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!

      If God had a Score Card


      Jennifer Burby and her family in front of the Biltmore Mansion in Asheville, North Carolina.

      Jason and me in front of the Biltmore mansion in Asheville, North Carolina. Getting young children to look at the camera is a golden delight, let me tell ya!

      For the last six years since we’ve been married, my husband and I have hosted Thanksgiving at our home. This has included various venues from our wee little rental on Davis Islands after we first got married to the “big kid” home we bought five years ago in a quaint little ‘hood in Tampa.

      Hosting Thanksgiving is exhausting.

      Especially because I don’t cook.

      So what I mean to say is watching my mother cook a Thanksgiving feast is exhausting.

      Phew.

      To change things up this year, my husband wanted to spend Thanksgiving out of town and in the mountains. But this wasn’t just any Thanksgiving. My Dad’s 60th birthday also happened to fall on Thanksgiving day. So we called my sister and my brother in law, got them on board, and rallied our family to rent a home in Maggie Valley. The small city is nestled in the mountains of North Carolina roughly three hours north of Atlanta (depending on your speed) and 35 miles west of Asheville.

      Maggie Valley was the perfect Thanksgiving destination because my Dad’s sister, Aunt Lynda, and some of my cousins and their extended families have cabins in the area, and they were also planning on spending Thanksgiving in the mountains.

      Hot diggity.

      It would be an epic Thanksgiving birthday soiree.

      Instead of flying to North Carolina, my husband and I drove from Tampa with our two young daughters and an SUV full of junque. Essential junque, that is.

      Goldfish crackers. Coloring books. Two packages of diapers. Feather down pillows. Blankets. A stroller. A large Vera Bradley duffel bag (hello- college!) filled exclusively with my cosmetics and hair taming equipment. Twelve pairs of shoes. Ten pairs of jeans. Boogie Wipes. Stuffed Animals. A DVD player. Except ours was broken, so we settled for my husband’s 20-pound old school laptop.

      Fitting even another raisin in the car would have been challenging.

      We were the Beverly Hillbillies Griswolds.

      Articulating the nightmare associated with traveling 10 hours with an eighteen month old and three year old is another blog post in itself.

      Use your imaginations.

      The Champagne Supernova: if God had a Score Card: http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/12/if-god-had-a-score-card/

      Our cabin in the woods. If I keep telling myself I like to hike, maybe it will eventually be true.

      When we arrived at the cabin at 4 p.m. the day after we left Tampa, we were greeted with three large packages on the front porch. The first contained a bottle of wine (my favorite!) and the second was filled with children’s toys such as crafts, coloring books and crayons, magnets, playing cards, Christmas movies, and a Barbie sing-a-long CD. The third package was The Grand Imperial Poobah. It included gourmet popcorn, a soy candle, Skinny Girl margarita mix, whiskey, maple syrup, pancake mix, assorted teas, hot cocoa, matches, nice-smelling hand soap, and stationery.

      Man, I thought. These home owners went above and beyond welcoming us into their home. They didn’t have to do this. It’s incredible!

      Suddenly, the cheapskate in me hoped the owners wouldn’t take the cost of these goodies out of the security deposit.

      Then I opened a card that was attached to the wine bottle.

      The care packages weren’t from the owners. They were from Aunt Lynda.

      This was so typical of her. Always giving with a generous heart. Giving out of love and the sheer desire of pleasing others without expecting anything in return.

      How many times has someone done something like this for her? It doesn’t matter because Aunt Lynda doesn’t keep a score card.

      A couple weeks ago when I was sitting in the nail salon, I overheard a woman say she wasn’t attending a girlfriend’s bridal shower because that friend didn’t go to hers. Two years ago.

      I also observed a work colleague get angry with another colleague who didn’t cover a court hearing for her after she did her a favor.

      Neighbor A got fed up with Neighbor B for not bringing her dinner when she had a baby, after Neighbor A was the one who organized Neighbor B’s meal train when Neighbor B had her baby last year.

      Guilty over here as well.

      Hate to admit, but there’s been times when I have- or haven’t- done something for another person because I’ve been held hostage by my mental score card of what that person did or didn’t do for me.

      It’s ridiculous, immature, and emotionally taxing. Nonetheless, I’ve occasionally tried to justify myself.

