Category Archives: Advice

You’re Invited!

i have become known as something of a “saver,” “coupon queen,” “knower of all discounts” among our group of friends and families.  they bring up a product / category of product / interest and i’m all, “hey, i totally saw that on xyz website you’ve never heard of, you should totally check it out!”  in essence, i’m a personal shopper without actually doing the shopping for y’all.

so i was thinking – why not share some of my go-tos with all of you guys?  not to mention, i can just name drop this post as a one-stop shop for people that need links or whatever.  if i have labeled them as a “FLASH SITE!” that means that their sales are time-restricted, from four hours up to several days, but stock is limited so time is of the essence if you see a fav brand.  here are my go-to (almost daily, sadly) websites:


Zulily
FLASH SITE! initially known as a kids’-only supply shop, now they have added sections for “moms” (i am not one but i am pretty sure i can still order clothes and shoes if i am just a female) and “home.”  generally very accessible price ranges and a great place to get gifts for little ones as well!

ideeli
FLASH SITE! this is a total one-stop shop for everything – kids, men, women, home, vacations.  they have a vast price range, from $10 flip flops up to Chanel and Hermes.


RueLaLa
FLASH SITE! another one-stop shop place, they have all the categories covered, and again, a generally wide price range.  sometimes it seems a little pricier than, say, ideeli, but it all depends on what the flash sales of the day actually are. a great feature of RueLaLa is if you make one purchase and pay their $9.95 shipping fee, shipping is FREE for the following thirty days – keep this in mind for the christmas shopping season!

HauteLook
FLASH SITE! all categories are covered here, as are most price ranges. they have a great “deal of the day” section with one item that has been vastly reduced. i got my husband a $600 Invicta watch there for only $60, so it is definitely a great spot to keep an eye on for gifts!

Gilt
FLASH SITE! one of the originals, Gilt tends to peddle slightly to greatly higher-end stock. it is a great place to go for your splurge purchase to save a little.  that is not to say, though, that everything is pricey – they have made a better effort lately to accommodate all incomes.  they also have a Food & Wine section, as well as Jetsetter (travel) and City (for those of you in larger cities, more of a local-type Groupon deal) sections. and i totally got my wedding dress through Gilt, for a beautiful $150!

JossandMain
FLASH SITE!  largely home goods-oriented, JossandMain has a great selection of gifts, decor, furniture, bedding, and all those great things everyone needs for their home.  they offer a pretty wide set of price points.


OneKingsLane
FLASH SITE!  again, this guy is mostly home goods.  they tend to offer a little bit on the ritzier side, but i have made a purchase or two through them.  today only, they are offering 30% off your purchase!

theFoundary
FLASH SITE! this is another mostly home goods-driven site.  they have occasional offerings of jewelry, tech goods, or kids’ stuff, but their bread and butter is home decor and furniture.  i have found their prices to be the most accessible of the home goods sites i check.

Save-On-Crafts
i used this site for wedding supplies.  let’s just say i spent between $450 and $500 on this site, if that is any indication!  cheapest craft supplies, home decor, DIY supplies out there.  and believe me, i price compared until my fingers and eyes bled.

MyHabit
FLASH SITE!  MyHabit offers mostly high-end merch marked down a bit – for instance, right now you can find Chanel, Elizabeth & James, Thakoon, Christian Siriano, Derek Lam, Peter Som, and See by Chloe up for sale on here. i tend to keep this site in mind if i have been or want to save up for a real splurge item and want to still get a little bit of a markdown.


BelleandClive
FLASH SITE!  BelleandClive is pretty similar to MyHabit in its offerings.  so far i haven’t found much that is in my price range on here, but they do seem to offer a wider range of price points than MyHabit. since i first started checking this site out, though, it seems that they have given more attention to offering some stuff that we peons can afford!

Fab
FLASH SITE!  are you a hipster, or want to be? fab is probably the site for you.  they offer quirky, independent, small-stock options from up and coming artists, designers, or brands.  this is the spot for a funny gift, a worldly treasure, something handmade/hand-pressed/hand-drawn.  it is a great gift site, for its unique offerings and wide range of price points!


BaubleBar
mmmm BaubleBarrrrrr.  the chicest, most on-trend jewels and baubles offered up at real-people prices.  i haven’t made a purchase yet because there are too many things i want!!


CoachFactory
lemme know if you need an invitation by email to this guy.  Coach bags marked down drastically, as well as all of their accessories, tech gear, man stuff, shoes, jewelry, and more, for those of us that don’t live in the same zip code as a live storefront.

BathandBodyWorks
ok so i know this is kind of a standard mall go-to, but let me explain.  join their email list.  follow their sales and try to shuffle your coupons.  i NEVER buy anything full price here, unless i’m getting something free on the side.  for instance, just this week i went and got the 2 for $20 3-wick candles (one for me, one for my gift closet is my mentality), and scored a free full-size hand lotion and a travel-size matching body wash with coupons (both of which ALSO went in my gift closet).  so basically, one candle and three free gift items for what i would have paid for just the one full-price candle.  also keep an eye on them because they like to change their branding – when they do, the “old” branding gets marked down to simply ridiculous amounts (think $1 for a full-size lotion).  in my mind, one of the BEST places to score stocking stuffers and other small gifts!


