Tuesday, July 8, 2014

a mom's guide to the internet (freebies, shopping, daily deals sites, cooking/baking, news, girl talk, cool toddler lunch ideas) non mommy's too

My Favorite Websites

photo credit:whistleblower-insider.com

It has been a long time since I did a "my favorite things" post, so I thought it would be fun to work on that today. Normally I stick to just my Sub Box items in my top 10 list, BUT this time I thought I would mix it up a bit and just tell ya'll about my favorite websites to visit (besides the typical social media outlets like facebook and twitter that it is safe to assume we ALL visit or online banking type things that we do because we have to)

I know I always like to discover new sites, and although everyone has different tastes many of my favorites will appeal to a wide group of people, I hope that you find a couple new favorite of your own, these are my "go to" sites not just for myself but for gifts or for my children (even the adult kids) Some are a "box" company that may or may not have non box products for sale as well.

I like to do most of my shopping online, and with the help of most of these sites I can do just that.

These are not listed in any particular order.

ThreadUp-  Never would I have thought I would log into an online consignment shop daily, but I do... they offer clothes for womens,misses, Plus sizes, juniors, children, toddlers and infants as well as shoes and handbags (in a wide variety of sizes, styles and price ranges....many are still even new with tags on them)
photo credit Thredup (I did buy this one)

I buy the vast majority of my clothing from threadup and I save around 80% or more typically. I also buy clothes fro the princess (who is 23 and have it shipped to her in TX, and for Tuffy, like right now winter clothing is super cheap so I am stocking up on his clothes for this coming fall/winter for next to nothing even brand new coats for under $10 with the tags still on them)

You can also request that Thredup send you a "clean out bag" and you simply fill it with whatever clothes you would like to sell to them, they receive it and tell you how much they will give you for each item in the bag. You can choose to have them send back any clothing/shoes/purses that they are not accepting or you can choose to have them donate it to a local shelter (which is what I have done...once stuff leaves my house I don't want it back causing more clutter)

***if you click on the link that takes you to the thredup site it will give you $10.00 off your first order and that can be used towards shipping as well so if you ordered something under about $6.00 depending on where you are shipping to you COULD get completely FREE clothing for you or your kids.... they have a great referral program,***

Photo Credit ThredUp (I did buy this though)

Bloglovin- IF you have not already started using Bloglovin, GO...signup NOW!!! it is a place that you can follow all you favorite blogs in one place and get one email a day with updates for all those blogs... now this link WILL take you to my blog on Bloglovin, but once there you can navigate and add any blog you want to your feed... also most of the blogs that are listed on Bloglovin also has a "button" on the left hand side of their blog that says "follow me on Bloglovin" just hit that and it will add me or anyone else to your feed. (mine is just below the popular posts section of my blog on right hand side) I do subscribe to other blogs via email, but honestly I read most of the blogs I subscribe to through my bloglovin feed since it is all in one place and in order.

If you are looking for a way to simplify how you read all the blogs you need to keep up with for reviews, articles, or giveaways this is one of the easier ways to do it and you can scan through it all in one place...read what you want and skip over the rest)

Venezia by Lane Bryant Career Versatile Skirt Khaki
Photo credit: Tradsey webpage (I am currently thinking of buying this)

Tradsey- This is very similar to ThredUp...usually the clothing is a bit higher end on Tradsey, BUT if you filter the clothes priced low to high and stay under say the $25 range you will be OK... you can do that with ThredUp too by the way) The big difference here is that with Tradsey instead of buying from a company like ThredUp you are buying from an individual but Tradsey acts as the middle man and protects your money if  an issue arises so you don't have to worry about being scammed...Tradsey protects you the buyer.

Now here is a huge difference ...the selling... IF you decide to sell clothing on Tradsey then YOU set your price, you list it in your "closet" and people buy it from you, you ship it to them yourself...so you determine how much you want your sweater to sell for.... Tradsey gets the money from buyer, sends you  postage paid address label and sends you your money once you put in shipment tracking information....so this is good for those who have a closet full of stuff they want to sell but want to choose the price to tell at themselves and don't mind doing the shipping.

The referral program for tradsey is a bit different, by clicking on the link you will get $25 off your first order (sent a code via email, but there is a minimum purchase required, and before I would get the referral bonus you would have to spend $100....so obviously I did NOT list this one to get a bunch of referral money because if you are like me you will only be buying in smaller chunks....although I do order about once or twice a week...just not uber expensive orders)
Anthropologie short dress Yoana Baraschi on Tradesy
Photo Credit Tradsey

The Tennessean- Local Nashville /Middle Tennessee newspaper both in print and online. See I am not all Shopping.