      Then I got to thinking.

      What if God had a score card?

      What if He kept track of all the gifts and blessings He’s given to me, as well as all of the gratitude He received in return?

      What would happen if God made his blessing contingent upon my good deeds?

      I would be screwed.

      Thank God (pun intended) He doesn’t keep a score card.

      Look. I’m not trying to say we should set ourselves on fire to make other people happy. I’m also not saying we should let other people take advantage of us. What I am saying is that we should do kind things for others because we want to do them, and not because that person did or didn’t do something for us in the past.

      On the other hand, if we choose not to do something for someone, it should be because we genuinely don’t want to do it. It shouldn’t be because that person didn’t do something for us, and we know this because our stupid score cards told us so.

      As 2015 closes, can we make an effort to burn those ridiculous score cards?

      Special shout out to Aunt Lynda for her kindness. She will never know how appreciated and special she is in my life.

      Another special shout out to anyone who has traveled, or plans on traveling, with little ones around the holidays. May the force be with all of you.

      And wine. Lots of wine.

      Cheers!

      The Champagne Supernova: if God had a Score Card: http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/12/if-god-had-a-score-card/

      Me and some of my cousins on Thanksgiving Day. The girl gene is coming on strong!

      The Champagne Supernova: if God had a Score Card: http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/12/if-god-had-a-score-card/

      When you’re three, what is better than riding the ponies outside the grocery store? Nothing. The answer is nothing.

      The Champagne Supernova: if God had a Score Card: http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/12/if-god-had-a-score-card/

      Hey, they aren’t arguing. I’ll take it.

      The Champagne Supernova: if God had a Score Card: http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/12/if-god-had-a-score-card/

        Snowball and the Instagram Snafu: Why Supportive Friendships are Essential


        Why Being a Supportive Friend is Important: http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/11/snowball-and-the-instagram-snafu-why-supportive-friendships-are-essential/

        I got the call a couple weeks ago.

        Jen, you won’t believe this. Kelly UNFOLLOWED Snowball on Instagram. 

        Anna, one of my longtime childhood friends, lives in Atlanta and has been trying for eight years to conceive a child. Eight flipping years. She recently started an Instagram account for her Siamese cat, Snowball, and posts an adorable picture of him once a day. Anna doesn’t have a child, so Snowball is her equivalent.

        He’s always doing something cute in the pictures.

        Wearing a tutu.

        Doing a trick.

        Licking his paw.

        Anna downloaded an app on her phone that shows users who unfollowed their social media profiles. Using this app, Anna learned that one of our mutual friends, Kelly, stopped following Snowball’s Instagram account. Hence the phone call.

        In case you’re not familiar, unfollowing is to Instagram what unfriending is to Facebook.

        Ouch.

        I’m sure Kelly had no idea Anna would ever know she unfollowed Snowball’s account. I’m also sure Kelly’s unfollowing wasn’t personal, she just wasn’t interested in seeing pictures of Snowball wearing a sombrero.

        What’s noteworthy is that Kelly is a travel writer who routinely posts pictures on social media of tropical and exotic places she’s visiting. Kelly recently opened her own online travel agency and has spent considerable time promoting it on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

        And here’s the thing. Anna follows Kelly’s social media accounts and “likes,” “pins,” and “re-tweets” almost every single one of Kelly’s posts and promotions for her travel agency.

        She promotes Kelly’s endeavors because she’s Kelly’s friend and she wants to be supportive.

        Anna likely doesn’t give a crap that Kelly is eating tempura in Taiwan (like) or hiking near Dudhsagar Falls in Goa (like, comment, share!).

        For Anna, sharing Kelly’s posts, or clicking the “like” button on one of Kelly’s pictures is her way of saying, “I acknowledge this and I support you.”

        Sometimes being a good friend is supporting other peoples’ pursuits and passions, even if they genuinely don’t make a difference in our own lives. Even if we don’t “care.” 

        People can be pretty judgmental about what others post on social media. I say this because I’ve been judgy as well.

        For instance, I generally get annoyed when people upload pictures of themselves working out or, specially, bragging about the number of calories they’ve burned.

        The root of my irritation is jealousy.

        Jane Doe finished hiking the Appalachian Trial while I’m sitting on my couch with a red wine mustache after I’ve downed an entire box of Cheez-Its.

