July 4th Casual Outfit and Convertible Staw Bag

Sunday, June 30, 2019

This post was sponsored by Walmart and contains affiliate links (I will receive a percentage of commission if you make a purchase through one of my links.) 

I wore this to a get-together with my husband's extended family yesterday and within the first five minutes, two people had complimented my tee! It's nice and soft, I went up to a medium since they run just slightly small. And look at the price!!! Tee and jeans are from Ellen DeGeneres' collection, EV1 (Check out more of Walmart's affordable lines for moms & kids here.) These are my favorite inexpensive jeans since they are flattering, very comfortable and can be worn full length or cuffed up for different looks. Definitely go down one size from what you normally wear. I have on a size 2 here (normally I'm a 4.)

If you want a similar option without the 'distressed' look, try the Maddie jeans. Again, go a size down from your normal!

Check out my straw bag (lots of other options here) - it can be hand carried with the strap tucked in or worn as a cross body.

The two shoes shown in pics are the wedges here and flats here. (Flats are out of stock in most size/color combos at the time I'm writing this, but are a great value for the money and seem to restock here and there.) Both pretty true to size!

Get this Summer look by clicking the little pics below! Follow me on  Instagram, and come join us in the  Sample Sale Mom facebook group for discussion and great shopping deals on clothing, beauty items, housewares and kids' stuff! (Currently about 97,000 members!)

Workout-wear for Less with eBay! (Brooks Sneakers and Lululemon)

Thursday, June 27, 2019

This post was sponsored by eBay and contains affiliate links (I will receive a percentage of commission if you make a purchase through one of my links.) 

Last November I realized I needed to make a positive change and get more active. I had read an article about how bad having a sedentary lifestyle is for your health and it scared me... so I started running again. I used to run in my twenties but I had abandoned it since the kids were born. This turned out to be such a huge improvement for me - I have much more energy, fewer aches and pains. I look better and I feel so much better! One great thing about running is that it's very inexpensive - it just requires an investment of time, some workout clothing and a good pair of running shoes.

I was excited to partner with eBay this month to tell you guys about how to get some amazing workout clothes for a fraction of the original prices. eBay is a great place to grab any shoes you missed out on from a previous season (for less!) Often you can get current line shoes for a steal too, especially pre-owned. (The pair I bought looked barely worn. I threw them into the wash when I got them to be safe - Brooks can go through the washing machine, then air dry them!)

I got a pair of my favorite Brooks running shoes (Ghost) for more than 60% off what I paid for my last (full price) pair. And... eBay has tons of Lululemon(!!!) Don't want to pay $100 for leggings? No problem! I bought 5 pieces total and most were under $20 each. The tank I'm wearing in the pics is here – it's gorgeous and high quality as you'd expect.

Get this look by clicking the little pics below! Follow me on Instagram, and come join us in the Sample Sale Mom facebook group for discussion and great shopping deals on clothing, beauty items, housewares and kids' stuff! (Currently about 97,000 members!)

The Unexpected - and Asking for a Couple of Favors

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Matt and I on our wedding day in 2005, almost 14 years ago! (Photo by Schippert + Martin photography.)

I tried to figure out the best way to convey this information. I feel weird about putting it in a blog post, since this blog has evolved from 'fun art projects with the kids' to 'sales-y fashion and shopping posts', and I have never used it to share any deeply personal information. I thought about just doing a long post in my Facebook group, since that where most of you found me. However, I figured I should make it public and permanent, just in case this information helps others. In the future, this will keep on being a fashion/shopping blog, but I will occasionally post updates.

Up until the end of May, things were going extremely well. Matt and I had a conversation in our kitchen, some time in late May about how things were almost TOO good and we joked that "something bad has to happen now." We had bought a beautiful house that we love almost two years ago, work was going generally very well for both of us, we had just taken an amazing family vacation to Costa Rica in February and Matt had booked a trip to London with his dad and brother at the end of June. The kids were almost out of school for Summer and we had just found out that a couple of our good friends were moving back here (to the Boston area) from the West coast. We were so excited to be able to hang out with them again! (They have two boys also.) Plus all our family members were basically happy and healthy. So things were great and we felt very lucky.

On May 30, Matt woke up with a vein protruding on the side of his neck. It wasn't painful but it looked odd so he googled it and came up with a bunch of bad/scary things. We asked several docs we know and they thought it probably wasn’t anything major, but that he should have it checked out. The next day he took the day off work, went into urgent care and had a chest X-ray. There was something on the X-ray but the doctor couldn’t really tell what it was. She set him up with a CAT scan but they couldn’t fit him in until almost a week later (June 6th.) I was annoyed about that, but Matt had no other symptoms and felt totally fine, so we were not too worried. We guessed maybe there was some sort of blockage of an artery/vein and that maybe he'd need medication or, at most, surgery. On Friday morning, (June 7th) Matt’s primary care doctor called him at work and bluntly told him he had a 9 centimeter tumor in his chest which was compressing an artery (the tumor is about the size of a baseball.) He told Matt to get to the ER as soon as possible.

