Lice Lice Baby: How to Get Rid of those Hellish Critters


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My name is Jennifer Burby.

I got head lice at the age of 34.

From my daughter. Who got it at school.

I guess.

Who really knows where or how she got it. She just did.

I somehow dodged the head lice bullet during my own childhood.

Both of my two daughters have been in daycare since they were a couple months old, which are breeding grounds for lice. We would routinely receive emails from their schools advising of lice outbreaks in the classrooms and instructing us to check our children’s hair. Same happened at their summer camps. Neither of my girls ever got it. They’re in the pool a lot, so I chalked it up to lice not liking chlorine.

And I’ve gotta be honest here.

Until I got it myself, despite rumors that lice preferred clean hair, I thought it was something reserved for country folk.

Kissin’ cousins.

People who resided in Appalachia and lived off corn dogs and Mountain Dew.

I am now one of those people. Maybe it’s karma for being judgy.

Let me backtrack.

A couple weeks ago, my four-year-old daughter started complaining her scalp was itchy.

Thinking it might be head lice, I did a quick examination and found nothing.

I guess she has a dry scalp. I’ll have to get her some of that Neutrogena stuff for old people next time I’m at Walgreens.

A week later, my mom, who lives out of town, came and spent the weekend at our house.

And slept in bed with my daughter.

Eat Clean $30.00 Off

Next morning, my mom said my daughter kept waking throughout the night, complaining her head was itchy. And she was profusely scratching it.

I did another, more thorough investigation, and found tons of tiny white specks resembling sesame seeds (only smaller) throughout her hair.

Eggs (nits) in action. This isn't my daughter's hair. It's a photo I stole from the Internet for demonstrative purposes only.

This isn’t my daughter’s hair. It’s a photo I stole from the Internet for demonstrative purposes only.

Could it be? I thought. Can’t be.

So I got on the computer and Asked Jeeves what head lice look like.

The search results returned with eggs that looked exactly like the specks in my daughter’s hair.

The search engine results also said you’d have to properly identify a live louse (apparently, this is singular of “lice” because I just had to look it up) to confirm the existence of head lice.

I wasn’t messing around. This was balls to the walls.

I went to the garage and retrieved my husband’s head lamp, which he uses for long runs in the morning when it’s still dark outside.

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I would have put on a HAZMAT suit if I would have owned one.

"There's lice in them there hills."

“There’s lice in them there hills.”

Marched back up into my daughter’s room with the lamp on my noggin and a flicker in my eye.

Two minutes later, I spotted one. And then another.

Another demonstrative stolen from the Internet.

Another demonstrative stolen from the Internet.

My ignorance expected lice to be large and conspicuous. Raisins with legs.

Nope.

They are tiny. Small as fleas. And a light brownish color that makes them hard to detect in dark blond hair.

Seeing them made me feel homicidal. Like the moment when Tracy Flick discovers Paul Metzler is running against her for student council president in the movie Election.

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I sped to the nearest pharmacy and searched for the most potent product available. Yes, I am ordinarily hyper sensitive about what I put on my and my families’ bodies.

Not this time.

I wanted to poison the lice and make them die slow, miserable deaths. I wanted to make them pay for the torment they put my daughter through.

(Insert sinister laughter here).

I returned to the house armed with Rid, takeout dinner, and a bottle of wine.

Git 'er done.

Git ‘er done.

Three glasses of wine and some elbow grease later, with the help of my mother, all the lice and eggs were gone from my daughter’s hair and she was on her way to dreamland.

But then my own head started itching.

Like, really itching.

Was this my imagination?

I started frantically looking through my own hair and saw a little devil staring back at me.

The fear of God was in his or her eyes. It knew what was happening next.

Then my husband mentioned his head was feeling itchy. But he was unfazed, as he and his younger brothers got lice “several times” in their youthful days of yore.

(They grew up in rural Hillsborough County, so that was unsurprising to no one.)

I got out the head lamp and examined his head.

Yup. He had them too.

So.

While other married couples were savoring fine wines and filet mignons on their Saturday night, my husband and I were on the couch in front of the tube, watching reruns of Dateline and picking nits out of each others’ hair like a couple of primates.

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So glamorous.

Then, I had an epiphany. Two weeks before, I attended the out-of-town wedding of a longtime college friend. My girlfriends (all of whom have kids) and I spent the hours leading to the wedding getting all dolled up together in the hotel room. This also involved sharing each others’ hair brushes and accessories.

So I had to send a text warning them they could have head lice and prayed they didn’t have it and give it to their families.