        And they weren’t even the “Reduced Fat” kind. They were the whole shebang.

        Jane, I hope you take your Lululemon pants and fall into a ravine. By the way, I burned 13 calories on my rotation from the sofa, refrigerator, and bathroom. So take that! 

        People can find all sorts of reasons to be annoyed by other peoples’ social media posts. Job promotions. Selfies. Political rants. Dinner. A million pictures in a row of their children. Creative endeavors. Paintings and pottery. Family deaths. Monogrammed cups and towels for sale. Pictures of “success” stories from someone’s MLM business. (FYI, if someone finds a “stomach wrap” that’s totally legit, I’ll be all over it.) Philanthropic events and fundraisers. Pregnancy announcements. Newborn announcements. Engagement pictures. A new car or home purchase. Mushy gushy love sonnets to significant others.

        Nobody is immune from judgment.

        Why Being a Supportive Friend is Important: http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/11/snowball-and-the-instagram-snafu-why-supportive-friendships-are-essential/

        You know what? People can post pretty much whatever they want on their own social media accounts and nobody really has the right to judge. And further, if someone is posting something that is a milestone or special to them, then as their friends (Read: true friends, not acquaintances we sat next to in middle school biology twenty years ago), it wouldn’t kill us to be supportive and acknowledge it.

        I’m not saying someone should feel validated by the number of likes or comments they receive on the Fakebook Facebook. I’m also not saying that clicking “like” on a social media post is the litmus test for true friendship. However, I’m saying that, when looking at the “big picture,” true friends should support their friends’ endeavors.

        This isn’t limited to social media. This is real life.

        Being a true, supportive friend, is being a friend who routinely shows up.

        As we get older and have more personal, family, and career obligations, “showing up” for good friends takes different forms. It means asking about a friend’s new job. It means making an effort to see their new house or their newborn baby, even if it’s “out of the way” and inconvenient. It means attending weddings (even the second and third), baby showers, and milestone birthdays. It means making a phone call or sending a text message or e-mail to congratulate them about a “big deal” accomplishment.

        And sometimes, even sometimes, showing up means liking the living bejesus out of Snowball’s Instagram pictures. 

        Because, come on, seeing pictures of him snoozing on a windowsill are the cat’s meow. (I hate me.)

        True friends say, “this is important to me because it’s important to you. So I’ll ask you about it and show an interest.”

        What if we all supported people the way we wanted others to support us? Even if we didn’t necessarily “care”? What if we all showed an interest in things that were going on in other peoples’ lives, even if it doesn’t truly matter to us? What if we all showed our friends that something they’re doing is important to us just because it’s important to them?

        What would happen?

        I can tell you what will happen… a whole lot of love and good feelings would happen.

        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 twoas I 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 typically 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 after Thanksgiving.

          Incorrect name pluralization.

          When this happens, I 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 pluralize your last name in a Holiday Card | The Champagne Supernova

          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.

          How to pluralize your name on your holiday card | The Champagne Supernova

          How to pluralize your last name | The Champagne Supernova

          People sometimes 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. (If you purchase cards through my link, I will get credit for the sale and buy you a glass of wine next time I see you!)

          Cheers!

          Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Love, the Burbys. 

          SaveSave

            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!

             

              9 Things that Stink About Getting Older


              9 Things that Stink About Getting Older: http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/9-things-that-stink-about-getting-older/

              Comfort over fashion, people! It’s comfort over fashion!

              One of my favorite games I play when I go out on the town with my girlfriends (ok, going “out on the town” usually happens once a year and involves going to one “bar,” getting tired, and heading home) is seeing whether we can “pass.” What this entails is faking that we are super young and hip and seeing if we can still “pass” for twentysomethings. My cover usually gets blown when I’m observed yanking diaper rash cream out of my purse to get to my lipstick, giggling when the bouncer asks for my ID, or grimacing when I see a legitimate twentysomething dressed in one of those “in” bandage-style dresses and her breast is coming out of the top. (Or substituting the word “breast” for boob, for another matter.)

              Does her mother know she looks like that?

              I remember high school like it was yesterday. I also vividly remember graduating from college, moving into my first apartment, and starting law school. All of those things happened between the ages of 18 and 23 and they don’t seem like long ago.

