The holidays seem to be busiest time of the year. Between shopping, untangling lights, wrapping (or unwrapping) and baking dozens of cookies, your regular life doesn’t press pause. You can only read so many articles on ‘holiday hacks’ before you realize that unlike the miracle of Santa getting down a chimney, there is no Christmas miracle for making the holidays less busy.
You can, however, find little ways to relieve the stress and smile more. One way I’ve found is using free in store pickup for your holiday shopping. Both Sears and Kmart offer free in store pickup, letting you shop thousands of gifts online in the comfort of your own home before picking up your items in store in 5 minutes guaranteed (or whenever you’re ready).
With in store pickup you’ll avoid lines, busy stores and the wasted time of walking down every aisle. The bow on top: You can have a friend or relative pick up your order and pay in store with cash, if you prefer. Now it’s no question that you should try free in store pickup at Sears or Kmart but there’s now a question of, what will you do with more free time over the holidays?
A few ideas include: volunteering at a shelter, making gingerbread houses with the kids or simply putting your feet up and enjoying the view of the Christmas tree. Learn more at Sears: http://bit.ly/HL896t and Kmart: http://kmrt.us/1bmIoRk
Presented by Mami Innovative Media, this is a sponsored post on behalf of Sears and Kmart. All opinions expressed here are my own.
The holidays are upon us! I don’t know about you, but I’m looking for great deals to stretch my budget this season, and outlet shopping is my perfect solution.
That’s why I plan to head out to Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores, where holiday shopping is hassle-free and you can find factory-direct premium quality merchandise at savings up to 75% off (and sometimes more). Plus, unlike the other outlet malls, there’s easy store front parking and a head start on gift-buying with most of the center’s retailers open on Thanksgiving Day, 10a-6pm, and select stores open for Black Friday Midnight Madness, November 29, Midnight-9:30pm.
Many stores offer additional savings from 20-40% off to “Friends & Family” starting two weeks prior to Black Friday. Learn about these discounts, as well as specific stores and their hours through the holiday season, by following the center on Facebook and Twitter,
The village-style center offers 50 spacious outlet shops and great deals at the area’s only Old Navy and G by GUESS outlet stores, newcomers U.S. Polo Assn. and Lindt Chocolate, newly renovated OshKosh B’Gosh and Tommy Hilfiger Stores, plus other well-known outlets including Justice, Crocs, Calvin Klein, Levi’s®, Aeropostale, Carters, Converse, Famous Footwear Outlet, Fossil, Gap, Izod, Nike, Rack Room Shoes, and many more.
Here’s your chance to win a $25 gift card to Perfume Smart, where shoppers can select from over 1,000 brands of discounted designer perfumes and fragrances, including Prada, Robert Cavalli, Chanel, Calvin Klein and more.
You can get in on the savings by downloading a coupon from the Center’s website, then bringing it to Travelpro at the Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores to receive a coupon booklet valued up to $400 in savings. The Center is located at 15657 S. Apopka Vineland Rd. (SR 535), Orlando, FL 32821.
Diane Taha of Style Context shares where to find the best work outfits at the lowest prices…
Hello lovely readers! I’m excited to write a guest post today on Sunshine State Shopping. I know Sunshine from UCF where I attended school and subsequently taught communication. Like Sunshine, I love communication and…shopping, especially for good deals, which is what I’m going to discuss today. As much as I love fashion, I avoid purchasing most things at regular price.
That’s why the Orlando Premium Outlets is one of my go-to places to shop for high end brands on a budget. If you’ve ever been to the Orlando Premium Outlets you know how expansive and overwhelming it can feel.
For this post I’m going to focus on the best places to shop for your 9-to-5 workday for top brands on a budget. When it comes to work clothes, the following stores run the gamut of business casual to business professional.
As with most things, I personally prefer to incorporate color into my work wardrobe; even with monochrome, I’ll insist on adding a pop of color to brighten an outfit. These stores are great for finding colorful work wear that puts standard office attire to shame.
1. BCBG Max Azria
If you’re looking for pencil skirts, trousers, ruffled blouses, or a sweater dress (hey, it gets chilly in Florida between December-February), this is your go-to store for catching up on the classics, basics, and trends.
2. Elie Tahari
I have yet to find another brand that consistently designs affordable, flattering sheath dresses for the everyday career woman. The sheath dress is a fun, efficient alternative to other work wear outfits.
