Archive of ‘Home + Entertainment’ category

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. 

              From a Working Mom to Stay at Home Moms: Keep on Keeping On


              From a Working Mom to Stay at Home Moms: Keep on Keeping on! http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/11/working-mom-to-stay-at-home-moms

              Me and Arden on my first day back to work after maternity leave in 2012. This is the working mom version of “double fisting.”

              When my friend Amber of one of my favorite lifestyle and parenting blogs, Cupcakes and Coffee Grounds, approached me to collaborate with her on a post about stay at home moms and working moms, I was flattered but apprehensive.

              It’s been done a million times before. Amber’s post is HERE.

              The topic has been written about as much as breastfeeding versus formula, cloth versus regular diapers, organic food versus Burger King, and I didn’t know how I would meaningfully contribute to the conversation without sounding like a broken record.

              Then I saw an article that really got my proverbial goat.

              A couple months ago, Harvard Business School performed a study finding working moms have more successful daughters and more caring sons than stay at home moms. The findings are here. I saw it plastered all over my social media news feeds and some girlfriends encouraged me to share it on my blog’s Facebook page, as I customarily post newsworthy stories on days I’m not promoting my own blog.

              No freaking way.

              Firstly, I don’t know the testing Harvard used to come up with its “findings,” but the study, and publicity of the outcome, resulted in polarizing working moms and stay at home moms.

              Aren’t we all in this together?

              Truth be told, if one of my stay at home mom friends shared a story about how stay at home moms had more successful children than working moms, I’d think she was a jerk.

              You know what, Harvard? You can trash your silly findings.

              Gymboree: What's Your One Big Happy?

              Whether a mother works outside the home or doesn’t will not, by itself, give a child an “edge” on success. Here’s what will:

              Spending Quality Time With Your Children. Parents are more likely to have successful children when they spend quality time with them. Asking about their day and actively listening to the stories that follow. Wanting to know about what they learned at school. Helping them do their homework. Telling jokes. Reading books. Watching them explore the world. Engaging in hobbies together.

              Monitoring Who Their Friends Are. Parents are more likely to have successful children when they give a darn about who their friends are. It’s true that one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. In my life, I’ve seen children with huge potential and abundant talents get sucked into a black vortex when their parents didn’t take the time to know who their friends were. Parents who are allowing their children to spend time with other kids who are habitually engaging in illegal activities (see: underage smoking and drinking), skipping school, or who are sexually promiscuous shouldn’t be surprised if their child is doing the same things.

              Letting Them Make Mistakes. Parents are more likely to have successful children when they allow them to make mistakes so they can learn from them. You want to wait until the eleventh hour to make your science fair project? Ok, but don’t ask me to help and don’t get upset when you earn a bad grade and, as a result, can’t participate in a school-sponsored sports team.

              Sometimes small mistakes lead to big opportunities for growth. Just ask Bill Gates about the failure of his first company, Traf-O-Data.

              Being a Good Example. Parents are more likely to have successful children when they are good examples themselves. As people, we are imperfect. I’ve done things in my youth that I’m not proud of, and that I will likely never admit to my children until they are grown (if ever). Now that I’m a parent, I know my kids are always watching. They hear what my husband and I say. They watch what we do. They listen to what we are listening to. And while there have been times when I’ve completely lost my cool, I overall try to set a good example.

              And hope they forget about the times I lost my cool.

              Holding Them Accountable. Parents are more likely to have successful children when they hold them accountable for their actions. A bad report card means being grounded until the grades improve. Acting disrespectful to peers and adults will have consequences.

              When I was in middle school, my math teacher called my mom at work to tell her I was more concerned about socializing in class than I was about learning algebra. Shocking. When I got home, I was immediately sent to my room. There was no “asking for my side of the story” or giving me the benefit of the doubt. Nowadays, parents are more likely to blame the authority figure than they are to question their own children. This leads to a long term loss of accountability.

              Cultivating Their Authentic Passions. Parents are more likely to have successful children when they focus on what their children want to do instead of what they want them to do. My daughters don’t want to be doctors, lawyers, or accountants when they grow up? Instead, they want to be tattoo artists? That’s cool. I’ll enroll them in creative classes that will provide them the educational background essential to promote their artistic talents. Heck, maybe they can earn an MBA while they’re at it so they can own the tattoo company as well.

              And you know what? A parent can do all of these things and still have the wheels come off. Go figure.

