Archive of ‘Home + Entertainment’ category

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.

          Shop Tea Collection Today!

          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!

                  9 Best Hostess Gifts: Yes, You Have to Bring Them


                  Worried about what to bring to the party host? Here are 9 of the best hostess gift ideas. Cheers!

                  Housewarming parties. Dinner parties. Anniversary parties. Birthday parties. Baby showers and bridal showers (when you’re the honoree). Overnight visits. Themed parties. Holiday parties.

                  It can get exhausting to find unique gifts to serve as mementos to thank your hostess (or host) for his or her hospitality.

                  Likewise, it’s sometimes confusing to determine whether giving a hostess a gift is appropriate.

                  I asked Myka Meier, the founder and director of Beaumont Etiquette, to weigh in:

                  When are you required to bring a hostess gift? “You should bring a hostess gift when you are invited to someone’s home for any reason. It can be something small and thoughtful, and it constitutes a thank-you for an invitation to host you. Never show up empty handed.”

                  When is a hostess gift not required? “When you are invited to someone’s home for an event or dinner, you should always ask the host what he or she would like you to bring. Sometimes the person may assign you to a dish. In that case, the dish would be your contribution. It would be extra generous (and unnecessary) to also bring a hostess gift.”

                  How much should I spend on a hostess gift? “There is no specific amount; rather, it’s the thought behind the gift. For instance, bringing homemade cookies would be as suitable as monogrammed cocktail coasters or an expensive candle from the host’s favorite store.”

                  What is the not-so-obvious thing to bring as a hostess gift? “Flowers that are not already in a vase or container. It is the hostess’s sole responsibility to ensure her guests feel comfortable and welcome when they enter her home. The moment you will arrive with flowers, the hostess will need to cut their stems and find a vase to fill with water. While she is trying to accommodate the flowers you got for her, she has not been able to do her job as a hostess and may have missed greeting guests as they arrive.”

                  Here are nine of my favorites.

                  Scented candles. I love scented candles and usually wouldn’t splurge on one for myself. My favorites are from the Seventh Avenue Apothecary in Tampa, Florida, which is family owned and operated by a group of great women.

                  7th

                  Rifle Paper Company recipe box. How perfect is it to gift a recipe box for a dinner party hostess? This Citrus Floral Recipe Box is made by the Rifle Paper Company (a Florida enterprise flagshipped in the charming town of Winter Park) and is available for $34. They also offer a diverse online section of other gift ideas to suit your hostess’s taste or hobbies.

                  9 Best Hostess Gifts on The Champagne Supernova; http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/08/best-hostess-gifts/

                  Michael Aram pomegranate catch all.  I love the pomegranate catch all from the Michael Aram collection. At $49, this natural bronze beauty is perfect for the hostess to place in her kitchen for her “whatevers.”

                  Aram2

                  Corkcicle. This little device is $17.95 of goodness and is ideal for the wine aficionado hostess. You freeze it, then stick it into a wine bottle so it stays cold. If you purchase them through the Corkcicle website, you get 15% off your first purchase. Good reason to buy them in bulk. Cheers!

                  9 Best Hostess Gifts on The Champagne Supernova; http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/08/best-hostess-gifts/

                  Hen House Linens kitchen towels. Bright and colorful, these towels from Hen House Linens will spruce up any kitchen.

                  9 Best Hostess Gifts: Yes, You Have to Bring Them. http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/08/best-hostess-gifts/

                  Gourmet Cheeses. It’s fun to give the hostess something she can look forward to enjoying when the party’s over. You can get gourmet cheeses almost anywhere (and who doesn’t like cheese?) but I prefer to shop local and purchase mine at Cheese Please in Tampa. It’s run by two hilarious and personable guys who have a knack for fine cheeses and chocolates.

                  9 Best Hostess Gifts: Yes, You Have to Bring Them. http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/08/best-hostess-gifts/

                  Menagerie wine pourer/ aerator. I discovered these gems at a tasting at the Gundlach Bundschu winery in Sonoma. There are 64 styles made from original hand-sculpted designs and forged from high-grade stainless steel. At roughly $29 a piece, they combine quality, functionality, durability, and style. My husband is an avid hunter, so I got him the elk pourer, but as a University of Florida alumnus and fisherman, he would have been equally thrilled with the alligator or fish pourers.

                  wine

                  Funny cocktail napkins. For the hostess with a sense of humor, funny cocktail napkins make the perfect gift. I love these “Real Housewives” themed cocktail napkins from Caspari, which also sells boxed note sets, candles, matchboxes, and picture frames online.

                  9 Best Hostess Gifts: Yes, You Have to Bring Them. http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/08/best-hostess-gifts/

                  Bathroom guest book. For the regular entertainer, make every trip to the powder room an event to remember with the Bathroom Guest Book available at Z-Gallerie. This witty little book is a great conversation piece, and at $14.95, each guest’s deep thoughts on the loo will live in infamy.

