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!

    7 Magic Words: The Foolproof Way to Halt a Dead-End Conversation


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    I was at the airport this week and overheard two people bickering over Josh Duggar, the Ashley Madison website scandal, and the Duggar family in general. The female was crucifying the Duggar family for its hypocrisy in projecting themselves as Christians in the media, while raising “a pond scum, perverted, cheater.” The male defended the Duggars, arguing that no family is perfect and that one “loser” out of 19 still makes them good parents. The discussion escalated into a yelling match at Gate D7.

    There’s been a lot of recent media stories that make for interesting discussions around the dinner table. Caitlyn Jenner. Donald Trump. Sandra Bland. Tim Tebow.

    Everybody has an opinion. Some people have strong opinions. Some people are apathetic. Some people won’t have an opinion without first independently researching the issue. Some people adopt a “popular” or “politically correct” opinion without questioning how the media is crafting an issue, or because they are too scared to publicly say their real opinions.

    You know what? Absent someone asking you what your opinion is, nobody really cares. And 99.9% of the time, you will not influence anybody by being assertive about yours. So stop it already.

    It took me twenty years to realize that in some most scenarios, it’s best to keep my mouth closed, no matter how difficult. While it’s important for us to speak our truths, some conversations merit zipping it. Most importantly, I’ve learned that just because someone starts a dead-end conversation doesn’t mean I have to participate.

    There’s a lot of special people in my life. I have friends who are white, black, asian, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Jehovah’s Witness, agnostic, American, Russian, Cuban, gay, straight, transgender, poor, wealthy, parents, childless, breastfeeder, non-breastfeeder, working moms, stay at home moms, work at home moms, married, divorced, illiterate, educated, depressed, and mentally stable (if there is such a thing).

    Having a diverse social circle creates the potential probability of disagreements regarding religion, politics, and controversial social issues.

    Life would be boring if everyone held the same beliefs. Our opinions are shaped by our personal experiences and observations. There’s very few instances where a philosophy is concretely wrong or right.

    And let’s be face it, I don’t want all my friends and acquaintances to be exactly like me.

    In the past, I’ve foolishly engaged in “dead-end” conversations with friends and colleagues about touchy subjects.

    Dumb, dumb, dumb.

    As a wise man (Kenny Rogers) once said:

    You gotta know when to hold ’em.
    Know when to fold ’em.
    Know when to walk away.
    And know when to run.

    When a conversation is going somewhere that could result in hurt feelings, animosity, or resentment, it’s time to fold it. If you can’t fold it, then change the subject and gracefully walk away.

    A conversation is usually making a turn for the worst when of the participants becomes visibly angry. People can become so fixated on being “right” that they aren’t considering the importance of being kind. If a person is “right,” but they project themselves in a way that makes them look like a jerk to everyone else, then how is being “right” going for them?

    Shut that bad boy down.

    The best way to shut it down is with the Seven Magic Words:

    You don’t have to agree with me. 

    The key is that if you use this phrase while projecting sincere kindness, there is no logical way for the other person to respond to keep the conversation moving in a bad direction. How do you argue with someone who acknowledges you don’t need to agree with them?

    You can’t.

    Cheers to agreeing to disagree, having an opinion, and accepting and loving those who don’t think the same way you do.

    

     

      The Preggo in the Fitting Room: 10 Universal Truths about Life and Parenting


      Me, two months postpartum, in all my acne-ridden glory. 10 Universal Truths about Life and Parenting; http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/08/the-preggo-in-the-fitting-room-10-universal-truths-about-life-and-parenting/

      Me, two months postpartum, in all my acne-ridden glory. Where on earth were my Rodan + Fields friends when I needed them the most?

      The situation is one of my Top 5 Most Embarrassing Moments. It is burned into my memory like major life events: my parents dropping me off at college, the exact moment I discovered I passed the bar exam, my wedding day, the first time I laid eyes on my children.

