Archive of ‘Home + Entertainment’ category

Saving Money: Why Ting Mobile Makes Perfect Sense


How Ting Mobile is a great way to save on your cell phone bill | The Champagne Supernova

This blog post is proudly sponsored by Ting Mobile. However, all opinions are the real deal. 

I like saving money.

As a working parent, I work hard for my earnings and see them dwindle away so quickly each month.

Dance recitals. Tennis lessons. Gymnastics. Birthday parties. School uniforms. Doctor co-pays.

Sometimes I feel like The Bank of Mom.

As my monthly cell phone bill with my current provider is $150.00, I was excited about the opportunity to work with Ting Mobile and learn about their (extremely) low cost cellular services.

Low. Very low.

In fact, the base cost for Ting is $6 per month (you read that correctly!) for a phone line. Usage is shared across all devices. The more phones on a Ting account, the less you pay per phone.

Ting is pay-per-use, so you don’t have to sign up for any type of plan. Your usage during the month (phone minutes, text messages, and data) is what you pay for at the end of the month. What’s great is that minutes, messages, and data are all billed separately.

There are no contracts, overage fees, or other hidden B.S. (Pardon-a my French). You can try Ting for one month and leave the next month if you aren’t happy.

The vast majority (80%) of all phones manufactured in the last few years will work with Ting, so it’s likely the phone you already own is one of them. All you need is a Ting SIM card to get started. You can buy the phone from the Ting shop here (they are a verified seller of Apple iPhones!) or bring your own phone, based on your preference.

Ting has an easy-to-use phone compatibility checker you can use here so you can check RIGHT THIS MOMENT whether your phone will work with Ting.

Another great quality of Ting is that you don’t have to worry about having bad service. This is because Ting uses both Sprint and T-Mobile towers- you can choose the network that has better coverage in your area. In other words, Ting clients have identical network experience as people who are signed up directly with these carriers.

I can vouch firsthand this is completely accurate, as I used my Ting phone in a rural area of Georgia (along the Appalachian trial) earlier this month with zero coverage issues and complete service. High five, Ting!

How to save money using Ting Mobile | The Champagne Supernova

My littlest homey loves Ting!

Ting has also created an eBook on how to lower your data usage, which helps Ting customers save money on their monthly bills. Read it here.

One of my favorite things about Ting is their customer support involves calls that are actually answered by real, live people. No more having to press a series of numbers to get to the right department. Gone are the days of waiting on hold for twenty minutes to have your questions answered. Say adios to fruitlessly having to communicate with a computer.

I witnessed this personally when I called Ting last week after I was having (minor) issues setting up the Wifi on the iPhone 6 they sent to me. I was greeted by a friendly woman named Melissa on the second ring (!!) Melissa walked me through a couple steps to help troubleshoot the issue. She even called me back five minutes later to ensure there were still no issues.

You read that correctly. She called me back.

How is that amazing customer support for you? 

(Check out Ting Mobile’s Youtube channel highlighting their bar-none customer service here.)

Another thing I love about trying Ting? When switching over from your carrier, you can keep your existing phone number.

You don’t need permission from your provider to keep the number. You just keep it.

That means you don’t have to waste precious time sending mass texts to all of your contacts notifying them that you have a new number.

(And nobody wants to be held hostage on a mass text, anyway.)

Setting up my Ting took five minutes. I got the new iPhone directly from Ting, activated the SIM card online, and set up the iPhone. Boom. Done.

Give it a try and find out why Ting is the mobile that makes sense.

Use the promotion code of jennifer.ting.com and receive $25 off your bill. So you’re getting a month for free as the average bill is just $23 a month per phone.

Cheers to saving money! Cheers to Ting!

    Educators Weigh In: How to Raise Successful Children


    Teachers give advice on how to raise successful children | The Champagne Supernova

    Is there a magic formula for how to raise successful children?

    What are the common denominators for children who flourish versus those who fail?

    In my life, I’ve witnessed some children grow into successful, contributing adults and others  fall into the trenches and never seem to recover.

    In this post here, I wrote about an adolescent friend who came from a background of abuse, neglect, and poverty. While unfortunate, it was no surprise she grew into an adult who couldn’t overcome her rough upbringing and has already taken steps to repeat the sad cycle with her own children.

    On the other hand, we also know children who seemingly came from loving and supportive homes (while not knowing what goes on behind closed doors) who also managed to fall off track.

    We’ve also heard of the kids who, despite terrible upbringings, beat the odds and manage to become adults who are financially secure leaders.

