Family Fun for Less: The Tradewinds


Awesome family beach vacation staycation at The TradeWinds in St. Pete Beach http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2017/02/family-beach-vacation-tradewinds-florida

Living in Florida and being fortunate enough to have constant access to nearby beaches, my husband and I are always looking for fun new family adventures.

We live in South Tampa, which is roughly 40 minutes (door-to-door) from decent, kid-friendly beaches on the west coast of Florida, and two and a half hours from the east coast beaches.

Creatures of habit, when we hit up St. Pete Beach (check out Pass-A-Grille, it’s our numero uno favorite), we would typically stay at the same exact hotel. However, it’s expensive and, while perhaps fine for a romantic vacation for two while the kids are with Grandma and Grandpa, it’s not the most child-friendly. And it’s expensive.

Dolla dolla bills, yall.

We’ve had our eye on the TradeWinds in St. Pete Beach for years but, for whatever reason, never stayed here for a family staycation.

Picture Julia Roberts from Pretty Woman: BIG MISTAKE. HUGE.

We stayed at the TradeWinds for two weekend nights in early November and had the time of our lives. Not only did we splurge on a suite (and by “splurge,” it was still substantially more cost effective than the place we typically stayed down the beach), but the resort offered so many amenities that were included with the hotel rate.

These included an amazing outdoor inflatable slide (that my four year old was too chicken to ride, but my two year old wanted to ride over and over and over again- go figure), paddle boats with a river encompassing the entire property, tons of dining options, multiple swimming pools, towel service, miniature golf, inflatable activities on the water, and the grounds were modern and absolutely immaculate.

Here are some photos from our fun weekend.

Awesome family beach vacation staycation at The TradeWinds in St. Pete Beach http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2017/02/family-beach-vacation-tradewinds-florida

The inside of the hotel suite. The girls loved calling the operator. Not pictured: the operator kindly going along with it.

Awesome family beach vacation staycation at The TradeWinds in St. Pete Beach http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2017/02/family-beach-vacation-tradewinds-florida

Our greeting package from the staff at The TradeWinds.

Awesome family beach vacation staycation at The TradeWinds in St. Pete Beach http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2017/02/family-beach-vacation-tradewinds-florida

The girls having fun feeding the swans and ducks.

Awesome family beach vacation staycation at The TradeWinds in St. Pete Beach http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2017/02/family-beach-vacation-tradewinds-florida

My husband and daughter checking out the paddle boaters on the river.

Awesome family beach vacation staycation at The TradeWinds in St. Pete Beach http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2017/02/family-beach-vacation-tradewinds-florida

The worst thing about our stay at The TradeWinds? When it came to an end.

The TradeWinds also offers a full service spa that offers more than 25 treatments- I got the aromatherapy massage.  After my spa service, my husband had “me time” in the fitness center.

In the process of choosing your summer vacation plans?

TradeWinds is is now offering a four-night package that includes 4 night discounted room accommodations, a TradeWinds FUNventure card valued at $250, a TradeWinds tropical beach tote containing two souvenir cups that can be used for unlimited $1.50 sodas, and the nightly resort amenity fee. Prices are as follows:

Guy Harvey Outpost: Hotel Room- $1,164 ; Gulf Front Suite- $1,684

Island Grand: Hotel Room- $1,164 Gulf Front Suite- $2,004

If you’re making travel plans and want to have a great time without breaking the bank, I definitely recommend The TradeWinds and am already looking forward to my next trip.

Cheers!

    Sprouts Brand Products: Affordability without Compromising Quality


    Learn more about Sprouts Farmers Market Brand Products | The Champagne Supernova

    This post is sponsored by Sprouts Farmers Market. But I love them. So there’s that. 

    When I was a kid, I hated when my mother came home from the grocery store with “off-brand” items.

    At thirteen, I was stuck up and I didn’t even know it.

    Now as a working mom, I realize the value of a dollar and understand that when you pay more money for brand name items, you’re also paying for that brand’s advertising.

    “I work hard for my money… so hard for it, honey!”

    I also realize that buying grocery store brands doesn’t require you to compromise the quality of the product.

    Fortunately, with Sprouts Brand, I can always count on top quality and great taste. With more than 2,100 products to choose from throughout the store and new items routinely arriving, you’re bound to find new favorites every single time you go shopping.

    Below are some of my favorite go-to Sprouts products illustrating their great brand products.

    Learn more about Sprouts Farmers Market Brand Products | The Champagne Supernova

    I use these organic cotton balls to safely remove makeup and this green chile mac & cheese suits even the pickiest of eaters.

    Unlike similar grocery chains, Sprouts‘ buyers search across the world to locate and try new products, including everyday grocery essentials and unique, seasonal items. In fact, they often customize flavor profiles and refine ingredients to suit Sprouts’ high standards for quality, taste, and value.

    Learn more about Sprouts Farmers Market Brand Products | The Champagne Supernova

    I am a huge-huge-huge fan of natural body products made with safer ingredients. This Sprouts brand peppermint bar soap checks all of my health-conscious boxes.

