Christmas Shopping This Weekend & Taking Advantage of the Best Sales

During the day on Tuesday, my lights went out three times. They weren’t out long, just long enough to get all the clocks in the house flashing away. Later that night as I was getting into bed, they went out and stayed out for good. I have no idea what was going on with the power in our neighborhood that day but when I looked out the window, I could see the whole street was out.

I never felt panicked though because I have several of the Blackout Buddy devices plugged in all around the house. As soon as the power went out, they all lit up. It was so comforting having the house instantly go into “lit” mode. As I got back out of bed and headed down the upstairs hall where a Blackout Buddy was lighting the way, I could see light coming up the stairs from the one I had plugged in the entry downstairs. Light is a beautiful thing when the power goes out!

Blackout Buddy Lights


I was so appreciative of how they worked that night, I immediately went online and ordered two more sets. I’ve now added one to the office, one to the kitchen, one to the dining room and one to the living room. My daughter-in-law uses the one in her downstairs hallway as a nightlight, so it comes on every evening as soon as it gets dark. They are designed with multiple settings so you can use them different ways.

If you don’t already have these in your home, I highly recommend them. They give tremendous peace of mind and also make handy flashlights when needed. You’ll find them available here: Blackout Buddy.

Today I just ordered the color version to try as a nightlight in my bathroom. It’s motion activated so will be interesting to see how it works. You can see it here: Blackout Buddy Color.


Christmas Tree

You may remember last year I had a hard time finding a Christmas tree I liked. I ordered a very expensive well-known/hyped brand and was very disappointed with how it looked. After returning it, I went on an all-out search for the perfect artificial tree. I’m super, super picky when it comes to Christmas trees, but I was determined to find a good one.

I’ve had several folks email me this year asking for a link to the post I created about the tree I ended up purchasing. You’ll find that post here: It Was Worth the Hunt, Love this Christmas Tree.

I noticed they have changed the tree for this year. Instead of all white lights, it now comes with dual-color lights. Also, instead of 1,000 lights, it has 800 this year. I noticed in the reviews last year, a few folks complained it was too bright. That may be why they reduced the light count. It wasn’t too bright to me, so I’m glad I ordered last year. If you are interested in the tree for this year with the changes they’ve made, you’ll find it here: Christmas Tree.

I noticed the 9-ft version still has all white lights and still has 1,150 lights on it. I think I’m going to order one for my bedroom this year before they reduce the light count on it, too. You’ll find it available here: 9-ft Christmas Tree.

Tree Decorated with Glass Ornaments


Christmas Shopping

I’m in serious Christmas shopping mode now and this weekend I’ve been finding some great sales. I just purchased two of these Sherpa Lined Jackets for my son, along with a sweater and a pair of wooly mocassins. Used to, when trying to find clothing gifts for him, I’d email a picture of something I was thinking of buying in advance to get his thoughts. Inevitably, he would politely let me know he didn’t like whatever I had suggested.

Last year I decided to try a new strategy: I bought coats/sweaters, etc…. that I loved, had great reviews and I thought would work well for cold Ohio winters. And guess what, he loved it all! In fact, I ended up ordering more in different patterns/colors because my daughter-in-law told me she was having to wash them all the time because he was wearing them every evening after work and on the weekends. Success!

So I’ve gotten a bit bolder now when shopping for my son. I love buying clothes for him, especially sweaters and warm winter gear. I don’t like winter, but I love the clothes that go with the season, both men’s and women’s.

So here’s what I just ordered for him for Christmas, trying something new that I think he’ll love. I have a similar jacket I purchased a couple of years back and love mine, so I’m hoping he’ll enjoy wearing these over long sleeves t-shirts on the weekends this winter. Plus, it was 40% off!


I also purchased it in this color, too. You’ll find them both available here: Sherpa-lined Flannel Jacket. Don’t forget to use the code FALL at checkout to get the sale price.


I also bought him this beautiful zip-up wool blend sweater in the color, Cabernet. It’s supposed to be super soft and was listed as a “best seller.” It’s available here: Sweater.


The sale is a graduated sale so I bought 4 items to get the full 40% off sale. This was the 4th item I purchased. I think he will love slipping into these on the weekends this winter. You’ll find them available here: Moccasins.


A couple of years back I purchased this wool “shirt-jacket” from J. Crew. I loved it so much, I bought it a second time so I’d have two. The sales associate told me they had it the year before in another color, a red and navy. I stalked eBay until I found it and bought it in that color, as well. I LOVE these shirt-jackets. They are sooo warm and very flattering on.

J. Crew Buffalo Check Shirt Jacket


I don’t see the wool version on their website this year, but I did find this flannel version and ordered it. It’s still on sale, but there are limited sizes now. I normally buy their shirt jackets in a small because they are cut generously. I love wearing these with a long sleeve t-shirt underneath. Jeans, long-sleeve t-shirt and a shirt-jacket is pretty my everyday uniform throughout the winter. It’s just so darn comfortable and warm! You’ll find this one below available here: Blue/green shirt jacket. Don’t forget to use the promo code FESTIVE at checkout for an additional 40% off.


