Death by Shapewear; Nicole’s Favourite Things, Back-to-School Edition

I was watching the news the other day and there was a story about how wearing shapewear, such as Spanx, excessively could lead to infection, blood clots, and death.  Death.  By shapewear.  I’m sure there are more humiliating ways to die, but at the moment I cannot think of any.  As my friend Rachel said, you would have to die twice – you would need to come back and die of embarrassment when the coronor cut you out of said shapewear, with the ensuing flesh explosion. 

Death by shapewear.  I don’t even want to think too much about the “infection” part. 

As we all know, nothing gets between Oprah and her Spanx.  So, on that O-related note, may I present the second edition of Nicole’s Favourite Things!  This is the back-to-school edition.  I am not exactly looking forward to the change of seasons.  I’m a summertastic kind of girl, and the thought of cold mornings and my aching, purple hands does not get me excited.  But, as I tell the boys cheerily, there is always SOMETHING to look forward to in every season! 

This is how you can tell I’m a Canadian girl – last week I pulled out all the kids’ winter gear and forced them to try everything on, in anticipation of the stores being sold out of everything by the end of September.  If you’ve ever tried to buy a pair of snow pants in January, you know of what I speak.  Fortunately my methodology of buying large so that the boys will “grow into it” worked – I only needed to buy one pair of mittens and one hat.  I also needed to buy indoor shoes for school since my children have disproportionately ginormous feet that grow quickly.

My favourite shoes for the boys are Skechers.  They last well, they’re cute, and at this time of year there is always a buy one, get one 50% off deal at the outlet store.  My only complaint – and this is not just Skechers related, but related to every single retailer in the world – is that the selection for boys is a tenth of the selection for girls.  RETAILERS, YOU SUCK.  There are always thousands of glittery, adorable girls’ shoes, and a handful at most of boys’ shoes.  This reminds me of my recent trip to Costco – not this Costco, thank goodness, or I would be lynched by the Americans for taking up a parking space – when I looked for boys’ underwear.  Pretty simple, right?  It turns out Costco had – and I am not exaggerating, people – four packages of boys’ underwear, size 16.  NOTHING ELSE.  Of course, there was a large selection of girls’ underwear.  Boys need underwear too, Costco, you bastards.

Whew, I went off on a little tangent there, didn’t I?  I also would like to give a shout-out to the good people at Mountain Equipment Co-Op, where I bought those backpacks last year.  MEC is famous for having an insanely good return/exchange/fixing faulty items policy.  They will literally do anything to satisfy their customers.  Their backpacks – along with most of their items – last forever, so I always make sure I purchase a nice, neutral colour that no one will tire of.  Most of their kids’ gear has reflective strips, which is nice for those days when the sun sets at 4:30 in the afternoon.  Sob.

My kids come home for lunch, which has its pros and cons.  The biggest pro is not having to pack lunches.  The only exception to this is our early-dismissal Fridays, when the kids are out at 1:10 and so they have a “nutrition break”.  I don’t know about your kids, but mine aren’t huge fans of sandwiches when they are not of the peanut butter and jam variety (we are at a nut-free school).  One of my girlfriends suggested a healthy, homemade alternative to those vile Lunchables: packing crackers with various cheeses and meats, veggies, and fruit.  I found these cute little Tupperware containers to keep things separated.

What are those little hearts?  I’m glad you asked.  I’ve never tried one of those label companies before, but I won a set from Lovable Labels and included were these cute little stickers that say things like “I love you to the moon and back” on them.  Awwww.  I stuck some of the little hearts on the inside of the containers, as a special reminder to the kids.  Awwwww.  I’m going to miss them and their constant Star Wars prattle.

Nothing to do with back-to-school, but this time of year is fantastic for zucchinis and tomatoes.  So why not think about baking a deliciously addictive loaf of chocolate zucchini bread, roasted vegetable lasagne, or salsa (not seltzer)?  You can eat your feelings about your children going back to school and your somewhat-empty-nest syndrome.  Or maybe that’s just me.


  1. Right there with you about the selection of boys clothes. Go into a place like A Child’s Place or even the Joe part of the Superstore, there is a tiny section for boys clothes. 5 long sleeve shirts, 5 short sleeve shirts, 5 pants….ect. Boys wear clothes too! And they wear them out faster than girls. I really like it when the girls clothes are scattered throughout the boys section. They have soooo much girls stuff they have to put in the boys.
    Sometimes I say very loudly in the store that the selection sucks while I am leaving.