              I get it. I’m 33 and realize there are people older than me who are reading this post and rolling their eyes.

              Stay with me here.

              Aren’t we all going through stages of our lives where our bodies want to slap us and say “Snap out of it, you’re no spring chicken anymore”?

              Here, in no particular order, are the 9 worst things about getting older:

              Being Called Ma’am. There are two types of people guaranteed to call me Ma’am. The first is the fourteen-year-old supermarket bag boy who mutters this word (two syllables if you live in the South) while placing groceries in my trunk. The second is usually a receptionist at the clerk of court’s office.

              And it usually involves her copping a ‘tude about not wanting to give me records in a reasonable timeframe. She also pronounces Ma’am with two syllables and it comes with a side of sourpuss and sass.

              I hate it.

              I’d much rather be called Miss than Ma’am. 

              Call me Ma’am when I’m in a nursing home, have false teeth, and need to use Depends. Not when I’m in my thirties.

              Matured Taste in Reading Material. Growing up, my parents subscribed to Reader’s Digest and I thought they were so lame.

              “How come they don’t exclusively read Entertainment Weekly and The National Enquirer?” I thought.

              Because they don’t want their brains to shrivel up like raisins.

              Don’t get me wrong, I still read US Weekly and was shocked, appalled, and disgusted when I opened my mailbox on Monday and saw the headline: Khloe Kardashian is giving Lamar Odom a SECOND CHANCE.

              What an idiot?!?!

              I just don’t want to read trashy magazines all the time.

              Crow’s Feet and Other Fine Lines. I’m bearing the consequences of my undergraduate days when I would tan on the sorority sun deck using either 1. pure baby oil, or, when I was feeling particularly health conscious, 2. tanning lotion with an SPF of 4.

              Whoop dee do.

              Now, I bathe in wrinkle creams. I practice smiling and squinting in front of mirrors to determine which pose shows the least amount of wrinkles.

              In the early 2000s, it was no secret that excessive sunbathing carried a risk of skin cancer or, at the very least, premature aging. I didn’t care because the time when sunbathing actually impacted me seemed so far away.

              And here we are.

              Dancing Like a Mom. Oh Wait…  I am the world’s worst dancer. I have no rhythm and it’s pathetic. Elaine Benes has nothing on me.

              I mean nothing.

              In high school, I quit the freshman cheerleading squad (which was completely unselective, as every person who attended “try-outs” made the team) because I was sick of seeing the audience’s mortified reaction every time I took the field and attempted to cartwheel.

              A for effort?

              My dance moves have gotten even worse as I’ve gotten older because my body has a hard time keeping up with the beat of the music.

              As if that really makes a difference.

              9 Things that Stink About Getting Older: http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/9-things-that-stink-about-getting-older/

              “You are the dancing queen… young and sweet, only seventeen…” Wait. Nevermind.

              Not Knowing the Words to Songs Because My Hearing Has Failed. I’m a former marathon runner (as in, my last marathon was ten years ago and I don’t think my bunions could currently sustain another 26.2 mile haul). To keep my mind busy during the tedious training runs, I would use headphones and jam out on my iPod.

              You know, those huge iPods that are today’s musical equivalent of the Zack Morris cell phone? Just strapping it to my arm was a workout because it weighed around 3 pounds. I had to rotate arms in order to avoid looking like Popeye on my dominant arm.

              I would listen to the music on the loudest setting possible. I think dead people could hear it because it was so loud.

              Ten years later, I can’t hear a dang thing. Which also means that when I like a song, I usually misunderstand the lyrics.

              For instance, I spent six months thinking Taylor Swift was singing about “Starbucks Lovers” in her song Blank Space.

              You know, the ones who tell her she’s insane?

              This was until my girlfriend broke it to me that ole’ Tay Tay was really singing about her long list of ex lovers.

              Awesome.

              Having to Watch what I Eat. Getting older and having kids has negatively impacted my metabolism.

              It moves at a snail’s pace.

              Gone are the days of eating donuts, french fries, pizza, ice cream, and sugary cocktails without repercussions. Now I have to choke down salmon and gag on spinach. Muffins now equate to a muffin top.

              While one small bag of Cheez-Its formerly carried no ramifications, it now means a hundred sit ups and three miles on the treadmill.

