Best Bets for Kids Back to School Shopping

hmI love this time of year. What I don’t like about it, is that I am too old for back to school shopping! Luckily, I can get my fix by shopping for my two kids. My son is starting 3rd grade and has his own unique sense of style, and my daughter is starting kindergarten and shopping for her is SO MUCH FUN!

First off, I’m on a budget. And second, even if I wasn’t on a budget I would still shop on a budget for kids’ clothes since they wear them out and outgrow them so quickly. But having a few good staples that are high quality are essential to prevent replacing the same thing 3 times. The smart shopper that I am, I started last month at the Nordstrom half-yearly sale. They have great deals on kids’ shoes so I picked my son up two pair. A pair of Nike’s and a more casual everyday shoe. Score and done!

My normal go-to stores for kid shopping have been Old Navy, Gap, Childrens Place and Target. Now that my kids are older, I’m not really finding much I like at the old stand-bys. So this year I’d tried something new! This year’s top hits are….wait for it….H & M and Zulily! Score!

I’ll admit I’m new to H & M. This year they came out with a US website and I ordered a couple things online. Very recently, they opened a store in my local mall. I’m not crazy about the mall..but ordering online has been great! I ordered a few things for myself and wasn’t that impressed. The quality isn’t great and some of the accessories are too flashy! But I did end up with a few cute tops and some cute accessories—for cheap! And the kids’ stuff is great!! Old navy was good up to 5T, but the “girls” section, isn’t great. H & M is not only cheaper than Old Navy (gasp!) but the clothes are so stylish! This month I’ve spend about $150 at H & M for back to school clothes and literally got 30+ items! I had a 20% off coupon that I found at RetailMeNot (which I ALWAYS check before shopping online!) and tops that were only 4$ to start ended up being $2.40!! That’s cheaper than consignment! I got my daughter, the CUTEST outfits, all that you can mix and match, a super cute backpack and even shoes! My son got hoodies, henley’s, and button down shirts that he loves! All..without having to leave my home! Score again!

If you haven’t heard of Zulily you are really missing out! This online site offers designer brands for cheap! This is a great place to go to get good quality staples without paying full price! The selections change daily so there is always new stuff. But things do sell out so you have to act quickly if you really want something. Downfall of Zulily is that shipping is a little pricey.

And if you’re not shopping through eBates—you are missing out on cold hard cash! By just going through the eBates link to make online purchases, you automatically get a certain percentage CASH back. They will literally mail you a check! Why wouldn’t you! Use this link to sign up! http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=NA1QszDWRZoumD64TOUuag%3D%3D&eeid=26471

And if you use this link for Zulily I get a credit so please do! http://www.zulily.com/invite/elundstrom522

So without stepping foot in a mall, I have successfully completed my back to school shopping! Now….if I can just find an excuse to buy myself a few things! :)

About these ads

5 Great Finds at the Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale- Mom Style

On the advice of my friend Karla, I am resisting the temptation to blog about Tinder or my otherwise unsuccessful dating experiences. (But it doesn’t mean that I won’t go back there.)

I am not a fashion blogger. In fact, my idea of fashion doesn’t usually venture out the realm of flip-flops and jeans. However, due to a very generous family member, I had a gift card to Nordstrom and made some recent purchases at the Nordstrom half yearly sale.

I’m not a huge shopper. I hate malls so I usually shop online and Nordstrom offers free shipping and returns which is so nice. When I do shop, I usually buy for the kids (mom problem) or shop somewhere inexpensive like Old Navy. But there are a few staples that are worth the money. And so…. here is my Christmas in July!

Steve Madden brown leather riding boots!

Boots

It’s amazing with so many boots out there that it’s hard to find the right ones!  I have black boots but love these and they fit perfectly!  FYI Nordstrom sale is a great time to get boots!

Northface Venture rain jacket

 

 

 

Living in WA a good rain jacket is a must!  I wore out my black Marmot jacket so this time I wanted a little color! The picture I took didn’t do it justice so here is this lovely lady wearing it.  It’s bright and cheery and it will definitely be a staple this fall!

