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When you’re in high school, can’t wait to get out of the house and away from your parents’ rules.

When you’re in college, you want to graduate, make money, move to a cool new city, and be out in the real world.

When you’re newly employed and in your early twenties, you can’t wait for the promotion, get married, and start the rest of your life.

When you’re engaged, you’re planning a wedding. You get caught up in the minutiae of choosing your bridesmaids, the flowers, the band, THE DRESS, and the guest list. And then you blink and the day is over.

When you’re newly married, you enjoy time together, but can’t wait to buy a house and start a family. You can’t wait to make some big money so you can go on fancy vacations.

When you’re a new parent, you can’t wait to be out of the weeds with the newborn cycle: sleepless nights, crying babies, and always feeling exhausted.

When you have a toddler, you can’t wait until you have another child and for the toddler to be more self sufficient.

When you have another child, you can’t wait to find more balance. You can’t wait for them to be able to swim, play, and do things with less supervision.

And then they are older and you wonder where the heck the last few decades went. You look back fondly at your high school and college days and love your memories and your cherished friends. People who were alive that aren’t anymore. You’re grateful for people who broke your heart, for the professor who didn’t give you the A, for the job you prayed for that you didn’t get. You look back at your early married life, how your “problems” weren’t problems, and how you wish you could hold your newborn babies again.

Don’t blink, friends. Life doesn’t wait.

Cheers!

The post Don’t Blink appeared first on The Champagne Supernova.

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May is National Pet Month!

I’m an animal lover. I love dogs, cats, rabbits, horses,
even cows. Give me all ‘dem animals (except reptiles… those can go somewhere else!)

Before we had kids, we had two black labs. You can read about them here.

I loved those dogs. When I was at work, I would literally sit at my desk and wonder if they were thinking about me at home. I even once asked my veterinarian if he thought dogs could feel love. He looked at me like I was weird and then said “yes, of course!” (After that, the vet also stopped calling me to report about the dogs and instead, called my husband, but that’s a sensitive subject for another time.)

The only single solitary “con” about owning two
Labradors was the hair. There was so much hair. On the furniture, on the floor,
and even on me. And sometimes, even though we bathed the dogs regularly, there
was stench.

Febreze and Swiffer have come to the rescue! They have products that will alleviate your concerns with a swish and a spray.

Swiffer Sweeper Dry and Wet Pet Refills are a 2-in-1 hard surface sweeping and mopping tool. The dry cloth has deep ridges and grooves that conform to the surface of your floor to trap and lock dirt, dust and hair, while the wet cloth dissolves dirt and grime and traps it away giving you an amazing clean. Your house will smell so good that people will wonder if you own an animal at all.

Processed with VSCO with fp8 preset

The Swiffer Dusters Heavy Duty Pet Refills contain Dust Lock Adhesive technology and 50% more fibers than regular dusters. This amazing all-around design cleans deep into grooves to trap and lock up to 3x more dust than a feather duster.

In addition to these great products, Febreze also offers a Fabric Pet Odor Eliminator, which is purrr-fect for hard-to-wash fabrics such as clothing, upholstery, carpets, and blankets. Have a bigger smell problem? The Febreze AIR Heavy Duty Pet Odor Eliminator has an odor defense up to 2x more odor eliminating power. It can be used throughout the house to clean away odors from everyday pet smells.

You must be wondering whether Swiffer products are safe to use in homes with pets. The answer is YES. All Swiffer products are a-ok in the pet (and people!) arena.

Good thing companies like Febreze and Swiffer help us keep our homes paw-fectly clean and smelling fresh. All Febreze and Swiffer pet products are now available at Petco!

This post was sponsored by Febreze and Swiffer. As always, all opinions are my own.

The post Don’t Sweat Your Pet with Febreze and Swiffer appeared first on The Champagne Supernova.

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In Florida, the only thing worse than hurricane season is bug season.

They’re everywhere: on my clothes, stuck to the side of my house, and all over my windshield. Their presence is a nuisance and they completely deter me from wanting to go outside.

When any bugs invade, most of us are faced with choosing between two evils:

  1. Using traditional insecticides, knowing they’ll kill the bugs, but also worrying about the toxic chemicals being used inside the house (think: Roundup); or 
  2. Using sprays advertised as safe and natural that make us feel better about using them, but they perform poorly and don’t actually kill the bugs. 

