Parents: Stop Saying “It’s Hard”


Parents: stop telling your kids school is hard! | The Champagne Supernova

Are children less likely to succeed at something when they are initially told, “It’s Hard”?

Would they have flourished if they didn’t have preconceived notions of potential failure that were planted by adults?

By shutting our pie holes, let’s give our children better chances of success. 

Let me illustrate.

In my young childhood years, I was a perfectionist. So much so, I think it could have been a borderline personality disorder, if those things would have been routinely diagnosed in the 1980s the way they seem to be these days.

Parents: Stop Telling your Kids Things are Hard! | The Champagne Supernova

Me in 1986. Apparently, someone told my mom giving a home perm would be hard.

Eventually, my aspirations of academic perfection were superseded by an interest in boys, MTV, and being social with friends.

Moving to a new town, my parents enrolled us at a small private school, where adults said would be much more challenging because of the stereotype, which truth is immaterial, that private schools were more difficult than public.

On top of that, I’d be enrolled in Algebra, which adults warned would be really, really difficult.

Not a knock on my parents. Just adults in general.

While my strengths and interests were more aligned with social studies and language arts, I had always performed just fine in math and science.

There’s a formula. Plug the formula into your Ti-83. You get an answer. Boom!

Ultimately, I took to heart what adults said about Algebra being hard, used it as an excuse to slack off and not pay attention in class or do well on tests, and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy because I earned a B instead of the usual A.

It was my first B. Ever.

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    The House on Bossler Street: The Last Time


    The Last Time | The Champagne Supernova

    How many times in our lives have we had a last time without appreciating it? Would you want to know you were having a last time while you were living it, or would you rather remain completely unaware?

    On March 11, 2016, my grandparents said goodbye to their house in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, where they lived in since 1969.

    Johnstown is a city in Cambria County that lies 67 miles east of Pittsburgh. Both my parents grew up there, and met one summer after high school while working at the local steel mill. The city received a nod in Bruce Springsteen’s song The River– “I got a job working construction, for the Johnstown Company, but lately there ain’t been no work on account of the economy.” It was also the filming location of the 1983 high school football drama All The Right Moves starring a young Tom Cruise.

    Plenty of landmark events happened while my grandparents lived in that house. Marriages. Deaths. Retirements. World travels. Divorces. Births. Eight Presidents. Six Super Bowl wins for their beloved Pittsburgh Steelers.

    46 Years.

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      Life: The 8 Types of Friends You Need


      The Eight Types of Friends You Need in Life | The Champagne Supernova

      I went to the bachelorette party of one of my college-turned-adulthood-friends, Stephanie, in New Orleans this past weekend. I was reunited with old friends and made new friends. We ate too much jambalaya, listened to a lot of jazz, and drank one too many Hurricanes.

      The second night of the party was a “Golden Girls” theme, appropriately based on Stephanie’s weekend mantra of “Thank you for being a friend,” and there were a whole lotta laughs to go along with the wigs and grandma outfits.

      It was a blast and we were a spectacle.

      Stephanie and I met our freshman year of college at the University of Florida. She lived directly across the hall from me in the dorms (Trusler Hall, for all you Gators) and we became insta-friends during sorority rush, as we were placed in the same recruitment group, which was assigned alphabetically.

      On the first day of recruitment, I knocked on Stephanie’s door, introduced myself, and asked her to iron my hair.

      This wasn’t Helen of Troy or the Chi.

      C’mon. It was 2000 and those luxuries weren’t available.

      Just an old fashioned iron I brought to college from home, which my mom probably purchased at JCPenney in the mid-1990s.

      Stephanie agreed, I got down on the ground, and she literally straightened my hair with an iron.

      We bonded over the smell of processed chemicals and burned split ends. We made other friends in the rush group, rolled our eyes at the girls who thought they were better than everyone else, and laughed when we were starving and the recruitment counselor offered each of us one measly piece of Starburst to “hold us over” before dinner. This was after she brought over coffee filters to take the shines off our faces. Again, this was before the days of the “fancy” oil absorbing sheets you could purchase at the drug store.

      Some of my favorite, most endearing memories from college involved Stephanie. I could write a book and it would embarrass our families and maybe get us disbarred, but they were cherished nonetheless. Over the next sixteen years, we would go our separate ways geographically, but it wouldn’t let us stop from sharing in each others’ victories, crying over our losses, and listening to each other vent our frustrations.

      We still talk on the phone almost every day.

      Weekends away with longtime friends are typically followed by airport contemplations, on the way home, about the types of company we keep.

      Carrie had Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte. Zack had Slater, Jessie, Kelly, Lisa, and Screech. Rachel had Monica, Joey, Phoebe, Chandler, Joey, and Ross. These characters all knew that sometimes we need more than one friend to fulfill certain roles.

      Here are the eight types of friends people need in their lives:

      1. The Truth Teller: This is the person who will (lovingly) remind you when it’s time to tweeze  that long, black hair on your chin. The person who will acknowledge when the skirt makes your butt look big or if you did something that was out of line and ya-better-be-careful-or-karma-will-come-to-getcha.

      They aren’t sugar-coaters, and sometimes their input is unwelcome and unsolicited, but you need them, Gosh Darnit, to keep yourself in check.