    As the working mother of two very young girls, I often wonder “what gives?”

    And while my children will ultimately make their own decisions, I want to arm them with the best resources and emotional support possible to ensure those decisions are good ones.

    Isn’t that what we’re all trying to do?

    Although there is no such thing as a parenting expert, which I wrote about here, and no absolute way to prevent parenting screw-ups, there must be some commonalities in parenting styles that pushes children toward success.

    To learn these denominators, I enlisted the help of four longtime educators.

    These educators have taught a range of age groups between preschool and high school and have a combined total of one hundred fifty years of experience.

    Yes.

    150 years.

    ONE HUNDRED FIFTY YEARS.

    150 years > My five years of experience in winging it with raising my children.

    150 years > My observations of the 18 years my parents raised me.

    150 years > My own 35 years of life experience.

    These educators have taught children with special needs, troubled youth, and teen moms.

    They have also taught children who were go-getters and natural born leaders.

    They have students who have been murdered during violent acts and other students who became CEOs.

    Most importantly, these educators have been around long enough to see which students have failed and which have succeeded.

    What gives?

    We already know that kids whose parents read to them are more likely to succeed.

    I wanted something more than that.

    I wanted to dig deeper.

    Based on their observations, I have compiled these denominators of success that are not always included in lists from parenting magazines, the Internet, and Dr. Phil.

    If you want your child to have a better chance at succeeding…

    1. Let them Fail. Children will never learn important life lessons when their parents constantly fix grades, do their homework (e.g. “Daddy-Did-It-Science-Fair-Projects”), meddle in their social problems (absent bullying or safety issues), have a fit about not making a sports team, and pout about not being elected to student government office. Children need to learn from their own failures. While it can be hard for parents to watch this happen, sometimes it’s the only way.

    2. Encourage them to Self-Advocate. If your child gets a poor score on an exam or project, encourage them to ask the teacher why. If your child is shy, have them read the assignment back to you and explain where they may have gone wrong. Then ask what the teacher’s exact feedback was. Often, these discussions are eye-opening for both the parent and student. The worst thing a parent can do is contact a teacher and accuse the teacher of being unfair or demanding a complete explanation the second the grade appears. Let your child take ownership of the problem and figure out a solution. Of course, if both of you look at the assignment and honestly do not understand, a calmly written email that is non-accusatory works best.

    3. Let Teenagers be Teenagers. They do stupid things. They date the “wrong” people. They forget things. Their brains have not fully developed and they do not think clearly. As long as being stupid doesn’t cause bodily injury or trouble with the law, accept that it happens. When it does happen, give appropriate consequences, but not with a life-long label.

    4. Limit Social Media and Electronics. Things like social media and texting have hurt the way children interact with each other and with adults. Encourage your children to have emotional intelligence. This means picking up the phone or sending a good “old fashioned” card to a friend for their birthday instead of a text. Teach them to resolve problems in person and not over email or publicly through Facebook. For those who do have social media, know all of their passwords and continuously monitor their profiles. Set firm times on when to unplug electronics in the evenings before bed.

    5. Show an Interest in their School, Education, and Interests. Make the time to attend Open House, parent-teacher meetings, school plays, science fairs, field trips, and sporting events. Consider joining the PTA. While this can be more difficult for working parents, make it a priority to show your children that their education and interests are important.

    6. Do Not Live Vicariously Through Your Children. Just because you dreamed of being a star quarterback does not mean your son wants to sweat and hang out in the locker room. If your son wants to take theater, so be it. If your daughter wants to play football, make sure she has a chance to do so. Their dreams are theirs; your dreams are yours. See also:

    7. Do Not Push Them into Classes. No matter how intelligent your child is, if they say they are not ready for high school classes in middle school or college classes in high school, then let it go. Research is now showing that neither really help and many of these students burn out before they get to college. No matter how ready younger students are academically, very few are ready emotionally. More colleges are saying, “That’s nice you had Spanish I and II in middle school, we still want two years in high school.” Instead of pushing college courses to save money, encourage children to take something that interests them that they will never again get the chance to explore.

    8. Have Clear, Concise Rules. Stick to these rules with clear, fair punishment. Children need consistent boundaries.

    9. Provide the Presence of Caring Adults. In the age of the Modern Family, this looks like different things. It can be caring parents, grandparents, friends’ parents, coaches, teachers, or church leaders. These adults need to be there to listen, provide guidance, and set developmentally-appropriate expectations. Notably, children who have supportive adults in their lives often have better vocabularies and increased senses of trust.

