Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Black Friday / Cyber Monday Preparation

I'll first say, I am no Black Friday veteran.  Last year was the first time I ever went shopping on Black Friday and I didn't wake up early, I just hit a few local big box stores after breakfast.   We usually spend the day after Thanksgiving decorating for Christmas.  However, you know I love scoring a deal and I figured posting some tips would be timely.

> Make a list and a plan.

Write down exactly what you are looking to purchase. If you just plan to browse for steals on Black Friday you will get caught up in the savings and waste your budget on things you don't want or need.  Typically, the biggest savings are on large ticket items - TVs, appliances, computers, cameras, etc.  So if you are planning on getting something like that, find the models that interest you, and prepare to price compare a number of sites that sell the item.  As for the small stuff, stick to what you want and avoid being tempted by price drops on things you don't.

> Set a budget.

If you are mainly shopping for toys and clothes for family, make sure you set a budget and stick to it.  Discounts won't be as great as the price slashing on big items, but do look out for BOGO deals, and sales on top of items already marked down.  That's where you'll save the biggest.   Also check for items that are usually excluded from sales, since they might be included in umbrella savings (i.e, "Everything in store or online is 30% OFF")  Remember a lot of the sales will repeat throughout the month, so make sure the items you are grabbing are things are truly being offered below their typical prices, not their retail prices.  Meaning, GAP and J.Crew constantly rotate 20-35% OFF promo codes, so just because something is marked $39.95, remember you'll normally find it around $30.  Make sure your savings is even greater if you really want a deal.

> Get a Team.

If you are making your way out to shop the stores, divide and conquer.  Whether that's within the same store or different stores all together.  Reference your list and set priorities.  So if you want a new TV and a must have toy, make sure you split up so you can get them early, which also bring us to...

> Do your Research.

Almost all the big box stores - Target, Amazon, Best Buy, Toys R Us, etc have released their Black Friday Ads.  Do your research, find out where the best savings is and use that to help you plan out your attack.  Use stores that price match to your advantage if you want to get things done efficiently.  Don't forget you may be able to get the same savings online and use ebates too for extra money in your pocket.  Also don't forget to use apps to your advantage, whether to price compare/match or find additional coupons, don't forget them in the hustle and bustle!

>  Think Outside the Box.

Two things here.  One.  Think outside of your go-to stores.  If you always buy toys at Target and Toy R Us, try to think about other retailers.  Last year, I cleaned up at Kohl's of all places (somewhere I would never think of "toys" first).  Many items were BOGO 50% Off and other items marked way down.  They had lots of Melissa & Doug, Play Doh, Mattel, Fisher Price, V-Tech, etc.  Macy's, Nordstrom, and even Michaels carry things like puzzles, doll houses, and games.  Macy's usually offers stackable discounts, free shipping  and returns, and ebates too.  Also think outside of the big 'box', as in big box and department stores.  You may find good deals at local businesses, like small toy and book store or even gift shops.

Good luck my fellow deal hunters!  Please share your tried and true tips too!!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Sale of the Day: 50% Off All Footwear --> booties & boots

I know Land's End isn't the first place people think of for clothing or shoes, but today they are offering 50% off all footwear.  My gray suede Harris Ankle Boots are from Land's End and are so comfortable and so cute, I love the color and the cut of the ankle, it's a bit more flattering since it dips in front.

booties - $69.50 with code THANKS and pin 2323 + Free Shipping

Also worth checking out are the snow boots.  Bean boots are typically sold out by the time you need them, and Sorels can be awfully pricy especially if you are only going to get a few snows a year.

Land's End has a duck boot and a fur lined tall boot that are both $49.50 with the 50% Off promotion.  All other items are 30% Off and you can get 6% back if you shop thru ebates.

And don't forget the kids!

** this post contains affiliate links

Sunday, November 22, 2015

[Bookworm] 25 MORE Christmas Books

Last year, I shared our Christmas Book Countdown.  We only had 15 Christmas books, so it wasn't a full daily countdown, but I know lots of people like to do the same with their holiday books.  I had wrapped up each book and let Ashlynn pick one to open each day.  

This year, I had all the books stored away, but when we moved A to her new room, I ended up putting all the holiday books one her bookshelf.  She's picked a few to read, but hasn't had too much interest.  Kenley has some of the board books in her room, and since her favorite book is Leslie Patricelli's Potty, she found and became obsessed with her Fa La La.  She sleeps with it most days.

