Archive - September, 2011

Kennedy Space Center: Great New Shopportunities For Cool Souvenirs

I visited the Kennedy Space Center recently, and was really impressed with all of the new additions to the park. They now have a really cool interactive Star Trek exhibit, where you can take a picture on the bridge of the USS Enterprise and see all of the beautifully made costumes from the early Star Trek days until today. There’s also a hilarious live Star Trek show that’s lots of fun to watch. It’s a great integration of the show’s futuristic sci-fi themes with the real modern space technology, and it’s fun to see how many things they imagined on the show are a reality now!

The Star Trek theme carries over into the KSC gift shops, with a great selection of Star Trek merchandise.  I’ll tell you right now, if you have a son or daughter that’s a big Star Trek fan, you won’t be able to get out of the store without buying them a Tribble and a pair of Spock Ears!  They also have costumes from the show and even adorable baby onesies that look like something an infant Captain Kirk would wear.

Space Shop is the main gift shop at KSC Visitor’s Center, and they carry an impressive array of the usual souvenir items and some great toys, including limited edition NASA Lego kits and some cute Hello Kitty astronaut toys.

One of the must-have souvenirs that your kids are sure to beg for is the Freeze Dried Ice Cream, just like the kind astronauts eat in space!  It’s a great gift to take home, since it’s easily packable and very unique, plus it’s delicious, especially the Mint Chocolate Chip flavor!

The upstairs part of the Space Shop contains unique and collectible space memorabilia. You can take home your own real meteorite for just $29.99, or if you’re a BIG space fan, there’s a poster signed by all of the Moonwalker astronauts for $4,800.

I really liked the Glass Eye Studios Celestial Series paperweights, which depict the planets in handmade glass. The Kennedy Space Center gift shops have an interesting, appealing array of merchandise, making it a perfect place to find great souvenirs for all of your space fans back home!

Top Three Stores For Designer Bargains In Orlando, Florida: # 1 … Victoria’s Secret Outlet

With hundreds of clothing and accessories stores, Orlando is a shopper’s paradise, and as a professional shopper I’ve checked out just about every one of them. But there are three great stores that keep me coming back week after week for the spectacular discounts and high quality merchandise. If you love scoring huge bargains on top quality clothing, these three should be at the top of your list when visiting Orlando.

NUMBER ONE BEST PLACE FOR DESIGNER DISCOUNTS IN ORLANDO: Victoria’s Secret Outlet!

There are lots of great outlet stores in Orlando, but one stands head and shoulders above the rest: The Victoria’s Secret Outlet at Premium Outlets Orlando. There are only a few Victoria’s Secret outlets in the US, and this is the only one in Florida. They carry clothing, lingerie, bath and body, and other overstocks from the Victoria’s Secret catalogs, and from their retail stores. What makes this store better than all of the rest is the flat pricing system. They charge the same amount for almost everything in the store, regardless of the item’s retail price. Usually it’s 2 items for $15 but sometimes it’s even cheaper, they change it pretty frequently. This means that you can go through the racks and anything you find will be $7.50, even if the price tag shows $198!

I have been shopping this store for about two years, since it opened, and have scored some spectacular deals. $198 robes made of 100% cashmere, $99 evening dresses, $89 jeans, $79 silk pajamas, all for $7.50 each!  It’s a true treasure hunt, you’ll want to dig through each of the racks since you never know what you’ll find.  The 2 for $15 offer applies to all clothing, which is a mix of sleepwear, separates, and dresses. They usually have a good selection of work-appropriate clothing like their popular Christie pants and blazers.

Other sections in the store have different pricing: the bras are usually flat-priced at $10 to $15, which can be a great deal on the newer, fancy models that run for around $50 in the stores. The swimwear is usually 2 for $15, and they sometimes have a huge selection of bikinis and coverups, so it’s worth checking out.

There is a big room full of Victoria’s Secret PINK clothing, and it sometimes is included in the flat price sales, though it usually is priced at about 60% off retail. It’s a great place to buy PINK jeans, they have a really good selection of them.  The bath and body section includes lots of fragrance and cosmetics as well, and they are usually 50% to 75% off retail, but check out the 5 for $5 bin for some great deals.  They have $2.99 bins full of accessories like cashmere slippers and socks, Havainas flip-flops, and cozy scarves.