    10. Be Open with Them. Talk about sex, alcohol, drugs, and other difficult subjects. Talk about this some more. If you don’t, their friends will.

    11. Exhibit Mutual Respect. While parents need to remember that they are not their children’s friends, they need to give them respect and dignity. Children who feel a sense of respect from their parents will often have respect for themselves.

    12. Teach Them Compassion for Others. Successful children are emotionally intelligent. They had adults who taught them that their actions can impact other people and life isn’t “all about them.” They are able to verbally express themselves well to both adults and peers. They are considerate of other peoples’ feelings and do not put others down to make themselves feel better (we know this doesn’t work anyway.)

    13. Let Them Decide Where to go to College. You are a third generation Gator, but the fashion marketing program at FSU is better; get over it and let the child go to FSU.

    14. Do Not Involve Them in your Divorce. It is not their fault your relationship failed, but they blame themselves. You must love your children more than you dislike your former spouse. Keep them out of the drama. Show respect to the other parent. Be an adult.

    15. Provide Them with Coping Skills. Many adults and family members do not like children. A child must learn to cope with that person and when a child knows they matter to somebody, they cope in spite of the negative vibe. This can lead to success because they learn positive ways to cope at an early age. You don’t want them turning to things like alcohol, drugs, and sexual promiscuity to cope with life’s trials.

    16. Give Them Access to Experiences. Successful children often have access to experiences beyond the classroom. They are involved in sporting teams, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, 4-H, vacations, and cultural experiences. This does not always require tons of money. Young kids can learn as much exploring the beaches of free, local parks as they can on lavish vacations.

    There you have it. Common factors of success that have been observed by educators with 150 years of experience. 

    Cheers to you for wanting to raise children that will succeed. Cheers to their success.

     

      There are No Parenting Experts


      There's no such thing as a parenting expert | The Champagne Supernova

      Last year, I met an older man while I was on a layover at the Fort Lauderdale airport.

      Shook my hand.

      Asked me what I did for a living and what I was returning to in Tampa.

      I explained I was an attorney who blogged and did freelance writing on the side.

      He handed me his business card.

      Below his name was the title Parenting Expert.

      At the time, my then four-year-old daughter was in the throes of having inconsolable tantrums and I wanted his advice.

      Running into this guy was like hitting the lottery.

      Wide eyed, I asked, How old are your kids?

      I don’t have children.

      Bear hunting, I thought, He must have said bear hunting expert. Or patenting. He’s a patenting expert.

      Oh, I must have misunderstood. I thought you told me you were a parenting expert. What did you say you did for work?

      You heard right, I’m a parenting expert.

      But you don’t have children?

      He looked at his watch, said he needed to use the restroom, and walked away.

      Excuse me for assuming that one had to be a parent to be considered an expert in the arena!

      I know a secret.

      You know the people who consider themselves parenting “experts”?

      They don’t exist.

      The internet articles that profess the “Do’s and Don’ts” of child rearing?

      While offering useful advice, they’re mostly garbage.

      The people who sit on panels giving other people advice about how they should raise their kids because they are well-studied “experts” and, therefore, know much better than you do?

      They’re full of it.

      So are the people who don’t have children who hold themselves out to the public as parenting experts.

      There is no such thing as a parenting expert. Everyone is trying to determine how to nurture mother nature. Everyone is just trying to figure it out.

      I’ll tell you a personal story.

      My oldest daughter, now five, has a lot of grit. She says what’s on her mind and likes to do what she wants to do, when she wants to do it. It can be difficult for her to control her emotions (She get it from her Mama…) and raising her has been challenging.

      (Another personal sub-story: when I was pregnant with her, I prayed that God would give me a spitfire instead of a wallflower. I absolutely got what I wished for.)

      When my daughter was two, she started having inconsolable tantrums.

      Some of them lasted for hours.

      She would frequently wake up in the morning and hysterically sob without any known reasons. Her teachers often complained the tantrums disrupted the entire class and would be triggered for silly reasons, one of them being that a classmate simply made eye contact with her. Sometimes during the tantrums, my daughter would become so enraged that she would bang her head on the ground. The tantrums were making her sick and sometimes she would get so worked up that she would vomit.

      There was once a time where my daughter was having such a bad tantrum at daycare during drop off that I had to toss her over my shoulder and carry her all the way back to my car kicking and screaming. In the two-minute trek between the classroom and the parking lot, I received text messages from three different friends who witnessed the ordeal and were offering their compassion.

      Stay strong! Been there and it’s the pits. 

      I sat in my car and sobbed to myself.

      Why is she doing this? Where have I failed along the way?

