I’m sick. I’ve self diagnosed myself with Ebola.

I’ve been stuck in bed for three days straight. People at work have taken to calling me Pukey Julie. In related news, I’m thinking of trying on the bikini I’ve had hidden in the back of my closet ever since having child #2.

Since the only thing I’ve had the energy to do is surf the world wide web, I’ve decided to share with you my most recent finds. Please note: I may currently be hallucinating due to the Ebola so I’m not sure if this post actually exists.

Watercolor Art, Feather Print, Colorful Nature Decor, Archival Print, Snoogs and Wilde, etsy blog, etsystalkers.com

Watercolor Art

personalized mug, super cali print, personalized cup, secret santa gift, custom mug, etsystalkers.com, etsy blog

Personalized Mug

Trademark Fine Art Urban Watercolor World Map, amazon.com, etsy blog, etsystalkers.com, world map, Michael Tompsett, Canvas Wall Art

Urban Watercolor World Map

etsy blog, etsystalkers.com, amazon.com, kate spade watch, "Gramercy" Rose Gold-Tone Watch

Kate Spade “Gramercy” Rose Gold-Tone Watch

Want to do something amazing for someone wonderful today? Here’s how.

Donate to Olivia’s Amazon Wish List  |  Learn more on Carol and Demian’s Facebook page

I have this amazing friend, Carol, who I’ve known since my early 20’s. You know the time when no one has any real responsibilities? There was a group of us girls that would hang out all of the time after work and on the weekends— with very little cares in the world (although with boy drama it didn’t seem so at the time).

Eventually Carol moved back home to South Florida and married her amazing college sweetheart, Demian. As they tried to start a family, they had more grief than many of us know. It was heartbreaking. But then Carol got pregnant and everyone was SO happy for them, a little baby girl to welcome into their family.

Olivia was born August 16, 2007 with Cerebral Palsy. Oh how Carol and Demian loved Olivia. And even though I can’t imagine what they went through on a daily basis, I never, ever heard them complain.

Olivia went to heaven on October 1, 2012 . She was only 5 years old.

To show you the type of friends Carol and Demian are, I’d like to share a story about them. When my in-laws were still alive, they lived in South Florida about 30 minutes from Carol and Demian. At the time my son turned two, my mother-in-law was already very sick so we decided to fly down and throw a birthday party for him in my in-law’s condo. It was us, my in-laws, my brothers-in-law, and a face painter who brought rabbits (yes, random). Because we wanted to make it special and more like a party, I invited Carol, Demian and Olivia to join us for the celebration. I thought it would be wonderful for Darren to have a little friend there.

At this point, it was extremely hard to take Olivia out of the house. She had feeding tubes, special seats and so many more needs that I can’t even begin to comprehend. But wouldn’t you know it that they got everything together and made the 30-minute drive to my son’s second birthday party. It’s a memory I’ll always cherish. That’s the type of people Carol and Demian are.

After Olivia’s tragic passing, Carol and Demian chose to celebrate her birthday by gathering their friends and family and blowing bubbles up into heaven. Last year, everyone who came brought gifts that were distributed to many special needs children. It was such a beautiful event, that they decided to make it a yearly occurrence. This year, Olivia would have turned seven and they’re expanding their ask to anyone that is interested in celebrating her heavenly birthday.

Once again bubbles will be blown into heaven on August 16th ; in addition, they’re hosting a gift drive that will benefit local special needs children. In partnership with Pediatric Therapy Associates of South Florida, they’re hoping to provide an extra special holiday gift for differently-abled children like Olivia. To make it easy for you to donate, they set up an Amazon Wish List to better guide your gift buying. You can get more details on their Facebook page as well.

Their address is linked to the lists, so they will go directly to them. Please make sure the gift is unwrapped so they can match toys to their recipients based on their need/ability. Thank you, everyone!!!

Throw Back Thursday: I saw a teenager waiting for the school bus today and it scared me.

Yep, it’s already Thursday. The eve of Friday. One of the most awesome times of the week. This week I’m bringing you waaaayyy back to 2012. I find this post pretty ironic as I just finished back-to-school shopping with my kids. This year my daughter discovered that store Justice, which means she’s five going on 15 years old. Just walking into that store gave me a headache (similar to the headache I get when walking into Bath & Body Works). But at least her clothes match, which is probably what the mom of the teenage son featured in the post below said. Oy vey.

friday eve, etsy, throw back thursday

I saw a teenager waiting for the school bus today and it scared me.

