Back-To-School Supplies for Moms


Be a back to school hero with SignUp.com | The Champagne Supernova

Back to School Supplies for Moms | The Champagne Supernova

This post is sponsored by SignUp.com. All sarcasm is my own. Special thanks for fans of The Champagne Supernova’s Facebook page for helping to create this post. 

The end of summer signals the beginning of long lines at local retail stores.

Spiral notebooks.

Loose leaf paper.

Crayons.

Ti83 calculators.

Compasses and protractors.

If you’re like me, you miss the days of the psychedelic Trapper Keepers, but I digress.

Vintage Trapper Keeper from the 1980s | The Champagne Supernova

I owned a Trapper Keeper with this exact same pattern when I was in Ms. Kincaid’s Second Grade class at Bunnell Elementary School. Yes, I went to elementary school in Bunnell, which explains my backwoods roots.

At the front of the line is usually a mom who is seen reluctantly coughing up her credit card at the end of the transaction.

She does all of the work, but what is the glory?

It’s a quiet house between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

And this got me thinking.

Why don’t moms get lists of supplies they need to celebrate commiserate with their friends about their kids returning to school?

If there was a back-to-school for moms list, this is what it would look like:

Barrels of wine.

Shoot, an entire winery where we can go barefoot in the barrels (while also drinking wine) a-la Lucy and Ethel.

via GIPHY

A blanket for a much-needed (and uninterrupted nap).

A gourmet lunch that is not the kids’ unfinished mac and cheese, PB&J, or soggy Cheerios.

A purse that contains only lipstick, an ID, and credit card. No bug spray, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, goggles, boogie wipes, or extra undies for in-case-of-an-accident.

(Ask me about the time a police officer removed a pair of little girls’ Barbie underwear from my purse when I was going through the security line one busy morning at the courthouse. Not awkward. Not awkward at all.)

The highest pair of stiletto heels known to man that you can wear to prance around town. Cuz Lord knows you wear flip flops, sneakers, and, God forbid, Crocs as part your normal “Mom Uniform.”

A stack of magazines you ordinarily have no time to read.

R-rated movies.

Ear plugs. Someone’s screaming? It’s not your kid, so it doesn’t matter.

Permanent markers. That you can use and color on whatever the heck you want. Don’t worry, you can re-hide them before you pick up the kids.

Tissues.

You know you’ll miss them.

Here’s to a great start to the new school year.

Cheers!

Make your volunteer life easier with SignUp.com | The Champagne Supernova

 

    Adventures in Lawyering: Being Right


    Photograph from To Kill a Mockingbird from pbs.com

    I got sucked into one of my more notable cases shortly after I finished law school and entered the work force.

    It involved feuding next door neighbors and was venued in Miami-Dade county, which meant I had the treat of riding on planes, staying the night in swanky hotels, and eating at fancy restaurants when I had to travel from Tampa for hearings and other case-related events.

    Both of these neighbors were wealthy beyond comprehension and had money to burn on legal fees and costs.

    We will call them Hatfield and McCoy.

    Hatfield grew up poor and made a ton of money in the phosphate industry in the early 1990s. He was dishonest, generally disliked, and was on his fifth marriage by the time I got involved in the case.

    Hatfield accompanied his wife to her deposition (along with their private chauffeur), and introduced her to the group as “Lydia… my Trophy Wife.”

    (Lydia looked like a Playboy Bunny, so I guess she really was his Trophy Wife.)

    Hatfield only stayed at this home in Miami for two months out of the year and lived in California for the remainder. It was my understanding he also owned property in Martha’s Vineyard.

    McCoy was a lovely man who worked hard his entire life to support his family, started a successful business manufacturing widgets for cellular phones, and acquired enough wealth to put his (unborn) great-grandchildren through college.

    McCoy purchased a lot next to Hatfield’s multi-million dollar home on an exclusive island close to South Beach.

    McCoy demolished the existing home on the property so he could build a new one. There was also some weather-related structural damage to his dock for which he had to take down the old one and start from scratch.

    Every resident on the island needed a dock so they had somewhere to park their luxury yachts.

    McCoy had no interaction with Hatfield until construction on his dock was nearly finished. One day in the middle of summer, Hatfield came out of his house screaming the location of the new dock obstructed his view of the bay.

    McCoy explained that several engineers from the county “vetted” the location of the dock and he received all the necessary permits for constructing it.

    Hatfield disagreed and filed a lawsuit.