By far my most favorite thing about J.Crew is jewelry, which is strange considering it’s not a jewelry store. This is where I like to scope out the latest statement necklaces to add to my wardrobe. I like to go for a piece that will adds a pop of color to my wardrobe or that is versatile enough to complement most outfits.
Tory Burch is most famously known for her Reva ballet flat, but one thing I always find myself coveting when I’m in the store are the immaculate collarless tweed jackets that come in multiple colors. The jackets are a refreshing, feminine alternative to the conventional lapel blazers that roam the workplace.
5. Diane von Furstenberg
You may be familiar with Diane von Furstenberg for her quintessential wrap dress that revolutionized the way women dressed in the office in the 1970s. The wrap dress is still a staple today, and while it is more comfortable than the sheath dress, it’s no less professional or chic.
Where are your favorite places to shop for high end work clothes on a budget? Let me know in the comments or catch up with me on Style Context where I blog about fashion, beauty, and blogging tips. You can also tweet me on Twitter.
Disney World’s Epcot Food and Wine Festival draws foodies by the thousands every fall, and for good reason. It’s a dream come true for lovers of food, wine, and beer. Unique menu items are offered from dozens of countries around the world, and Epcot’s a beautiful place to explore, stroll, and enjoy.
In addition to great food, the event offers a chance to buy exclusive merchandise. Whether you’re seeking to fill up your liquor cabinet, recreate favorite dishes, or just have a token to remember the event for years to come, Epcot has you covered.
There are several shopping areas throughout Epcot where you can pick up Food and Wine Festival items.
When you first enter the Festival from Future World, you’ll see the Port of Entry shopping area. This shop has a selection of food items, beer and wine accessories, and Festival-themed clothing.
Some of the coolest stuff is right across from the Scotland booth in a little open-air shop. This shop has some exclusive items not available anywhere else in the festival, including the new-this-year Mason Jar glasses with the event logo.
Adjoining this mini shop is the very fun Rinse Bath and Body shop. They have beer and wine scented soaps and luxurious handmade body lotions, balms, and oils, with delicious kitchen-inspired scents.
Inside the Festival Center there are four different shopping areas. The Art of Food & Wine offers prints and original artwork featuring Disney characters enjoying food and wine. They also have potholders and kitchen decor items featuring Disney food-related artwork. You’ll even find cookbooks and goodies from the chefs who’ll be cooking up demonstrations at the festival.
The Festival Wine Shop gives guests an opportunity to choose from a prestigious selection of wine, spirits, and beer. For home chefs, The Stockpot Shop displays cooking tools and products, many with inventive prints of Disney characters.
And while you’re there, don’t forget to visit The Chocolate Experience: From Bean to the Bar, hosted by Ghirardelli® Chocolate Company. They have FREE chocolate samples, and sell special wines that pair well with chocolate. I’m so glad I stopped by this shop, because I discovered the yummy Rosa Regale sparkling wine, and now I have a new favorite dessert wine!
For me, half the fun of visiting Epcot is the shopping, and it’s even more fun now that the Food and Wine Festival is going on. For tons of fun foodie finds, make sure to take a look at all of the shops while you’re there, and let me know what YOU choose to bring home to remember the festival!
Readers of my blog know that I can’t stand paying full price. My policy is that an item must be on sale for 75% to 90% off retail for me to purchase it. I often shop at malls and check out the department stores and boutiques to try on the latest fashions, but I only buy at a mall when there’s a BIG sale. My favorite kinds of sales are when stores offer an additional % off already marked down prices.
That kind of sale is hard to find at a mall, so I do most of my shopping at off-price stores like Marshalls, TJMaxx, and my favorite, Ross Dress for Less. We have LOTS Of Ross stores here in Florida, and they’ve been opening up a lot of new stores lately. They’re usually found in strip malls next to major shopping malls, and are always worth the trip. Want to see what kinds of awesome things you can find at Ross? All of these photos show my family and me wearing or using items that I purchased at Ross over the years.
I’ve found that prices at Ross are usually at least 10% cheaper for the same items compared to Marshalls and TJMaxx. Ross is my go-to for things like undershirts, dress shirts, and ties for my husband. I also learned from a good friend of mine who is a professional chef that Ross has the highest quality housewares of the off-price stores. She’s right- after she told me that I started looking and have found lots of nice pieces for baking, cooking, and entertaining from major companies at miniscule prices.