Here’s the other problem. Not being very attentive to detail, I didn’t know I had to put the lice shampoo all over my entire hair and scalp. I thought I only had to put it on my scalp and not on the rest of my hair. So that’s what I did. And they returned several days later.

I’m sitting at work and my head is itching like crazy. So I’m going crazy. Trying to prepare for a trial but all I can think about is how my head feels like it’s on fire.

I sincerely believe that infesting someone with a pile of head lice would be worse than water boarding.

We did everything to get rid of the lice.

Even hired a professional lice-killing lady to come to our house, douse our heads in olive oil, and remove the lice and eggs. Five hours, six hundred dollars, and one wasted Sunday later, they were finally gone.

Once and for all.

Except my head remained subconsciously itchy and I kept buying products to kill any that remained alive. My favorite, hands down, was this stuff right here. They sell shampoo and conditioner, the shipping was quick, it smelled nice, and I had Farrah Fawcett hair after using it. And I’m not being paid one red cent to endorse this product. I genuinely loved it.

Here’s the problem with head lice that most people who haven’t had it don’t realize. They reproduce quickly. Just because you wash your hair and kill all the live lice, you still have to contend with their eggs. They all have to be removed from your head. If you leave one behind, that egg will hatch, grow into an adult, and lay more eggs a couple days later. So you really have to stay on top of finding the eggs and destroying them. You also have to wash your sheets and towels, vacuum the house, boil your hair brushes in hot water, and isolate any dolls or stuffed animals that could contain eggs.

It’s tedious.

But perhaps it’s a parenting rite of passage.

A badge of honor.

I survived head lice, so I can now get through anything.

Finish an Iron Man. Climb Mt. Everest. Swim with sharks.

I also want to eliminate the shame associated with getting head lice, which most people deny exists, but really it does.

Whatever. Life lice happens.

Trying to protect my daughter, I told her she had the case of the “itchies.” I didn’t want her to tell her little friends she had lice in her hair and risk her becoming a pariah. Know what she did? Marched into the school the next day and proudly told her teachers she had bugs in her hair, and that I gave her a “spa night” to get them out.

Oh, to be as carefree as a child.

Cheers!

Disclaimer: parents of students in my daughter’s pre-K class: Yes, she was the first reported case of head lice. And I’m sorry. I hope she didn’t give it to any of your children. She was not the second reported case of lice. Don’t know who that was and can’t claim it. But the mama of that child is free to give me a call and we can swap war stories over tears and libations. The identity of your child will remain privileged and confidential. 

    Gift Ideas: What Women Really Want


    Gift ideas for women reflecting what women ACTUALLY want | The Champagne Supernova

    My mother-in-law had a big birthday earlier this month, and I wanted to get her the perfect gift.

    I won’t tell her age.

    But it rhymes with nifty.

    (She’s my husband’s stepmom, so don’t bother doing the math. She didn’t have him when she was fourteen.)

    I struggled to determine what I could get for her that she would truly enjoy.

    She already has what she needs, and what she didn’t already have, she could go out and buy.

    Ugh.

    I didn’t want to cop out and get her a gift card.

    I wanted to get her something that I, myself, would actually want as a gift. 

    Here, my friends, are some of the best gifts that women actually want.

    That they’re excited to get.

    And all of them can easily be purchased online (click, click, boom!) or at your local Target. (Or online at Target, where shipping on purchased over $25 is free.)

    The majority of products in the gift basket are from Beautycounter, where not only am I consultant, but I also legitimately use all of their products in my own daily routine. Read about why I switched to these safer products here, instead of the usual chemical cocktails from the days of yore.

    Beautycounter’s Ingredient Selection Process ensures safer and cleaner products that work beautifully (less is more!). This rigorous process handpicks the best ingredients, such as hydrating shea nut, derived from shea fruit.

    What’s not included?

    Approximately 1,500 questionable or harmful chemicals on Beautycounter’s “Never List” that are never used to formulate the products.

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    The whole shebang.

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    Beautycounter citrus mimosa body bar.

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    Beautycounter citrus mimosa hand cream.

    Bella tin candle in Amber & Vetiver scent.

    Beautycounter soothing face oil. (This stuff is the Grand Poobah mack daddy. Many of my clients have seen a difference in their skin in two days. Two. All you need is two drops on your fingers before bed. Bam!)

    birthday_presents_grown_women5

    Beautycounter Sugar Body Scrub in lemongrass.

    Beautycounter lip conditioner balm in calendula (also sold in peppermint!)

    birthday_presents_grown_women3Clean eating cookbook: Gwyneth Paltrow “It’s all Easy.”  I know ‘ole Gwen is a controversial figure, but my mother-in-law is a healthy, “green” eater, so throw me a bone.

