Archive of ‘Home + Entertainment’ category

Shopping: Top Ten Ways to Hide Your Loot from Your Husbands


how-to-hide-shopping-from-husband

The only reason I maintain gainful employment is so I have an alternate place to ship boxes of stuff I buy shopping online so my husband won’t find out.

Okay. And because I have law school loans and a mortgage.

But still.

My primary vice is Amazon, especially because I have Prime membership. I subconsciously feel like I’m getting a “good deal” because the shipping is free, even though I actually spend more money than I would under normal circumstances. And the product arrives two days from the date of purchase, so I don’t have to impatiently sit around and wait for whatever useless tchotchke to show up the way I do with the regular 5-7 day ‘biz the other retailers offer.

Because I “need” things like one hundred children’s hair bows (I’m a mom of girls), a tape measure, a “Haunted Battlefields of the Civil War” book, non-toxic nail polish, a Ronald Reagan face mask, windshield wipers, and a Patrick Dempsey pillowcase.

And you know what? It doesn’t matter that I work and bring home the bacon. When multiple boxes arrive at my door step on the same day, my husband usually ends up questioning me about them.

What’s in those boxes?

Your mom.

So.

After seven years of marriage and thirty-four years of sneakiness, I’ve compiled a list of the top ten places to hide your shopping loot so it will be out of sight from your husbands.

You’re welcome.

1. The Cleaning Supply Cabinet. The good Lord knows your husbands have never looked there and probably aren’t aware this is even a “thing” in your home.

2. The Gym. It’s the year of the Dadbod.

3. Bring them Home Already Wrapped. And say they’re gifts for someone else.

4. Replace the “Real Bags” with Bags from Kids’ Clothing Stores. Most dudes are uninterested in the contents of packages from Janie and Jack, Gymboree and, worst of all, The Disney Store.

5. The Crack Between the Front Seat and the Center Console. This obviously only works for smaller items, but your husbands will never stick their fingers down there for fear of getting them stained with half-melted M&Ms or by touching a dirty, misplaced sock.

6. Empty Shoe Boxes. Keep them in your closet for storing goods.

7. Claim You’ve Owned it Forever. This is one of my personal favorites. I bust out with a new ensemble (after the tags are off) and my husband asks when I got it. I look at him and incredulously roll my eyes and declare “In college! Seriously?! I’ve worn this a million times!” He gets so confused.

8. Tell Him You’re Holding the Loot for Your Friend. Who is hiding it from her husband.

9. Tell Him the Package is a Present for HIM. By the time the holidays roll around, he won’t even remember. Or if he does, just say you changed your mind and returned it. BOOM.

10. At Your Boyfriend’s House. I dunno guys, Diff’rent Strokes for Diff’rent Folks. (Kidding!)

junior-league-of-tampa

Confession. One of my favorite yearly shopping events is the Junior League of Tampa’s Holiday Gift Market.

The Holiday Gift Market is the Junior League of Tampa’s largest annual fundraising event. Think of it as a flea market with stuff you actually want.  It will feature 150 merchants, with 20 that are completely new to the event. Some of my favorites among this year’s merchants and participants are Sunshine State Goods, The Blue Hen, Coton Colors, hazel + dot, and Toffee to Go. Best of all, the Junior League of Tampa commits 100% of the proceeds to fund its mission of promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.

Holiday Gift Market 2015: Me and some of the ladies at the beginning of the night.

Holiday Gift Market Kickoff Party 2015: Me and some of the ladies at the beginning of the night.

Come on out to the Florida State Fairgrounds for the kickoff party on Thursday, November 10 between 7 PM and 10 PM, and stay for the shopping from Friday, November 11 through Sunday, November 13.

