Thursday, October 26, 2017

Shopping (to make money for more shopping)

Thank you all for your support and comments on the last post. The situation sucks and is painful and I don't really want to talk about it anymore. In the words of James, "I loved that little shitbag." and I suppose that sums it up as well as anything. We really did. He's going to be fostered with the head of the rescue group for a while and I think it will be a very good landing place for him.

On Tuesday evening I took the kids to a skating rink for a PE program fundraiser at our school. It was pretty much the last thing on earth I felt like doing after a full day at work and a draining day of arranging for Winston's new foster situation, but the kids were so excited to go, so I got home, threw together a dinner we could heat up when we got back, and piled everyone in the car to drive out west to the roller rink.

And, though I would still totally have rather been home, it was really so fun. It was Cora's first time on skates and she totally rocked it. She fell a bunch, laughed maniacally the whole way down, and then popped back up and skated some more. She participated in the games in the center of the rink. Every time I tried to get us to take a break after "one more time around" she'd quickly negotiate with "no, TEN more times!". The big kids were great- they got roller skates and blades for their birthdays this summer and skate most nights before dinner. Lots of friends ended up coming. It was a good time.

(And now Cora is getting roller skates for Christmas. And even better, I bought them off our neighborhood buy/sell facebook page for $10 the morning after our skate night! I love a bit of buy/sell serendipity.)

I'm going to move on to something utterly frivolous because frankly I need it. We leave for Disney in 16 days. Cora's birthday is in 16 days (with her party in 9 and our little family celebration in 15), the weather is finally sort of slowly turning, Christmas is on the horizon and as a consequence, I'm doing a LOT of online shopping. A lot. We need many things for all the things coming up and our doorstep is littered with boxes and bags. This is what happens when your only free time is between 9 p.m. and midnight and no physical stores are open.

First up, I really must give another plug for Ebates. If you are an online shopper, you really just have to sign up. As of today (2+ years after joining) I have received $1,446 in rebate checks. 1,446 dollars! Do you know how much MORE shopping you can do with that? Which in turns earns you MORE money for your family? You have to spend money to make money, that's just science. I'm still mad I didn't sign up when I first heard of it, a few years before I opened my account. I thought it was a credit card, but it's just an online account with your name, address, and email and you search for the store you want to shop at (Sephora! Gap! Target! Shutterfly! Almost anywhere!), click to open a webpage, shop as normal, and then Ebates gives you a %1-10 rebate for your total purchase in your account. Every quarter they mail you a check. I love it. If you use the referral link you automatically start with $10 in your account. (This isn't sponsored, though that is a referral link, I just really like that I've gotten $1400 extra dollars to spend at more stores with rebates; I find it almost painful to shop in a physical store now because I don't get my ebate. I basically feel entitled to be paid to shop at this point.)

Anyway, moving on to some of my favorite things I've bought lately. (With regular old non-affiliated links to facilitate fulfilling your own ugly sweater shirt needs.)

First up, this shirt from Nordstrom.

I love the color, love that it's the first "knotted" type tee that doesn't show skin above my waistband, and love the scarf and layering possibilities. It's already a fall staple with shorts, leggings, or jeans- whatever the Texas weather requires on that particular day/hour.

My other new favorite shirt? This baby.

It has a tiger on it! Multiple tigers! And when you wear it to work with black pants and a black cardigan or blazer you can't really tell there are jungle cats hiding among all the professionalism until you have a long conversation with someone and suddenly they're like, wait, is that a tiger on your shirt? And you can say yes, I prefer predators on my clothing at all times. Also, it's just a really beautiful shirt (though wait to get it until it's half off again like I did).

These shoes. I've been looking for cute comfortable shoes FOREVER, but the effort really got stepped up with our Disney trip on the horizon. I have some Vans and they're cute but they're super heavy and I didn't think I'd want to wear them for a million miles of walking over 6 days. But I have huge feet- I'm a size 11 in flats, so most flat lace-up shoes look absurd on me. Like clown shoes. My feet are also super narrow, so I end up with all this puffy extra material sticking out the sides when I lace them up tight enough to not shift around on my feet. This eliminates almost all shoes. I know because I've tried on every single pair of every single brand everywhere. But then I found these!

They're not exactly Cinderella's glass slipper, but the thinner fabric on the sides means they mesh to my narrow feet when I lace them and I don't look like I have giant boats on my feet. They're super light and comfy and I love them. I even wore them once instead of a cuter pair even when I wasn't going to be walking a lot! That's a true sign of shoe favor.

Also related to Disney shopping, this purse! I wanted a little cross-body that was light, wouldn't press on my shoulder, and with a skinny strap that wouldn't create a great cross-body boob-divide to haunt my every picture from the magical day. I found this little guy on Amazon, agonized over which color to get, and now have a perfect little Rose Pink purse sitting in my "to pack" pile. I love it and it looks way nicer than the $13 I paid for it.

Next up - THIS SHIRT. I've been looking for a cute/funny Christmas tee for most of us to wear on the first night of our trip to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom (and then wear throughout the holiday season because I already have guilt for buying a Disney tshirt (or two) I'm totally excited about wearing in the park but would absolutely never wear outside of it). And today, my Amazon searching brought me to the BEST find for the obsessive swimmer in your life:

This, our Christmas light-up necklaces, and a pair of Mickey ears? Party Perfection.

