Ho ho ho, it's the time of year to feel that slightly uncomfortable tension between the "Merry Christmas" people and the "Happy Holidays" people. Aww, yeah....winter is in the air! So you will get a "Happy Holidays!" from me, not in the interest of being PC (and when, exactly did PC become a bad thing?), which I am officially renaming to "inclusiveness". What I am saying is that if you are celebrating a holiday close to your heart, enjoy it; whatever that holiday may be. If you are celebrating gaudy consumerism, enjoy it (you get out there and stimulate our economy, friends).  If you are totally grossed out by the whole thing, stick your fingers in your ears, hum a happy tune, drink some eggnog and ignore, ignore ignore. Bet you can't guess which camp I fall into. Mmmm, eggnog. Well, eggnog and consumerism.

I have to watch myself this time of year, I admit. Nope, it's not the holiday cookies. I may be the only person I know that uses this time of year to check in on my goal weight and make the necessary adjustments. Aside from the aforementioned eggnog, it's not too hard for me to keep the heavy holiday foods in check. It's ll just a bit too much for me. What I have to watch is the shopping. I do the gifts for my friends kids and some family members. And it's not too overwhelming. But with all the sales and stuff offered at this time of year, I have to watch out in the "OMG, I have to buy this for me!!!" department; otherwise knows as Nordstrom Designer Handbags. I should probably mention that it is my birthday next week. That is my excuse of choice, truth be told.  I adopted another Chloe this year. Congratulations, it's a girl. And it came with triple reward dollars. How can you say no to that?

I have noticed that all my fashionable girlfriends have their favorite online stores where they get good deals. And I am not talking about the big-name retailers (well, not much), but the invitation-only sites and the funky handmade stuff. If I am not going to get down with the caroling and the tree-in-the-house routine, I thought I would at least lay an offering at the altar of consumerism. So here are some of my favorites. Some are invitation only and the inviter gets a credit when you buy something. You don't need to put me down as the inviter. Just go in and sign yourself up. I'm not trying to make money here, just sharing the love.

Ruelala: This one is so so good! Designer boutiques, low prices. Gotta get in here and buy your stuff fast because it's for a limited time and when it's sold out, it's sold out.  I've bought jewelry here, glassware. Love this site.

OneKingsLane: It's kind of like the Ruelala of home stuff. I've bought a gym bag, a dog bed. Loves. Pretty, pretty things that I wish I had more room in my house for.

ShopLA Style: I haven't bought anything here yet but I have a friend that loves it. I'm not very brand loyal when it comes to jeans. But if you have a brand and cut you like, this could be a good place to stock up.

BillionDollarBabes : Ahh, the designer sample sale! Did you say Chloe?

Etsy: Oh, I still love my Etsy! I like the idea of someone somewhere creating their own products in their garage. I just bought some beautiful mis-matched cloth napkins here.

And as boring as it is to give a shout out to Amazon and Zappos, I gotta do it.

Amazon: Their prime program is flippin' brilliant. Pay $80 and get free two day shipping on all qualifying products. Why is it brilliant? Because now I buy stuff from Amazon that I would have run out to the store for. Yesterday, it was chair leg grippers and electrical outlet covers. Also, their wish list feature saved my bacon this year. Anyone else have a parent that is impossible to buy for? My impossible parent had a wish list. Phew!

Zappos: Zappos gets props for a few things as well. First, if I am ever looking for a specific shoe, seems that they have it. Prices aren't always the best, but you can always find what you need. Chuck Taylors for the nine year old? Check! Plus,shipping on sales and returns is free. This comes in handy when you spend as much time on the treadmill as I do and then try to buy boots. Yeah, that can get interesting.

OK, and now I have to tell you about my new favorite, favorite thing. You know, aside from the Chloe bag. It's this skirt from Athleta. It's called the Wander Skirt, in case that link breaks.It may be the closest I have gotten to a perfect article of clothing. It's super soft (kind of suedy, but light), it works for every season. Can wear it with flip flops, can wear it with boots or heels. It doesn't wrinkle; throw it in a suit case. Super figure flattering. No static cling.  It's just awesome.

OK, that is it. Like I said, this time of year, I really have to watch myself. Aside from the fact that my credit card is smoking (all to be paid off by March, I promise), I have to monitor my feelings of attachment and remind myself that as much as I love the fashion, it's all impermanent. It's OK to want nice things, but it shouldn't become an impediment to happiness; the wanting. It's all to be kept in perspective. Must....remind...self....

If some of you can enjoy those websites, that's great! I'll be blogging a little bit more in the near future, I believe (more on that later). And so you will probably hear from me before many of you celebrate Christmas. But regardless, for those of you celebrating holidays, I wish for you peace and a wonderful time with your friends and loved ones. For those not celebrating, continued peace and good fortune. Carry on...