    Hardbound journal.  I bought this in the store at Target but couldn’t find it online, but here is a similarly sweet one.

    Starbucks coffee.

    What would you add to a gift basket for a loved one?

    Some, but not all, of the links are affiliate links where I receive credit for the sale. My electric bill ain’t gonna pay for itself. 

    Cheers!

    Epic Classical Academy

      Support Education: Box Tops


      boxtops7

      This is a sponsored post (but I believe in the mission and participate in the program!)

      It began in California in 1996.

      General Mills wanted to create a program to help support education and benefit America’s schools- so, Box Tops for Education was born. Two years after it started, over 30,000 schools were clipping Box Tops and earning cash to buy the items they needed: playground equipment, books, computers, and more.

      Over the next four years, the Box Tops for Education program doubled to include popular brands like Pillsbury, Old El Paso, and Green Giant. By 2004, over 82,000 schools across the nation participated in Box Tops, earning more than $100 million toward education.

      TODAY, America’s schools have earned over $719 million, and you can find Box Tops on hundreds of products throughout the grocery store.

      Typically, each Box Top clip is worth 10 cents for your school. However, by purchasing three specially-marked General Mills Box Tops items at Sam’s Club, you can earn your school an additional 100 eBox Tops.

      How, you ask?

      Simple.

      Purchase three General Mills Box Top products and enter your receipt on samsclub.com/boxtops to earn 100 eBoxTops.

      You can also purchase 6 General Mills Box Tops products and earn 200 eBoxTops, 9 products to earn 300 eBoxTops, and 12 products to earn 400 eBoxTops.

      What. A. Deal.

      Redeeming your box tops through Sam’s Club is super easy and you can do it here. You must purchase the products between 8/16/16 and 11/16/16. Email your receipt to samsclub@btfereceipts.com. Once validated, come back to Samsclub.com/boxtops to enter eBoxTops code and assign to your school.

      I’ve been a member of Sam’s Club for roughly a decade. The samples reeled me in, but the bargains kept me. I’m so glad I can get a good deal on items for my family while helping to give back to the community.

      Cheers to that!

      boxtops8

      boxtops6

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      Look for box tops like THESE.

      boxtops9

        Paybacks: It’s Not Worth It


        Karma_paybacks

        They say paybacks are hell. But who are they hell for?

        Last week I was in a car accident while I was driving with my 4-year-old daughter.

        Her school has chapel services that begin at 8:15. I don’t ordinarily get to take my daughter to school because of work commitments, and so being able to attend chapel with her is extra special.

        Many of the parents attend with their children, and I’m hypersensitive about being an “absentee mom” who is always at the office.

        I don’t want to fast-forward twenty years and hear my kids are sitting on a shrink’s couch humming Chapin’s “Cats in the Cradle.”

        So.

        As I was at a stop light waiting to turn left once it changed from red to green, I felt another car slam into my bumper and heard a corresponding crash. I looked at my daughter, who was safely in her car seat, and made sure she was ok.

        I looked into the rearview mirror and saw a series of cars behind me, also waiting to turn left at the light. I assumed it was a multi-car collision, with the person in the very back at fault.

        Once the light changed, I stopped at the first available street and got out of the vehicle, preparing myself for the potential damage.

        The right part of my bumper was dragging on the ground.

        Great! One more car accident.

        I’m like a magnet for other people hitting me.

        And let’s be honest, I’ve had my share of mishaps as well.

        Epic Classical Academy

        This is why I drive an old Volvo SUV. Because I can’t have nice things.

        Oh, and because it’s paid off.

        Another driver pulled up behind me, a middle-aged white man in an Acura sedan. The front of his car didn’t have nearly the amount of damage as the rear of mine. I glanced in his car, and it appeared he was alone.

        He got out of his vehicle looking worried.

        The following exchange is crystal clear in my mind.

        What happened? I asked. Did you hit me, or did you get pushed into me by another driver?

        It’s all my fault, I wasn’t paying attention, didn’t stop on time, and just rolled into your vehicle. Nobody hit me. 

        Ugh.

        I called 911, reported the accident, and asked for an officer to come to the scene and write a police report.

        As I checked on my daughter, who was still in the back seat, she became hysterical.

        Please don’t wait for the police man, we’ll be late for chapel (!!!)

        Her eyes were sad and desperate.

        She was right.

        It was 7:40 and if we waited for an officer to arrive, conduct an investigation, and prepare a report, we’d be late.

        She doesn’t do well when she’s late and out of her routine.

        Eat Clean $30.00 Off

        Please don’t wait for a police officer to arrive, he said.