              Shut up, Jen, you’re thin. 

              On any given day, I’m wearing Spanx that are so tight, I’m afraid my eyeballs will pop out.

              Bills, bills, bills. Getting older means making adult decisions, like putting food on the table and paying the mortgage or prancing up to Hermes and buying the Kelly bag I’ve always wanted.

              Ugh.

              Choice of Weekend Activities. The weekends of my twenties were planned months in advance.

              Flying to [a faraway city] with girlfriends. Trying a new restaurant with my husband. Adult birthday party ragers. Dancing the night away and going home at 3 a.m.

              Now, I’d rather drink wine and watch Netflix in bed.

              You can guarantee the only time I’m up at 3 a.m. is when my toddler is screaming because her pacifier fell out of her mouth or if I’m lying awake with insomnia.

              Oh, insomnia… another “treat” about getting older!

              Lengthened Drinking Recovery Time. [Mom, Dad, and Grandma: if you’re reading this, I’m sorry. I only know it’s true from that one time I drank that one glass of wine.]

              In my twenties, I went out 6 nights a week (keeping the Sabbath Holy, of course!). After a late night, I could wake up at 8 am, go to class, run a 5k, volunteer with Ritalin-infused kindergarteners, pump out a ten thousand word essay, and do it all over again.

              Nowadays, I think if I had three glasses of wine, someone would need to call 911.

              Something else I’ve learned (the hard way): Nothing, and I mean nothing, is ever worth having to take care of kids after a night of consuming too many libations.

              I don’t care what you did the night before. You could have partied at Studio 54 with Johnny Depp, taken a jet to Mars, and performed the electric slide with The President and it still  wouldn’t be worth it.

              Y’all know what I’m talking about.

              Cheers!

                What I Would Have Missed By “Missing Out”


                The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by "Missing Out"- The Champagne Supernova http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/what-i-would-have-missed-by-missing-out/

                The Entrance to the Everglades Rod & Gun Club

                Sometimes in life, we have to do things we don’t necessarily want to do because it’s better for “the collective.” This is true in all relationships: husbands and wives, friends, parents and children, bosses and minions.

                Bending. Compromising. Being a good sport.

                Let me share with you a time when sucking it up resulted in one of the singlehanded best memories I’ve ever had.

                As background, my husband’s been trying to get me to go fishing with him in the Everglades for years. He routinely attempted to talk me into it and, envisioning a landscape chalk full of marshes, tall reeds, and crocodiles [read: Hell], I’ve always dodged the bullet.

                Arden has gymnastics on Saturdays. She can’t miss it. 

                It’ll be too hot on the boat in the summer.

                I need to get my hair cut and colored.

                I can’t go because I have to stare directly into the sun, gargle razors, and eat a raw cockroach.

                I didn’t want to go.

                The time eventually came where I ran out of excuses and was forced to agree to go with him. We decided to head to the Everglades during the recent Labor Day weekend, and the carrot my husband wagged in my face was that our dear friends, Darin and Robin, would share a cottage with us at the Rod and Gun Club, the hotel where we would be staying.

                Ok, so if anything else, Robin and I can sip cocktails by the pool while the girls swim. 

                As background, the Florida Everglades are a natural, tropical wetland system that begins at the Kissimmee River (near Orlando) and discharges into Lake Okeechobee which, for all you non-Floridians, is the huge lake in the southern portion of the state when you’re looking at a map. During the wet season, water leaving the lake forms a river that slowly flows southward across a limestone shelf to Florida Bay at the southern end of the state. The Everglades have a wide range of weather patterns and the landscape includes a complex ecosystem including cypress swamps, mangrove forests, pine rockland, hardwood hammocks, and the marine environment of Florida Bay. The nature is beautiful and landscape rich in history, but the area is extremely remote and there aren’t a tons of non-outdoorsey things to do.

                Let me be clear. It’s not the place for city slickers or people who enjoy the finer things. 

                My husband is an avid fisherman who’s been driving down to the Everglades to take advantage of the good fishing since he was a youngster. It’s a four hour drive from Everglades City to our home in Tampa. Part of the fishing area is so remote that he had to buy a fancy emergency GPS to wear around his neck in case there was an accident because nobody would otherwise find him.

