More Coupon Codes!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I wasn't going to post more coupon codes but I've been bombarded with them the last few days and I figured it was bad karma for me to keep them to myself. Aren't I just the nicest?

Bloomingdales: Use code FALLFRIENDS11 and get 20% off AND free shipping during their friends & family event. Now through Monday, October 3. Buy this adorbs purple shirtdress by Aqua... and then send it to me. Get 20% off and free two-day shipping when you use the code SEPEVENT. Use it to order the Issy Ankle Boot by Nine West. Love this look for fall!

Yumi Kim: This is by far one of my absolute favorite designers. Celebs love her too. From now until October 2 you can get the Becca Top in the Pop Art print for 25% off. I ADORE this shirt! Use code SWEETDEAL. You're welcome.

Akira Chicago: Summer is just a memory but that doesn't mean this dress has to be. Get an extra 50% off sale items when you use code SALE50. Pick up this cute Jersey Maxi Wrap Dress and dream the winter days away till you can wear it again. 

Online Shopping for Dummies

I consider myself somewhat of an online shopping expert. People often ask me how I know what size to order, how often I have to return things and why I don't just walk into a store and buy it there. Trust me, there's nothing better than brunch on a Saturday followed by walking up and down Newbury Street trying on every amazing dress I see and every gorgeous shoe that catches my eye. But for me, it boils down to two things. One, I feel like I can control my impulse to buy when I'm shopping online. And two, the deals are much, much better.

I'd say I have a 99% success rate. Yes, this is after some practice. But I can honestly say that I've only returned one item in the last year. And it was only because they sent me the wrong one. So here they are -- my tried and true online shopping tips that will help you build that incredible wardrobe you've always wanted... from the comfort of your own home.

1) Know your size
Not just numerical size, know your measurements. More and more sites are posting model measurements and what size they are wearing. Yes, sometimes comparing those skinny brats' measurements with your own can be a bit depressing. But it helps, trust me. 
2) Utilize size charts 
BE HONEST with yourself. "Well sometimes I'm a small..." Yeah, we'd all like to be a size 2 and for our hips to be 34 inches... but you'll be really sad you ordered that size small cocktail dress when it arrives and won't fit over your lady lumps and then you're outfitless for that fab party you were supposed to go to.
3) Read the product details
Is the inseam long enough? Will it be a cropped top on me or a tunic? Pay attention so you know exactly what you're ordering.
4) Read customer reviews
For me, this is the most helpful information. Most sites out there now encourage shoppers to write reviews on products they own so you know when to steer clear or when you're about to purchase The. Best. Pump. Ever. Some reviewers (myself included) are even nice enough to post their measurements for reference so you know when things fit "TTS" (true to size), boxy, too short, and so on.
5) Shop with a plan...and a budget
This goes for all websites but mostly for those that feed on impulse like Gilt Groupe, Rue La La, etc. Their sales open at a set time every day with a limited quantity and you have to battle other bargainistas to get the product in your shopping bag first. Then you usually only have a couple minutes to complete the purchase before the item vanishes from within your grasp and someone else grabs it. There is nothing more heartbreaking than almost owning those to-die-for boots that were 50% off. I suggest using these sites when you know what you're looking for. If you're in need of a new winter jacket and you know Gilt is having a sale on them tomorrow, go in with a budget in mind and snatch it up.

So there you have it. Follow these five simple rules and you too will be a online shopping expert. 

Happy buying!

Restaurant Review: Max Brenner's

Saturday, September 24, 2011

It's kind of embarrassing to admit that I went to this place twice in one week. In my defense, the first stop was for dinner with my boyfriend and the second was brunch with a girlfriend from college several days later. Actually screw defending it. If it's good and you enjoy it, why not go 7 times in one week, right? You only live once. (If only our skinny jeans agreed with that mantra.)

This place is like Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory for adults. It was founded in 1996 by Israeli business partners Max Fichtman and Oded Brenner. The restaurant features an array of chocolate-based dishes but also some other really delicious bevies, appetizers, and entrees, sans chocolate. 

Meal #1:
The chocolate espresso martini I ordered was divine. The perfect combination of rich chocolate flavor and the little kick of espresso and vodka made me "MMM!" and "Ohhh my gawd" several times. Oh, and it was served with two biscotti dusted with powdered sugar. And I ate them both.

