more annoying when the talkative person doesn’t speak comprehensible English and I’m left racking my brain trying to figure out what he or she is saying.

            So.

            For the sake of saving time because this salon was the closest one to my house, I went there and crossed my fingers I wouldn’t get stuck with Jabbery Joe.

            I got Jabbery Joe.

            (Of course I did!)

            While he was giving me my manicure, he asked if I had kids.

            “Yes. I have two daughters, ages 1 and 3.”

            As I didn’t want to open up the floodgates to any additional questions, I omitted that I had a newborn baby back at the house, and felt my white lie was justified.

            funny_pregnancy

            Then, he moved me into the pedicure chair. As he glanced up at me while painting my toenails (this was after he went all crazy with the “cheese grater”), he took one look at my post-baby gut, which was in all its glory, and loudly said:

            “Ohhhhhh, you pregnant! How far ‘long?”

            I took one look at Jabbery Joe and glared.

            With eyes redder than the “Thrill of Brazil” polish he was using, I sinisterly replied: “I’m not pregnant.”

            Befuddled, he looked at me with the fear of God, seemed like he was going to vomit, and the only “save” he could muster up was:

            “Second baby bigga. Second baby bigga.”

            I guess this meant the woman is bigger after delivering her second child which, in his mind, happened last year.

            As if that was supposed to make me feel better.

            Jabbery Joe didn’t say another peep until he thanked me as I was leaving.

            Good, I thought to myself, serves him right for asking such a dumb question. 

            When I returned home and told my husband the story, he said I was being mean and should have explained that I had week-old infant at home and, to avoid further questions, been honest about wanting to decompress and not talk anymore.

            He’s right.

            He’s definitely right.

            Jabbery Joe was just being kind and showing an interest. Good customer service. And there I was, being grouchy and wallowing in my hormonal sorrows.

            Fast forward to last weekend.

            Over two years later.

            I went back to this salon and, as luck would have it, got stuck with Jabbery Joe.

            The first thing he asked me was how the girls were doing and then reminded me it had been years since I was there, “when my girls were 1 and 3.”

            He remembered. 

            He probably went home that night and got berated by his wife after he confessed to asking a non-pregnant woman how far along she was. And she likely schooled him that, unless someone is in active labor or there isn’t a shred of a question that she’s pregnant, you never ask a woman if she’s “with child.”

            Ever.

            When it's ok to ask a woman if she's pregnant | The Champagne Supernova

            Me, four months into my first pregnancy. This is how I look now when I eat a couple tacos.

            I debated whether to create any lists on pregnancy political correctness since I am the least P.C. person on the planet, but while our society is so stuck on “not-doing-this” and “stop-saying-that” to avoid offending someone, what’s one more?

            So here, my friends, is when it’s ok to ask a woman who is a complete stranger to you if she’s pregnant:

            When you see a human being physically emerging from her vagina. 

            This is why.

            A woman who appears to be pregnant could just be wearing a flowy dress. She could simply be overweight. She could have a tumor in her stomach. She could have just gone crazy at a Chinese super buffet. (M.S.G. is good!) She could have a thyroid condition. Or how about this… she could have recently had a baby, and asking her if she’s pregnant is digging the proverbial nail deeper.

            Do you really want to set yourself up for an awkward moment?

            And that post-baby gut… It’s normal.

            According to WebMd, it takes between 6 and 8 weeks after delivery for a woman’s uterus to return to its prepregnancy size.

            So if you have the gut… congratulations, you’re normal. If you don’t have the gut, Bless Your Heart.

            Me and The Mister when I was 9 months pregnant with my second daughter. I never got offended when people asked me if I was pregnant but really, don't ask. For the love!

            Me and The Mister when I was 9 months pregnant with my second daughter. I never got offended when people asked me if I was pregnant but really, for the love, just don’t ask.

            Cheers to minding your own bees-wax!

              Parenting in the Trenches: They’ll be Older Tomorrow


              My girls at ages 1 and 3. This was taken a year ago, but seems like it was two weeks ago. Photo by Synthia Therese Photography.

              My girls at ages 1 and 3. This was taken a year ago, but seems like it was two weeks ago. Photo by Synthia Therese Photography.

              I remember strangers approaching me when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, placing their hands on my stomach, asking whether I was having a boy or a girl, when I was due, and whether I had chosen a name.

