Cyber Monday Sales 2012

I’ve been lamenting to anyone who will listen that I’m rather underwhelmed by this year’s Black Friday sales. Le sigh and le big sad face. After an exciting order of two bags from Shopbop last Wednesday, I’ve been in a state of indecision and nothing’s really inspired me to click that “submit order” button. Main issue? The deals just weren’t quite at the level that I remembered from last year.

Luckily, Cyber Monday is here!  And I’m happy to report that stores are giving something just a little extra than they did at the Black Friday sales (but some just changed their codes).

Most of these are one day offers and only valid with US shipping:

Codes: 

  • Origins – $10 off orders of $25 plus free shipping with code TENOFF
  • J. Crew – still 25% off everything with the code MONDAY
  • J. Crew Factory – was 40% off everything, now 50% off everything with the code YOURGIFT
  • Loft – was 40% off everything (then 40% off selected items only), now 50% off everything with the code TODAYONLY
  • Ann Taylor – was 40% everything… still 40% off everything with the code MONDAY
  • Banana Republic, GAP, Old Navy – was 25% off storewide, now 30% off storewide with the code CYBER
  • Piperlime – still 20% off with the code CYBER
  • Urban Outfitters – $15 off $75 with the code SUPERCYBER

No code necessary:

My favorite of the bunch is this Kate Spade tote (was $425, now $199).  The only way this could be better if it was half the size!

A good friend also alerted me to a Chloe Marcie bag – small in nubuck leather which is newly marked down from $1,895 to $1,136 on Nordstrom… tempting, but I’m still holding out for the mini version!

Thanksgiving & Black Friday Sales 2012

My absolute favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, which may sound weird as we don’t celebrate it here in Australia.  The end of November brings joy and happiness a-plenty, because it is followed by the Biggest Shopping Day of the Year in the US and, by extension through the world wide web, the rest of the world as well.

Unfortunately it also breeds a bit of silly behavior — case in point: today I turned down dinner with a good friend with the response “Um I can’t!! Black Friday sales have started and I must go home and shop!!!!!! Raincheck?”

(Number of exclamation marks are as per original text.)

(She seemed to understand.)

Anyway, after several hours of scouring the beginnings of the sale, I thought I’d report back with my favorite finds.  Unfortunately most of the deals I like are US shipping only, so I’m still working on the logistics and whether it’s worth going through a mail forwarder this time around…

Of course there are plenty more sales going on, and I might add them as I go along.  Or I might not.  You know, could be too busy shopping. 😉

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Added 22 November 2012

Shopbop – Spend $250, save 20%; Spend $500, save $25%, Spend $1000, save 30%; Spend $1500, save 35% with code BIGEVENT12. Offer ends November 26.  Free worldwide shipping.

I’d say shopbop has the best deal at the moment because it’s a sitewide discount, but things are selling out likely crazy so I hope you have a wishlist ready to go!  Tip: if something is sold out, it might just be reserved in someone else’s cart.  Check back in half an hour and it might be yours!

I was eyeing these turquoise Salvatore Ferragamo Varina flats literally 2 hours before the sale started, and by the time I woke up the next morning to see the sale notification, my size had already sold out.  Oh well.  It’s probably for the best — my red pair is still in its box in pristine condition.

Anthropologie – extra 25% of sale. Ends November 25. $25 flat rate shipping to Australia.

My wishlist items are already out of stock, so I’m holding out to see if anything else goes on sale.  I have this pleated skirt in the “maybe” list.

Last Call by Neiman Marcus – extra 40% off sale.  Ends November 22.  US shipping only — international orders can be placed by phone, but no information about shipping costs.

These Chloe sunglasses are down to $71.40, and I’m tempted to snap them up even though I already have a similar pair!  It’s always good to have a back up, no?

J. Crew: 25% off your entire purchase with code COLOR25; free shipping on $150+. Ends November 25.  US shipping only, as the promo doesn’t apply to the Australian site.

J. Crew Factory: 40% off everything, and extra 15% off when spending $100+, with code GIVEANDGET.  Ends November 25.  US shipping only.

Been eyeing the Copley Saddlebag for the longest time, but I recently acquired a butterscotch colored saddle bag so it’s probably a bit early for a neon persimmon version as well.  Not to mention 2 even more recently acquired bags which are yet to arrive….!

Madewell – 25% off everything with the code TREAT. Ends November 26.  US shipping only.

I really like J. Crew’s more casual cool sister, and their silk shirts are always nice to wear.  I have last year’s version of this solid silk boyshirt.