      2. The Good-Time-Charlie: This is the person who is always down for a good time. If you want to have a blast on the town or engage in a Sunday-Funday, this person is always available and will always make you return home with awesome memories.

      The Eight Types of Friends You Need in Life | The Champagne Supernova

      Stephanie in character as Dorothy Zbornak on stage singing to Whitney Houston. For me posting this on the Internet without her permission, Steph falls into the category of “The Forgiving Friend.”

      The Eight Types of Friends You Need in Life | The Champagne Supernova

      “Ohhhh, I wanna dance with somebody…”

      3. The Therapist: This is the person who you can tell, without judgment, your deepest secrets or greatest frustrations. They will stop what they are doing, give you their undivided attention, provide honest feedback, and remind you that how you’re feeling is normal and you aren’t as crazy as you feel. They will tell you that they’ve felt that way too, and you instantly feel better.

      4. The Work Buddy: This is the person you can vent to when the jerk in the cubicle repeatedly sneezes too loudly or won’t refill the coffee. The person who will check your big project for typos before you proudly present it to the boss. You generally spend more waking hours with this person than you do your own family, and even though you don’t necessarily hang outside of work, they know your idiosyncrasies and appreciate them anyway.

      5. The Ole Faithful: This is the person who is always there for you. This is the first person to text you the morning of your birthday and remembers your wedding anniversary even if you’ve forgotten. This person’s memory is like a steel-trap, and they always remember to acknowledge important events. They are the most thoughtful of the thoughtful.

      6. The Oracle. This person is a modern Socrates. They offer wisdom when you need it the most and, dangit, are almost always right.

      7. The Former Friend. This is the person who used to be a close friend but, for whatever reason, like the Gotye song, is now “somebody that you used to know.” That’s okay. This person is also one of the most important friends because, without even knowing it, they are also teachers. They taught you about yourself, about the person you should be and want to be, and about the type of friend you perhaps never want to be to other people.

      There’s no bad blood. You see them out and about, you politely smile at each other, and you’re grateful for how much they taught you about yourself and how far you’ve come.

      8. The Comedian. This person is hilarious and always good for a joke, prank, or a laugh. This person can take it as well as they can dish it out, and for that, you’re appreciative because you need them in your life.

      The Eight Types of Friends You Need in Life | The Champagne Supernova

      Sometimes you get lucky and have friends who fill more than one, or many, of the categories.

      Who are the most important types of friends in your life? Did I leave a type off of this list?

      Cheers!

        How to Throw The Perfect Birthday Party: 5 Ingredients


        How to throw the perfect birthday party for children | The Champagne Supernova

        I don’t enjoy planning parties. Detest it.

        In the era of Pinterest-esque birthday parties with grandiose themes and elaborate decorations that require hours of planning that I don’t have, the simple thought of throwing a birthday party makes me lose sleep. I even wrote about it here. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy attending these events and admire other parents who can effortlessly and enjoyably put them together, I just don’t want to do it. 

        In the interest of sucking it up and because I could no longer delay the inevitable, my husband and I decided to throw our oldest daughter, Arden, a party for her 4th birthday. There would be no-frills: a princess and pirate theme appropriate for her coed group of friends, a bounce house, pizzas and snacks, and we would have it at a public park in order to avoid the stress associated with having the event at home.

        I reserved the park pavilion two months in advance and invitations went out two weeks after that. The RSVPs began to pour in, decorations began to accumulate, and Arden got more excited with each passing day. She picked out a Sleeping Beauty princess dress on Amazon and a crown and wand set from Target.

        She couldn’t wait to celebrate her birthday with her friends.

        And then an incredible chain of events unfolded.

        Our youngest daughter, Ellison, was diagnosed with a staph infection and had to be hospitalized for three days, not to be released until hours before the birthday party (with her doctor’s blessing to have her attend the party, of course). My husband and I spent the three nights leading to the party in the hospital, with little sleep and lots of fear over the uncertain status of her health. We debated canceling the party or having our parents attend in our place, so as not to spoil the fun for the birthday girl.

        Then, on the day of the party, it didn’t just rain, it monsooned. Sure, the park had a pavilion, what would the guests do? Stand underneath it and awkwardly stare at each other? The bounce house would become a mud pit. After stalking weatherchannel.com and finally accepting that it would rain all day, I called an indoor bounce house facility the morning of the party and was, fortunately, able to have the location switched. Then, I was tasked with contacting all of the people who RSVP’d to advise of the location change. Some of these people were the parents of Arden’s classmates and I had to hunt down their email addresses and phone numbers. Then, when I went to our neighborhood grocery store to pick up the sandwich party platters I ordered a week in advance, I was advised by the very apologetic manager that our food order was accidentally lost.

        It was like being in The Birthday Party Twilight Zone. 

        Do do do do, do do do do.

        Despite the stress and the hiccups along the way, the party ended up being a success for Arden and her 45 (gasp!) friends. It was, in my opinion, pretty dang close to the perfect party.

        Then I got to thinking. In the age of parents over-extending themselves and becoming obsessed with holding an event to make it appear picture-perfect on social media, we can easily lose sight of the true meaning: celebrating our children with the people who mean the most to us.