    In the lawsuit, Hatfield added claims that McCoy’s mailbox was in the wrong location and that vibrations from pile driving during construction of the new home crossed Hatfield’s property line and created cracks in his olympic-size swimming pool.

    Hatfield never attempted to work out these issues with McCoy as an alternative to suing him- he just wanted to sue.

    He was petty.

    He would never admit his pettiness and “let it go” because he was so fixated on one thing: being right. 

    Hatfield wanted to be right about the location of the dock.

    He wanted to be right about the placement of the mailbox.

    He wanted to be right that the construction of McCoy’s home cracked his swimming pool.

    But how was “being right” going for him when it cost him peace and friendship with his neighbors and tons of money in legal fees?

    Not very well.

    I don’t know Hatfield’s personal background, but I am willing to bet that “being right” cost him his first four marriages.

    It probably cost him business opportunities.

    More than anything, it probably cost him happiness and satisfaction.

    Here was a guy who seemingly had it all: a successful company, plenty of money, a beautiful wife, multi-million dollar homes in three different locations and he still wasn’t happy.

    None of it was enough.

    So he had to fight with his neighbor about dumb things like a dock, a mailbox, and a swimming pool for the sake of being right.

    (Important Note: McCoy ended up winning the lawsuit after a judge agreed that the location of the dock and mailbox were appropriate and the pool cracks existed before the home was built. Basically what everyone knew all along.)

    This incredible scenario triggered some self reflection about how many times I’ve been so concerned in my personal life about “being right” about that I didn’t look at the big picture.

    Guilty.

    It’s stupid.

    How many times have we jumped to conclusions about petty things without investigating all the facts?

    How many times have we bid adieu to people who were “true and blue” friends or family members about something that didn’t really matter in the scheme of things?

    (You gotta look deep deep deep deep down and really admit to yourself that what you were mad about was dumb.)

    How many times have we been upset when someone didn’t meet our unexpressed expectations and so we wrote them off?

    How many times have we been so hell bent about being right about something that we didn’t consider the people we were hurting or alienating?

    It’s time to let it go.

    Thank goodness for job security, but I see this all the time in my profession. People who can’t let go of being right that they will spend years of their lives and tons of money to prove it. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a divorce lawyer. Oy vey!

    Do you have an issue with dock?

    Let it go.

    What is your mailbox?

    Let it go.

    Cracks in your swimming pool?

    Let them go.

    Look left. Look right. Up and down. Look at the big picture and consider all you have in your life that is going well and focus on that.

    You don’t have to be right about things that really don’t matter. 

    Cheers.

      Back to School: Carmex Lip Balm is the Bomb


      Which lip balms to use for returning to school |The Champagne Supernova

      This blog post was proudly sponsored by Carmex. Per usual, all opinions are my own.

      It never fails.

      Despite me begging and pleading for her to stop picking, my five year-old daughter routinely has dry, chapped lips.

      Even in the hot, Florida summertime.

      This habit is easy for me to prevent at home, but not so easy when she’s away from me at school.

      No more, I say!

      I finally found a remedy that should be able to get me through the school year.

      These Carmex products can easily fit in the my daughter’s backpack or lunch box so she has them handy at school when she needs them.

      Be sure to include Carmex products on your back-to-school shopping lists!

      While Carmex has several products in their lip balm line, my two personal favorites are the Classic Lip Balms in a Tube and the Comfort Care Lip Balms.

      Carmex lip balms are great for chapped lips and for kids | The Champagne Supernova

      The Carmex Classic Lip Balm in a Tube provides soothing relief that facilitates moisture and leaves a sensation on your lips that is not too thick or too waxy.

      (Let’s be real, my daughter would never keep it on if that were the case.- and she loves the cherry flavor because it reminds her of her favorite drinks- Shirley Temples!)

      This lip balm is formulated to provide cooling relief to the worst of chapped lips and has a SPF of 15 to help prevent sun damage.

      The Carmex Comfort Care Lip Balm is formulated with natural colloidal oatmeal which has been used for centuries to soothe the lips and promote softer, more hydrated skin. This lip balm is available in a variety of flavors such as mixed berry, sugar plum, and watermelon blast, and contains antioxidant-rich fruit seed oil to help restore lips’ natural beauty.

      Not only does the Comfort Care Lip Balm provide the ultimate in hydration, but it also helps defend against free radicals that accelerate the appearance of aging.