With Zevo, you don’t have to choose. 

This brand new insect control product effectively eliminates bugs while being safe to use around people and pets, when used as directed.

We recently used Zevo to get rid of a sugar ant infestation after my kids left cookies out in the kitchen overnight. 

The Instant Action Multi-Insect Spray effectively got rid of ALL of them. I even felt confident letting my seven year-old use the spray, as it doesn’t contain toxic chemicals like imiprothrin, cypermethrin pyrethroids, butane, or propane. 

This spray works and it works FAST. We’ve had ongoing problems with insects in our kitchen and I’ve tried other products, but Zevo has gotten the job done. 

The Flying Insect Trap uses a combination of light and heat to attract and capture flying insects 24/7. It is easy to use and only takes four simple steps. First, you plug it in. Second, you attract and trap insects for 45 days, third, you throw away dead insects, and last, you replace the trap cartilage. 

Zevo uses bio-selective technology in its bug sprays and traps, taking advantage of unique vulnerabilities in bugs’ biology and research-backed understanding of insect behavior. 

Not only is Zevo better because it’s safe around people and pets, but the ingredients are inspired by nature’s natural defenses against bugs, it works on a broad range of flying, crawling, and crawling insects, and because it has a light scent you can feel good about.  This is what sets Zevo apart from the competition.

Bugs are resilient and, despite their size, smart. Some have been around for more than 300 million years. They use clever survival tactics every day. 

Fortunately, the science behind Zevo has finally outsmarted the bugs while being safe to use inside your home. Order your Zevo here

Use it without worry, as Zevo offers a money-back guarantee if you are dissatisfied with its performance.

This blog post is sponsored by Zevo. However, I’d never promote a product I didn’t use and love, and all opinions are my own. 

The post Safely Say Goodbye to Bugs with Zevo appeared first on The Champagne Supernova.

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Things that are worse than getting the flu:

1.       Getting hit by a bus

2.       Gargling saltwater with a sore throat

3.       Wearing a helmet that’s 3 sizes too small

Oh wait, nevermind, because having the flu feels like ALL of those things.

The flu is terrible.

And who here among us has TIME to get the flu anyway?

After all, it’s difficult enough managing a career, spouse, chauffeuring the kiddos to school activities, helping with homework, being the “house manager,” paying bills, shopping for groceries, cleaning, all while trying to stay fit and take care of ourselves. #aintnobodygottime

I got the flu in January of 2018 and learned my lesson the hard way. I exposed myself to other people I knew had the flu because I had the warped mindset that I wouldn’t get it from them because of my strong immune system. I couldn’t have been more wrong. While some things in life are out of my control, moving forward, I will do everything in my power to prevent myself and my family from getting the flu again.

Did you know that Indian River Select is a great vitamin C-packed ally in the war against the flu? It also contains other flu-fighters that strengthen your immune system, such as potassium, folate, and thiamin. Just think: by drinking Indian River Select’s juices, you get to enjoy their refreshing taste while fighting back against the flu. Double whammy, if you ask me!

Founded in 1996, Indian River Select started as a small business started by two Floridians from citrus growing families who were passionate about one thing: juice.

Sure, Florida gets tons of negative press for crazy stuff that happens here in this huge and diverse state. But there’s something else you should know about Floridians: we are juice snobs.

(There’s nothing more Floridian than citrus, palm trees, and sunshine!) We know the good juice from the bad. The watered down juice from the fresh. We can tell the difference between juice infiltrated with additives from the juice straight as Mother Nature intended it.

For me, Indian River Select is, and has always been, The Grand Poobah of juices. And there’s no comparison.

It tastes better. It tastes like REAL oranges and grapefruit. Shoot, I even think it tastes healthier than the other juices. This is because Indian River Select’s juices aren’t packed with all the other “stuff” in competitor juices such as added sugars, preservatives, or flavor packs. It’s just natural juice and that’s it.

Hear me out. Yes, this post is sponsored by Indian River Select. However, I’ve been a consumer of their orange and grapefruit juices for no less than five years now, long before we started a professional relationship. As a blogger, there’s nothing cooler than having the opportunity to work with a brand that you already know, love, and believe in.

You will not be disappointed with Indian River Select’s juices and can find them at your local Walmart, Publix, Kroger, Winn-Dixie, Whole Foods Market, Fresh Market, Target, and Earth Fare.