      My husband and I fruitlessly tried everything we could imagine to stop the tantrums.

      Google searches. Appointments with her pediatrician. Meetings with teachers and guidance counselors. Asking other parents. Calling my mom and grandmother. Reaching out to nannies and caregivers with extensive childcare experience. Reading parenting books.

      We heard and read the same piece of advice from the “experts” over and over again.

      She’s a smart girl who is trying to control the family with the tantrums. You must completely ignore them and they will go away. If you coddle her and give attention to the tantrums, they will indefinitely continue. It is critical that you pay them no mind and be patient. She’ll eventually grow out of it. 

      So that’s what we did.

      We ignored the tantrums.

      But they got worse.

      One day, during an hour-long tantrum that was triggered by something ridiculous, I defeatedly got down on my daughter’s level, looked her in the face, told her I loved her, and gave her a hug.

      The tantrum stopped almost immediately.

      We did a few more modifications, such as an earlier bedtime and implementing a strict “time-out” policy but, in sum, the major catalyst for the tantrums ending involved simply getting down on her physical level (e.g., my hands and knees) and hugging her.

      This was exactly what all the “experts” told us not to do.

      Here’s the deal.

      Nobody really knows what they are doing.

      All children are different. Just because something works for 99.9% of the population doesn’t mean it is a perfect fit for your child.

      Unless you have a rule-following “kid in a box,” you have to do everything you can do until you solve the problem.

      Even if it means doing what the “experts” tell you not to do.

      One of my friends compared parenting to a scratch-off ticket. You just have to keep trying different options until you hit the jackpot.

      And here’s another thing.

      Don’t feel like you are a bad parent just because your kid’s behavior stinks.

      Keep doing your best and it will probably stop.

      Speaking from experience, I felt like a failure that my husband and I couldn’t quickly get a handle on my daughter’s emotions.

      My negative thoughts began snowballing into irrational catastrophes.

      What if she’s nuts? What if this continues and she gets kicked out of school? What if this behavior rubs off on her little sister? What if, what if, what if?

      WhatifwhatifwhatifWHATIF?

      I was going crazy.

      For nothing.

      The tantrums eventually subsided. Don’t get me wrong, she still occasionally has them, but they are age appropriate we are usually able to stop it and notice a correlation to lack of sleep the night before.

      Girl needs her beauty rest.

      Thank God we didn’t rely on the “experts.”

      You know your child better than anyone else. Go with what feels right in your gut.

      Cheers!

       

        Sprouts Farmers Market: Open for Business in Tampa


        Sprouts Farmers Market open in Tampa Bay | The Champagne Supernova

        Holy Cow! Me and Ole Bessie from Dakin Dairy Farms, a featured dairy product available at Sprouts Farmers Market.

        Sprouts Farmers Market proudly sponsored this post. 

        I gotta tell you.

        I routinely work for large and small brands promoting their products in exchange for compensation.

        Hey, the blog ain’t gonna pay for itself. Either will my ombre.

        Sure, I would never push a product or service that I didn’t legitimately like.

        Then, I was introduced to Sprouts Farmers Market and fell in love.

        Never heard of them until two months ago when someone from their public relations team asked me to use my mom blogger skillz to help generate enthusiasm about them coming to Tampa and, specifically, their grand opening in Carrollwood.

        (The Carrollwood Store enjoyed it’s grand opening today, February 22, 2017, and a location will open in South Tampa in May of 2017.)

        I researched the company, felt their mission to make healthy, organic foods more affordable for families using local farmers and businesses, was in line with my own values and agreed. But I had never been to a Sprouts Farmers Market until yesterday when I attended a sneak peek for bloggers.

        And I fell in love.

        In case you missed my other posts, Sprouts Farmers Market is an organic niche grocery store chain that is based in Phoenix. It opened it’s very first Florida store in Carrollwood located at 15110 N. Dale Mabry Highway.

        When I arrived, the store was immaculate and each department was easy to find, so I didn’t have to try to figure out where to go. (The interior is around half the size of a Publix or Sweetbay).

        I took a tour and learned that Sprouts’ fresh produce department made up a quarter of Sprouts‘ total business, with the store carrying nearly 200 organic varieties. Best of all, the prices are roughly 25% less than conventional grocery stores because of the strong relationship Sprouts has with local farmers. For instance, I noticed customers can grab a carton of strawberries for $1 each and a pound of ground beef for $1.99 this week.

        Pretty incredible.