No really, I didn’t want to make eye contact with him because I was a tad freaked out by his appearance. Darren even asked me if the guy was a statue (no joke). Ummm no, apparently that’s going to be you in 10 years. Is this what I have to look forward to with my kids? Don’t they just stay cute, dress in clothes that I’ve approved and go to over-priced kid hair salons? After seeing this kid, I’m assuming not.

Since I now realize that the control I have over my kids is limited, I’m going to force them to wear cute cloths from Gymboree, Tea Collection and Sewn Natural until they fight back. And then I’ll just ground them.

 

 

 

And then I’ll really, really ground them if I find out they’re sneaking out from the first grounding. Ugh, even I can’t take my parenting skills seriously.

 

 

 

Two weeks as a stay-at-home-mom = a one-way ticket to the Looney bin.

First I have to say ‘hats off’ to all of you stay at home moms out there. I literally don’t know how you do it. Why am I bringing this up? Because I had this grandiose idea that taking the last two weeks of summer off would be an amazing way to usher in the school year with the kids.

In my mind: The kids would swim away the days and fall into bed at night happy and exhausted.

In reality: It’s the end of the summer. The kids are sick of the pool. And they hate sleeping.

 

Birthday Printable Party, Frog Prince Paperie, etsy blog, etsystalkers.com

In my mind: We’d set up a fun and profitable lemonade stand where we would learn the meaning of earning a dollar.

In reality: I set up the stand and then I had to persuade the kids to sell the lemonade. At one point I resorted to showing some leg to get people to stop. Probably not the best lesson to teach my kids.

 

Harry Potter Paperback Box Set, etsy blog, amazon.com, etsystalkers.com, summer reading

Harry Potter Paperback Box Set

In my mind: We’d finish summer reading off strong by reading the first Harry Potter book together. First I would read a page and then my son, etc.

In reality: My son hid the book after the second day and now we can’t find it.

 

 

In my mind: The two weeks would fly by.

In reality: I’m thinking of dropping my kids off at school 5 days early.

So as the summer winds down, I realize that all of you moms that stay at home with your kids all summer are not only special but deserve to throw a kegger when you put your kids on the bus in the upcoming weeks. Please, please, please invite me.

My May Stitch Fix Review (a few months late)…

stitch fix review, etsystalkers.com, etsy blog

Yes it’s been a few months since I’ve written a Stitch Fix review and yes, I’m still receiving my monthly fixes. (I wish I knew how to quit you.)  In fact I still really love it. And because I’ve taken the last couple weeks of summer off to spend with the kids before they head back to school, I’m thinking I’ll have the time to complete some reviews for you (but don’t hold me to that promise).

If you aren’t familiar, Stitch Fix it’s a personal styling service for us ladies. When you sign up, you can personalize your fixes to your style, size, clothing budget, and lifestyle (Do you work in an office? Do you work with baby spit all over you?) Then you’ll receive a package of 5 awesome pieces to try on at home (i.e. no awkward fitting room lighting).  What will this pieces consist of? Well, that’s up to you (and a real-live stylist). Let’s say you’re in desperate need of some fall dresses – just go to your profile and send a request for dresses that month. Or let’s say your ears are feeling naked, just ask for some jewelry to go along with those dresses.

stitch fix, etsy stalkers, etsystalkers.com

Each box comes with a style card that gives you tips on how each item can be worn. This is really helpful to me because sometimes I just stare at clothes not knowing what to wear them with (true story). Don’t like some of the items you got? Just keep what you want and send back the ones you don’t in the included prepaid postage bag.

There is a $20 styling fee that is applied to your order if you decide to keep any of the pieces. If you don’t keep anything, you don’t receive a refund of the fee. And if you keep all of the pieces, you get a 25% discount on everything!

Stitch Fix

 

Wondering what I received in my May box? You know you are…

Aiden Embroidered Hem Woven Top | $38

It’s hard to see in this photo (they send you a card on how to style each item) but this shirt had some great detail. It’s the perfect work shirt for me so I put it in the keeper pile.

stitch fix, etsy stalkers, etsystalkers.com, Aiden Embroidered Hem Woven Top

 

Emily Lightweight Chevron Infinity Scarf | $38

I’ve been wanting a new scarf but I’m pretty over chevron so unfortunately I sent this one back. Boo hoo.

Emily Lightweight Chevron Infinity Scarf, stitch fix, etsy stalkers, etsystalkers.com

 

Siena Colored Cropped Capri Pant | $58

Again, I wanted to love these pants but the fit was off (or I ate wayyyy too much in May) so these went back.