Where: Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall, 4800 U.S. Highway 301 N., Tampa, FL 33610
Hours: Thursday, November 10- 7 PM – 10 PM
Friday, November 11- 9 AM to 6 PM
Saturday, November 12- 9 AM to 6 PM
Sunday, November 13- 9 AM to 5 PM
Cost: $8 at the door and $5 in advance if purchased from Junior League members.  Don’t know any? No sweat. You can also purchase them online through Eventbrite: http://www.hgm2016.eventbrite.com
Parking fee: $6 cash (who carries cash anymore?) paid directly to the Florida State Fairgrounds

Preview Party: The Preview Party is a Junior League tradition, which includes a sneak peak at this year’s best new gift ideas, live entertainment, food samplings from local restaurants, raffle, cash bar, and more. This event is open to the public, and tickets are $35. VIP tickets are available for $65 and include a VIP reception at the market beginning at 6:30 PM, a VIP gift, three drink tickets, and complimentary VIP parking. Oh, and did I mention it will feature some of my favorite sweets from The Silly Monkey Cookie Company? The preview party is Thursday, November 10 between 7 PM and 10 PM.

Me and some of the crew at the end of the night. Not pictured: red wine stains on my white romper. Pictured: the $10 flip flops purchased from the college mascot vendor. (My dogs were barking. But it was fun and worth it.)

Me and some of the crew at the end of the night. Not pictured: red wine stains on my white romper. Pictured: the $10 flip flops purchased from the college mascot vendor. (My dogs were barking. But it was fun and worth it.)

This year’s Holiday Gift Market will also offer the following concierge services:
Gift Wrap: For the first time evah, the Junior League will offer gift wrap for a nominal fee. See number 3 above.
Bag Check: Don’t worry, these ladies will free up your hands so you can shop more. Warning: you might need a bigger car.
Man Cave: In case you want your husband to come and know how much money you’ve spent, they can tag along and relax on oversized sofas and lounge chairs with giant flat screens and sports. Oh, and beer.
Mother’s Nook. (Read: a breastfeeding, diaper-changing mama’s mecca).

The market will also feature a series of special events.

Candle Pouring Social: Saturday, November 12 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM and 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM.  For $35 per ticket, enjoy a candle pouring social with the Tipsy Candle Company.  Participants will pour two candles with signature scents for the holiday season. Be inspired to “Give a Candle and Keep a Candle” during this event with music, snacks, and refreshments.

Princess Meet and Greet: Sunday, November 13. Enjoy an encounter with four princesses courtesy of Parties with Character. Each child will feel like royalty as they meet the Princesses who will encourage them to reach for their dreams. The cost is $15 per child, and each child needs a ticket for admission. Visit this link to purchase tickets and see which 15-minute time slots are available: http://hgm2016.eventbrite.com/?aff=HGMFacebook. Adults are able to enter this special event with the purchase of one general admission ticket to the Holiday Gift Market.

Military Shopping Hour: On Friday, November 11 from 2 PM to 3 PM, the Junior League will provide a special salute to the men and women who courageously dedicate their lives to serving our country.

holiday-gift-market

For more details, connect with Junior League’s Holiday Gift Market on social media or, if you have questions, via email at hgmtickets@jltampa.org.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thejlthgm
Twitter: @jlthgm
Instagram: @holidaygiftmarket

What are your sneakiest ways to hide shopping loot from your husbands?

Cheers to shopping and the ladies of the Junior League of Tampa!

    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.

    birthday_presents_grown_women4

    The whole shebang.

    birthday_presents_grown_women7

    Beautycounter citrus mimosa body bar.

    birthday_presents_grown_women6

    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

      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!

        Relationships: Dating versus Marriage


        The difference between dating and marriage | The Champagne Supernova

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

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

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

        Longing looks and meaningful glances.

        For the rest of our lives.

        How I envisioned my post-marriage self.

        How I envisioned my post-marriage self.

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

        Who has time for homemade meals?

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

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

        Dang.

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

        Dating: Back massages.
        Marriage: Back mole checks.

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

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

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

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

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

        funny_marriage

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

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

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

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

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

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

        The difference between dating and marriage | The Champagne Supernova

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

        The difference between dating and marriage | The Champagne Supernova

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

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

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

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

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

        Ain’t that the truth.

        Happy anniversary, honey!

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

        Maybe.

        Cheers!

          I’m a Big Bootie Fan


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

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

          image

          [source: Polyvore]

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

          I’m too embarrassed because of what transpired.

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

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

          “What do we think?”

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

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

          What the…?

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

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

          WONDERFUL.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          I was never stuck.