      It was freezing cold in March of 2012 and I was three days past my due date with my first daughter. By this point, I could barely walk, acne had taken my face hostage, my hair looked like a “before” picture in a Frizz-Ease infomercial, my back was sore, and I was angry at the world. I got out of bed and drove to the other side of Tampa to buy dog food, as the only place that sold our preferred “high-end” brand was across town at a Petco located in a strip mall. (After we had kids, the dogs got whatever cheap-o brand was available at the grocery store. You know how that goes.)

      From the strip mall parking lot, I could see a new boutique had opened and there were mannequins wearing beautiful, “hip” clothing in the windows. (Not the type of clothes a thirty-year old pregnant lady would be caught dead wearing, if I was even lucky enough to get the pant leg over my thigh.) The entrance of the boutique was decorated with balloons and streamers.

      I decided to check it out.

      Maybe I can buy some cute clothes I can look forward to wearing a couple months after the baby is born.

      I walked inside the boutique and was excitedly met with three adorable, skinnyyoung female employees who screamed “CONGRATULATIONS, YOU’RE OUR VERY FIRST CUSTOMER” as flashes from a camera struck me in the face.

      I almost started to cry.

      Oh my goodness, I am SO SORRY I’m your first customer.

      They were probably hoping for a college student with blown-out hair, perfect eyebrows, and a tiny body who would look perfect trying on their high-waisted jean shorts, which were in style at the time.

      Instead, they got me. With black labrador retriever hairs stuck like velcro all over my (fifteen year old) fleece jacket, pajama pants that I’ve had since college, and oatmeal from breakfast still stick in my hair. They probably assumed I crawled out from the Starbucks dumpster.

      Look, if you want, I would be HAPPY to step outside until someone else can come along and be your “official” first customer.

      They wouldn’t hear of it. So I bought some rompers (that had elastic waists) and an A-line dress.

      I was the Preggo in the fitting room.

      This whole event got me thinking about truths of life. Of course this couldn’t have happened on a good day, when I showered, my hair was done, make-up on, and I was feeling presentable. Instead, it happened on a day I was feeling my worst.

      Murphy’s Law.

      Then I started thinking about other Universal Truths that are consistent as the rooster crowing, sun shining, and moon rising.

      1. It is impossible to get out of Target or Home Depot without spending more than $100.

      2. With kids, you will not be able to get out of the house on time for the most critical time-sensitive appointments. Something will happen.

      3. You will find your lost safety pin when you are walking around barefoot.

      4. One-size-fits-all is either way too big or way too small.

      5. You will accidentally send a rough draft that includes handwritten, stick-figure doodles to the client instead of the final version.

      6. The dropped piece of toast lands with the buttered side down.

      7. As soon as you sit down with a hot cup of coffee, your boss (or kids) will ask you to do something that lasts until the coffee is cold.

      8. As soon as you (finally!) find a cosmetic you like, the company discontinues it.

      9. The person with the window seat on an airplane has to get up to use the restroom a million times when you’re sitting by the aisle.

      10. You blow-dry your hair on a day it rains.

      I recently contacted the very sweet owner of the boutique to see if they could send me a copy of the pictures from the Grand Opening. Fortunately (for me), they couldn’t find them.

      I realize there are “worse things” in life that have happened to people than showing up heinous at a store’s Grand Opening. This morning, I almost got into a car accident after running a red light and stopping just in time before T-Boning a Dodge pickup truck. All because I was more focused on trying to search for Bruce Springsteen on Spotify than paying attention to the road. Lesson learned and crisis averted. That would have been worse.

      Cheers to embracing Murphy’s Law and being able to laugh about it.

      Special thanks to the awesome ladies at A Haley Boutique for being such gracious sports! You earned a longtime customer.

        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!

            You Must be a Parent


            http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/07/signs-someone-is-a-parent/

            You came to my house unannounced and weren’t appalled that it was a pigsty.

            You must be a parent.

            You smiled and moved your purse out of the way when my infant and I sat next to you on a plane.

            You must be a parent.

            You acted like you didn’t notice when my two-year-old was thrashing in the middle of a restaurant because I wouldn’t let her eat a brownie for dinner.