Since I love these so much, I check for them every single year. J. Crew has this style in and on sale right now. I just purchased it in two colors yesterday. You’ll find this one available on sale here: Red/blue plaid Shirt Jacket.  (Don’t forget to use the promo code FESTIVE to save 40% at checkout.)


This was the other one I purchased, it’s still on sale here: Gingham Shirt Jacket. (Use promo code FESTIVE for an additional 40% off.) I think it will look so cute with black jeans and a red t-shirt or red turtleneck underneath. She’s wearing it tucked in in front, but it’s cut long just like all the other shirt-jackets above. Again, I find these shirt jackets to be super comfortable and figure-flattering.


Fair Isle Sweaters

Remember this beautiful Fair Isle sweater I purchased last year? It’s much prettier in person, this picture doesn’t do it justice.

Blue Fair Isle Sweater


They have a similar one in this year and I think I”m going to add it to my collection. I love, love, love a beautiful Fair Isle sweater! This one is currently on sale with the code Gather30 here: Sweater.


Prevent Cracked Fingers This Winter

Winter is here and my daughter-in-law and I are stocking up on Cutemol. This is the only thing that keeps our fingers from cracking during the winter. It also transforms cracked heels when used a few times a week. We love it!

My dil keeps a tube by the kitchen sink fulltime, even during the summer. It only takes a small amount. Note: You won’t be able to use your hands for about 5-10 minutes after using it. It’s intense and takes a while to dry, but once it’s dry, it creates an amazing barrier to protect your skin and it lasts a long, long time.


This is the size we use after baths on our heels, etc… It’s available in all sizes here: Cutemol.

Cutemol Cream


Have a great Weekend! Stay warm, it’s turned really cold here this weekend!

*If a post is sponsored or a product was provided at no charge, it will be stated in post. Some links may be affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases. *

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  1. I just love your web site. Just found it, you have so many different subjects


  2. Love the shirt jackets but I’m so glad I don’t need clothes like that anymore. Stay warm!

  3. I bought some of the Blackout Buddy lights after the last time you posted about them. I’m so glad I have them, they’ve come in very handy.

  4. Janelle Basler says

    Thanks Susan! My son is hard to buy for also and you have helped me out immensely! Keep the ideas and great finds coming!

  5. I could use a good moisturizer, thanks much for the tip!

  6. Susan, I just purchased, in part on the strength of your recommendation last year, a GE fresh-cut tree from Home Depot, and took delivery yesterday. I opted for 7.5′ as our ceilings are just 8′, and a slightly different version (Colorado spruce, not quite as fancy/realistic as yours but it was on sale for $99 and I just couldn’t resist giving it a try).

    It’s sitting in the opened box on the floor, waiting to be set up for final approval.

    Last year, I purchased and returned (to BBB) a National Tree Company “feel real” tree–PVC/PE branch construction, warm white LED lights–because it had a sickening plasticky, petroleum product odor that was overpowering and did not dissipate, even after a week of airing out.

    I love my 4.5′ tabletop version of National Tree Company’s very popular “Downswept Douglas Fir”, which has no such odor, even though it has the same PVC/PE “feel real” branch construction. I don’t know why there was such a difference between their products, and I would recommend the very attractive Downswept Douglas Fir. It is widely available, affordable, and gets excellent reviews.

    My newly delivered, GE fresh-cut Colorado spruce has no detectable odor, even upon first opening the box. I’m looking forward to seeing it up.

    I did buy the Home Depot warranty, as I worry about lights failing, especially as the technology gets more involved with a color switching function. The HD warranty was very inexpensive–$12–and they will simply give HD credit for full purchase price if there is a problem, rather than trying to reach GE customer service and have replacement lights, etc, mailed. I like that peace of mind.

    I was glad to have your tree-shopping experience in mind when I made the purchase, Susan! Thank you!

    • So glad it helped, Jen! My tree in the living room is 7.5 too since I have 8 ft ceilings there, but I do want to buy a 9 ft one this year. I figure I can use it in my bedroom where I have a tray ceiling and it could come in handy if I move one day to an older “cottage” style home with higher ceilings. Dreaming. 🙂

  7. Cyndi Raines says

    Great ideas Susan, thanks. I will be ordering the emergency light and think I will try the hand cream. The corners of my fingers get deep cuts, worse than paper cuts, no matter how much lotion I use and believe me I have tried so many different lotions. I usually just put the liquid band-aid ointment to seal it and that helps it, but sometimes discolores my finger a yellowish color for a day or so. On a happier note, I was thinking of all your travels and started to reflect on the trips I have been able to take and thought it would be fun to look for ornaments that represent the places we’ve been to decorate a small tree. Since you are now purchasing one for your bedroom, how fun would that be to drift off to sleep, staring at the lights and the ornaments that reflect your travels. You could even purchase an airplane and a world-globe ornament. Haha! Just a thought and I’m very tempted to do it. Another “theme” adventure, lol. Happy shopping!