    To ensure you feel confident with your purchase and have fun trying new things, Sprouts offers a 100% money-back guarantee.

    In other words, if you don’t love what you bought, you get all your moolah back.

    Learn more about Sprouts Farmers Market Brand Products | The Champagne Supernova

    This spreadable cookie butter… to die for. The hot salsa can satisfy even the biggest spicy food fans.

    If you see a Sprouts label on a package, then you can be certain the product meets the strict quality control standards. Their private label brands offer a vast selection of natural and organic products, as well as vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO varieties.

    Learn more about Sprouts Farmers Market Brand Products | The Champagne Supernova

    This is one of the few grocery-store brand sriracha sauces that are truly delicious. The french fried onions make the perfect addition to any casserole, and I put the organic lip balm in my daughter’s backpack to heal her wintertime chapped lips.

    Sprouts has exactly what you need to accommodate nearly every recipe you can imagine. It’s truly a one-stop shop. In fact, you can find a variety of recipes and tips featuring Sprouts Brand products here.

    Cheers to convenience, simplicity, and savings.

      Sleeplessness: How to Beat Insomnia


      Tips for How to Cure Insomnia | The Champagne Supernova

      Obviously this little chica has no problems falling asleep.

      I’ve been plagued with insomnia since Labor Day weekend of 2013.

      I remember the exact timeframe because we were out of town for the three-day holiday weekend and because it’s when I found out I was pregnant with my youngest daughter.

      It was horrible. I would lie awake at night for hours, bargaining with God that if he would just let me fall asleep, I would never ever ever ever ________________ again. Ever.

      Incessantly checking my iPhone to see what time it was would only make things worse because, as the night turned into morning, I would become increasingly anxious about how tired I would be the next day at work and about all of the papers that were overflowing from my inbox.

      Taking melatonin and other natural sleep aids helped with getting me to fall asleep, but they didn’t help me stay asleep. Like clockwork, my body would routinely wake itself up at 2:30 a.m. and getting back to sleep seemed impossible.

      My obstetrician prescribed hard-core sleep aids but, being aware of the side effects (nightmares!) coupled with being pregnant and not wanting to take the risk, I never took them. (Which is a good thing, given how I was assured that Zofran was safe to take, was popping them like Pez, then recently have seen all these commercials for class action lawsuits associated with birth defects purportedly from the Zofran. Yikes!)

      Hoping the insomnia was strictly related to pregnancy hormones, I was hopeful I’d be back to my eight-hours-of-sleep self once I had the baby.

      Wrong.

      If you have insomnia, you’re not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 50-70 million adults in the United States alone have sleep or wakefulness disorder.

      Not being able to sleep is the worst. Until recently, my sleep schedule has never really been the same.

      However, I’ve found ways to manage my insomnia through trial and error that I want to share with you.

      Here’s my tips.

      Stay Away from Alcohol. This is Numero Uno. This past Friday night, I had two glasses of red wine and binge-watched Netflix with my husband. Despite being exhausted, I couldn’t stay asleep. Drinking alcohol exacerbates my insomnia 100% of the time, and it never ever fails. There has never been a time when I had a good night’s sleep if I drank, and this is true whether I drank one glass of wine or ten. In fact, many studies now show that drinking alcohol is directly connected to insomnia. I used to come home from work and have a glass of wine, but now I’ve stopped that habit and try to stay away from alcohol unless the occasion is truly worth it.   

      Fall Asleep on a Mental Good Note. If you’re like me, you have a hard time getting your brain to be quiet. There were times when I would go to bed stressed out about stuff that was on my mind, things I need to check off my “to do” list, or worries from the day. I enjoy daily devotionals and, while some recommend waking up early and doing them in the morning, I think it’s a good idea to do them in the evenings so it’s the last thing your brain thinks about before falling asleep. (Thanks for the tip, mom!) I enjoy Joyce Meyer’s “Trusting God Day By Day” (you can get it here).

      Other great devotionals and meditation books I recommend include Each Day a New Beginning: Daily Meditations for Women by Karen Casey (get it here) and Journey to the Heart by Melanie Beattie (get it here).

      Use a Diffuser with Essential Oils. Something about the natural component of lavender oil makes it easier for me to fall asleep. I bought a diffuser from my local health food store and purchased some high quality lavender oil and turn on the diffuser, which I keep near the night stand, before bed. It’s like a spa in my room. I’ve used many different brands of essential oils and, in my experience, you get what you pay for. The more expensive oils contain a higher concentration of the ingredients (e.g. are not watered down) and tend to be more effective. If you’re not spending at least $15 on the oil, you’re likely wasting your time. While the bottles are small, you only need to put 3-4 drops of the oil in the diffuser, so they last a long time.

      Create a Special Nighttime Ritual. Each night before bed, I like to create a special routine to get my mind in the mood for sleeping. This involves lathering myself with Beautycounter’s Body Oil in Citrus Rosemary and putting the Lip Conditioner Calendula Balm on my lips. Makes a huge difference. (I am a Beautycounter consultant and would greatly appreciate if you would list me, Jennifer Burby, if you make the purchase!)