Visit here to learn more and download a discount coupon. Cheers!

The post How to Avoid the Flu with Indian River Select Juices appeared first on The Champagne Supernova.

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This is part 2 of a 4-part series about finding a nanny. Part 1 is here. It was authored by my friend and one of the baddest mamma jamma lawyer moms around, Shylie Bannon.

Once you’ve posted the personal ad for a nanny and the applicants start rolling in, you get to start evaluating potential candidates!

It’s just like Tinder—should I swipe right or left?

You should pay attention to the detail contained in the response. Did the candidate personalize her response, or did it seem like she copied and pasted the same message she sent to 20 other jobs? Did she proofread her response before sending it? And although it sounds shallow—how does this person look in her profile picture? Do you want someone who thinks that posting a sultry “duck lips” photo on their caregiving profile to be responsible for your child?

Check out the candidate’s social media pages if you can find them before deciding whether to respond. I found one candidate who looked great in the care.com app who posted racist memes and got involved in fights with “baby mama drama” on her Facebook page. No thanks.

You should perform a Google search, and you may also want to do a quick court records search in the county in which you and/or the nanny live if you have enough identifying information for the prospective candidate. We weeded out several candidates based on domestic violence injunctions, misdemeanors, and an overwhelming number of evictions/collection actions.

If the candidate seems like a potential winner based on her initial message, set up a phone interview. Good phone interviews typically last about 30 minutes, and you should make sure you are in a place where you will not be easily interrupted, and that you have a notepad handy during the interview. Pay attention to when the candidate agrees to schedule the phone interview—if she is currently employed with another family and “sneaks away” to take a call with you, that may say something about how much attention she will pay to your kids when she’s watching them.

The phone interview will be the most important part of your interview process. If you invest yourself in the process, you will figure out very quickly whether someone is a viable candidate for the position, or is destined to be a bad fit. And like all matchmakers, the best advice you will get is, “when you know, you KNOW.” If conversation flows easily, if you feel like you can communicate well, that is the most promising sign for the next step. Conversely, if the conversation is stilted, stiff, or you get an off feeling, things likely won’t work out.

During these phone interviews, it is tempting to do most of the talking, but you will learn a lot more about the candidate if you do very little talking, at least at the outset of the call. The first question you should ask is simply, “Tell me about yourself.” Listen to the substance, but also the manner in which the candidate answers the question.

Is she forthcoming? Is she well-spoken? Is she focusing on her experience in childcare, how she came into the field, or is she telling you about a traumatic experience with her ex-husband? Is she able to easily carry the conversation?

If she hasn’t already told you, the next question should be designed to find out why this person is seeking a job in childcare, and then, if she is already in childcare, why she is looking to switch jobs. The answers we heard the most often were, “My kids are grown up and I just love cuddling babies,” or, “I’ve been a babysitter before and always loved kids.” Consider what these answers mean to you. We did not feel that someone who wanted to “cuddle babies” would be a good fit for us because our son is a busy little boy and not much of a cuddler.

The best practice is to ask a lot of neutral, open ended questions that do not suggest an answer to the candidate. If you ask the candidate “what has a typical day looked like when you’ve taken care of a six month old before” and she gives a cursory answer that is vague and seems to cover only the basics (“play, eat, change diapers”) without giving specific examples, you may want to ask more specific questions about her answer.

“What kind of play did you do with Baby Jane in your last position?” “What kinds of strategies/games did you use to help Baby Tom learn to crawl?”

Other questions you may want to ask include, “Can you describe the most recent family you worked with, and why did that job end/why is it ending?” “What is your favorite age to care for and why?”  “What type of family/employer are you looking to work with?” “How do you prefer to communicate with parents about the baby’s day?” and “What do you do to keep calm when you are having a hard day?”

Over time, there were certain aspects of answers that I learned I needed to “dig deeper” on. If a younger candidate told me she had been a nanny before, I made sure to ask her about the details of the position. I found there were a lot of candidates who described themselves as full-time nannies, but then discovered that often the mother was in the home with them the majority of the time they worked. Likewise, I learned to ask whether they had ever nannied for someone who was not a relative or a close family friend.

And lastly, it was important to me that the applicant ask me at least one or two questions about my son relatively early in the conversation. Be leery if the candidate bad-mouths prior families she worked with or easily shares gossip about their private lives, as that’s the #1 sign she’d do the same about you.