          I was attempting to unzip a fake buckle.

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

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

          image

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

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

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

          image

          Cute, right?  Wrong.  Dangerous, and stupid.

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

            How to Throw The Perfect Birthday Party: 5 Ingredients


            How to throw the perfect birthday party for children | The Champagne Supernova

            I don’t enjoy planning parties. Detest it.

            In the era of Pinterest-esque birthday parties with grandiose themes and elaborate decorations that require hours of planning that I don’t have, the simple thought of throwing a birthday party makes me lose sleep. I even wrote about it here. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy attending these events and admire other parents who can effortlessly and enjoyably put them together, I just don’t want to do it. 

            In the interest of sucking it up and because I could no longer delay the inevitable, my husband and I decided to throw our oldest daughter, Arden, a party for her 4th birthday. There would be no-frills: a princess and pirate theme appropriate for her coed group of friends, a bounce house, pizzas and snacks, and we would have it at a public park in order to avoid the stress associated with having the event at home.

            I reserved the park pavilion two months in advance and invitations went out two weeks after that. The RSVPs began to pour in, decorations began to accumulate, and Arden got more excited with each passing day. She picked out a Sleeping Beauty princess dress on Amazon and a crown and wand set from Target.

            She couldn’t wait to celebrate her birthday with her friends.

            And then an incredible chain of events unfolded.

            Our youngest daughter, Ellison, was diagnosed with a staph infection and had to be hospitalized for three days, not to be released until hours before the birthday party (with her doctor’s blessing to have her attend the party, of course). My husband and I spent the three nights leading to the party in the hospital, with little sleep and lots of fear over the uncertain status of her health. We debated canceling the party or having our parents attend in our place, so as not to spoil the fun for the birthday girl.

            Then, on the day of the party, it didn’t just rain, it monsooned. Sure, the park had a pavilion, what would the guests do? Stand underneath it and awkwardly stare at each other? The bounce house would become a mud pit. After stalking weatherchannel.com and finally accepting that it would rain all day, I called an indoor bounce house facility the morning of the party and was, fortunately, able to have the location switched. Then, I was tasked with contacting all of the people who RSVP’d to advise of the location change. Some of these people were the parents of Arden’s classmates and I had to hunt down their email addresses and phone numbers. Then, when I went to our neighborhood grocery store to pick up the sandwich party platters I ordered a week in advance, I was advised by the very apologetic manager that our food order was accidentally lost.

            It was like being in The Birthday Party Twilight Zone. 

            Do do do do, do do do do.

            Despite the stress and the hiccups along the way, the party ended up being a success for Arden and her 45 (gasp!) friends. It was, in my opinion, pretty dang close to the perfect party.

            Then I got to thinking. In the age of parents over-extending themselves and becoming obsessed with holding an event to make it appear picture-perfect on social media, we can easily lose sight of the true meaning: celebrating our children with the people who mean the most to us.

            And here, my friends, are the five key ingredients for a perfect birthday party:

            1. Good Company. I couldn’t believe the large number of friends and family who reached out to support us and offered to help with the party when they learned that Ellison was in the hospital. The number of moms and friends who texted me to remind me that it didn’t matter if the party location was changed or if it was raining because “you got this!” was humbling. The look on Arden’s face when her best buddies arrived at the party was unforgettable. Like the saying goes, it’s not where you are, but who you’re with that really matters.

            2. A Fun Theme. I love having a reason to dress up and figured that a “Pirate and Princess” party theme wouldn’t require too much effort from the guests’ parents, who likely already have Disney Princess and post-Gasparilla pirate flair lying around their homes.

            3. Sweets and Smiles. Even though the grocery store lost our food order, we still had awesome cake and custom sugar cookies to keep the guests smiling, and to maintain energy required for climbing to the top of the bounce house slide. Because that’s exhausting. Phew!

            4. A Positive Attitude. I couldn’t control whether my daughter was in the hospital, the weather, or the fact that my party platter order seemingly disappeared into thin air. I could control my own stress level and my choice (because it is a choice!) to enjoy myself and to appreciate everyone who took time out of their weekends to celebrate my daughter’s birthday. It’s difficult to be unpleasant when you’re focused on being grateful.