      Keep Your Phone Out of Your Bedroom. When I would usually wake up in the middle of the night, I would start reading emails and scrolling through social media on my phone, which would only make it more difficult for me to fall back asleep. I recently purchased a cheap old-fashioned alarm clock and keep it in my room instead of the phone. Big difference in my sleep pattern, as I don’t have the accessible temptation to check my phone.

      Godspeed to all of my friends out there who suffer from insomnia. It’s the very worst.

      What are your tips for getting a handle on it that I missed?

      Cheers!

        Mom’s Best Friend: Persil ProClean


        This post is sponsored by Persil ProClean, but all opinions are my own. 

        The struggle to keep my daughters’ school uniforms clean is no joke.

        They routinely come home from school with their clothes stained from whatever kept them busy that day.

        Grass.

        Markers.

        Glue.

        Leftover spaghetti that was in their lunch.

        While the stains symbolize the fun times they had at school that day, they also made me crazy because, until I discovered Persil ProClean, I couldn’t find a detergent that legitimately removed all the stains.

        I was always left with a faded stain that I hoped their teachers or friends wouldn’t notice.

        Until I discovered Persil ProClean, I was left with two choices: either send my kids to school in slightly stained clothing, or keep replacing their uniforms with new ones.

        Ain’t nobody got time (or money) for that.

        It wasn’t until my mother recently told me about Persil ProClean while she was attempting to remove the stains from my daughters’ uniforms that I had ever heard of it, let alone appreciated its cleaning power.

        Seeing was truly believing.

        To demonstrate the cleaning capacity of Persil ProClean with its powerful stain removing formula, I washed my kids’ clothes after making crafts in preparation for Game Day.

        Because isn’t this the ultimate stain-causing event?

        Before I discovered Persil ProClean, I would strip my kids down to their skivvies before they were allowed to get messy. After, I would just throw them in the tub.

        No harm.

        Now with Persil ProClean, I don’t have to worry about their clothes getting stained.

        No stain is too much of a challenge.

        Here are photos of my girls making fun Game Day crafts using the ultimate stain-causing culprits: markers, glitter, paint, and glue.

        The stain-removing power of Persil ProClean | The Champagne Supernova

        The stain-removing power of Persil ProClean | The Champagne Supernova

        The stain-removing power of Persil ProClean | The Champagne Supernova

        The finished product:

        The stain-removing power of Persil ProClean | The Champagne Supernova

        And guess what? NO STAINS.

        Don’t fret, mamas, Persil ProClean will also remove stains from all the red wine you were forced to drink all those nights you were unsuccessfully attempting to remove stains from your kids’ clothes from “those other detergents.”

        CLICK HERE for a coupon to receive $2.00 off your next purchase of Persil ProClean.  At this site, you will also receive more craft inspiration, learn more about Persil ProClean, and Game Day recipes.

        Cheers!

          Coming to Tampa: Sprouts Farmers Market


          While this post is sponsored by Sprouts, I love this company because it promotes affordable healthy living!

          Attention mamas, fitness enthusiasts, and health-conscious consumers: there’s a new grocery store coming to the Tampa area next month!

          Sprouts Farmers Market is opening a location in Carrollwood at 15110 N. Dale Mabry Highway in the Carrollwood Commons Shopping Center on Wednesday, February 27. 

          South Tampa friends: Sprouts is also opening a location in this area in 2017.

          The Carrollwood location will be the very first Sprouts in the Sunshine State.

          I’m so pumped they chose Tampa!

          Never heard of Sprouts Farmers Market? Let me share the deets.

          Sprouts is a healthy grocery store that offers fresh, organic, and natural foods at great prices. 

          The challenge of eating healthy is that it puts a dent in your wallet.

          Here’s the thing: unlike some of the competitors, Sprouts makes it affordable to eat healthy, wholesome foods.

          In addition, Sprouts offers a complete shopping experience that includes fresh produce, meat (with an old-time style butcher), seafood, a deli, baked goods, dairy, frozen foods, household items, and beauty care catering to those interested in health, wellness, and saving money.

          We all work hard for our moolah and deserve a reasonably priced alternative to our existing organic grocery store options.

          One of the fastest growing retail grocery chains, Sprouts has over 250 stores from coast to coast and 35 new stores are slated to open in 2017. It currently operates in 13 states and will expand in the southeast by opening stores in Florida and North Carolina.

          90% of the products in each Sprouts store are natural or organic. As customers are becoming increasingly concerned with the quality, safety and production of food and are seeking items with specific attributes, an average Sprouts store stocks roughly 4,000 gluten-free, 3,000 organic, 3,000 non-GMO and 500 raw items, just to name a few.

          There’s something for every need, desire, and dietary restriction.

          The vitamin and body care departments of each Sprouts store feature over 7,500 products that contain sustainable and ethically sourced ingredients.