Siena Colored Cropped Capri Pant, stitch fix, etsystalkers.com, etsy stalkers

 

Azza Abstract Chevron Print Hi-Lo Tank | $54

I loved this shirt and wanted to keep it, but I have a few similar tops and at $54 I just couldn’t justify it.

Azza Abstract Chevron Print Hi-Lo Tank, stitch fix, etsystalkers.com, etsy stalkers

 

 Clemency Abstract Print Tab-Sleeve Tunic  |  $68

I honestly can’t remember why I didn’t keep this shirt, and now that I’m looking back I sort of want it. Oh well.

Clemency Abstract Print Tab-Sleeve Tunic, stitch fix, etsystalkers.com, etsy stalkers

 

If I had kept everything in my box, it would have cost me $250 – 25% = $187 which is actually quite reasonable for three cute tops, a pair of pants and a scarf. But this was one of those off months for me where things didn’t fit quite right, etc.  so I only kept the Aiden Embroidered Hem Woven Top for $38. I have a two more months to catch everyone up on so stay tuned because I love me some Stitch Fix!

Throw Back Thursday: Back to school = Mixing the pot of crazy

Yep, it’s already Thursday. The eve of Friday. One of the most awesome times of the week. This week I’m bringing you waaaayyy back to back-to-school time circa 2013. And in case you’re scrambling for back-to-school shopping like yours truly, check out my must-haves that can all be purchased from the comfort of your couch (where I know you’re currently sitting).

friday eve, etsy, throw back thursday

Back to school = Mixing the pot of crazy

I’m super excited that my kids are back on a schedule with school this week. But along with first days come jitters, pencil sharpening and balancing schedules. And that doesn’t even refer to the kids. Honestly I feel like a total mess trying to keep up with everything involved in a new school year.

Super mom, back to school ideas, happy organized life, etsy blog, study planner

 

Here are the things I’m currently stressing about:

(1) Making lunches. I MUST start the year off strong. But I’m weak and will most likely give up on Bento boxes and turn to the square jello served at the cafeteria by the end of the month.

(2) Getting to all of the Meet and Greets. There are about 1,000 of them. How many people can one person possibly meet and greet?

(3) Convincing my kids its not appropriate to dress in torn and stained summer t-shirts.

(4) Making a good impression on teachers. I want to appear helpful, approachable and involved while not looking like the overbearing and need to know everything mom that I really am. It’s a fine line people. Luckily I’m OK with bribing, which is why both of my children’s teachers will be receiving a morning mug.


(5) Extracurricular activities. Spanish club? Tennis? Tackle football? Chess? Boy Scouts? When I was in 1st grade I remember coming home from school and playing outside with dirt and sticks. And no, I didn’t grow up in a cave.

To stay on top of it all, this year I plan on writing everything down (novel idea) on one of these Super Mom Planners from Happy Organized Life. I feel less stressed just looking at these. One question though, do you think these planners come with a personal assistant who actually remembers to write things down?

Super mom, back to school ideas, happy organized life, etsy blog, study planner

 

 

 

Is it really time to go back to school? Oh yes it is, thank gawd.

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Many people have been asking why I haven’t updated my blog recently, actually it’s just my dad asking but in my head I like to think that people all over the interwebs are just waiting for a blog post. Hi dad.

I wish I could tell you I’ve been traveling the world to places with no Internet connection but, no. I’ve been working a bunch and hanging with my kids at the neighborhood pool every spare moment we get. But now, all of a sudden it’s back-to-school time (a million moms are jumping up and down with glee about this.)

Fortunately I’m on vacation now (#brag) soaking up the last couple weeks of no homework, no packing lunches, no tests, no early morning buses, no me forgetting to do something for their classrooms, etc.

Most of all, I want my kids to have the freedom to do nothing until school starts. As we (I) speak, they’re frolicking in a creek as I pray that they’re no snakes in said water. And earlier today they went on a rock slide over and over and over again. Man I love vaca. But all good things must come to an end #acidwashjeans and so I’ve collected a list of back-to-school must haves that can all be purchased online so you don’t have to pull your kids out of the creek to head to the dreaded mall. 

personalized lunch box, back to school, school 2014, back to school ideas, etsy blog

Personalized Mabels labels, back to school, summer camp labels, etsy blog, etsystalkers.com, school labels Back pack | $29

 

 

 

Personalized spiral notebook, etsy blog, etsystalkers.com, back to school, birds on a lin

Personalized spiral notebook | $18

 

 

 

 

 

 

etsy blog, etsystalkers.com, pencil case, back to school, makeup bag, Gadget Case, Under 15, Pencil Case, Medium, Zippered, Cosmetic Case, For Her

Pencil Case | $12

 

 

 

 

 

Amazon.com, etsy blog, etsystalkers.com, lunch box, back to school ideas, PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag

Freezable Lunch Bag | $19.70

Amazon.com, etsy blog, etsystalkers.com, back to school, school ideas, Cork Board
Cork Board | $26.99

Hatch Hub - 15% off
Back-to-school kiss-up to teacher gifts :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

tea collection, etsy blog, etsystalkers.com, back to school ideas, school clothes

 

 

 

 

THROWBACK THURSDAY: I’m thinking I have to try foot binding.