                The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by "Missing Out"- The Champagne Supernova http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/what-i-would-have-missed-by-missing-out

                Everglades City, the town where we were staying, is located in Collier County and has a population of roughly 400 people. The nearest city, Naples, is 35 miles northwest. It is the source of 95% of the world’s stone crabs and its annual Seafood Festival is popular among the locals.

                There are a number of “Mom and Pop” hotels in the area, but perhaps the most notable is the Rod & Gun Club. Barron Collier, an advertising entrepreneur who became the largest landowner and developer in the entire state of Florida, purchased it in 1922 and turned it into a private establishment for his highfalutin friends. The Club’s hosted five presidents- Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Herbert Hoover, and Richard Nixon- as well as celebrities, to include Mick Jagger, John Wayne, Sally Field, and Ernest Hemingway.

                The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by "Missing Out"- The Champagne Supernova http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/what-i-would-have-missed-by-missing-out

                The Rod & Gun Club, as it sits today.

                We arrived on the Friday of Labor Day weekend and the hotel was not what I expected, based on pictures I saw on the internet.

                I felt like an extra in the movie The Land That Time Forgot.

                The city was pretty much a ghost town, and because August and September are considered “off season,” many of the restaurants and novelty stores were closed until the beginning of stone crab season (October). There were only three other restaurants open in the entire city, and they served primarily fried food. There was nothing green on any of the menus. I’m by no means a health food nut, but by the end of the weekend, I felt disgusting and never wanted to see another hush puppy in my life.

                The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by "Missing Out"- The Champagne Supernova http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/what-i-would-have-missed-by-missing-out

                This home across the river from the Rod & Gun Club is rumored to be owned by the Bic (lighter) family.

                The hotel was also a ghost town, with maybe a handful of other guests the entire weekend. From what I’ve read, a family purchased the Rod & Gun Club in 1972 and, in my opinion, have pretty much let it go. There is no “receptionist” and you’re lucky if someone actually answers the phone when you call. There’s also no answering service, so if you want to make a reservation, you have to repeatedly call until someone answers. This happened to my husband. There is a restaurant on the property, but the hours are strange, and sometimes the owners unilaterally decide to send the staff home if there aren’t enough customers.

                The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by "Missing Out"- The Champagne Supernova http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/what-i-would-have-missed-by-missing-out

                Interior bar where Teddy Roosevelt would sip drinks and discuss politics. Photo Credit: Peter W. Cross

                The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by "Missing Out"- The Champagne Supernova http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/what-i-would-have-missed-by-missing-out

                Interior lobby area. Photo Credit: Peter W. Cross

                The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by "Missing Out"- The Champagne Supernova http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/what-i-would-have-missed-by-missing-out

                The patio door leading to the restaurant.

                Oh, and they accept only cash.

                One highlight of the weekend was when my three year old locked us out of the hotel room early one morning. My husband and Darin were fishing, and, of course, the hotel lobby was closed and nobody was answering the “after hours” phone number. Surprise, surprise.

                Robin spotted a man driving by the dock with a “MAINTENANCE” magnet on the side of his pickup truck. I walked down to the water to speak with him, and he reeked of cigarettes and was sipping a Busch Light.

                It was 8 o’clock in the morning.

                Hair of the dog? 

                The maintenance man couldn’t get ahold of his boss with the skeleton key, so he climbed into the unlocked window of our hotel room and opened the door for us. He then asked me to “put in a good word” about him to his boss. Which I did.  Because I was dang grateful the dude got me and the kids back in the room, where there were diapers and air conditioning.

                The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by "Missing Out"- The Champagne Supernova http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/what-i-would-have-missed-by-missing-out

                Our cottage. Not pictured: the window where the maintenance man broke into the cottage because my three year old locked us out.

                In short, I quickly learned that sipping cocktails with Robin by the pool was a pipe dream. While there was a nice pool, there was no poolside beverage service and no pool towels, so we had to use the hotel’s bathroom towels. Which would have been fine, except there was no laundry person available to exchange our wet, chlorine-filled towels for dry ones. Oh, and the pool deck was surrounded by the hottest material- no clue what it was- but it felt like walking across hot coals.

                The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by "Missing Out"- The Champagne Supernova http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/what-i-would-have-missed-by-missing-out

                The front entrance to the Rod & Gun Club when arriving by boat.

