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Back To School Shopping Time! Win a $50 gift card to Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores!

ConverseLBV20121102-160It’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. The Florida Sales Tax Holiday is August 1-3, so plan now to take advantage of that. I’ll be sharing Florida’s best shopping deals throughout this ultimate shopping week.

I definitely plan to load up my two teenagers and head to Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores, where shopping is hassle-free and you can find factory-direct premium quality merchandise at savings up to 75% off (and sometimes more). Plus, there’s easy store front parking.

Here’s your chance to win a $50 gift certificate to the mall, where you can select merchandise at over 50 spacious outlet shops and get great deals at the area’s only Old Navy outlet store, newcomer U.S. Polo Assn., newly renovated Nike, OshKosh B’Gosh and Tommy Hilfiger Stores, plus other well-known outlets including VF Outlet for uniforms, G by GUESS, Justice, Carter’s, Crocs, Calvin Klein, Levi’s®, Aeropostale, Converse, Famous Footwear Outlet, Fossil, Gap, Izod, Rack Room Shoes, and many more. Don’t forget to stop by and treat yourself at Lindt Chocolate, too!

 Even if you don’t win, 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. Many stores offer additional savings from 20-40% off to “Friends & Family.”  Savvy discount shoppers can learn about these discounts, as well as specific stores and their hours by following the center on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest, as well as visiting

VF Outlet Back to School 2014

Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores is located just one mile from Walt Disney World at 15657 S. Apopka Vineland Road (State Road 535), Orlando, FL 32821-6316, and two miles south of I-4, Exit 68. Stores are open Monday-Saturday, 10am-9pm, and 10am-7pm on Sunday.  Let the school bells ring!


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Ross Stores $25 Gift Card Giveaway – Try Out Their New Lake Mary Florida Store!

My favorite dress of all time- a silk leopard number I purchased at Ross!

My favorite dress of all time- a silk leopard number I purchased at Ross!

Designer discount retailer Ross Dress for Less will be opening TWO brand new stores in Orlando and Lake Mary on Saturday, March 8, just in time to find all your spring wardrobe essentials! At 20-60% off department store prices, Ross is my favorite source to find all of my favorite brands for less.

Here is the address of the new stores:

Southchase Village
12339 South Orange Blossom
Orlando, FL 32827

Lake Mary Center
3765 Lake Emma Road
Lake Mary, FL 32746

I’m excited to check out these new stores this Saturday, and I’m offering a $25 Ross giftcard so that you can shop there too!

Check out my article sharing all the things I love about Ross:

Here are the entry details:

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Win a $25 gift card to Perfume Smart at Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores!

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.

LBV20121102-187That’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.

LBVFS ShoppersMany 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.

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 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.

Happy shopping!


Where To Buy… Wear To Work Clothing For Less!

Style Context blogger Diane Taha

Style Context blogger Diane Taha

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.

Premium Outlets Orlando


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.

banana13. J. Crew

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.

southoutlet1144. Tory Burch

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.

My Designer Discount Shopping Florida Fave: Ross Dress For Less!

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!!

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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.

My Back To School Shopping Pick: Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores In Orlando, Florida



The best outlet mall for back to school shopping in Orlando

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.

Best teen clothes shopping in Orlando

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.

Old Navy Outlet at Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores

Old Navy Outlet at Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores

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.

Disney’s Character Corner

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.

Nike Shoes Outlet in Orlando

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!

Back to school shopping fun

Back to school shopping fun at 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.

Happy shopping!

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Waterford Lakes Town Center: The Epicenter of East Orlando Shopping


The main drag at Waterford Lakes Town Center in Orlando Florida

This beautiful outdoor mall is the shopping hub for East Orlando.  With wide palm tree-lined avenues for strolling, an excellent variety of dining choices, and shops for everyone from teens to grandmas, it’s no wonder the town center is always packed with people!

Super Target at Waterford Lakes Town Center in Orlando FloridaOpen-air shopping centers have been rapidly eclipsing traditional malls as the preferred choice for shoppers, and this concept works especially well in Florida.  The idea is to park your car once, and walk from store to store getting all your shopping done in one place.  Waterford Lakes makes it easy, which is why I stop by there at least a couple of times every week.  There’s even a Super Target with a full grocery store inside, making the towncenter a true one-stop shop.

