Shopping Tip #6: Never Pay Full Price

Growing up in suburbia and attending college in D.C. offered slews of stores out of my price range. In high school I had the advantage of working a part-time job at TJ Maxx to support my closet. Now, while in college, my schedule has been filled with internships instead of a paying job. This has allowed me to acquire a new skill set: finding deals when girlfriends thought it couldn’t be done. Going to school in our nation’s capital is fun, but boy is it expensive! Add to that my expensive particular taste in clothing and it’s a recipe for disaster.

Over the years I’ve picked up a few habits that have helped me be able to still buy the clothes I love at the price-points I’ve fallen in love with. I’m always floored when I talk to women and they say they payed full price for an item; many a time I find the same designer at a discounted store for a fraction of the price they said. To ensure that you never pay full price, here are a few tidbits to consider:

1. Get that frequent shopper card

Unfortunately, not all cards are created equal. Some are credit/debit cards while others are actual frequent-shopper cards. To feed my particular shopping habits I have a Sephora Beauty Insider card, a Nordstrom Rack debit card, and a Loehmann’s Gold Rewards card. You’d think that after working in the TJX Corporation for 3 years I’d have a TJ Maxx credit card, but I don’t. My mom does. One other I’d offer for consideration: a Macy’s credit card. Agreed, credit cards can get crazy out of control (notice how I don’t have any listed?) but Macy’s in particular is very beneficial as it offers discounts exclusively to card members (again, my mom has one, ha!). For more information on each card click on their names above.

2. Shop at high-end discount stores

May sound like an oxymoron, but they’re chock full of gold!! I always prefer to do this in-person, but if you absolutely insist on doing this online, you’ll want to check out these sites:

3. See it in-store, find it on Ebay or Amazon

Though it may have been an issue in the past, both Ebay and Amazon have amped up their authentication processes to ensure that knock offs are no longer on their sites. I have found designer denim in department stores and checked on Ebay to find the exact same pair in my size for $20-60 cheaper (plus in a wash I like better!).

4. Use Online Tricks of the Trade

The online tools from this article will help you master finding steals online if you don’t have the time or patience to go from store to store. Not everyone enjoys shopping in-person; it’s a sport that can easily instill disappointment, tiredness, and wishing you’d just stayed home. For those men and women, online shopping is your best bet.

 

Always remember:

Shop smart, shop confidently 🙂

Photo via

Spring Wish List

 Spring can’t seem to come fast enough. The bitter weather here in D.C. makes me yearn for bright sunshine, lighter layers, + longer days, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I’ve been craving next season so much I’ve already started my spring shopping to lift my mood—you should try it: looking at the airy colors puts you in a much better mindset! Above are some of the key pieces I am hunting for this spring.

From left to right: a tailored white suit or suit separates, a darker floral crop top, a white leather harness that can double as a white leather belt, a cognac leather clutch, a colorblocked luxury tote (this will be a graduation gift to myself 🙂 ), a light tan leather biker jacket, a textured high-waisted navy blue skirt, and ladylike white pumps or wedges. Each one will play in nicely into my wardrobe of basic black because this year’s challenge is to  make my wardrobe more spring friendly. Happy hunting shopping!

F/W 2013 NYFW Wrap Up

The first time I did a post about New York Fashion Week was for these past Spring/Summer 2013 collections. I did an overhaul: I spent every free moment I had incessantly pinning show after show until I had gone through every designer that was available. By the end I had over 500 pins and a plethora of beautiful clothes to look through. For me, fashion is a wearable art form so going to that extent wasn’t a chore for me, it was exciting. I was able to see the trends forming across the board before magazines even wrote about them. For this season, I didn’t feel the same passion. Maybe it was because I didn’t have the same amount of time to dedicate to really sorting through the 200+ designers, but I honestly feel it was a bit more because Fall and Winter clothes don’t give me that same kind of awe-factor.