                The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by “Missing Out”- The Champagne Supernova http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/what-i-would-have-missed-by-missing-out

                I was initially mad at my husband and had a bad attitude. I’m wasting a three day weekend on this? How will we keep a toddler and three year old busy all day? What. The. Frick? 

                Then something happened.

                I ended up having fun. A lot of it. I realized that after the weekend came and went, I’d likely have a pass with my husband for having to return in a long time. I could say I’ve “been there, done that.” And going back to the theme, I decided to suck it up and try to have a fun weekend with the family and our friends, despite Everglades City not being the first place I would have chosen to spend a long holiday weekend.

                Our last night in Everglades City, we had dinner at a local restaurant and decided to head back to the hotel. On a whim, my husband said “let’s take a late night boat ride, because the sky is so clear you can see the Milky Way.” Ordinarily I would have been apprehensive because it was late, the mosquitos were brutal, and the girls needed to go to bed.

                What the heck?

                Ok, let’s do it.

                So we drove the boat down the Barron River, stared at the stars, and listened to the Yachtrock station on satellite radio. Kenny Loggins’ This is It came on, and the girls danced around the boat, merrily belting out the “words” to the song. They were so happy and their joy was so pure. They were having a blast.

                I will remember that moment for the rest of my life.

                If I wouldn’t have agreed to go with my husband to Everglades City, I would have missed that precious moment.

                If I would have kept my bad attitude, I would have missed that precious moment.

                If I would have insisted we not take the boat out late because it was past the girls’ bedtimes, I would have missed that precious moment.

                I would have missed it.

                This got me thinking. What other great opportunities in my life have I missed because of a bad attitude? What other chances did I miss out on because I was selfishly unwilling to bend from the rut of my own comfort zone? What else was there?

                The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by "Missing Out"- The Champagne Supernova http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/what-i-would-have-missed-by-missing-out

                The Barron River where moonlight dance magic happened.

                The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by "Missing Out"- The Champagne Supernova http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/what-i-would-have-missed-by-missing-out

                Arden by the front entrance to the Rod & Gun Club.

                The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by "Missing Out"- The Champagne Supernova http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/what-i-would-have-missed-by-missing-out

                Sweet little Ellison enjoying herself on the cottage porch.

                I hope I can use this experience as a reminder to lighten up and enjoy finding the beauty in doing things I don’t necessarily want to do. Otherwise, I’ll lose the opportunity for memorable experiences.

                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!

                    Choosing Love: How to Do it When You Feel Like Strangling Someone


                    How to choose love when you really feel like strangling someone | The Champagne Supernova

                    I read somewhere that love is a choice.

                    I think Ozzy Osbourne was the person who said it. Or Paul Newman. Or maybe it was Cher. Doesn’t matter.

                    Love is the best choice.

                    Until recently, there was one person on earth who made my skin crawl. So much so that even hearing this person’s name had a negative biological effect: my skin would sweat, the back of my neck would burn, my chest would get tight, and my arms became blotchy, almost like an outbreak of hives.

                    Man, I needed to get a grip.

                    We’ll call this person Todd. He and I were childhood friends who attended undergrad and law school together. We had a long history and spoke on the phone almost every day. Todd was one of my best friends. After law school, he moved to a different city and began practicing plaintiff’s work, ultimately opening his own firm as a sole practitioner. I switched firms several years into my career and eventually found myself directly against him, representing a major retail chain in a personal injury case.

                    Garden variety slip and fall. No big deal.

                    Well, it wasn’t a big deal until several months into the lawsuit when I discovered his client, the plaintiff, made material misrepresentations to the court and to his doctors about his past physical condition and medical treatment.

                    Liar, liar, pants on fire.

                    As soon as I realized the magnitude of the plaintiff’s deception, I called Todd to give him a heads-up that I was going to ask the court to dismiss the case for fraud. I didn’t want Todd to be blind sighted. As Todd worked on contingency and would only get paid if there was a settlement, the court granting my motion meant Todd would receive a big, fat goose egg. This was after he already fronted thousands of dollars on expert witnesses and travel expenses. While I felt horrible about the situation, Todd should have done his homework about his client and, at the end of the day, I was ethically obligated to do what was in the best interest of my client. Otherwise, I would have been slapped with a malpractice issue.