If you feel like a candidate is promising after hearing about her background, moving into more specific questions and information-giving is important. Even if you already mentioned the “non-negotiables” in your online posting, verbally review the specifics of the job and these non-negotiables again, asking the candidate to confirm that she is 100% ok with each one of those things. Time is valuable when you are a mama, and the last thing you want to do is spend an hour on the phone with someone who sounds like your personal Mary Poppins to find out at the last moment that she is allergic to your French bulldog furbaby.

For many women, discussing salary is the most uncomfortable part of this process. Some candidates will bring up salary as one of the very first topics in the conversation. I don’t blame candidates for bringing it up early, but if it’s the very first question the candidate asks, it raises questions about whether the caregiver is applying to the “highest bidder” or whether she is looking for the right family dynamic. You don’t want to hire someone you’re worried will jump ship the moment she gets a higher-paying offer. If possible, you should try to start the conversation by asking the candidate what she is looking for in terms of a salary. If the candidate is looking for something higher than what you are willing to pay, keep in mind that she may be interested if you offer other benefits, such as paid vacation or holidays, cell phone reimbursement, or more convenient hours than other families.

If your phone interview goes well, then you should ask the candidate for references and set up an in-person meeting. Try to get at least two or three references, particularly other families for whom she has worked. When you call the references, make sure you ask detailed questions to corroborate information the candidate provided you, and to convince the reference to give you a complete picture of the candidate. Find out whether the caregiver stays in touch with her former employers, and whether she still babysits for them on occasion. I also tried to do a little research on the references to determine whether the reference was someone whose opinion I would value. When I researched my nanny’s last employer, I discovered that she and her husband got married at the same venue my husband and I did, lived very close to where we lived, and is a Vice President with one of my firm’s biggest clients. What she had to say mattered a lot to me. It was an even better sign to know that the candidate still watches their kids on the occasional weekend.

For us, in-person meetings were largely a formality after good phone interviews. Some people prefer to have these meetings in a public location like a Starbucks. We held several of these interviews in our home, and I always let the candidates know that they were welcome to bring their husband or a friend to the interview with them to make them feel more comfortable about coming to a stranger’s home. Try to schedule the interview at a time when you will be able to speak with the candidate both with and without your child present—for us, interviews were often scheduled toward the tail end of naptime, so we could talk privately first and then we could see how the candidate interacted with our son.                 Finding a caregiver is hard, emotional work. There will be times that you are disappointed by candidates, and feel like you will never find someone “good enough” to watch your child.

But I promise, just like in dating, there is someone out there for everyone, and when you know, you know. Once you find that person, it’s time to have “the relationship talk.”

The post Internet Dating for Parents and Caregivers Part 2: Blind Dates appeared first on The Champagne Supernova.

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Things
I like to put off more than cleaning:

1.       Literally everything on this planet.

When my girls were little, I hired a mother’s helper to help me get stuff done around the house. You can read the post here. Now that they’re older and we are more interested in saving money, we’ve scaled back on the Mother’s Helper and the cleaning is now left to me.

My
strategy: one big clean every quarter, followed by smaller follow-up cleans
each week.

What
does this mean?

Big
clean = The entire house. Scrubbing floor boards, changing air filters, dusting
all the weird places, like on top of the fridge, organizing the pantry and
drawers, throwing away items we don’t use anymore, etc. I read somewhere there
were nearly 500 trillion odor molecules in each of our homes that we aren’t
even able to smell? GROSS. I feel like my home isn’t truly clean unless it’s
clean of odors, and cleaning the air is something I tend to forget when I’m
spring cleaning.

Follow-up cleans= The basics. Cleaning toilets, dusting, scrubbing the floors, vacuuming, polishing the furniture, and cleaning the bathrooms.

It’s
almost April, which means another quarter has passed (how is that possible?!)
and it’s time to do a “big clean” in honor of spring. I called it my “Spring
Cleaning Challenge.”

How
does this work?

I spent 7 days amping up and fine-tuning my spring cleaning routine, trying new products that make spring cleaning easier and more effective, and discovering new spring cleaning tricks and hacks. I also discovered products I can use EVERY day, including Febreze AIR and FABRIC.

Febreze AIR not only finds nasty odors and deactivates them, replacing them with a light and fresh smell. It is my “right hand man” odor eliminator for the air of any room in my home, and it’s safe for everyday use as the “icing on top” to my spring cleaning routine. Using it is easy-peasy, all you do is hold the bottle upright, press and hold the trigger, and spray in a sweeping motion for noticeable freshness.

