Monthly Archives: January 2017

Non-Traditional Valentine’s Gifts for Your Lover or Yourself

There are many Valentine’s Day gift cliches and while some things are popular for a reason, I’ve come up with my own take on some Valentine’s Day classics.

Flowers

Instead of flowers get your girl (or yourself) a bouquet of floral leggings. Trust me, it’s the kind of roses she really wants. Bonus: They only come in 2 sizes so you have a 50/50 chance of guessing right.

If you’re brave enough to try and make an outfit here are some ideas for tops to go with leggings.

Chocolate & Jewelry 

No fresh take on this because I believe everyone should accept chocolate in most forms. I would be lying if I tried to pretend my heart doesn’t skip a beat at the sight of box of chocolate. If you’re going to get me a heart-shaped Bordeaux from See’s Candy–or anything from See’s, really, go ahead. But thinking outside the usual heart-shaped box I have a couple suggestions.

Baci are my favorite because they are “fine dark chocolate filled with a chocolate-hazelnut cream center and a whole hazelnut.” V-day bonus: they have cute sayings about love in each one. Note: Do not get them for anyone with a nut allergy, unless you’re looking for a way out of the relationship.

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Trader Joe’s has this adorable Chocolate Passport that might make up for the fact you’re not taking your Valentine on an exotic vacation this year. You can buy them on Amazon but word on the street is it’s cheaper to buy at Trader Joe’s if you’re blessed enough to have one close by.

Whatever you do don’t fall for the “chocolate diamond” scam that jewelers come out with every year. Chocolate diamond? Really? It’s a brown diamond. Comparing it to a delicious food is not going to cover up the fact that you’re trying to sell me some dirty diamonds.

In fact, skip the diamonds all together and get moissanite jewelry, it looks as good as a diamond–or better–and it’s cheaper and there’s no mining involved. Learn more about moissanite here.

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There are lots of great companies that make jewelry that gives back in some way, whether it’s employing women who wouldn’t have jobs otherwise or by donating food for every purchase. I’ve started to compile some of those companies here (still a work in progress).

And if you’re looking for a subtle nod to love I’m, kind of, very obsessed with this ring that Amazon suggested for Valentine’s Day. It’s just too cute. xoxo.

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Stuffed Animals

No one wants a boring old teddy bear when they can have a sloth.

…Or my personal favorite, the raccoon

Throw a red bow on it and you’ve got yourself a perfect Valentine plush toy.

Lingerie

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Skip Victoria’s Secret and get yourself the most comfortable underwear in the world–seriously, I thought they were overly hyped up but they are not–MeUndies are as great as they claim to be. They’re great for everything from working out to hanging out and they come in styles for all the men and women in your life.  There are cute Valentine’s Day designs and a great return policy if it doesn’t work out–with the underwear or the person you bought them for. Use this link for 20% off your first purchase.

MeUndies are a bit pricey though so balance your underwear budget by buying yourself some “Viotario’s Secret” lace underwear (or without the lace) on the Wish app for $2. They’re also super comfortable.

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Massage

If you’re on a budget or just don’t like getting rubbed by strangers, there is a cheap and easy alternative. These head/scalp massagers will have you feeling at ease in no time and the best part is you don’t need a Valentine to give you a massage because you can use it on yourself…at least until the blood rushes out of your arm.

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I promise you will not care how ridiculous you look because it will feel so good.

Romantic Gestures

Buy some Poo~Pourri because nothing says romance like being able to use the bathroom after your loved one without a gas mask. It really works and if it doesn’t, they’ll take it back.

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Order a 23andMe kit to track down your ancestry because there is nothing more romantic than double-checking that you aren’t 3rd cousins. All you have to do is spit in the tube before you start swapping spit with your sweetheart.

Most importantly, remember on Valentine’s Day, or any day, you don’t need an excuse to Treat Yo’self.

If Pinterest is your thing I will be adding to my Valentine’s Day Gift Idea board for the next couple weeks. xoxo.

Some of the above links are affiliate links, but I have not been asked by any entity to post reviews or recommendations.

MLK Day

Martin Luther King Jr Day has me thinking even more about things I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.

Our government is corrupt. I’m not singling out Trump here. I’m talking about years of corruption, congressmen being bought and paid for, systematic oppression and scapegoating that goes back for years and crosses all parties.