Ft Worth Star Telegram- this is the "local" paper I have read my entire life so moving from Ft Worth, TX to the Nashville area didn't change that. I still log on most days (my family is there, my friends and I am still passionate about the local politics so I like to keep informed)

photo credit: Bzzagent

BzzAgent- Now this is a site I have visited at least 3 times a week for the last 8, maybe 9 years. For those NOT familiar with BzzAgent they are a word of mouth advertising company...basically you fill out a profile and at first a whole lot of surveys (I heard it is a LOT of surveys at first now, I joined when they were new to the scene so the sign up process is different than when I joined) anyway...so you fill out the surveys and then they will match you up based on your answers and demographics (age, location, income) to different "campaigns" which basically means they will send you free stuff to try and then you just report back how you like it and you tell your friends about the item you received, how you like it, and hand out some coupons if you receive coupons in the "bzzkit" I have done campaigns on everything from new video games to sonicare toothbrushes... restaurants to teeth whitening products... kids toys to cat/dog food... you name it they likely have or will do a campaign for it in the future...no you will not get into every campaign because the companies they are working with are looking for a certain demographic... my husband and I are both agents and are a year apart in age... obviously same location, income, and such but we often get very different campaign invites...so really it comes down to those survey answers and then location in my opinion after so many years... This is a 100% free program, in fact in addition to the campaign items they send you you will also earn points to spend on my points to use towards gift cards for each campaign activity and survey you do.

Photo credit: Google images,  book  my favorite Amish fiction author
Amish Recipes Oasis News Feature (Amish 365)- this site has evolved much over the years, what started out as merely a weekly cooking column by an Amish woman named Elizabeth who also gave a brief summary of her week since the last column a few decades ago where she wrote it out on paper at her kitchen table (likely in Pennsylvania dutch, but not sure about that) it was given to her friend Kevin and he was the one that got her published and "ran" her column until her death and then her daughter... this has evolved into a nice website with stories and recipes written by many Anabaptist (Amish and Mennonite, perhaps even some German baptists) Kevin still oversees everything on this site and has dedicated his life to telling the real story of the Amish as well as other "plain people" and allowing them to tell their own story by running this site and publishing various cookbooks. Now their are several who write fro him on a regular basis not only just for recipes but just telling about their day to day life... I have mentioned a time or two  my soft spot for Amish and other "plain folk" this has long been a favorite site for me to sit read for ours at a time... a great way to pass infusion time or when I am stuck in bed.... even for those of you who don't know about the Amish, check out the site, look around...read some article, look at the beautiful photos and pick out a few recipes... I get nothing from telling you about this site, just sharing a site I truly love and have for years.

ButYouDontLookSick.com Logo
photo credit:butyoudon'tlooksick.com

but you DON"T LOOK sick (dot com)- OK, so this sounds like would not be a good place for someone with an invisible illness (as in most autoimmune illnesses) but in reality this was the FIRST site for us "spoonies" don't understand why I always say spoonie or I am out of spoons...check out this page the spoon theory (by Christine Miserandino) should be near the top or pretty much all over the place. Although this site is not specifically for those with MY illness it has become the #1 place for those with auto immune illness to get information, support, read articles, find coping skills, learn about different medical options, and mobility aids.... basically it teaches you how to live the new life you have been handed... originally this site was started with Lupus patients in mind but because so many auto immune diseases are so similar and are treated with the same meds quite frequently it all comes together and this site became the only place on the web for a long time that people like me could go and seek support, learn to accept our lives, and how to overcome the devastation that comes with a life long sentence (in my case a sentence of extreme pain, daily fevers over 102.5, joint destruction, sore throat, a pinkish rash that looks like sunburn, an allergy to the sun, fatigue unlike anything you can put into words, chemotherapy meds for the rest of my life, weekly biologic injections...the kind of stuff that would be poisonous to most people, over 40 pills a day, and loss of my freedom and everything that I thought made me who I was) but here in this magical online community I found I was not alone, everyone else was like me (we may have different illnesses but we were all dealing the best we could) I learned to live again, that I could do many things even if not what I did before... I was learning to be myself again.. only better than before because this disease HAD changed me but becoming a member of but you don't look sick taught me what it is to be compassionate, caring, forgiving, patient, tolerate and most of all to see the good in the new life I was given instead of focusing on all the bad... I owe my entire outlook on life to this site and the wonderful women I met here... I urge you all...even if you are not sick to log on... read the spoon theory if nothing else... better yet read a few post/articles... you will see how we struggle BUT how much we have learned to find the humor in our lives... if I can't laugh at myself then I will never love life again... I learned so much here, as did my husband...maybe you can as well. I will say that this site is not the active chat rooms it once was because of facebook, twitter and such... but the content is still there.. being added as well as all the old stuff that so many of us clung to as we were learning to live again.