              I received all sorts of parenting advice, most of it unsolicited.

              Which strollers and car seats were the best.

              Breast or bottle.

              Pacifiers or loveys.

              “There’s nothing wrong with letting your child ‘cry it out.'”

              There was one piece of advice I remember most.

              When you’re having a hard time, remember your child will be older tomorrow, so try to cherish it. 

              Man. Those people who said that (there were many) weren’t kidding.

              Looking back, I remember the reality of having a newborn baby set in, and so did those proverbial trenches.

              When you’re in the middle of those awful trenches, you aren’t thinking “this too shall pass.”

              You’re thinking you’re tired.

              That your boobs hurt.

              That you’re sick of not knowing what day it is and that you haven’t washed your matted hair in so long that it’s sticky from all the dry shampoo.

              That your house is a pigsty, but cleaning it feels like being on a hamster wheel.

              That you want to go out in public, but only if you have a personal guarantee from God Himself that you won’t see anyone you know because you look like crap and you might burst into tears if someone asks how you’re doing.

              That you’ll exchange harsh words with the grocery store cashier if she ID’s you in response to the fifteen bottles of wine on the conveyor belt and smirks as she stares at your photo and says, “Is this really you?”

              Yes. The picture was taken right after my honeymoon when I was freshly highlighted, sun tanned, and relaxed, thankyouverymuch. 

              That you’ve been wearing the same outfit for seventy-two hours straight, and it’s stained with formula and tears.

              That you love your baby, you really do, but you wish, for once, she would just stop crying so you could get through one episode of the trashy reality show you’ve been wanting to watch.

              You’re thinking you’d love for your stomach to not look like a deflated balloon and that you’re sick of wearing the oversized mesh underwear they give you at the hospital.

              Let me tell you something.

              When I was home on maternity leave with both girls, the hours seemed like decades. The monotony of folding laundry, unloading the dishwasher, and vacuuming the floor felt like Groundhog Day. The only reason I looked forward to the weekend was because it meant my husband would be home from work all day, and there’d be an extra set of hands to help around the house.

              I remember people telling me to “sleep when the baby sleeps.”

              Yeah, right.

              It’s like napping on eggshells.

              Now, my girls are two and four and I’ve moved out of those trenches and onto a new, unique set of obstacles. And you know what? There are so many times I was in such a stressed out fog while I was in those trenches that I didn’t stop and appreciate being in the thick of it all.

              Because, unless something crazy and unintentional happens, there will be no more newborns  in my house. And you know what didn’t really matter? That I was tired. Or that my boobs hurt. That I didn’t know what day it was and hadn’t washed my hair in a long time. Or that my house was a pigsty or I might run into somebody I knew if I went out in public. That a cashier thought I looked ugly or, heaven forbid, I was wearing the same outfit several days in a row. Or that someone knew I was having a hard time transitioning to motherhood. That I was tired of hearing my child cry and wanted to indulge in trashy television.

              The kids have gotten older pretty quickly, and they’ll be even older tomorrow. 

              And since I can’t stop time, all I can do is change my perspective, because I know I’ll look back on the trenches and obstacles when my girls are adults and wish I could do it over again. A hundred times.

              So.

              I’ll try my best not to rush through dinner and bath time after I’ve arrived home from a crazy day at work because they’ll be older tomorrow.

              I won’t care if getting completely into the water at the local swimming pool means I’ll have to wash and blow-dry my hair the next day because they’ll be older tomorrow.

              I’ll disregard that building sand castles and making mermaids at the beach will result in painstakingly vacuuming the car because they’ll be older tomorrow.

              I’ll try not to stress that fifteen extra minutes splashing around in the tub means a slightly later bedtime because they’ll be older tomorrow.

              That reading one more book or watching ten more minutes of Peppa Pig isn’t the end of the world because they’ll be older tomorrow.

              That unnecessarily spending twenty more minutes at the office finishing something that can be done later because there’s no real deadline isn’t worth missing precious time with the girls at home because they’ll be older tomorrow.

              That declining an after-hours obligation I don’t really want to attend with people I can catch up with another time so I can hang out with my family is still ok because they’ll be older tomorrow.

              I’ll embrace my little ladies screaming songs and laughing in the car at the top of their lungs instead of being annoyed because they’ll be older tomorrow.

