Wednesday, January 28, 2015

How to Score Great Deals Online

. . .AKA how to buy all those great things you want need at a great price.  It's no secret around here that I like nice things, and I most definitely like to shop, but I don't like to spend more than I have to.  In fact I love finding a good deal, and for me it's that much more rewarding feeling like I scored my awesome new bag or those great shoes for a price nobody would be able to even guess.

 
I love scouring stores for great deals, especially my go to favorites like TJ Maxx and Marshalls.  But today is all about how to score great deals online.  There are so many great things available at your finger tips when you're shopping online, and with these few tips you can be sure to always be snagging great deals.

Before I dive into it, a few general rules I like to live by as a self proclaimed competitive shopper. (It sounds better then bargain hunter, right?  It's like a win when I score a great deal!)  Just because something is on sale doesn't mean it's a great deal, or that you even need it.  Make sure you are going to get good use out of what you invest your money in.  Something may be a great deal, even though it's not on sale, it's all relative to your need and use you'll get out of it.  Ok let's jump in.


Don't buy anything online without checking out RetailMeNot.com.  All you have to do is type in the store you are shopping at and it will pull up all available coupon codes, including how recently someone has tried to use it and if the code is working or not.  You can often score free shipping and discounts on your purchases for a lot of popular retailers.  RetailMeNot also has an app, check it out for use when you are shopping on the go!

2.  Sign up for flash deal sites.
There are so many to choose from now, but the premise is that there is limited merchandise available for a limited time at a discount price.  You get notification of the new sales starting each day, and it costs nothing but an email address to join.  I find these sites are a great way to get higher end pieces at lower prices for clothing, beauty items, home goods, jewelery, pretty much you name it.  Here's a few of my favorite.

Ideel.com (formerly Ideeli.com)


I have purchased the most from this site.  I've been able to score great deals on evening dresses, like $60-$70 for a floor length gown.  Plus they are usually running a promotion that once you pay for shipping, which is kinda steep the first time (close to $10) you have free shipping for the next 30 days, which is totally worth it.



HauteLook is a a Nordstrom company, which speaks for the brands and quality of the products available.  A few extra pluses, they offer free shipping over $100, and you can make returns to any Nordstrom Rack which is super convenient.



Zulily is great if you're shopping for a family, they have deal for women, men, kids, and home at one of the most affordable price points of any of the flash sale sites I've seen.

Here are a few others to check out if you please, RueLaLa, Gilt, Joss & Main, and Beyond The Rack.
*Many of these links are my own personal referral links and for some I will earn a credit if you make a purchase after signing up.



If you are an American Express card holder there may be a great benefit you are missing out on, Shop Runner.  You most likely have a FREE membership to it, there is a get started tab for American Express cardholders on the top of the Shop Runner site.  (If you aren't a cardholder Shop Runner offers a 30 day trial, and then is $8.95/month).  Shop Runner provides unlimited 2 day shipping, free returns, and exclusive deals for many popular online retailers.



This site is 100% worth checking out.  Brads Deals scours the internet for deals on everything.  I've signed up to get e-mails alerting me to the best deals of the day, I'll scan through it to see if there is anything I'm on the hunt for available for a good deal and that's about it.  Using this method I was able to score my Amazon Prime membership for $72 just the other day, usually it cost $99.  They will turn up great deals on seriously everything, from Ugg boots to pots and pans.

Any other pieces of advice for scoring great deals online?  I would love to hear them, so please share!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Valentine's Gift Ideas for Her

Welcome to the last week of January!  You know what that means, Valentine's Day is right around the corner!  I'm excited that it's actually on Saturday this year, meaning I get to spend part of it with my husband.  Usually we end up celebrating the weekend after or something to the effect because we don't even see each other on the average week day.  We don't do anything big, but we do exchange cards and a little gift.

Today I've rounded up a few items that would make a great Valentine's gift for her, aka my Valentine's Wish list, hint hint.

Clutch  |  Heat Ring  |  Heart Earrings  |  Roman Numeral Necklace  |  Gold Bangle

Clearly I have my heart drawn to more delicate pieces at the moment, like the heart ring and earrings.  I'm loving that lilac pink color of the clutch that I've seen popping up recently in the stores, it's totally making me itch for spring.  I think the idea of having something like your wedding date would be awesome on the roman numeral necklace.  And we already know I love my Kate Spade idiom bracelets that I already have, so of course I'd love the gold one too!

