Category Archives: fashion/style

My Favorite Online Stores

Did you know you can buy local and support small businesses while still enjoying the convenience of buying online? Sometimes you have to go with a huge store, but not always!

GlassGirlJen on Etsy – gorgeous pieces. We’re not talking “etched glass” here. She deeply engraves into a wide variety of glassware. This is still one my favorites for wedding gifts, but great for a first Christmas, first Christmas in your own apartment, etc.

Clever hand-crocheted items. I met this woman and her daughter at a local craft fair. She doesn’t work from patterns, she just creates it. And all of her work is beautiful and baby-proof! Message her ASAP to let her know what you want. Her prices are very reasonable!

Amazon – I do have a caveat, however. Amazon lets OTHER companies sell through them now. Unless you have bought from that particular company before don’t chance it for a holiday gift. I ordered a cute Tshirt in an XL. I’m not a fan of the skin-tight T. This one is so small enough for a ten-year-old. So now I’m searching Pinterest for a way to up-size the shirt.  I do ADORE Amazon Prime though, since I do MUCH more last-minute shopping these days. ALSO, it’s one of the best places to find the best new indie-published books you won’t find in bookstore! SO many great authors are going the indie route. Lisa Tapp, Joan Kayse, and Ian Eviston to name just a few!

Target – I love Target because I can order online and select “ship to store” for free. This means that even if everything is already IN my store someone will gather it up for me. I pay online and just pick it up at the service desk. No impulse shopping, no forgetting I went in with a list and a price limit. Which is good, since THIS just happened:

Primary – This is my new addiction. Right now they only make basic clothes in solid colors (MANY colors!) with no labels (school-friendly) for kids. I want an adult line. I wouldn’t wear anything else most days. And it’s very high-quality with reasonable prices. They even have two weights for many of their pieces, so I can buy a hoodies for kiddos in Texas AND Kentucky. Sew on a few jingle bells for Christmas, add make temporary Contac paper or Duck Tape cut-outs for holidays, and one red T shirt can be cleverly current all year!

ThinkGeek – Is there anyone in your family who loves Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Fallout, Game of Thrones, or other things not everyone else is quite as passionate about? I owned a communicator pin and Vulcan ears when the folks at ThinkGeek were in diapers, so I could spend hours browsing this store. This may well end up as a gift this year for one of my Fallout fans.
SteveSpanglerScience – This is a great gift site for adults and kids. Once I bought several items from this shop and left them in the Reading Room – kind of the home base for our docs, where they’d hang their coats, pick up their patient lists, and do computer work. They were a hit! My dad LOVES all these things. He’s an Engineer, and uses a couple of the toys to analyze his new students or faculty while he’s chatting with them.

Newegg.com – I don’t go here without being given a link. It’s computer parts. As in, you take your CPU apart and put things in. My sons tell me they have GREAT deals. If you have a computer nerd on your list send them the link to browse. They’ll be excited!

Nerium – Awesome stuff. My husband uses the same cheap shampoo to wash his hair, face, and body. I swear. I only very recently got him started on a leave-in conditioner, which he LOVES. After thirty-one years I’m finally getting him to take a couple of baby steps towards taking care of himself. He takes EHT (brain booster) daily because his mother died of Alzheimer’s. He uses the Youth Factor powder because I told him he could drink a bottle of this fruit-flavored stuff a day or he could eat a variety of fruits and veggies every day. He chose the powder. I ADORE leafy green veggies, and my memory loss is all pain and medication induced.

So I use the stuff that makes me look good 🙂 Night Cream and Firm are the products that someone would have to pry from my cold, dead hands. This time of year we always have discounted Gift Packs for as long as they last. If I had to guess I’d say 75% of sales are people stocking up on their favorites for cheap and 25% actual gifts. Have you ever bought something intending to gift it. . . then kept it for yourself? *waving hand wildly*

So shop, shop away! But since my sweet, wonderful grandmother went full-out crazy every Christmas (which led to a woman she hired to do her shopping maxing out her credit cards her last Christmas at home and then just saying everything was stolen from the trunk) I’m a calm shopper. I plan ahead, I shop evenly for my children, and Michael and I have never shopped for each other. Not since the year we got engaged.

Some people do three gifts, for the three wise men. My personal favorite (and the one Michael is holding me to even though this is our first year with a granddaughter) is Something they Want, Something they Need, Something to Wear, and Something to Read. Yes, of course both Michael and Mom have asked me exactly HOW I know what Emma wants. Well, I’ve known it since before she was born. They’d just better take pictures in Austin to PROVE it!

 

I took creative license on this one, but it works.I hope everyone had a geat Thanksgiving!

Why Does a Stranger Get to Control My Life?

