Category Archives: Deals

What’s in my Beach Bag?

My Ballard Designs beach bag

My Ballard Designs beach bag

Happy summer out there! I hope everyone had an amazing 4th of July holiday. My vacation in Petoskey was really nice with lots of time spent with family and friends. While in town I also attended my 20th high school reunion which is crazy because I seriously do not feel old enough to have just celebrated a milestone like that. But I have the pictures to prove it so I guess it’s true. Regardless, it was so nice to see good friends and catch up with old classmates.

Anyway, with summer in full swing now I’ve been seeing lots of beach bag posts around blog land so I figured I might as well add a post of my own to the mix. The contents of my beach bag are not all that glam considering that these days when I go to the beach I have two wild little boys to chase around. Gone are the days when a trip to the beach was spent actually lying down with a good magazine and sunning myself. But I love the beach so relaxing or not, it’s still one of my favorite summer activities. So here are some of my must-haves when making a trip out for some sun and sand:

A Big Ol’ Bag – With four of us hitting the beach now it’s impossible to cram everything we need into one beach bag but I went on a hunt a couple of years ago to find a big and cute bag to at least carry my own beach things and I ended up with a canvas tote from Ballard Designs. (See the post here.) So far, I still love it. It’s simple, classic looking, and fits everything I need for myself. My only complaint with it is that when the bag is really loaded up and heavy (like when it doubles as a book bag for our weekly trip to the library) the leather straps can dig into my shoulder and be pretty uncomfortable. But as a beach bag I really haven’t had that issue and I just deal with it for our library trips.

Easy-to-apply sunscreen is a must for me and my little ones.

Easy-to-apply sunscreen is a must for me and my little ones.

Easy-to-apply Sunscreen – I’ve always been careful about wearing a good sunscreen but now as a mom I’m even more careful with my little guys’ skin so sunscreen is an absolute must for my beach bag. What’s even more important is that the sunscreen be quick and easy to apply on squirmy and impatient little people. Luckily, I discovered Neutrogena’s Pure and Free Baby sunscreen stick in a broad spectrum SPF 60+ a few years ago and it has never failed me. It’s looks like a little mini stick of deodorant and it’s perfect for swiping on little faces fast. Both of my guys can sit still for the four seconds it takes me to do a lightning quick swipe of the sunscreen over their faces. I tend to carry one in my beach bag and one in my purse for every day. It’s great also for quickly rubbing on the backs of hands and forearms, or on the back of necks and tops of ears when we find ourselves on an impromptu trip to the playground. For the rest of their bodies I recently bought Babyganics’ Mineral-Based Sunscreen Spray with an SPF 50+. So far we’ve been liking it. I just pump the spray into my hand and then rub it (quickly) on to their legs and arms. It seems to rub in really well and doesn’t feel greasy. Want more sunscreen reviews? Check out this post from one of my favorite bloggers, Shana, at her recently re-designed blog The Mom Edit (formerly known as Ain’t No Mom Jeans.)

It's on my to-do list to get an all-weather blanket for beach trips, park playdates, etc.

It’s on my to-do list to get an all-weather blanket for beach trips, park playdates, etc.

Something great to sit on – Okay, disclaimer here, this item is not yet in my beach bag. But it is on my list to go out and get. A friend from my moms club has an indoor/outdoor travel blanket from Beth Bath and Beyond and every time I see her with it at a playdate I remind myself to go out and pick one up. This blanket is perfect for trips to the beach, park, and other outdoor places because it doesn’t pick up dirt and sand like a towel does and it folds up nicely with a convenient shoulder strap. Genius.

My new Lands End rash guard...I meant to get a shot of this while at the beach but got here I am in all my bathing beauty glory on my parents' front steps...ha ha. (Lands End offers lots of other cute prints and bonus - looks like the tops are 50% off right now.)

My new Lands End rash guard…I meant to get a shot of this while at the beach but got distracted…so here I am in all my bathing beauty glory on my parents’ front steps…ha ha. (Lands End offers lots of other cute prints and bonus – looks like the tops are 50% off right now.)