        And here, my friends, are the five key ingredients for a perfect birthday party:

        1. Good Company. I couldn’t believe the large number of friends and family who reached out to support us and offered to help with the party when they learned that Ellison was in the hospital. The number of moms and friends who texted me to remind me that it didn’t matter if the party location was changed or if it was raining because “you got this!” was humbling. The look on Arden’s face when her best buddies arrived at the party was unforgettable. Like the saying goes, it’s not where you are, but who you’re with that really matters.

        2. A Fun Theme. I love having a reason to dress up and figured that a “Pirate and Princess” party theme wouldn’t require too much effort from the guests’ parents, who likely already have Disney Princess and post-Gasparilla pirate flair lying around their homes.

        3. Sweets and Smiles. Even though the grocery store lost our food order, we still had awesome cake and custom sugar cookies to keep the guests smiling, and to maintain energy required for climbing to the top of the bounce house slide. Because that’s exhausting. Phew!

        4. A Positive Attitude. I couldn’t control whether my daughter was in the hospital, the weather, or the fact that my party platter order seemingly disappeared into thin air. I could control my own stress level and my choice (because it is a choice!) to enjoy myself and to appreciate everyone who took time out of their weekends to celebrate my daughter’s birthday. It’s difficult to be unpleasant when you’re focused on being grateful.

        5. Lots of Love. In the end, it’s all about love: love for our children and having the desire to provide them with fun and cherished memories. Love for our friends and family members who are sharing our joy with us. The desire to pay it forward with love in the future by supporting another child when it’s their turn to be celebrated.

         

        Pirate and Princess themed birthday party invitations #partyinvitations |www.thechampagnesupernova.com

        Pirate and princess party decorations #birthdayparty | www.thechampagnesupernova.comPirate and princess party birthday cake idea #birthdayparty | www.thechampagnesupernova.compirate and princess themed cookies | The Champagne SupernovaThrowing the perfect birthday party #birthday party | www.thechampagnesupernova.com

        Cheers to an imperfect, but perfect, birthday party!

        Vendor list:
        Cake: Publix
        Custom Sugar Cookies: Silly Monkey Cookie Company
        Invitations: Minted (This is an affiliate link, which means I’ll receive a financial kickback in return for any sales. Hey, the blog ain’t gonna pay for itself, so throw me a bone!)
        Photography: Synthia Therese Photography
        Venue: Playgrounds of Tampa

         

          9 Things for Mom: Who says Kids are the Only Who Get an Easter Basket?


          9 Things Moms Want in their Easter Baskets | The Champagne Supernova

          Ahhhhhhh, Easter.

          ‘Tis the season for seersucker, bonnets, and Cadbury Creme Eggs.

          A time for Peeps, chocolate rabbits, and Pottery Barn baskets.

          Petting zoos, egg hunts, and stories about Jesus.

          Easter is about religion but, let’s be real, it’s also about kids. And judging from this year’s Santa picture, I can only imagine how the shot with the Easter Bunny will turn out:

          Funny santa pictures with kids | The Champagne Supernova

          Santa needs a stiff drink.

          Last year, I did an elaborate, painstaking post about making the perfect Easter basket for kids.

          It got me thinking.

          Why don’t moms ever get Easter baskets?

          We’re the ones who need them the most.

          These are the items in my dream Easter basket, in no particular order:

          1. Deadbolts. So I can finally use the powder room in peace.

          2. Liposuction. After my jelly belly jelly bean binge.

          Mmmmmmm. Buttered Popcorn. Cantaloupe. A&W Root Beer.

          3. Chinese Finger Traps. So I can stay away from the jelly beans and don’t need #2.

          4. Melatonin. Not for me. The kids.

          5. A Live-In Maid: Not only will she cook and clean, but she’ll know how to give the perfect blowout and will be able to get smashed-up cheerios out of the back seat of my car.

          She’ll take my kids to school so I’ll never be late for work again.

          She’ll get my 4-year-old daughter dressed in the mornings so I can stop wrestling her to the ground before daycare.

          (My house becomes WWF between Monday and Friday around 8:15 a.m.)

          She’d be the twenty-first-century version of Alice from The Brady Bunch.

          Alice_brady_bunch

          “Run along, children, so Mommy doesn’t lose it.”

          6. For the Pedicurist to Rub my Feet 5 Minutes Longer this Time. And to stop flapping his gums while he’s at it.

          No, I don’t to make small talk with you.

          7. Carrie Underwood Leg Transplant. Caveat: I don’t need to do any maintenance.

          No squats or lunges ever again. The glory is mine.

          Meow.

          Meow.

          8. For Eyerolls to Become Publicly Acceptable. New rule: if I’ve ever personally witnessed you vomiting into a trash can while kneeling on the bathroom floor at a college dive bar, you don’t get to act like you’re better than anyone else.

          Ever.

          I don’t care that we were in school or that it happened fifteen years ago.

          Kthanksbye.

          9. Ability to Look Cool in Super Trendy Clothes. At what age is it no longer appropriate to shop at Forever 21? Is it when you get old enough that the idea of rummaging through all their crap clothes gives you a migraine? Or the age where the thought of wearing some of their stuff in front of your grandmother makes you feel dirty and ashamed? What about when you come out of your bedroom donning pleather, snakeskin pants for a party and your husband literally starts laughing? (That happened to me. I was four months pregnant. Okay, I deserved it.)

          brazilian_bikini

          The Brazilian-style bikini bottom. Como se dice, en Espanol, “I don’t want to pay big money to have a wedgie?”

          denim-high-waisted-shorts-9

          I’d. look. like. a. fool.