photo credit:Sproutonline.com

Sprout online (dot com)- I was sad to learn not all cable/satellite providers offer Sprout as one of their children's programming channels...actually I don't think I have heard of any here in Nashville... anyway sprout was our go to channel for Tuffy, I believe it is still carried by Direct TV (which we don't have access to here because of where our apartment faces or something...or maybe that was dish and direct was not an option at all...I forget...and it isn't the point)
Sprout is the only 24 hr preschool channel designed for parents and kids to watch and discuss together.many of the shows are PBS shows, as well as more and more original shows as they grow I will not say ALL shows had an educational content, but most did and at the least taught good manners (except Caillou... no good lessons there, but my kid loves him)
Sprout online obviously allows you to watch some sows which Tuffy is happy about, but they have more "toddler recipes" than any other place online than I have ever seen...and unique games and online activities many pretty different than your basic toddler/preschool games...
but seriously LOOK AT THE CRAFTS/RECIPES you will NOT be disappointed...awesome ideas... like you will be a pinterest star if you do a few of these for snacks and lunches...and they are super easy!
This is one of those sites all moms with kids under 6 or 7 should be checking a few times a week to keep their sanity and so the kids think your super mom.

photo credit: clipart
Rue La La- OK, yes it's a daily deal site... we all have our favorites, this is mine. I like that I pay shipping once and then get 30 days of free shipping after that (so say I buy something on April 2nd, I will pay 9.99 flat rate shipping and that covers anything I buy until May 2nd... last year around September or October they gave you a chance to pay like $20 and it gave you free shipping through the end of the year...which you KNOW that I took advantage of that.
Rue LaLa has something fro everyone... women, men, kids, babies, teen, home items, travel, gifts, pet items, and even sometimes great deal on sub boxes, or food gift boxes.
The prices on Rue LaLa can be very inexpensive as low as $15 for a full sized cast iron skillet (I bought several of those as gifts) or even lower prices for kitchen stuff, kids clothing, costume jewelry...some of the higher end stuff is VERY high end and although way out of my price range is still heavily discounted.
There is one item a day called "today's fix" which is super discounted and honesty I have seen it all from designer bags to Tiffany jewelry, sandals to baby slings so that is always a wild card sometimes you can haggle the price even...but when they are sold out you are out of luck...

You can even see what is coming up for the next 3 days at the bottom of the page (it will list most, if not all of the "departments" that are scheduled for say Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday) each company or department is listed for a few days (I honestly don't know how long but it tells you 1 day left or 2 days left..whatever so you know...each day the different categories are mind boggling) I get such AMAZING deals on Rue LaLa that I keep a well stocked gift closet between RueLaLa, my sub boxes and Amazon.
deals) You never know what you will find, I suggest looking in every category because sometimes where they put stuff does not make sense to me I have discovered.. so I pull up all the options in the living category which is mostly home goods,pet items sub boxes if they have any of those at that time, and food items..the other categories are pretty obvious ...but still check them all...just sort high to low so you know where your price cap is and don't get tempted to spend more.

Give them a try...you will love them I know I do!

I hope you have found at least one or two new web pages here in my list...obviously I also do all the social media pages, blogs, and Amazon...not to mention all the sub box company pages...but these are the web pages I saw the most in my browser history when I decided to do this post...

Hope you enjoyed a peek into my computer time & habits if nothing else, or enjoy exploring my favorite outside the norm sites online.



  1. I LOVE But You Don't Look Sick! I have Lupus. I will sometimes write about it but I mostly try to focus on other stuff. It takes up so much of my day and time already! I do use my blog to vent when needed. I love this list. I'm not a mom but I am an aunt who spoils her niece and nephew!

  2. The best thing about a daily shopping daily deals is that it really provides greater value and bigger savings for the buying public.