$35 Tote from the Junior’s section

purse

This wasn’t the first purse I purchased at the sale.  I originally ordered a black leather Rebecca Minkoff tote.  I’ve never had a designer purse (gasp!) and I thought maybe it was time.  When it arrived, I just wasn’t that impressed!  For how much it cost I felt that I better be in love with it–so I sent it back (free returns!)  I’m so in love with this cute tote from the juniors section that was a fraction of the cost!  Winning!

Everyday earrings

earrings

I’m not fancy (unlike Iggy Azalea).  I like a good pair of earrings that are great for everyday. These were perfect so I got them in silver and gold!

Shoes for my boy

shoesOf course I can’t shop without thinking about my kids and Nordstrom sale is a great time to buy kids shoes!  These Nike’s are very cool, comfortable and perfect for my soon-to-be 3rd grader!

If your looking for a legit fashion blog, check out Love it Need it  or Polaroids and Pumps.  If you want more “mom style”  check out Katie’s choices at Bellingfam.

Happy Shopping!

A Summary of My Single Life This Week…

singlefunGood lord.  Never did I imagine myself a single mom dating at 37.  But here I am.  And I’m learning a lot, like: divorce sucks no matter how “mutual it is”, dating sucks, Tinder is for hookups, only losers are on Plenty of Fish (in my town anyway–no judgement!), and dating brings out all of my insecurities.

So…this week has a had a few ups and downs. I realized that even if guys say “Not looking for hookups” they are.  I had someone unmatch me on Tinder because we did not hook up on the first date.  He has since changed his profile to read, “Looking for someone kinda freaky.”  OK- Bullet dodged there!  I’ve had guys literally stop chatting with me after I say most guys are creeps and want to hook up.  (Sorry guys, you’re gonna have to put in some work here.)  Of course why would they want to put in the work if they can get “it” anyway without any work?  Ok, I get it.  Tinder it was fun while it lasted, but I’m over you.

This week I also was taken aback by someone else I met. The conversation goes as follows…

Sketchy guy, “I haven’t seen you in town before or we would be married by now.”  um, no.  But there’s more. “Why are you single?  Seriously. You’re fucking beautiful.”  OK, not sure to take that as a compliment or to be offended by that language!?  Then..”please let me be the first and last to sweep you off your feet.”  It didn’t end there.  “Have you ever dated a black guy?  Because your going to fall in love with this one.”  My reply, “Um we’ll see about that.”  Talk about coming on strong!  He was really handsome and seemingly into me so I agreed to have 1 drink.  Then he just never contacted me again! Even after I agreed to the drink! That’s a lot of freaking lines to just vanish.  But now I get the game.  They use lines to go fishing for those who will take the bait.  I’m not taking it so they move on.  You are a loser buddy, and no.  Just no.

Then there was the local chiropractor.  Seemed pretty nice, I could overlook the full head of grey hair for the right guy.  So we chat, and when he asks how I like using the app, I say “lot of creeps, most want hook ups.  Not my style.”  Silence.  Never texted me again!  OK, another bullet dodged and I see how this is going.

OK, so if I didn’t learn my lesson last week I’ve learned it now!

I haven’t really thought about dating for a long time.  I’m ok on my own.  But there is something about human nature that makes you want to be with someone else.  My aim of trying to take risks and put myself there so far has not paid off.  I’m a pretty confident woman.  But I have to admit that having guys stop talking to me and unmatching me (even if they are losers) is a shot to the ego!  Who tells you “You’re gonna fall in love with me,” then never calls again?  I don’t get it.  I have to remember that I need to look for love in the right places–which is not online.

Also this week I realize that being called a ‘yummy mummy’ isn’t necessary a bad thing. Wikipedia a kins it to people like Liz Hurley and Victoria Beckman.  Women who have kids but are still hot!  So thank you Bryan 18 miles away, I guess I shouldn’t have come down on you so harshly!  Oh, I also realized there is a ‘Yummy Mummy’ club in Canada.  And if you remember most of my matches are Canadians.  Should I join the club?!

OK, people,  I need to know if this is just me or this is the experience of all single moms?!