What's on your radar this Valentine's Day?

Friday, January 23, 2015

High Five For Friday

This week has felt like a long one, and I'm glad the weekend is right around the corner.  There's something about being in the dead of winter and feeling more low key on the weekends, which I'm totally down with lately.  I'm enjoying not having much on the agenda and taking it easy, because I know it won't be like that for long! 

Here's a few happenings from my week.

1.  I succeeded with my mission from last Friday's post and I 100% spent all of Sunday in my pj's indulging in way too much tv and several naps.

2.  Speaking of way too much tv, Martin and I have been binge watching all the seasons of How I Met Your Mother on Netflix over the last few months and we finally finished it up on Monday night, I have to say I don't know how I feel about the ending.

3.  I discovered recently that the hook I place my bathrobe on when I'm showering is right above a heating vent, so now everyday before I hop in the shower I crank up the heat a few degrees and my robe is nice and toasty when I get out.  It's perfect, especially for me, because I am always cold.

4.  I get so excited when I get one of these in the mail, it might be kinda sad, I know.  But seriously 20% off nearly everything in the store, even the brands that are usually excluded.  I always have to think about all the great things I want to try when one of these pops up, they don't come all that often!



5.  This week Aimlessly Elegant turned 1, and even though I shared that on Tuesday, I feel like it deserves a second shout out, because honestly starting this blog was a long time in the making (I first had the intentions nearly 4 years ago) and I'm proud that I've finally dove in and am still going!


 Whatever you find on your plate this weekend, I hope it's a good one!  See you next week!

Linking up with
High Five for FridayOh hey, Friday
Meet @ The Barre | Five on Friday

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Everyday Elegance: Chambray Basics

Lately I'm all about the basics.  I love building a closet of staple items that can pair together to make a classic look at anytime.  It makes it easy when your feeling indecisive about what to wear, pretty much me all the time!




I think investing in basics in a great idea, because ideally they should be with you a long time.  For me this is the time to spend a little more then I would on trendy pieces that I may just want to give a try, but am not sure I am going to love.

You can never beat an investment in a good handbag.  I love my Kate Spade, but we all know I'm a major bargain hunter.  My tick is timing.  I always pick up my large Kate Spade bags, which I love to use for work, when I can get them for around $100, which I consider a steal since usually they go for $300 - $400.  I wait until it's some sort of holiday weekend, or special promotion, and then the outlet store almost always has 50% off, plus an extra 20% off on handbags.
Shirt| Old Navy
Boots| Target
Earrings| Kate Spade
Bracelet| Ross
Purse| Kate Spade

Below is a few great options for adding Chambray to your wardrobe, I'm loving the ones from Loft.  Good thing I have a gift card left over from Christmas!

Do you tend to stick to the basics, or do you gravitate more towards the trends?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Happy 1st Blogiversary

I did it!  Today marks one year since I wrote my first post on Aimlessly Elegant.  I always say this, but it really is crazy how time does fly.


Initially I started this blog to help me devote more time to my home projects and crafts, things I love to do but hardly make enough time for.  It helped me get the ball rolling for our office and bathroom renovation, but it's also turned into more than that.  A place where I can share what's going on now, things I like, recipes I'm into, but most importantly I've gotten to meet a ton of cool readers in the process!  So thank you, thank you for continuing to stop by and leave comments.  They make my day more than you know!

In honor of Aimlessly Elegant turning one today I thought I would share my top 5 viewed posts, a little trip down memory lane.

1.  My Friday Five from May 2, 2014.













Thank you again for stopping by.  I hope you continue to follow along on this little journey of mine, where ever it takes me!

Friday, January 16, 2015

High Five For Friday

So glad that Friday is here!  I have definitely jumped full forced ahead into 2015, and am desperately missing my pj's and naps from my time off over the holidays.  Both of which I plan on enjoying this weekend!

Here is a look back at a few highlights from my week.