Almost nightly she requests to read "KissMiss!" and knows almost all the words by heart.  It's made her very aware of all the Christmas iconography, shouting out "kissmiss twee, 'deer', or-mint, cracker, and ollie!'* when strolling through Target or anywhere else that's decorated.  Ashlynn also becomes very picky about her books, want to read the same ones over and over again and not into trying new ones.  

*(Christmas Tree, Reindeer, Ornament, Nutcracker, Holly)

So this year, instead of wrapping them up, I'm just going to pull them all out and keep them rotated throughout the month so we can hopefully get a chance to read them all.  Hopefully seeing them displayed will be more motivation to read them than unwrapping the 'present' and walking away. We'll see!

Here are 25 OTHER books in case you are looking for a few new ones to add to your collection.  I included our list from last year at the bottom.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10

11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15

16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20

21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25

Seriously, those last two?  I'd get those for myself!

1.  Fa La La
2.  Llama Llama Jingle Bells
3.  Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer - Little Golden Book
4.  Olivia Helps with Christmas
5.  The Little Christmas Elf - Little Golden Book
6.  Merry Christmas, Stinky Face
7.  Frosty the Snowman
8.  Bear Stays Up for Christmas
9.  Merry Christmas Curious George 
10. The Nutcracker - Little Golden Book
11. Merry Christmas, Mouse
12. The Animals Merry Christmas
13. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
14. Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas
15. Sofia the First, Holiday in Enchancia
16. Olive, the Other Reindeer
17. The Night Before Christmas
18. Polar Express
19. Pete the Cat Saves Christmas
20. The Christmas Wish
21. Tallulah's Nutcracker
22. Richard Scarry's Best Christmas Book Ever
23. A Charlie Brown Christmas
24. Duck and Goose It's Time for Christmas

Do you have 25 Christmas books? Do you use them to countdown, leave out for reading through the month, or do you skip the whole trend all together?

Friday, November 20, 2015

Holiday Themed Holiday Toys

It might seem silly to buy a holiday themed, seasonal toy when you have so many presents to buy for the holiday itself, but children learn best through play, so it'd be a great way to teach littles about the traditions and meaning of the holiday season.  From storing telling with a play (ie, not fragile or heirloom) nativity scene, or teaching colors, shapes, and counting with play cookies, these little sets would be perfect for keeping little ones engaged and excited leading up to the big day.

If you do a North Pole Breakfast with your Elf, this could be a gift from the elf to kick off the holiday countdown.  And of course, pinterest is full of holiday craft ideas with simple items to make your own activities.

Have a great weekend, hope everyone can score some pre-black friday deals!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Lately and New Book Obession

I've already ordered AND received my Christmas cards.  We didn't do any family photos, instead I went old school (and cheap), dressed up the girls, went outside and snapped a few pictures and called it a day.  I ordered the cards later that night because Tiny Prints was offering all it's gold foil and glitter cards at the regular card prices, +25% off, free shipping, and $50 gift card coupon I received after the holiday last year for using them.  It expired at 12/31/15 so I just held on to it knowing I would get a steal.  All that, brought my $180ish total down to $60 bucks and I got a few bucks back with ebates. So the cards were all under a buck a piece, boom.

I'll share them later in the season after they have been mailed out.  For now enjoy the outtake above.

Sickies.  This house has been an infirmary for a solid month now.  What started as a cough that was passed to me from Ashlynn, then started to clear, finally made it's way to Kenley, a few days later Ashlynn was congested and two night later all Hell broke loose with a clear ear infection.  After getting up at 4am to watch Frozen to take her attention off the pain, we saw the doctor on Saturday for our scheduled flu shots.  Knowing full well it was going to turn into a sick visit, poor girl has a serious ear infection.  So she's finally coming back around after a few days of antibiotics and K is feeling better too despite the lingering cough.  I hope this means we are sickness free for the holidays.  Growing up I was always sick at the holiday, every home movie has me being convinced to take my medicine.

With Kenley's birthday less than two weeks away, I'm getting her birthday presents ready and separated from the rest of the Christmas loot.  She loves reading, and while all the board books are in her room and the hardbacks in Ashlynn's, she is actually capable of not tearing a real book to shreds.  I've been trying to get the girls into some non-disney princess classics like The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, and The Jungle Book.   I grabbed this insane pop-up story book for her and now I want even more of the collection.  These aren't the pop-up books I remember.  I love my Rifle Paper Co Penguin Classics, but I love that the girls can enjoy these books now.  They are seriously pop-ups on steroids, so much to discover on each page, I can't get over the detail and all the hidden details.