              Regardless, Harvard Business School needs to lay off the mom guilt.

              As a mom, the decision to stay at home or work is a choice. Why are we criticizing other women’s choices?

              Absent criminal conduct, I generally don’t care how other mothers choose to raise their children.

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              Hear me out. I know my emotional limitations, and I completely lack the mental stamina required to stay at home all day with two young children. I’ll likely feel differently when my girls, now ages 1 and 3, are a few years older, but that’s how I feel now. This past weekend, I flew out of state with both girls to visit longtime girlfriends. (My husband went hunting out west, and he got a Get Out of Hell Free card because he doesn’t give me trouble when he has both children and I’m away on a girls’ weekend.)

              While the girls were generally good on the trip, this is how I felt when I pulled back into my driveway when the weekend was over:

              From a Working Mom to Stay at Home Moms: Keep on Keeping on! http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/11/working-mom-to-stay-at-home-moms

              Brit Brit… I feel for ya, girl. I really do.

              Getting the girls packed, on a plane, and safely in a different city without that extra set of hands (my husband) was no joke. I don’t know how single parents do it. More than that, I don’t know how stay at home moms do it every dang day.  

              Stay at Home Moms: you’re doing a great job. Working Moms: so are you.

              Let’s all just keep on keeping on.

              Cheers!

               

                Did Halloween Come Early? No, It’s Just Tinder.


                Hilarious Tinder Profiles courtesy of The Champagne Supernova; http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/funny-tinder-profiles/

                Call me a fuddy-duddy. Old fashioned. Square. Fogy.

                Until recently, I had no idea what Tinder was.

                You’re on an app called Tinder? Is that where you call the car that comes and picks you up at your house?

                No. That’s Uber.

                I learned about Tinder from my single work colleagues. They showed me the app and I shamefully giggled as they swiped right and left, scoping out the other singletons within a certain geographic vicinity.

                The college girl in me laughed and said “eew” at some of the male suitors who popped up on the screen. The mom (and quasi adult) in me was appalled and slightly heartbroken by the superficiality.

                These are real people with real feelings who are hoping to find real love, and here we are mocking them? How would I feel if I was on this site and someone swiped to the left (meaning uninterested) after my picture appeared? 

                Yada yada yada.

                Some of this is funny.

                And then we came to a crop of potential suitors and didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, or call whatever authorities are responsible for invoking a Baker Act.

                I don’t have a Tinder account because polygamy is illegal and my husband would freak out. Therefore, I enlisted the help of some college girlfriends and Allison of the AA blog to help find the most eligible (!?) Tinder suitors in cyberspace. Here, ladies and gentlemen, are some of the more noteworthy gems:

                Hilarious Tinder Profiles courtesy of The Champagne Supernova; http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/funny-tinder-profiles/

                Me: Vittorio is what would happen if Rainbow Brite, Rosie O’Donnell, and Mr. T had a baby.

                Hilarious Tinder Profiles courtesy of The Champagne Supernova; http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/funny-tinder-profiles/

                Allison: I’m less horrified about this guy’s bloody profile picture and MORE horrified about his cat owning situation. Sorry, Derek, deal breaker.

                Hilarious Tinder Profiles courtesy of The Champagne Supernova; http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/funny-tinder-profiles/

                Me: I do enough “Paperhustling” at the office. It’s no fun. Not sure it’s the same type of paper hustling ole’ Chucky is referring to.

                Hilarious Tinder Profiles courtesy of The Champagne Supernova; http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/funny-tinder-profiles/

                Allison: Cool, Anthony- well, I’ll have to take your word for it that you’re good looking since Tinder doesn’t allow users to upload five photographs and let us decide for ourselves. Oh wait, they do!

                Hilarious Tinder Profiles courtesy of The Champagne Supernova; http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/funny-tinder-profiles/

                Me: Ronen knows pizza is the only way to a girl’s heart. If I was still in undergrad, we’d be a match made in heaven.

                Hilarious Tinder Profiles courtesy of The Champagne Supernova; http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/funny-tinder-profiles/

                Allison: David, your bio makes absolutely no sense. Referencing Jared from the Subway/ child molestation scandal is a surefire way to get LEFT SWIPED. Get off the internet.

                Hilarious Tinder Profiles courtesy of The Champagne Supernova; http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/funny-tinder-profiles/

                Me: Dang, Anthony. Your undies look comfy, for real. Thirtysomething mom problems.