            You must be a parent.

            You were the server at the restaurant who didn’t get upset when we left behind a pile of puffs, sugar packets, and exploded coffee creamers on the floor underneath the table.

            You must be a parent.

            You were the co-worker who didn’t appear phased when we carpooled to a two-hour work event listening to the Frozen soundtrack on repeat because I didn’t notice it was playing.

            You must be a parent.

            You were the nice lady at Target who approached me in the parking lot with a loving pat on the arm and said “been there” when my child was screaming because she didn’t want to get into her carseat.

            You’re obviously a parent.

            You were the Costco employee who cheerfully gave into my daughter’s requests for sample after sample of Scooby-Doo fruit snacks.

            You must be a parent.

            You were the grocery store cashier who didn’t get annoyed when my toddler wanted to swipe my credit card in the electronic machine. Ten times in a row. And kept accidentally hitting the “cancel” button.

            You must be a parent.

            You were the customer standing in line behind me as this was going on who wasn’t giving me a homicidal glare.

            You must be a parent.

            You were the library volunteer at story time who didn’t mind answering irrelevant questions about the book before moving on to the next page.

            How many freckles are on that kid’s face?

            Do you think that camel has brothers and sisters?

            Why is that birthday party cake pink and not purple?

            You must be a parent.

            You were kind when you could have been irritated, you were tolerant when you could have been angry, you were calm when you could have been uptight, you smiled when you could have rolled your eyes.

            You must be a parent.

            And thank you.

              Parenthood: 8 Battles That Aren’t Worth Fighting


              8 Battles that Aren't Worth the Fight with your Kids; http://www.thechampagnesupernova.com

              It was easy to judge other parents before I had kids of my own.

              Oh my Gawd, that lady is letting her three-year-old chew gum!

              Can you be-LIEVE those parents are allowing their children make a mess in this [crappy] restaurant? 

              I would NEVER let my kids entertain themselves with an iPhone! 

              Man, was I clueless.

              After I had children, I realized that some battles aren’t worth being late to work, stressed and defeated. They aren’t worth getting my blood pressure up. They aren’t worth raising my voice. They aren’t worth the eye-roll.

              Don’t get me wrong- some battles are worth fighting. Getting into a swimming pool without an adult. Petting a stray animal. Trolling around the medicine cabinet. Taking candy from strangers.

              However, in our home, some things are not, and will never be, worth the battle. Here are eight of them.

              Lipstick. A lover of cosmetics and all things “girly,” my daughter routinely invades my makeup bag and ends up looking like a clown. 

              I could rub the lipstick off her face, but the rage that would ensue simply isn’t worth it.

              So, unless we’re going somewhere important, the lipstick is staying on.

              Not worth the battle.

              Hairstyling. My daughter likes to do her own hair, which entails putting a hundred bows, barrettes, and rubber bands onto every square inch of her head. By the time she’s done, she’s proud of herself and making her take them off and re-doing her hair would shoot her self esteem.

              There’s nothing wrong with looking like a ragamuffin in public.

              Again, not worth it.

              Manicures at 6 am. My daughter occasionally wakes up at the crack of dawn and wants me to give her a manicure. Her preference is “rainbow” style, which means a different color on each fingernail.

              As there will come a time when she is a teenager and wants nothing to do with me, as long as I’m already awake, I will happily oblige.

              Not worth the battle (and so worth the memories).

              8 Battles Not Worth Fighting With your Kids; http://www.thechampagnesupernova.com

              Wearing Pajamas to School. My daughter has a closet full of beautiful smocked, monogrammed, and brand name clothing. What does she want to wear to school? One of ten polyester Disney princess nightgowns that were purchased at Wal-Mart.

              She will not take no for an answer. If I try to put something else on her, she arches her back, scorpion-style, and it takes twice as long to get out of the house in the morning.

              So, as long as she chooses a clean set, she can rock her pajamas at school.

              Not worth the battle.

              Cookies for breakfast. Despite having a plate full of organic eggs and farm-fresh fruit in front of her, my daughter becomes fixated on a cookie from the pantry.