Pier One Imports at Waterford Lakes Town Center in Orlando FloridaHome decorators will have a field day at Waterford Lakes.  Bed, Bath, and Beyond, TJMaxx, Kirkland and Ross are located all in one corner, and each has a large, constantly replenished selection.  There’s also a Joanns and a Michaels, if you want to do it yourself.

Back-to-school shoppers will find everything  teens love at Waterford Lakes.  Tilly’s and Buckle offer surfer-inspired fashions. American Eagle and Aeropostale  are your source for trendy, preppy looks.

There’s a huge Skechers Company store, one of the only ones in Florida, with a huge selection of shoes at prices WAY lower than even a Skechers outlet.   And for some real bargains, drive across Alafaya Boulevard to Waterford Towers, where you’ll find a Plato’s Closet consignment shop full of the latest trendy designs for a lot less.

Regal Cinemas at Waterford Lakes Town Center in Orlando FloridaWaterford Lakes is a perfect date-night destination.  The Regal Cinemas features an IMAX theater, and is a great place to catch the latest Hollywood release.  Even if you’re not in the mood to shop, you’ll love the restaurant options at Waterford Lakes. Two of Florida’s favorite chains, Five Guys Burgers and Fries and Toojay’s Deli, both offer delicious meals, and the Marble Slab Creamery will make your favorite custom dessert right before your eyes.

Stahli at Waterford Lakes Town Center in Orlando FloridaIn addition to all the great chain stores at Waterford, we do have some unique local hotspots worth checking out.  Stahli Celebrity Fashion Boutique holds a carefully curated selection of celebrity-inspired fashions from hot designers, plus some amazing accessories and fun home décor and gifts.  And you MUST stop by Sweet! By Good Golly Miss Holly, the amazing cupcake and frozen yogurt store whose chef has won Cupcake Wars on Food Network twice so far!

Sweet! By Good Golly Miss Holly at Waterford Lakes Town Center in Orlando FloridaBefore you go, check out the mall’s website at  They offer exclusive coupons for many mall retailers, so you can experience all that this fun mall has to offer.  If you’re looking to spend a fun day shopping outdoors, complete with dining and entertainment, Waterford Lakes is the place to go!


Vero Beach Outlets: A Surprising Shopportunity For South Florida Travelers!

Outlets In Vero Beach, FloridaDriving down I-95, you’ll see all kinds of signs for ‘outlet’ centers. Many of these are just little strip mall shops with some discounted junk, and are definitely not worth stopping for. But Vero Beach outlets are a different story… this pretty, open-air outlet mall has  gotten much better over time and is now worth a trip on its own.

Just about halfway between the shopping meccas of Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale, Vero Beach is the perfect place to get your discount designer shopping fix. It’s small, easy to get around, and just minutes from I-95, so it’s easy to check out all of the bargains.

Ladies clothing, handbags and accessories are your best bet at this center, with a lot of great stores packed in next to each other. I’ve found some great deals at the jumbo-sized Ralph Lauren outlet here, and the Tommy Hilfiger outlet is always worth a look. The BCBG Factory Store offers some major markdowns, just look for the fixed-price racks where you’ll find deals like cocktail dresses for $29.

The Dooney and Bourke outlet is a great source for well-made leather handbags. They run some really great sales throughout the year, sometimes around the holidays everything is an extra 50% off. When you’re in the store, sign up for their email newsletter, they send updates so you’ll always know what’s on sale.

The ever-popular Coach outlet store is a new addition to this center. They often hand out extra discount coupons when you come in the door, so make sure to get one! They offer Factory exclusive merchandise, which has an F before the numbers on the tags, and front-line store merchandise, which has no F on the tag. If you want the top quality items like you see in department stores, look for the tags without an F.

Chico’s is a great source for travel clothing, and they have some really cool jewelry too. Their sister store, SOMA, has amazingly comfortable and well-made lingerie and sleepwear. I always find great gifts on their $9.99 rack, and their silk nightgowns are especially nice.

Next time you’re headed down I-95 in Florida, make a pit-stop at Vero Beach Outlets, and let me know how you like it!

Sawgrass Mills Outlet: The Ultimate Florida Mall For Bargain-Hunters!


