Living the Life at Half Price

Living the Life at Half Price

Friday, July 29, 2011

Important Fashion Lessons and My Quest for Rebecca Taylor on Sale

A few weeks ago, I told you all about a Rebecca Taylor dress that I wanted, which was exclusive to Bloomingdale's.  I still haven't purchased it, but I wanted to let you know that Bloomingdale's is spewing lies!  I found the same exact dress on Shopbop and on Zappos, and I'm sure I'd find it in plenty of other places if I continued looking.  Unfortunately, the dress still isn't on sale.  However, since it's not sold exclusively at Bloomingdale's, it's more likely to go on sale, and I'm more likely to find my size when it does!

Besides that, I found pretty almost the same dress (only a different print) on sale at Bergdorf Goodman and at Neiman Marcus for $131 (free shipping at NM!).  Pretty significant discount, right?  And I actually like the print on this dress, and would definitely buy it.  Unfortunately, both stores don't have my size (they only have 2's and 10's left, so if you're one of those sizes, you should definitely take advantage!).  Anyway, these two developments have left me optimistic.  I will find the dress in my size (always an issue), and it will be on sale.  I also learned a very important lesson--if a store claims a style is exclusive to their own store, don't believe it!   


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

$16 Mani-Pedi on Groupon

Photo courtesy of Groupon
It's no secret that I'm a fan of cheapie mani-pedis. I will usually slum it in nail salons near my office in Jamaica, Queens, but when I come across the opportunity to upgrade to nice, clean Manhattan salons for a similar price, I jump on it! So that's why when I saw today's offer from Groupon in my inbox for a $16 mani-pedi, I knew I'd be taking advantage. The deal is for QQ Nails and Spa, which has 4 locations--1 in the West Village, 1 in Chelsea, and 2 in Flatiron.  While this is not a luxury spa, it's certainly a step up from where I usually go, and luxury or not, $16 is a great deal (I believe it's normally $32 at the salon).  And in the summer, when my toes are always on display, and I abuse my feet with all my flip-flop and sandal wearing, I can never get enough pedicures!  So get your Groupon now--I am!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ippolita Bangles--the Look for Less!

Ippolita "Rock Candy" 5-Stone Sterling Silver Bracelet
 each $295 at Nordstrom
I've mentioned before how I've been looking for a cool silver (or white gold) bangle for my wrist, but have a lot of difficulty because I have really small hands, so bangles usually slide right off me.  I think I've also mentioned how I really like Ippolita jewelry.  I especially LOVE their bangles.  After doing some research, I read that Ippolita bangles run small.  You have no idea how much this excited me.  So the other day, I went to Bloomingdale's to try one of them on, hopeful that this wonderful bangle would fit.  But, you guessed it, it slid right off my hand.  However, the salesperson informed me that at no charge, I could special order different sizes in the Ippolita bangles.  He brought out a special Ippolita bangle sizer (which was like a giant ring sizer), and for the first time in my life, I tried on a bangle that actually fit me.  It was pretty weird--I've never felt a bangle have friction over my hand when putting it on.  In case you were wondering, standard Ippolita bangles are a size "2."  I need a size "0" (and if you need a larger size, you can special order that too!).  Unfortunately, you have to allow up to three months to receive the bracelet.

While I'm pretty excited at the prospect of finally ending my search for a silver bracelet, I have to note that these bracelets are pretty expensive.  I know that there is a mark-up for the designer itself, and I know the price of gold and silver have gone up dramatically recently, but I can't seem to wrap my head around that.  I remember when I was in middle school, my friends and I would walk to the local Marshall's (it was pretty much the only store within walking distance from where we lived), and we'd buy sterling silver earrings for under $10.  Or my dad would pick up a sterling silver bracelet from Macy's for around $25.  What happened to those days?  The Ippolita bangle that I want is $295.  For one thin silver band?  Really?  And the problem is, that I want two or three of them to wear together!  That adds up.  Years ago, I wouldn't even consider getting silver, and would have insisted on white gold.  Now, you can't even find white gold anymore!  

So what's a girl to do?  Well, I can suck it up and just buy the Ippolita bracelets.  Or I can look for more reasonable options.  I was actually surprised how difficult it was to find worthy substitutes, but I did find a few:

1. Kendra Scott Leanne Bracelet--$106 at Layla Grace.  Pros: great price, comes with multiple bracelets.  Cons: while it has a similar look to the Ippolita bracelets, it's still pretty distinct.  Also, I want silver bracelets, and these are gold-plated.  But I still really like these!  Lastly, I'm not sure you can adjust the size.