          Check out Sprouts’ website for more information.

          With all the money you’ll be saving buying groceries and eating healthier foods at Sprouts, you’ll have money for other important things.

          Such as clothes to fit into your newly toned physique, a babysitter so you can enjoy date nights with your spouse, and wine.

          Lots of wine.

          I can’t wait to attend the grand opening on February 22 and hope you will join me for this special occasion. If you see me, introduce yourself and say hello.

          Cheers to Sprouts!

           

            How I Stay Confident with the Secret Fresh Collection


            This post is being sponsored via Babbleboxx. But I love the product, really I do. 

            Women usually hear about all sorts of things that happen with the aging process.

            Slowing metabolism.

            Vision loss.

            Sagging boobs and booties.

            What women don’t hear about is how the nose also starts losing the sense of smell.

            After spending over 10,000 hours of research involving more than 500 noses across multiple countries, Secret has learned that 70% of women switch deodorant because they believe their bodies have gotten used to their regular, everyday product.

            What’s really happening is that the nose can eventually become blind to the scent of deodorant, which makes some women feel less confident.

            After all: being smelly is the pits.

            However, it’s not just deodorant the nose can become blind to: it’s your favorite perfume, candle scents, and even certain foods.

            This March, Secret is introducing the Fresh Collection, the first beauty product to ever feature the brand new patented Fade Resistant Scent Technology. This scent-enhancing technology has been proven to combat nose-blindness by resisting the scent fade, while also providing long-lasting fragrance benefits for up to 48 hours.

            My favorite Secret deodorant fragrance (TMI? Perhaps, but we’re all friends here) is Cool Waterlily, which reminds me of being at a fancy-schmancy spa. (The collection has a total of 11 scents in both clear gel and invisible solid.) I tested it on a day I knew would be especially hard: waking up at 5:30 for a challenging spin class, followed by coming home and making lunch, taking my oldest daughter to school, spending several grueling hours at the office, followed by after-school pickup, taking both girls to gymnastics, heading home and making dinner, followed by baths and bedtime. (That was exhausting just to write!) By the end of the day, I could still smell the scent of the deodorant. That never happened with the deodorant I was using before. Evah!

            The new Fade Resistant Scent Technology is specially designed to provide 48-hour protection, providing you with reassurance your deodorant is working as hard as you are. In other words, this product has passed the stress test for women and results in unstoppable freshness!

            Some of my other favorite items and products for combating stress?

            FTD Bouquet. Man, I love getting flowers. FTD creates special moments that lets the ones who are close to you know how much you care. FTD is your one-stop-shop for all of your delivery needs and is a sign you are sending the very best.

            How I stay confident with the Secret deodorant Fresh Scents Collection | The Champagne Supernova

            La Fresh Limited Edition Waterproof Makeup Remover Wipes. Sometimes it can seem impossible to get mascara removed for your lashes. I recently discovered these beauties which, for the past decade, tens of millions of women have enjoyed these original makeup remover wipes. To celebrate their tenth birthday, the folks at La Fresh revisited their roots and returned with these special, limited edition waterproof makeup remover wipes. They are effective on even the most stubborn makeup, yet gentle enough to not harm your skin. What I also love about these wipes is they are made in California using solar power. Right now, they are running a special offer where customers receive 25% off their first purchase. Check it out here.

            How I stay confident with the Secret deodorant Fresh Scents Collection | The Champagne Supernova

            Tree Hut Bare Moisturizing Shave Oil.  This product pampers skin with essential oils like jojoba and grape seed, which help seal in moisture and promote healthy skin. The moisturizing shave oil is formulated to provide better contact between your skin and the razor so you can shave without nicks and cuts. Love-love-love this! Get yours here.

            How I stay confident with the Secret deodorant Fresh Scents Collection | The Champagne Supernova

            21 Drops Detox Essential Oil Blend. This is a must-have in my already cramped purse. This is an essential oil solution that is pre-blended with distinct essential oils that come together to treat a particular concern or aspiration. By carefully combining the oils, they work in synergy to deliver on their targeted promise for a healthier mind and body. My personal favorite, detox, fuses the 100% natural essential oils of cardamom, geranium, juniper, and lavender. Check out all the options here.

            How I stay confident with the Secret deodorant Fresh Scents Collection | The Champagne Supernova

            Cheers to staying confident all the dang day through!

             

              Career LeaderShift: How to Make it Happen


              How to get the career you want so you can spend more time with your family | The Champagne Supernova

              Until recently, this empty room is where I spent the last half-decade of my life.

              A corner office in a fancy high-rise building in downtown Tampa that overlooked Davis Islands, the Hillsborough River, and parts of Hillsborough Bay.

              A well-respected and established law firm with over 150 attorneys statewide.

              Amazing co-workers who were like family.

              This was the place where my husband and I both had major life changes.

              Moving into our first home.

              Having both of our children.

              He took the plunge and started his own small business, a boutique structural engineering firm.

              I started The Champagne Supernova.