Loft – 40% off everything with the code ENJOY. Offer is on for a “limited time”. US shipping only.

Ann Taylor – 40% off full-price items and 25% off sale items, use the code THANKS.  Again, offer is on for a “limited time”. US shipping only.

Sparkly block heels!  I’ve been planning on the DIY for months now, but maybe I should just buy a ready-made pair?

 

Added 23 November 2012

SSENSE – markdowns and free worldwide shipping with code FREESHIPWW.  Limited time only.

A Proenza Schouler PS11 for US$1365… to buy or not to buy? I decided to not buy, or at least wait until I boosted the non “cross body bag wth structured shape and a flap” part of my bag collection.

Beautybay – 20% of your purchase with free international shipping, no code needed.  Black Friday (Nov 23) offer only.  Seems to be a good place to pick up Nails Inc polish for £7.96, or Parlux hairdryer for £52.45.

Saks Fifth Avenue – General markdowns, plus $10.95 USD Express Shipping to Hong Kong and Australia on orders of $250 USD or more with code: HOLIDAY1. Ends November 26.

Barneys New York – Sale on now, plus complimentary international shipping on orders of $200 or more. Limited time only.

How cute is this Alexander Wang Rockie Duffle bag, was $725 and now $439?

Neiman Marcus – further 20% off sale, ends November 24. $19.95 express shipping to selected countries.

Flannels Fashion – 20% off full price stock with the code GIFT20, exclusions apply. Shipping to Australia is £45.  I haven’t bought anything from here myself, but it says advertised prices include VAT, and they’ll take off the VAT when sending to Australia.

Urban Outfitters – general markdowns.  Shipping to Australia is $5, with free shipping for orders over $50.

While it’s not really my style, how interesting is this stingray clutch?

 

Benefit Cosmetics – up to 3 free gifts with order: spend $30 and get free BADgal lash mascara mini; $60 and also get a FREEdeluxe the porefessional mini; spend $90 and also get a deluxesugarbomb mini.  Enter STAYCATION at checkout.  Offer valid through November 25.

Revolve clothing – Spend and save offer, valid to November 26.  Shipping to Australia is $10, or free for orders over $100.

Banana Republic – 40% off your purchase with the code BRFRIDAY, valid November 23 only.  Ships to Australia using FiftyOne Global, which is generally weight-based.

Piperlime – 20% off storewide with the code ME. Ends November 26.  Same umbrella as Banana Republic and Gap, so you can combined the order to save (maybe) on shipping

Gap – 20% off purchase with the code GAPGIFT.  Ends November 23.

Fruits of a Shopping Ban

Before I went on my US trip, I made a resolution to start a shopping ban to first save some money.  Those 3 months were a dark, dark time in my life, but I grew up on Destiny’s Child*, so I made it through.

Today, I would like to share a couple of tips on how to survive a shopping ban, told in the story of 5 pairs of shoes — why, yes, I did acquire 5 pairs of shoes on my shopping ban, all without breaking the rules!  Here’s how.

1.  Have your birthday in the middle of the shopping ban

Obviously not everyone can rearrange the year so that their birthday falls within the shopping ban period, but Muhammad and mountain and all that (read: move the shopping ban!).

A couple of dear friends gifted me these lovely jelly flats from Kate Spade:

 

(Plus 10 points if you can convince an unbiased third party that a gift for yourself is appropriate.  I recommend working on some type of sob story.)

2.  Use up your credit card reward points 

I think this one is pretty self-explanatory.  It got me these red suede peep toes — I’m just waiting for warmer weather to roll around again so I can wear them!

Oh, and I also got these cute Mimco bootie sandles.

3. Know your shopping history

Did you buy something before the shopping ban started, that now needs to be returned?  Well, that’s the very definition of a “shopping credit” that can be used without breaching the shopping ban! 😉

4.  Know the rules (i.e. necessities)

Everyone laughs at me when I tell them this, but it’s actually really important: the purpose of a shopping ban is usually to save money (mine was to save for my holiday).  But you can’t stop spending money completely — there are still necessities that are outside of the shopping ban, and rightly so.  This includes food, toiletries and, in this case, comfy flats suitable for long days of walking on my holiday**.

(I also got a travel bag.  It’s very important to keep your belongings secure when traveling — both Lonely Planet and the Australian Government say so, it must be true.)