        My favorite area of the store was the cosmetics, wellness, and vitamin department. Most of the products were cruelty-free, vegan, and did not contain toxins like sulfates, parabens, mineral oil, and artificial fragrances. (I’m all into safer skincare.) Even Sprouts’ brand products smelled delicious and were reasonably priced.

        Sprouts open for business in Florida | The Champagne Supernova

        Collection of soaps and other natural beauty products in Sprouts’ cosmetics department

        I purchased Sprouts’ brand shampoo for the girls’ and enjoyed bath time tonight when they got to use it for the first time. Smelled amazing.

        Other features that I love about Sprouts is the fresh juice bar, the delicious salad bar (that even contains pre-made wedge salads, certainly unique), and the enormous selection of craft beer, many of it coming from breweries local to Tampa Bay.

        Sprouts Farmers Market is now in Florida | The Champagne Supernova

        Ready-to-go wedge salad in Sprouts’ fresh salad bar.

        Sprouts Farmers Market makes fresh juices that are healthy | The Champagne Supernova

        Collection of fresh juices made fresh daily.

        Sprouts Farmers Market has a large collection of local beers | The Champagne Supernova

        I’ll take all of them. Along with an IV to pump it directly into my blood stream after this crazy week at work.

        If I didn’t have to pick up my kids from school, I easily could have spent a couple hours in the store checking out all of their delicious foods and unique brands.

        I’m so excited to support this business and hope you’ll feel the same way. Check it out this weekend.

        For additional savings, check out Sprouts’ Mobile Coupon program, which makes it even easier to save on Sprouts’ already low prices. All you have to do is download the Sprouts app for Android or iPhone, create an account, digitally clip your coupons, then scan the barcode when you checkout. Easy, peasy. Here is the link.

        Cheers!

          Healthy Living: How to Save Money


          How to save money by shopping at Sprouts | The Champagne Supernova

          This post is sponsored with pride by Sprouts Farmers Market.

          Eating healthy, wholesome foods can be expensive.

          With the low price of value meals at popular fast food chains, it’s no wonder so many Americans are out of shape and not feeling their best.

          Fortunately, Sprouts Farmers Market makes it possible to save money while eating well.

          After all, “you work hard for the money… so hard for it, honey!”

          Saving money is easy, and here’s how to do it:

          Join Opening Day Fun. The brand-spanking new Carrollwood location of Sprouts Farmers Market will open to the general public on Wednesday, February 22, 2017, bright and early at 7 a.m. 

          The first 200 shoppers in line (yes, there will likely be a line!) will receive a coupon for 20% off their entire purchase. Don’t worry, the line won’t be that bad because everyone waiting in line before the doors open will receive muffins and coffee samples. Further, every 15th customer at checkout will receive a coupon book of Sprouts savings.

          Deals of the Month. Each month, Sprouts puts out a “Deals of the Month” flyer with additional promotions and coupons. These deals are often seasonally themed and have interesting recipes and tips. You can get these flyers near the entrance of your local Sprouts.

          Subscribe to the Email List.  Stay up to date on Sprouts’ weekly specials by joining their email list, which you can do here. When signing up for their email list, don’t forget to register to win a cool new bike.

          Tips for how to save money by shopping at Sprouts Farmers Market | The Champagne Supernova

          Sprouts Brand Items. (These are my absolute favorite). Sprouts offers a private label brand which provides an easy, more clearly labeled and affordable way to purchase organic and healthy products. This private label brand offers a great selection of organic and natural products, as well as vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO varieties.

          Bulk Bins. Fortunately for your wallet, bulk items don’t have the marketing or expensive packaging costs built into the pricing like your conventional brand items. There are tons of available bulk items including several varieties of nuts, beans, fruit, and dried rice… even chocolate to satisfy your sweet tooth. Sprouts also carries 100 assortments of bulk spices for the baking enthusiast.

          Read the Weekly Circular. Every week, Sprouts shares details regarding promotional items in a weekly advertising circular. The circular contains clear images, prices, and product descriptions to assist customers in creating their shopping lists. These ads run for eight days, so when they “double up” on Wednesday, the week of distribution, it’s called “Double Ad Wednesday.”

          How to save money by shopping at Sprouts Farmers Market | The Champagne Supernova

            Grocery Do-Gooders: Sprouts in the Community


            Ways that Sprouts Farmers Market gives back to the local community | The Champagne Supernova

            Unlike many other grocery and retail chains, Sprouts Farmers Market isn’t just focused on spitting out products and churning a profit.

            It’s also concerned about being a good neighbor.

            The folks at Sprouts know the importance of supporting and giving back to the local communities where it has its stores.