This is as close as I could find to a representation of my last disability hearing:

People who have applied for disability and not been approved at the two earlier stages end up with a hearing. There is a door at the back where the possibly-disabled and their attorney enter. The seats closest to them are where they sit, as if disability of any kind was contagious. There is a stenographer to my left on the square of tables, and a disability occupations adjudicator at the table to my attorney’s right. Directly in front of me is a dais. Once everyone is settled in the judge will enter from a door directly opposite the one I walked through. In his or her black robes, of course. My judge this time is male, and I suspect is the same judge I had last time.

So before a word has been spoken the stage is set. The judge, formally dressed, sitting higher than anyone else. The stenographer and adjudicator sitting close to, but lower than the judge and at an angle toward him. My attorney sits beside me. He doesn’t know me at all, even though we’ve been through a hearing together before and everyone insists he’s great. He was assigned to me by Allsup, a company I’ll be happy to pay since THEY jumped through all the hoops for me. If you need someone, call and mention my name. I think I should have frequent flyer points to share or something.They have a 97% success rate!

My judge has a documented 38%  approval on disability cases, which I found out yesterday. The adjudicator guy will do most of the talking. He’ll list all the jobs I could do full-time, since I clearly can’t return to Nursing. Pretty much I sit there and they talk about me between themselves. This time I’ll stand and tell my own story. No one in that room knows me or my family or what we’ve been through.

If they did they’d all give me gentle hugs, tell me I was in their prayers, and approve me for disability all the way back to the start date of 2009. My children, too, since my pain screwed up both of their lives, plus Michael’s. I don’t think they give compensation to spouses, but he deserves something for all he’s endured.

My hearing is Tuesday (the 14th) at 10 a.m. I would be incredibly thankful if my friends could pray for me, send some positive energy, or just think about me that morning, please. I’d appreciate it SO much! Even if I’ve been a bitch to you lately (as I have to most of those closest to me) just think back to the good times we’ve had and think fondly of me, even if it’s only a minute or two.

My Favorite Things (Today)

I could hardly believe it when I checked Mama Kat’s writing prompts this week and found a topic I’d already entered as a title during a sleepless night mind-mapping section. So here are my current favorite things, in no particular order. I have affiliate links with a couple of them, but certainly not all. Take this one, for instance:

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Non-slip tape. This is awesome! I bought the two-inch-wide clear tape, and my husband put it on the stairs down from the pantry to the back door. Our chocolate lab is thirteen and, um. . . more full-figured than she should be at her age. So the stairs were becoming a problem. After a few days of getting used to the tape she now hops up and down the steps like a pup! Thankfully, we had some left over. It came in handy when I slipped on our old bathmat and tumbled out of the shower. A wet, naked fifty-year-old woman wrapped like a burrito in a shower curtain is not pretty. Thankfully, my husband was home to unwrap me and help me get dried and into bed, where I stayed for forty-eight hours icing my hip and lower back. Now there’s tape on the bottom of the tub, too.

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Tiffany Reisz books. She’s been writing like crazy lately, which makes me incredibly happy. The Red is her latest, and it was simply perfect. It’s a book from within her books – a book her main character in the Original Sinners series wrote. So the whole thing is like an inside joke. Her newest, Michael’s Wings, comes out today! I can’t wait for my local bookstore to order it for me, so I’ll download it on Kindle and order it from Carmichael’s so I’ll have a copy for her to sign 🙂 She’ll be in Kentucky later this month, and I hope to get a chance to see her!

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Accupressure Pillow. The points on this thing are serious sharp to the touch, but I’ve slept more than one night with it under my neck or lower back and felt much less stiff than usual in the morning. And yes, they do make them in other colors. But when I have the option I always choose purple. I just noticed these are out of stock now on Zulily, but similar items are available on Amazon as well as most yoga supply shops. If there’s a locally-owned yoga shop near you this would be a great item to buy from a local business. I always #shopsmall when I can!

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Kiss imPRESS Nails. I swear I wouldn’t have even looked at this ad except for Christian Siriano. Yes, the youngest winner of Project Runway, the man who made the term “fierce” popular, and my second-favorite Project Runway competitor. My FAVE is Chris March, who was in the finals competing with Christian. He was snubbed because of his use of human hair in his collection on skirts and lapels. Seriously, it was gorgeous, and there wasn’t a celebrity there who didn’t have human hair extensions glued, clipped, or sewn into their scalp. Completely hypocritical. Anyway, the nails don’t require glue, and can be removed easily. In other words, even someone with a tremor like mine can have a nice manicure for about five bucks without apologizing to the nail tech fifty times. I haven’t bought them yet, but it will be happening soon!

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Sombra warming pain relief cream. Sorry to add yet another pain-relief item to this list, but you’d be surprised how many people on your Christmas gift list this year can use them. People who are doing hard physical work don’t have the time or energy to search out anything past Advil and a heating pad. It’s the people like me who pushed too hard for too long that have the answers. This is great because it doesn’t go on greasy, it smells like oranges, and it works for HOURS.

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