              As long as she first eats the eggs and fruit, I’m okay with the cookie because I know the cookie is a means to an end.

              Not worth the battle.

              Nighttime Snuggling. People have strong opinions about co-sleeping, but it doesn’t phase me.

              When it’s 3 a.m. on a Tuesday, my husband and I have to work the next day, and our daughter crawls into our bed saying “can I snuggle wiff you?” telling her to get back into her own bed isn’t a viable option.

              Definitely not worth the battle.

              Tooth Brushing. Ordinarily, this is part of my daughter’s nighttime and morning routines. There are, however, occasions where she will fall asleep in the car and we have to transport her into the house and attempt to get her into bed without her waking up.

              We are not going to risk a Hiroshima-esque event occurring in our house by waking her up to brush her teeth.

              As long as it doesn’t happen very often, tooth brushing can wait until the morning.

              Not worth the battle. 

              Reading the Same Book a Hundred Times. When my daughter likes a book, she can become obsessed with it.

              As in, she wants to read it over and over and over again.

              When it’s late at night and we are trying to get her into bed so we have a little time to ourselves, we don’t care if we read Pinkalicious every day for the last month. We are going to comply because the battle isn’t worth it.

              Jeez, Pinkalicious, quit eating all the freaking cupcakes already! 

              Absolutely not worth the battle.

              Cheers to choosing your parenting battles wisely!

                Fathers and Daughters: 5 Important Things My Dad Taught Me


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                Me and my Dad on my wedding day in 2009.

                Ten years ago, my father got a phone call from his sobbing daughter, who was on the verge of what she believed was a nervous breakdown from final exams as a first-year law student.

                What did he do?

                He hopped in the car and drove four hours- round trip- and surprised her by taking her to dinner at one of her favorite restaurants, Sonny’s BBQ.

                Fast forward one decade. My dad invited me to be his “Plus One” on a trip to Italy, which he won as part of an incentive program through his company. Assuming that I would be in the throes of cleaning my kids’ spit-up and tending to a full time, “stress-free” career, he was shocked when I accepted his invitation.

                When I was growing up, my “Tour of Italy” would have amounted to unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks at The Olive Garden. You can imagine that I jumped at the chance.

                We had the best time, and I’ll be forever grateful for the memories.

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                Me and my Dad in Pisa, Italy.

                My sister and I have a great dad. He never let us slack off at school, never allowed us to keep questionable company, and always encouraged us to “make good decisions,” which was his motto.

                He always tried to instill important values in us, but was also forgiving when we slipped.

                Here are the five things that make my dad so special:

                My Dad Gave Up His Own Comfort for Mine. My Dad always put me and my sister before himself. As a recent example, he gave up his window seat and took my center seat on the 9-hour plane ride from Europe to the United States when we were returning from Italy. I’m terrified of flying [thanks to my parents letting me watch La Bamba when I was a little girl], and needed the window seat to keep from hyperventilating.

                He didn’t once complain about the center seat, and karma probably allowed him to easily fall asleep to boot! 

                My Dad Humored Me When He Probably Wanted to Shake Me. Growing up and through college, my Dad listened with a nonjudgmental heart when his drama queen daughter would call him crying about failed relationships. He probably wanted to shake me and tell me the best was yet to come and the guy at issue wasn’t worth the headache. Instead, he listened, never said “I told ‘ya so,” and never made me feel badly about allowing my heart to hurt.

                My Dad Was My Biggest Fan. My Dad has always been one of my biggest cheerleaders. My earliest memory of this was when I was chosen to represent my public elementary school at a county-wide speech contest in fourth grade. I spoke about water conservation and another girl spoke about her brother’s physical handicap. She won. To this day, my Dad still tells the story about how I should have won and of the large number of people who approached him afterward to express disgust about my “highway robbery.”

                While it was never good to be a sore loser, my Dad thought it was also important to recognize when fair was fair.

                Even though life wasn’t always fair.