Of course, this type of reasoning is not for the faint-hearted and can lead you down a very slippery slope, so I would suggest…

5. Appoint an adjudicator 

Choose someone you can trust.  Do not ask a fellow shopping ban-ner, as they are likely under extreme stress and might not be in their right frame of mind.  Try out all the crazy arguments with varying degrees of logic that you can think of, to see what sticks, e.g. my most compelling was:

If I am saving money so I can spend more in the US, then surely it wouldn’t be breaching the shopping ban if there is a limited period online sale with free shipping to Australia.  If I wait until I go to the US and buy it in person, it might not be on sale anymore and I’ll have to pay additional sales tax anyway, and maybe even more baggage fees??  In fact, it will cost me money if I don’t buy it now….

I rest my case.

Shopping ban?  Easy.

* I’m a Survivor! I’m not goin’ give up, I’m not goin’ stop… I’m goin’ work harder!

** Status of “necessity” determined at point of purchase.

Net-a-Porter Sale (US site)

The much awaited net-a-porter.com sale started today, and I had to hold off posting about it because I was in the middle of deciding whether or not to buy these Chloe two-tone leather pumps which are currently 50% off:

I love the minimalist look of these heels, and I’ve tried them on in store so I know they’re super comfortable as well. For the time being, I’ve tentatively decided against buying them, but who knows what will happen in the next few hours… or half hour… or 10 minutes….

P.S. If you can’t see the sale, you’re probably on the UK website.  Click the country in the top left-hand corner to select the US site by choosing United States as the location.

A suitcase full of heaven

I’ve been trying to find the right words to describe my first full day in NYC, but this little family portrait of goodies from Woodbury Commons pretty much sums it up:

Best finds of the day were definitely the $300 red Miu Miu cross-body bag and the $75 Sam Edelman suede/leather ankle boots from Saks Off 5th.

The lack of food pictures is because to offset my spending, I ate McDonalds for breakfast (before arriving) and dinner (after shops closed).  I could not afford that third meal in the middle of the day.  Cheapest (food) day ever.

The Shopparama approach

If you are in New York, you must go to Woodbury.  No excuses.  Go early.  Set aside an entire day and bring an empty suitcase, unless you plan to buy one at Samsonite (shop no. 642).

(Yes, your inexperienced fellow passengers on the bus may laugh at you when they first see your suitcase, but you will laugh last by the end of the night when your suitcase is overflowing and those poor novices have been limited by what they can carry in their two bare hands… mwahahah!)

Bring water.  I don’t want to advocate starving yourself, but perhaps some barley sugar is not a bad idea.  And maybe bandaids.  Wear comfortable but still fashionable shoes that are easy to put on and take off (e.g. flats).  Use the same principle for what you wear.  Download the center directory and memorize your plan of attack, because there is no time to look up shop locations while you’re on the move!

Or, you could just have a nice stroll around the outdoorsy outlet village, but you may suffer non-shopping remorse.  As a survivor, I am here to tell you that this is a serious condition.  It’s best not to risk it.

Some practical information

There’s some information on the Woodbury Commons website about how to get there, but it’s basically a one-hour bus ride from Manhattan.  You will even see some highway scenery along the way — talk about multi-tasking!

I used the New York Explorer pass to get to Woodbury (the bus is the best included “attraction”, in my opinion), but the return trip is usually $42.  Either way, this includes a voucher for a booklet of discount vouchers which usually gives you an extra 10% off most stores excluding designer brands, to be picked up at the Information Desk in the tower building near the bus stop.

You can buy the bus tickets inside Madame Tussard in Times Square (fun fact: this is very close to the Forever 21 which opens til 2am), but there are probably other bus operators and ticket outlets as well.

Even more practical information

And in case you’re worried that Woodbury will ruin all other shopping experiences because, oh em gee, will everything else be full price??

Never fear.

  • Macy’s and Bloomingdales both have a 10% discount for international visitors.  You’ll need to show your passport or driver’s licence at the Visitor Center to pick up the pass.
  • Lord & Taylor has a 15% discount for international visitors, which is matched by the Bloomingdales on 59th Street if you have the New York Explorer pass.
  • Other department stores might agree to give some type of similar discount if you ask, but I don’t think they officially offer it.  Choose your sales assistant wisely.  I’d say the likelihood of getting this is proportional to how much you bring to the table.  (This is not code for negotiating tactics, I just mean how much you are buying.)
  • It’s also worth knowing that these discounts usually exclude designer brands and cosmetics, but I know for a fact that the Bloomingdales discount works on Ferragamo shoes. 😉

In conclusion: I think it’s time to book another trip!