Sun-protective Rashguards – To help with sun protection this year I decided to purchase rashguards for everyone. Lands’ End had a sale going earlier this year so I picked one up for everyone except the baby (his ended up coming from Babies R Us) and we’ve worn them a few times already. The one for my 4-year-old is long-sleeved and also has a hood so it worked really well for the windy weather we had at the beach on our recent vacation. Mine is long-sleeved as well and came in a super cute floral print. I loved not having to apply sunscreen on my upper body (I’m notorious for missing a spot and ending up with a splotch or sliver of sunburn in a random spot) but I will say that in warmer weather I got HOT. The first time I wore the rashguard it was a windy day and not super warm out so it was perfect. The second beach day we had was breeze-less and a lot warmer and by the end of our short trip to the beach I was roasting. I think a short-sleeve option would solve the issue. Something to think about for a future purchase.

OPI's "Color So Hot it Berns" made for a great 4th of July pedicure polish.

OPI’s “Color So Hot it Berns” made for a great 4th of July pedicure polish.

A Super Cute Pedi – Obviously this doesn’t go in my beach bag but it’s always fun to have cute toes at the beach, right? For our vacation this year I went with OPI’s “So Hot it Berns” polish and it was a really cute red that fit the 4th of July week really well. For a more coral-y/pink color I always love OPI’s “My Chihuahua Bites.”

So that’s my beach bag basics. What about everyone else? Have any great products you never leave home without when hitting the beach? I’d love to hear. Happy beach-going!!!


Hello Out There!

Hello, All! It has been AGES since I’ve posted. But I have been super busy with this…

Our new house!

Our new house!

We moved in July and have been working like crazy on projects to update the house and make it feel like ours. Not to mention trying to keep up with the new baby and everything that comes along with that. Needless to say, I’ve had no time to post. But I’ve been thinking about it! And in the meantime, I’ve also decided to become a stylist for Stella & Dot! (More on that in another post…but in the meantime you can check out my web site here.)

In any case, with the holiday season now officially upon us and Black Friday being today I thought I would quickly post some fun items that I’m loving around the web right now just to get the shopping juices flowing. Enjoy and happy holiday season!:)

Off Duty Sweater - Boden (On Sale/$103)

Off Duty Sweater – Boden (On Sale/$103)

Mossimo Ponte Ankle Pant - Target ($19.99) - Check out that great quilted side detail!

Mossimo Ponte Ankle Pant – Target ($19.99) – Check out that great quilted side detail!

Penfield Chatham Buffalo Plaid Flannel Shirt - Madewell ($80)

Penfield Chatham Buffalo Plaid Flannel Shirt – Madewell ($80)

Frida Print Scarf - Stella & Dot ($59), I had to put a little S&D in here!

Frida Print Scarf – Stella & Dot ($59), I had to put a little S&D in here! Psst…we’ve got some great Black Friday sales going on through the weekend as well.

Jeweled Sweater - J. Crew (On Sale for $68)

Jeweled Sweater – J. Crew (On Sale for $68)

Deal Alert – The Limited, Lucky Brand, and Aerie

Hello, All! Looking to save some cash on upcoming purchases? Well, I’m an avid People StyleWatch reader and each month the magazine partners with certain store brands to offer deals for its readers. The February issue is out now and the deals this month are with The Limited, Lucky Brand and Aerie. From now through specific dates in February each brand is offering 20% off purchases to StyleWatch readers (see the section starting on page 54 for photos of some of the items being carried in each store now). For more information on the offer at each store, see the details below. Happy shopping!

The Limited – This offer is valid from January 13 – February 20, 2012. Mention “385” in stores or enter it at checkout online for 20% full-price and sale items.

Lucky Brand – This offer is valid from January 13 – February 10, 2012. Present the People StyleWatch magazine page in stores or enter “ALBPPLSW” at checkout online for a 20% discount on full-price merchandise.

