Endorsed by the Little Things

Whenever Oprah touches something it turns to gold. If your book makes it into her “book club” you are an instant best seller.

(via)

If Oprah features your product during her “favorite things” holiday episode, it is be flying off the shelves the next day.

And if Oprah thinks you are talented -soon you will be performing in Madison Square Garden with a super star.

And eventually on Glee.

Unfortunately, an endorsement here doesn’t come with such incredible outcomes. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth something.

 Already, I have endorsed quite a few pro ducts and services on this blog:

Stitch Fix – a personal shopping service that is both fun and convenient

Pinterest – the most inspiring site on the web, hands down

Container Store – the best place to buy orgnaization supplies

Erin Condren – the best place to buy labels for your organizational supplies

Etsy – essentially, an online craft fair

Well today I have another thing to add to the list: SOAP.com

Living in New York City isn’t always as glamorous as it appears on Sex and the City. It is expensive. It is dirty. It is loud. And doing simple things like going grocery shopping or running errands is hard.

Very few people have cars. The closest Wal-Mart is over 10 miles away in New Jersey. And at the local Duane Reade, a 6 pack of toilet paper costs $12.99. And because I could only carry a few things at a time, my trips to the pharmacy for paper towels, Cascade, Tide and shampoo were frequent: 4-5 times  week. And then I discovered SOAP.com and my life changed.

With over 25,000 products under one virtual roof, they do the dirty work for you. From personal products like shampoo and makeup to household necessities they’ve got you covered. And they have great prices too! So instead of paying 12.99 for 6 rolls of toilet paper, I am now only paying $6.99! And here’s the best part: they deliver everything to your door within 2 business days for free! 

Now some people might not see the value of this service. Let me tell you – these people don’t live in New York City. And if they do, they are one of the lucky few who have access to a car.

So if driving to your local Wal-Mart or Target isn’t an option, I strongly encourage you to place an order at SOAP.com – You won’t regret it!

Now if only they could figure out a way to actually clean your apartment for you…

Cyber Monday

After the turkey has been carved, the parade has passed Macy’s on 34th street and the relatives return home we come back to work on Monday, a little rounder around the belly. While we have enjoyed time away from the office, many people will return to work exhausted from the holiday festivities. And this is only the beginning. Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, we can focus on the remainder of the holiday season. For many of us, this means stringing lights, hanging ornaments and breaking out the Christmas music. It is the most wonderful time of the year and sometimes the most tiring. However, I for one, think it is entirely worth it.

After Thanksgiving, my mom sister and I participated in the craziness that is Black Friday. While my mom and Abby stocked up on Christmas presents for nearly everyone on their list, I concentrated on myself (talk about holiday spirit). As they walked around the store finding things for cousins, aunts, grandparents and friends, I walked around the stores picking up things for myself. This year, I am having a hard time coming up with good ideas for presents, and since I know what I want, it was simply easier to shop for myself. And clearly, I was trying to make the most out of the great sales! Unfortunately, when we returned and looked at our purchases, I realized that I was no closer to being complete with holiday shopping.

So now I am sitting at work, scanning the websites of stores. Cyber Monday is a marketing term for the Monday immediately following Black Friday, the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States. The term made its debut on November 28, 2005 in a Shop.org press release entitled “‘Cyber Monday’ Quickly Becoming One of the Biggest Online Shopping Days of the Year”. In 2009, it was reported that consumers spent $887M online on Cyber Monday (excluding travel), the second highest spending day of 2009. Data has shown that Cyber Monday online sales have always been driven by considerable buying activity from work locations. That pattern hasn’t changed. After returning from the long Thanksgiving weekend with a lot of holiday shopping still ahead of them, many consumers tend to continue their holiday shopping from work. Whether to take advantage of the extensive Cyber Monday deals offered by retailers or to buy gifts away from the prying eyes of family members, this day has become an annual ritual for America’s online holiday shoppers.

So for anyone else who is sitting at work scanning the sales, here are some of the top deals going on right this very instant. So make yourself some hot chocolate, set your Pandora to Christmas music and let the festivities begin! (Please note that the first three sites are all part of my registry – what a strange coincidence!)

Crate And Barrel 

The Deal: Stemware, barware, dinnerware

Houseware giant Crate & Barrel is offering 25% off on all kinds of items, across the store, from martini glasses to starter dining sets.

Macy’s

The Deal: The better question is, what isn’t on sale?

The magic of Macy’s includes clothing, jewelry, home goods and kitchen tools. Just enter the code “CYBER” into the coupon code before checking out.

REI

The Deal: Up to 30% off winter gear, clothing and camping supplies!

Great gifts for all of those outdoorsy relatives. Check out the steep discounts on Padagonia jackets and Smart Wool socks. Just in time for winter!

Kohls

The Deal: Pillows, mattresses, watches, outerwear

Retail giant Kohl’s slashes prices on its site 35% to 60%, on everything from watches and jewelry to outerwear and home goods.

Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor Loft

The Deal: 40% off EVERY THING plus free shipping

For the fashionista on your list. Use code “ENJOY” at checkout.

Victorias Secret

The Deal: Dresses, jackets, shoes

Victoria Secret is offering up to 70% off select bras, underwear and sleepwear. Shoppers who buy sleepwear will receive a free pair of slippers if they use the code VS10SLEEP at checkout–and anyone can receive free shipping on their order if they enter the code SHIPVS1. Get your holiday jammies before it is too late!

Check out these sites for other great deals:

Handmade gifts

Photo gifts

Sports gifts

Unique gifts

One Day Sale

I am sure that all of you have seen a Macy’s commercial that is similar to this one. They advertise the “One Day Sale” and make shoppers believe that is it THE ONE DAY where items in the store are on sale. If you miss it, the deals will be gone and you will  have to wait until there is another one day sale. The thing that they don’t tell you is that EVERY day at Macy’s is a sale day.

This year has been the year of weddings for me and Matt. We have traveled to South Bend (twice), Boston (twice), Vermont, Chicago and Ohio. The weddings have all been extremely inspiring to us, as we start to plan our own wedding. We are so lucky to have so many great friends to show us the ropes and support us as we enter into the next phase of our relationship and life.

Along with inspiration comes the wedding gifts. I LOVE going registry gift shopping. It is always interesting to see what people chose for plates, knives, bakeware, sheets, towels and coffee makers. Nearly everyone registers at Macy’s, and quite frankly, how can you blame them. You can register for EVERYTHING at Macy’s and with their 365 different One Day Sales, your guests can get some fabulous deals. And your purchases help to support to world’s best parade. It is a win-win.

A few months ago, I went online to buy a present for one of the weddings. I saw that their china was buy 2 pieces, get a third free. So I decided to order 3 pieces for them. Unfortunately, when I added these items to my online shopping basket, the deal was not applied. I promptly called customer service and asked to speak to someone who could solve my problem. While she was working on it, I found a coupon code online that earned me an additional 15% off AND free shipping. Then when my customer service rep came back, she told me that she fixed the problem and that I would get a free bowl for everyone ONE I ordered. Well, that wasn’t a deal I was going to question. In all, I ended up ordering nearly 600 dollars of china and paid only 150 dollars. SICK!

Today I went back to Macy’s to buy another wedding present. With very little effort, I found a toaster and a waffle iron that we both on sale (20% off), did a google search for a free shipping coupon and happily made my purchase. I ended up saving over 120 dollars.

Honestly, I think I should quit my job and become a personal wedding present shopping. Obviously, I have a gift :)

Perceived Savings

When I was a freshman in college, I had no idea what I was doing…pretty  much when it came to everything related to college. I thought wearing sweatpants and my swimming parka to class was appropriate. I was fine with the idea that the girls on the swim team would be my only friends.  For some reason, watching Primal Scream seemed like a good idea. And I thought that “Ec 10” sounded like a fun class. I mean, all of my friends were taking it, so I figured I should too.

I had taken economics in high school. The main reason I signed up for this class was because Mr. Leonard, the football coach, taught the class. And while Mr. Leonard can’t really compare with, Mr. Schuester (my new favorite teacher, on Glee) he was a favorite among the ladies (in a non-creepy way!) Unfortunately, his teaching abilities or depth of the class didn’t go much more than how to create a supply and demand graph. For those of you who are familiar with my neat handwriting and anal charting skills, clearly you know I did well in this class. So when it came time to enroll in college classes, I figured I would dominate EC 10. Unfortunately, Economics is about a bit more than graphs.

In this class, I learned that just because a professor is world-renowned in an area, it doesn’t make him a good teacher. Thank you Martin Feldstein for teaching me this invaluable lesson! I also learned that I love Indian accents. My TF (also known as a TA) was from India and I spent most of my time in section trying to hide my laughter as opposed to paying attention. Many of our examples were about the supply and demand of “pizza,” which to this day brings a smile to my face just thinking about the pronunciation.

Other than that I didn’t retain a lot of information from this class. The one term that has stuck with me is Perceived Savings. I remember learning about this, and I believe we used baseball tickets as the example. If I remember correctly, we discuss the following idea:

If you are offered baseball tickets at 50% off, you think “Wow! This is great, I just saved 50% of the cost of the tickets.” However, if you hadn’t been offered that deal, there is a strong possibility that you wouldn’t have purchased the tickets to begin with. So while you think you are saving 50% of the cost, you are actually spending more money (the cost of the tickets) then you would have if you didn’t buy them at all. So while it may seem like a deal, your savings are simply perceived, not realized.