Febreze FABRIC gets rid of lingering odors on all the hard-to-clean fabrics like carpet, rugs, sofas, curtains, and upholstery. This is perfect for emergencies like when the family dog has an accident on the rug or when your child touches the drapes with sticky hands. I personally use this once a week, but wouldn’t blame you if you sprayed it all day, every day. To use, turn the Fabric Refresher nozzle on and spray in a sweeping motion to lightly mist your fabrics until they are damp. Let them dry, but avoid using them on Fabrics that water spot including leather, suede, and silk.

Other
items I love and recommend using for your Spring Cleaning adventure:

1.      Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Sheets: I use these on my white doors, white counters, baseboards, and even on the walls where there are stains. Unlike their sponge counterparts, these Magic Eraser Sheets are flexible and thin enough to help you tackle tough stains in hard to reach areas of the kitchen, bathroom, and beyond. They get soap scum stains in the bathroom and burned messes on the stovetop burner. What I LOVE most is that there are no harsh chemicals and they are easy to use- just wet the sheet, squeeze it, use it to clean, and throw it away.

2.      Mr. Clean Clean
Freak Deep Cleaning Mist: This is a full coverage mist that activates on
contact with any dirt to instantly dissolve even tough cleaning messes. I use
these on my kitchen countertops after cooking and on surfaces in the kids’
rooms after they are finished working on craft projects.

3.      Cascade Platinum
dishwasher detergent: These ActionPacs clean your dishes after just one wash,
with NO pre-wash needed. And not only did the Cascade Platinum give my dishes a
streak-free shine, but I didn’t have to pre-rinse anything before I ran the
dishwasher. Get this: it even got peanut butter off my plates without me having
to wash the plates first.

4.      Dawn dish soap:
This is my secret weapon. Smells like a dream and cuts the grease so I don’t
have to scrub harder. After all, it’s THREE times stronger than generic dish
soap.

You can find all these products at your local grocery store, retail store, home improvement store, and mass merchandise stores.

Cheers to spring, cheers to a clean house, and cheers to Febreze for making our lives easier.

This post is sponsored by Febreze. All opinions are my own.

The post Spring Cleaning with Febreze appeared first on The Champagne Supernova.

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This morning I was at the courthouse when opposing counsel told me his wife was busy hauling their eight year-old daughter, who is a couple years older than my daughters, to after school activities.

Let me see if I remember this correctly. His daughter partook in ten activities. You didn’t read it wrong. Ten.

Chess, soccer, French lessons, dance, competitive gymnastics, swim, violin, Girl Scouts, mini yoga, and sewing. My colleague said his daughter didn’t get home until after 9 p.m. each night and that she still had to do her homework and shower before bed.

Hearing this child’s schedule was exhausting.

Then it started creeping in: MOM GUILT.

As background, I have a personal policy in my home that each of my kids is allowed two extracurricular activities at a given time. Two activities gives my kids freedom to decide what to do without them burning out. It also allows me to maintain sanity, as I work part time as a lawyer and have a crazy schedule. I know my personal limits, and any more activities will trigger irritation that results in impatience, yelling, and nothing good.

Notwithstanding this personal rule of two activities, I began comparing myself to my colleague’s wife and felt like a crappy mother. I questioned whether my two-activity policy was selfish. I asked myself whether I was depriving my kids of amazing opportunities because I didn’t want to chauffeur them anymore than I already did.

“What if the girls have more talent than Frederic Chopin and I’ll never know about it because they don’t take piano lessons? Should I go online and order a Baby Grand?”

I stressed about it for a couple days.

Then I had the epiphany.

I have to do what is best for me and my family and own it.

I can lie to myself all day and pretend to be the type of mom that I want to be instead of the mom I actually am. You know what would happen? It would never fly.

Here’s the reality.

I’m not a Pinterest mom. I love OTHER Pinterest moms, but party planning is not my gift. I’m content with throwing a party at a park with a pizza, bounce house, and decorations that don’t match. I just want my kids to have fun.

I’m not a PTA mom. I love OTHER PTA moms, but committee stuff is not my gift. Yes, I can do it and get it done, but it’s not my calling. I love attending events and don’t have to be on the planning committee. I’d rather let other moms have the proverbial floor. I’m content being an Indian and not the Chief.