Aerie – This offer is valid from January 13 – February 10, 2012. Mention “225” in stores with the People StyleWatch magazine page or text “AERIE” to 23743 to receive an online code that can be entered at checkout online for a discount on full-price and sale merchandise.

The Gap's "Give and Get" Program Is Here!

Get 30% off with Gap's Give and Get program, March 17-20.

Hello, All! Just thought I would pass along a heads up that the Gap’s “Give and Get” program is running March 17-20. For those of you not familiar with it, when you participate the promotion allows you to get 30% off your purchase from the Gap, Gap Outlet, Old Navy, Banana Republic and Banana Republic Factory store. When you make a purchase, one of four non-profit organizations (you choose which one) also gets a donation from the Gap in the amount of 5% of your total purchase. It’s a great way to support some worthy causes and you can work on filling out your spring wardrobe at the same time. To participate you need a coupon, but if you’re not on the Gap mailing list and haven’t received  one, no worries, your friends (like me) can share theirs with you. So if you’re looking for a coupon, let me know, I’m happy to pass one along. For those of you taking advantage of this promotion, I’ve also done a little searching and have identified a few fun pieces from the participating stores that I have my eye on. Happy shopping!

Wide Leg Trouser Jeans (Gap – $79.50) – I don’t know if I’ll actually purchase these, but I’d definitely like to at least try them on. I am so happy that a new trend in jeans has finally begun!

Chambray Tie-Neck Blouse (Gap – $59.95) – I’m not sure why, but I really love this top. If you’re into bows and ruffles, you’ll definitely want to check it out.

Brigitte Double-Knit Ruffle Dress (Banana Republic – $150) – I saw this dress in the store and I love the color. Online it’s called plum, but to me it seems more like a rich lavendar. Regardless, it’s a dress that I could see getting a lot of mileage out of for a variety of occasions.

Tropical Print Jersey Scarf (Old Navy – $10) – Looking for a little pop of spring to brighten up an outfit? One of these scarves could do the trick. And at 30% off of $10, it’s a steal.

Brave the Cold for Winter Sales!

It may be cold and blustery outside, but winter sales are heating up! (Image courtesy of Filomena Scalise/

So, I know that retailers are all starting to show off their spring collections now, but given the massive winter storms much of the U.S. has seen recently I’m having a hard time believing that I’ll be sporting any warm weather fashions any time soon. From my vantage point here in lovely southeast Michigan, Old Man Winter doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to move on. As I write this, I’m sitting here with a foot of snow on my lawn and the temp for today started out at a balmy ZERO degrees – that’s Fahrenheit people, not Celsius. Argh.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m more than ready to swap my sweaters for short sleeves and to start trying on some new spring trends – and I’ve actually made a few purchases already that I’ll write more about later – but at least for the foreseeable future, I think my winter wardrobe is going to have to maintain its front row placement in my closet. And for those of you out there in the same blizzard – I mean boat – as me, I don’t know about you but I’m feeling like I could use a couple of new winter pieces to get me through the rest of this neverending season. At this point in the season, I feel like I’ve worn every warm article of clothing I have at least 30 times and I’m just so darn tired of pulling these things out of the closet day after day. I would love to put on something new, but there’s just no way I’m pulling off a spring look right now. So what’s a fashionista to do? Two words – winter + sales….That’s right, as luck would have it, we’re at that point in the season now where retailers have slashed prices on their winter inventories to make room for spring lines and there are some great deals to be had out there. Normally at this point in the season I’m not willing to spend any of my budget on clothes that I may not get much use out of right away, but this year I’m figuring I’ll be in sweaters for at least another six weeks. So with that in mind, I’ve done some surfing around some popular retail sites and have put together a list of some of the fun (and discounted!) winter items out there to be had. So what are you waiting for? (I hope it’s not spring, that could be awhile…) Get out there and grab up some of these deals! And if you see anything else along the way, let the rest of us know about it too! Happy middle-of-this-neverending-winter, All! 😉

Merona Collection Merino Wool Sweater in Mint Air (Target) – $27.98

Colin Stuart Whipstitch Boot (Victoria’s Secret) – $79.99

Snowball Vest (LL Bean) – $59.99

Velvet Schoolboy Blazer (J. Crew) – $49.99

Modern Cowl Neck Sweater (Ann Taylor) – $49.99

Amazing Deals on NBC's Today Show – – 24 Hours Only!