              My boss was a true mentor. He was (is) an honest attorney (yes, they do exist!) who genuinely cared about developing his associates into thoughtful, strategic, analytical litigators. Amid trying several high-stakes cases and reporting to anxious clients, he took the time to call me when I was on maternity leave just to see how I was doing. (Again, in the legal field, these people do exist, despite the rumors suggesting otherwise.)

              The work environment was pretty much ideal. As my first job out of law school was in an unprofessional, oftentimes abusive environment among those who were both personally and professionally bankrupt, I felt working at this new firm was God’s way of making the first bad job up to me.

              Despite everything good that was going for me in my career, something was missing.

              Time with my children.

              I always knew that when my kids reached a certain age, I wanted to be able to pick them up from school and take them to their activities.

              Once my oldest daughter was about to start Pre-Kindergarten, the clock started ticking.

              In December of 2016 ,I tearfully put in my two-weeks notice and said goodbye to the people I spent forty hours of each week with.

              I walked in and out of those doors for six years and walking out of them for the last time was difficult.

              However, I accepted a position at another law firm where the owners agreed to provide me with the flexible schedule I needed to have more time with my family.

              Now, my schedule is even crazier than it used to be.

              Mondays are spent at a ballet-jazz combination dance class. On, Tuesdays, I hang out at the playground preventing my kiddos from breaking their necks on the monkey bars. On Wednesdays, I hike both girls to gymnastics. Thursdays are for after-school errands and, occasionally, ice cream.

              Having the flexibility you want and the career you envision is, while not always easy to find, absolutely achievable.

              Even in professions where the glass ceiling is high.

              If you are considering taking the plunge and making a “LeaderShift” here’s what you can do:

              Reach out to as Many Resources as Possible. The saying is true: it’s not what you know, but who you know. About a year ago, I reached out several trusted friends and colleagues who worked in the legal profession. I put the bug in their ears that I was looking for a position at a firm that could give me a flexible schedule and asked them to let me know if they knew of anyone with such a need and to pass my name along. I ultimately ended up getting my current position from a friend who subsequently resigned from the firm to go in a different direction professionally. In other words, I filled her position after she voluntarily left. If I never would have reached out to her, she wouldn’t have known to give my name and resume to her boss. Use your connections! Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Most people are ready and happy to assist others.

              Be Patient. You will never get the job you want if you don’t bless the situation with your patience. Don’t accept less than what you ultimately want and be ready to wait for it. Over the last few years, I received offers from other firms that, for various reasons, were not right for me. Knowing it would be foolish to leave a good work environment unless the new opportunity was the perfect fit, I declined those offers and am glad that I did. Which leads to…

              Know Exactly What You Want. You need to keep a mental blueprint of exactly what you want your position to look like. I knew that I wanted health insurance benefits (the mandates of Obamacare made it too expensive for me to add my family to my employer’s health insurance, which left us with no choice for my husband, a small business owner, to purchase an individual policy with a high deductible for himself and the girls. We shopped around for two months and purchased the plan that made the most financial sense. As luck would have it, we had two freak hospitalizations in 2016 which cost our family literally twenty thousand dollars) and I wanted to be able to leave work on time pick up my oldest daughter from school at the end of the day so she didn’t have to go to after-care. I needed to work in an environment that would permit me to meet my billable hour requirements however I could do it without being concerned with “face time,” something that plagues associates at many law firms. I waited until the right firm came along that would enable me check these things off the list.

              Be Prepared to Go Small. If you need an “out of the box” position, know that you are most likely going to get it at a small firm or business environment. I’ll be the first to say that the nature of the litigation beast can make it difficult to guarantee someone that they can leave at a certain time each day. Court events, hearings, depositions, and mediations routinely run later than anticipated. For large firms, special arrangements for one employee can create major headaches for the employer who doesn’t want to set the precedent that everyone can leave early. I get it. Smaller businesses tend to have more flexibility to give you what you want.

              Ask and Ye Shall Receive. You’ll never get what you want if you don’t get out there and make it happen for yourself. So many people sit around and complain about their careers without doing anything about it. They want things to be different and better, but never ask for what they want. I know this because I used to be one of those people. And trust me, I heard from the naysayers (including a legal recruiter) who said it would be impossible for me to find a position that would provide a flexible schedule. (Neener, neener!) Ignore the naysayers.

              And lastly…

              Be a Good Person. Be the kind of person who other people want to recommend to their employers. Be the kind of person who others are willing to help out. When possible, don’t burn bridges. A few years ago, one of my law school colleagues sent me his resume asking me to hook him up for an interview at my firm, which was running an ad for an attorney position in the classified section of the Florida Bar News. Knowing this guy had left five other lawyer positions in the preceding four years, I could not in good faith recommend him to my boss, knowing that he would potentially flake out. I also remembered all the times he was a schmuck to other people in our law school class and, while I wasn’t going to hold the past against him, I certainly wasn’t going to go out of my way to do him any favors. Just be nice!