BedBathandBeyond
anyone who knows this store knows their coupon policy – i.e. they NEVER expire. i have a wad of mail-delivered and email-delivered coupons in my bag from them at all times. i tend to go for their WoodWick line of candles/diffusers, as well as the Tervis tumblers and other gifty items. it’s always good to have those 20%-ers on hand though!

WorldMarket
also a great sale holder.  sadly, they left the Memphis market a couple of years ago, so if i want to go to a “real” store it’s to Nashville i go.  if you sign up for their email list and their World Market Explorer program, you can get tons of advance notice on huuuuge markdown sales, especially furniture that is relatively decent quality (i’d say a step up or two from ikea).

Romwe
i am pretty sure this is a Chinese-based company, so your deliveries can take a while from them (free shipping though!).  they have cute, trend-based stuff at pretty solid prices, and offer discounts for signing up for their email program.

Asos
another long-distancer, this site is based in England, so your deliveries are not exactly quick – but hey, you don’t pay for shipping through them, so who cares?  super cute, trend-based, at great prices.  i got an oversized yellow clutch through them and get stopped all the time for compliments. a boutique employee in Austin even thought it was Celine (haaaaa cha right!)!


ModCloth
a bit hipster-ish/retro-ish, ModCloth has trendy clothing that is really great quality.  half of my bridesmaids (those in the yellow dresses) got their dresses from here for a measly $40!


Poshlocket
they don’t have the widest offering out there, but i wear their Jana Twisted Knot Studs so often i should get paid to be a walking advertisement. they have great basics at solid quality, and each piece is something you could wear againandagainandagain (like i do).

 &


Drugstore.com & Beauty.com
ok another one you should join the email lists on and keep an eye out for their markdowns.  i swear to god, i got an email from them once that was 40% off EVERYTHING on drugstore.com.  this is stuff you already buy at the tarjay or kroger, people!  i put together a huge order of detergent, toilet paper, shampoo, conditioner, etc etc and spent way, way less than what i would have in the store.  scored free shipping, too!  and same on beauty.com – if you keep an eye out for their sales, this is stuff you would be needing/ordering anyway, but rather than go in to Macy’s and spend twice as much, place an order and boom, on to your doorstep it appears!  love these sites.

Ulta
Ulta is a fantastic place to join their rewards program.  you routinely get $3.50 to $10 off of your purchases, plus they run all these lovely buy 2 get 3 type sales, AND with every online order you get 3 free samples.  i have fully stocked my manicure shelf with their buy 2 get 1 free OPI & essie sales, and it can be a great place to stock up your gift closet or your guest bathroom!

SoleSociety
beautiful shoes. what more do you want? oh, and at great prices. enjoy.


ShopStyle
ShopStyle has both a store as well as a Polyvore-type feature so you can create looks for yourself from purchase-able items (that other folks can see, so show them what you’re made of!).  they run pretty good sales on higher-end merch, so check them out!


Beso
Beso is my price comparison site. enter a specific item you are looking for (i.e. “robe” or “House of Harlow Chelsea Sunglasses”) and it runs a multi-site, internet-wide search. then simply find what you are looking for at the lowest price, and you hath saved!


Woot
while not the most user-friendly setup, woot can be a great place to score most especially techy stuff.  so if you’re looking for phone/iPad accessories, a new tv, speakers, whatever, click on their “Community-Sourced Deals” link and search away. somehow the people that run and contribute to this site find INSANE deals on stuff.  a great place to look if your child absolutely must have the brand new Nintendo DS/Wii/XBox/PlayStation/Atari whatever this christmas.


RETAILMENOT.COM
i am typing in bold here, people. this site cannot be underestimated.  are you making a purchase from ANY RETAIL WEBSITE ON THE PLANET? open a new tab, pull up RetailMeNot, and run a search for coupon or promo codes for that store.  you’re welcome.  i have used this site to get free shipping, discounts, free items, and more.  ALWAYS USE THIS SITE.

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Top of the Pops

let me start this post by saying i am in no way playing favorites among friends, family, or acquaintances when i make these choices…just stating my humble opinions!  i wanted to share with you what ended up being some of our favorite wedding gifts, whether for the luxurious touches they brought to our life, the usefulness of the item, or just for the fun of it!

(oh, and these are in no particular order…)

this Wusthof Classic 4.5″ Hollow Ground Santoku knife has CHANGED MY LIFE, not to be too dramatic about it.  it makes cutting pretty much anything a total pleasure.  i feel all fancy and top-cheffy using it, love it!

our galvanized party tub.  already used two weekends in a row, i think this baby is going to get a workout this summer out on our dock.  no more going in and out of the house for fresh beers for Mr. Anderson and co.!

our Marimekko Pippurikera Sage Comforter & Sheets Set; helllloooo soft snuggly luxury.  once our bed was made with these lovelies, the dogs were officially relegated to sleeping in the office every night.  they get tucked in and actually like the routine of it, while pete and i get to reclaim our bed and sprawl in this softness.

our set of 12 Nosh Bowls is seriously one of the best things we could have gotten.  we have one to hold change by our front door; we have one to hold our espresso filter cups by our new machine; pete loves to be fancy and use them for mise en place while he prepares dinner (“i’m on top chef!”); they have so many uses it is literally limitless what you can do with them.