You can look at any department, any situation, any level of government and it is clear, the person with the most influence (power, money) will pass laws that have their best interest in mind or the interest of their friends or the people lining their pockets.

In some ways, this is just human nature, we want to help people who help us. We care about the things we care about and don’t have space in our brains to care about everything.

But watch any movie (or, you know, read a book) from the last few years: Selma, the Big Short, War Dogs, 13th documentary, Snowden, etc and you’ll see how the government doesn’t play by its own rules…and we’re paying for it.

That’s why people have to keep calling it out. That’s why people can’t just say, “I’m cool with this.” Because it’s not cool. My hope is that we would look past sides, parties, and individual leaders and call out corruption wherever we see it and most of all, not participate in it ourselves. In government, business, and everyday life, honesty and goodness could take us very far if we all decided together we believed in those things and didn’t let people who are dishonest and shady keep moving up. It’s only human nature to keep doing what works.

So since the government is useless (channeling my inner Ron Swanson here) I’ve decided to ask myself over and over what can I do?

Work within your sphere of influence. We are all connected to something somehow. Encourage local businesses to pay living wages, to hire, promote, and train minorities and women and to provide healthcare. When the government tried to enforce this, people just found ways around it. Support businesses who pay for their employees to go to school or receive other training. Tell them you like what they’re doing.

Tell your local police force you want to connect with them. Volunteer at an organization that needs help and see how you can help. Support teachers, be a good role model for children. Some people just need one good influence in their life to get them on the right track.

The government defunds Planned Parenthood, and look at all the people who stepped up and donated. Those people were out there the whole time. What else could we support/fund if we decided to take it into our own hands?

I just believe that the average person might have better ideas on how to solve problems…Good people don’t seem to end up in politics very often, or at least they don’t seem to get very far.

Bill Gates, and many other people, are putting people through college. People have developed apps GoodRx and Blink Health so people can find cheaper prescriptions and healthshare organizations that are cheaper than insurance. People are tutoring kids so they can get to college. People are taking in and feeding the homeless. People are starting businesses that hire veterans. People are funding initiatives to hear more minority voices in cinema and the arts. Run for office and if you don’t win, do what you would’ve done if you had won.

We can’t wait for the government to change because it takes too long.

You have to push for your issue, because it’s not going to be everyone else’s issue, we’re all busy dealing with our own stuff and there are so many things to care about. Don’t expect everyone to care about the same things you care about. Don’t get discouraged if people don’t seem to care, your passion will be contagious and you can find like-minded people and you can make a change.

On the flip, try and respect that people are fighting for what they believe in and try and understand rather than push against. We are all connected.

“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.” -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

It’s a bit overwhelming, but I’m starting by just making a habit to say “yes” to small opportunities that come my way and to come up with small ways I can help using the skills I have. There are so many places to help, they’re not hard to find.

“Justice for all just ain’t specific enough.”

Not for Sale

Did you know January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month? President Obama has declared it so and this year I wanted to do something so I’ve started a t-shirt sale fundraiser that will go through the end of the month.

“Our Nation wrestled with the issue of slavery in a way that nearly tore us apart — its fundamental notion in direct contradiction with our founding premise that we are all created equal. The courageous individuals who rejected such cruelty helped us overcome one of the most painful chapters in our history as we worked to realize the promise of equality and justice for all. But today, in too many places around the world — including right here in the United States — the injustice of modern slavery and human trafficking still tears at our social fabric. During National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we resolve to shine a light on every dark corner where human trafficking still threatens the basic rights and freedoms of others.

From factories and brothels to farms and mines, millions of men, women, and children in the United States and around the world are exploited for their bodies and their labor. Whether through violence, deceit, or the promises of a better life, some of the most vulnerable populations among us — including migrants and refugees fleeing conflict or disaster, homeless LGBT youth, Alaska Native and American Indian women and girls, and children in poverty — are preyed upon by human traffickers. In order to rid the world of modern slavery we must do everything in our power to combat these violations of human decency.

As leaders in the global undertaking to end the exploitation of human beings for profit, we must always remember that our freedom is bound to the freedom of others. This month, let us find inspiration in America’s progress toward justice, opportunity, and prosperity for all and reaffirm our pledge to continue fighting for human rights around the world.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 2017 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, culminating in the annual celebration of National Freedom Day on February 1.”