                Hilarious Tinder Profiles courtesy of The Champagne Supernova; http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/funny-tinder-profiles/

                Allison: I… like your Martin Luther King tattoo? #IHadADreamIDidn’tNeedtoGoOnTinder.

                Hilarious Tinder Profiles courtesy of The Champagne Supernova; http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/funny-tinder-profiles/

                Me: It’s like Darth Vader meets a basett hound. Regardless, this picture makes me Juan-t to vomit.

                Hilarious Tinder Profiles courtesy of The Champagne Supernova; http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/funny-tinder-profiles/

                Me: His real name isn’t Jeff. It’s Satan.

                Hilarious Tinder Profiles courtesy of The Champagne Supernova; http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/funny-tinder-profiles/

                Me: If this dude committed a crime, his fingerprints would immediately give him away.

                Hilarious Tinder Profiles courtesy of The Champagne Supernova; http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/funny-tinder-profiles/

                Allison: Christopher has a very specific age requirement (um, does he know you set the age limit requirement yourself?) and also needs his potential life mate to have a carrear. A CARREAR.

                The dating pool these days is no joke.

                Special thanks to Allison and my girlfriends who helped make this post possible. You know who you are. [Wink.]

                Cheers!

                  The “No Gifts, Please” Party Dilemma


                  Read about whether you should still bring a gift when the party invitation says "No Gifts, Please."

                  Me and my cousins- rocking the birthday scene 1985 style.

                  I was overwhelmed with panic as I stared at the Evite.

                  At the bottom of the electronic invitation riddled with giraffes, elephants, and tigers was a not-so-unusual mandate:

                  “No Gifts, Please.”

                  I started sweating.

                  What do I do? Bring nothing, or run to Target and grab something? 

                  This happens often with requests of this nature.

                  I get it. The party hostess likely didn’t want more junque to trip over that she would ultimately donate to the Salvation Army. She probably couldn’t stand to look at one more Elsa figurine, Melissa & Doug puzzle, or Lincoln Log (impalement risk: hello!). At two, the guest of honor wasn’t old enough to know she was “missing out” on what some kids consider the best part of a birthday party: presents!

                  I’ve been there, lived it, and understand.

                  Between Grandpa, Grandma, Pap, “Gammy”, aunts, uncles, and our friends, my kids have more toys than they will ever be able to play with. Some toys were accidentally destroyed before they came out of the packaging. (See: the time I accidentally cut the electrical cord of a flying fairy when I was opening the container). Some toys melted in my car. Some toys were inadvertently left at our local pool, only to be considered another child’s treasure when discovered in the “Lost and Found” box. Our children have so many toys that we have a schedule of “rotating toys” where some are stored away in a closet for a couple months before we reintroduce them. We like to call it “Christmas in July”.

                  However, asking that guests of children’s birthday parties not bring gifts puts parents in a quandary because there are always some (and in most cases, many) parents who don’t honor the request. It would be different if every single person complied. But it never happens that way. There is always someone who makes everyone else look like jerks.

                  The noncompliant guests bring gifts because:

                  1. Their mothers (rightfully) taught them to never show up to a party empty-handed;
                  2. The attendee wants to give a gift; and/ or
                  3. Nobody wants to be perceived as a cheapskate by being “that person” who didn’t bring a gift, despite clear instructions to the contrary.

                  I surveyed women between the ages of 26 and 40 regarding whether they bring presents to “No Gifts, Please” events. Eight percent said they comply with the request, and a whopping 92% said they bring something, but usually a scaled-down version of what they would regularly give, such as a book or candy.

                  One of my girlfriends recently attended a “No Gifts, Please” party and had a run-in with the birthday girl’s mother. As my friend was placing her present on the dining room table (which was littered with gifts from other attendees), the hostess passive-aggressively said, “I guess nobody read the invitation…”

                  On one hand, you don’t want to dishonor the requests for “No Gifts, Please.”

                  On the other, you don’t want to show up empty handed because you’re darn sure other parents are still going to bring gifts.

                  You don’t want to feel ashamed and judged as you pass the present table without making a contribution.