Where have all the cool guys gone??

Why I fail on Tinder

badtinderWell, it’s Friday. What a better way to waste time at work on a Friday afternoon? Tinder! My last two posts have outlined the highs and lows of my experience on this dating app. Now I just want to share some really random and entertaining things that make me laugh on Tinder.

I like humor. I’m 10X more likely to swipe right if you’re funny. But perhaps liking people with profiles like this one below is the reason my experience has pretty much sucked.

Ryan, 40. About Ryan. “My perfect date night. I pick you up in my Kia Sorento. You get in. There’s candles lit. You say, ‘isnt that dangerous?’ I say, ‘Yes, but I like danger.’ We go to your favorite restaurant and have a fantastic meal. We go outside and my car is on fire. You say, ‘Ryan, your car is on fire.’ I pull out a bag of marshmallows and say ‘I knew this was going to happen.’ Then we kiss in front of the burning car.”

This profile is ridiculous. And the fact that I like it, even more ridiculous!  And of course, we are a match!  What’s wrong with me?? Seriously!!

 

(Btw, the image included is not the same person–or you better believe we’d be making out in front of the burning car) ;)

5 Things I’ve Learned My First Week on Tinder

tinder_matchIf you follow me, or read my last post, you know that I am very new to the dating world. I’m turned off by online dating sites-and am especially not interested in paying dating companies to exploit my single-hood. However, about a week ago I downloaded the free dating app Tinder. I did it for fun. Mostly just brush up on the latest technology for my work, blog and for future reference. Last week I wrote a post called Things I Learned My First Day on Tinder. There were several things that surprised me about the popular app, some good, some bad. Now, after a week of using Tinder- moderately, there are more things I have learned.

  1. The app has a reputation of being a “hook up” app. And although there are a lot of people that are not there to hook up. There are many that are. I have learned the factors to help you determine who is and who is not there for a hook up. No shirt photos= hook up. Pics of random body parts= hook up. Men that only message after 11pm= hook up. Men that message and call you a “Yummy Mummy” (YES! This did happen! WTF is that??)= hook up. Profiles that explicitly state “I’m here to hook up”= hook up.  Profiles that explicitly say “I’m not here to hook up”= not looking for hookup. Profiles that say “I’m not here just for hook ups”= prob would prefer hook ups.   Anyway, good information to know.
  2. Most of your matches you’ll never talk to. Tinder matches you with people who you have “liked” and who have also “liked” you. As a woman, I expect the man to be the first to reach out, so I haven’t been first to message anyone. And while I’m heard from a good variety, the majority of my matches I have never heard from (what’s the point?).
  3. Take your time! I have little patience. I get to swiping on Tinder and end up flipping through so fast I’ve let a lot of the good ones go. And they never come back!!! It’s important to take your time and make sure you don’t automatically swipe the perfect match. On the other hand..I’ve swiped too quickly and then rushed and swept right trying to get them back to only end up having “liked” a random loser in the process. Unmatch. Check.
  4. If 4 out of 5 pictures in a profile include an alcoholic beverage, there’s a pretty good chance they are, in fact, an alcoholic.
  5. And probably the number one surprise after a week on Tinder, is that I’ve met at least one person that is worth getting to know. Who’d have thought?!

I’m not sure what my future with Tinder holds, I’m getting a little bored after the initial fun, but for now it gives me really great stories to share with my co-workers who look forward to hearing them every day!!

Anyone else have any Tinder stories!?

 

Surprising Facts I Learned My First Day on Tinder

tinderUp until about a week ago, I had no idea about this “Tinder” thing. I’m not into dating, much less online dating. I’m recently out of a 12 year marriage and have no idea about the dating world today. It’s been several months since my separation and because my ex and I shared the same circle of friends, the possibility of meeting new, fun people intrigued me. I’m trying to take risks lately and do things that are out of my comfort zone. Turned off by Match.com, Plenty of Fish and the numerous other paid online dating sites, I decided what the hell, let’s check out Tinder.

