Things I Own You Can Get On Cyber Monday

Oh no, not another hashtag Cyber Monday post, amirite? 

It's not. Don't worry. 

Instead of boring you with a slew of affiliate links to stuff Nordstrom sells for only $2 more the rest of the year, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite things that are on sale today that you may not see other places. I love recommending things. In fact, it might be the 6th love language - unsolicited advice. It's why I'm in so many Facebook groups, because there's always some clueless girl that needs my help!

Charleston Shoe Co: All Shoes $99

 Left: The Monterey. Right: Benjamin

Left: The Monterey. Right: Benjamin

My beloved Monterey Sandals from Charleston Shoe Company took me all over Paris and Nice this summer! They're made of super cushy soles, and the stretchy material makes them near blister-proof. The Monterey is always $100 though, so a buck off isn't exactly something to write home about. However! If the clunky, fashion-forward sandal deemed "cool" by the knuckleheads over at NYMag isn't your thing, they have a huge selection of other styles that are usually much more expensive - and rarely on sale. I recommend the Easton, Seabrook, or the Tybee!

And yes, they're total grandma shoes and yes, they're comfy as all get out so I don't care.

Puppies Make Me Happy: 30% OFF

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I can't take credit for this one. My friend Kristie snapped herself at the gym wearing this shirt and I've been obsessed ever since. Not only are their tanks SUPER soft, there's something for everyone. I couldn't find any photos of me in one since I mostly just wear them to work out or lounge in, but I'm probably going to snag the "Pet All The Dogs" sweatshirt today. Use code VIRTUALPUPPIES.

Fur & Collar: 20% off $40

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And speaking of puppies, Fur & Collar has expanded its wares beyond breed tees and into socks, totes, mugs and more! They're doing 20% off orders over $40 today with code CYBERMONDAY2017. The tees are super soft and make great gifts for dog lovers! 

Olaplex: Free Shipping

Okay, this deal is lame but I swear by Olaplex No. 3 Hair Protector for anyone who does chemical or heat damage to their hair. Code CYBERMONDAY. They almost never run sales so something is better than nothing.

Kylie Cosmetics: 30% Off

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You know I love my Kylie Lip Kits! 30% off isn't the best sale she's done (I really love the BOGO ones tbh) but it's a good time to snag some for you or someone you love.

Betabrand: Up to 60% Off

Betabrand's sale is AMAZING if you've been wondering about them! I personally own the Red Eye hoodie and love it for travel. I'm planning on snagging some of the yoga dress pants! If you're unfamiliar, Betabrand is sort of a crowd-sourced clothing company, with heavy focus on comfortable travel and work clothes. It's a good chance to try something from the brand for a way, way lower price.

eBags: Up to 75% Off Doorbusters

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I've been a huge eBags fan since I ordered their Packing Cubes a few years ago, and they're having a great sale today! I use the Professional Slim Jr Backpack for work - it's super slick looking and can hold my laptop, iPad, headphones, DSLR...it's a great little bag for travel and work and on sale for only $62! I think I paid like $90. I recommend the classic packing cubes and the pack-it-flat toiletry kit for jet-setters.

Elizabeth & Clarke: 30-50% Off

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You've probably seen a LOT of Elizabeth & Clarke in my "What I Wore" monthly posts, and it's because their stuff is AWESOME. It's perfect for the working woman who also occasionally spills stuff all over herself. Pieces from Their Archive section (past selections) are 50% off today - including the Unstainable collection! I recommend The Davis, The Charles, and The Arden - they're some of my favorites and most worn (pictured in that order above).

What Cyber Monday deals have you scooped up today?

Broke Girl's Guide To :: Buying Contemporary Designers

I used to think spending a lot of clothes was silly, when I could find similar styles for a minuscule amount of the price at places like Forever 21. And then…I got my first silk shirt. It was just a white button up from Michael Kors that I found on clearance at Marshall’s, but the way it hung! The way it felt! The way it made me feel! I was hooked.

But here's my secret: I rarely pay full-price for anything.

We’re not talking full-on designer here - Prada, Gucci, and Chanel still remain firmly out of my budget when it comes to clothes. But Contemporary Designers like Rebecca Taylor, ALC, and Equipment aren’t necessarily out of reach from the every girl’s budget. In fact, I’ve snagged several gorgeous pieces for around the same price that I’d pay for a top at The Limited. So today, I’ve put together a buying guide of some of my favorite discount shops for designer duds.

Gilt

Best for: Bags & More recent collections
I’ve bought several bags on Gilt to date, including Kate Spade, Rebecca Minkoff, and Barbara Bui. They seem to consistently have bags that are lovely marked down 50% or more, so if there’s a certain designer you’re holding out for, save your money and you’ll probably see it. I’ll probably end up buying my Balenciaga City bag from them if I ever save the money.

They’re also great about having the most recent collections. After the pieces go on sale on the main designer’s site, you’ll see them pop up on Gilt before they head to the discount retailers like Last Call.