They are pricy, so they'd make a great gift or wishlist item.

Now, I need to decide what kind impromptu celebration we are having for the sweet girl.  With her birthday right after Thanksgiving, it makes it hard to plan since the season is so busy for everyone.  I know full well how holiday babies can get the shaft, trying to make it special for her, but at the same time recognize she's only 2 and I need my sanity for 25 more days after her big day!

 Hope everyone else out there is staying healthy!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

J.Crew Factory Store Holiday Style Picks

We are fortunate to live closely to an outlet mall, but I love that J.Crew and now Gap factory stores, carry their stock online.  While the quality from factory stores isn't usually what you'd find at the flagship stores (i.e. cotton vs wool) it's still a great way to get the coveted looks for less.

Right now, J.Crew Factory has marked down everything between 40-60% Off, no codes needed.  I love all these looks for the holiday season ahead - plaid, pajamas, sparkles, and scottie dogs :)

ps - I already own the chambray shirt and I think it's begging to be worn with the plaid skirt and bracelet for a holiday dinner, the hat and sweaters for picking out a tree, and the funnel neck hoodie with the pj pants/shorts for Christmas morning.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Picture Day

Today was picture day for Ashlynn.  The school's director invited me to bring in Kenley for sibling shots, so we lined up for the photographer when we arrived since another class of students was already underway.  Ashlynn asked where her teacher was and then told me she didn't want to have her picture taken.

Womp Womp.

You may remember, this happened this time last year, she would not take a picture at all.  However, when photos rolled around in the Spring, she went with her class and had one done.  Problem was they didn't get back to the school until after we had pulled her out for Summer.  I asked the director if it was too late or if they had them, and she said they did, but they got packed away and hidden when the school had new carpets and fresh paint installed.  So I'm still waiting to see those!

Thankfully, she did go down with the other students after I left, so no biggie on the shot with K.  I have a feeling it might have been disastrous anyway.  Still though, could she look any cuter?

sweater (sold out, similar) | shirt | jumper | tights | boots (sold out, but love these) | bow | lunchbox

Their expressions say it all.

Happy Monday.  And stop taking pictures, Mom. 

50% off Premium Denim

Just had to pop in quick to share this sale,  today only select pairs of premium denim (DL1961, Hudson, AG, and Paige to name a few) are marked 1/2 off for women and men.

Check out all the options here! I hope someone scores a deal!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Gift Guide for Girlfriends

Ah, yes, the never-ending blogger rally of gift guides has commenced.   I love being challenged to come up with gift ideas for others, but I always have trouble when I actually have to make decisions for people in my life.  These are some of the items I thought would be great for girlfriends, sisters, teachers, or even office Secret Santas.   Or myself, cough, cough family.

Similar to when I am shopping for children, I love pairing things that go together.  I always try to include a book that relates to the toy purchased for birthday presents and I planned out each of these items around different a theme.

Girl Date:  This gift would be great for a little Girl's Day Out.  A 2016 planner with date circled in red for mani pedis together.  Throw in a gift certificate for the salon and you've gifted the gift of time together, fresh nails, and organization for the year ahead. (I've been wearing After School Boy Blazer and In The Lobby)

Girl on the Go:  Maybe you have a babysitter in college or a friend who's cell is an extension of their body, a new phone case and portable battery back up is perfect.  You could throw in some red lipstick and even put it all in small clutch or travel make up bag.

Girls Night In:  This is up my homebody alley.  A cozy blanket, cozy socks, and a yummy candle.  This would probably be a great gift for a mom/mother in law too!  Don't forget the bottle of wine!

Girls Getaway: Have a friend with major wanderlust or maybe a bride to be?  A monogrammed weekender (or any travel bag or tote) a fun tumbler, and a good read. The essentials to any escape. 

Anyone want to join my girl gang? ;)

Friday, November 13, 2015

5 Ways to Score Shopping this Holiday Season

Most of you know, if frequent readers, that I love a good deal (and free shipping).  I will price watch, coupon hunt, and sale stalk almost anything I'm looking to buy.  Since the shopping holiday season is in full swing, I thought I'd share some of the ways I make sure I'm getting the best deal.