      These particular Carmex products do not contain harmful toxins such as parabens. This is very important to me as a mom and as a consumer.

      Carmex lip balms | The Champagne Supernova

      My three year-old enjoys Carmex products as well.

      The Carmex lip balm line is available at most retail stores and the products are super affordable and under $4.00. Even better, one jar or tube of lip balm will last a couple months (if the kiddos don’t lose it, because #momlife!)

      Cheers to making back-to-school shopping easier with Carmex.

      Wishing everyone a successful transition to the new school year.

       

        Kitchen Remodel: White Kitchen


        White kitchen remodel before and after | The Champagne Supernova

        Since we moved into our home in 2010, we have been less than excited about our kitchen. While it was spacious and modern-ish (the house was built in 2007), we weren’t in love with the light colored wood cabinets and dark granite countertops.

        As we didn’t see ourselves living in the house for a long time, we held off on updating the kitchen until we recently decided to give it a face lift, in hopes that it would add value to the house over time. (And also because we decided we are staying put in the house.)

        Luckily, we didn’t need to undertake major structural changes such as knocking down walls or relocating appliances. This project was entirely cosmetic.

        I’ve always loved a white kitchen, but didn’t want to paint the existing cabinets because it can be easy to mess up and the quality of the work is typically poor. (You can sometimes see streaks of paint.)

        With the help of Rob Guerrieri, owner of TNS Customs, we gave the kitchen a complete makeover. Rob was accessible (quick to respond to a text or phone call with feedback) and performed the work better than we imagined.

        The majority of the work was done while we were on summer vacation and we totally trusted Rob and his team to be inside our home while we were away.

        The counters are made of quartz that we purchased at Stone Warehouse of Tampa. We chose quartz because it is durable, but not as porous as marble. The specific color is Shadow Storm.

        Here are photos of the work in progress:

        White kitchen makeover before and after | The Champagne Supernova

        Kitchen before. It’s a mess because #momlife.

        White kitchen makeover | The Champagne Supernova

        Kitchen in the middle of the project. Cabinets were made to be messy, right?

        White kitchen remodel before and after | The Champagne Supernova

        White kitchen remodel | The Champagne Supernova

         

        White kitchen remodel | The Champagne Supernova

        We got rid of the exterior garbage can and replaced it with an interior cabinet garbage.

        White kitchen remodel makeover | The Champagne Supernova

        Collection of blue and white china and a silver dish that was a wedding gift from my Great Aunt, which SHE received as a wedding gift 65 year ago.

        White kitchen makeover | The Champagne Supernova

        Blue and white collected over the years from my favorite local Tampa stores.

        White kitchen makeover | The Champagne Supernova

        This fun project made us realize that the existing tile floors don’t look ideal with the new kitchen. We are open to suggestions if anyone has any.

        Home projects are addictive!

        Cheers.

        White kitchen remodel with before and after photos | The Champagne Supernova

          Adventures in Lawyering Part Deux: Cleanup in the Garden Center


          Funny moments stories about being a lawyer | The Champagne Supernova

          Disclaimer. This story is crude and disgusting. But I just report the facts. 

          Where many attorneys feel they are “too good” to work on the less “sexy” cases like slip and fall matters, I have a confession: They are not beneath me and I love them.

          99% of the time, slip and fall cases don’t involve sad things like death or catastrophic injuries. The person falls down, goes boom, gets back up, hires an attorney three days later, and starts treating with a chiropractor for “soft tissue injuries.”

          Absent complicated health issues or outrageously high medical bills, slip and fall cases usually aren’t stressful and are a nice respite from the fatality, traumatic brain injury, or child molestation cases that are also found in my assignment list.

          So I’ll take ’em with a smile.

          Slip and fall plaintiffs are often “career plaintiffs” who make nice little wads of cash making claims in connection with other accidents including fender benders and other premises liability issues.

          Why work when you can get something for free? (I once had a plaintiff tell me it was foolish for him to work when he received disability benefits and could sit on the couch all day. He was young and fully capable of working a desk job but I guess he had a point…)

          Reading through their medical records is equally hilarious.

          I worked at a law firm that represented a large international retail chain. Most of the cases involving this client involved slip and fall events that happened in the stores.

          One thing I learned is nearly everything is a slip (or trip) and fall hazard and, frankly, it’s just the cost of doing business.

          Grapes.

          Detergent.

          Soft drinks.

