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Simplify Your Holiday Shopping with Florida In-Store Pickup!

searsblog1 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?kmartblog1

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: and Kmart:

Presented by Mami Innovative Media, this is a sponsored post on behalf of Sears and Kmart. All opinions expressed here are my own.

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!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.

International Plaza: The Go-To Place For Shopping In Tampa

International Plaza is the epicenter of shopping for the Tampa Bay area. It’s beautifully designed, with an open-air marketplace area, many elegant stores, and an inspiring environment.

This mall is big, bold and beautiful, and it has some of the usual high-end mall stores like Apple, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, and Victoria’s Secret. But this mall is worth a visit because it has so much more to discover. Skip the Starbucks and try something new- the Nordstrom e-bar offers incredible seasonal pastries and perfectly crafted espresso drinks.


Bay Street is an open-air dining and entertainment district that’s attached to the mall.  One of the highlights of Bay Street is this little Italian gelato shop: Gelateria Del Duomo. They have a full array of authentic Italian gelato, which is very hard to find in Florida!

Tory Burch is another new arrival to Florida, and her International Plaza store is just divine.  Hipsters and teens love Urban Outfitters for their quirky-chic clothing, toys, home decor and accessories. The International Plaza Urban is big, bright and chock full of everything cool.  Zara is a Spanish clothing store that offers well-crafted, reasonably priced apparel for men and women. Zara can be pricey, but they have really great sales, so it’s always worth checking out!

Ballard Designs’ luxurious French country home furnishings and accessories offer plenty of inspiration for home decorators. Z Gallerie is another hard-to-find home furnishings shop, and they have a large, attractive showroom in International Plaza. They offer oversized furnishings and accessories at reasonable prices.

Forever 21 is your go-to place for affordable, trendy teen fashions. Their International Plaza store is big and splashy, with a full range of merchandise for work, school, and play.  Gucci only has a few stores in Florida, and one of them is right here in Tampa. If you’re craving some incredible shoes or a sexy python bag, this is your place!

H&M recently began opening stores in Florida, much to the delight of Florida fashionistas. They have edgy, current merchandise that they turn over quickly, so when they want to clear it out, they have amazing sales. On the day I visited, they had cocktail dresses for $7 and winter coats for $5!  Only a few H&M stores in the US get the limited-edition designer merchandise, and the International Plaza store is one of them. This is the recently featured Donatella Versace collection.


The entire mall is bright and  open, with elegant courtyards and relaxing, plush seating areas.  Even the food court is beautifully designed, featuring hand-blown glass art from local artists at the Dale Chihuly gallery. International Plaza is great for all ages- I saw senior citizens mall-walking, fashionistas doing serious shopping, and moms with kids enjoying the bright, uplifting atmosphere- and this fun playground in one of the courtyards!  If you’re looking for the best place to shop in the Tampa Bay area, your first stop should be International Plaza and Bay Street. Enjoy your visit and let me know how you like it!