              Here’s to getting what you want and doing what you can do in order to make room for what you truly want from life.

              Because it’s too short to be chained to a desk. And no amount of money will ever make you happy. Besides, how much money do you really need? Most of the best things in life are free anyway.

              Cheers! xo

               

                Beauty: How I Changed my Skin on the Cheap


                How to drastically improve your skin without spending a lot of money | The Champagne Supernova

                I’ve always battled acne and I have the scars to prove it.

                All over my cheeks.

                Over the years, I’ve fruitlessly spent tons of money and put myself through a lot of pain trying to get rid of my them, but now they are like battle scars that I wear with a badge of honor.

                Ok, that’s a lie. I hate them, but refuse to allow them to make me feel insecure.

                Over it.

                My acne was at its peak when I was in high school. I remember being mortified during summertime when I would hit the beach with my flawless-skinned friends and feeling like I was in between a rock and a hard place in the beauty department. By that time, my acne was horrible. Horrible. I knew it was bad to wear makeup to the beach when I would be sweating and in the sun, but I also didn’t want to be seen without foundation and concealer because my skin was so terrible.

                Red and irritated.

                So I ignored my gut instinct, caked my face with makeup, and my skin only got worse.

                My mother didn’t want to put me on Accutane because of the side effects. My primary care physician recommended that she purchase a popular over-the-counter three-part system containing benzoyl peroxide that would clear up my skin without the risks that came with Accutane.

                It worked.

                But it also smelled bad, stained my pillows, sheets, and clothes, and also contained tons of toxins that are banned in other countries.

                Oh, the price we pay…

                The bad skin continued into my adulthood and got worse with the stress daily life. Moves. Career changes. Kids.

                Over the last couple of years, I’ve stopped putting so much stuff on my skin and can really say that less is so much more.

                Here’s what my skin looked like four short years ago:

                How to get beautiful skin without spending a lot of money | The Champagne Supernova

                Dead. Sexy.

                Here’s another golden delight:

                How to get beautiful skin without spending a lot of money | The Champagne Supernova

                Ohhhhhh baby. Pun intended. What’s redder? My shirt or my face?

                And another. Even all the professional bridesmaid makeup couldn’t hide the redness and inflammation of my face.

                How to get beautiful skin without spending a lot of money | The Champagne Supernova

                Good dance moves brought to you by a little nerve and a lot of red wine.

                I started a new skincare regime around eight months ago and this is the result. I am not wearing any makeup in this photo, other than my usual uniform of fuchsia lipstick, which doesn’t count. This picture was taken during Thanksgiving weekend of 2016 and has not been altered or photoshopped in any manner.

                Here’s what I did to transform my skin on the cheap:

                Lay off the Dairy. Sorry, folks, but this means cheese and milk. Studies show that 80- 85% of adult acne is connected to the consumption of dairy, which is an inflammatory. I love, love, love cheese and yogurt. They were difficult to part with. However, once I cut them from my diet, I saw a measurable difference in the appearance of my skin. For most people, it’s nearly impossible to cut all dairy from your diet, especially when dining out at restaurants. Because I didn’t want to become neurotic and worry about what was in my food (you have to live your life), I decided to cut out blatant dairy products like drinking glasses of milk and snacking on yogurt and cheese. There was still a huge difference in my skin and it took two weeks for the impact to be noticeable.

                Stop Using the Wrong Products. Most cleansers, especially ones formulated for acne-prone skin, are too harsh. When you have a breakout, the worst thing to put on your skin is something that will make it even more red and irritated. Start treating your acne-prone skin like sensitive skin. Reducing inflammation begins with eliminating harsh cleansers from your routine. Don’t be scared! I promise it works. These harsh cleansers strip your skin of natural oils that were meant to protect your skin. If your skin is stripped, it can become chronically oily, which results in the body making more oils to compensate for the oils that are stripped. It’s a hamster wheel. You must use a gentle cleanser. How to tell if your cleanser is too harsh? If your face feels tight or dry after you wash it. If it burns when you sweat. If it gets red in areas that are broken out. When choosing a cleanser, don’t select something that foams or lathers. Known ingredients that contribute to acne are sulfates, alcohol, isopropyl, silicones, mineral oil, paraffins, fragrances, and algae extracts. Contrary to popular myth, you don’t want to have a squeaky clean feeling after you wash your face. Use something more gentle that doesn’t contain these ingredients and is specifically formulated for sensitive skin.

                Wash Your Face Once a Day. If you are washing your face before bedtime and being sure to remove all of your makeup, there is absolutely no reason to wash your face again in the morning. This is true even if you work out in the morning. When I go to the gym in the morning and come home to get ready for the day, I splash water on my face in the shower. I don’t cleanse it again. This rule goes hand in hand with Rule #2 above about avoiding stripping your skin of its natural oil. I used to wash my face twice a day and my skin looks so much better now that I’m taking a break from all the products. Bonus: you’ll save money on products when you’re only washing once a day.