          What do YOU want in your Easter basket?

          P.S. This is satirical.

          Sort of.

          Cheers! And Happy Easter. xo

           

            9 Ways Blogging Makes me a Better Person


            9 Ways Blogging Made me a Better Person | The Champagne Supernova

            When I spearheaded my new blogging venture at The Champagne Supernova back in December of 2014, I freaked out every time I clicked the “publish” button.

            What will people think?

            Should I censor myself out of fear that sharing my truths will cause me to become rejected?

            Will people see me as vain and narcissistic, an occasional stereotype of bloggers? 

            Why would other people care to read about my mundane life or my personal opinions? 

            As a result of freaking out, my first couple posts were pure garbage. I mean, they weren’t terrible, but they also weren’t my authentic voice. They were the watered-down version of someone trying to come across as polished, politically correct, and proper.

            Those qualities are fine, but they’re not always me.

            It’s been a bit of an evolution, like everything else in life, but here are 9 ways blogging is making me a better person:

            Blogging Helps me Prioritize. Like other bloggers, I balance my hobby of writing with a young family, demanding career, and social life. When I started The Champagne Supernova, I had grandiose plans of publishing a blog post twice a week. Then, as I became more realistic and appreciated the amount of work and creativity associated with writing a quality post, those plans were reduced to once a week.

            Now, I’m lucky if I can pump out one post every week.

            And you know what? That’s okay.

            The world won’t stop spinning if I don’t publish a blog post. And for the Type A control freak in me, this is difficult, but I’ve just gotta let it go. 

            Blogging has helped me to establish a hierarchy of what must be done, what could be done, and what can wait for later.

            And sometimes that’s blogging.

            Blogging Keeps me Accountable. If I write on my blog that I’m going to do something, I pretty much have to do it.

            This is exactly why I haven’t posted about my goal to completely give up coffee.

            I’m just not there yet.

            Blogging Helps me Grow Thick Skin. In the fifteen months I’ve been blogging, I’ve been attacked by internet trolls. One publicly called me a bad mother because I let my three-year-old wear pajamas to daycare. One was another blogger who accused me of hijacking a common phrase from one of her old blog posts (that I never read) and then using it myself.

            The pre-blogger me would have called my friends crying and would have considered shutting down the blog for good. I would have responded to these people and tried to reason with them.

            You’re gonna like me again, Goshdarnit! 

            The post-blogger me shakes it off and doesn’t care.

            At all.

            Blogging has helped me realize that other peoples’ views don’t matter. And there’s definitely a positive correlation between people who are critical (read: haters) and people who don’t have the courage to pursue their own goals. So, generally, I don’t care about other peoples’ opinions unless those people are my immediate family, a handful of close friends, or a person who enables me to pay my mortgage (e.g. The Bossman).

            Blogging Taught me it’s Ok to Make Mistakes. After months of empty submissions to the blog for the Today Show parenting team, you can imagine my elation when one of my posts was finally featured and made its way around the internet. Read it here.

            There’s a typo in the fifth paragraph. And while it was unlikely anyone else noticed, noticed and agonized about it.

            For days.

            Then I realized, like most things, life isn’t over because of a simple mistake. In fact, life just got better because I learned from the mistake. I make an effort to closely read all of my posts before they’re published to avoid other typos in the future.

            You know what? It’s bound to happen again.

            And it’ll be ok.

            Blogging Inspires Creativity. One of my work colleagues, whom I deeply respect, once said that every person has an inherent need to be creative. Whether it’s painting, singing, writing, knitting, drawing, whatever, we all need to act upon our creativity, and we become unhappy when we can’t do that.

            I can relate.

            Creative expression sets my soul on fire. It allows me to be “artistic” in a way that my day job doesn’t.

            And I’m so much happier now that I’ve pursued it.

            Blogging Enhanced my Photography SkillsI bought a DSLR camera in 2012 when my first daughter was born and was painfully intimidated by the lights, buttons, and switches.

            F stop. Aperture. Shutter speed.

            What?

            Just keep it in the automatic setting, I thought. It’s so much easier that way. 

            Sure, it was easy. But it often resulted in pictures that were blurry, yellow, or dark.

            If I wanted good pictures on the blog, I would have to learn how to use the camera in manual. And, just like everything else, practice makes perfect. It took about two years, but now I only use it in manual. And check out this sweet shot I captured last year in Italy, which totally would have been ruined if I was shooting in automatic:

            9 Ways Blogging Made me a Better Person - one was it honed in my photography. |The Champagne Supernova Blogging Opens Doors for Connections. I have so many “friends” in the blogosphere who, even though we’ve never met in the flesh, I feel like I know. I read their blogs routinely, celebrate their blogging victories, see pictures of their families, “like” and “comment” on their Instagram photos, and would definitely have a glass of vino with them if given the opportunity.

            These bloggers have inspired me to do better and enabled me to have fresher ideas, take better pictures, grow my subscriber list, and jump start my SEO.

            Dang for those pesky geographic limitations.

            Blogging Makes me be a Better Listener. In the blogging community, it’s all about the conversation. There’s no right or wrong, just a gathering of opinions focused on seeing each other succeed. It’s no longer solely about what I think or what I’m doing, but it’s about reading what other people are doing and understanding whether it is or isn’t working for them.