But let’s be honest- what keeps me coming to Ross is two things that I LOVE to shop for: shoes and dresses. The shoe selection is incredible, with super-low prices that make a pair of new shoes feel less like a splurge and more like a smart decision. I find at least 50% of the dresses I wear on a daily basis to teach at the university at Ross. They have lots of high quality designer sheath dresses and beautiful fun summery dresses that are perfect for Florida. I always check the Clearance rack and have found amazing dresses there for under $10. I love the treasure hunt shopping aspect of Ross, and now I’d like to share it with my readers by giving away a $25 Ross gift card!!
Good luck readers! I look forward to announcing the winner and sending their prize! PLEASE NOTE: I received a $25 gift card for myself and for the contest winner from Ross Dress For Less.
I recently attended a blogger event at IKEA Orlando, right next door to the Millenia Mall, where I was among the first to receive their new 2014 Catalog. I am a huge IKEA shopper but never realized that the catalog was such a big deal! Did you know that IKEA spends over 70% of their marketing budget on their catalog? Many people can’t get to IKEA stores, so the catalog is a way for shoppers worldwide to experience IKEA’s innovative, affordable, and smart product line.
IKEA invited a group of Orlando bloggers to share their new corporate vision. IKEA wants to be “the most family friendly company in the world.” An honorable aspiration, in my book! The focus of their design in every room of the house is now “Living With Children.” IKEA recognizes the impact of kids on every room in the house, and has created solutions to make life with kids colorful, functional, and FUN!
One of my favorite things about IKEA stores is the showrooms that are set up to show how real families can live. They have three awesome new room setups, each representing a different family type. Each IKEA store gets to design their own showrooms based on the families living in the local area. The IKEA designers in Orlando chose to visit 15 family homes in our local market, to see how people really live, and what types of challenges they face. The main issue here in Orlando is lots of STUFF!
People’s closets and garages were overflowing, and there was too much stuff everywhere with no where to put it. The designers dealt with this by creating multiple places to keep things, especially toys. They also created attractive open spaces for creativity, like art tables in the kitchen, where art supplies could be left out to encourage kids to keep creating.
This pink and white living area depicts the life of a single mom living in an apartment with one six year old daughter. Toys and art supplies are organized at kid-friendly levels so little ones can clean up after themselves when playtime is through.
This one is for a family with teenagers, and the large modular couches and footstools can be turned different ways to focus on gaming equipment or conversation. They accented the gray and white with cool red cabinets to store all of the video game equipment. I love the sleek look and the versatility!
This large kitchen and family room is for a family with kids of varying ages. There’s plenty of different types of seating and many places to hang out. It allows adults and kids to do their own activities while sharing the same space.
I learned three very cool things during my visit to IKEA.
First, the name IKEA is actually an acronym for the name of the founder and the farm and village in Sweden where he grew up. IKEA stands for Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd. Who knew?
Second, I learned that IKEA absolutely guarantees the lowest price on EVERYTHING they sell. If you tell a manager that you’ve found a lower price on anything, they have to change it. They even changed the price of their hot dogs in the restaurant from 50 cents to 25 cents when they found out a gas station across town was selling them for that price!
Third, I was surprised to find out that crayfish are a HUGE deal in Sweden. Every August, villages in Sweden hold huge crayfish festivals where the entire town gathers to each crayfish cooked in butter, beer, and schnapps. IKEA stores all honor this tradition by holding a crayfish festival, the one in Orlando is on Friday, August 16. Check out this link for all the details. I hope you’ve enjoyed learning all about what’s going on at IKEA this Fall. IKEA is offering a $100 IKEA gift card to one lucky blog reader, here are the details on how to enter:
*Note: I received free products from IKEA at their blogger event. This review is my honest opinion based upon my experience at IKEA.
I’m always looking to score major bargains for my family, and back to school shopping can be a major budget buster if not done right. My kids always need new jeans, shoes, and shirts for back to school, and there’s no way I’m paying full price for ANY of it! Not when we live in Orlando, the outlet shopping capital of the world! Orlando has some hoity-toity outlets full of major designer bargains, but they don’t really fit the bill for back to school.
For all the designer brands my KIDS actually wear, at incredible prices, I take them to Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores. It’s on 535 just down the road from Downtown Disney, and it’s a much more relaxed shopping environment than the other Orlando outlet malls. For one thing, they always have plenty of parking spaces available, and I can park right in front of the stores I want to visit, so there’s no schlepping around all of my purchases from store to store.
