Luxuries for Less

Life's little luxuries shouldn't come with a lofty price tag

A Secret Luxury: Victoria’s Secret Fragrance Event

I’m back!  Sorry for the short leave of absence.  Its been a crazy couple of weeks with final projects, exams and my program’s comprehensive exam (writing 30 pages in six hours was a less than ideal use of my Saturday).  But enough complaining – let’s get to the deals.

Victoria Secret is having an awesome event on Tuesday, December 13, and I just couldn’t let you miss out on it.  For one day only from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. they will have fragrance specialists at each store helping customers pick out their perfect scent.  I wonder what my scent would be?!?  Guess I will have to stop by to find out.

More importantly, they will be giving away a free tote with each purchase of $50 or more.  I love their tote giveaways!

Click the ad below to find a participating store near you, and then stop back to let me know what fragrance they picked for you.

*Picture brought to you by Victoria’s Secret email on 12/9/2011*

 

A Caffeinated Luxury: Starbucks 12 Days of Gifting

Full disclosure: I am a Dunkin girl through and through. I love everything from their pumpkin spiced coffee to their chocolate glazed munchkins and all their products in between. I go there almost every morning and have no intention of changing my routine.

That’s why I am a little ashamed to admit that every now and again I drop $5 on a coffee at Starbucks. I’m not proud of it, but I do like to treat myself every once in awhile to a latte or macchiato. I love their Iced Caramel Macchiato in the summer and Peppermint Mocha during the holidays. They are two of my favorite little luxuries. That’s why today, between my nine hours at work and my five hours of group projects, I made it a point to stop by and pick up a Skinny Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks. Sorry Dunkin! I am not a traitor I promise, but it was just what I needed after a long day.

Since $5 for a small coffee is just too much for me to handle, I looked into what deals they have coming up. Turns out their 12 Days of Gifting starts on Thursday and will run until December 12. Each day, they will send new exclusive offers to the individuals who text MERRY to 697289. You can also preview the deals on their website. The best hook-up of all is on December 12, when you can get free brewed coffee for the entire month of January with the purchase of  a tumbler for $19.95.

Also, to my Boston University brethren the BU Barnes and Noble Starbucks is currently offering $2 holiday drinks – any size, any time of the day until Friday, December 2. It’s their gift to BU students, and let’s be honest we deserve it. I figured this out a bit too late today, but you should all check it out. I intend on taking advantage of it to before the week is over.

 

 

My Small Business Saturday Luxury

Today is Small Business Saturday.  I just wanted to remind you to get out and make a local purchase no matter how big or small.  I made mine and it was delicious!

I am home in Warwick, Rhode Island, so I went to one of the best local bakeries in my town, Le Favorite Bakery on Namquid Drive.  Yes, I went to get more food even though I ate more in the past three days than I have in months.

 

 

There was so much to choose from I didn’t really know where to start.  They had everything from brownies and cookies to muffins and pastries.  It was like a dream come true.  OK, maybe that’s an extrageration but it was pretty awesome.

 

 

I decided on a chocolate chip and cream cheese cookie bar and my brother picked a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting.  The cupcake even came with a little toy as a decoration.  We gave it to my nephew of course.  They were both super yummy and perfect little treats.

 

 

What little luxury did you get from your favorite local businesses today?  If you haven’t gotten out to shop small yet, you still have time.  Just don’t miss out on the chance to do something small that can make a huge impact.

 

Black Friday Luxuries: Top Five Fashion Deals

It is a miracle I am able to write this post because I ate so much food today that I really should be in a turkey coma.  However, tomorrow is Black Friday and I couldn’t leave you hanging without at least a few tips for finding the best deals tomorrow.  I am planning on hitting up a few stores, but I won’t be out with the crowds at midnight tonight (or even 5 a.m. tomorrow for that matter).