            5. Lots of Love. In the end, it’s all about love: love for our children and having the desire to provide them with fun and cherished memories. Love for our friends and family members who are sharing our joy with us. The desire to pay it forward with love in the future by supporting another child when it’s their turn to be celebrated.

             

            Pirate and Princess themed birthday party invitations #partyinvitations |www.thechampagnesupernova.com

            Pirate and princess party decorations #birthdayparty | www.thechampagnesupernova.comPirate and princess party birthday cake idea #birthdayparty | www.thechampagnesupernova.compirate and princess themed cookies | The Champagne SupernovaThrowing the perfect birthday party #birthday party | www.thechampagnesupernova.com

            Cheers to an imperfect, but perfect, birthday party!

            Vendor list:
            Cake: Publix
            Custom Sugar Cookies: Silly Monkey Cookie Company
            Invitations: Minted (This is an affiliate link, which means I’ll receive a financial kickback in return for any sales. Hey, the blog ain’t gonna pay for itself, so throw me a bone!)
            Photography: Synthia Therese Photography
            Venue: Playgrounds of Tampa

             

              9 Things for Mom: Who says Kids are the Only Who Get an Easter Basket?


              9 Things Moms Want in their Easter Baskets | The Champagne Supernova

              Ahhhhhhh, Easter.

              ‘Tis the season for seersucker, bonnets, and Cadbury Creme Eggs.

              A time for Peeps, chocolate rabbits, and Pottery Barn baskets.

              Petting zoos, egg hunts, and stories about Jesus.

              Easter is about religion but, let’s be real, it’s also about kids. And judging from this year’s Santa picture, I can only imagine how the shot with the Easter Bunny will turn out:

              Funny santa pictures with kids | The Champagne Supernova

              Santa needs a stiff drink.

              Last year, I did an elaborate, painstaking post about making the perfect Easter basket for kids.

              It got me thinking.

              Why don’t moms ever get Easter baskets?

              We’re the ones who need them the most.

              These are the items in my dream Easter basket, in no particular order:

              1. Deadbolts. So I can finally use the powder room in peace.

              2. Liposuction. After my jelly belly jelly bean binge.

              Mmmmmmm. Buttered Popcorn. Cantaloupe. A&W Root Beer.

              3. Chinese Finger Traps. So I can stay away from the jelly beans and don’t need #2.

              4. Melatonin. Not for me. The kids.

              5. A Live-In Maid: Not only will she cook and clean, but she’ll know how to give the perfect blowout and will be able to get smashed-up cheerios out of the back seat of my car.

              She’ll take my kids to school so I’ll never be late for work again.

              She’ll get my 4-year-old daughter dressed in the mornings so I can stop wrestling her to the ground before daycare.

              (My house becomes WWF between Monday and Friday around 8:15 a.m.)

              She’d be the twenty-first-century version of Alice from The Brady Bunch.

              Alice_brady_bunch

              “Run along, children, so Mommy doesn’t lose it.”

              6. For the Pedicurist to Rub my Feet 5 Minutes Longer this Time. And to stop flapping his gums while he’s at it.

              No, I don’t to make small talk with you.

              7. Carrie Underwood Leg Transplant. Caveat: I don’t need to do any maintenance.

              No squats or lunges ever again. The glory is mine.

              Meow.

              Meow.

              8. For Eyerolls to Become Publicly Acceptable. New rule: if I’ve ever personally witnessed you vomiting into a trash can while kneeling on the bathroom floor at a college dive bar, you don’t get to act like you’re better than anyone else.

              Ever.

              I don’t care that we were in school or that it happened fifteen years ago.

              Kthanksbye.

              9. Ability to Look Cool in Super Trendy Clothes. At what age is it no longer appropriate to shop at Forever 21? Is it when you get old enough that the idea of rummaging through all their crap clothes gives you a migraine? Or the age where the thought of wearing some of their stuff in front of your grandmother makes you feel dirty and ashamed? What about when you come out of your bedroom donning pleather, snakeskin pants for a party and your husband literally starts laughing? (That happened to me. I was four months pregnant. Okay, I deserved it.)

              brazilian_bikini

              The Brazilian-style bikini bottom. Como se dice, en Espanol, “I don’t want to pay big money to have a wedgie?”

              denim-high-waisted-shorts-9

              I’d. look. like. a. fool.

