Monthly Archives: October 2012

free love

Now, I’m definitely not going to sugarcoat this one. Everyone knows love comes at a price, maybe not a monetary price but a physical, emotional, all encompassing price. However, you can give love for free and I was lucky enough to find my little love and not pay a penny.

The time had come when I was financially stable enough and eager to take on the responsibility of getting a dog. I decided I wanted to get a dog from a shelter. I did the research and started to “shop around” online for pups in shelters in my area, mainly using Petfinder.com.

I called and made my appointment. The following morning I heard a little tiny whimper come from my roommates bedroom, which I dismissed as nothing since she has two dogs. Much to my surprise, there was a little tiny puppy with her. She was so small. My roommate explained a client of hers got her from a family whose dog had puppies and was giving them away but unfortunately the client could not take care of the pup either. She volunteered to take her home and find a home for her since there was usually someone in the house and we already had dogs but she too could not afford another dog.

How could I not keep her? Seriously, look at her! At 2 pounds and barely six weeks how could I not? So I did. Just like that, for free, she was all mine.

The companionship from a a dog is so fulfilling and who would’ve thought, she was free!

I recognize not everyone can be as lucky as me but if you are considering a dog, please consider a rescue. Rehoming fees are usually less than you would pay for shots and to have them fixed, and they are exponentially less than paying a breeder for some designer dog. You can get more information from the humane society in your area.

Now that you’re saving money elsewhere why not give some free love?

xo Rae

Marshalls #FabFoundTour

Today, Marshall’s Fabulous Found Fashion Tour made it’s last stop in Midtown Miami.  Considering Marshall’s is one of my top deal shopped stores (see Section II of the Glossary), I stopped by after work.

I caught one of the quickie fashion shows but I thought their activities were brilliant, or made for me, whichever.  With a $5 gift card up for grabs, we played with other people in attendance and whoever guessed Marshalls price after being given the original retail price, won.  At the other station, they took my picture and I was able to build an outfit.  They calculated the savings and I was given a $5 gift card for sharing on my Twitter.

Armed with my $5 gift card, I crossed the street to Marshalls, in the Shops at Midtown, and headed straight to the home section, bypassing shoes (exercising extreme self control).  I very responsibly purchased a drawer organizer for my flatware, a new toy for my pup (as she demolished the majority of hers) and a candle.
The drawer organizer didn’t have any price so I don’t know the original price, but I paid $12.99.
The dog toy was originally $7.99.  The clearance price was $4.00.
The candle is a maple butter scented, Yankee Candle, originally $14.00 and I paid $7.99. 
Minimally, I saved $10.00 plus the $5.00 gift card.  The total would’ve been $34.98.  Before tax, the final total was $19.98, or 43% off.
Free money, gifts for Jackson and housewares, AND it’s only Tuesday – what could be better?  Perhaps it being Friday, but not much else. 
xo Rae

fifty cent makeover

Something bigger,something better, all the rumors – what’s going to happen next?!

Yea, some select features on my iPhone 4S certainly are better than that of my former iPhone 4.  Siri, for example, is my home girl. However, a lighter, sleeker, bigger screen wielding, new charger needing iPhone really doesn’t do it for me, ESPECIALLY for the price.

Do I wish I had a white iPhone instead of the standard black? Sure.  Would I rather spend my money elsewhere?  Absolutely.

Aside from the necessity of protecting my iPhone, I have been looking for a case that revamp one of my most used tools.  My iPad has a great case and I use my iPhone way more.  You can pick up any average unattractive iPhone case at any store but if I’m going to shell out the $30 minimally, I wanted to LOVE it.

before and after

Instead, I spent $0.49 on Amazon.  Yes, I spent less than two quarters.  Shipping was $4.99 and I got my case in 3 business days.  Online, most cases like this are fairly inexpensive but I was prepared to pay more for a quality one, which I still may do eventually.  This is perfect for now though.

xo Rae

Glossary, Section II: Stores

Unlike the online shopping section of The Discount Diary’s glossary, I believe most of these stores are fairly well known.  Instead of a description of the store, I’ll provide my favorite things to shop for at each and my favorite location.