            In furtherance of the objective of giving back to the local communities and small businesses within those communities, Sprouts participates in a local vendor program.

            Two local Sprouts partners include Clear Springs Blueberry and Dakin Dairy Farm.

            Clear Springs Blueberry– located in the nearby city of Bartow, owner Stan Phelps has transformed 18,000 acres of reclaimed phosphate mines into an eco-friendly farming operation. His mission was to use the land to improve the quality of life for nearby residents. Windmills and tail recovery systems have been installed to minimize ground pumping, which is a greener way to farm.

            Dakin Dairy Farm– based in Myakka City, the Dakin Family Dairy has been milking cows and producing delicious, wholesome milk since 1973. As a sustainable farm, Dakin applies their composted manure to over 250 acres of grass. This is because soil enriched with compost reduces water usage and fertilizer needs. How cool is this- grass at Dakin Family Dairy is watered with nutrient-rich water that is recycled from barns. Cows at Dakin Dairy Farm are fed and cared for as organically as possible, with their overall health being the most important concern. This is because a healthy, well-fed cow produces high quality milk- with all the added benefits that come from fresh grass!

            Get excited… other Florida-based brands that will be featured at Sprouts include Bavaro’s, Floribbean, Gator Hammock, Gaucho Ranch, Goldenrod Apiaries Honey, Humanitea, Kombucha Tampa, Mojo Mama, Old Florida Gourmet, Pirate Jonny’s, and Terrapin Ridge Farms.

            Not only does Sprouts support local vendors, but it also participates in a food rescue program.

            This is sick. Did you know that nearly 133 billion pounds of food is wasted every year in the United States. Food retailers are responsible for nearly 42 billion of those pounds. Sprouts believes we have an obligation to respect our communities and the planet through waste reduction initiatives designed to significantly reduce and divert our waste.

            Ways that Sprouts Farmers Market gives back to the local community | The Champagne Supernova

            What does Sprouts do to further this mission against waste? All groceries that are edible but not fit for sale are donated to local hunger relief agencies within the community. Most of these agencies are affiliated with Feeding America, the largest hunger relief organization in the United States. These agencies then distribute this food to people in need in our communities. The local partner for the Tampa region of Sprouts is Feeding Tampa Bay.

            In 2016, Sprouts donated approximately 18 million pounds of product through the Food Rescue Program to people in need. This equates to 15 million meals. 

            If Sprouts deems the food unfit for donation, it is either composted to create products used to enrich soil for agriculture and community gardens or it is provided to farms for animal feed.

            No waste there!

            I love knowing that when I shop and Sprouts, I’m investing in a company that gives back to the Tampa Bay community.

            Cheers!

             

              Sprouts Brand Products: Affordability without Compromising Quality


              Learn more about Sprouts Farmers Market Brand Products | The Champagne Supernova

              This post is sponsored by Sprouts Farmers Market. But I love them. So there’s that. 

              When I was a kid, I hated when my mother came home from the grocery store with “off-brand” items.

              At thirteen, I was stuck up and I didn’t even know it.

              Now as a working mom, I realize the value of a dollar and understand that when you pay more money for brand name items, you’re also paying for that brand’s advertising.

              “I work hard for my money… so hard for it, honey!”

              I also realize that buying grocery store brands doesn’t require you to compromise the quality of the product.

              Fortunately, with Sprouts Brand, I can always count on top quality and great taste. With more than 2,100 products to choose from throughout the store and new items routinely arriving, you’re bound to find new favorites every single time you go shopping.

              Below are some of my favorite go-to Sprouts products illustrating their great brand products.

              Learn more about Sprouts Farmers Market Brand Products | The Champagne Supernova

              I use these organic cotton balls to safely remove makeup and this green chile mac & cheese suits even the pickiest of eaters.

              Unlike similar grocery chains, Sprouts‘ buyers search across the world to locate and try new products, including everyday grocery essentials and unique, seasonal items. In fact, they often customize flavor profiles and refine ingredients to suit Sprouts’ high standards for quality, taste, and value.

              Learn more about Sprouts Farmers Market Brand Products | The Champagne Supernova

              I am a huge-huge-huge fan of natural body products made with safer ingredients. This Sprouts brand peppermint bar soap checks all of my health-conscious boxes.

              To ensure you feel confident with your purchase and have fun trying new things, Sprouts offers a 100% money-back guarantee.

              In other words, if you don’t love what you bought, you get all your moolah back.

