• Let me introduce you to Zulily

    there's a purple plastic mailing envelope with the word Zulily written in white script. in the top left corner, lying on top of the package, are two pairs of folded pants

    “Thanks, it’s from Zulily!”

    OK, so I definitely said this at least 20 times this past weekend at my soon-to-be sister-in-law’s bridal shower. My purse, my jean jacket, my shoes, even the Scout bag I wrapped my gift in were all from Zulily. So what the heck is this site?

    Last year, I started partnering with Zulily as an affiliate. Simply put, when you buy items through the link on my website and social media, I receive a commission at no cost to you. It’s a way to support my small business as I continue to grow Joyful, Brave & Awesome!

    The best part is you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on leggings or Tupperware to support me. (But guess what? You can often find both leggings and Tupperware on Zulily if you feel like you are missing out!)

    Anyway, here are some answers to some of the most common Zulily questions, along with my number one tip for shopping on the site:

    What is Zulily? How does it work?

    Usually, so-called “flash sale” sites fill their warehouse with discounted products from brands, and then sell the product. Zulily keeps prices low – we’re talking sometimes even 70% off – by ordering product from brands AFTER a sale ends. Then, all your orders are consolidated at Zulily warehouses and shipped out. In short: longer shipping = lower prices!

    Do I need to pay for a membership?

    Nope! Membership is free – you just need to sign up for an account. Once you do, you can start browsing for savings right away. And if you’re worried about too many emails, you can choose exactly how many emails you receive from Zulily, whether its daily, weekly, monthly, or not at all!

    What’s an event?

    Zulily calls its sales “events”. Usually these last 72 hours. Zulily launches over 120 events EVERY DAY! Sounds overwhelming, but honestly the way the site is set up, it makes total sense. And you have me sharing some of my favorite #ZulilyFinds that I think resonate best with my readers. If there’s a certain type of product you are interested in, feel free to reach out to me!

    Wait, shipping isn’t “free two-day”?

    No, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to score free shipping. When you order on Zulily, you qualify for free shipping on any subsequent orders the rest of that day. Friday and Saturday orders score free shipping through Sunday! So if you buy something Friday morning, for example, you can keep ordering items up through Sunday evening for no extra shipping charge. Also, some items qualify for free shipping automatically.

    My best advice is to plan ahead: Use Zulily for items you do not need immediately, but rather items you know you’ll need sometime in the next few months. Our family’s birthdays all fall around the holidays. I start Christmas shopping using Zulily in the summer, so by the time Thanksgiving arrives I’m all done with shopping and the gifts are all safely stored in my house. Same goes for those “just in case” gifts to stock up on for last-minute parties, etc. Also, when I see a great deal on clothing or shoes a size or two larger than what JB is currently wearing, I’ll stock up. That way I know I’m ready should we have a sudden growth spurt! (The photo accompanying this post is of just this. They were having a major end-of-season sale on boys sweatpants, so I bought several pairs of the next size so we are ready for the fall.)

    What are you looking to save on in the next few months? I’d love to hear in the comments!

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  • An exciting new partnership!

    “Can you start a website where you curate all these awesome finds?” my son’s therapist asked me half-jokingly (I think) last year.

    As I’ve mentioned before, I often cope with JB’s diagnosis by shopping. I’m always hoping there’s a certain toy or piece of equipment that can help him develop skills a bit more easily, or make this therapy sessions more fun for him.

     I am thrilled to announce I am now an affiliate partner of – my favorite online retailer! 

    Without a doubt, Zulily has been my top source for therapy (whether speech, occupational, physical or feeding therapy) and sensory items for JB. It is also where I’ve found the best selection of toys and books featuring people with disabilities.

    In addition, I do most of my holiday shopping – birthdays, Mother’s and Father’s Days, Christmas, Easter – on Zulily. Since the pandemic, I’ve also been doing most of my own clothing shopping on Zulily. (Their shoes and plus-size offerings are especially fantastic.)

    See the photo above? Those are all Zulily purchases I was able to grab in a three-minute mad dash through my house. Even the area rug is from Zulily.

    Over the next few days, I’m going to be sharing some of my favorite Zulily finds both here on the blog and on social media. I’ll also be sharing suggestions from Jessica N. Turner, one of my favorite bloggers out there and a big career inspiration to me.

    Is there anything in particular you are looking to purchase right now that you could use help finding? Let me know!

    Please note: I know I sound like I’m doing an infomercial for Zulily, but this is not a sponsored post. If you buy something through the affiliate links used in this post, I may be compensated, but other than that, I’m just an [over]eager fan who loves a good sale.

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  • A different kind of retail therapy

    One hour of uninterrupted, totally kid-free “me time”.

    If this gift from the gods fell into your lap, where would you spend it? The library, chapters-deep in a good book? A coffee shop, savoring a latte and cinnamon bun? At home in bed, enjoying a much-needed nap?

    While those are three of my favorite ways to spend a rare afternoon alone, lately another locale has been calling me – underneath the fluorescent lights of my local T.J. Maxx (or Marshalls or Target).

    I’ve always been a big fan of shopping, and even just browsing. Some of my happiest early memories were going to the mall with my mom or grandmother. Mind you, this was in the heyday of mall culture in America (see: Clueless, Saved by the Bell and Mall Madness). But unlike those trips in the 90’s, these T.J. Maxx trips are completely altruistic, or so I tell myself.

    After the winding journey through the cosmetics and housewares aisles, I stop at my intended destination – the toys and books section.

    See – I can’t make JB’s genes magically correct themselves. I can’t will him to walk or talk overnight. But maybe, just maybe, I can find the perfect CVI-friendly Eric Carle board book on clearance, and it will inspire him to start focusing his eyes or holding his head up unassisted.

    That’s how I justify my visits. By telling myself that shopping is now more than just a fun distraction or hobby. It serves a purpose! I’m not wasting money, I am problem solving.

    After all, that single Melissa & Doug puzzle could be the key to unlocking JB’s fine motor skills. Those spiky light-up balls I bought in bulk could be what finally get him to say “ball” – or any word, for that matter. It’s my duty as a good mother to be vigilant not only while watching him, but also while watching online and in stores for products – nay, OPPORTUNITIES – to provide my son with.

    I don’t mess with the medical side of JB’s therapy plan. I trust his doctors and therapists completely, and know that they have the degrees and experience and research to prescribe the best medicines and suggest the best courses of action. Science is not my forte. Shopping, though? Shopping I can do!

    Writer Joel Yanofsky talks about falling into a similar pattern. In his memoir Bad Animals: A Father’s Accidental Education in Autism, he writes how his family’s home was soon overrun with every kind of educational toy or game imaginable. He notes that these purchases were more than desperate attempts to reach out to their son; they were ways to make he and his wife feel like they were affecting change with their son’s progress.

    It wasn’t until I read Yanofsky’s book that I realized that my shopping was in fact a way to gain some control over a future filled with unknowns. I’m not delusional. I know there is no book or puppet or train set that will magically transform JB’s journey into an “easier” one. But for now, that big bin of light-up bouncy sensory balls can keep its place of honor in our living room for JB to enjoy. After all, it’s a heck of a lot more convenient than when those things were in my closet, falling on my head every time I went to grab a pair of shoes!

    Photo by Digital Buggu from Pexels

    (Please note: this post includes an Amazon affiliate link.) 

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