(I'm sure most of this isn't groundbreaking for any saavy shopper out there, but hopefully one of these things is a reminder or new to you!)

#1 - Ebates.

For the love of Ebates people!  If you haven't heard me wax poetic about Ebates before this must be your first time to my blog.  It's literally FREE MONEY!  I will purposely buy things online and not in store to be able to get the cash back through Ebates.  Nordstrom offers free shipping, so instead of buying in store... go to the store, try on your fancy shoes, stylin dress, or trendy make up and then order it from home using the Ebates platform first.

It's simple, you go to their website, find the retailer you want to shop, and click it.  It will redirect you to the website and track your purchase, giving you the specified cash back on your purchase.  Even better...

DOWNLOAD the app.  Ebates has an app so if you want, buy something from the very dressing room you are trying something on!  Scan the bar code and see all the price comparisons so you can get the best deal.  Bored while sitting in the carline at school pick up, shop while you wait.

Don't forget to check Ebates before any online purchase you make.  You'll be surprised some of the retailers they include, it's not just standard retailers like Gap, Old Navy, J.Crew,  Sephora etc.  Booking a vacation?  Travelocity, Expedia, and Priceline and multiple national hotel chains offer upwards to 10% cashback.  That's a lot of free money back in your pocket for booking a trip you would have regardless.

Groupon, FTD Flowers, Etsy, Staples, Disney Store, Target, Amazon, Overstock, and Tiny Prints are all examples of sites that will refund you a portion of your sale.  The best way to remember to use Ebates is to install the widget on your browser.  This "Cash Back" button will live in your Chrome, Safari, or Firefox browser as a small icon similar to a Pinterest widget near your menu bar.  When you visit any site that offers cash back through Ebates, the widget will provide a pop-up asking you to activate your Ebates session guaranteeing you don't forget to use the site first.  On top of that, it will apply coupon codes at your checkout to get you the best deal.

Okay, love letter over.  If you don't use it yet, I hope you do now!  Sign up here for an account!

2 - Amazon.

Obviously, everyone loves the A to Z retailer.  A few things to note if you weren't doing it yet.... The amazon app.  Similar to the Ebates app above, you can scan barcodes to price compare.  I will scan toys, books, blenders you name it, while out shopping to see if I can get it on Amazon for cheaper, not to mention use my Prime membership for Free 2-Day shipping.  If it's something I can't wait for to be shipped, but I'm shopping at store that offers price matching, then I'll take the app to checkout and show the sales associate the better price (FYI, do this for books purchased at Target... they are never on sale there and they will price match!).  This is good to remember for last minute birthday presents, not that I've done that multiple times.  Oops.

Also, I mention it frequently, but using CamelCamelCamel.com will help you price watch and show you price histories for any item offered on Amazon.  You can set up individual alerts or even import your entire Amazon wishlist to your camelcamelcamel account and receive emails when the item's price drops below your designated desired price.  This is great for big ticket items you might not need, but will eventually want....

And lastly, especially with Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming up, be sure to continuously check Amazon's daily and lightning deals.  You can sign up for daily email alerts so you can see what's in store.

3 - Shopstyle.com  

This is pretty much the number one way I "window shop" online.  If I was in the market for new running shoes, a holiday dress for the girls, or backpack for the husband, I go to www.shopstyle.com and type in directly what I'm looking for, such as, "suede booties".

Then I can further refine my search by selecting my size, price range, and color(s) from the sidebar.  I can even narrow it down to items on sale, free shipping, or special offers and coupon codes.  I love that it allows me to browse all my options, instead of just all my options at one specific store.

Or if I'm looking for a gift, say a duffle bag for the husband, I can compare all the options of item I want, and prices across various retailers all in one spot.  Typically from here, I click the item I want and then use the Ebates Cash Back button once at the website I'm going to shop from.   I can also 'like' favorite items by highlighting the heart or set sale alerts to be emailed when an item goes on sale.  And again like everything else, I use the shopstyle app on my phone.  I get push notifications of when items go on sale which is nice so I don't miss out on say a one day deal on Hanna Anderson pajamas (which happened two weeks ago).