                My Dad Taught Me that it’s Ok for Men to Cry. My Dad is nicknamed the “weeping willow” of the family. This became apparent during my senior year of high school when my grandmother died of cancer. My Dad showed me that the stereotype of men being weak if they cried wasn’t true. He showed me that in order to be strong, real, and authentic, you couldn’t be afraid to reveal your vulnerabilities, even if it meant publicly crying.

                This was as true for women as it was for men.

                My Dad Taught Me the Importance of Choosing My Friends Wisely. When I was growing up, my parents never allowed me to go to anybody’s house unless they first met the friend and their parents. Their philosophy was that I’d be less likely to get into trouble if my friend was being raised by people with values similar to the values my parents were teaching me.

                “You are who your friends are” is a motto that is true, and is even more apparent now that I have girls of my own.

                What I value the most about this motto is that some of my deepest, core group of girlfriends date all the way back to my childhood.

                I’m working on passing along these five things to my own two girls.

                Cheers to the man who loved me first and knows me best.

                  10 Things I’m Glad Didn’t Exist When I was in College


                  10 Things I'm Glad Didn't Exist in College: http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/06/10-things-college/

                  I attended undergrad in the early 2000 timeframe when life was easy. Very few people had cellular phones, and we had to take turns sharing the dorm room landline.

                  Ahhh, the simple life.

                  If someone tried to contact you, you could pretend you never got the call, the email, or the letter that came via snail mail. You didn’t have to think about doing something immature and becoming an overnight sensation on YouTube. You didn’t have to worry about writing stupid things in an email and having it go viral.

                  Because back when my friends and I were in college, we never said or did anything dumb, immature, or regretful.

                  Here are the top 10 things I’m glad didn’t exist when I was in college:

                  Facebook. Back when I was in undergrad, they had this thing called Flashes Online.

                  No, it wasn’t one of those sites.

                  It was a company that sent photographers to college events, usually fraternity and sorority functions, to document shenanigans, tomfoolery, and debauchery. The photos were uploaded for purchase onto the internet within a couple days, and you better believe that me and all my girlfriends were glued to our IBMs, scrolling through thousands of pictures of people we didn’t know to see if our crush-o-the-month was spotted with another girl on camera. Praise God, Facebook didn’t hit the scene until my first year of law school, and even then, it wasn’t very popular.

                  Oh, and you had to actually be enrolled at a college or university to qualify for a Facebook account. Not like now, where the free world has access to it.

                  If Facebook was around in college, I would have been arrested for stalking.

                  Text Messages. These weren’t around until my senior year of undergrad and, even so, nobody really used them because it took ten minutes just to figure out how to type a seven letter word. Further, they weren’t part of my cell phone “family plan” and my Dad threatened to kill me because each incoming text cost 25 cents.

                  Back in the glory days, we actually had to pick up the phone and call someone when we wanted to make plans. Or we had to hop on our computers [usually desktops] and log into AIM to figure out what everybody was doing.

                  My screen name was chikenleggz. Don’t ask.

                  The Bachelor/ Bachelorette. While this show was technically around when I was in college, the extravagant dates on the show didn’t happen until much later. If so, the extremely over-the-top nature of “dating” would have given me an unrealistic view of relationships and made me feel insecure about my own love life.

                  You mean, you’re not picking me up at 7 to take me on a personal tour of the Grand Canyon via helicopter followed by a romantic candlelit dinner at a castle?

                  Instead, you’re taking me to the unlimited Italian smorgasbord at Cici’s Pizza?

                  Shucks.

                  Camera Phones. Back in the glory days of college, we carried around disposable cameras from the drugstore. Getting them developed was like opening presents on Christmas morning: you never knew what you’d get, and the final product would leave you equal parts disappointed and elated.

                  There was no red eye correction or skin-smoothing filter. The only way to crop a photobomber was to physically cut him or her out of the picture altogether.

                  Sometimes you had to hide your recently-developed photographs from your significant other, because you didn’t know the exact age of your disposable drugstore camera or if any of the pictures that you’d since forgotten about would get you into trouble.