                Shots, shots, shots. Of wheatgrass, wheatgrass, wheatgrass. Not only does this superfood contain a complete spectrum of essential food and vegetable nutrients, but it is also condensed, so you don’t have to drink a lot to obtain the benefits. I drink one two-ounce shot of wheatgrass juice per week. You can usually purchase this at your local health food or juice store. (Tampa friends: I get mine at the Village Health Market on MacDill and Xtreme Juice on Dale Mabry.) Wheatgrass is inexpensive and shouldn’t cost more than $4 for two ounces. I usually drink a shot of wheatgrass the day before I have somewhere to be where I want my skin to look awesome.

                Drink Mint Infused Water. Hormones are one of the main causes of female adult acne. Aside from its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, mint is a natural hormone balancer. One of the most effective acne treatments I have found is to drink mint-infused water daily. Like, every single day. (Hint: drinking mint-infused water is substantially more effective than drinking mint flavored tea and it won’t stain your teeth.) It’s easy. Buy a fruit infuser (I use this inexpensive one from Amazon), then fill the infuser portion with fresh mint leaves that you can purchase in the produce department of your local grocery store and add water. It took me two weeks for the effects to show up, but was worth it.

                What do I use on my skin? Two products. That’s it.

                First, I use this cleansing balm from Beautycounter, which hydrates while it cleanses, removing make-up and impurities, but never stripping the skin of its moisture. 100% of the women who use this product showed a significant increase in skin hydration after only eight hours. Eight. Last, I use this soothing face oil which, unlike most synthetic oils on the shelves, is easily absorbed and serves as a moisturizer. Two drops at night before bed, every night. That’s it. All I use.

                (In the mornings, I also use this tinted moisturizer instead of foundations that contains SPF 20 for sun protection. I also use this exfoliator twice a week to take off all the dead skin.)

                I am a Beautycounter consultant and, if you purchase the products, would appreciate if you would use my name on your order- Jennifer Burby!

                There is no need to use so many freaking products! No need at all. 

                If you have questions, email me. I’m also happy to mail anyone a list of all the ingredients that you should never use on your skin, so if you’re interested, leave me your name and address in the comments.

                Cheers!

                How to have beautiful skin without spending a lot of money | The Champagne Supernova

                  The Holiday Hangover: How to Deal with the Post-Holiday Blues


                  I’ve got a Holiday Hangover.

                  It’s not what you think.

                  It’s the crappy feeling experienced when the holidays are over and it’s time to return to reality.

                  Visiting family members head home and the house is quieter.

                  The decorations are being slowly put away and the Christmas tree is laid to rest at the corner of the driveway.

                  The assorted cheeses, gingerbread cookies, and egg nog are catching up with your waist.

                  I consider the holidays to start in October during pumpkin patch and Halloween season through the changing of leaves (or, if you live in Florida, dead grass) and Thanksgiving, through Christmas tree decorating, Santa visiting, Elf-on-the-Shelf bribery, holiday parties, the Big Day Itself, through fireworks and New Years Day.

                  Sigh.

                  The holidays snuck up on me this year and, truth be told, I was often too busy and stressed out to appreciate them as they were happening.

                  This year, December was an especially crazy month. I resigned from the firm where I’d been for the last six years in exchange for a position at another firm that would provide me with more flexibility to spend time with my family. A risk-averse creature of habit, this move was emotionally taxing, although I know I ultimately said My Best Yes. The days preceding my last day at work involved wrapping up cases and getting into a minor car accident with an Uber driver for which I’m still dealing with the headache of getting my repairs reimbursed.

                  My parents and in-laws visited for Christmas, and my kids were thrilled when Santa delivered on his promise for a bicycle and a baby doll. Two days later, my sister and brother-in-law came in from D.C. We shopped, ate at good restaurants, went to a local theme park, and made a lot of special memories. My mother helped organize my house, and my sister returned home with a giant suitcase full of my girls’ old clothes, which was bittersweet.

                  There were many times I looked around my living room and mentally acknowledged that all the people I love the most in this world were sitting in it.

                  And now I have to return to work tomorrow, sick from a Holiday Hangover.

                  I realize that for many, the holidays are unpleasant. Reminders of painful childhoods or lost loved ones. My friends who work in the mental health profession say the holidays are their busiest time of the year, requiring them to work evenings and weekends to accommodate their fragile clients.

                  Regardless of your reason behind the post-holiday blues, you’re not alone. Studies show that 25% of Americans suffer from low-grade to full-blown depression after the holidays.

                  Here’s what I do to take the edge off my anxiety when I’m feeling crappy.

                  Go for a Walk Alone. I thrive from alone time and enjoy going for walks. Spotify has a playlist called “The Most Beautiful Songs in the World” under the “Mood” playlist genre. The songs provide for good meditation and each song really is more beautiful than the last. I listen to this playlist on my walks.

                  Watch Relaxing, Stress-Free TV Shows. Get ready to laugh. My husband and I recently came across Rick Steves’ travel shows on public television. They are addicting. It’s hard to feel anxious and stressed watching some soft-spoken dude walk across the English countryside petting sheep and drinking beer.