THROW BACK THURSDAY; ETSYSTALKERS.COM

Yep, it’s already Thursday. The eve of Friday. One of the most awesome times of the week. My kids are still at Camp Grandma and Poppa, while we’re back at home being wild and crazy. Last night I cleaned out and organized the toy room. BRAG.

So without further ado, I bring you back to three summers ago…

I’m thinking I have to try foot binding.

You know, like in the book Snow Flower and the Secret Fan? Let’s just say my book club did a lot of Googling during the discussion of that book and what we found was not pretty. Not pretty at all. But, binding my feet may be necessary because my new Tory Burch shoes cut off my circulation yesterday. I’m thinking I need to get the next size up or cut off my big toe (which I’m almost willing to do to wear these shoes).

handmade slippers, felt slippers, etsy, etsy blog, onstail

While I rest my feet from their day of torture, I  wish I had a pair of these slippers from Onstail Etsy Shop. I actually featured this shop about a year ago, but I’m doing it again because I love it so much (and I’m hoping she’ll send me a pair for free – hint, hint, nudge, nudge, wink, wink).

handmade slippers, felt slippers, etsy, etsy blog, onstail

 

Of course I wouldn’t mind a free bag too. Man this is getting AWKWARD.

handmade slippers, felt slippers, etsy, etsy blog, onstail

 

By the way, I freaking love everything Tory Burch (even if the shoes require a little bit foot binding). Totally worth it, right?

etsy blog, amazon.com, etsystalkers.com, tory burch sunglasses

etsy blog, amazon.com, etsystalkers.com, tory burch shoes

I’m in one state and my kids are in another one. Brag.

I’m not making a metaphorical ‘state of mind’ reference. My kids are actually in a different state than me!  It’s the second annual Camp Grandma and Pappa going on right now, which means my husband and I are in Georgia while the kids are with them in South Carolina. It’s only the second day of our stay-cation but I’ve learned and accomplished so much already:

    • It only takes 10 minutes to clean out a refrigerator and freezer when no kids are there pulling food out and claiming they’re ‘saving their half-eaten popsicle from last month for later’.
Zoku Slow Pops, popsicle molds, summer 2014, summer activities with kids, etsy blog

Zoku Slow Pops

    • I don’t have to yell at my husband to sit down at the dinner table because he actually sits and eats without asking what’s for dessert. He’s good like that.
    •  When my boss asks if I can stay past 3PM for a meeting, I don’t have to call in 50 favors trying to figure out who can watch my kids.
    • We get to enjoy wine with dinner as opposed to whine. I’ll have seconds of that, thankyouverymuch.

etsy blog, amazon.com, Acrylic Wine Tumblers, plastic wine cup

  • There’s enough time in the day to bring my car into the dealer so they can take off the driver-side panel to remove the wad of gum my kids somehow managed to stuff in there. The guy who inspected my car said he’s never seen anything like it. Awesome.
  • I had the opportunity to walk into a clothing store for no reason at all. I just walked around. By myself. And I never even peeked into the children’s department.
  • I have even MORE time do some Etsy stalking for items like these:
24K necklace, long gold chain, etsy blog, etsystalkers.com, Wild Air Co

24K Gold Edged Gray Druzy Necklace

 

Rope Bracelet, oliki, etsystalkers.com, etsy blog, Rhodochrosite Bracelet, Pink Bracelet, Boho Bracelet, Personalized Bracelet, Beaded Bracelet, Bridesmaid Bracelet

Rope Bracelet

 

 

 

 

 

 

Geometric Decorative Pillow, Modern Kids Pillows, Orange Teen Pillow, Nursery Pillow, Throw Pillow, etsystalkers.com, etsy, lovejoycreate

Geometric Decorative Pillow

 

Stay tuned for new developments over the coming week. I’m thinking of going to our neighborhood pool ALONE. I’ve lived in our house for six years and have yet to experience alone time at the pool. Cliff hanger, I know…