              I’ll play sharks, Marco Polo, and underwater handstand Olympics with them in the swimming pool because they’ll be older tomorrow (and, soon enough, likely won’t want to hang out with me anyway.)

              I’ll let them hold my hand and bashfully cling to me when meeting a new friend or going to an unfamiliar place because they’ll be older tomorrow.

              I’ll try to be patient and hold my breath and count to ten when they accidentally knock over the bowl of Fruit Loops because they’ll be older tomorrow.

              Cheers!

                Relationships: Dating versus Marriage


                The difference between dating and marriage | The Champagne Supernova

                Me and my main squeeze on our wedding day, June 20, 2009.

                Seven years ago, I said “I do” to fine young man in front of a hundred family members and best friends. As we ate good food and danced the night away, I envisioned our post-honeymoon lifestyle to resemble that of June and Ward Cleaver.

                Homemade meals every night. Perfectly well-mannered children.  Laughing while we shared deep conversations.

                Longing looks and meaningful glances.

                For the rest of our lives.

                How I envisioned my post-marriage self.

                How I envisioned my post-marriage self.

                Then, reality set in and my marriage began to resemble Dan and Roseanne Connor’s.

                Who has time for homemade meals?

                “Keeping the romance alive” is difficult with young kids, career ventures, and the stress of everyday life.

                Sure, it’s easy to become complacent. But don’t we all do it?

                Dang.

                Here, my friends, are the differences between dating and marriage. It’s the reality that good ole June and Ward never revealed:

                Dating: Back massages.
                Marriage: Back mole checks.

                Dating: Getting gussied up to go clubbing.
                Marriage: Clubbing. At Sam’s Club.

                Dating: Using Spanx to hide your cellulite and belly fat.
                Marriage: Using a gallon of milk to hide the delicious chocolate in the back of the fridge.

                Dating: Talking on the phone for hours.
                Marriage: “Why are you calling me?”

                Dating: Thongs from Victoria’s Secret.
                Marriage: Full coverage, cotton Hanes. With holes.

                Dating: Tight pleather pants.
                Marriage: Yoga pants. With holes.

                funny_marriage

                Dating: Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, and Coachella.
                Marriage: Disney on Ice.

                Dating: Shaving daily.
                Marriage: Forget the elephant in the room… let’s talk about the gorilla!

                Dating: “That sounds so exciting!”
                Marriage: “That sounds dumb and we aren’t doing it!”

                Dating: Excitedly wondering what kind of cute gift you might receive “just because.”
                Marriage: Grumbling when you receive gifts because you are supposed to be saving for a new roof (but you still appreciate the gift anyway.)

                Dating: Promising to never go to bed angry.
                Marriage: Sometimes, you just gotta go to bed.

                Dating: Four-course, homemade meals in five-inch heels.
                Marriage: Frozen pizza on paper plates in sneakers and a stained T-shirt from a corporate fundraiser.

                The difference between dating and marriage | The Champagne Supernova

                Saturday nights when you’re dating: late nights out on the town and fun “backstage” with the band at Lillian’s Music Store circa 2007.

                The difference between dating and marriage | The Champagne Supernova

                Saturday nights when you’re married: face mask, glass of wine, prison documentaries on TV, and a tub of buttered popcorn.

                Dating: Netflix and chill.
                Marriage: A glass of wine and in bed by 9:00 p.m.

                Dating: Working out at the gym every day.
                Marriage: You work with a guy named Jim. That’s about the extent of it.

                Dating: “You are my soulmate…”
                Marriage: “But if I met Bradley Cooper…”

                I once received a fortune cookie where the fortune read: “Marriage allows you to annoy the same person for the rest of your life.”

                Ain’t that the truth.

                Happy anniversary, honey!

                Disclaimer: This post is meant to be satirical and is not a reflection of my marriage.

                Maybe.

                Cheers!

                  Bag Lady or Beach Babe


                  Moms_at_the_beach

                  My family and I recently went on a week-long beach vacation in Boca Grande, Florida, and I quickly realized my beach-going of yesteryear was long gone. This week’s guest post from my friend, Julie Bedford, hits the proverbial nail on the head regarding the ordeal of taking young kids to the beach. Julie and I were college sorority sisters at the University of Florida and she hails herself as a “Potty Mouth in a Sweater Set” at her hilarious blog, The Bedford Wife. (Really, it’s one of my favorites). Cheers, and thanks, Julie!