          Other human beings. (No joke, I represented this same client in a matter where a plaintiff made a claim against the store for negligent mode of operation after the plaintiff tripped and fell over the store’s employee when the employee was crouched down in an aisle stocking canned goods on a bottom shelf. The plaintiff admitted at her deposition that she wasn’t paying attention to where she was going and that she “just assumed” nobody was next to her in the aisle. A local judge entered Summary Judgment against the plaintiff, and she got a goose egg for her wallet to go with the goose egg that was on her head after she tripped over the employee.)

          I was routinely assigned to the same Southwest Florida location of this retail chain and, because of the large volume of cases, I became friendly with the store’s general manager.

          At the time, I was pregnant with my second daughter and, as he too was in his mid-thirties with young children of his own, we often spent time laughing and sharing “war stories” about having kids.

          We’ll refer to him as Manager Mike.

          One morning I had to meet with Manager Mike to prepare him for a deposition involving… dun dun dun.. a slip and fall case.

          He was late for our meeting and appeared flustered and overwhelmed when he arrived.

          Sorry I’m late. Last Friday was the worst work day of my life and I’ve been playing “catch up” at the store ever since. 

          Worst than the time you discovered a customer committed suicide with a machete in the handicapped stall of the men’s room?

          (This actually happened at this same store.)

          Wayyyyyyyyyyyy worse than that!

          Worse than the time one of your cart retrieval dudes found a dead body in a car in the parking lot that had been there for days baking in the hot July sun?

          (That also happened.)

          Oh girl, even worse than that. 

          Alright, folks.

          It actually was worse.

          Manager Mike went on to tell me that an adult customer had entered the property through the garden center, pulled down her shorts, and defecated on the floor in the middle of an aisle. It happened somewhere between the hibiscus and hydrangeas. A couple minutes later and before the store’s employees had time to realize the shit-uation and do anything about it, another customer came along and slipped and fell in it.

          Apparently, this customer was pushing a shopping cart and was unable to see it on the floor in front of her. She fell and cracked her head on the cement floor.

          The customer was nonresponsive and the employees were worried she sustained a brain injury. Paramedics arrived and there was a huge scene in front of the store trying to get her medical attention.

          After learning of the ordeal, Manager Mike hurriedly went to the store surveillance room to pull video and determine whether the poop-etrator was still in the store.

          Lo and behold, the entire incident in the garden center was captured on video and the woman who did it was shown entering the interior of the store.

          Manager Mike was able to get a general idea about what she looked like and undertook efforts to locate her in the store. After a few minutes, he spotted an older female (but not too old to know better!) pushing a cart and walking next to a younger woman, who appeared to be her daughter. The manager was certain it was her because she had feces streaked down her right leg and it appeared to be crammed into the heel of her Keds-style shoe.

          She didn’t have a care in the world and was busy checking out the picture frames and decorative pillows in the housewares section.

          Manager Mike approached this woman, aggressively tapped her on the shoulder, and when she turned around, said:

          Did you go to the bathroom on the floor in the garden center?

          Her defense was simple.

          Sir. I had to go realllllllllll bad. 

          Well, you should have told an employee what happened so it could be cleaned… now another customer fell in it and is seriously injured. 

          The woman didn’t seem to mind and continued shopping.

          A few things.

          While most normal people can control their bowels, would tell someone if they had an accident, and certainly wouldn’t stick around and shop with dirty clothes and shoes, this woman didn’t give a damn.

          Zero cares.

          I’m not sure whatever transpired from this situation, the health of the customer who fell, or whether she ever initiated a claim against this store for her injuries. The store would have a good defense, given the short amount of time between when the first customer went to the bathroom and when the second customer fell, given Florida’s law about notice in premises liability cases.

          It doesn’t matter much.

          The bottom line is that when you’re having a bad day, just remember it could always be worse.

          You could be the lady who fell.

          Cheers!

            Smokin’ in the Summer: Hot Weather Beauty Guide


            This post is proudly sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com on behalf of Single Edition Media. 

            Floxsee. Where was this product when I needed it most in my twenties? This tri-view mirror provides a 360-degree hands-free view of your head. It is portable and has telescoping fingers that pull out from the top that can hang on almost any door. The Floxsee also adjusts to your height and folds flat for easy storage.

            Please note that a portion of all sales will be donated to the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia to honor Aunt Flo, the inspiration behind the Floxsee. Order yours here.