Barack Obama

There are many great organizations that fight for this cause. I decided to raise funds for Polaris. They have several initiatives that attack human trafficking from different sides.

One thing I love is that they have a national hotline that is available 24/7 to help victims of human trafficking.

“The National Human Trafficking Hotline is a national, toll-free hotline, available to answer calls from anywhere in the United States, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in more than 200 languages. The Hotline’s mission is to connect human trafficking victims and survivors to critical support and services to get help and stay safe, and to equip the anti-trafficking community with the tools to effectively combat all forms of human trafficking. The Hotline offers round-the-clock access to a safe space to report tips, seek services, and ask for help.

Learn more at www.humantraffickinghotline.org.”

There is also a textline available.

Text HELP to 233733 (BEFREE): To get help for victims and survivors of human trafficking or to connect with local service

Hours of operation: 3:00pm -11:00pm EST

Polaris has resources for victims to restart their lives. It’s not easy to start a new life with nothing. Here’s a breakdown for some of the ways donations are used:

  • $25 supports operation of the national hotline for 2 hours
  • $50 provides food for a survivor and her children for 1 week
  • $120 or $10/month purchases basic supplies for a survivor receiving crisis services
  • $240 or $20/month houses, clothes and feeds a survivor for 1 week
  • $600 or $50/month provides one month of transitional housing for one victim
  • $1,200 or $100/month supports on-the-ground advocacy efforts to improve legislation in one state for six months

The more shirts that sell the higher the percentage of sales that go to Polaris from each item will be. Check them out here and please feel free to share this fundraiser.

If t-shirts aren’t your thing you can donate directly to Polaris right here.

If there is a demand for it I can also order kid’s shirts and onesies through another site. Let me know if you’d be interested in any.

Creativity + Fear = Together Forever

“Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred. What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all. We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits. We are terrified, and we are brave. Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege. Only when we are at our most playful can divinity finally get serious with us. Make space for all these paradoxes to be equally true inside your soul, and I promise—you can make anything. So please calm down now and get back to work, okay? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.”  -Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic.

My Woman Crush Wednesday is Elizabeth Gilbert. I know it’s Tuesday but I want to write this now and she of all people would tell me to just do it.

I’m a week into (sort of) blogging every day and already I’m thinking, what’s the point, no one wants to read that much content from one person. But one thing I’ve learned from Elizabeth Gilbert both through an interview on NPR and her book Big Magic is that you have to release the stories, ideas inside of you to be happy. It’s kind of like throwing up after eating the equivalent of an entire pineapple and a half. It might feel bad coming out but once it is you feel so much better.

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There’s also no way I can keep up with the original graphics I want to use and still do a good job, so prepare for a slew of mediocre graphics. I’m not branding them because I’m proud of them, I’m branding them so people come back here, ha. Feel free to cringe away but read on.

I have absolutely no shortage of ideas. Screenplays, musicals, blog posts, listicles, t-shirt designs, documentaries, songs, research projects, photo journalism ideas, etc. Anyone who say ideas are the hard part is wrong…or they should hire me to come up with ideas for them. When I sit down or set out to do anything I feel a chill go through my body and a feral weasel doing flips in my chest. It doesn’t matter how excited I am or how much I believe in a project. It’s hard. “It’s hard, it’s totally hard.” (there’s a song for that from Something Rotten).

“Let me list for you some of the many ways in which you might be afraid to live a more creative life: You’re afraid you have no talent. You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or—worst of all—ignored. You’re afraid there’s no market for your creativity, and therefore no point in pursuing it. You’re afraid somebody else already did it better. You’re afraid everybody else already did it better.

You’re afraid somebody will steal your ideas, so it’s safer to keep them hidden forever in the dark. You’re afraid you won’t be taken seriously. You’re afraid your work isn’t politically, emotionally, or artistically important enough to change anyone’s life.

You’re afraid your dreams are embarrassing. You’re afraid that someday you’ll look back on your creative endeavors as having been a giant waste of time, effort, and money. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of discipline.

You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of work space, or financial freedom, or empty hours in which to focus on invention or exploration. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of training or degree. You’re afraid you’re too fat. (I don’t know what this has to do with creativity, exactly, but experience has taught me that most of us are afraid we’re too fat, so let’s just put that on the anxiety list, for good measure.)