            Blogging Helps me Help Others. Putting my honest struggles and vulnerabilities onto the world wide web, where it will stay forever, has an impact in ways I never realized. Last year after I published a post about my awful experience with the baby blues, a stranger approached me at Home Depot, sobbing. She was four weeks postpartum and was struggling with depression, discovered my blog, and found comfort knowing she wasn’t alone.

            Wow.

            It felt so good to know I made her feel good without even trying, just by being honest.

            What ways has your preferred creative outlet changed your life for the better? Let’s keep the conversation going.

            Cheers!

              #Sorrynotsorry: Parenting Edition


              Eight things I refuse to apologize about in parenting. | The Champagne Supernova

              As a society, we’re always apologizing for something.

              Apologizing that someone got their feelings hurt about something that wasn’t meant to be taken personally. Apologizing for having an opinion about a topic that isn’t the popularly-accepted view. Apologizing for just being our own imperfect selves.

              Don’t get me wrong. There are times an apology is appropriate and necessary.

              Then there’s times it’s not.

              A couple months ago, one of my favorite bloggers, Allison, at the AA blog compiled a list of all the things she was tired of apologizing for. It was genius!

              So- here’s a list of eight parenting things I will never ever apologize for.

              I like to call them the “sorrynotsorry” list.

              Midnight Snuggle Time. I’ve read all the books that say co-sleeping is a cardinal sin. Ok, I’m lying. I haven’t read any of them because I just call my mom when I need parenting advice. However, I’m sure Dr. Benjamin Spock would agree that co-sleeping is a bad idea and blah blah blah. When my three-year-old comes into my room in the middle of the night, says she had a bad dream, and asks if she can snuggle, the answer isn’t just “yes,” it’s “Heck YES!”

              There will eventually come a time when my girls would rather spend the evening at a slumber party chatting about boys over popcorn with their friends than hanging out with little ole’ me. This time with them now is sacred, short, and fleeting. So during the “in-between” time, my kids are free to crawl into bed with me and I’ll protect them from the Boogie Man. #Sorrynotsorry.

              Disciplining my Children in Public. I won’t allow my children to “get away” with bad behavior in public. Permitting them to act like brats by not giving them immediate, age-appropriate, consequences is a loving effort to help them to grow up and be functioning, socially intelligent adults. Usually, this punishment entails hauling off my children to the nearest restroom or private area and putting them in “time out” until they cool it and can return to the group. Or taking away a toy or piece of candy no matter how loudly they protest. Absent certain circumstances, I won’t avoid confrontation for the sake of not making a scene. Because I love them. #Sorrynotsorry. 

              Unreturned Phone Calls. Having kids has somewhat taken a toll on my social life. Before I had children, I’d use every opportunity to catch up with my girlfriends on the phone while I was in the car. Orlando. Miami. Atlanta. Fort Lauderdale. Nashville. D.C. Chicago. Gals in all different area codes. Some of these conversations happened when my kids were in the car with me. However, once my oldest daughter got to the age where she wanted my attention, I decided, once and for all, that I wouldn’t engage in non-essential phone conversations while she was riding with me.

              So instead of jabbering on the phone with a girlfriend regarding what’s going on at work or the best new local restaurant, I’m having a real conversation with my daughters about what they did at school, books they love, what they want for dinner, and how they want to spend the few hours between coming home from daycare and bedtime. And it’s the bomb diggity. #Sorrynotsorry.

              De-Emphasis on Physical Appearance. When I’m around my kids, I make a conscious effort to never comment on another person’s appearance or my own physical insecurities. They don’t need to know about whether so-and-so is beautiful, if so-and-so needs to lose weight, or whether I’m frustrated that my pants don’t fit the way they used to and even my Spanx are getting too tight (darn!) Who really flipping cares about these things?

              Part of growing up is realizing what matters and what doesn’t. And while these things were “important” to me during the immature days of my youth, talking about them now is an unproductive, shallow waste of time. I don’t want my girls to notice whether other women are pretty, have a perfect body, or wear nice clothes.  I want them to notice whether they are kind, interesting, encouraging, funny, talented, engaging, and smart. I want them to be someone’s friend for who they are on the inside and not for what they look like, who they associate with, or what they have. #Sorrynotsorry.

              Saying No. I read somewhere that unless an invite is a resounding “Hell Yes,” then it should be a “no.” I’ve begun using this mantra as a litmus test for deciding whether to accept an invitation. If something isn’t “family friendly” and it doesn’t involve people I love and truly want to hang out with, then the answer is “no.” Plain and simple. (Make no mistake, there are times I do want to say yes, but “life happens” and its not always feasible.)

              Gone are the days of doing things just because I wanted to feel a sense of inclusion and belonging, coupled with a fear that saying no would stop the invitations from coming. Life is too short to be accepting obligations that we aren’t excited to be accepting or purposely hanging out with people who don’t give us the “warm and fuzzies.” #Sorrynotsorry.

              Being Real. I don’t care if wearing mismatched, off-brand workout clothes to the gym isn’t cool. I’m gonna wear them anyway. I don’t care if my jokes are dumb and I think I’m funny when nobody else thinks so. I’m gonna tell them anyway. I certainly don’t care that I’m 34 and still use words like dork and dweeb and Jee Whiz and bomb diggity (see #3 above). I’m gonna say them anyway. I want to set an example to my children to be the people who God made them to be with complete freedom from other people’s opinions. #Sorrynotsorry. 