Watch out for: Expensive shipping, Heightened Sense of Urgency, their personal collections
The one thing I don’t love? Rare free shipping. You’ll occasionally see a sale that offers free shipping if you use a Master Card (which I do, hurrah!), but for the most part it’ll be $6-8. I recommend the shipping above basic.

The other big problem with Gilt is the sense of urgency - since they’re a “flash sale” site, you might feel tempted to buy things so they don’t sell out or go away forever. Sometimes that can lead you to spend money you wouldn’t have otherwise.

Finally, this isn’t so much of a problem as something to be aware of - Gilt owns several in-house brands. Alex+Alex, Elorie, and The Letter are a few trademarks registered with Gilt under which they sell their own lines. From my experience, the pieces are good quality for the value, so if you love it, buy it! But they often throw these pieces into sales at a “significant discount” to make you feel like you’re getting more of a deal than you are. They’re probably worth the sale prices, though.

Best Sale:
Gilt usually has an “End of Season” sale twice a year that boasts 90% off. You’re taken to a list of designers and have to navigate your way through those by priority, hoping your favorites you don’t even know you had don’t sell out. The sale is made up of all of the left-overs they had throughout the season, so if you find something you love in your size, you’re set to get a great deal.

Last Call

Best for: Tops, Dresses, Shoes
Last Call is where I’ve snagged a lot of great tops for work. Their selection is usually chock-full of Equipment, Rebecca Taylor, Rebecca Minkoff, Alice + Olivia, and Eileen Fisher selections at reasonable prices. When you stack their coupons they send through email, you can often get a $250 blouse for around $60.

Watch Out For: Flux Pricing
The downside is, their pricing changes DAILY. A blouse you might have loved at $60 yesterday could be $100 today, depending on what the promo is. It’s my experience that they change the sales often and aren’t likely to run out of stock IMMEDIATELY, so it’s best to wait for the right combination of promo+coupon.

Best Sale: Wait for a great coupon via email! I often get an additional 20-50% off coupon, $10 off $30, etc.

Additional Note: If you can shop Last Call in person, DO. The website is just a small portion of what’s available in store. I found a 3.1 Phillip Lim Jacket (Originally $700) on sale for $80 when I was there! But there was only one. Websites don’t sell a quantity of one, they sell the things they have lots of. So if you want great deals, get them in-store.

Saks Off Fifth

Best for: Tops, In-House Brands, Shipping from Stores
Honestly, Off Fifth is probably my least favorite of the fine discount stores. I do not recommend shopping in store - you’ll leave disappointed with their selection, unless you love Ivanka Trump bags and Juicy Couture sunglasses. But, they’re really great about shipping items from stores if the website is out of something particular you’re looking for, so it’s worth a shot.

Watch out for: Bad Sales
Same as Last Call, you have to watch for price flux. I often check between the two on the same items to see who has the best deals. Saks is particularly bad at terrible sales, though. Their “Buy One, Get Two Free” sale comes to mind - it’s a great way to spend 2 hours looking for three things you want. They raise the prices and only include the crap items, so it’s really a bit of a waste of time.

Best Sale: Wait for an Additional % off.
Also, when you sign up for emails, they’ll give you a coupon for $30 off $100, which when stacked with promos and discounts makes for a great deal.

Nordstrom Rack

Best for: Anything! Just shop this one in store.
I’ve found Dolce & Gabbana pumps, a Milly Jacket, Marc Jacobs Sunglasses…I LOVE shopping at Rack. They also have a store online, but I don’t explore it as often as the ones I mentioned above. I have scored some cute Sole Society sandals from there.

Bonus: Use your Nordstrom Debit or Credit Card here and rack up the rewards. You can look up Double & Triple points weekends for extra buying power!

Barney’s Warehouse

Best for: Designer
There’s a reason Barney’s Warehouse is usually out of my price range - even at heavy discounts, their items are high-end designers. 75% off $2,000 is still $500! But, if you’re quick and not picky, this is a great place to get your designer fill, if you have your pennies saved or a great credit card. Also, this photo is misleading because I actually got my Wang at ShopBop. So whatever.

Marshall’s & TJ Maxx

Now we’re getting into the “In-Store” stuff. TJ Maxx does have an online retail presence, and it’s not half bad from what I’ve seen. The reason I’m lumping these two together? They vary based on where you live. For instance, in Little Rock our Marshall’s & TJ Maxx get their wares mostly from Dillard’s distributers, meaning the best you’re gonna find is Coach, MICHAEL Michael Kors, Theory, and the occasional Kate Spade bag. Say you’re in Dallas though - their TJ Maxx constantly has designer denim, contemporary dresses and tops…I’ve even heard wind of a Valentino Bag or two. So what THESE stores have is based on what else is in your area.

That said, it also varies between the two. In Little Rock, our TJ Maxx has a great bag section but Marshall’s bags kind of suck. But I prefer the Marshall’s shoe selection and clothing. So you kind of have to visit both to see what you can find.

Best sale: The Clearance sale! I’ve found ABS Platinum for $5, Vince Camuto for $15, and a Theory sweater for only $30.