              Learn more about Sprouts Farmers Market Brand Products | The Champagne Supernova

              This spreadable cookie butter… to die for. The hot salsa can satisfy even the biggest spicy food fans.

              If you see a Sprouts label on a package, then you can be certain the product meets the strict quality control standards. Their private label brands offer a vast selection of natural and organic products, as well as vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO varieties.

              Learn more about Sprouts Farmers Market Brand Products | The Champagne Supernova

              This is one of the few grocery-store brand sriracha sauces that are truly delicious. The french fried onions make the perfect addition to any casserole, and I put the organic lip balm in my daughter’s backpack to heal her wintertime chapped lips.

              Sprouts has exactly what you need to accommodate nearly every recipe you can imagine. It’s truly a one-stop shop. In fact, you can find a variety of recipes and tips featuring Sprouts Brand products here.

              Cheers to convenience, simplicity, and savings.

                Mom’s Best Friend: Persil ProClean


                This post is sponsored by Persil ProClean, but all opinions are my own. 

                The struggle to keep my daughters’ school uniforms clean is no joke.

                They routinely come home from school with their clothes stained from whatever kept them busy that day.

                Grass.

                Markers.

                Glue.

                Leftover spaghetti that was in their lunch.

                While the stains symbolize the fun times they had at school that day, they also made me crazy because, until I discovered Persil ProClean, I couldn’t find a detergent that legitimately removed all the stains.

                I was always left with a faded stain that I hoped their teachers or friends wouldn’t notice.

                Until I discovered Persil ProClean, I was left with two choices: either send my kids to school in slightly stained clothing, or keep replacing their uniforms with new ones.

                Ain’t nobody got time (or money) for that.

                It wasn’t until my mother recently told me about Persil ProClean while she was attempting to remove the stains from my daughters’ uniforms that I had ever heard of it, let alone appreciated its cleaning power.

                Seeing was truly believing.

                To demonstrate the cleaning capacity of Persil ProClean with its powerful stain removing formula, I washed my kids’ clothes after making crafts in preparation for Game Day.

                Because isn’t this the ultimate stain-causing event?

                Before I discovered Persil ProClean, I would strip my kids down to their skivvies before they were allowed to get messy. After, I would just throw them in the tub.

                No harm.

                Now with Persil ProClean, I don’t have to worry about their clothes getting stained.

                No stain is too much of a challenge.

                Here are photos of my girls making fun Game Day crafts using the ultimate stain-causing culprits: markers, glitter, paint, and glue.

                The stain-removing power of Persil ProClean | The Champagne Supernova

                The stain-removing power of Persil ProClean | The Champagne Supernova

                The stain-removing power of Persil ProClean | The Champagne Supernova

                The finished product:

                The stain-removing power of Persil ProClean | The Champagne Supernova

                And guess what? NO STAINS.

                Don’t fret, mamas, Persil ProClean will also remove stains from all the red wine you were forced to drink all those nights you were unsuccessfully attempting to remove stains from your kids’ clothes from “those other detergents.”

                CLICK HERE for a coupon to receive $2.00 off your next purchase of Persil ProClean.  At this site, you will also receive more craft inspiration, learn more about Persil ProClean, and Game Day recipes.

                Cheers!

                  How to Eliminate Clutter


                  Tips and tricks on how to eliminate clutter | The Champagne Supernova

                  To promote my upcoming role as Guest Editor for the January 2017 edition of Tampa Bay Parenting magazine, I was invited to present a segment on Tampa Bay’s Morning Blend news show about eliminating the clutter of holiday toys before the new year.

                  Great subject!

                  Except anyone who’s ever been inside my home or has seen the inside of my car probably feels like they’re on an episode of Hoarders. I’ve got some junk in my trunk. (Za-zing!)

                  Really. I have no business telling other people what to do with their “stuff” because, with a two-year-old and four-year-old, I have issues of my own.

                  (All I want for Christmas is for my husband go find Alice the Housekeeper from the Brady Bunch and have her come move in with me.)

                  So.

                  I enlisted the help of some professionals and expert moms regarding how they purge toys and clothes to free up space in time for the new year. Here’s some of my favorite suggestions.

                  What to Purge. Toys that are loud, obnoxious, and cause you to hear dinging and buzzing in your sleep. (Ohhhh, the batteries are missing? No clue where they went…) Toys that are an impalement risk. Legos. Puzzles. (The pieces always end up missing.) Anything that is broken or stained. And lastly, any toys that trigger arguments among your kids. (I’ve learned to give them the same presents to avoid disputes.)