It’s not just Victoria’s Secret brand merchandise, since they clear out anything that they carry in the catalogs, including designer goods. I have found Ugg boots for $19, Betsey Johnson dresses for $5, and DKNY tankinis for $10. It’s great for stocking up on Christmas gifts, you can easily leave with a bag full of amazing presents for under $100.

The store gets new stock in on Wednesday and Friday mornings, and sometimes more often in the busy season. It is often PACKED with shoppers, and can have some pretty long lines, so the best way to get your pick of the merchandise is to arrive at 10am when the mall opens. Next time you’re shopping in Orlando, make sure to check out the Victoria’s Secret outlet, my pick for the best store for designer bargains in our ‘magical’ city.

Top Three Stores For Designer Bargains In Orlando, Florida: # 2 … Nordstrom Rack

With hundreds of clothing and accessories stores, Orlando is a shopper’s paradise, and as a professional shopper I’ve checked out just about every one of them. But there are three great stores that keep me coming back week after week for the spectacular discounts and high quality merchandise. If you love scoring huge discounts on top quality clothing, these three should be at the top of your list when visiting Orlando.

NUMBER TWO BEST PLACE FOR DESIGNER DISCOUNTS IN ORLANDO: NORDSTROM RACK AT MILLENIA!

Many luxury department stores have outlets, like Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, but their markdowns are just so-so. For me, paying $500 for a $1000 t-shirt is just NOT a bargain, so I was thrilled when I discovered Nordstrom Rack, located near the Millenia Mall. The Rack carries merchandise direct from Nordstrom stores, and they get lots of shipments every week, so it’s always exciting to see what treasures they have.

My favorite department is Dresses, they have hundreds of them, and the selection of designers runs the gamut from Diane von Furstenberg to Eileen Fisher, with a variety of styles to suit every taste.  They always have a good selection of prom and evening gowns, so it’s worth a stop if you are shopping for a special occasion. The shoe department is HUGE, and they carry top designer brands like Cole Haan, Coach, Tory Burch, and more- all of the brands you’d find in regular Nordstrom stores.

For the best deals in any department, head straight to the Clearance racks, where they frequently offer discounts of 40% to 75% off of the lowest marked prices. Look for the round, colorful stickers, to see how much you’ll save. This is where I’ve scored amazing deals like a Betsey Johnson evening dress for $27, Cole Haan dress shoes marked down from $400 to $49, and Hudson Jeans for $19.

Plus, you still get the high-quality Nordstrom shopping experience: there is a large staff helpful customer service employees who are eager to help find special items, and if you looking for something in particular, they’ll even call you to let you know when they get a shipment. The dressing rooms are big, well-lit, and they let you take up to 15 items at a time so you can try on to your heart’s content!

You can save even more at Nordstrom Rack by signing up for their Nordstrom Rewards Debit Card. It’s not a credit card, it just links to your bank account and takes out the amount of your purchase, but you still get the same great rewards as Nordstrom credit card holders. They have double points events throughout the year, and they send you Nordstrom gift cards when you reach a certain level of points. It’s rare to get this kind of reward for off-price shopping, especially without having to get a credit card, so if you shop at Nordstrom Rack frequently, it will definitely be worth having. Next time you’re looking for top designer fashions at rock bottom prices, be sure to check out Nordstrom Rack!

Top Three Stores For Designer Bargains In Orlando, Florida: # 3 … Tommy Hilfiger Clearance

With hundreds of clothing and accessories stores, Orlando is a shopper’s paradise, and as a professional shopper I’ve checked out just about every one of them. But there are three great stores that keep me coming back week after week for the spectacular discounts and high quality merchandise. If you love scoring huge discounts on top quality clothing, these three should be at the top of your list when visiting Orlando.

NUMBER THREE BEST PLACE FOR DESIGNER DISCOUNTS IN ORLANDO:  TOMMY HILFIGER CLEARANCE!

Located in the Premium Outlet Marketplace on the north end of International Drive, this is a big store chock-full of a variety of Tommy Hilfiger merchandise. There are other Tommy Hilfiger outlet stores in Orlando, but they are the regular outlets, offering fairly insignificant discounts, unlike this location which is a Clearance store. This store is different from all the other Tommy Hilfiger outlets, since everything is usually an extra 60% off of the lowest marked price.  With items already marked down significantly from their original retail prices, this adds up to huge savings, with many items sold at 75% to 90% off retail.