        I’m a driver for UPS and if they find out about this, it will put my contract at risk because I’ll have an accident on my record. I’ve been insured with State Farm for 23 years and will pay for all your damage. It was my fault. Take a picture of my driver’s license and insurance card, and let’s exchange phone numbers in case we need it.

        Like my daughter, the man was desperate for me to not make a police report.

        He was just shy of begging.

        I looked at him and judged him.

        Seemed like a nice enough guy. Appeared “normal” (read: not a derelict or a drug addict).  Was being honest about his mistake and since nobody was hurt and the property damage was minimal, getting everything paid for shouldn’t be an issue.

        I gave him my number, he called me, and I saw his number appear on my phone’s caller ID. He took a picture of my driver’s license.

        I photographed his driver’s license and insurance card and was on my way.

        I called 911 and canceled my request for a police officer.

        We got to my daughter’s school in time for chapel.

        Score!

        When I arrived at work, I called State Farm and reported the loss using the information contained on the man’s insurance card. The agent said someone would be in touch with me after they contacted their insured and verified he was at fault for the crash.

        No problem.

        Later that evening after we put the kids to sleep, I returned a call from State Farm.

        The insurance agent advised liability was being contested because the man who hit me was claiming the crash occurred because another vehicle struck him from behind and fled the scene.

        Well, that’s a complete lie, but what does this mean for me? I asked.

        We’re going to go to his house and check out his bumper. If there’s damage that jives with his story, then we’ll treat this as a hit-and-run and will not be paying for your property damage  or any injuries, if you have any.

        Vengeance and paybacks aren't worth the trouble | The Champagne Supernova

        My initial reaction to being told the guy who hit my car was blaming it on someone else and his insurance company may not pay for my damage.

        I couldn’t believe it.

        I did this guy a favor and he turned around and tried to screw me.

        And I didn’t throw out my “I’m a lawyer” card at the time of the crash (because I’m not a dweeb) but what an idiot!

        No good deed goes unpunished. 

        Of course, I advised the insurance adjuster that the guy was lying.

        If he was hit from behind, why didn’t he call 911? Why did he specifically deny getting hit from behind? What if he had pre-existing damage to his bumper that he’s trying to pin on our accident?

        The adjuster couldn’t have cared less. When liability is contested and there are no witnesses (except my four-year-old daughter), they have to side with their insured.

        Blah, blah, blah.

        They would investigate and get back with me in 2-3 days.

        I then realized I had this guy’s phone number from when he called me after the accident.

        So I called him.

        And, again, he was dumb enough to answer.

        Then my irrational alter-ego, “Jenny from the Block” took over, and he got an earful.

        Said if he continued these shenanigans, I would report him for fraud to the department of insurance. Make a complaint to the State Attorney’s Office. Call UPS, report the accident, and advise if they kept him on board as a driver, they’d face potential issues for negligent retention if he was involved in another accident. And worse, if State Farm didn’t pay for my damage because of his lies, he would be seeing me in small claims court.  I would blast my picture of his driver’s license and insurance card all over my the blogosphere.

        He. Didn’t. Know. Who. He. Was. Messing. With.

        Pretty_Woman

        I then called the police, called my own car insurance company, and lost sleep over it.

        Those are 12 hours I’ll never get back.

        Long story short, State Farm conducted an investigation and accepted liability for the crash. My car’s in the process of being fixed on their dime.

        I was subsequently on the phone with my mother venting about this hassle and how I couldn’t believe this guy was dirtbag enough to throw me under the bus after I did him a favor.

        Some nerve.

        Then, my mom said something wise, mature, and true.

        You could report him to his employer and do all these things to “get back and him,” but is it really worth all the trouble? He has all your contact information and knows where you live, what if he does something crazy? Sometimes, it’s just not worth it. 

        She’s right.

        (Yes, mom, I am publicly admitting you’re right. I need to write a blog post about all the things in my life my parents were right about that I didn’t believe at the time due to my lack of experience and maturity.)

        I’m still immature and part of me feels defeated for letting him off the hook so easily without any ramifications (that I’m aware of.)

        There’s a fine line between being a doormat and setting boundaries, and I felt (feel) like a wimp.

        But the reality is I’ll never see him again and his insurance company is paying for my damage, so going out of my way to make this dude’s life a nightmare will only waste my own time.

        Karma will catch up with him.

        There are times in life where seeking vengeance on someone is truly worth it. To me, this was not that time.

        And I hate that my mother was right. Just a little.

        Cheers to moving on.

          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?

          Eat Clean $30.00 Off

          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!

            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?

            $30 off Sun Basket

            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.

            Epic Classical Academy

            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, Face 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, 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!

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