    • I know! I knooooowwww. What is UP with that? We all know that girls’ clothes are cuter, but a little selection would be nice. Especially if you have TWO boys; they end up with the same thing half the time because there are no other options!

  2. Huh. Our Joe Fresh boys’ section is actually about the same size as the girls’ section. Weird about Costco wanting all the boys to go commando, though.

    Speaking of dying of embarrassment, Angus is starting grade seven, which is at the high school. I’m totally going to get some of those heart stickers and stick them on EVERYTHING HE OWNS.

  3. Yes, I hate every store for their paltry boys clothes selection. They stink. For shoes, I usually shop Zappos, because there’s at least a decent selection.

    BTW, just a quick note to say I love your blog. It’s so relatable, and hilarious. I feel like you’re my long lost Canadian sister. Or something 🙂 But I also appreciate how well written it is. And I am a nasty stickler for that sort of thing.

    I’ll keep reading if you keep writing!

    –@Texnslim on Twitter

  4. My mouth is now watering for chocolate zucchini bread….

  5. Mom: I’m going to buy you Spanx to wear under your bridesmaid dress for your sister’s wedding.
    Me: Mom, I’ll be sixteen weeks pregnant.
    Mom: I know. I’m worried the dress won’t fit.
    Me: …

    Thanks for the flashback.

  6. After several frustrating experiences at various stores, I stopped even trying to buy shoes for my son at stores due to the crappy selection and have resorted to ordering on line. LL B3an has a selection my son likes and after measuring his feet I can get the right size. Meanwhile, my daughter can select from what seems like hundreds of shoes at virtually any store even though she’s only 3 years old and could care less about shoes. Bah!!

    Also, adding make chocolate zucchini bread to my to do list for this evening…

  7. Ever tried Wow Butter? It’s soy bean butter, looks and tastes a lot like pb. Superstore organic section. School friendly, although you have to warn the lunch/snack supervisor that it’s not pb!

  8. I have never worn Spanx. I’m glad I haven’t after reading this.

    I also love Sketcher shoes!

  9. Rachelradiostar says

    WOW WOW WOW I MADE IT INTO YOUR BLOG WOWEEE!! I love you!! MWAH! I comment this on my phone all the way from my jollibobs in WALES! It’s gorgeous and I do not want to go home ! Having looked at some photos I need something stronger than spanx. Industrial strength girders or something :-/
    See you on Twitter n Blogland sooooon xxxx
    Ps did I say how chuffed to little bits i am in your blog???!!! Xxx

  10. First, I thought I’d commented, but I must have dreamed it, because there are no comments from me.

    Then I wrote a small epic, but my broken touchpad thwarted me, and I accidentally closed the window before posting and lost the whole thing.

    In short: boys’ clothing selection BAD. Old Navy is our go-to store now; it’s no more expensive than Joe Fresh as long as you stick to the sale tables, and all their pants have adjustable waistbands to fit my skinnier-than-average 7yo.

    Shoes, I’ve given up. I bought FIVE PAIRS of sneakers in one year for H., because they wear out so fast. Mercifully he doesn’t seem to care what his sneakers look like so I buy what fits and move on. R. is more particular about his wardrobe and I foresee problems dressing him for school next year because of it.

    As for Spanx, I wore them on my wedding day, along with a corset, because large-busted women with short torsos cannot wear princess dresses without significant structural assistance. I found them actually quite comfortable but I didn’t take the saleslady’s advice and buy them a size too small (!!) for maximum fat-suckage.

  11. You can’t take Spanx off to pee. I can’t get beyond the idea of using a pee hole so I don’t own a pair.

    I weep for joy when I find boys clothes that are not royal blue or camo.

  12. BusyMomofTwins says

    Great post! LOVE MEC and all that they have to offer. Often order from LL Bean because they have a Lifetime Guarentee on their products.

    Who knew you could die from Spanx. That is some serious business.

  13. Joanne Hutchinson says

    Being a mother of two girls I find we have the opposite problem. Toooooo much selection means a simple trip out to find a pair of school shoes can turn into a 3-4 hour ordeal! ……. I hate shopping of any kind 🙁

Leave a Reply