                  9 Best Hostess Gifts: Yes, You Have to Bring Them. http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/08/best-hostess-gifts/

                  Cheers to being a gracious guest!

                   

                    The 10 Commandments of Workplace Etiquette


                    The Champagne Supernova- 10 Commandments of Workplace Etiquette http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/07/the-10-commandments-of-workplace-etiquette/

                    I’ve worn many hats over the years.

                    I’ve been a grocery store cashier, a restaurant server, a receptionist at a home sales center, a mortgage loan officer at a bank, a summer clerk at a small law firm, and an associate attorney at a large law firm.

                    While I am not an etiquette expert, and often prefer the company of people who do things their way, there are a few observations I’ve had in the work environment over the past decade that are worth mentioning. These are the 10 things guaranteed to annoy your colleagues:

                    Thou Shalt Control the Sound of Your Bodily Functions. There’s no reason someone sitting on the opposite side of the office should be able to hear you sneezing, coughing, chewing food, or clearing your throat. One of my daughters would jump in utero at the sound of a colleague’s sneezes.

                    It is entirely possible to control the decibel of your bodily functions. If you wouldn’t make the loud and distracting noise in a church, at a funeral, or in a library, then you should have equal consideration in the workplace.

                    Thou Shalt Help Keep the Restroom Tidy. When you work in a large office building where everyone on the floor shares a bathroom, it’s embarrassing to direct multimillion dollar client representatives into a restroom where there might be toilet paper stuck to the floor, water splashed all over the sink, or, worst of all, a toilet that wasn’t completely flushed.

                    Clean up after yourself.

                    Thou Shalt Not Reheat Smelly Food. I once attended a crowded deposition in a small room where the air conditioner wasn’t working. Despite being packed in the room like sardines (pun intended), one of my colleagues took a container of stinky cheese out of her mini cooler, and proceeded to spread it all over crackers before eating it. The sound of her smacking jaw and the repugnant odor of the cheese in the hot, tiny room was nauseating.

                    Fish.

                    Broccoli.

                    Curry.

                    Burned popcorn.

                    Keep these smelly culprits out of the office.

                    Thou Shalt Not Take Food That’s Not Yours. People shouldn’t have to label or initial food items that are placed in the community refrigerator. If you didn’t bring it to work, then don’t eat it without permission.

                    Easy peasy.

                    Thou Shalt Replenish the Coffee. This is one of the simplest ways to make your co-workers despise you. It takes ten seconds to brew a fresh pot of coffee. If you don’t know how to use the coffee maker, then someone will be happy to show you.

                    Ignorance doesn’t justify inconsideration.

                    Thou Shalt Not Be a Mooch. Don’t be “that person” who routinely attends potluck work events without contributing. If you didn’t have time to bring something from home, then call Domino’s and have something delivered to the office.

                    Everybody loves pizza.

                    Thou Shalt Keep Personal Internet Use at a Minimum. Nowadays, Big Brother is constantly monitoring how you spend time on the internet at work. This also true if you’re logged into your employer’s wi-fi on your smart phone. I’ve heard of several instances where employers audit their employees’ computer use to ensure they’re not burning work time on the internet.

                    If you are completing your assigned tasks or are on your lunch break, there’s nothing wrong with an occasional internet diversion. However, if you are getting paid to perform a job but, instead, are spending your time shopping online or catching up with your Facebook friends, you are arguably stealing from your employer.

                    Thou Shalt Turn off the Music. I’ve never been the person who can perform thoughtful activities while listening to music. It’s hard to concentrate with it in the background, and I find myself focusing on the words and rhythm of the song, as opposed to the task at hand.

                    If you work in an open office environment, turn your music off completely. If you listen to music on headphones, make sure it isn’t so loud that other people can hear it. If you listen to music in a private office, keep the door closed.

                    Thou Shalt Dress Appropriately. I once worked at a law firm where one of the older assistants routinely wore a letterman-style Skittles jacket to work.

                    Skittles. As in, taste the rainbow.

                    Nobody over the age of 12 should wear a Skittles jacket in public, let alone to a professional environment.

                    Wear clothing that is suitable for your age, body type, and the nature of your career. If you are 25 years old and employed at the Victoria’s Secret headquarters, then it is likely appropriate (and encouraged) to wear short skirts to work.

                    In 99% of other situations, nobody wants to see your bra strap or the outline of your underwear through your tight pants. (See also: nobody wants to see the tattoo of the Disney character on your breast- cover up the cleavage.) Further, don’t wear items that are ripped, stained, or make you look like you are one of the People of Wal-Mart. Depending on the work environment, open-toed dress shoes are acceptable, as long as the person has their corns, callouses, and cracked heels under control.

                    Thou Shalt Show Gratitude. Your employer doesn’t owe you a holiday party, paid maternity leave (in the United States), and, in many cases, a year-end bonus or raise. While you likely worked hard to achieve these things, showing a bit of gratitude by acknowledging the benefit and thanking your supervisors will go a long way. It takes two seconds to say “thank you.”

                    Cheers!

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