To fill you in, Tinder is the straight person’s version of Grindr, a gay social networking app. I set up my profile and in a matter of minutes I was Tinder-ing. Tinder is GPS-based so it helps you connect with people in your area with similar interests to you. About 2 minutes in and I was hooked. I thought Tinder would be all youngsters and I would be the odd, older lady. But I realized that there were a ton of people my age! Even better, a ton of cute single dads!

It took me a while to get the swing of it. I consider myself to be tech savvy, and even I had to Google “how to use Tinder.” I swiped the wrong way a couple of times and got matched up with some randoms, but once I had it down, I unmatched the losers and started “liking” the hotties. Here is what surprised me…

-        There are a TON of hot, athletic guys in Canada! I live right in between Seattle and Vancouver BC, and clearly I have been venturing out in the wrong direction! The hotties are all North! I could NOT believe the cute snowboarding, hockey playing, sporty guys right at my fingertips! Note to self—next girls trip, go to Canada!

-        People post the strangest choice of photos! With the exception of my Canadian hotties with pics of catching air snowboarding at Whistler, so many people choose photos that are either not flattering, blurry, group photos where you can’t establish which guy you are looking at and even wedding pictures!   Yes, people actually post pics in their tux from their wedding. Weird.

-        People are really funny. You only have so many characters on Tinder for your profile, the best one’s I’ve seen have been super funny!!! I am 10x more likely to like a guy with a hilarious profile. The serious ones, like, “I am a tender-hearted gentleman looking for the lady of my dreams,” are stoopid! Ew, who wants an effeminate guy!

-        There are cuties right in my back yard! Overwhelmed by the hotness in Canada, I decided to zero in on the local scene. I really thought there were no single, decent guys in my town- but I may have been wrong! There are cuties that like the same restaurants as me, single dads who do fun things with their kids and lots of outdoor adventurers! Who knew!

-        It’s fun. I signed up on Tinder to familiarize myself with the app. After all, I do work in the tech field and figured I should know how these things work. I never thought it would be so much fun..or work! After just a couple hours I had several “matches” and even got messages from my cute Canadians! For someone who’s been lacking excitement in the man department for some time, it was really fun to chat with someone!

I don’t know if I’m ready to take the next step and actually meet up with one of these guys, but at least I’m putting myself out there and it really feels good for someone to call you “attractive” or “hot.” Looks like I need to shape up this mom bod and get myself back into the swing!

Why ‘Let it Go’ is my Theme Song this Year

LET_IT_GO-8551.pngIf you have children, no doubt you’ve heard the song Let it Go from the movie Frozen. My daughter has the whole movie practically memorized. Especially the songs…which there are a lot of! Normally I get really irritated hearing the same annoying songs over and over. But watching my 4 year old recite almost every word to Let it Go in Frozen makes me smile. She wears headphones when she watches it at home (we make her!) and she sings her little heart out! Cutest thing ever!

Aside from the animated fun, my life has brought about a lot of events this year-many out of my control. And, being the control freak I am, I’ve had to let a lot of things go- some harder than others, but none of them easy. Three major life events are dominating my life right now. The one that has brought the most immediate change has been the separation from my husband of 12 years. Granted, this was a welcome change, still, despite being told how much it changes your life, I was not prepared.

I’m trying my best to stay positive and embrace a new future. I’m excited about the possibilities that are ahead of me, but in the meantime there aren’t enough positive quotes on Facebook to keep on a smile every day.

images

I’ve had to let go of the vision of my ‘perfect life.’ Like I said, I’m a control freak. I actually had my life planned out up to this moment. College, travel, marriage, 2 kids, home. Now my vision of our cute family of 4 on family vaca’s to Disneyland and Hawaii has been altered. There won’t be ‘our’ family sitting around the dinner table every night talking about our days. No more family road trips or holidays together. That, my friends, has been a tough pill to swallow. My vision of being the ‘perfect’ parent with a picture-perfect family is gone. I now have a new vision of my future, and I will say, despite the changes, I have all I need- 2 amazing kids.