P.S. In case anyone is wondering, I bought the Mini Elsie bag from Chloe in skylight blue and I just want to pinch its cheeks every time I see it!

I Love Boston in their Springtime!

I thought Boston would be the coldest of all the cities, but it’s actually been the warmest so far! Time to break out the summer dresses.

To save time, I took the red eye from San Francisco, arrived in Boston at 7am, and had to wander around the city because the hotel didn’t have our room ready yet. Oh well, I guess the only thing to do was to walk over to the shops and wait for them to open? After stocking up on some skincare and makeup from Sephora, I fell in love with this mini shoulder bag by Reed Krakoff.

But like with any good ol’ fashioned romance, I was riddled with doubt and confusion. Was it really love or just sleep deprivation? How could I tell if the feelings were genuine? I didn’t know, so I put the bag on hold and went back to the hotel to take a quick shower before heading back out.

After a whole day of walking around, I couldn’t get my mind off the bag so I went back to Saks and bought it.

(As it turns out, true love came around again the very next day, at another department store… Aren’t I fickle? But that’s a story for another day.)

During the trip, I also bought a pair of block heels from Banana Republic, before calling it a day because we were supposed to spend the day sightseeing in Harvard and the North End.

(Still managed to buy another pair of flats from Nine West and blush coloured Sanctuary jeans though. Totally unplanned — it just happened to be on the way to the Fanueil Marketplace… and ok, in the Marketplace. Whatever.)

Speaking of Banana Republic, though, the store on Newbury Street has The Nicest SA named Alan, who helped me track down a coat that I wanted in New York. Actually he kind of reminded me of Bryan Brown, the Australian actor, international man accent and all.

Memorable food was probably at the Atlantic Fish, where I tried some clam chowder in a bread bowl and Maine lobster, which is dipped in a pot of melted butter. The waiter accidentally spilled some of the butter on my bag, but that spot is now buttery soft so I might try rubbing some butter onto the rest of the bag when I get home!

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Oh yeah, and Harvard is coming up to a big anniversary, but my favourite part was a cute cupcake shop nearby with a cupcake ferris wheel!

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The Woes of Credit Cards (while in San Francisco)

Before I left for my trip, I joked that I was only bringing $200 in cash and 3 credit cards. I ended up bringing 2 credit cards (packing light, you see), with heavy reliance on my 28 Degrees card. Which is why I was so distraught when, while trying to buy a Chloe Aurore satchel, that card was declined.

The pretty culprit:

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Me: What?? We haven’t even reached the shopping destinations yet!!

(As part of the trip research, it was decided that LA and SF would not involve designated shopping time because the sales tax is relatively high. It was also inwardly agreed that shopping would occur everywhere despite this official plan.)

Apparently, my card had been sent to fraud protection because they had picked up a suspicious pattern of spending. (There was no actual fraud, I’d just bought a pair of Ferragamo flats about 20 mins earlier.)

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So that’s how I spent about half an hour standing inside the Bloomingdales in Westfield, being transferred from one MasterCard representative to another, until I was told that my card would be cleared in 3 hours. For the record, I still think they just needed to press a button.

Unfortunately, when I tried to buy the bag again 3 hours later, it was still declined. Apparently the person who needed to press the button was “on lunch break” so the delay was taking longer than usual. I took this as a sign that I shouldn’t buy the bag, especially since it was seasonal and might go on sale, or at least to sleep on it until NYC (where there is 6 in stock) or on the Harrods website (where I’m sure it would be cheaper).

So I bought these Marc by Marc Jacobs rose gold heels instead, before quickly heading back to the hotel and stuffing it into my luggage and heading to the airport. You can’t see the heel, but they’re almost a cylinder or tear drop block heel.

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Shoe tally = 4

Also bought some clothes and accessories, my favourite of which is this jacket and bangle:

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All in all, I give San Francisco a 7 out of 10 for shopping. Their sales tax may be relatively high, but their Bloomies applies the 10% visitors discount to Ferragamo shoes.

Sightseeing

As for the sightseeing, I also visited the Palace of Fine Arts, Golden Gate Bridge (from a distance, at various distances), Lombard St, Alcatraz, made the long walk up to Coit Tower, and ate lots of food including this shrimp/prawn in amazing Worcester sauce at Town Hall, which is an American restaurant with southern influences…. Yum. Also ate what seemed like a family bucket in fried chicken.

Here is the proof:

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This is the hill we climbed to get to the base of the Coit Tower (where we were met with… the stairs).

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Next stop: Boston