You’re afraid of being exposed as a hack, or a fool, or a dilettante, or a narcissist. You’re afraid of upsetting your family with what you may reveal. You’re afraid of what your peers and coworkers will say if you express your personal truth aloud. You’re afraid of unleashing your innermost demons, and you really don’t want to encounter your innermost demons.

You’re afraid your best work is behind you. You’re afraid you never had any best work to begin with. You’re afraid you neglected your creativity for so long that now you can never get it back. You’re afraid you’re too old to start. You’re afraid you’re too young to start.

You’re afraid because something went well in your life once, so obviously nothing can ever go well again. You’re afraid because nothing has ever gone well in your life, so why bother trying? You’re afraid of being a one-hit wonder. You’re afraid of being a no-hit wonder.”

I’m sure AT LEAST one of those reasons rang true to you. A lot of them ring true for me, especially the section I bolded. It’s especially ridiculous to think this because I’ve seen so many people be successful in following their dreams. In Provo, there are so many people who I know personally or have heard speak that make their dreams come true.

It’s ridiculous for me to fear being vulnerable and being open because those are the kinds of stories that I personally like to read best. They’re real and they’re raw. We love it when celebrities trip when they go to accept awards because it proves for a second that they are real. We want to see people without makeup and in messy rooms.

Honestly, it makes sense why the Beatles and other artists did so many drugs. If you can cut off that apprehension and be uninhibited you can create great art. I do not recommend drugs as that’s also how we’ve lost too many artists too early. I also don’t think ignoring fear is the answer. Elizabeth Gilbert treats fear as a part of the process instead of something to constantly try and eradicate. You can’t get rid of it. Fear is not going anywhere so you have to work with it. In her book she says, “It seems to me that the less I fight my fear, the less it fights back. If I can relax, fear relaxes, too.”

I’m trying to learn how to work with fear. Something I learned along my journey with anxiety was to try and be grateful. “Thanks, anxiety, I know you’re trying to keep me safe from getting hurt, but we really have to leave the house today…You know, you’re right, there is a chance we could die anytime we get in a car, but let’s try it anyway.” I believe that we’re not supposed to just “get over” hard stuff, we’re supposed to wield it for our advantage.

When it comes to creativity, you tell fear to take a back seat. It can still come along but it is not the co-pilot. “Hey fear, thanks for the heads up about how I could fail horribly, I might have to be super vulnerable, I might offend people, or maybe no one will even care and I’ll ‘waste a lot of time’ but you know, if I don’t try I’m going to develop a creativity ulcer. This thought I have is going to literally burn through my stomach lining if I don’t get it on paper somewhere.”

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Another big point Elizabeth makes in Big Magic is if you don’t act on an idea it will leave you and find someone else. I think we’ve all had this happen before. It doesn’t feel good because it feels like someone “steals” your idea. But it’s not stealing if you never really created it. Ideas want to be made. If you don’t do it they’re going to find someone who will.

One bad side effect I personally developed from the film program I went through was: If you make a mistake, you fail, and if you fail you are bad. This is a creativity killer. It’s also a soul crusher. Watch out for anything that starts crushing your soul. Creating is hard and sometimes painful, sometimes it cuts like a knife, but it shouldn’t crush your soul. Don’t let it.

Don’t let people, even people in a position of supposed power or experience tell you that you can learn without making mistakes. Do not let them tell you you are bad because you made an honest mistake. If you did it on purpose it wouldn’t be a mistake and if you didn’t do it on purpose then you’re not a jerk.

Art should be a little messy and imperfect. Otherwise we would have computers do it.

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Do learn from people who have more experience than you.
Don’t assume people who have more experience know everything.

Don’t let them tell you what kind of story you can and can’t tell. Seriously, eff that (sorry for the language, mom). Make what you want and they can love it or leave it.

Do not let anyone convince you to tell any story but your own. Even if your own story doesn’t seem to be what’s popular.

Don’t try and tell someone else’s story…unless they’re paying you a lot of money to do so. This doesn’t mean everything has to be autobiographical, but you have to own it in some way or it will feel forced.

Do not let them tell you you have to do things a certain way, because if they are successful they probably are because they did something different

Let them tell you you won’t be successful and then be successful anyway.

Do not measure creative success by how many views or how many copies sold. Elizabeth wrote a handful of books and has written a handful since Eat, Pray, Love and doesn’t agree that popularity defines what is her greatest work.