You always hear people talk about divorce and how it affects your friendships. I had no clue how true that would be. Probably one of the hardest parts of this entire process is watching my friendship circles completely change. “They” say that during these times you really find out who your friends are- and that couldn’t be truer. Friends are put in an awkward place when 2 people divorce. Most try to stay neutral, but when push comes to shove it really isn’t possible to stay close to both. I had to accept losing a LOT of friends. I really tried hanging on- thinking my ex and I could still share the same friendship circle. I hung on even when it caused more pain than happiness to see who I thought were my best girlfriends posting pics out on the town with my ex. It actually took talking to a professional to realize I had to let it go, for my own good. Probably one of the hardest things I’ve done.

On the other hand, I do have friends that have my back. They come right over when they know you are struggling, without you even having to ask. They listen, without judgment, offer sound advice and drag you out of your hole when you are buried so deep you think you’ll never see light again. So despite losing a majority of friends, having just a few good friends in my corner has meant the world to me.

My ex and I share our kids 50/50. And the kids will often come home telling me they had ice cream for breakfast, or played video games all day—the really violent ones with guns that I hate!! But the truth is, I can’t control what the kids do with my ex. I know he’s a good father and I just have to LET IT GO..and maybe brush their teeth extra good when they are with me ;)

There have been a lot of positives that have come from this experience. I’ve learned to let a lot of things go that I thought were important, but at the end of the day, I will be fine without. I’ve created a new vision of my future and it looks pretty darn good. I’m excited about the possibilities that lay ahead for me, and while I will continue to plan, I am happy to see where this exciting life takes me! The cold never bothered me anyway!! :)

 

Top 5 Reasons Why I love the Huffington Post

In today’s world with the internet readily available at our fingertips, we have a variety of sites to choose from for news and entertainment. I visit a lot of them regularly, some for my job and some for personal reasons, but lately my favorite site for information, advice and humor is the Huffington Post. Why, you ask?

Image

  1. Arianna Huffington. Arianna Huffington is the mastermind behind the Huff Post..and yes she’s a WOMAN. I had the privilege of listening to her keynote speech at a work conference I attended last year and was completely in awe of what she had to say. This is a modern-day woman if I’ve ever met one (well..I guess technically I didn’t meet her, but hypothetically). Not only is she incredibly wise and business-savvy, she also has a firm grasp on the “real world.”  She realizes the struggles of working moms having to return to work 3 months after un-paid maternity leave (3 months, if you’re lucky!) and the immense strain of trying to cover the costs of childcare. She realizes that in most families, both spouses work. She knows how overworked American’s are and how much it affects our health and well-being. And she offers sections on her site that address ALL of these issues that most sweep under the rug. Here the link to the keynote speech- Ladies it’s definitely worth watching!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANCo6cBXi2I
  2. The Divorce section. I was still married at the conference last year when I heard her speak,  yet I still realized the value in having this section since so many issues for adults and children revolve around divorce. Now going through a divorce myself, I find this section to be a lifeline I don’t know what I’d do without. Everyday there are real stories from real people that understand divorce because they’ve been there. They share inspiring stories and some of the best advice I’ve gotten through this process has been from this section. Thank you to Arianna for creating this and to all the contributors that help me and so many others every single day.  (Today’s post was just what I needed).  I recommend this to anyone going through a divorce, separation or even break up.
  3. The Parenting section. If you are like me you are overwhelmed with where to go for good advice about parenting. Who can you trust and where do are they getting this information? In the parenting section of the Huff Post, there is always at least one article a day that I can totally relate to and learn from. No matter the age of my child, I get the basic, yet real advice about the real world from people who are actually parents themselves! There’s something new!
  4. Humor. There’s nothing like a funny story to cheer you up on a down day and the Huff Post Entertainment section does the trick! Funny, real stories about current events and the modern world by hilarious writers makes this section a no-brainer go-to for me.
  5. Variety. The Huff Post allows a variety of talented bloggers to contribute the different sections. Because of this, you get a variety of all kinds of personalities, opinions and views on life making it a well-rounded mix. The variety of mom bloggers are great because they address topics from all opinions and parenting styles.

No, I wasn’t paid to write this. But hey, if Arianna would like for me to guest blog I wouldn’t turn her down! :)