This should be sub-titled: “Or how I learned to love shopping.”

I worked in retail for three years, which included four back to school seasons, three tax-free weekends and three winter holiday shopping nightmares debaclesseasons. I was never a big fan of holiday shopping because of the general population’s ignorance & insensitivity to other shoppers/drivers/trapped employees/innocent bystanders but retail employment makes it sooo much harder for me to go to a mall now.

Thank the Internet gods for on-line shopping! A large chunk of last year’s Christmas shopping was done on-line. Some items per picked up at locally owned boutiques and I even braved a couple of big stores (Old Navy & Books a Million come to mind) for a quick 10 minute grab & pay. This year, I’ll be shopping on-line again and I’ve been finding A TON of great items on my new favorite site, Etsy. Beyond keyword search, you can look over gift guides & shop local Etsy shops…you can even pounce on undiscovered shops! I’ve been saving items I find to give & items I want for myself (hint, hint). I’m considering taking the ‘Buy Handmade’ pledge and purchase handmade items when I can.

If you join Etsy, please find me: identitybreakdown

Above are five items I absolutely adore. The dress is wonderful for all occasions, including festivals, random road trips & lazy days. The bags–I can’t have enough purses but this travel bag, gadget pouch & clutch may convince me to donate my other bags. And the earrings…I like having unique earrings. Have you seen the ones I own that look like vases? Or the ones with a red rose & what looks like a block of cheese dangling from my ears? I really wish Etsy would create a Wish List feature. That way, I could separate items I’m purchasing for gifts (or saving for later) from items I would like to ask for as a gift. I shall send the word to Etsy about my idea. Buy Handmade, save gas & save sanity by purchasing on Etsy!

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