The guys who made La La Land were trying to tell that story for six years. People are  like, “no one likes musicals” and then they make one and an overwhelming amount of people like it. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m assuming it’s because it was honest.

“Don’t let fear of failure discourage you. Don’t let the voice of critics paralyze you—whether that voice comes from the outside or the inside.” -Dieter F. Uchtdorf

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“You’re not required to save the world with your creativity. Your art not only doesn’t have to be original, in other words, it also doesn’t have to be important. For example, whenever anyone tells me that they want to write a book in order to help other people I always think ‘Oh, please don’t. Please don’t try to help me.’ I mean it’s very kind of you to help people, but please don’t make it your sole creative motive because we will feel the weight of your heavy intention, and it will put a strain upon our souls.”

I like to say that writing a blog is like writing a letter, putting it in a bottle and throwing it into the ocean. Either no one will read it, or someone in another part of the world will read it and possibly enjoy it. The important thing is to get it out before you develop an ulcer or go insane. I personally love reading what people have to think, because people are fascinating. In 7th grade I forced all my friends to get “sites” (this was before they were called blogs) so we could all write together. It was great and we literally just wrote about our love of puppies and the cast of Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings/Pirates of the Caribbean. Life-changing? No. Endearing and 100% heartfelt and honest? Yes.

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In sum, whether you’re a creative or just someone who is alive, I REALLY recommend Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Even with all the quotes from her I shared I didn’t even get to share all my favorite parts.

Hygge

Since people all around the country are snowed-in today or experience large amounts of snow and cold I want to talk about a little term I just learned but have always believed in.

Hygge, which is pronounced “hoo-ga” is the art of Danish coziness. Here’s a New Yorker article about what it means. Here’s a Denmark Tourism take on what it is.

Read those if you want some facts, but here’s my interpretation of articles I’ve read about it:

If you live in a country that is dark and cold a lot you need to find joy and comfort in darkness and methods of staying warm and cozy.

I noticed this when I spent a few days in Hungary in the winter. It was cold and got dark early but there were meat and potatoes you could buy on just about any corner and big furry hats to keep you warm. In Italy people would be roasting nuts on the side of the road.

I think in American culture we are kind of good at this around Christmas.

Hot cocoa and watching Hallmark movies. Only in dark, coldness do we crave the cheesy, predictable endings of Hallmark Christmas movies.

Comfort foods and desserts and gathering with friends and family.

Candles. If you’re afraid of burning your house down Christmas lights have a similar effect, which is why I took the ornaments off our tree but have left our tree up because we need that subtle, warm glow…also we don’t have overhead lights in all the rooms of our 1948 home. Also using lamps instead of bright lights can create some nice atmosphere.

Fire. If you don’t have a real fire you can look one up on Netflix or YouTube and play it off your laptop. It surprisingly has a similar affect.

Here’s a little example of how coming inside from the cold to a Netflix fire changes everything from the only YouTube video I’ve made that broke 1,000 views.

Chestnuts roasting on an open-fire…if people actually did this it would be very hygge. Chestnuts are a total comfort food, they’re like nutty potatoes, what more could you want? Pro-tip: Skip the open fire and just bake them.

But after Christmas for some reason we seem to pack up all the coziness, stop watching movies and listening to jazzy music, and get on with our lives…Worse, we focus on eating healthy and watch Awards Shows. Comfort and Joy doesn’t have to stop after the Christmas season ends.

I’ve spent the last week making soup and adding to my Pinterest dream board of all the blankets I hope to own one day. (Don’t worry I added some you can buy on Amazon from the comfort of your own hygge home–online shopping’s pretty hygge). I’ve also made sure we’ve stocked up on comfort food like pizza bites and potatoes in case we’re snowed in one of these days. But hygge is also about spending time with family and friends and about taking time to make meals or a cup of something hot. Human connection can warm your soul in the darkest times. Hold a mug in your hands and breath in and just enjoy a moment of focusing on just the one thing at hand (bad pun intended).

I think, through the spirit of hygge that we keep the Spirit of Christmas alive all year long (Tiny Tim said we should, ever heard of him?)

Invite friends over.
Make delicious baked things.
Drink hot drinks…I enjoy what I like to call “hot juice” and Jeff likes to call, “no thanks.”
Order your coffee to stay…coffee shops have some of the best atmospheres.
Rescue a dog and force it to sleep in your bed so you don’t freeze at night.
Light candles and set fires…in the fireplace.
Put so many blankets on your bed that you can’t move.
Tuck your pants/leggings into your socks so the cold can’t get you.
Wear flannel and other things that are soft and fuzzy.
Eat delicious food that is warm and fills you up.