                    Instead of understanding my position, firing his client, and thanking me for sparing him trouble down the road, Todd was hysterical. He asked me to ignore his client’s deception, not tell my client, and that we settle for a nominal value. He wanted enough money to repay the expert fees and take a small amount for himself to account for the long hours he spent on the case. “Jen… I’ll come to Tampa and I’ll take you and Jason to dinner at a fancy restaurant…”

                    I didn’t accept his offer, I won my motion, the case got dismissed, and Todd hasn’t spoken to me in five years.

                    Five flipping years.

                    Losing Todd as a friend was painful. He wasn’t there for the birth of my children and I wasn’t there for his. I found out through Facebook that his mother passed away and I swallowed my pride and mailed a sympathy card. No clue whether he ever received it. It was a sad situation but, because Todd lived far away and we didn’t have mutual friends, he was off the radar.

                    Six months ago, I unexpectedly ran into Todd in the elevators of my building at work. Seeing him was shocking and I was stupefied. Probably too surprised to play it cool.

                    Hey… what are you doing here?

                    We moved to Tampa and I’m renting space on the twenty-third floor.

                    It was awkward. My skin was burning. I was flustered, dumbstruck, and feelings of anger that were long off the grid reemerged.

                    Do you also work in this building, he asked?

                    Yes. On eighteen.

                    Great, I thought. Now I’m going to have to agonize about running into him whenever I get on an elevator, when I’m in the lobby, or when I head to the parking garage. That’s a lot of times in a day.

                    Ugh.

                    We were cordial to each other but it was forced and inauthentic. I hoped that I wasn’t rolling my eyes or sending rude body language, even though that’s what I genuinely felt like doing.

                    Truth be told, I wanted to push Todd right off the elevator.

                    There’s more than 7 billion people in the world and the likelihood of having that “warm and fuzzy” feeling around each of them is low. Everyone has that someone (or two) they’d rather avoid. But for me, Todd was the Hatfield to my McCoy. The Ursula to my Ariel. The Al Capone to my Bugs Moran. The Biggie to my Tupac.

                    I couldn’t stand him.

                    As the weeks passed (ok, maybe months), my husband probably grew tired of listening to me bellyache about running into Todd at work. My friends likely wanted to put a muzzle over my mouth. My parents and sister were probably over it.

                    You know what happened? As time went on, I got sick and tired over feeling sick and tired every time there was a scintilla of a possibility I’d run into Todd. I started avoiding going to the snack stand on the first floor because I was paralyzed with fear that Todd would be in the lobby getting his shoes shined at the same time. It was ridiculous and pathetic. Straight out of  a scene from SNL’s Weekend Update where Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler incredulously ask “Really?!”

                    I needed to get over it and move on. Todd had likely long moved on. He wasn’t freaking out about me. He probably was clueless I even cared.

                    But how would I get over it? As a serial grudge holder, this was no easy feat.

                    So I started doing something really weird. Something that would have creeped out my husband, family, and friends.

                    Every time I started feeling angry and anxious when I thought about Todd, I would say to myself, “I love you Todd, and I hope you are successful and happy.” I started praying for Todd. Not condescendingly, as some people sarcastically declare “I’ll pray for you!” when they’re mad at someone, but I prayed for Todd meaningfully and regularly.

                    When I began the mental “I love you, Todd!” chants, they were through gritted teeth. But after a while, it became a habit when I felt the nausea or hive-y feeling of anger creeping back in. This didn’t happen overnight. But it happened.

                    Eventually, I didn’t care when I’d run into Todd. I wasn’t worried about going to lunch downtown and seeing him at a restaurant. Wasn’t freaked out about the possibility of waiting in line next to him at the dry cleaner or post office.

                    Over time, Todd was just “somebody that I used to know”. There was no more anger, spite, or animosity. Instead, there was nothing except underlying feelings of love.  

                    Yup, nada.

                    When dealing with people who have intentionally or unintentionally hurt you, love is a freaking hard choice. With Todd, there really was no choice because my only options were either wholeheartedly loving him or internalizing the anger I felt toward him. The second option was a waste of time.

                    Todd, if you’re reading this… I love you, friend. Let’s get coffee. I’ll even treat! If you’re not up for it, then that’s okay too.

                    Cheers to choosing love.

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