I’m not a Sally Homemaker mom. I love OTHER Sally Homemaker moms, but keeping house is not my gift. I marvel over the way some moms make cleaning, homemaking, and raising children look effortless. I aspire to be that way and ask them for advice, but that’s just not how God wired me.

I’m not the patient Math Tutor mom. I love OTHER Math Tutor moms, but if I want my kids to love me, I have to let someone else help them with their homework. Otherwise, it ends with tears, frustration, and eye rolls. Because fractions and long division.

I am not the mom who is going to put her kids in ten activities. I love and respect those moms. I’m not shaming them. Some kids enjoy being super active. Some kids need to burn off energy. Some moms like driving their kids everywhere and don’t mind getting home late.

But those are not my kids and that is not me. I’m not going to let Mom Guilt blind me to what my kids and I really need, which is time to rest before bedtime.

Just because being a Pinterest mom, PTA mom, Sally Homemaker mom, Math Tutor mom, or Activity mom aren’t my gifts doesn’t mean I don’t have them. There are plenty of other things to bring to the table and I’ll own what I know I am: a chauffeur, therapist, cook, knock-knock joke teller, laundry lady, hairdresser, stylist, snack-maker, sideline-cheerer, bedtime storyteller, board game-player, movie watcher, and teacher.

I’m okay with all those things. I don’t need to be a Pinterest mom. I just care about doing my best.

Cheers.

The post I am not a Pinterest Mom appeared first on The Champagne Supernova.

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A couple months ago, I deposed a plaintiff who had a traumatic brain injury from a catastrophic car accident. If the case wasn’t ongoing, I’d share the property damage photographs, but this man is lucky to be alive.

This man is highly educated and worked as an architect at a large, worldwide firm. He claims his cognitive dysfunction has left him unable to hold down gainful employment.

At his deposition, as a matter of course and to identify potential witnesses, I asked him who his best friends were.

I’ll never forget the look of authentic pain on his face when he sadly disclosed he had no friends. It was heartbreaking and will probably be one of the standout memories of my career.

He told me his childhood and college friends rallied around him in the months following the accident, and then slowly disappeared. Now the only human interaction he gets is from his parents, and that’s just because he lives with them.

We all know people who are suffering from a tragedy. Death. Divorce. Job Loss. An Accident. Sickness. Bankruptcy. Struggles with a family member. Addiction.

Reach out to those people and then reach out to them some more.

Remind these people they are not alone. We are all busy with our own lives and problems, but it’s effortless to send an “I’m thinking of you” text when you’re sitting at a stop light or waiting in the carpool line. Invite them to join you for weekend plans with your family or to come with you where you worship. If you’re going to the movies, invite them to come along. Send them a small gift via Amazon Prime.

We live in a world where people are too concerned with minding their own business and not offending anyone. But as God instructed us to love each other, reaching out to other people who might need is isn’t just our business, it’s also our calling. We are our brother’s keepers.

It takes a community to love each other and to let one another know that they matter.

The post We are Each Other’s Keepers appeared first on The Champagne Supernova.

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Are you looking for an affordable, family-friendly beach destination on Florida’s Space Coast with beautiful oceanfront property and plenty of amenities? I have the answer!

It’s the Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort.

As parents of two young daughters, ages 5 and 7, our first priority when deciding a vacation destination is whether the location has the facilities for our kids to have a BLAST without us being the only source of entertainment. (Mom and Dad want to relax, too!)

The Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort had plenty of “extras” to keep our girls busy in the heat, between the swimming pool, jacuzzi, large splash pad, and the lazy river.

The hotel recently underwent a multimillion dollar renovation, and the facility went beyond my expectations. Every single one of the resort’s rooms have a large living area, a full kitchen, two big bathrooms, and two bedrooms: one with a set of twin beds and another with a California king. The decor is modern and inviting, and we didn’t have to deal with inconveniences older resorts experience like rust, leaky faucets, or outdated decor. (Anyone else remember the Pelican motifs from family beach vacations in the 1980s?)

Westgate Resort Cocoa Beach also has two restaurants on-site: the poolside Aloha Tiki Bar & Cafe, where you can order sandwiches and adult libations, as well as the Beachside Cafe, where you can grab a snack or ice cream.