TJMaxx – Shout out and a big thanks to my Mom.  We used to go out to Syracuse from Utica to go to TJMaxx. It seems that would be the beginning of my deal shopping. I suppose I could consider myself a Maxxinista.  I normally make my way through the bags, check out the jewelry, peruse the sunglasses, scan the shoes and make a final stop in the home section.  I recently picked up a set of 4 mugs for $8 in the clearance home section!
Favorite location: NE 163rd at the Intercoastal Mall in North Miami Beach.

Marshall’s – Obviously, similar to TJMaxx sans jewelry.  Both TJMaxx, Marshalls and DSW (next) are very different dependent on the store location.  For example, the brands you will find at stores located in Miami carry a larger variety of high end brands than that of say, Syracuse.
Favorite location: not one in particular, I like them all equally.

DSW – aka Heaven.  Short for Discount Shoe Warehouse, I have been a member of their rewards program since I was in middle school (scary).  They give birthday discounts and you can accumlate points for gift certificates. In doing a quick scan of the shoes currently in my closet, I’d say it’s safe to say easily 75% of them are from DSW.  The shoes are marked down to begin with but you can find incredible deals in their clearance section as well.  I’ve picked up over the knee boots, flat ankle booties, classic nude shoes for weddings, studded booties, sneakers, ballet flats, sandals – this is totally an “all of the above” type of place.
Favorite location: Aventura on Biscayne Blvd

Loehmann’s – I’d never been to a Loehmann’s until last year so I was pleasantly surprised.  Although, I have not done well on shoes, accessories, sunglasses or bags, this is where I purchased the white Halston.  I do well when shopping dresses, casual or fancy.  I am also a member of their rewards program and recommend it.
Favorite location: Aventura on Biscayne Blvd at NE 183rd

Urban Outfitters – Definitely not for any professional wardrobe but easily the funnest store I frequent.  I absolutely encourage sticking to the sale section as not all of the brands are high-quality.  I always do well with accessories and sunglasses but they have also been my go to (without a local H&M) for denim and they have really fun books and off the cuff home goods.
Favorite locations: downtown Syracuse, NY, Aventura Mall, Collins Ave on South Beach

Macy’s and Bloomies – both can be hit or miss as most department stores are, but they can always be relied on for fantastic end of the season sales.  My favorite brands from Macy’s are bar III and Rachel Roy.  I usually shop for dresses, shoes and jewelry, rarely casual clothes.
Favorite locations: Aventura Mall, for both

BCBG outlet – Easily one of my favorite stores. Sometimes items left in the outlet do walk the line of tacky but if you stay focused you’ll be fine.  Blazers, bags, jewelry, sweats, watches, dresses – the list goes on.  I guarantee the BCBG outlets will be featured in some upcoming posts.
Favorite locations: Lee Outlets in Lee, MA, Sawgrass Mills Mall in Sunrise, FL, and Dolphin Mall in Doral, FL

H&M – Like an old friend I’ve been estranged from, I am not really sure if I had one in the vicinity I would shop at the frequency I used to but it’s safe to assume as soon as the South Beach and Aventura locations open, I’ll be there. Accessories, all day.  Shoes are hit or miss but cheap.  Every belt I own is probably from H&M.  Otherwise I buy everything H&M has to offer, jeans, basics, dresses, shoes, sunglasses, shorts and bathing suits.
Favorite location: Sangertown Square, New Hartford, NY

Hope this can offer some alternative options on your future shopping sprees!

xo Rae 

a Carrie Bradshaw classic

In support of a dear friend nominated for Man of the Year, I attended the LLS Journey of Hope, Charity Gala.  We campaigned and helped raise money.  In doing so, I left shopping for a dress to the last minute.  I was running around everywhere, Saks off 5th, Nordstroms Rack, TJ Maxx, Macy’s, Bloomies, etc.  In a late evening, after work shopping frenzy I was a Loehmann’s and came across THE Sex and the City 2, white Halston that Carrie wears.
Photo Credit: www.thefashionablehousewife.com

You may consider the movie “old” or the dress “so last season” but this is a classic. A beautiful, white Halston?  Any opportunity, I’m wearing it.

This dress was originally $325, significantly outside of my budget.  I also saw it priced at $400 at some boutique in Coral Gables, recently.  At Loehmann’s it was marked down to $139.99. I also tacked on my Birthday rewards, as I am a member of their rewards program, to knock an additional 15% off.