              Being Obsessed with my Kids. I get it. Other than my husband, family, and close friends, nobody really cares about the funny things my oldest daughter said on the way to school, who their favorite teachers are, or their newest book and movie craze. That said, I’m going to tell the stories anyway and will not feel ashamed about being obsessed with my kids. On that token, I will listen with an open heart to anecdotes other people share about their children and will let them have their turns to be obsessed and will celebrate it. #Sorrynotsorry. 

              Making time for Myself. I can’t take care of my family if I don’t take care of myself. I learned this the hard way when I dealt with the baby blues after my first pregnancy. I refuse to feel guilty about going to the gym, reading a book in a quiet room, of spending time with girlfriends who fill my cup. #Sorrynotsorry. 

              What do you refuse to apologize for?

              Cheers!

                After the Fall: Recovering from Humiliation


                How to recover and learn when you fall down and embarrassing things happen in your life. | The Champagne Supernova

                A lot of embarrassing things have happened to me in my life. If I didn’t have witnesses, there’s a chance people would consider my misfortune to be either exaggerated or blatant lies.

                Like the time I got caught huffing oils at work.

                Or the time I cussed out innocent bystanders in an elevator.

                Or the time I got rejected from employment at Red Lobster.

                Well, here’s another doozie that I think we all have a little something to learn from.

                It was October of 2014 and my husband and I attended a destination wedding in the Florida Keys. We were stoked to be staying at a nice hotel and my parents were gracious enough to stay home with the girls, then ages 2 1/2 and 5 months.

                Parents’ weekends away are good for the soul and good for the marriage.

                How to recover from something humiliating happening to you. | The Champagne Supernova

                Me and Jason on the day of the wedding. Before “the tragedy.”

                The day after the wedding, at the recommendation of our breakfast waitress, we decided to drive 30 miles west from our resort in Duck Key to the No Name Pub on Big Pine Key.

                The waitress said the bar was in the middle of nowhere and was surrounded by key deer, which were native to the area.

                My husband, being the outdoorsman that he is, thought the idea was perfect.

                So we got in the car around eleven and ventured off into the wild blue yonder on a 45 minute ride to head to a restaurant famous for its history, deer, pizza, and cold brewskis.

                When we arrived close to noon, the restaurant was packed and there were people standing in line for a table. It was super casual in what seemed to be a 1200 square foot dining room and dollar bills adorned the ceilings and walls.

                How to recover and learn when you fall down and embarrassing things happen in your life.

                It was only proper to personalize our own dollar bill to commemorate Parents Weekend 2014.

                How to recover and learn when you fall down and embarrassing things happen in your life.

                We finally found a spot at the bar next to two highfalutin gentlemen who lived in Key West. The bar stools were exceptionally tall. We enjoyed our conversation with the men regarding property values, land investments, and working from home over a large pepperoni pizza and two Blue Moon beers.

                How to recover and learn when you fall down and embarrassing things happen in your life.

                The Scene of the Crime.

                Yes, I drank two beers over the course of the entire hour and a half we were at the restaurant.

                The calories and carbohydrates from the pizza effectively cancelled out the beers’ entire alcoholic content, so it was pretty much the equivalent, in my mind, to drinking two glasses of water.

                When it was time to leave, we bid adieu to our new friends and I attempted to step off the bar stool.

                Only it was too high.

                Much higher than I remembered.

                The whole ordeal felt like it was happening in slow motion.

                I fell off the back of the stool and literally crashed into the table behind me, causing the bar stool I was sitting in to topple over. I fell on top of my neighbors’ table, causing their pizza and drinks to splat all over the floor, before I eventually landed on my derriere.

                It was like Wile E. Coyote falling backwards off a cliff.

                When I finally came to, the once-roaring restaurant was completely silent.

                Every single person was staring at me.

                Men.

                Women.

                Children.

                The bartender.

                The yorkie in the corner.

                In a effort to make light of the situation, I stood up, did a gymnast-style pose, and loudly said, “I’m all right, everybody!”

                How to recover and learn when you fall down and embarrassing things happen in your life.But nobody laughed.

                So I skedaddled out of the restaurant as quickly as my bruised ego (and hiney) would permit.

                When I got into the parking lot, my husband asked me if I was okay. I said yes. He then convulsively laughed until he was nearly crying and continued laughing the entire ride back to the resort.

                In his defense, it was pretty funny.

                Then I started thinking.

                The event was a metaphor about life.

                Sometimes when you fall, all you can do is get back up and keep on keeping’ on.

                There’s been so many times in my life where I’ve been handed a whopping slice of humble pie and was glad I kept my eyes on the end goal and continued trying.

                Like the time I studied my head off in law school for final exams and still got a dreaded C in criminal law.

                I felt like an idiot. Especially when I heard some of my classmates bragging about “the one B+ that ruined their chances of grading onto Law Review.”

                Or the time I essentially crawled to the finish line of my first marathon after losing steam at the 20th mile. I wanted so badly to give up after getting smoked by a lady who appeared to be 16 months pregnant and a dude who was on crutches.

                Like the fall at the bar, sometimes there’s no point in dwelling on our embarrassments or letting them define us.

                All we can do is laugh, learn from the situation, and keep moving forward.