4 - Coupon Codes

Even though Ebates usually has a handful of the most popular coupon codes, think free shipping or daily deal codes like "DEAL" for the Gap, I still like to do a separate search for more elusive codes to stack.  RetailMeNot always is a sure bet, but don't forget to check out retailers' social media accounts, especially smaller businesses.  Between codes shared on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, you could save an unexpected 15% or BOGO deals.  It's always worth checking before clicking the "purchase" button.  If the company is small Etsy business, make sure to read the shop header or any linked shop blog for promotion codes.  Of course a flat out "XYZ promo code" google searches can always turn up something too, or look for special blogger codes.  When companies partner up with bloggers for giveaways or sponsored posts, a lot of times, coupon codes are shared as well so hunting those down doesn't hurt either.

5 - Emails

This is a combination of your typical spam and specific deal sites.  Of course, most retailers want to market you and ask you to sign up for emails with a pop up within seconds of arriving to their site.  A lot of times these sign ups will offer a 10% or more code for you, if a first time shopper.  The emails can be annoying, so directing them to a folder specifically for shopping or promotions is the best way to go if you don't want them going directly to your spam where you won't see them.  Of course the goal of these emails is to catch you with the sales and get you shopping more, but when you are really in need of something or planning on shopping (like this holiday season) it's great to see what the daily deals and special coupon codes are before stumbling around looking for any random gift on the internet.

Second, is signing up for newsletters from blogs that directly relate to sale shopping.  I love Mint Arrow (for baby and clothing), Copy Cat Chic (for furniture and decor), The Look 4 Less (clothing/style), The Chloe Conspiracy - See Chloe Shop (big list of daily deals all in one place), and Hip2Save (aka Jill's Steals and Deals from the Today Show)- amongst a million other sites that post similar updates.  Between the coupon codes, specific items that have hit an all time low, knock offs and lookalikes, these sites can really help you save.  And don't forget to keep an eye out for Pre-Black Friday and Cyber Monday deal alerts so you can plan your list before you shop (and over spend).

Tell me, was any of this new to you?  Do you have any sale shopping tips I didn't mention, please share below!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Last Day, 30% off all PBK Holiday Decor

This is actually a pretty good deal, I rarely ever see more than 20% off Pottery Barn items until they clearance at end of season.  Today is the last day they are offering 30% off ALL holiday decor, not just specific items.

This brings down their classic quilted stockings down to $15.50 before personalization which is a way more realistic price for something that's usually upwards to $30 on their site.  If you are buying for a family of 4, that's approximately $30 saved!

The wooden tree advent calendar that I knocked off last year, is marked down to $69.  I'm also loving this garland, these ornaments,  these chargers (I'd use them as serving plates or for cookies!), and this timeless tree skirt.  I think a personalized tree skirt is such a great gift idea for a newlywed couple.  Something they'll cherish using year after year and probably haven't thought about buying yet.

Happy Shopping!  Ho Ho Ho

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Stitch Fix #9

It's that time again!  I received my 9th Stitch Fix over the weekend, I actually wanted to push it back a bit further since I recently picked up a few Gap tops, but it was already in progress.  Dare I say it, but I'm starting to lose my luster with Stitch Fix.  I've had new stylists the last two or three shipments, and while none of them have been off the mark, the items sent just haven't wowed me.  I've been finding things I love (for less) myself. 

Here we go....

En Créme Gonya Split Back Pullover Sweater, $58

I had a feeling this would be a miss right away when I saw it in the style profile.  The split back isn't really my style, and from past items received, I figured there would be a quality issue.  I was right.  The biggest problem was the unusual weight of the sweater.  It was so heavy at the spot where the sweater split from in the back, I'm sure it's just physics, but it was really odd to feel the sweater pulling from the back.  The open part where it was split was connected with a very cheap rayon or poly fabric that was pleated accordion style.  Cute in style, but felt poorly made the split back made the proportions off, I felt from the front it looked fine, but giant from behind.  


Brixon Ivy Fierro Elbow Patch Crew Neck Sweater, $58

My stylist, Logan, noted that she saw a lot of lace on my pinterest board so picked this sweater with that and my preppy style in mind. I liked that the length of the sweater was a bit longer than a typical crew neck sweater, and material felt lightweight without being paper thin.  To be honest, I wasn't a fan of the patches.  Something about the size or serging around the edges, it just looked like they weren't supposed to be there.  On top of that, I already kept an elbow patch sweater from a Fix last winter so between that and my hoard of gray sweaters, this didn't fill any 'need' in my wardrobe.  