Have meaningful conversations and keep friends and family close who might suffer from seasonal (or otherwise) depression. Feed them comfort food and hot juice and watch movies or play games by the fire.

Get yourself the following warm articles of clothing (click on the photo to buy):

Onesies:

Socks:

Fleece-lined leggings:
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Wear a blanket by adding safety pins to fashion it into a cape:

Or scrap it all and buy this body suit that covers everything, (heels not recommended for snowy or icy terrain):

How do you keep Hygge-Cozy during the winter months? I’ll be sharing more of my hygee-ness later. Cheers!

Matilda the Musical

A few days ago Matilda the Musical closed on Broadway. This is sad, but also means that it’s now touring. If you’re in my Utah crowd it already sold out in SLC except for a handful of secondhand tickets. To my hometown friends, check it out when it comes to Portland at the end of February! Buy your tickets before they sell out.

Matilda is a great story about standing up to bullies, a theme that I think is quite relevant now and always.

The musical has fun, catchy songs, including one with lyrics that blows my mind but I’m not going to give anything away. There’s a really fun energy that comes when you have a bunch of talented kids on stage giving it their all.

I like it so much that I insisted Jeff go see it with me even though our only option was two bad seats that aren’t even together.

I might be biased because it was the first musical I saw on Broadway and when you see any musical on Broadway it’s an amazing experience, but this musical is great and if you don’t believe me just watch this:

 

Shopping Hack

Despite being the daughter of an elite shopping marathoner, I am kind of a wimp in stores. My formula for shopping breaks down like this: For every 45 minutes of shopping I require one soft pretzel.

Online shopping, however, is an entirely different story. I can online shop for much longer than 45 minutes. Probably because I can wear pajamas and watch television at the same time.

Thanks to some online shopping fails I’ve learned to follow the following rule:

Only buy things with free shipping and free returns.

If you’re an Amazon Prime member this is easy.
It also includes online shopping at places that have stores nearby you can return to.

I’ve made exceptions to this for cute boutiques and startup companies that can’t afford it, but free returns saves you a lot of heartache when that shirt that looks perfect shows up in a different color (“because of screen displays colors may vary”).

A big secret I’ve learned is being real with myself. There are certain styles I know I don’t like but I still gravitate to because they’re “so cute!” Don’t do that…unless there are free returns.

You might think all this online shopping might cause you to spend more money but here’s the thing, it is so much easier to be focused when online shopping. If I am looking for a specific color and style I can type my wishes into the Amazon, or Google shopping, search bar and find the exact thing I need. And unlike a trip to Target I don’t come home with 20 other things I don’t need. Maybe one or two extra things, but a lot less than if I was in the store wandering aimlessly.

So when I had to have a burgundy top WITH POCKETS to go with a pair of leggings, I found not one but two that I love. It took me like 15 minutes as opposed to searching 15 stores. These tops are great, the second one is kind of a lie and more of a bright red, but they’re very comfortable and come in more colors, check them out by clicking on the photos.

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I did the same thing when I wanted a green dress but didn’t know what style. I bought eight and returned all but one. This will save your life when it comes to family photos, bridesmaids outfits, or any other time you need something very specific in a color that’s out of season. While looking for my own bridesmaids I found this stretchy, flattering pencil skirt that comes in almost any color.

 

My genius friend, Candy, even used Amazon to purchase several wedding dresses, try them on, and return the ones that didn’t make the cut.

Another online shopping secret is to keep something in your cart until it sells out. That’s a good way to not buy as much stuff.

I also made a Pinterest board for other tops for leggings that I like and either want to share with other people or don’t want to forget to purchase later–got to stagger the spending. If you in the market for long tops check it out here. All of them have options with free shipping and free returns. One trick with Amazon is not every color or size will be eligible for free returns so watch out for that.

My last secret (for now) to online shopping is Paribus which, if you link it to your email, will automatically contact stores on your behalf if something lowers in price within their allowed period (usually 30 days). This way you don’t have to stress about buying something only to see it go on sale two days later.

And if you still hate shopping, feel free to hire me as your personal online shopper. I enjoy it a lot more than I should.