Because the rooms have full kitchens, we were able to run to the grocery store across the street from the hotel and grab perishable breakfast foods and snacks, without worrying about where we would store them.

Living area and full kitchen at the Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort.
California king size bed.
The girls are enjoying a TV show in the spacious twin beds. The splash pad area- my kids were in hog heaven. The girls enjoyed some friendly competition with sliding board races. Relaxing on the Lazy River.

On the topic of concierge-level service, the Westgate Resort Cocoa Beach’s experience exceeded my expectations with towel service, complimentary sunscreen, bluetooth speakers, and someone who is on deck to clean your sunglasses every 30 minutes! (I mean, for real!) The beach area also has plenty of ways to keep your kids entertained, between offering surf lessons, volleyball, corn hole, football, soccer, and items to make sand castles.

Me and the kids having fun at the Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort

As if the on-site resort services weren’t enough, Westgate Cocoa Beach is also close to the Cocoa Beach Pier and offers complimentary shuttle service between the Pier and the Resort every half hour. (My kids LOVED riding on the trolley.) This convenient service means you never have to worry about parking. A historic landmark on Florida’s Space Coast, the world-famous Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier stretches 800 feet over the Atlantic Ocean and offers something for everyone — including award-winning restaurants and bars, live entertainment, gift shops and boutiques, surf lessons, bicycle rentals, and a beach concierge and cabana service. While we were there, we even saw a wedding on Cocoa Beach– and the Pier offered the perfect venue for the reception.

Dining and entertainment venues at the Pier include the Rikki Tikki Tavern, which features a thatched roof, open-air seating, food service and spectacular ocean views; Pelican’s Bar & Grille, a casual ocean eatery; Keith’s Oyster Bar, the only open-air seafood bar on the beach; The Boardwalk Bar, a casual bar and eatery; and Sea Dogs, known for its delicious beef hot dogs and sweet treats.

Enjoying ourselves before dinner at the Pier.

The next time you’re up for a beach vacation, staycation, or Florida getaway, put the Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort on the top of your list.

This post is sponsored by Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort. However, I’d never promote a vacation destination that I didn’t enjoy, and all opinions are my own.

The post Family Beach Fun at the Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort appeared first on The Champagne Supernova.

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I had a near-death experience last year when I got the flu. It caught up with me at the worst possible time and place: on a girls’ trip with friends in New Orleans. Instead of enjoying everything the Big Easy had to offer like jambalaya, crawfish, and beignets, I was holed up in my hotel room feeling miserable. The pounding from the fever happening in my head felt like the thumping of a Second Line Parade. I returned to Tampa, missed several days from work, and lost ten pounds because I couldn’t keep food down. Luckily, I managed to not infect my children and husband, who were quarantined. (And let’s be honest, there is no sickness worse than a “man cold.”)

Photograph of me (far right) and friends in New Orleans before the flu kicked in.

This year, I’m doing everything possible to prevent me and my family from having another horrific run-on with the flu. 

Where are we starting? With Indian River Select’s juice.

As background, I’ve been a long-time purchaser of this juice. Born and raised in Florida, I’ve been drinking juice my entire life and know that not all orange juices are created equally. Some are too sweet- packed with preservatives, artificial flavors, and added sugars. Indian River Select’s juices taste different because they taste BETTER and FRESHER. After just one sip, you can tell they are different from the rest. After all, their juices contain ONE ingredient: orange or grapefruit.

I have always been an advocate of supporting small, local businesses. Indian River Select is a company I can totally get behind, as it is one of the few premium juice companies that is 100% Floridian. This means EVERYTHING is done locally in Florida: from the growing to the picking to the packaging.  

Now, back to the flu. An 8-ounce glass of Indian River Select’s orange juice is an excellent source of Vitamin C, potassium, folate, and thiamin- all nutrients that may help support, boost, and maintain a healthy immune system. 

Other ways to combat the flu include moseying to the nearest pharmacy for a flu shot, staying hydrated, washing your hands properly, and supporting your immune system.

Finding Indian River Select juices is easy. They’re available at many accessible and national retail chains like Walmart, Winn-Dixie, Target, Publix, Whole Foods, and The Fresh Market.

Visit Indian River Select online to learn more – you can also download a discount coupon here.

Cheers to steering clear of the flu this flu season.

This post is sponsored by Indian River Select. All opinions are my own.

The post Combat the Flu with Indian River Select appeared first on The Champagne Supernova.

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