My focus, as always, is on clothes but there are Black Friday sales for basically anything and everything you could possibly want.  Here are my top five deals for tomorrow’s best fashion finds:

  1. H&M – If you are an early riser on Black Friday, head over to H&M. They will be giving out scratch-off tickets to the first 100 customers at each store, which could be valued up to $300.  On top of that, they have sales for apparel as low as $5.  City stores open at 5 a.m. but check with your local mall for hours.
  2. Victoria’s Secret – Bras are buy one get on half off and pajamas and robes are on sale for $39.50.  In addition to the sales, they are giving away free limited edition totes with your purchase of $65 or more.
  3. Banana Republic Factory Stores – If you have one of their factory stores nearby, Banana Republic is offering 50 percent of everything storewide and an additional 15 percent off of your purchase of $100 or more (this sale goes until November 27).
  4. Macy’s –  Macy’s has amazing Black Friday deals on brand names from Calvin Klein to Betsy Johnson and much, much more.  Also, check today’s newspaper for coupons for 15 percent off and $10 off sale and clearance items.
  5. Kohl’s – Starting at midnight tonight and running through until 1:00 p.m. tomorrow, Kohl’s is offering over 500 early bird specials.  They have 50 to 65 percent off jewelry, 50 to 60 percent of women’s tops and sweaters and more.  Also, for every $50 you spend you get $15 back in Kohl’s Cash.  I am a huge fan of their LC Lauren Conrad line, which will be on sale too!

If you don’t want to get caught up in the Black Friday madness in the stores, you can always stay home and shop some great deals online.  Most of the best deals on the web will probably be on Cyber Monday, but Amazon has some good sales tomorrow too, especially for those of you with Amazon Prime accounts.   They have CDs for less than $5, 60 percent off outerwear, 40 percent off shoes, up to 60 percent off watches and so much more!

I am definitely ready to stock up on some little luxuries tomorrow.  How about you?

A Sugar Free Luxury: Diabetes-Friendly Peanut Butter Pie

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and I couldn’t be more excited for all the food I am going to wolf down.  However, November is also Diabetes Awareness Month, which is near and dear to my heart.  Both my brother and 2-year-old nephew have diabetes.  It is not an easy disease to live with so I try to make them special treats whenever I can.

For Thanksgiving, I made them a Peanut Butter Pie that’s low in sugar and carbohydrates.  It is super delicious and you would never know it wasn’t loaded with sugar.  I explain how to make it in the video below:

 

Ingredients: 

1 cup of Peanut Butter (no sugar added/natural)

1/2 cup of Splenda

8 ounces of Cream Cheese

16 ounces of Whipped Cream (sugar-free)

1 jar of Smucker’s Sugar-Free Hot Fudge Topping

1 Keebler Chocolate Graham Cracker Ready Crust

If you know anyone living with or affected by diabetes, please show your support for Diabetes Awareness Month by liking the American Diabetes Association’s Facebook page.  Better yet, if you can, make a pledge to help stop diabetes.

Retail Luxuries: My New Trench Coat and Earrings

Time to share my two most recent retail steals: my new trench coat and earrings.

I have been needing a new coat since the middle of last winter, but being the cheapskate I am I hadn’t found one that I was willing to part with my well-earned cash for.  That was until a few days ago when I read this post from Saucy Glossie and fell in love with her coat.  I loved it enough to part with my money but luckily I didn’t have to part with much because it was on sale at Old Navy for only $55.00 (originally $99.94).   Like that wasn’t enough,  I got an extra $10.00 off for signing up for Old Navy’s email alerts.  That brought my purchase down to $45.00 and shipping was FREE.   It was my kind of deal.

I really love this jacket because it can be dressed up for work or dressed down with leggings and a cute top.  I haven’t gotten it in the mail yet but I can’t wait!

I found my second little luxury after going to the Tree Lighting at Faneuil Hall last night, which was so much fun. I recommend everyone try to get to a tree lighting this year it definitely puts you in the holiday spirit.

OK I digress.  Back to my luxury.  After the lighting, I went shopping at the specialty pushcarts in the marketplace at Faneuil Hall and found a place called Every Bead of My Heart.  It was so cute and affordable! They had everything from earrings and necklaces to hair clips and bracelets.  I picked up this pair of earrings for only $10.00!

They really dress up an outfit and you won’t need to feel guilty when you lose them like I do with all my earrings!