In my opinion, the best feature of this mall is the Old Navy Outlet. It’s the only one in Central Florida, and the deals are awesome every time. Adding extra discounts to Old Navy’s already low prices makes this store a no-brainer for back to school. I always go there for my kids’ basics like jeans, shorts, t-shirts and swimsuits, and of course I usually find something cheap and fun to add to my own wardrobe.
You’ll also find Disney’s Character Corner, which offers t-shirts, toys, and souvenirs straight from the Walt Disney World theme parks. This is perfect if you want to bring home some authentic Disney souvenirs at great prices. Plus, you don’t have to carry your purchases all over the theme park like you would if you bought them there. It’s a fun place to find lots of great Disney Princess merchandise without spending too much.
Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores is the absolute BEST place to find shoes for teenagers. They have Nike, Reebok, Converse, Vans, Crocs, Rack Room, and Famous Footwear outlets, all in one convenient area. The prices are low and they have really cool styles.
Before you start shopping, make sure to stop by the TravelPro store for a coupon book. Here’s a link to the form you’ll need to get it for FREE! The coupons save you extra percentages and dollars off at all of the best stores, which really amps up your total back to school shopping savings. If you’re looking for a REAL outlet mall where you can save up to 90% on back to school shopping, my pick is Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores. Happy Shopping!
New Giveaway Opportunity For Back To School Shopping- $50 Gift Certificate to Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores!
It’s almost August, and you know what that means: school bells will be ringing soon, and so will cash registers during back to school shopping. If you’re like me, shopping smarter and stretching my budget will be a priority. The Florida Sales Tax Holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, August 2 and ends at 11:59 on Sunday, August 4. Local schools go back into session in mid-to-late August, so plan now to take advantage of that. I’ll be looking for deals throughout the month.
That’s why every year I head out to Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores, one of Central Florida’s best-kept shopping secrets. This is a true outlet mall where you’ll find savings up to 75% off at select stores. The village-style center offers a customer-friendly shopping experience and 50 spacious outlet shops with convenient store-front parking. I always find great deals at the area’s only Old Navy and G by GUESS outlet stores, newcomers Justice, Crocs, Calvin Klein and Levi’s® Outlet Store, as well as other well-known outlet stores include Aeropostale, Carters, Converse, Famous Footwear Outlet, Fossil, Gap, Izod, Nike Factory Store, OshKosh, Rack Room Shoes, and many more. Stop into the new Lindt Chocolate for a treat!
Here’s your chance to win a $50 gift certificate to the Center.
Even if you don’t win the gift certificate, you can get in on the savings by downloading a coupon from the Center’s web site, then bringing it to Travelpro to receive a coupon booklet valued up to $400 in savings. The Center is located at 15657 S Apopka Vineland Rd (SR 535), Orlando, FL 32821.
Orlando shoppers have been eagerly anticipating the opening of The Container Store, and now all of their home-organization dreams have come true! The Dallas-based retail chain’s 60th location, their first in Orlando, opened its doors right across from the Mall at Millenia on Saturday, April 27.
Many homeowners in Orlando enjoy having a place for everything, and everything in its place. The Container Store is a one-stop-shop for education and supplies to reach the goal of a peaceful and orderly home. One of only four in Florida, the store is impressive inside and out. Neatly organized, beautifully displayed solutions for travel, storage, office, and more tempt shoppers to organize everything in sight!
Walking around the store, you will see thousands of solutions for every possible need, from the 80 styles of hangers to the 120 types of trash cans. You’ll see lots of unusual doo-dads, too, like the handy-dandy JarKey Jar opener that opens any jar with ease! You may feel overwhelmed by the selection and wonder how all of these items could possibly do anything but gather dust in your kitchen drawer.
That’s where the amazing Container Store employees come in, offering personalized service that’s unmatched in the industry. Average retail salespeople receive 7-10 hours of training, but Container Store team members are trained for over 263 hours in their first year of employment! That means they have a lot of knowledge to share and can help you figure out how to solve your storage challenges.
The most popular Container Store product line is elfa, which offers custom solutions for garages, closets, pantries and kitchens. Container Store offers free closet design services at the Orlando location.
My favorite shopping find was the Little Black Dress Hanging Jewelry Organizer. It’s so cute and takes up just one hanger’s space in a closet. I’ll get one for travel and one for home, so I’ll always be able to find the perfect earrings to go with any outfit.
Shoe lovers will go crazy for the many different ways to organize and protect your shoe collection. I predict that this store will be a hit with Orlando shoppers, and that better-organized homes will be the happy result!