            Summer beauty products | The Champagne Supernova

            PFB Vanish + Chromabright. This unique roll-on gel is formulated to address common ailments associated with hair removal- ingrown hairs, razor bumps, and dark spots. Paired with gentle blends of glycolic, salicylic, and lactic acids, ingrown hairs are lifted from beneath the skin and dark spots vanish.

            Best used daily after hair removal, you can use PFB Vanish + Chromabright on the face, neck, underarms, legs, and bikini areas. You can also use this product instead of deodorant in your underarms. Order yours here.

            Sexy Hair: Soy Renewal Beach Spray. This sea salt hairspray creates undone texture that looks and feels like you’ve spent a day by the ocean. It contains Argan Oil to protect and heal hair damage. You can get yours here

            Casio Baby-G. As summer is all about mixing fashion and function, Baby-G has come in with its latest BA110BE waterproof watch in a bold white hue perfect for any warm weather ensemble- whether it’s a swimsuit or your workout gear. With water resistance up to 100 meters, these watches are perfect for the summer because you don’t have to remove it when you’re swimming in the ocean or lounging by the pool.

            The BA110BE is available in two colors: pastel pink with white face details or white with pastel blue face details. Get yours here.

            Summer’s Eve Cleansing Cloths. For freshness on the go, be sure to pop Simply Summer’s Eve cleansing cloths into your purse or gym bag. These are specially formulated to help maintain a natural pH and wipe away bacteria. Hypoallergenic and soap free, these are safe for everyday use and come in two nature-inspired scents: Mandarin Blossom and Coconut Water. Purchase yours here.

            GLAM Face & Eye Cupping Set. Have you tried out the new cupping craze? It is an effective and non-invasive way to tone and lift your face without down time. A daily stress eliminator, facial and eye cupping also visibly reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, promotes circulation, reduces eye puffiness, stimulates collagen, and clears toxins. This is being hailed as a NATURAL ALTERNATIVE to Botox, plastic surgery, and injections. The GLAM Face & Eye cupping set includes 2 facial cups that can be used for the face, neck, decolletage, as well as a free exfoliating brush.

            Type code BABBLE15 to receive 15% off your purchase here

             

            Enjoy all of these summer beauty products and cheers!

              Adventures in Lawyering: The Porn Star


              Funny stories about being an attorney | The Champagne Supernova

              I’ve got some crazy lawyer stories. This is the first in a series of installments called “Adventures in Lawyering.” 

              Being an attorney ain’t all glitz and glamour.

              In fact, it usually isn’t.

              I’ve been practicing for almost a decade and can’t tell you the number of times I’ve sloshed through mud and debris at a construction site.

              Or the times I’ve had to sift through gory crime scene photographs and then get on an unrelated conference call five minutes later hoping the person on the other end didn’t know I had been crying (or dry heaving).

              The times I’ve received a plaintiff’s gynecology records in response to a subpoena and literally read their handwritten answer of “occasionally” when asked for their sex in an initial patient intake sheet.

              Or the time I went to a junk yard to examine a vehicle that had been involved in a fatal accident the night before. The junk yard worker, through his toothless mouth, looked at me and said:

              Smell that smell? 

              Yes, sir. (Gagging.) It’s putrid.

              That’s brain. Smell it once and you never forget. 

              Trust me, I’ll never forget.

              Autopsy photos.

              Check.

              Stucco density reports.

              Check.

              Laboratory results.

              Check.

              Dealing with irrational south Florida Rambo lawyers.

              Check.

              Spending time in courthouses where the other individuals walking through the security line made “The People of Wal-Mart” seem like the Rockefellers.

              Check.

              One of the more noteworthy “lawyer stories” occurred rather recently. This, ladies and gents, is the true tale of The Porn Star.

              I once had a case where I represented a major trucking company that was sued by a young man who alleged he was rear-ended (pun intended) on an interstate near Miami. As a result of the accident, he claimed to have debilitating neck and back injuries that precluded him from maintaining gainful employment and warranted surgery in the future.

              He wanted my client to pay him several hundred thousand dollars in damages.

              So the investigation and discovery process began.

              Before I go further, what many lay people don’t realize when initiating a lawsuit is that when you claim you are injured as a result of another person’s negligence, you are opening up your entire medical history to the other side.

              You aren’t required to disclose only the doctors who treated you in connection with the accident at issue in the lawsuit. You have to disclose the names of all medical providers you have seen in the past, and courts usually agree that a ten-year timeframe is reasonable.