                  Other Types of Toys Worthy of Purging. Anything that has not been played with in the last 6 months. Anything that is similar to another toy they already have (keep only one!) Keep a set of toys in the closet and reintroduce them to your child every few months. If they aren’t interested, get rid of them.

                  Host a Neighborhood Swap Party or Girls’ Night. Invite your friends and neighbors over and have them bring toys and clothes they no longer need to swap with the other families (after all, other kids’ toys are the best toys!). Include wine. It’s a party!

                  Enlist Help from Elf on the Shelf. Gather a large assortment of old toys in a box for the Elf to bring to Santa in the North Pole when Christmas is over. Tell your children the Elf and his Elf friends will refurbish the toys so they can go to needy children the following Christmas. Your kids will feel good knowing they are helping others. (Props to Heather Phillips Walsh from the Moms of South Tampa Facebook group for sharing this good idea!)  

                  Holidays are Over? No problem. When it’s your child’s birthday, have them bring out the same number of old toys as new gifts they receive so they can exchange them for their presents. (Again, idea credit to Heather Phillips Walsh. I need to be friends with this gal.)

                  Social Media. This is a great way to get rid of clutter that’s actually worth something. Aside from social media like Craigslist that spans a wider geographic area, you can also look to local Facebook groups for selling and swapping your belongings with others. My favorite Facebook groups in the Tampa Bay area are  South Tampa Swap and Shop and MacDill Yard Sale. There is also an app called Nextdoor where you can communicate directly with other people in your neighborhood regarding “stuff” you’re trying to get rid of.

                  Clothes. Once a year, I go through my closet and get rid of anything that is dated, stained, doesn’t fit (e.g. too tight, usually not the other way around), or that I haven’t worn in the last calendar year. This requires me to be honest with myself, as I have historically held onto clothes because I was holding out for an opportunity to wear something, which usually never ended up happening. There is a zero percent chance I will wear a decade-old (mmm… ok… fifteen-year-old) fraternity or sorority mixer shirt in public. Zero.

                  Donation Locations. There are tons of these in your local community, and you can usually begin by calling your neighborhood church, who might know of a family in need of clothes and toys. There are other donation and charitable organizations that accept gently used goods. In South Tampa, I take my clothing donations to the Salvation Army and toys that are in good condition to a local thrift store called Lionhearted Toys.

                  You can watch my news segment here.

                  Happy purging, and wishing a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your families.

                  Cheers!

                    The Paperless Princess: Receipt You Later


                    cvs-pharmacy-digital-receipts

                    Disclosure: I’m proud to be working with CVS Pharmacy on the CVS Says Receipt You Later Campaign. All opinions expressed are my own, and all product claims or program details shared should be verified by CVS.com or with the appropriate manufacturers. 

                    One of my goals for 2017 is to simplify my life by acquiring less “stuff.”

                    Less toys around the house that my kids have outgrown and never play with.

                    Less cosmetics and old jewelry that sits abandoned in various places around our home.

                    Shoot. Even the “junk drawer” in my kitchen has various sub-categories of junk!

                    Less “stuff” inside my purse, which is a bottomless pit of pens, receipts, notes, and fuchsia lipstick.

                    For 2017, I’ve declared myself the Paperless Princess.

                    One of my go-to stores, CVS Pharmacy, in order to promote efficiency and eliminate clutter, recently started offering digital receipts as a new option for the millions of active members of its ExtraCare Rewards Program.

                    I shop at CVS Pharmacy several times a week because it’s on my way home from work and perfect for when I need to grab simple (yet important) things like plastic baggies for the kids’ lunches, cotton balls, and super glue.

                    Really. I purchased these three things from CVS the other day.

                    With the digital receipt program, customers now have the opportunity to opt out of receiving paper receipts for in-store purchases when completing their transactions in the front of the store. Once the one-time sign up process is completed, customers will receive their receipts digitally, along with their personalized coupons and rewards, each time they shop at CVS Pharmacy.

                    Instead of the cashier handing me a long receipt after my purchase that ultimately gets “lost in the shuffle” and tossed in the trash, I now receive digital receipts illustrating what I purchased.

                    Returns are easy, peasy. No more hunting down the paper receipt.

                    Signing up was lightning fast. As in, fifteen seconds.

                    I simply provided my email address to the cashier at check out and she said “alrighty, you should have your digital receipt in a few minutes.”

                    It was in my inbox by the time I got to the car.

                    Going digital results in increased efficiency, convenience, and personalization.

                    Less clutter equals one happy mama!

                    #ReceiptYouLater #CVS

                    Cheers from the Paperless Princess!

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