Anyone else find a great deal this week? Who’s ready for Black Friday!?!?!

A Neighborhood Luxury: Small Business Saturday

Small business is in my blood. A small business put food on my table growing up, gave me my first job and allowed me to go to college. My grandfather founded the Slocum Agency in 1949 to help his neighbors, community, family and friends with all their insurance and real estate needs. Since then, my dad and my uncle have grown the business into the success it is today and someday my brother and cousin will take over the reins.

This is what small business stands for – family, history, loyalty and community. They are the heart of our hometowns and with corporate goliaths like Wal-Mart and McDonalds popping up on every corner, it is harder than ever for them to compete.

We can all help them in this battle by participating in the second annual Small Business Saturday. This November 26th is dedicated to supporting small businesses by shopping at local stores. It’s a call-to-action for people to do their part to help revive the economy by making purchases at their favorite small businesses. It’s a small effort that will make a huge impact.

 

 

There are endless luxuries to be found at your local small businesses. Why get the same dress everyone else has from Forever 21, when you could go around the corner to Mrs. Smith’s boutique and get a one of a kind sundress that you’re sure no one else will have? Why get a mass produced apple pie at McDonald’s that tastes as fake as it is when you could go to your favorite local bakery and get a freshly made cannoli?

So please, pledge to shop small on November 26th. Become one of the over two million that have liked their page on Facebook. Then, after all your Black Friday madness, go down the street or around the corner and support a local small business by making a purchase – big or small.  Someone’s family depends on.

I am taking the pledge, and I will be sure to tell you all about my purchase.  Please let me know what you bought on Small Business Saturday.

 

A Kardashian Luxury: Kim’s Makeup Tutorial

So I may not be going to Kim Kardashian for marriage advice any time soon, but she will always be my go-to expert on a few topics including makeup, fashion and luxury. She is probably the most glamorous woman in Hollywood right now. So when I heard from a friend of mine that Kim posted makeup tutorials online, I couldn’t wait to try them out. Yes, I get excited over Kardashian news and I am not ashamed of it!  So, a big thanks goes out to my friend Grace for the idea behind this blog post.

Kim has a few different makeup tutorials on YouTube including a purple smokey eye and what she calls the “babydoll.”  The smokey eye was a little dramatic and more appropriate for a night out on the town whereas the babydoll was more of an every day look.  After much dilberation, I decided to attempt the babydoll:

 

 

My eyes did not turn out nearly as nice as Kim’s, but that has more to do with my inability to follow instructions and lack of quality makeup products than it does Kim’s directions.  Also, my eyes are much smaller than Kim’s so it isn’t as easy to add definition with different shades of eye shadow.  Overall though it turned out much better than my usual routine.

 

Another one of her videos focused on foundation and blush techniques and had some really cool tips I had never heard of before.  She added a little liquid blush to her powder blush and used a brush rather than a sponge to apply it.  I didn’t have the right products to try these tips today, but I see some more Kim K. tutorials in my future.

So here I am on Tuesday night all dolled up with no where to go.  Story of my life.

Let me know if you try this tutorial or any of Kim’s others.  I’d love to see pictures!

A Sunday Luxury: A Brownie Sundae Treat

I’ll make this short and sweet.  You must try Ghirardelli’s Caramel Turtle Brownies. They are super easy to make, and they taste like they’re straight from a high-end bakery.  Just add vegetable oil, water and an egg and bake. Half an hour later you have the most scrumptious treat.  Actually, it’s even better than just a delicious dessert – it is like 20 servings of a delicious dessert!

Add some ice cream from my favorite brand, Skinny Cow, and you have a Sunday luxury for the record books.  Their Dulce de Leche ice cream is to-die-for and only 150 calories a serving.  Yummy! I’m not going to lie.  I have a slight obsession with Skinny Cow. Their products are the perfect guilt-free snacks.

Ghirardelli and Skinny Cow made my day for sure.  Not to mention 20 brownies and a single-serve cup of ice cream later, and I’m only down $5 total.   So please try it out and let me know how it goes!


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