Matt’s mom died of lung cancer at 54, so when I heard this I was stunned and terrified and thought "my husband is going to die." My one consolation was that the tumor didn't appear to be in either of the lungs. We were immediately seen at the ER and they did bloodwork and more tests. I asked the lead doctor there if she thought it was cancer, and she said yes, she thought it was some type of lymphoma. I was actually really grateful for her honesty. I think at that point Matt was sort of in shock.

Matt was admitted to the hospital that night and on Saturday the 8th a thoracic surgeon went into his chest and took out some of the tumor. She told me it was definitely cancer of some type, and she agreed as we were initially told, probably a lymphoma. On Sunday morning a doc came in and confirmed it was definitely a lymphoma, and that it would take a while for pathology to figure out which type and sub-type. Then we waited two excruciatingly long days for the pathology report to come back. In the meantime, Matt was moved to the oncology ward. We met his team of cancer docs.

On Tuesday June 11th, we finally got a diagnosis, and the news was very good (well, as good as it possibly could be). It is Classic Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and our doc said that in Matt’s case that meant a “better than 90%” survival rate. He does need 6 months of chemo and immunotherapy, and started on Wednesday June 12th. They sent him home on Thursday and the chemo will be on an outpatient basis. So far he feels fine, just very sleepy some days. But he will be taking a 6 month break from work.

Matt is thin, generally in good health, and a non-smoker. He had NO other symptoms other than mild fatigue, a few days earlier he had been out on the court playing an intense basketball game with the kids and felt fine, so this was completely shocking - but Hodgkin's often strikes people a lot younger than Matt (and arbitrarily - this is not one of those cancers you can avoid by getting into shape or eating right. You can read more about Hodgkin's here. And please read about the symptoms, here.

By funny coincidence (okay... not really funny at all), on the day I was supposed to be picking Matt up from the hospital, the school nurse called, to say my son Alex needed to go to the ER. It turned out that Alex has broken two of his toes at gym class and has to be in a boot and walk with crutches for a few weeks. (Agh.)

So... we are very well set to deal with this. My parents live close by and we have good support from our friends and other various relatives. I work for myself, from home and have a very flexible schedule. But I'm going to ask you guys for a couple of easy favors. One is for me - the other one is for you.

First - if you belong to my Facebook group, please message me good shopping deals when you come across them, (and new product recommendations are always appreciated too.) Please use my Facebook profile or info@samplesalemom.com. I want to keep my business going pretty much as usual over the next few months, and this helps me out since some days I won't be able to work much. It also helps your fellow members, since it makes the group so much better. I get a lot of messages and emails so I may not be able to respond to them all, but I really appreciate it when you guys send me deals! (And thanks SO much to those of you who have been doing this already lately. This has been so incredibly helpful guys.)

Second - and this is the important one *Please, please take ten minutes right now and make any doctors appointments you’ve been putting off.* If you have a weird pain, or some lingering symptom, get it checked out. In Matt’s case, he had just had a physical a month ago where they didn’t catch this. But I have another friend who is undergoing chemo right now for breast cancer after finally making a mammogram appointment that she had put off. It's highly preferable to catch these things as early as possible.

Matt and I are optimists and we're feeling very optimistic right now - however, we would feel even better if we could save one of your lives! So get yourselves to the doctor (and if that turns out to have been really good advice, please write and tell me. I won't publicize it, I just want to know that I helped someone.)

On our trip to Costa Rica in February. At this point the tumor was already growing and we had no idea.

The boys visiting Matt in the hospital the day of his biopsy. (Yes... they felt they needed to play doctor and wear the hospital gloves. Sigh...) 

Sofía Vergara Restocks! Cropped Jeans, Tank, Wedges and Cute Straw Bag

Monday, June 17, 2019

This post was sponsored by Walmart and contains affiliate links (I will receive a percentage of commission if you make a purchase through one of my links.) 

Some nice basics have been restocked in the  Spring launch from Sofía Vergara, available exclusively at Walmart!! Sofía's line is designed to work well for women with various body types. The  cropped jeans (medium wash) are comfy, flattering and a good value for the $22.50 price! They fit true to size. Shown with a basic  cotton blend stretchy tank. (for the tank for SURE go a full size up as they run small. I went with a medium and my usual small definitely would have been too small.)

Also check out some of my other outfits from the Sofía Jeans line  here (jeans and peasant top) and  here (denim skirt and linen blend tee.)  

I found this  cute straw bag to go with my outfit, (comes in three colors!) and I'm wearing it with  these cork wedges (which run true to size.) 

Get this Summer look by clicking the little pics below! Follow me on  Instagram, and come join us in the  Sample Sale Mom facebook group for discussion and great shopping deals on clothing, beauty items, housewares and kids' stuff! (Currently about 97,000 members!)