                The next morning, my husband and I returned to the same restaurant where we had breakfast the day before and was assigned the same waitress who recommended that we eat at the No Name Pub.

                We told her we took her tip and went to the No Name Pub.

                Then she said, and the good Lord (and my husband) is my witness:

                Those bar stools are really high!

                Apparently, patrons stepping off the bar stools and getting hurt is a common thing.

                Attention personal injury attorneys: go sit at this bar one afternoon with a stack of business cards. You’ll make a fortune.

                Cheers!

                 

                 

                 

                  Inspirational Quotes: Eleven of My Favorites


                  Eleven of the most meaningful quotes to inspire and motivate you.

                  This week’s been wacky. I’ve been tired and, frankly, have been suffering a major case of writer’s block.

                  I’m starting to run out of anecdotes that make my otherwise mundane life seem more exciting than it really is.

                  Sigh.

                  OK, I lied, I have one.

                  As background, I’ve been trying to find ways to focus at work while staying relaxed and, to be honest, my prior method of chugging five large cups of coffee a day was thwarting my ability to fall asleep in the evenings. I was in St. Augustine over Martin Luther King weekend visiting family and came across an adorable spa/health/holistic shop called Sphere that sells essential oils.

                  (Disclaimer: I don’t sell oils and am not making any type of commission from this story, so bear with me here.)

                  (Another disclaimer: I don’t consider myself to be an eccentric hippie. I just like to sniff the oil and keep-a-moving.)

                  Eleven of the most meaningful quotes to inspire and motivate you.

                  Kristen Wiig’s hippie skit on SNL.

                  I purchased an oil appropriately called “Clarity” and brought to work with me, where I occasionally sniff it throughout the day.

                  Because I want clarity, goshdarnit.

                  So it’s Monday afternoon (how appropriate) and I return to my desk after a trip to the kitchen. I sit down, grab the bottle of essential oil, open it, move it up to my nose, take a looooooooooong, dramatic inhale, then an equally loooooooooooong, dramatic exhale, and peacefully open my eyes.

                  My boss is standing at the corner of my desk staring at me, confused and disgusted.

                  I was mortified.

                  I was too busy seeking clarity to hear him walk in.

                  Boss: What are you doing?

                  Me (humiliated): Just smelling an essential oil, care for a whiff?

                  Boss, shaking head: No. 

                  He walked out of the office without saying another word.

                  Ugh. 

                  Why can’t he walk into my office when I’m busy burning the midnight oil? Or while I’m laying down the law (pun intended) during a telephone conversation with opposing counsel?

                  Minted's Limited Edition Art Prints

                  And so here I am, a couple days later, seeking inspiration on the internet, in my old journals, and from my friends.

                  I think everyone has their favorite sayings or mantras that keep them inspired during life’s uninspiring moments.

                  Sure, it’s easy to feel inspired when you accomplish something huge.

                  Running a marathon.

                  Making a big deal at work.

                  Keeping the kids alive all day.

                  What about all the in-between, less than exciting moments?

                  Here are some of my favorite quotes to help me feel inspired when being inspired seems impossible.

                  Eleven of my favorite quotes to inspire and motivate you.

                  Eleven of my favorite quotes to inspire and motivate you.

                  Eleven of my favorite quotes to inspire and motivate you. Eleven of my favorite quotes to inspire and motivate you.

                  Eleven of my favorite quotes to inspire and motivate you.

                  Eleven of my favorite quotes to inspire and motivate you.

                  Eleven of my favorite quotes to inspire and motivate you.

                  Eleven of my favorite quotes to inspire and motivate you.

                  Eleven of my favorite quotes to inspire and motivate you.

                  Eleven of my favorite inspirational and motivational quotes to inspire and motivate you.

                  What are your favorite inspirational quotes to get you through the stinky times?

                  Cheers!

                   

                    Crazy People: 5 Ways to Deal with Them


                    5 ways to deal with irrational people | The Champagne Supernova http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2016/01/crazy-people/

                    The famous wire hanger scene in Mommie Dearest.

                    Because of the adversarial nature of my career as an attorney, I’ve dealt with my share of irrational people.

                    Crazies.

                    Nut jobs.

                    Lunatics.

                    However, one fairly recent event nearly put me over the edge.

                    As background, in the true spirit of a procrastinator, I usually wait until my gas tank light is on before I refuel.

                    It’s a game of chicken that I like to play with myself.

                    I also prefer not to get gas when my children are in the car because they get bored.

                    This event happened after a busy day at work. I was bombarded with preparing for hearings, client reporting deadlines, and responding to emails. My husband needed me to pick up the girls from daycare, and I happily obliged because, after a long day at the office, all I wanted to do was to spend quality time with them.

                    And drink a glass of wine.

                    As my gas light had been on for quite a while and it was “time,” I decided to pull into a gas station before picking up the girls.

                    It’s one of the busiest gas stations in town and, during certain times when it’s inundated with dawdlers like myself, the area around the pumps can be so cluttered with people waiting that it’s nearly impossible to pull in and out.

                    (Tampanians: it’s the Sunoco on the corner of MacDill and Platt. You know what I’m talking about!)

                    I pulled into the station at 5:45 pm (cutting it close to daycare ending at 6 pm) and was on the phone with one of my girlfriends.