Papermoon for Stitch Fix Keline Lace Shoulder Knit Top, $54

Again, another top great in theory.  I love the classic navy stripes and length of this shirt, but that's about it.  It was to big in the arms and the lace felt cheap, I know I'm in desperate need of a manicure, but the dry skin on my fingers felt like they were snagging it every time it was touched.  Not sure how it would handle small children.  It was a mix of rayon and polyester, assuming the shirt was rayon and lace was poly.  The rayon was a heavier weight for a long sleeve tee, more like a jersey knit than a cotton top.  I don't hate it, but I definitely didn't love it.  Especially at $54!  I would like to pay less than $25 for a top like this and would be okay with seeing up to $40 on a price tag.  Anything over that is laughable to me.


Papermoon for Stitch Fix Beverly Lace Side Panel Knit Top, $54

This shirt, just no.  For being the same brand as the previous and almost similar blend of rayon and poly, it fit so differently for the same size shirt (xs).  It was cut too small in the shoulders and hit my waist at an odd spot.  I kept wanting to pull it down.  I prefer the side panels of lace on this top compared to the shoulders on the last one, but still.  Just meh, again, for $54.  No way. 


RD Style Calandra Side Button Hooded Poncho, $68  (can also buy here)

One of my requests for this Fix was casual neutral colored sweaters that I could wear on-the-go around town with the kids.  This definitely fell right into what I was looking for.  It's huge, but duh, it's a poncho.  Worth noting, it'd be great for a maternity fix, see second photo for the width.  I really like all the details on this sweater.  The big buttons, the faux sleeves, the ribbed shawl collar, and the hood.  I've already worn it twice since Saturday.  It's one of those sweaters I'd see on someone else and think it was really cute, stylish, and unique and wonder where they bought it since it doesn't scream "J.CREW!" or something you'd see all over.  The price I was completely cool with since I would spend easily over $70 on sweaters at the stores I usually shop.  This was a big win, and as stated, kept.

I found it online in winter winter, pecan, and striped versions too, so it's not just a Stitch Fix exclusive.

I've pushed back my fixes from every 8 weeks to every quarter.  There is a chance I push it back even closer to Spring than my February ship date.  I'm starting feel less excited about my fixes and I think a lot of that is I'm not looking for any specific pieces at the moment.  I've acquired a nice bit of causal sweaters and blouses over the last nine fixes, not to mention some accessories too.  I wouldn't say bad things about Stitch Fix, I just think I'm good for a bit.

What are your thoughts on this Fix?  Do you use Stitch Fix, how have you felt about your recent fixes?

*** this post contains referral and affiliate links

Monday, November 9, 2015

Countdown to Christmas

Last year, I DIY'd my own Pottery Barn Kids knock off Advent Calendar, however, I only filled about half the days with activities. A mix of places to go, little mini crafts, or other little traditions.  This year now that I know A will be totally on top of me and checking the calendar each day for something new, therefore I'm trying to get our 25 Days in order now.   Here is what we have planned...

1 - Visit Santa   (event)
2 - Make Holiday Cards for Troops  (giving back)
3 - Homemade Christmas Cards/Gift for Grandparents   (craft)
4 - Polar Express Movie  (classic movie)
5 - Nutcracker Ballet Date  (event) 
6 - Hanukkah Dinner and Candle Lighting   (tradition)
7 - Cocoa Date      (tradition)
8 - Bake Cookies  (tradition)
9 - Paper Plate Santa Craft   (craft)
10 - Toys for Tots  - pick out gifts and go donate together   (giving back)
11 - Rudolph/Frosty Christmas Classics Movie   (classic movie)
12 - Macy's Light Show   (event)
13 - Pick out an annual ornament (tradition)
14 - Pom Pom Christmas Tree Craft and Paint   (craft)
15 - Polar Express Train Ride   (event)
16 - Cinnamon Dough Ornament    (craft)
17 - Family Holiday Puzzle (tradition)
18 - Miracle on 34th Street Movie   (classic movie)
19 - Santa Visits on Fire Truck (tradition)
20 - Pollyanna  (event)
21 - See the Christmas Lights  (tradition)
22 - Paper Plate Reindeer and Wreaths  (craft)
23 - Donate cold weather items for those in need (giving back)
24 - Prepare for Santa  (tradition)
25 - Merry Christmas!