Hotel Collection Robe, Waffle Pique Bath Robe

Hotel Collection Waffle Pique Bath Robe in white – we got two of these babies and i will confess to living in mine pretty regularly.  i feel pretty swank laying around the house in this and my slippers.  i even slept in it the other day….allegedly.

  

via gift cards and money gifts, we picked up our Stok Quattro 4-Burner gas grill – pete will definitely tell you this one was in his top 5.  with interchangeable plates you can use it to grill, saute, bake a pizza, and steam veggies.  it is super sturdy, and has really done us right so far.

there were dozens of other gifts that have improved our lives in every imaginable way, but i would say that so far (a whole entire 53 days in) these are our most-used and frequently raved over gifts.  can’t recommend any of them enough if you have any wedding gift shopping to do!

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The Apostrophe’s Degeneration From Its Appropriate Position; It’s Annoying

it is UNREAL how often i see apostrophes (this symbol: ‘) misused, from everyday paperwork to major advertisements in magazines, on posters, even on billboards.  it is driving me insane, and truly causing me great concern for the intelligence levels of pretty much everyone, since all people from advertisers to promoters to owners have viewed these ads, etc. and are allowing them to be printed and posted.

these are NOT APPROPRIATE uses of an apostrophe:

– pluralizing a family’s last name: hey, i just called the anderson’s and they said to tell you what’s up.  NO.  the apostrophe creates a possessive, so i am left wondering: the anderson’s WHAT?  and who is this singular person that goes by “the anderson”?  you leave me perplexed.

– pretty much pluralizing anything else.  (the 1960’s; CD’s; etc.)  just because you are putting an S on the end of a word does not mean you must also include an apostrophe.  it is so wrong.

appropriate uses:

– to show possession, i.e. pete’s blog, yourneighborhoodreverend.wordpress.com, is languishing in the depths (not depth’s) of despair.

– and because i’m too lazy to spell out the rest, click here for a beautiful overview of the proper uses of apostrophes and why.

the thing that kills me is when people write that they add apostrophe’s to words.  what?  no!  you are KILLING me.  i am dead, death by bad grammar.  IT’S a DORK’S death, and ITS nerdiness level is humiliating.  please, head back to when grammar was appropriately taught in the 1950S and learn how to employ proper punctuation!

Tips: On How to Be a Good Shopper, aka How to Not Make the Salespeople Hate You

now that i’ve been in some form of retail or another for almost two years, i think i have a pretty solid base of tips for your average shopper that will not only help you as the shopper but help me as the salesperson.  they are as follows:

1.  when removing an item from a stack, do not merely slide the stack around on the table.  you might need a size large, and that’s great and fine, but there is no reason you need to flip sizes XS – M over, to the left, and then let a few of them drape down the side of the table.  no.reason.  the easiest removal method: use two hands to remove the upper part of the stack, place to the side, remove your item, replace upper part of the stack.  takes about .2 seconds more than the yank and destroy method.

2.  in a similar vein, should you need a hanging item of clothing, and then decide you no longer want it and decide to replace it, take a half a second to slide your hand into the spot where you wish to hang the item and push one side or the other of the rest of the rack over to give yourself ample space to replace your item.  there is no need to jam a $150 piece of clothing so it is hanging all cockeyed and looking like it’s trying to escape the rest of the rack.

3.  always, and i mean ALWAYS, let your retail staff put things from the dressing rooms back out on the floor.  you think you’re helping, but you’re really effing us over – we go hunting for an item that our inventory says we have, but we can’t find it because you thought it went over there while really it is supposed to be over here.  waste of our time, and the one time you become the customer that is waiting and waiting and stillllll waiting for someone to find an item for you, now you know why we’re taking so long.

4.  cut the attitude.  i have had it about up to HERE with the “customer is always right” B.S.  it is not ever right to be overtly racist or defamatory, or even really rude.  consider this: your possibly bad interaction with us has occurred once for you that day.  multiply that times at least five for what we have dealt with that day.  take note of how we are still calm, polite, and patient.  try it on for size.

5.  if you need to know a price and your store doesn’t have a scanner, ask.  but do NOT ask for every price of sixteen pieces of merchandise on the off/slim/non-existent chance that we didn’t correctly mark an item.  the people that have to ask for the prices and then buy only one of those things just KILL me.  you just wasted 13 minutes of my life.

6.  finally, don’t be scared of us…we’re there to help, we live in the store and know the merchandise backwards and forwards (and if we don’t we’ll get you an answer), and we can make suggestions that you might not have thought of.  don’t act like we’ve run over to steal your first child if we ask if you’re finding everything all right, it’s what we’re paid to do.

you can always spot people that have worked in retail before by how they treat staff and products, and you can always spot people that have very obviously never worked in retail (or possibly anywhere, ever) by the same.  this is my gift to you so you can fake it like you fall into the first category.