Happy Tuesday, All! I’m quickly jotting off this post because I just learned of some fantastic deals on fashion and electronics that will last only 24 hours. I was just watching the Today Show on NBC and they aired a segment titled, “Jill’s Steals and Deals,” in which hostess, Jill Martin, showcased some fabulous deals from five different designers and retailers. The discounted products are listed below and the prices are slashed considerably on these items, but only for 24 hours. Take a look at this link for more info on the Today Show web site, and if you’re interested in making a purchase you need to get on it quickly because these prices are only scheduled to be valid for 24 hours. Hope everyone’s week is off to a great start, and happy shopping!

Infinite Dress by Hayley Starr (Normally $325, Now $49)

Handbags by Olivia + Joy (Normally $48-98; Now $19)

iHome Multi Device Charging Station (Normally $59.99; Now $18)

Monogrammed Jewelry by Danielle Stevens (Normally $78; Now $25) (Note: I just got a monogrammed necklace similar to this for Christmas and I love it!)

Balboa Jewelry (Normally $340-460; Now $95)

Countdown to Black Friday…

Okay, so given that this is Black Friday Eve, I just have to say that when the madness is all over I am going to miss the Target ads that have been running for the last few weeks. The crazy lady in red getting ready for Black Friday sales at Target just cracks me up. The latest one that I saw tonight where the woman is covered in alarm clocks just waiting for the big day is just too funny. I know, I never said I had a sophisticated sense of humor… In any case, I have no intentions of getting up in the middle of the night to camp out for a $5 TV or some other crazy deal. Now that I have an infant who keeps me up at night, I value my sleep way too much. But to all of the diehard bargain shoppers out there, I wish you good luck. And for the rest of us just enjoying the craziness from afar, maybe Target will come out with a new round of ads to keep us laughing up until Christmas. 😉  Happy Black Friday!

Winter is coming but Vera gives us reason to "hope"

Villager tote in Hope Garden

So, I know that Halloween isn’t even here yet and the leaves are just now falling, but if the thought of the coming winter months makes you cringe a little and you’re looking for a little pick-me-up in the way of shopping therapy, you’ll want to check out the sale on Vera Bradley items on the brand’s web site right now. I was just there yesterday and they are offering 25% off all items in the Hope Garden and Paprika prints. I personally own the Villager tote in the Hope Garden print and love it! It is the perfect bag for spring and summer with so many bright colors – pink, red, turquoise, yellow, green – and because of the color variety, it seems to match almost any outfit I put on during the summer months. Sadly, my tote is stored away in my closet now for the winter, but I know that come next spring when I pull it out again, it will be a sure sign that summer and warm weather is on the way! So if you’re feeling a little blue as the weather continues to turn colder over the course of the coming weeks and a little treat is in order to keep you going, go check out this sale. And if you’re not in the market for a handbag, there are a variety of other items to choose from as well – everything from note cards, to glasses cases, to garment bags. Happy shopping!

It Pays to Be Green – 40% off Jeans at Gap

This offer is only good through October 20 (Wednesday this week) so you’ll have to act quickly, but Gap is offering 40% off on its 1969 jeans when you turn in any old denim that you have (45% when you use your Gap credit card). For more information on this promotion called Recycle Your Blues, visit the home page of the Gap web site. The 1969 jeans come in a variety of washes and styles – skinny, curvy, bootcut, straight. So if you’re in the market for a new pair of jeans and wanting to clean out your closet at the same time, dig out some old denim, do your part for the environment, and get on over to Gap!