                  I threw my husband a party for his thirtieth birthday and requested that our guests not bring gifts. This was because I wanted them to attend the party and enjoy the food, drinks, and company without feeling like they needed to buy him- a grown man- a present. Besides, what do you get for the guy who has everything? Sure, he enjoys wine and craft beer, but what he really would have wanted was a Yeti cooler, new boat, or a trip to Alaska, and those would have been too extravagant coming from friends, acquaintances, and work colleagues (and maybe even his wife). With the exception of wine, which surely would have been consumed, everything else would have ended up stashed in a “to be re-gifted” bin in our hall closet.

                  The birthday mantra for my husband was “our guests’ presence was the present.”

                  Maybe the “No Gifts, Please” phenomena is a fad. Maybe it’s a permanent “thing.” Regardless, I’ll continue to bring a small gift, and will discretely place it on top of the dining room table when the birthday child’s mama isn’t looking.

                  Cheers to good-intentioned noncompliance!

                    Wedding Gifts: Nope, Not an Option.


                    people who attend a wedding without giving a gift

                    My husband and me on our wedding day, June 20, 2009. Photo by Karlin Perez.

                    I’m going to admit something that could make me look like a petty jerk.

                    Ok, I’ll say it.

                    I remember the two guests at my wedding who never sent a gift.

                    I got married six years ago. I’m not a grudge holder. Nope. No grudges here.

                    It’s out and I feel slightly ashamed. On one hand, I’m grateful people spent their time and money coming to my wedding and celebrating our special day. On the other hand, these people attended a nice event, ate a free meal, enjoyed an open bar, and had a good time on the dance floor. There wasn’t much arm-twisting involved. Once it was over, the least they could have done was send a $3.99 card from Hallmark wishing us well.

                    I am not alone in my animosity.

                    I recently attended a girls’ dinner with around 20 other married women. Every single one of them had at least one wedding guest who never sent a gift and these women still remembered exactly who the offenders were

                    Some of these women have been married for as long as fifteen years and still have not forgotten. 

                    Wedding Paper Divas - Sitewide Sale

                    I’m going to be a tad sexist and assume the primary group of non-gifting offenders are men, who are often ignorant about etiquette and likely forget to send a gift after the wedding comes and goes. Before my husband and I met, he was invited to the wedding of one of his engineering school classmates. He told me about how he RSVP’d that he was attending the wedding, but something unexpectedly came up and not only did he not attend, but he also never sent a gift. He was probably 23 years old at the time. When he told me this story, I was mortified at his inconsideration and rudeness, even though being inconsiderate and rude was not his intention. He chalked it up to pure ignorance.

                    The bottom line: if you RSVP that you are attending a wedding and you don’t show up, you better be in the morgue. And if you’re not in the morgue, you’re going to be mentally dead to the bride. I promise. Further, not only should you still send a gift, but it needs to cover the cost of the meals you RSVP’d for, because that money was flushed down the toilet by your failure to attend.

                    http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/08/wedding-gifts-present-what-to-get/

                    Dancing and other tomfoolery at my wedding reception. Photo by Karlin Perez.

                    There also appears to be a positive correlation between people who get married young and people with a high number of non-gifting attendees. This is probably because the guest list includes many unmarried “youngsters” who are fresh out of college, struggling to make ends meet, and going online to check out a wedding registry genuinely slipped their minds.

                    Of the non-gifting attendees, the ones I find the most incredulous are the women who were once brides themselves.  These women should know better.

                    One of my work colleagues recently told a story around the water cooler about a couple in her circle of friends who notoriously attend weddings without sending gifts. Apparently, everyone talks about it behind their backs and my colleague was a “victim” herself. A few weeks ago, she received an invitation for a coed baby shower where the non-gifting couple were the guests of honor. For the couples’ fifth daughter. My colleague was appalled the couple was soliciting gifts when they already had tons of “girl” gear and, more importantly, they were expecting gifts when they never give any gifts themselves. Life isn’t fair, but that didn’t seem just.

                    Giving a wedding gift is not optional. It is required. It’s not about the money; rather, it’s about the thought and consideration behind the gift. There are many inexpensive choices for guests who are low on cash to give a gift without going bankrupt. A picture collage. An original poem. A paperback book about love or advice about marriage. Movie tickets. Heck, a mixed CD.

                    Something.

                    Playwright William Conegreve got it right. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. 

                    I can tell you the groom won’t remember the guest who didn’t send a wedding gift. But the bride will remember. She might never utter a word about it to her husband, her friends, or even her own mother, but she will remember. Don’t be the target of a bride’s scorn.

                    Cheers!

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