                  Rule Number 1: Don’t let your mother develop your pictures.

                  This also leads us to…

                  Selfies. You couldn’t really take a “selfie” with a disposable camera. If you did, you couldn’t immediately upload it onto the internet (because there was no social media) and you had no idea how it turned out until you developed your pictures.

                  Not to mention that being caught taking pictures of yourself in the early 2000s would have gotten you labeled as vain and narcissistic.

                  Wikipedia. When I was in college, if you wanted to do any research, you had to actually walk to the library and fully acquaint yourself with the card catalogue. Nowadays, thanks to Wikipedia, college students can plagiarize from the comfort of their own couches.

                  Amazon Prime. I didn’t have a car my first two years of undergrad. If I wanted to go anywhere or needed to buy anything, I had to either take the bus or mooch a ride from my friends.

                  99% of the time, it was the latter.

                  I would have been impoverished if Amazon Prime existed when I was in undergrad. The fact that I didn’t have a job or two pennies to rub together wouldn’t have deterred me from buying nineteen bottles of Bed Head shampoo, a Juicy Couture terry cloth jumpsuit, and the new Vanessa Carlton album just because I could.

                  Click, click, boom!

                  Adorable Gifts for New Arrivals at Gymboree!

                  Smart Phones. Back in college, I had the freedom of being completely “in the moment” with my friends without the pressure of needing to instantly respond to emails and SMS messages, uploading pictures of my otherwise mundane life on Instagram, or posting witty remarks on Twitter.

                  Hashtags. #wheniwasincollege #wedidn’thavetheseridiculoushashtags #andcouldactuallybefunnyinreallife #withoutfeelinglike #wehadtobefunny #ontheinternet

                  Tinder. This is an internet application that pulls information from Facebook to create the user’s profile, and then retrieves “matches” that meet their age/sex/location criteria. The user swipes the picture to the right if they find the other user attractive, or swipes to the left if they’re not interested.

                  The Tinder concept is sick and shallow.

                  Cheers to the glory days when life was simple and unplugged!

                    Summer Reading: 9 Great Books that Don’t Require a Thinking Cap


                    Best Summer Reads that Don't Require a Thinking Cap: http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/06/best-books-for-summer-9-books/ ‎

                    Last year, I made the mistake of trying to get through The Goldfinch during summer vacation. As Donna Tartt won the Pulitzer prize for this novel, I figured toting it around the pool would make me look sophisticated it would be worth the read. It took literally four months to get through all 784 pages of this bad boy, which could have been shortened 500 pages if Ms. Tartt wouldn’t have been trying so hard to impress readers with her verbosity.

                    C’mon… get to the point!

                    While the book had a great story (or three great stories combined into one book), I don’t want to have to put on my thinking cap when I’m doused in sunscreen, drinking a pina colada, and trying to prevent my kids from drowning.

                    I got together with some of my favorite bloggers and entrepreneurs to come up with the best summer reading that doesn’t require you to think too hard.

                    Casey of Fly Away with Me recommends The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. “I couldn’t put this book down one summer. It took me back in time immediately! It’s a historical fiction novel about the building of a cathedral in the town of Kingsbridge. It’s a long but heart-wrenching story about family, love, loss, strength, and the human spirit. It’s also a beautiful story about medieval architecture.”

                    Kristin of Better Together recommends To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. “This classic is an oldie-but-goodie. It is probably my favorite book of all time, a spot it’s held since it was forced summer reading between eighth and ninth grades. I re-read it every few years, and I feel like I glean a little more from the book each time. The theme that resonates most with me is the main character’s innocence and naivety in the face of racial injustice. If only we could all look at certain parts of life through the eyes of a child. In anticipation of the July release of Harper Lee’s long-lost (and unknown until recently) second novel, dust off your old, highlighted copy from high school and dive right in!”