J doesn't have as much of a sweet tooth as I do so he ordered the "Sliced and Diced Pillow Steak Panini" and it was equally uhhh-mazing. The red pepper aioli made it. They served it with perfectly crispy waffle fries dusted with chili and cocoa powder. So yum.

The star of the show was dessert, obviously. We went all out and ordered the chocolate and banana egg rolls which were served with chocolate fondue AND salted caramel sauce for dipping. I am on a HUGE salted caramel kick and this was probably one of the most indulgent things I have ever eaten. Good thing it was my cheat day.

Meal #2:
My friend Erica was the one who told me about this place so it was only fitting that we would go together. She told me the brunch was out of this world so clearly, I had to see for myself.

The brunch menu offers selections such as a plain bagel pressed with a chocolate bar and your choice of peanut butter or hazelnut cream, and their signature brunch offering of eggs, spicy homefries and a melted chocolate lick. What in the world is a melted chocolate lick, you ask? Why it's a shot of melted chocolate, because that's what EVERY breakfast meal needs. I like where Max & Oded's heads are at. 

I opted for the "After Party Belgian Waffle" which was served with strawberries, your choice of milk, dark or white chocolate, STRAWBERRY HONEY, and basically an entire can of whipped cream. The waffles were a little too dense for me but I still put a pretty good dent in them. Luckily I had two cheat days this week.

Oh and Erica said I absolutely NEEDED to try the White Corn Croquettes. So I did. And she was right, I needed all four of them.

So long story even longer, if you're looking for a place to go for a salad and maybe some chocolate FroYo, this is not the place to go. But if you're totally okay with enjoying life and restarting your diet on Monday, this is your gem. Enjoy!


You know you want 'em: COUPON CODES!

Hey fellow shopaholics!

Here's a quick list of coupon codes and my favorite item from each site.

Ann Taylor LOFT: Save $25 when you spend $50, now through October 2, 2011. Use code FALLSAVE to buy this adorable camel cape (I love capes for the fall. Forgiving AND fashionable.) 

Piperlime: Earn $25 in Piperlime perks when you spend $75. Redeem points from October 28 to November 7, 2011. Use code H24Z4FWVH1HZ to buy these cute skinny cords by Free People.

Karmaloop: Get 15% off your order of $75 or more through 9/30/11. Snag this BB Dakota Loretta Shirt. It's the perfect updated white blouse!

Tobi: Get 15% off when you use coupon code CHIEF15. Put it towards this sexy little number by Everly.

The Backstory

So for about a year now, I've been tossing around the idea of starting a blog. As a journalism major turned aspiring event planner and PR professional turned executive assistant, life got in the way and I lost touch with my creative writing side. I think writing is good for the soul. The same goes for shopping, eating and cooking. In my humble opinion, at least.

The problem is my bank account doesn't exactly allow for unlimited spending on the newest trends and my slowing metabolism doesn't permit me to eat cupcakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. So what's a girl to do? Marry for money? I'm a hopeless romantic so that won't work. Get lipo when the cupcakes start showing up in my thighs? If I can't afford the Christian Louboutin Mary Janes I'm lusting after, I certainly can't afford plastic surgery. 

I started scouring the internet for bargains and signed myself up for every members-only shopping site I could find. I know, every other fashion lover in America belongs to Gilt Groupe, Rue La La and Hautelook, just like me. And if you don't belong, you need to sign up like, yesterday. These sites are amazing and have brought life to my former Forever21 and American Eagle college wardrobe. Badgley Mischka Platinum Label Petra Top Handle Bag for $229, retail price $495; Hunter wellies for $79, retail price $125. You get my point.

But I also realized that paying full price for ANYTHING on the web is absurd. Almost every single website offers coupon codes. Shopping is like a game to me and I get a sort of high from getting a good bargain on brand-name stuff. Need a coupon code for that sweater you want? No problem. I want this to be your go-to blog for bargains and fashion inspiration for the everyday girl.

On the food side, I plan to dish my favorite recipes (both healthy and indulgent), my own restaurant reviews and my favorite products I find along the way. 

If anyone has any requests for specific store coupon codes, let me know and I will do my best to locate them. 

I hope you enjoy and please, feel free to leave feedback, constructive criticism is a necessity!

With love,