              Why is the prior medical history relevant? Let’s say a plaintiff is seeking damages for headaches he or she claims began after an accident and adamantly denies they existed before. A defendant is entitled to assess the truth of this contention by reviewing other unrelated records to ensure the plaintiff didn’t report to his dentist, for instance, that he was suffering from a ten-year history of migraines.

              Believe me, it happens all the time.

              What does this mean?

              The wart you complained about that you had “down there” to your OB?

              Other side will know about it.

              Your history of abortions?

              Other side will know about it.

              Your third nipple?

              Other side will know about it.

              You and your spouse have an open marriage and now you’re concerned about a funky odor?

              Other side will know about it.

              [These are all things I’ve seen in peoples’ medical records.]

              Accordingly, any decent defense attorney will send subpoenas to all of a plaintiff’s medical providers- as well as pharmacies, car and health insurance companies, and employers- for a plaintiff’s chart or file. The attorney will then go through these records with a fine-tooth comb to determine whether the plaintiff is indeed injured and whether the injuries were truly related to the subject accident or to something else.

              Back to the porn star. 

              As I was wading through this particular man’s medical records, I noticed he wrote on an initial patient intake sheet at his chiropractor’s office that he was employed as an “entertainer” for a company called Reality Kings.

              This is weird, I thought. He reported in his Answers to Interrogatories that he worked as a clerk at an auto parts store. 

              So I googled “Reality Kings” and up popped a blocker on my work computer telling me that I couldn’t access the site.

              Pornography.

              After discussing the issue with the partner assigned to the case (e.g. The Bossman), I called my firm’s computer HelpDesk and awkwardly asked that they remove the block from my computer, and explained that I needed to watch some videos of one of my plaintiffs before his upcoming deposition.

              The guy on the other end of the phone said this has happened before (!!!) and they would remove the restriction with an agreement that I would watch any videos with my office door closed.

              Good lord.

              Let’s just say that after a few minutes, I found this plaintiff when I recognized him from the photo on his driver’s license, discovered that he had a “stage name,” and was featured in multiple pornographic videos that were uploaded after the date of his accident. These videos clearly and absolutely undermined his assertions that he had neck and back problems.

              The dude was doing things with women that would be impossible if one truly had neck and back pain. And maybe he can chock it up to good acting, but he absolutely appeared to be enjoying himself and was not wincing or grimacing in pain.

              (And while I refer to this guy as a Porn Star, you can be certain he was a Z-lister.)

              The videos were filthy.

              Disgusting.

              Appalling.

              After a few minutes of watching the videos, I felt like I needed to go to church, eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and then watch some Disney movies to clean up my troubled mind.

              So I did what any rational person in this situation would do. I called my assistant and another attorney into the office to watch the videos and confirm the guy in the videos was the same guy on the driver’s license.

              We giggled like children. We blushed. We talked about it for days afterward. We couldn’t believe watching porn was part of our “billable hours.” (Note: this was approved by the client, who was unamused by this plaintiff’s shenanigans.)

              Fast forward a week later. I had to travel to south Florida to take this guy’s deposition.

              I knew he was in the porn industry. He thought I thought he was a clerk in an auto parts store.

              When he came into the room, it was hard for me to look him in the eye.

              After all, I’d seen him naked.

              Clothed, he was just a scrawny guy with a buzzed haircut and a pierced eyebrow.

              But man, was he slick. He tried to be manipulative and it was clear his attorney coached him about what to say in case his job came up.

              He was evasive enough without lying. The deposition went something like this:

              Are you employed?

              Yes.

              Where?

              A company called Reality Kings.

              What’s Reality Kings?

              It’s an entertainment business that does everything from advertising, to marketing, to SEO on the web… things like that.

              What is your job title and what do you do for them?

              I don’t really have a title. I just show up for work and do whatever my boss tells me to do, which can range from promoting movies, to handing out flyers, to attending special events, things like that.

              Do you appear in any movies?

              Sometimes, yes.

              What are these movies about?

              Really anything. They can be about anything. Home improvement, travel, neighbors.

              Are these movies cartoons or suitable for kids?

              [Nervous laughter] No, no definitely not for kids.

              What are they rated?

              Ma’am, I don’t know- I’m not involved in the rating system.

              [Eew. He called me “Ma’am”]

              At this point, I realized I was going nowhere and needed to cut right to the chase.

              [Leaning forward] Are the movies pornography?

              [Beads of sweat pouring off his head] Some of them are, yes.