                    Julie of The Bedford Wife chose Little Bitty Lies by Mary Kay Andrews. “I’m only halfway through this one, but like all of her novels. It’s easy to read and hilarious (just don’t be surprised if beachgoers look at you funny if you laugh out loud). The book is written around the life of Mary Bliss McGowan, a southern woman whose husband leaves her and her daughter, without warning- taking all of her wealth with him. To reclaim what’s left, she tells one little lie… that leads to another and another.” Julie’s favorite excerpt is “Mama always said the sign of a lady’s breeding was in her chicken salad. White meat, finely ground or hand shredded, and some good Hellman’s mayonnaise, and I don’t know what all. She used to talk about some woman, from up north, who married into one of the Coca-Cola families. She uses dark meat in her chicken salad. Trailer trash.”

                    Morgan of Pampers and Pearls picked The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. “Set in South Carolina in 1964, the book centers around Lily Melissa Owens, a 14 year old whose life has been shaped around the faint memory of her mother’s death. She lives with her abusive father, and they have an African-American maid, Rosaleen, who is Lily’s best friend and “surrogate mother.” After Rosaleen is arrested for pouring a jar of dip on three white men, Lily breaks Rosaleen out of jail (really a hospital) and they decide to leave town. While hitch-hiking toward Tiburon, South Carolina, Lily begins a journey of learning both about the world and her mother. The Secret Life of Bees is a literary triumph about the search for love and belonging, and is a novel that possesses rare wisdom about life and the power of divinity and the female spirit.”

                    Tracie of Tracie Domino Events recommends When to Rob a Bank… and 131 More Warped Suggestions and Well-Intended Rants by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. “This books celebrates the 10th anniversary of their landmark book Freakanomics as a curated collection of their best blog posts over the years. The writing is more casual, more personal, even more outlandish than in their books. They ask and examine a host of typically off-center questions: Why don’t flight attendants get tipped? If you were a terrorist, how would you attack? And why does KFC always run out of fried chicken? I like it because they examine every day life and provide fascinating insights about the surprising ways our world fits together. Each chapter is just a few pages, so you can easily stop reading between pool days.”

                    Carlee of Crown and Ginger chose Tell All by Chuck Palahniuk. “Think Old Hollywood ‘Whatever Happened to Baby Jane’ mixed with the comical detail comparable to that of Chelsea Handler. It’s a story about a “seasoned” actress who is taken by a young, preppy buck who may be planning her demise, at least that is what her maid thinks. She narrates the entire story and believes this Gaston has planned many ways for her to fall and then sell her Tell All as his own. I love this book because, with my ADD, I need to read something that will hold my attention and not spend a lot of time in a scene or dragging out a setting. The author sucks you in, and you never have to wait for something to happen. Not to mention the amount of humor is enough to keep you bursting out loud on the beach this summer.”

                    Julie of Everyday Happiness picked two books: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah and The Husband’s Secret by Laine Moriarty. “The Nightingale is a heavy beach read, but full of romance and family drama with World War II history and it truly takes you to the place of these characters. I finished the book in two days, tears streaming down my face once it was over. It’s rare you find characters and a story with such depth.” Once you’re finished with The Nightingale and need something lighter, turn to The Husband’s Secret. “It’s a fascinating, engrossing story about Cecilia Fitzpatrick, who thinks she has the perfect life and family until she uncovers a haunting secret. I found myself wanting to be friends with Cecilia and also wanting to yell at her at the same time.”

                    My choice: When You are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris. This collection of the best selling humorist’s [short-ish] essays are purely hilarious. The stories are based on the nuances of everyday life and are Seinfeld-esque. They include anecdotes about trying to make coffee when the water is turned off, having a lozenge fall from your mouth and into the lap of a fellow plane passenger, lancing a boil from someone’s derriere, and moving to Japan to quit smoking cigarettes. When you feel like you are engulfed in flames from basking in hot vacation sunshine, this book goes right along perfectly.

                    Cheers!

                    Disclaimer: some of the links in this post contain clickable affiliate links. This means that if you purchase a product from one of these links, TCS receives a commission. I believe in all of the products featured on this site and would never recommend them if I didn’t believe they were awesome.

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