I tried to break down each week to include each of the following - family traditions, teachable moments - giving back to our community, crafts activity, holiday classics, and holiday events.  I've purchased tickets for most of the required events, I've made my shopping list for the craft store, and scheduled specific dates with friends and family so hopefully nothing falls between the cracks.

And if you are looking for the perfect calendar, you can DIY your own, or pick up one of the above.  All of these would be easy to recreate with either some wood, felt, burlap, and hot glue. Even better make one together as a family, have little ones try to identify and place the numbers in order.  Lots of different way to get creative!

Only 45 days until Christmas and 20 days until December!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Five Picks from the J.Crew Sale

With the holidays in arm's reach, so many retailers are starting their sale season early, often with different daily promotions.  And while, we might see the biggest cuts or deals come Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it's worth noting the current deals, especially if you are looking for items to use before the holiday like dressy clothes, decor, or even toys to tide the little ones over for holiday travel.  I'm going to try to share as many great deals as I can find since I seem to be browsing them all anyway, might as well try to help another shopper out!

Today's Sale of Note

J.Crew 30% or 50% Off Sale Items - - - Code GETSHOPPING

I love a coat with a hood since I find umbrellas a pain with two kids to chase, this stunner is $100 off with the code and seriously, J.Crew coats last forever! Totally worth the investment if a timeless piece is needed.

The classic (and modest) little black dress, perfect for church services, company parties, and dinner with the in laws.  It's marked down to $99.99 and with the code you'll get an extra 50% off, so $49.99

Can't beat $28 for a cute J.Crew sweatshirt for girls, usually their t-shirts cost that much.

This dress is made with stretchy cotton, so while it'd be cute for the holidays, it'd still be comfortable for the kiddos.  It's also washable, unlike the fancy silk and taffeta holiday dresses, this would be perfect for a school holiday show with sparkly or red tights and giant matching hair bow. Oh and it's $37.

I love myself a good sneaker.  I pretty much wear Vans or Nikes daily.  These good ones are so cute perfect for the holidays and year round and are a steal at $22.50, only sizes 7 and 8 left!

And a few of my favorite holiday picks from the Nordstrom 40% Fall Clearance!
(Nordstrom has free shipping and free returns, and 3% cash back with Ebates)

 1  |  2  |  3 
4  |  5  |  6
7  |  8  |  9

Happy Holiday Hunting!

Philadelphia Area Holiday Events

I feel like I don't "know" many local readers, but I thought I'd share some local holiday events anyway since I spent some time trying find local events for us to attend this season.  If you aren't in the area, definitely try to search out similar events in your town!

Polar Express Train Rides

>  Delaware River Railroad Excursions "The Polar Express Train Ride" (national directory)

>  New Hope & Ivyland Railroad "North Pole Express"
   - Groupon available for 40% Off, use code OFF20 at checkout for additional 20% and ebates for 6% back (need an account?)

>  West Chester Railroad "Santa Express"

Nutcracker Performances
(for all Groupon linked tickets don't forget to use code OFF20 for an additional 20% and ebates for 6% cash back!)

Merriam Theater, Philadelphia, PA  - - - November 27, 28

Tower Theater, Upper Darby, PA  - - - December 4

Kaleidoscope Theater @ Ursinus College, Collegeville, PA - - - December 5, 6

Nutcracker Tea at Villanova Conference Center, Radnor, PA - - - December 4-18

Academy of Music, Philadelphia, PA  - - - December 11-31st

EmilieK Asplundh Concert Hall, West Chester, PA - - - December 11, 12, 13, 17, 19, 20

Scottish Rite Auditorium, Collingswood, NJ - - - December 19, 20

Hershey Theatre, Hershey, PA - - -  December 19, 20

Mandell Theater @ Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA  - - - December 19, 20

Plymouth White Marsh High School, Plymouth Meeting, PA  - - - December 19, 20

Breakfast with Santa Events

Zoo Noel @ Philadelphia Zoo
, Philadelphia, PA - - - December 5-20 (weekends)

Brunch with Santa @ Elmwood Park Zoo, Norristown, PA - - - December 5-20 (weekends)

Lunch with Santa Cruise,  Spirit of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA - - - December 12, 13

Tea with the Sugarplum Fairy, Philadelphia, PA - - - December 13, 19

Check with your local Fire Departments and Township buildings for local events!

What kind of events are you looking forward to in your town?  Tree lighting ceremonies or something else not mentioned?  Share in the comments so readers can search their own towns for similar events!