                    Then I saw it. It was like manna from heaven. An open pump.

                    How can this be? I thought to myself.

                    I didn’t linger with questions. I pulled directly up to the pump.

                    All of a sudden, I saw a girl in front of me get out of her vehicle and start screaming.

                    She looked like a possessed demon. Red faced. Foamy spit coming out of her mouth.

                    Uh, I have to get off the phone, I told my friend, I think someone is yelling at me.

                    Apparently the girl was attempting to back her vehicle up to the gas pump when I arrived and, unknowingly, “stole” it from her.

                    Visibly upset, she was screaming, yelling obscenities, and giving me the middle finger.

                    Her reaction was crazy.

                    Under any ordinary situation, I would have profusely apologized, gotten back into my car, moved my vehicle, and waited for a different pump. That’s how I would want someone to treat me.

                    After all, this was an honest mistake.

                    However, this chick’s reaction set me internally on fire.

                    She must not have real problems if she’s going to get this worked up over a gas pump.

                    So I said nothing and, instead, judged her. She was wearing workout clothes, appeared to be in her early 20s, had her hair in a ponytail under a baseball cap, and was driving an early 2000s model Volkswagen Jetta.

                    I decided the likelihood of her packing heat was low.

                    So I completely ignored her, got out of my vehicle, and began pumping my gas. 

                    She became spastic.

                    I didn’t even look her in the eye or acknowledge in any way that she was losing her mind and making a scene in front of every bystander at the gas station.

                    I didn’t care. I kept pumping gas. I didn’t acknowledge her and pretended she didn’t exist.

                    And it made her come undone.

                    She was screaming. Pulled up to the back of my car and loudly called me a Fruity Banana.

                    Only it wasn’t a Fruity Banana.

                    The first word began with an F and the second word began with a B.

                    I continued ignoring her and stared at the digital numbers on the pump.

                    $15.37

                    $19.45

                    $23.18

                    Hurry up! I thought.

                    Then, the worst thing that could have possibly happen happened.

                    The spot on the direct opposite side of my pump became available.

                    The girl pulled up next to me, got out of her car, and began pumping gas.

                    How can I avoid making eye contact?

                    She continued screaming and calling me names. Then, she got on her cellular phone and started talking about me to whoever was on the other end.

                    This ordeal was the longest three minutes of my life.

                    When my tank was full, I got into my car and moved onto more important things. My kids.

                    I don’t know who this girl is and wouldn’t recognize her in a line up. Maybe she was already having a bad day. Maybe she found out her boyfriend was cheating on her. Maybe she discovered she flunked college algebra. Maybe she learned her fitness class was over booked and so she got the boot.

                    Who knows?

                    Whoever this girl is, I just hope her proverbial tank has since been replenished with love, peace, and validation.

                    Because isn’t that what we all want?

                    To be loved? To be acknowledged? To feel like we matter, instead of being ignored?

                    I don’t regret how I handled the situation. Sometimes it’s better to do nothing. On my end, it was nearly impossible for me to bite my tongue. But I’m glad I did.

                    Unlike gas station girl, some irrational people cannot be avoided. Business associates. Members of churches and volunteer organizations. Relatives. People who run in your social circle. People who aren’t “going away.”

                    I often wonder the ideal way to handle these types of people.

                    I enlisted the help of some colleagues who are in the mental health profession, and they provided input on the five best ways to deal with the crazy people in your life.

                    Ignore. Don’t respond to someone who doesn’t deserve a response. You received a rude text? Ignore it. Someone sent you a rude email or asked you a rude question? Don’t acknowledge it. Do you routinely have to see someone who bugs you? Other than exchanging casual formalities (because you’re polite and that’s just what you do), ignore them.

                    Raise the White Flag. If someone acts crazy because you legitimately did something to them and you are genuinely sorry, then recognize your wrongdoing, address it with a sincere apology, and move on.

                    It takes guts to eat crow.

                    Most sane people will appreciate the apology and will provide a clean slate. Ideally, it will no longer be awkward to be around that person.

                    Set Boundaries. If you are constantly around someone who pushes your buttons, then recognize it and stay aware of your own emotions. As irrational people are often predictable and the pattern starts showing itself, determine ahead of time how you will deal with this person, and stick to your plan.

                    Don’t Take on Their Issues. I once worked with a guy who said he never let other people control the way he feels.

                    It stuck with me.

                    Sometimes it’s so easy to take on another person’s crappy attitude.

                    Guilty over here.

                    However, make up your mind that you are going to do your thing regardless of how they are doing theirs. Stick with it. If you feel their bad attitude wearing off on you, then start limiting the time you spend with them.

                    Offer Compassion. This one, my friends, is the hardest of the options. You never know what other people are going through, and, like the saying goes, “hurt people, hurt people.”

                    I went through four years of college detesting a girl we’ll call Ashley. She never “did” anything specifically to me, per se, but she was an overall nasty person. Hateful just to be hateful. She didn’t try to cultivate female friendships and had a reputation for being stuck up. Fast forward ten years later, Ashley and I reconnected professionally and, at a work conference, she confided to me that her mother was verbally and physically abusive when she was growing up, which caused her to project anger and toward others.

                    That explained everything.

                    And there you have it, my friends, five good ways to deal with crazy people. Do you have any pointers that I left off the list?

                    Cheers!

                     

                     

                     

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