                  ….

                  There are many blog posts on what to bring on a family beach trip.

                  Posts like “How to Pack the Perfect Beach Bag in under 30 minutes” and “The Ultimate 10-Item Beach Packing List” and “7 Essentials for A Family Day at the Beach.”

                  We took our son to the beach the week after Christmas (because it’s 90 degrees in the dead of winter) and I can tell you, all of these articles are…ahem…crap.

                  If you are over the age of 18 and/or married with children, then the truth is, you’ll take 27 tote bags of sh&t with you on your next beach trip.

                  Gymboree Sale On Now!

                  It will not take you 30 minutes to pack.

                  It will take you 7 hours, and you will still forget something.

                  You will venture to the shore with saddle bags of:

                  bathing suits, sandals, hats, protective eyewear, diapers, underwear, change of clothes (or two, or three, or ten) snacks, water, sippy cups, pacifiers, shade screen, stuffed-animal lovey, baby blanket, umbrella, sunscreen, face-sunscreen, snorkel, flippers,
                  surfboard, volleyball net, frisbee, asthma puffer and medication refills, baby-sensitive-skin sunscreen, sand toys, seashell-collection-bag, kite, 57 beach towels, sheet, hair tie, baby powder, bug spray, band-aids, tampons, change for the parking meter,
                  cash for the snack bar, lawn chairs, cooler, fishing pole, your phone with the fancy new all-weather case, the Nikon…

                  My husband parks the car and leads the way to the perfect spot.

                  He scouts out this spot like a hound dog on a crime scene.

                  No, no… not here.

                  Sniff. Sniff.

                  Yes, that’s it… 15 more miles in that direction.

                  He is a sleuth, and I am his bag lady.

                  I am out of breath from carrying so much sh&t across the Sahara desert, and also from being a little fat (it’s the week after Christmas, remember.)

                  However, I am wearing a Spanx bathing suit, which is very flattering, thank you very much.

                  I am also wearing a tunic, sandals, and large sun hat.

                  Suddenly, like a flock of seagulls, a dozen barefoot teenage girls flutter past me.

                  I am blinded by their glistening tan skin.

                  Do you know what they are carrying?

                  Nothing.

                  They are prancing about without so much as a cover up.

                  I take that back, one of them was carrying a radio.

                  Because the only thing one really needs at the beach is Nick Jonas.

                  (Incidentally, I forgot “music” in my above-mentioned packing list.)

                  Why do I have 1,000 things, and they are drip drying half-naked in the warm winter sun?

                  Because they aren’t afraid of anything, and I am afraid of everything.

                  I am afraid that someone will get hungry, or tired, or melanoma (or bored God forbid) during the 2-4 hours we will actually be at the beach.

                  I get so caught up in preparation, I sometimes forget the entire point of going to the beach is to HAVE FUN.

                  Oops, mommy forgot to pack a positive attitude!

                  When I finally settled into my lawn chair (so comfy, with the cup holder!) and caught my breath, I watched my son fly a kite for the first time.

                  I realized, I love my life as a pack mule mom.

                  There is nothing like building sandcastles and digging tunnels to China.

                  Or collecting sea shells.

                  Or eating too much ice cream at the Twistee Treat.

                  Which brings me back to that Spanx bathing suit, and the cover up, and that bucket for the shells, and some extra cash….and…

                  Ugh, we forgot the shovel!!!!!!!!!!!

                    I’m a Big Bootie Fan


                    Hi Friends, I’m on vacation this week but my friend, Allison Arnone of the AA blog, was kind enough to guest post for me. We collaborated together back in October with this post about Tinder and she’s so funny that I keep coming back for more. Get ready for some laughs:

                    To quote my coworker/friend Meghan, “I’m a big bootie fan.”  Even though it came out sounding like she was talking about a Kim K-style derriere, she actually meant the shoe version of “bootie.”  Ya know, these guys:

                    image

                    [source: Polyvore]

                    And ya know what?  I’m a big bootie fan, too.  So when I took off of work on Friday (keepin’ that week-long birthday celebration going) to go shopping with my mom, I couldn’t help but notice a cute pair in…well, I can’t say the name of the store.