Other Sales of Note:

Everything I listed above is a discount retailer, which usually means they’re the best place to start when you’re looking for a deal. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a great deal at one of the non-discount retailers! Piperlime & Shopbop both have great sales and clearance, so cross-reference each of these sites when you’re looking at something specific. For example, I was in LOVE a strawberry print top from Equipment this summer (and let it slip away! sigh). It was on sale on Shopbop for $82, but Saks had it for an additional 25% off of 100 - making it $75. Consider the perks, promos, coupons, and shipping whenever you’re comparing the sites. At the end of the day, if you’re willing to do the legwork you can get some killer deals on your duds.

I've also found some amazing deals on 6pm.com and BlueFly on everything from Rebecca Taylor to Prada, but have not purchased from either. They're both great sites to peruse the clearance section if you're looking for a deal; most tops I've seen are $40-50!

Finally, consider using a service like ShopStyle or Shop It To Me to keep you up-to-date on sales. I tag several items I like as they come out, and they’ll send me emails when those things go on sale. I also get emails from each of the stores above; it can get overwhelming, but it’s the best way to find a sale if you’re in the market for something specific.

Next up in this series: Buying Secondhand! I've got some great tips to making that thrift score.

February Buys

This year, I'm buying according to a list of needs and wants instead of a monetary budget. Read all about it here.

WELP, with February out the door, it's time to do a recap on what I added to my closet this month. You'd think for a short month, I'd be less prone to buying. Au contraire, mes amis! February was a great month of sales and unfortunately, a lot of splurging went on. So, let's start with the basics (ie, most expensive) expenses of the month.

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My big find this month was a great pair of jeans. I've never had any designer denim, so I made it a point to try it and see what the big deal is. I'll be darned if these aren't the most delicious, softest jeans I own. Stamp of AJ approval - totally worth the hype (even though I hyperventilated a little when I checked out). Hudson, $189 + $20 off = $169.

My "Sure...those can count as basics..." pieces were this ASOS Baseball tee ($17) and this ZOA blouse ($22 on clearance). I'm going to consider neutral pieces I would wear year round basics at this point. And I had an every day ring on my "list", so this Jacquie Aiche "B" ring is going to count toward that total ($50). I actually added it to my cart during the Shopbop sale to get my total up to the 30% tier so I could get an additional $50 off this bag...Alexander Wang and a bit of a splurge, although a crazy good deal. I had a really good month freelance-wise, and I like to celebrate booking big jobs with a bag. Black leather bag was on the list too - so it's marked off and on to "The Five".

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Since seasons are really season-y around here and a jacket I buy for spring may never see the light of day in a 100* summer, I'm buying five pieces for EACH season rather than just spring/summer and fall/winter. That doesn't mean I have to buy five items, just that I'm striving to stay within five. I've already blown through several thanks to an ASOS sale ($50 off $200!).

I've been wanting a full midi skirt for a bit now (I blame Blair) and after trying to make my own and then never bothering to hem it, I ordered this gorgeous red one from ASOS ($65). The moto jacket from Anthropologie ($158) was a purchase I thought about for over a week, which is a good long time from my normal snatch-and-buy tendencies. I wore this in an upcoming photo shoot for The Promenade and fell in love. Anthro pricing is normally out of my comfort zone, but that's what this experiment is all about - buying things that are a little pricier and well made that really sizzle.

For summer, this MM Couture top caught my eye when I was jean shopping at Indigo ($35) and could almost be considered a basic. And this grid dress and animal print romper from ASOS ($30ish a piece) will be perfect for warmer days.

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So what's in March's shopping cart? Nothing, hopefully. While Lent is traditionally not something practiced by my particular religion, I've often observed the act of giving up something for Lent as a disciplinary practice. This year, I'll be giving up shopping for 40 days and 40 nights.

This decision was fueled by several factors - no doubt, February was an expensive month being one of them (I'm not even going to add up those totals for you guys...you get the idea). My husband bet me I couldn't make it (with a desirable prize at stake) which fuels the fire a little more...and most of all, I realize there might be better things to spend my time on rather than mindlessly browsing websites and shops for my next big prey. If I'm not shopping at all - including even window shopping online - I could probably read a few books. Learn something new. Do more yoga. Play with my dog. WHO KNOWS.

So, there won't be an update in March unless I blow it big time. There's a family trip to Dallas at the end of the month that could trip me up for sure, but I'm really going to try. I swear. I've never actually given up shopping before, even for something like "30 for 30" that suggested it! I might be an addict, so it's time to do a little detox.

I also plan on taking this opportunity to do another closet overhaul and get rid of another big chunk of junk. Hopefully, it'll be a big one and I'll have another closet inventory for you soon.

Okay...you made it to the end. It's crazy, because I haven't been budget posting lately because I'm really not keeping to a budget any more, but having to admit outright what you bought in a month really opens your eyes to your spending habits. My downfalls are still sales and clearance (can't resist) and adding things to my cart online to get bigger discounts (happened at both ASOS and Shopbop this month!). Oi vey.