              What do YOU want in your Easter basket?

              P.S. This is satirical.

              Sort of.

              Cheers! And Happy Easter. xo

               

                Tips for the Tipper: Holiday Tipping Guide


                Holiday Tipping Guide from The Champagne Supernova

                The holidays are expensive and busy. Between ordering gifts for the family, sending out Christmas cards, and attending parties, I’m whooped by December 26.

                Whooped.

                In the past, the hustle and bustle of having a crazy calendar have caused me to forget to do important things.

                RSVP to a get-together. Attend a previously scheduled hair appointment (yikes!). Keep my New Year’s resolution (from January) of staying the heck away from the cheese trays and chocolate desserts at holiday parties. Hello, elastic waist band!

                Tipping service providers.

                Not again, I say!

                People have different opinions about the appropriate amount of a tip. Some say it depends on the number of years of service. Some say it depends on the nature of the service. Some say it depends on the frequency of which the service provider receives tips throughout the year.

                I researched the topic on EmilyPost.com, RealSimple.com, and CNN. While these sites were generally on the same page regarding how much or what to tip, I averaged the rules together and came up with this list.

                Regular Babysitter: Up to one night’s pay and a small gift from your children.

                Full Time Nanny: Up to one week’s pay and a small gift from your children.

                Day Care Provider: First confirm whether the day care facility has a policy regarding holiday tipping or gift giving. If there is none, consider giving $25 – $70 and a small gift from your children. The same applies to a regular teacher.

                Cleaning Lady: Up to the amount of one week’s pay and/or a comparably priced gift.

                Personal Trainer: Up to the cost of one session or a comparably priced gift.

                Pet Groomer: Up to the cost of one session or a comparably priced gift.

                Dog Walker: Up to one week’s pay or a comparably priced gift.

                Parking Garage Attendants: $10- $30 or a small gift. (I think Starbucks gift cards or lottery scratch-off tickets are always a win!)

                Mail Carriers: This is tricky, as the United States Postal Service has strict rules about what mail carriers can accept during the holidays: 1) Snacks/ beverages/ perishable gifts that are not part of a meal, 2) Small gifts with little value that do not exceed $20, and 3) Perishable items worth more than $20 (e.g., fancy fruit baskets) must be shared with the entire postal branch.

                Mail carriers cannot accept cash, checks, gift cards, or any type of currency.

                Who knew? 

                Gift Wrapper: $1 to $2 per package, not to exceed $10.

                Picture of Rapper 50 Cent in a Holiday Tipping Guide on The Champagne Supernova

                Not THIS type of wrapper, silly!

                Trash and Recycling Collectors: $10- $30 per person for private service providers. If the service is public, check with your local municipality for rules because some areas may not permit tipping.

                Landscaping/ Yard Worker: $20- $50 per person. If the person comes regularly, you can give up to one week’s pay.

                Swimming Pool Cleaner: Up to the cost of one cleaning to be divided among the cleaning employees. If a different person shows up at each cleaning, a tip is unnecessary.

                Newspaper Deliverer: $10- $30, or the equivalent of one month the subscription price.

                Hairdresser: $20 to $100, depending on the frequency you see this person. Me: every six months, for shame.

                (Looking for tips on how to streamline your morning hair routine? Click here.)

                Workplace Assistant: In addition to a year end bonus your company provides, include a gift that values at least $50. Of course, this depends on your position (read: minions pay less than slave drivers) and the length of time the person has been your assistant.

                Boss: It’s unnecessary, but a nice gesture. Ask co-workers to see if they’d like to chip in for a restaurant gift certificate.

                Cheers!

                  Public Humiliation: Does Anyone Have a Towel I Can Borrow to Wipe the Egg off my Face?


                  The Champagne Supernova- surviving public embarrassment http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/12/public-humiliation-anyone-towel-can-borrow-wipe-egg-off-face/

                  Something humiliating recently happened to me.

                  It made the list of the top five most mortifying things that have happened in my life.