                    I’m too embarrassed because of what transpired.

                    Listen, guys.  I’m a moderately smart person.  I have common sense and street smarts and even some minimal book smarts.  But every once in a while, I do something stupid — so embarrassingly stupid — and it makes me question my entire existence.  Friday afternoon was one of those days.  Sigh, here goes.

                    I spotted a pair of cognac-colored suede booties in [Store Name Redacted] and immediately checked for my size.  Lo and behold, the first ones I picked up were a size 7; exactly what I was looking for.  It was shoe fate.  I decided to throw my foot into the right shoe to see how it fit and felt and I turned to my mother, as I often do, for guidance.

                    “What do we think?”

                    “Eh, I don’t like that big buckle on the side.”

                    I looked down.  The buckle/zipper WAS kinda large, and did I REALLY need another pair of booties?  Probably not.  I crouched down to take them off, and the zipper on that big buckle my mother just insulted…was stuck.

                    What the…?

                    I sat down on the floor to get better traction and tried my hardest to pull the zipper down.  It didn’t budge.  Oh my God.  I’m shoe-trapped.

                    I enlisted the help of my mom; standing in the store like complete bozos: me, balancing on one leg while she held onto my ankle; attempting to unzip this godforsaken shoe.  She couldn’t get it either.

                    WONDERFUL.

                    A teenage sales associate walked by at that moment and saw our awkward struggle and asked if we needed help.  Who, us?  Nope, nothing to see here.  Just a 33-year-old woman trapped in one of your shoes with her mom trying to pry them off.  Keep it moving.

                    Kidding: I actually told him what happened.  He looked…confused.  Unsure of how to handle the situation.  He called for reinforcements.

                    Another young gentleman quickly showed up and I once again explained my predicament.  I’m now getting hot.  I feel a slight panic attack coming on.  This stupid shoe is making the walls close in around me.  This nice young fella does his very best to pull, tug and tear at this zipper, to no avail.

                    I’m now realizing I haven’t shaved my legs in a day or two and he’s all up close and personal to my unfortunate ankle stubble situation, which is making me feel worse.  I hate this; I hate all of it.  I look up and my mother is laughing; about to take pictures of me in my innocent and vulnerable state.  DON’T YOU DARE, WOMAN.

                    Next thing I know, a manager-type dude (WHY DO ONLY GUYS WORK HERE?!) comes over with a pair of scissors: they’re going to need to cut me out of this bootie like the Jaws of Life.  Young sales associate takes the scissors to the shoe and I immediately feel the metal blade touch my skin.

                    Uh, let me do that,” I tell him, “just in case you cut me; I don’t want to have to sue the store after all this.”

                    I’m making jokes to try and lighten the mood and distract everyone from the fact that I am in a clothing store and stuck in their merchandise.  Mortified.

                    I attempt to cut through suede.  Have you ever done this?  It’s FRIGGIN IMPOSSIBLE.  I made a slight tear barely an inch deep, but it’s not enough to get me out.  I’m REALLY starting to panic now.  Someone says something about a box cutter; I think I blacked out.

                    That’s when it happens.  Someone suggests me trying to cut through the OTHER side of the boot; the side opposite of the bulky-ass buckle, so I flip my ankle around.

                    And there was… (oh God) (brace yourself) : A REGULAR ZIPPER.  The zipper I used to get this $%^!& boot on in the first place.

                    I was never stuck.

                    I was attempting to unzip a fake buckle.

                    The REAL zipper was — and always was — on the OTHER side. 

                    I had my mom and THREE separate men trying to help me get a shoe off, when all I had to do was look on the left and pull down the normal, functioning zipper.

                    image

                    I lost a part of myself in that store that day, including my dignity.  But I’ll tell you this: my mom and I laughed for the entire rest of the day about it, and laughed AGAIN that night when we recanted the story for my father.  It’s too good not to share.

                    And the store was awesome about it; despite the fact that I cut up and ruined a perfect good bootie.

                    Speaking of, THIS is the actual shoe that caused the commotion:

                    image

                    Cute, right?  Wrong.  Dangerous, and stupid.

                    So I obviously feel like a total bonehead but had to share my story with you guys.  Got any embarrassing stories for me?  Let’s hear em!

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