              [Feeling like a grandmother with this next question because I didn’t know a more direct way to say it] Do you have intercourse with other people in these videos?

              Sometimes, yes.

              His lawyer asked for a break and called his client outside of the room. I was secretly disappointed that the plaintiff told the truth because I wanted him to blatantly lie about his involvement in the porn industry and then be able to file a Motion to Dismiss attaching video clips of the plaintiff in “all his glory” doing things that contradicted his reports of neck and back pain.

              I wanted him to testify that he worked as an auto parts clerk and that he lived a life of such agonizing pain that all he does is go to work and sit home in a couch unable to walk around or fend for himself because of all the pain.

              To no avail.

              I don’t know what became of this guy.  A few months after the deposition, he fired his own lawyer. I subsequently accepted a part-time position at another firm and was never able to see the case through, but it is my understanding the case was dismissed after the plaintiff failed to obtain a new lawyer and never responded to overdue discovery.

              Cheers to an adventure in lawyering!

              Have any crazy stories of your own? Love to read them in the comments.

                Guest Bedroom Makeover featuring Establishment Home


                How to give your bedroom an easy and cheap makeover | The Champagne Supernova

                It was the red-headed step-child of the house.

                No offense to red heads.

                Our guest bedroom was an ugly hodgepodge of things we accumulated over the years.

                A rug and chair I found at a garage sale in 2008.

                A Pottery Barn dresser and sleigh bed I purchased from a college student on Craigslist when I moved to Tampa a decade ago. (For a total of $350, this was a steal, even back then.)

                A metal decoration above the bed that a neighbor had given to us before her husband was deployed to Germany.

                A comforter and sheets that were hand-me-downs from my mother.

                A nightstand that I bought at TJ Maxx when I was in law school.

                Guest bedroom makeover before and after | The Champagne Supernova

                Guest bedroom before.

                Guest bedroom makeover | The Champagne Supernova

                Guest bedroom before.

                None of the items went well together, but it didn’t matter because they did the job. As my husband and I toyed with the idea of putting our home on the market, we didn’t want to invest time or money redecorating a room in a house we would ultimately move out of.

                This attitude changed when we decided to stay put in our home.

                I was never going to walk past that room again and cringe.

                With the help of Alexis Simpson and Stacie Morrison, the masterminded ladies behind Establishment Home, I was able to easily refresh the guest room without going crazy or breaking the bank.

                Alexis, Stacie, and I were college sorority sisters at the University of Florida in Gainesville. We were in the same pledge class and lived in the sorority house with 60 of our other closest friends for two years in a row. Alexis and Stacie always had an eye for fashion and interior decor. Their rooms were among the best decorated in the house and they were always on top of the latest fashion trends and styles.

                How to inexpensively redecorate a bedroom | The Champagne Supernova

                How to redecorate your guest bedroom | The Champagne Supernova

                Guest bedroom after. Love these prints!

                Ideas for how to redecorate a guest bedroom | The Champagne Supernova

                Guest bedroom after.

                How to redecorate an ugly bedroom | The Champagne Supernova

                Guest bedroom after.

                How to redecorate your guest room | The Champagne Supernova

                How to inexpensively redecorate a bedroom | The Champagne Supernova

                Guest bedroom after.

                How to redecorate an ugly guest room in your house | The Champagne Supernova

                Vintage chair purchased at Summerhouse Marketplace in South Tampa.

                As background, Establishment Home is an online store that offers one-of-a-kind and specially curated home decor, art, and gifts for a well-layered home. Inspired both by growing up on the coast of Florida and raising a family in the South, Alexis and Stacie share a love of contemporary and vintage decor.

                They understand that design is a journey and continuing work in progress and believe a home should evolve with a person’s family and lifestyle. They strive to curate a hand-selected assortment of beautifully crafted and personalized items ideal for layering, mixing, and matching. Your home should feel comfortable, livable, and stylish- but most of all, it should feel like you.

                After considering my home style, Alexis and Stacie thought the Dorothy Draper Brazilliance and Ann pillows from Establishment Home’s online Pillow Shoppe would look great in the room and represent my family’s Florida lifestyle of spending time at the beach and being outdoors.

                More about Establishment’s Pillow Shoppe: They personally chose the 25 fabrics you see in the shop and carry designers like Duralee, John Robshaw, Lisa Fine, Robert Allen, and Carolina Irving. Some of these are found by meticulously searching through rolls at some of their secret go-to fabric shops, but most are available only to the interior design trade.