Oasis Sawgrass Mills OutletsWhen it’s time for some serious shopping in Florida, your best bet is to head down south to the biggest of all Florida outlets, Sawgrass Mills Outlet Mall. Even for expert power-shoppers, shopping this entire mall will probably take an entire day or two. This gigantic shopping center near Ft. Lauderdale is like 4 malls in one. In addition to the outlet mall staples like Coach, you’ll find designer stores you won’t see anywhere else. Plus there are more than 8 HUGE anchor stores with a wide variety of deals in every price range.

Plus, Sawgrass Mills offers a fun, pretty atmosphere, so it’s a great place to spend a day. You’ll want to check out the cool alligators near the Colonnade mall entry, all painted by artists in funky Florida themes. I couldn’t resist this Wonder Woman one, made me feel like the Superhero of Shopping!

Make sure you’re getting a real deal by checking the retail price on everything you buy. 50% off retail is not a great deal. 75% to 90% off is what you’re looking to pay. To do this, look for stacked discounts, such as an EXTRA 50% off the lowest marked price. If you see a sign that says “UP TO 20% OFF” or something like that, don’t waste your time. It’s also a great idea to check out flat-priced racks. Many stores have $9.99 racks, and they sometimes hold items with very high values, so you can easily score a 90% off deal there. Here’s a guide to my favorite stores at Sawgrass Mills for finding the best markdowns.


This is a new addition to Sawgrass Mills, and the deals are smokin’ hot! They keep all of the clearance items together, which makes it really easy to shop the best markdowns. When I visited, they had a number of clearance racks with 40% to 60% off the lowest prices. I found cashmere cardigans for under $20, and high-end men’s leather boots for under $60. This is a REAL outlet store, with true designer merchandise, and it’s definitely worth a visit.


There are many great deals to be had at this store, which is in the new Oasis section of the mall. The clearance racks are always worth a look, since they just keep marking things down until they sell. Nordstrom Rack is an especially good place to shop for shoes, because they carry extended sizes (up to men’s 20 and women’s 13!) and they mark them down to ridiculously low prices. I found a pair of men’s leather boots on my most recent visit for $25, and the dress rack never disappoints, with a good mix of cocktail and work-ready designs.


Just skip all of the displays in the front and head straight for the clearance racks, the best ones are straight back near the children’s section. There’s always a huge selection of women’s clothing, handbags, and shoes here, and all clearance is usually an extra 50% off. This is also one of the few stores where you can find plus size designer clothing on clearance, and the deals on swimwear are very good.


I love shopping at Marshalls all over Florida, and this is the best one of all. It’s the size of a Wal-Mart, about four times bigger than your usual Marshalls, so it has MORE of everything! The deals are great in every department, they have tons of shoes, handbags, menswear and ladies clothing. Look for the yellow clearance stickers for the best markdowns anywhere.


The sales here are hit-or-miss, but it can be a great bet for major designer pieces at decent discounts. Check out the racks with the dots on top, and look for stickered clearance items to find the best deals. Designer denim, evening gowns, and handbags are the departments where I’ve found the best markdowns at this location, so it’s always worth checking out to see what their current offers are.


There are some super-luxury stores at Sawgrass Mills in the new Colonnade section. This is where you’ll find the Prada outlet, Tory Burch, Giorgio Armani, Burberry, and the like. For designer jewelry, they have David Yurman, Damiani, Tag Heuer and Judith Ripka. The Judith Ripka store offers some stunning pieces at 75% off, and I’ve made some great buys there. This is a lovely open-air area to shop, but in my experience the markdowns are not all that great. If you’re a collector of one of these brands, you may find some pieces at about 50% off, but for regular bargain shoppers, it’s probably more of a window-shopping destination.


Sawgrass Mills Outlet is worth a visit just for the food. In addition to the usual food-court fare, they have some beautiful restaurants serving gourmet meals. It’s so nice to take a break from a full day of shopping in a lovely place like Grand Lux Cafe. This is my favorite Sawgrass restaurant, they have an expansive menu and everything is just delicious. Make sure to save room for their custardy, sugar-dusted beignets with three dipping sauces. I do think that was the best dessert experience I’ve ever had!


Tourists visiting from out of the country often shop Florida outlets to get the best bargains. If you only have time to shop one of Florida’s outlet centers, I recommend you choose this one. You’re guaranteed to find everything you’re looking for, and if you shop smart, you can load up your suitcases with designer bargains at a tiny fraction of retail prices.  Just follow my shopping tips to bring home the best designer deals!

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