I paid $118.99, which is about 63% off the original $325 saving me a total of $206.01.  Realistically, $118.99 is still a splurge in my life but there’s still no reason to pay full price.

xo Rae

Carrie: Honey, if it hurts so much, why are we going shopping?
Samantha: I have a broken toe, not a broken spirit. 

dear summer…

To most, north easterners in particular, I suppose Miami seems somewhat like a fantasyland.  It’s still summer here in theory.

But like Jay-Z said, “this time apart is needed.”  I have news, I’m ready for you, summer, to take a hike.

To pay tribute summer’s end (please God end, cut the humidity already), I’d like to share another double purchase.

In July, I picked up a really cute/semi-juvenile pair of purple Kimchi Blue Scallop Sandals from Urban Outfitters.

They were originally priced at $59.99.  I got them for $19.99, approximately 66% off.

As it does ever year, traditional summer ended.  On a trip to the homeland, upstate NY, well into fall, at the end if September, I was in Urban Outfitters in Syracuse and they still had some remnants of summer in the sale section.  Knowing I’d be leaving my ankle booties and sweater at my parents house and heading back to the heat, I picked up a second pair in turquoise for the same price.

Photo Credit: www.urbanoutfitters.com

The full retail price would’ve been $119.98 and I paid $39.98.

Although, these are delightful, “like all good things, we must come to an end.”

Just joking, I’ll probably wearing them both well through Halloween while the rest of you youtube an old fave, dear summer.

xo Rae

sideways cross

as seen on TV…

A gaggle of celebrities have been rocking the sideways cross necklace.  Conveniently, as far as I know, there isn’t a particular brand that all of young (and not so young) Hollywood is wearing. Celebs like Kelly Ripa (pictured below), J-Lo, Kourtney Kardashian, Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez have all been photographed wearing them.

                  
Photo Credit: Stealthistyle.com
Now, I’m am not one to run out a shop the latest trends but I really like this style.
On a weekend trip to the city (when referencing “the city”, please assume I am talking about New York) to visit some friends, I was introduced to this great little shop in Brooklyn Heights, Ruby and Jenna.  Not only did I purchase myself a sideways cross necklace but I also picked up a matching bracelet.
Honestly, I hadn’t been eyeing any particular one but in doing a quick online search I saw necklaces run from around $30 to well over $100.  I’ve seen them in little fancy boutiques in Miami for $40+.
My necklace from Ruby and Jenna was $10 and the matching bracelet, only $9.  Although they were not on sale, they were also not ridiculously marked up because of the trend.
I know impulse buying, contrary to popular belief, can be very fulfilling but I promise it is so much more when you get to share the great price you scored too.
xo Rae

double your pleasure, double the fun

Name that early 90s slogan, ready… go!

Gum people, Doublemint gum.  Get your minds out of the gutter, jeez.

When making purchases at such fantastic prices I definitely don’t have a problem buying duplicates of the same product, as long as I am going to use it until it falls apart or better, it comes in different colors!  So, in a shopping sense double the pleasure, is definitely double the fun, or even triple.

Yup, on one occasion, I went there and in reality I actually bought 4 of this particular dress, as I picked one and sent it to a friend in NY.

Luckily, at two outlet malls in South Florida, Sawgrass Mills and The Dolphin Mall, there are BCBG outlet stores, which you will see in a later post about my most shopped stores.  I always do well at BCBG outlets.  I was celebrating some new found freedom in the early spring and had some visitors coming into town so the lunch hour, impulse shopping ensued.  The dress I picked up is called the low back seamless dress in the color driftwood.  It is long sleeved, heavy material, longer than most dresses and has a dramatic scoop back.  It was originally $88 and half off.  I bought it for $44.

I wore this dress out and wow, it fit well.  It was so comfortable.  It wasn’t too revealing.  I felt incredible, unstoppable and like my ego probably could have used a little, tiny bit of deflating.  So, I obviously told all of my girlfriends about it and bought two more.

Had I bought the three identical dresses at their original retail price, I would’ve paid $264.
At 50% off and $44 each, I paid $132 total.

In conclusion, when you find a classic cut piece for a great price, that you are comfortable and confident in, I highly recommend getting a second, or a third.

xo Rae