                Not sure how to style your room? Establishment Home offers e-design pillow pairing assistance. If pairing isn’t your strong suit (don’t worry- it’s not mine!) you can contact Alexis and Stacie and send them pictures of your space and any colors you have in mind for them to make suggestions. You can also request fabric swatches.

                To tie the pillows into the rest of the room, I purchased this neutral patterned rug here and the wall prints at Summerhouse Marketplace of Tampa Bay.  The white bedspread is lightweight and was purchased at Macy’s.

                Good luck with redecorating your own room. Because life is too short for an eye sore!

                Cheers!

                 

                  Loose Lips Sink Ships: You Can’t Tell a Kid Anything


                  Kids have the biggest mouths and will say the most inappropriate things at the worst times | The Champagne Supernova

                  Teachers always seem to have the best stories.

                  Laughing through tears, one of my longtime friends, an elementary school teacher, told me about how one of her students provided her with a detailed play-by-play of their family vacation the Monday after Spring Break.

                  Gory details the student’s parents would likely die if they knew she had disclosed.

                  About how dad got locked out of the rental house in his “tightey-whitey” underwear when he went outside in the morning to get the newspaper.

                  About how the student hated applying sunscreen to her mother’s back because of “all her moles that look like Cocoa-Krispie cereal.”

                  And about how mom and dad got into an argument during dinner and mom called him a “stupid ass clown” in front of the student and her siblings.

                  Really.

                  If you don’t want a child to repeat something, don’t say it in front of them.

                  Especially when you think they either don’t understand what you’re saying or aren’t paying attention.

                  Trust me. I have found through personal experience (the hard way) that kids do understand and they are paying attention.

                  When you live under the same roof, this is much easier said than done. I find my husband and I sometimes speak in “code” or text each other if we don’t want to communicate something in front of the kids.

                  Which brought back a childhood memory of my own.

                  When I was in preschool, we attended a church where one of the other members was recently divorced. The story was especially said because the woman’s husband left her for another woman, which was relatively taboo in the late 1980s. (At least more so than it is now in 2017.) As they had a young child, the former husband essentially abandoned his family and now this woman was struggling to make ends meet by raising their young child as a single mother.

                  Fun fact: I have a freakishly good memory about the most random things. Too bad that good memory didn’t extend to academic things like Civil War history, the Pythagorean Theorem, or Latin when I was in high school and college. I digress.

                  It is also noteworthy to mention that my mom and this woman were very active in the church together and regularly interacted with each other at Sunday school, in the choir, on Wednesday spaghetti dinner night, and on mission trips.

                  Somehow I caught wind of the situation and all I can remember hearing about is that this woman’s husband left her. I was four or five years old and completely unaware of social rules about what one can and cannot acceptably say to another person. I assume I overheard my mother telling this to my father or other people in the house.

                  So.

                  In a likely act of kindness, my mom invited this woman and her child to spend the afternoon with our family at a local swimming pool. The plan was for them to meet us at our house and then we would head over.

                  The woman helped my mom load up our Dodge Caravan with towels, sunscreen, chairs, and rafts. As she was in the process of strapping me into my car seat, I inquired, extremely matter-of-factly:

                  My mom said your husband left you. Is that true?

                  I could see my mom’s mortified reaction to this question in my peripheral vision. She looked like she wanted to jump into the middle of the street and get hit by oncoming traffic.

                  I don’t remember this woman’s response, but my mom later said she handled it with class and went on the rest of the day unfazed, as if I never asked the question.

                  Several hours later, I remember my seeing my mom crying. She was horrified that her friend clearly knew we must have been discussing her personal life in the house (hey… it happens… totally get it and we do the same thing in my house! Isn’t there some sort of “household privilege?”) and equally horrified that she had to sit through several hours at the pool with her when she was humiliated and pretending the conversation never happened.

                  My mom was also mortified by the reality that she would regularly have to see this woman at church in the future, and feared they would constantly be uncomfortable around each other.

                  I know my mom was upset I asked the question, but she also knew I was young and didn’t do it on purpose. She was likely more upset at herself for mentioning this around me.

                  Kids!

                  The moral of the story: if you don’t want your child to repeat something, then don’t say it in front of them. If you do want them to repeat it, then by all means, say it.

                  Because it will happen at the worst possible place and time.

                  And while I’m at it, Mom, I’m so sorry!

                  Cheers!

                   

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