Cora will be wearing her birthday surprise Aurora dress she's getting at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique that afternoon, Claire is wearing a snazzy red dress that just looked like her to me, Landon has an ugly sweater tee that involves a dinosaur, and I am still struggling to find my perfect fit. I currently have these two items headed my way:

James said this amazing dress was "pretty!" I tried to explain it's actually supposed to be ugly, but he emphatically followed up with, "I like it." Possibly just because it's really short?

And this one just brings me joy. They both do. And at $8 and $12 each with free returns, I feel like it's a no-lose situation. I'm leaning towards the short-sleeve dress because I could add a coat if it gets cold later, but when we're entering the park at 4:00 to ride rides and wait for the party, I feel like long sleeves might be hot.

Recently I have also purchased disposable ponchos in adult and child sizes, light up Christmas necklaces, and push-click sharpies for character autographs. I felt like you didn't pictures of those. And my family's Christmas presents, but I can't ruin surprises (they're so great!). And Cora's birthday presents, a plasma car among them, just to keep my deliveries eclectic and in many varying sizes, but we'll cover those on the big day. Obviously, a box or two was from the Disney Store.

I also have a semi-drafted post on skincare because that's one of my new favorite topics from the last year, with reviews on the products I first tried over a year ago and what I'm using now (which is still much of what I started with back then, that C E Ferulic is liquid gold). I'm back to the dermatologist tomorrow to get my stitches out, so maybe I can finish it after that. I'm not sure I've ever left the dermatologist without buying something to slather on my skim to make me feel better, but there's always a first time for everything. Especially since the dermatologist does not offer an Ebate.

What are your favorite things you've bought lately? Do you know which ugly sweater I should wear to the Christmas party we're going to before Thanksgiving? Or have other suggestions? Fire away!


  1. Excellent news alert! Ebates does have cash back IN STORES! It's pretty limited, but includes Sephora, Macys, and Ann Taylor, at least!

  2. I love the dress. It has a gorgeous neckline and bodice while still being on point for the ugly factor with the bows on the bottom half. Masterpiece!

    Hopefully the neckline won't gape open when you bend forward.

  3. I don't do much shopping online or otherwise, but my kids and I all need fall stuff and shoes and and and. Ebates is so tempting! For now, I just ordered some replacement Tervis for 3 of ours that didn't last (lifetime guarantee). They gave me a $40 coupon so that was fun. :) Got a couple of easy Xmas gifts.

  4. Definitely go for the short sleeved dress. Between herding three kids through the park, pushing a stroller, and running from ride to ride you are going to be hot in no time regardless if it's cooler out or not.

    Also, I would highly recommend bringing a second pair of shoes along that you know are comfortable and work for you. By day two or three my feet sometimes need a break from being shoved into the same shoe (especially if it's a new one) and that second pair is a godsend. By biggest Disney tip is wear shoes that are comfortable to you. I've found the only shoes I can wear every day and walk an endless amount without them bothering me are the cheap rubber flipflops from Old Navy. I was miserable trying to wear sneakers every time until I figured this out.

  5. PSA: Ebates has in-store cash back! Check the website and link it to your credit card and voila! Not as many stores are available vs. the online cash back, but still worth checking :)

  6. Bring one of those vacuum pack bags that you fold to get the air out in order to bring the princess dress home. Not only saves on space, but keeps the glitter contained. Only took us 4 Disney cruises to figure this one out and it makes such a difference!

  7. If you use Chrome as your browser, you can download the Ebates extension. It adds a little icon to your browser that tells you if the website you are visiting uses ebates. If it does, a little button pops up for you to click to apply ebates. No more going through the ebates website every time. It's awesome!

  8. Where do you go show shopping? I've given up shopping for big girl shoes (I wear 11.5) in Texas. Do you order online? My online places are getting sparse also. Help! Thanks! I like the sweater with the bows.

  9. That was shoe not show.

  10. I appreciate that purse link. I also need some sort of cross-body purse because I'm going to Orlando in January! I'm not doing Disney world though; instead, I am doing Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Universal.

  11. We've gone at Christmas twice. You've probably heard about the passports in Epcot-- great souvenir. At each country you could do a craft related to Christmas,band to get your passport stamped and signed, you had to talk with a person from that country and learn a custom or a few words in that language. My kids loved the whole thing. You will have so much fun!

    One more thing: if you don't want to spring for the inevitable lanyards for pin trading, take lanyards and name tag holders (for fast passes) from the various conferences and meetings I am sure you've collected. Lisa M.

  12. Order pins off Amazon! You may already know that, but just in case...make sure they are the verified Disney ones for trading purposes.

  13. Going with your cashback theme. You can get cash back for grocery shopping with the Ibotta app! I don’t make a ton on it, but it’s pretty easy to use. Just unlock th offers and scan them and your receipt after shopping.

  14. Longtime lurker but needed to make my first comment because I wear a size 12 and I have had those Saucony shoes for a year and they are still going strong, still comfortable AND I'm bringing them with me to Disney in December. Hopefully they serve you just as well! And for the commenter above, I only buy shoes from Zappos now because they have the largest selection for bigger feet that I could find.