2. No. 7 Multistone Bangle--$98 at Henri Bendel.  Pros: like the Kendra Scott bracelet, it's a great price and comes with multiple bracelets.  It also has a pretty unique look.  Cons: Same as the KS bracelet re size and metal.  While I love rose gold, I'm looking for a silver bracelet.

3.  Bangle from Etsy seller BrooklynArts--$48 for one.  Pros: for those unfamiliar with Etsy, it's a great forum where independent artists and designers sell their wares--so if you buy something, you're supporting one of those artisans.  Also, prices tend to be a little lower.  This particular bracelet resembles the Ippolita one the most.  Cons:  Gold (18K gold plate), don't think I can change the size.  But we're getting closer!

4. Bangle from Etsy seller Delezhan--$48 for one, or $125 for three.  Same pros and cons as #3.

5. Robindira Unsworth Juicy Bangles--$450 for a set of three.  After much searching, I finally came across these bracelets.  Pros: This is an established jewelry line, more high-end than Kendra Scott, but still cheaper than Ippolita. Also, according to their site, all jewelry is handmade upon order and that they can assist you with special orders.  This leads me to believe that you could get a custom-sized bracelet.  Cons: More expensive than the Etsy options.

6.Robindira Unsworth Juicy Bangles--$525 for a set of three.  Pros: Looks like this may be the look for less winner!  This was the only sterling silver option I could find.  It's definitely a nice alternative to the Ippolita bangles, and while the price is still pretty steep, it's still significantly less than Ippolita. Also, as mentioned in #5, I think I could special order this in my size.  Cons:  Still expensive.  And while I like the multi-colored stones, I can't decide is if I like them as much as the clear quartz in the Ippolita version.  Also, I kind of prefer how the Ippolita stones are more of an oval shape.  I wonder if these kinks could be worked out in a custom order?  

So there you have it--if you're like me and love the Ippolita bangles but not their price, I hope this helped you a bit!  And if anyone knows where I can find more reasonable sterling silver options, please share.  I suppose one option I have is to wait for a friends and family sale at one of the big department stores (Bloomie's, Saks, and Bergdorf all carry Ippolita), or open up a credit card to get a discount.  Such decisions . . . what do you think I should do--spring for the Ippolita, or give the Robindira Unsworth a try?


Friday, July 22, 2011

Alexis Bittar Sale!

There's a big sale going on at Alexis go now to stock up on his awesome jewelry!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Olive & Bette's Sale Report

Just wanted to check in quickly to let you know how disappointed I was with the Olive & Bette's summer sale yesterday.  The selection was extremely limited-- there was a random mix of Splendid, Susana Monaco, Plenty by Tracy Reese, a few Rebecca Taylor dresses, and pieces from various other labels mixed in.  Prices were 75% off the original retail price, which is pretty good, but not amazing, considering most of these were from past seasons and can be found on sale elsewhere.  There was a heap (yes, I mean heap-- just a giant pile of jeans on a table) of jeans also-- from Citizens of Humanity, Paige, AG, etc.  Everything was pretty disorganized, and while I was happy to see it wasn't too crowded (for a reason!), I can say that I do not plan on attending future sales like this at Olive & Bette's.  However, some people seemed to find stuff they liked, so maybe I'm just especially  hard to please.  But I don't think so.  Take that for what you will.  That's it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Olive & Bette's Summer Sale Today!

Olive & Bette's is hosting a one day summer  sale today in its Upper East Side location (Third Ave at 72nd), with items discounted up to 75% off.  The sale runs until 7pm tonight.  Designers include Rebecca Taylor, Splendid, Nanette Lepore, Joie, and much more.  I missed their basement sale in April, so I will definitely be making an appearance there tonight after work (and probably have to battle the throngs of ladies bee-lining it there after work themselves).  But if I can walk out of there with a shopping bag in my hand, I'll be happy!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Get a $125 Credit to National Jean Company for $50!!

William Rast jeans available at
National Jean Company for $165
Thanks to Rue La La, today you can get a $125 credit to National Jean Company for just $50!  This isn't the first time Rue La La has offered a promotion at National, and hopefully it won't be the last.  For those not in the know, National Jean Company has great selection of designer jeans as well as clothing and accessories.  They  have 6 locations in the NYC area, including one on the Upper East Side, and one in Murray Hill (the others are in Long Island--check here for locations).