                  I can’t remember the other four, but they must have been pretty bad.

                  It’s necessary for me to put the scenario in context. In October, my husband left town for a week to go hunting out west. When he planned this trip in August, I got the genius idea of flying to Nashville with my two girls, ages 1 and 3, to visit longtime friends and their families, for the Halloween weekend that my husband was scheduled to be away.

                  All the kids can go trick-or-treating together and I can get in some much needed girl time with my “show-your-butt” friends*.

                  *Show-your-butt friends: people with whom you have solid enough friendships where you can engage in temper tantrums, make extremely snarky comments, and revelations that you’ve had homicidal thoughts toward people who repeatedly annoy you, without fear of judgment or ridicule. People who are good enough friends to tell you if you need to suck on a mint or when it’s time to tweeze your unibrow.

                  I’m speaking hypothetically.

                  The weekend in Tennessee was fun, but exhausting; mainly because Nashville is in a different time zone than Tampa and also because it happened to be daylight saving time, which meant my girls (and I!) were awake at 4 a.m. every day.

                  The Champagne Supernova- surviving public embarrassment http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/12/public-humiliation-anyone-towel-can-borrow-wipe-egg-off-face/

                  Me and my “show-your-butt” friends in Nashville, where the trouble started. Judging from my major fashion faux pas of “double leoparding,” I should have cried “Uncle” and gotten on the first flight to Tampa.

                  When the weekend was over and I returned to Tampa for three additional days of fun as a “single parent” before my husband was supposed to return, I was struck with career responsibilities of having to commute to Lakeland (one hour away) each day for work on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

                  I returned to the office on Wednesday after traveling to Lakeland to respond to a few emails before having to jet to pick the girls up from daycare before it closed.

                  The law firm where I work is in an office building that has 41 floors. Accordingly, thousands of employees from hundreds of businesses work in the same building as me. That’s a lotta people. What’s notable is there is a separate elevator bank from the lobby into the parking garage, which comprises the first 14 floors of the building.

                  As I was rushing from the lobby toward the garage elevators to get to my car on time to get the girls by the 6 p.m. deadline (picture the scene from Home Alone where Kevin’s family is frantically running through the Chicago airport to make their flight to Paris on time), I saw three strangers inside an elevator with the doors wide open.

                  The Champagne Supernova- surviving public embarrassment http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/12/public-humiliation-anyone-towel-can-borrow-wipe-egg-off-face/

                  “HOLD THE BLOODY DOOR OPEN!”

                  We made eye contact.

                  Anyone with a shred of elevator etiquette knows that if you are inside an open elevator and make eye contact with someone who is heading toward the elevators, you must hold the door open. Or at least make it appear that you’ve made an effort to prevent the doors from closing.

                  (This is exactly why, when the shoe is on the other foot, I always go to the back of the elevator and stare at my iPhone. To prevent the possibility of making eye contact with someone and having to hold the doors open when I’m in a hurry.)

                  As I literally ran toward the open elevator wearing three inch heels (my bunions were-a-barking), I stopped just in time to prevent the elevator doors from slicing off my nose as they shut in my face.

                  I was shocked. Why did these people not hold the elevator doors open? How hard is it to push the freaking “Door Open” button?

                  Uncharacteristically, I loudly declared, “You Assholes!”

                  And then the doors opened back up.

                  The people inside the elevator stared at me awkwardly. 

                  Ashamed and defeated, I had no choice but to step onto the elevator with a handful of strangers who just heard me call them assholes.

                  “I’m not a jerk,” I wanted to explain, “I am just an exhausted mom who has had a shortage of wine and sleep over the last seven days… and the cussing wasn’t my intention… it was my nervous tic!”

                  By this point, another woman had walked up from behind me in the lobby and witnessed the entire event. She followed me onto the elevator, pushed the button to the floor where she was parked, and stared at the ground before she began shuddering with laughter. Her body was shaking. She resembled a youngster who was trying to not laugh out loud in church, which only made her more hysterical.

                  To make matters worse, I was parked on the top floor of the garage. Which meant I had to wait for the three strangers and the hyena to get off the elevator before it was my turn.

                  “Of course,” I thought. “Of course this would happen!”