                  Stay off Social Media. I think Facebook is making me dumber. My brain isn’t programmed to keep up with all the information surrounding who’s selling what, which kids just had birthdays, who got breast implants from Santa (yes… there was one of those!), and continued political posts regarding Trump’s presidential win. As much as I love catching up with old friends and feeling “in the loop,” social media can also trigger my own insecurities and leave me feeling down. If it weren’t for the fact that Facebook accounts for most of my blog’s traffic, I would deactivate my account completely. Instead, in the new year, I’ve resolved to spend two minutes per day scrolling the ole newsfeed. Two.

                  Spread Love. I enjoy sending texts and emails to my friends and family members telling them I love them or how and why they are special to me. Probably comes across as weird and random at the time, but when you give love, you get love.

                  Take Your Vitamins. I take Vitamin C, fish oil, and multivitamins as part of my regular regimen. I also recently purchased an anti-stress probiotic, which I’ll let you know if it works.

                  Be Mindful of What You’re Putting in Your Body. I feel better when I eat better, but this isn’t always easy or convenient. I feel more anxious when I drink caffeine. While I enjoy wine, unless I can stick to just one glass (nearly impossible!), it often disrupts my sleep and makes me feel depressed the next day. I try to avoid these things. Not worth the strife.

                  Put away the Smart Phones at Night. There is a direct correlation between not getting enough sleep and feeling depressed. In the evenings, I used to keep my iPhone on my nightstand, mainly because I relied on the alarm to wake me up in the morning. I was at the point where, once my insomnia kicked in, I’d pick up the phone and find myself scrolling through social media and emails, making it even more difficult to return to sleep. I purchased an inexpensive old-school alarm clock from Amazon and am keeping my phone downstairs in the evenings. Adios.

                  Read a Book Before Bed. This is a nice escape from the reality of a crappy mood and helps break the cell-phone-scrolling-habit. I’m currently alternating between Hillbilly Elegy and The Best Yes (see above.)  

                  One child liked Santa. One did not.

                  Me and the crew on Christmas Eve.

                  Me and the crew on Christmas Eve.

                  Wishing everyone for a happy and mentally healthy 2017.

                  Cheers!

                   

                    Mom Hacks: Receipt You Later


                    Disclosure: I’m proud to be working with CVS Pharmacy on the CVS Says Receipt You Later Campaign. All opinions expressed are my own, and all product claims or program details shared should be verified by CVS.com or with the appropriate manufacturers.

                    It’s been nearly two weeks since I signed up for digital receipts over at CVS Pharmacy. Read about the experience here.

                    Signing up took less than a minute. You just opt-in by signing up with the cashier when you’re making your purchase at the front of the store.

                    Since then, I’ve received credit in ExtraBucks Rewards and emails advising me about sales and promotions for some of my favorite brands.

                    Life is tough and is only getting busier. I recently traded in my full time lawyer job for a part time position at another firm that will allow me to have more time with my family. Time usually spent drafting motions and attending depositions will now be spent at dance class and gymnastics. I don’t have time to wait in line at a register for a receipt, which will end up at the bottom of my already-disorganized purse, and that I’ll have to search forever to locate if I need a refund or to make an exchange.

                    No thanks.

                    Digital receipts from CVS make shopping for busy parents so much more convenient.

                    But that’s not all! Digital receipts also come with the following perks:

                    Budgeting Made Simple: This seems impossible, especially in the aftermath of spending lots of dolla-dolla bills over the holidays and with the general expense that comes with having children. No more! With the help of the CVS Pharmacy app, you get personalized digital receipts with coupons sent right to your phone so you can easily manage and shop for your daily needs.

                    Save Time, Money, and Stress: As a parent, this is entirely possible! Digital receipts can help expedite shopping when you’re on a time crunch without losing out on key savings with the convenient “send to card” savings feature found on old receipts and on the “deals” tab in the CVS Pharmacy app.

                    Best Practices for Organizing Your Life. It can be difficult to manage a balanced lifestyle. With the help of digital receipts, all offers and personalized deals are sent right to your phone. Use the CVS Pharmacy app as a best practice to staying organized while shopping at your local CVS Pharmacy.

                    Personalized Shopping. With a hectic lifestyle, sometimes its difficult to remember what is on your shopping list. Check out personalized offers on your digital receipts and know what you need to buy without even having to make a list!

                    Other Benefits of Using the CVS Pharmacy App: Are you kids in daycare or school and you’re finding them more susceptible to “cooties” like pink eye, ear infections, and RSV? Never fear. This handy-dandy little app makes it easier than ever to manage your family’s prescriptions. By downloading the app, you can scan your medication or automatically refill your prescription, view and transfer prescriptions to a local CVS Pharmacy, set medication reminders, check for drug interactions, and even pick up prescriptions just by showing the app. Easy-peasy.

                    So long, long receipts.

                    Cheers! #ReceiptYouLater #CVS

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