Spring offers bright colors, interesting silhouettes, and a myriad of patterns for the warmer months. Fall/Winter are much more predictable, showcasing black, grays, blues, and jewel tones with bundled up or oversized silhouettes. This particular season didn’t “wow” me. Something that stood out was the plethora of furs—something I’m not too fond of. Some designers whom I loved last season didn’t even get pinned this season. But, like last time, I saw trends across the choice designers I stalked. Enjoy them below: (Hover over each pic to see designer)

Blues

Colorblocking

Ladylike Glamour

Textures: Quilting, Sheens, + Shag

My Personal Picks

See my Pinterest board for more looks from NYFW

Happy Valentine’s Day

Hello ladies! As you know, I’m not too fond of today’s overly commercialized holiday, but for those of you who love the Hallmark day of love I thought I should wish it to all of you. No matter what you’re doing today or tonight, enjoy it. If you’re a single lady, go out with a bang—dress to the nines, treat yourselves to a fabulous dinner, and maybe you’ll find yourself mingling after-hours. If you’re going out with a certain someone, have a great time, too, but treat the day as any other—today’s holiday should not be the one day a year he/she treats you to dinner or shows you an amazing time. Juss sayin’! :*

Homemade Frozen Chocolate Truffles

As you all know, this Thursday is Valentine’s Day. To put it nicely, I detest this “holiday.” Whether you have a significant other or not, what the day has become makes me ill. Pink and red have plastered drug stores and department stores since Christmas ended. Retailers have lined their displays with overly animated cards, teddy bears that are soon forgotten, and all the while shoving lingerie and chocolate down your throat. Aside from the consumer aspect boyfriends/girlfriends act like this is the one day of the year that they have to make an effort to make their S.O. feel special—it’s an overly commercialized cop out. Aside from my rant…

Though I’m not the biggest fan of the holiday, I thought today’s post should provide you with something that can be made both this Thursday and any other day of the year you want a delectable homemade treat. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • ∞  1 bag chocolate chips (whichever variety you prefer)
  • ∞  Sweetened vanilla almond milk
  • ∞  Vanilla extract
  • ∞  Sea Salt
  • ∞  2 bananas, ripened to your liking
  • ∞  Crunchy peanut butter (or smooth if you prefer)
  • ∞  Peanut Butter & Co’s Cinnamon Raisin Swirl, [if you have not tried this cinnamon raisin swirl peanut butter you may be doing your taste buds an injustice]
  • ∞  Rubber ice cube tray in heart shapes—yes, I used stars, but I was making these for a birthday 😛 NOTE: Standard plastic ice cube trays will not work—they crack and break while trying to remove the completed truffle. You need the rubber kind as they provide easy truffle removal. I bought mine at TJ Maxx/Homegoods, but I’ve seen them at The Container Store and Ace Hardware, too.
  • ∞  3 small separate dishes, to mix the fillings in

  1. In a small pot over medium-low heat combine the bag of chocolate chips with a teaspoon of salt. It may take 5mins or so for the chocolate to start to melt (especially if you keep yours in the freezer). Stir every 2mins or so to ensure the chocolate won’t burn or cake onto the pot. Once melted, turn heat to a very low temp. This will ensure that the chocolate still stays malleable because you’ll need it again in step 5.
  2. Once the chocolate is fully melted, add a small amount to each ice cube star/heart. Make sure to add enough to cover each inside “wall” of the shape, as this will be the bottom layer of chocolate for the chocolate. Once each is semi filled, place tray in freezer for 20-30mins. This allows the chocolate to harden to a shell.
  3. As the chocolate is hardening in the freezer, make the filling(s). You can opt to make one, but I wanted to try all three for variety. Creamy Banana Filling: dice the banana as small as you can—this will make it easy when you mash it. In a small dish pour in 1-2 tsp almond milk and add banana. Mash the two with the back of a spoon until mostly creamy with a few banana chunks left. Set aside. Peanut Butter Banana Filling: again, dice the banana as small as you can. In a small dish add a generous spoonful of peanut butter, pour in 1-2 tsp almond milk, and add banana. Mash ingredients with the back of a spoon until mostly creamy with a few banana chunks left. Set aside.  Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Filling: In a small dish combine 2 generous spoonfuls of the cinnamon raisin peanut butter with 2 tsp almond milk. Mash with the back of a spoon until creamy. Add almond milk as needed. Set aside.
  4. Remove the tray from the freezer, and put a small dollop of filling in each hardened shell. I chose to do a row for each, just to keep it organized and remember which one was which. NOTE: Unlike my picture below, try to make sure that the filling is not too high over the edge of the shape. This will make it hard to enclose the truffle in the next step—they will still be yummy either way though.
  5. Top each filled shape with a bit of chocolate. This is going to be the bottom of the truffle. Once each one is covered, pop the tray in the freezer again for another 30-45mins. Once they all have hardened chocolate shells, take out and enjoy! NOTE: if you do decide to make the Cinnamon Raisin Swirl ones, you may want to take these out 15-20mins before eating to ensure that the middle isn’t rock hard.