                  While I probably couldn’t recognize the three strangers in the elevator, I don’t believe I’ve encountered them since my little snafu. I sure hope they wouldn’t be able to identify me.

                  Parenting makes you do desperate things. Traveling halfway across the country while balancing a career and a temporary status as a single parent can turn even the most stable people into lunatics.

                  Not that I’m stable. But you see where I’m going.

                  I’ve forgiven myself for losing my cool and hope the strangers feel the same sense of compassion.

                  Sometimes when we have egg all over our faces, we need to laugh about it, shake it off, and try to do better next time.

                  Or call in the reinforcements (Grandma!) if your spouse leaves town.

                  Cheers!

                    Grammar Matters: How to Avoid Messing Up Your Holiday Card


                    Stop messing up your holiday cards: How to properly pluralize your name. Grammar matters!

                    The inspiration behind this blog post came as I recently clicked “send” on my online order of Christmas cards and shuddered when I entered my credit card information to pay for them.

                    Those things are flipping expensive. I even had a coupon! How did they still manage to cost a small fortune? Especially when facing the harsh reality that the recipients trash them once the holidays are over.

                    Why do we do this to ourselves?

                    Oh, for the same reason we send moving announcements and birth announcements.

                    Because society tells us we have to do it.

                    I digress.

                    Which reminds me of a pet peeve that gets flashed before my eyes once other peoples’ holiday cards start arriving in our mailbox around December 5.

                    Incorrect name pluralization.

                    When this happens, it makes me see the Smith’s (yes, I meant to do that) in an entirely different light.

                    Homegirl has a Ph.D. in biomechanics but can’t properly pluralize her name, and now a hundred people (the number of holiday cards she mailed out) know about it.

                    Le sigh. 

                    Look, I realize grammar isn’t necessarily my bread and butter and effectively puts a bullseye on my back anytime I mistakenly send an email regarding the resluts of a recent trial.

                    Whoops. I hate resluts. They’re so… gross. 

                    Or worse, if I send a text about taht bottle of cabernet sauvignon instead of that one.

                    I can only hope my grammar snafus aren’t so public. Like they are bound to be on a future blog post because of the karma I’m putting out into the world just by writing this.  

                    Digressing again.

                    Which also reminds me of Christmastime around five years ago where a handful of girlfriends and I were sitting around a table complaining about discussing mailing our holiday cards. One of the girls, we’ll call her Kathryn, asked me how many cards we ordered.

                    I told her.

                    Well...,” she said smirking, “we mail out [twice the number I said].”

                    Congratulations, Felicia! 

                    Kathryn, among other reasons, is now an acquaintance.

                    Digressing again.

                    How to Make Your Last Name Plural

                    If Your Last Name Ends with These Letters, Add an s to the End:

                    a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r, t, u, v, w, y

                    If Your Last Name Ends with These Letters, Add an es to the End: 

                    s, x, z, ch, sh

                    The Critical Bottom Line: NEVER, EVER add an apostrophe. Ever. 

                    Here is a walk down Burby Christmas card lane. Please note my hoarding failed because I somehow misplaced the 2010 card and those schmucks over at tinyprints.com didn’t keep a digital copy.

                    How to Properly Pluralize your Name on Your Christmas Card: http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/11/grammar-matters-how-to-avoid-messing-up-your-holiday-card/

                    The obligatory post-wedding Christmas Card.

                    How to Properly Pluralize your Name on Your Christmas Card: http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/11/grammar-matters-how-to-avoid-messing-up-your-holiday-card/

                    Us with our first “babies.”

                    How to Properly Pluralize your Name on Your Christmas Card: http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/11/grammar-matters-how-to-avoid-messing-up-your-holiday-card/

                    How to Properly Pluralize your Name on Your Christmas Card: http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/11/grammar-matters-how-to-avoid-messing-up-your-holiday-card/

                    Probably my favorite Christmas card to date.

                    People always ask where I order my holiday cards. Year after year, I get them from this site. The customer service and paper quality is bar none. (This is an affiliate link- throw me a bone- the blog ain’t gonna pay for itself!)

                    Cheers!

                    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Love, the Burbys. 

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