1.  Martin left one of his jackets over our dining room chair and I almost didn't spot Charlie sleeping on it.  He has been there nearly all week.  Whenever I don't see him around, I just check out that chair, and there he is, camouflaged right in.



2.  Though I'm so pretty much over the cold already, I'm a firm believer that if it's going to be cold out, it at least better be white.  It's much more pretty then cold and brown.  This was my view out of my office window while I was blogging one morning this week, it was just kinda perfect.



3.  I have been craving pastels lately, so this week I went with this light candy pink for my nails.  I love my Red Carpet Manicure, and am so glad I've learned how to do a nice gel manicure on myself, such a $$ saver.



4.  Another thing I'm loving lately, that also happens to fall into the pastels category is my new Kate Spade bracelet that I got for Christmas.  I love that is has a secret message on the inside, something that you can carry with you.



5.  Martin and I are going out on a double date Saturday night to a hibachi restaurant.  Not only are hibachi restaurants always super fun, I'm looking forward to it because we haven't been out with these friends in a while and it's always nice to get together.

Whatever your weekend brings I hope it includes some rest and relaxation, preferably in the form of really comfy pj's and naps, at least in my case!  Happy weekend!

Linking up with
High Five for FridayOh hey, Friday
Meet @ The Barre | Five on Friday

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Kitchen Staples

 
Back in November when I did the PCOS Diva Jumpstart program, not only did it help jumpstart my health into a place where I felt in control, but it also helped to jumpstart a long time goal of mine.  Cook more.  My main excuse is usually my schedule, I'm so busy during the week that if I don't plan ahead, I rarely get any cooking done once the work week is in full force.

Once of the things I loved about the Jumpstart program was it has made me be a better meal planner.  And since I've started planning out meals I've been eating a lot more home cooking, which I really enjoy.  I'm not a hard core meal planner.  Usually I'll pick out about 3 to 4 main entrees to prepare each week which will leave us with enough leftovers to fill in for the other days, as well as most lunches too.  I always make sure to stock my fridge and pantry with breakfast and lunch staples so I never have that "there is nothing to eat" feeling.

I have purchased a few meal plans from the PCOS Diva website, which I think are awesome.  But one of my other favorite go to's for recipes is The Detoxinista.  What I love about both of these websites is that they meet my nutritional needs, and they focus on eating natural whole foods, avoiding processed foods.  They are all mostly free of gluten, refined sugars, and most dairy, all things which I try to avoid.  Yet my husband on the other hand can eat all of those things, but has enjoyed all the recipes I've made from these places, which helps because then I can get a hand in the kitchen!

As I've started to cook more and more I've found a handful of staple items that I have been grateful that I have in my kitchen, and they are used on repeat.  Sometimes it can be hard with all the fascinating gadgets out there to know which ones you're really going to use, and which ones are just going to take up valuable cabinet space.  And if you remember from my Kitchen tour my cabinet space is quite valuable, because I don't have much of it!


My citrus squeezer and garlic press are used pretty much every recipe.  It makes being able to flavor things with fresh lemon or lime juice so incredibly easy, and knowing that you squeezed it fresh is so much better then pouring it out of a bottle.  Garlic is another great way to add flavor to a meal and with the garlic press it makes prepare those pesky little cloves that much easier and faster, a quick squeeze and your garlic is minced ready to throw in.


Measuring Spoons seem obvious, but what I've learned with them is that having multiple sets on hand is necessary.  When you're cooking all these great whole foods you are using tons of seasoning and spices, hence the need for lots of measuring spoons.  One set is pretty much always dirty.


Since I've been cooking so much lately I've found that keeping a bottle of olive oil with a pourer in it next to the stove is super convenient.  Nearly every recipe starts with a tablespoon or two of olive oil in the pan.  If your close to a Trader Joe's I scooped up my bottle with the pourer already attached to it there and I love it.
 
Rounding out my go to kitchen items are my small colander and my measuring glass.  Since many of the recipes I cook call for beans of some sort I am always using my small colander, and the size of this one is perfect.  It doesn't take up a ton of space, but gets the job done and I can easily rinse multiple cans of beans in it at time.  And my measuring glass, I love this one because it has every measurement you could ever need on it, no guessing necessary!

What items are on repeat in your kitchen?