They have a great selection of swimwear, dresses, men’s dress shirts and pants, outerwear and kid’s clothes.  They even have women’s clothing from the upscale Tommy Hilfiger Runway line. I’ve found cashmere dresses here for $12 and Italian leather boots for $25.

 

 

They receive new shipments every day, and the store is often full of tourists buying bags full of clothing, I guess they know how to recognize a deal! If you are looking for nice, classic American sportswear at bargain-basement prices, this store is definitely worth a trip.

Orlando Shopping: Millenia Mall, Also Known As The Temple Of Shopping!

DSC00310 @ The Mall at Millenia

Image by appm via Flickr

Their slogan is “You Were Made For This”, and Millenia Mall in Orlando is a highly aspirational Florida shopping destination, where you can drool over the ultimate in luxury fashion in a gorgeous setting.

One side of the mall is home to worldwide luxury brands including Cartier, Chanel, David

Yurman, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton, anchored by Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdales.  There are smaller upscale boutiques sprinkled in, including Michael Kors, Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Betsey Johnson, and Tory Burch. This part of the mall is delightful to browse, to admire the window displays and all of the beautiful people (you’ll see lots of Orlando Magic players and their wives buying baubles here).

The other side of Millenia Mall, anchored by Macy’s, offers more accessible price points, from mall classics like Zara, Express, Ann Taylor, Coach, and the always-popular Apple. These stores are larger than most mall locations, and tend to have a more complete selection than basic mall stores, but they still offer great sales and big discounts, making Millenia Mall a great place to shop even if you haven’t yet married a pro athlete!

Dining selections at Millenia are much nicer than your usual mall fare. Even the food court is beautiful and inspiring, with soaring ceilings and an Orangerie theme. There are lots of good healthy choices and chocolatey indulgences, so you’re sure to go home satisfied.  If you’re in the mood for an upscale dining experience, there are plenty of great restaurants to choose from, including Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Chang’s, and McCormick and Schmick’s for amazing seafood.

For any avid shopper planning a visit to Orlando, Millenia is a must-visit Orlando mall. If you want to know more about Orlando shopping, feel free to email me at sunshine@sunshinestateshopping.com!

Shopping In Orlando, Florida: Find The REAL Outlets To Score Big Bargains!

Thousands of tourists come to Orlando hoping to cash in on the great deals on clothing and accessories to be found here. Some smart Orlando outlet shoppers buy all the clothing and gifts they’ll need for the whole year, and the amount they save more than pays for their airline tickets. But many are sidetracked by the fake outlets that abound in the tourist areas, and never find the true Orlando shopping bargains.

Where to go for hot designer bargains

Looking for Armani, COACH, ralph lauren, Burberry outlets- they’re all here!

My first Orlando shopping tip is- avoid the middle of International Drive, where all the hotels are. Jeans World, Golf Factory Outlet, and the many souvenir shops are just rip-offs with cheap, overpriced merchandise. The real Orlando outlet centers are at the north and south ends of I-Drive- Orlando Premium Outlets International Drive near Universal Studios, and Orlando Premium Outlets Vineland Avenue right next door to Disney World. These two contain a treasure trove of real factory outlets with amazing deals.

Our upcoming blog posts will fill you in on all of the best stores at each outlet mall to get the best Orlando shopping bargains. But our best tip applies to both of the Orlando outlet malls: make your first stop the Customer Service Center.  The Vineland mall’s office is in the middle of the food court, and the International Drive mall’s office is next to Last Call by Neiman Marcus. Go to these offices to get a center map, and request a coupon booklet. It is free if you have a AAA card, or with a voucher you can download from the Premium Outlets website. The discounts in these coupon books are substantial, with big $$ off and percentages off at most of the outlet stores.

These coupons can usually be combined with other outlet discounts, which can help you score a really big deal.  Shop around first, because the first deal you see may not be the best.  At these Orlando outlets, if you shop the clearance racks and use your coupons, you can expect to save 75% to 90% off of retail on your purchases.  Orlando is an amazing place to find designer clothing at rock bottom prices, you just need to know where to look!