The credit is only valid through August 31, 2011, though I'm sure you'd have no trouble finding plenty to use the credit on before then.  So, if you're in need of a new pair of jeans (or cute top, dress, necklace, etc), I'd definitely recommend getting this credit on Rue La La (and hurry, because the credit is only available today)!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tara's List: Rebecca Taylor Button Front Dress

This morning I found a whole slew of Rebecca Taylor dressed in my inbox, thanks to Bloomingdale's.  But the dress on the left stood out to me.  I love the simple, yet elegant cut.  I love the flowiness of the silk fabric.  The color is fun and can transition from spring to summer to fall.  And I love the buttons, which add a touch of whimsy and keep the dress current and on trend (I'm really into the whole button-down skirt/dress look this season).  I don't love its price of $345.  While the dress is pretty versatile and classic, I just don't think it's worth that.  Plus, it's pretty much against my nature to buy things at full price.

Rebecca Taylor Exclusive Strapless Perfect Fit Button Front Dress
Rebecca Taylor Strapless Button Front Dress,
exclusive to Bloomie's
My first thought was to search for this dress to see if it was on sale anywhere else.  Unfortunately, the dress is exclusive to Bloomingdale's.  And it's a new style.  Not going on sale anytime soon.  However, it's a safe bet that the moment it does, yours truly is buying it!  That may be awhile though, so what to do in the meantime?  Easy...find a cheaper version!

Cheaper button-front dress from Forever 21
I'll be honest with you, I didn't find anything I like quite as much, but I did find a great alternative to hold me over for a bit.  Where did I find it, you ask?  Well, at my trusty, go-to place for cheap and trendy--Forever 21.  I know it's not a secret, but that store is wonderful when you're looking to latch on to a trend, but don't want to commit too much money.  And I have to say, while it's no match for the RT dress, I actually really do like the F21 version.  It's a "silk-blend," and like the RT dress, has buttons down the front.  The cut and color are different, but that just means when I do get the RT dress, I can still wear the F21!  The other major difference between the two dresses are their prices.  The Forever 21 dress is $29.80.  So basically, I could buy 11 of the Forever 21 dresses for the price of the Rebecca Taylor dress, and still have change left over.  But, that's just the beauty of Forever 21 I guess.

Anyway, Rebecca Taylor dress-- get ready, because you'll be mine soon enough!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Amazing Amazon--Not Just for Books!

In the last year or so, I've developed a pretty big crush on  I prefer it immensely over Zappos for a number of reasons.  My first three issues have to do with price: shoes on Zappos are slower to go on sale than anywhere else, Zappos rarely has any promotions, and Zappos doesn't participate in any rebate programs such as Ebates or Mr. Rebates (which is just like Ebates), while all the other big online shoe retailers do.  In addition, they are often out of my size--also pretty important.

Courtesy of Endless
In my opinion, Endless has the best deals out of these sites, at least when taking into account the selection.  For instance, or both offer frequent discounts and lower prices, but the styles aren't as current, and the brand selection tends to be more low end.  I've also come to find that Endless has a very good bag selection, and they often are significantly discounted.  You may recall that I purchased a Lauren Merkin "Allie" clutch through Endless that was about $50 less than the sample sale price.  You have to admit, that's pretty good.  So, when I was in the market for yet another LM clutch--the Tatum Raffia clutch (I know, I have a problem), I turned to Endless first.  And I found that again, the bag was on sale.  Instead of the retail price of $275, the bag was on sale for $235.  Combined with a 10% rebate from Mr. Rebates, that's a pretty good deal.  

But of course, I always make sure to do my due diligence--I am a lawyer after all.  And what did I find?  The same bag on for $207!  Sorry Endless, not going to be making a purchase from you today, but I will be back!  To sweeten the deal, upon checking out I learned that there was a promotion on Amazon for 20% off purchases over $75 which I somehow missed when I found the bag there.  So the total?  About $180 after tax.  I'm patting myself on my back right now, if you couldn't tell.

Sorry to make a short story long, but the lesson here is don't be lazy and do your research!  A 5 minute search on Google saved me over $100.  Yes, my time is valuable, but not that valuable, and my guess is yours isn't either!  The other lesson is, Amazon isn't just for books.  I'm going to be keeping my eye open there for that Tory Burch bag I'm considering!