  8. Oh Susan,
    I’m glad you are going to put up a Christmas tree in your bedroom, this year; I am sure it’ll look amazing with your beautiful tartan bedding! 🙂
    After seeing all the beautiful pictures on internet, a few years ago I started putting up a tree in my bedroom, too, and even though it’s really small (it’s just 1,20m) it makes the whole room look so much more Christmas-sy, so I can just imagine how beautiful your 2,29m tree must be! When my friends saw mine for the first time they said: “A Christmas tree in the bedroom?! Well, we bet you saw that in America!” I replied: Yes, I did and it’s great, right?! lol (most Europeans usually have only one tree in our houses and mostly in the living room. I have the tallest one (2,10m) in my living room, too, but I also have a pencil tree in the hallway, a small one (80cm) on the countertop in the kitchen and as I said one in the bedroom, and yes, this is sooo American! LOL) Speaking of American, Susan: I love all those shirts/jackets you’ve chosen! My son also turns into an American “lumberjack” after work! lol
    Hugs to you.

    • I’m still trying to decide if I should do that. I want to buy the tree now before they quit making it with so many lights, yet it will be a challenge to get upstairs by myself, then to take back down…so not sure if I should do it. Very tempted, though.
      lol My son wouldn’t have worn them in the past, but now that he lives where it gets super cold, I think he’ll like them. We’ll see his reaction when he opens them at Christmastime. 🙂

      • Sorry, Susan, I haven’t thought about that, but I hear you!
        If I lived closer (much closer, lol) I’d come and help you! 🙂

  9. I like the idea of the Blackout Buddy device. Even though we have a generator there are little used areas not attached to it so they would help there. We installed an automatic generator years ago after we came home to squishy rugs in our basement after being gone for a weekend. The power had been out during a storm and consequently the sump overflowed and when the power came back on it pumped the water out. We didn’t realize it happened until my son went down in his stocking feet. We had moved to a new home and hadn’t had to deal with a sump pump at our other house. Live and learn.
    Susan, I love your website, I seem to be interested in all the same things you are.

  10. Oh, you are tempting me to buy one of the shirt jackets. I am usually never cold, but this year, I seem to be! We hit a low of 8 yesterday morning, near Minneapolis…..winter is HERE! We have snow on the ground, and ducks and swans are standing on some lakes, not floating in them! Gotta say, as much as I LOVE colder weather, I usually like to ease into it a bit slower. 🙂

    • Wow, that is cold! I don’t blame, that sounds too cold for November! It’s been very cold and rainy here lately, so tired of the rain. Just got a flash flood warning on my phone today, guess the ground can’t soak up any more.

      • I hope you didn’t get flooding rains. Seems everyone is getting some sort of bad weather! Oh, and we didn’t hit 8 again last night…we hit 6 here!!! The good thing about this weather, it justifies my boot and coat obsession. 🙂

  11. Love your blog and all your recommendations!…I ordered the cream and can’t wait to try it! I am always happy with what you have tried and recommend… Always trust what you recommend….You are the best!

  12. Susan, first of all so happy to learn you have rebounded from your illness. Secondly; having experienced no power for four days (back in late September due to the touchdown of six tornados in & around the surrounding area that knocked out several grids) I must agree with you ‘light is a beautiful thing when the power goes out’, reason why Santa will be leaving all family members a supply of the Etekcity Portable LCD Lanterns/Flashlights under their Xmas Trees, that you also recommended in one of your other posts. As for the Black Out Buddy I did consider them however after reading some cautionary reviews ‘ that they can over heat and cause damage to the outlet’ I opted not to get them. (I do realize they are safety approved but am mentioning it in event you ever do smell a strange odour as I know one time I experienced much the same with a night-light. So it can occur.) Last but least; do appreciate ALL your shopping recommendations so keep them coming …. .

  13. We have large ranch home. Several years ago a tornado did a lot of damage and our lights were out. I went outside and got our solar landscape lighting. I put one in each bathroom and in the hall. Our grandchildren were here and it worked great.

  14. carrlyn ward says

    Hi Susan, I haven’t been on my laptop in ages and here we are its almost Christmas. I loved those 2 toparies that are shown on each side of a door and the door has a vase and some foliage in it. I believe it is yours. Enter To Shop My Favorites, it said, But, I didn’t know how. I am loving these topiaries. They have a round ball and the top is pointed. Do you have a link, etc? I save your ideas. This photo may be too old. I don’t know how to find this out either. I see things that I would like to buy. But can’t find out how or if it’s for sale. It too confusing for me. Your help is needed!

    • I think those are the faux topiaries I used to have on either side of my front door many years ago. if that’s the older picture you’re seeing, those came from Ballard Designs about 11 years ago. If they still carry them I would not recommend them because even though their ad showed them outdoors, they blew over every time the wind blew very hard. Plus, they faded out very badly in the sun. They might work okay inside a home on a sun porch or someplace like that, but again they would fade out in the sun. I’m not sure if they still carry them. I was very unhappy with them because they were expensive and wouldn’t stand up in a light breeze.

  15. Susan, after all these years…You never disappoint giving us great ideas THANK YOU! Remember the clock that shined on the ceiling the time? BIG HIT!!

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