From the moment this theory was introduced, I didn’t like it. Of course you are saving money! You are gaining the value of the tickets (say 100 dollars) and it is only costing you 50 dollars. That is a deal! Who cares that you are out 50 dollars… you now have the experience of attending a baseball game (Go Red Sox!) AND the knowledge that most everyone sitting around you at the game paid twice as much as you did for that same experience. If that isn’t a win-win situation, I don’t know what is.

I experienced actual savings this weekend. Matt and I made a trip to Banana Republic for some new jeans. I left the store with the following:

– Jeans: originally 79.95 – I paid 35.50 (Savings of 44.45)
– Cardigan: originally 69.50, I paid 29.25 (Savings of 40.25)
– Tights: originally 25.00, I paid 18.75 (Savings of 6.25)
– Tee Shirt: originally 20.00, I paid 3.95 (Savings of 16.05)
– Skirt: originally 59.50, I paid 17.95 (Savings of 41.55)
– Black pants: originally 59.50, I paid 30.55 (Savings of 28.95)

So, what should have cost me 313.45 dollars, actually cost me just under 150 dollars (stupid New York taxes). Or in other words, I saved 163 dollars, or 52%. What a deal! And while some (aka Matt) might think that I spent 150 dollars that I didn’t really need to spend. I can assure you, the enjoyment that I will get out of my cute new clothes and the value that I place on getting “good deals” far exceeds the 150 dollar charge that is now residing on my credit card account!

If there is one good thing about the recession, it is the amazing sales that you find on a daily basis. My wardrobe has certainly benefited from these troublesome economic times.



Multi-Tasking

I pride myself on being a master of multi-tasking. Growing up I could color inside the lines while singing along to Rosenshontz (please tell me you remember these guys).

As I grew older I mastered driving from field hockey practice to swim practice and changing into my swim suit. I am still trying to figure out how I didn’t 1. get in an accident or 2. get pulled over.

In college I mastered swimming more than 20 hours per week, studying and finding time for the OC. My love for Seth Cohen far outweighed my love of, and need for, sleep.

Now in the working world, I have mastered the daily craze of play groups, parent interviews, tours, responding to phone calls, emails and faxes (yes, some people still use the fax machine!) all while planning my wedding, blogging and of course online shopping. I am proud to say that my multi-tasking abilities reached a new high today, as I responded to work emails, talked to one of my co-workers as she sat in my office, g-chatted with some of my favorite people in the world and did at least a months worth of grocery shopping online. In a span of 30 minutes, I had responded to approximately 8 emails, convinced my fellow employee that our place of employment IS crazy, chatted online with my sister about her train ride back to Virgina, Matt about his walk to work and Jamie about the fun times we had over the weekend looking for bridesmaid dresses, and spent more than 200 dollars on groceries from FreshDirect. Let’s not forget to mention that I found a discount code online that earned me more than 20% off my total bill.

Man, some days I even impress myself.

House Hunter

Growing up, I lived in the same town from the time I was born right through high school. We moved from a small cape house into my parent’s current house when I was about 5 years old. I was young enough when we moved that I don’t remember much about that process, and I am certain, I wasn’t much help to my parents during it.

After graduating college, I moved to Boston and got to experience the fun of searching for an apartment. The process didn’t take too long and I liked adventuring to different areas of the city. I lived in the same apartment for two years before moving to NYC.

When I moved to the “big apple” I tried to convince Abby that would could find a better apartment than the one she had been living in. Boy was I wrong! After looking at 4-5 places that were smaller than the bathroom I had in Boston, I decided that her place, although old and very far north, was the best we could do on our limited budget. Obviously, we had a great time living together – it didn’t matter where the apartment was or what it looked like.

After moving out, Matt and I were lucky enough to find our current apartment right away. It was a newly constructed building and we got a great deal since construction wasn’t totally complete when we moved in. Although Matt was almost taken to small claims court because he refused to pay our broker the “fee” (yes, he is THAT stubborn), it was a great move. We have now been there for just over a year and just renewed our lease for another year. 

While I would love to buy our own place, and put some of skill to use that I have learned from watching hours and hours of HGTV, it isn’t very realistic since the average place of an apartment in New York City is more than 1.6 million dollars. so until that time I will watch House Hunters, My First Place and Property Virgins on HGTV. At least then, when the time comes for Matt and I to buy a place, I will be fully prepared!

I posted last week that Abby got a new job that will require her to move to Virgina. The area that she will be moving to doesn’t have a lot of places to rent, as it is fairly residential. This means the she will be in the market for a new house. We spend part of day looking online at places online. I found one that I immediately fell in love with: two bedrooms, two bathrooms, newly renovated, a back deck, multiple skylights, a fireplace, and a white picket fence!

Without even seeing the place in person, I was sold. I sent the link to Abby and she shared in my excitement. Unfortunately, after reading the fine print, she informed me that my dream house was in an “active living” community for adults 55+.

Hmmm, maybe I should spend more time watching HGTV to better hone my house hunting skills. Or maybe I should just stop having the same taste as senior citizens.