Deal Alert: Sur La Table Friends And Family Sale

I know I know – I didn’t do a Fab Friday this week.   I haven’t been in much of a shoppy mood.  However, I go a lovely little email that I couldn’t wait to share with y’all – namely, the Sur La Table Friends and Family sale.

Sur-La-Table-Friends-And-Family-2012

From now until Nov. 12th, we’re talking 20% off of most items so you know this gal is going to get her shop on this weekend.  Quite the very “happy birthday” to moi incentive no?  Now – to decide what to scoop up – that’s going to be the tough part.

So – what are you waiting for – it’s at both the stores and online.   Don’t forget that you can get cash back (6.5% at Ebates6% at Mr. Rebates) on your purchase too if you use the lessons I taught you in All Things Cash Back.

Happy Shopping!

Making The Most of Cyber Monday

I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday and didn’t go TOO crazy on Black Friday.  Having lost my sense of fun for Black Friday some years ago (and, by news reports, it seems to have only gotten crazier – who the heck pepper sprays people for an XBox?!?!) , I decided to play it safe and did not brave the chaos of Cherry Hill or King of Prussia.  I did, however, participate in Small Business Saturday with a nice excursion to the Italian Market for fab. coffee, spices, panettone for holiday dishes and other goodies. Now, with Cyber Monday fast approaching, I will be doing a bit of a refresher to maximize my online dollar.

If you are going to be participating in online shopping this holiday season, I wanted to share some tips and tricks that I utilize year round to get the most cash back. Make sure to check out All Things Cash Back  which has been updated a bit for a quick tutorial on how to maximize your savings.   Also – if you have any questions (or just want to squee over that gorgeous pair of stilettos you just scored with 6% cash back, free shipping and 20% off), I’m just an email away.

Happy Shopping!!!

Shopping In Stilettos: Fab Monday – The Big 4-0 Edition

Yes, you guessed right, this gal hit the big 4-0 late last week and, I swear, with age comes memory loss. It’s been chaos this weekend in between a retro Dancin’ on Air taping for a special that will be airing this Thanksgiving on PHL17 to getting the SousPug ready for his stitch removal (hopefully this is the final stretch with his major health issues and he can just rest for a change). I definitely foresee some Cruzan in my immediate future after this roller coaster of a year.

Over the weekend, I decided to unplug and take a step back from the computer and gather my thoughts as well as think about what’s ahead in this new chapter of life. So, in true Aly form, I figured I’d shake things up a bit with a little Fab Monday action.  Here are a few things that I am obsessed with currently…

Fab Friday - Cooking In Stilettos Edition-11.7.11

 

1. These Mark + James Dannie boots caught my eye recently. I saw them in a teal color and am kicking myself now for not buying them when I saw them. Currently, my stilettos are crossed that these lovelies get put on the sale block at one of the sample sale sites.

2.  Confession: I am horrid to shop with sometimes. When it comes to big ticket items, I hesitate, channel my inner Suze Orman and, for the most part, can indeed behave (except when it comes to Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table or cookbooks – after that, all bets are off!) There are some huge things that I am still obsessed with (like my favorite Crate & Barrel French Marble Island) but I can’t justify the expenses so close to the holidays.   After a recent excursion to NYC, I saw a couple Kate Spade bags that I could NOT get out of my head. Every time I would go into Bloomingdales, Nordstroms, etc., I would look at those bags (specifically the Kate Spade Maryanne and the Cobble Hill Leslie ) and would do a mental cost per wear depreciation in my head to see if it was, indeed, worth it. After getting an email about the Friends & Family sale currently happening at Bloomingdales along with 6% cash back from Ebates, I bought my first “40 and FABULOUS” bag – specifically, the Cobble Hill Leslie in this gorgeous stormy grey that will last a lifetime.

3. I did a little retail therapy this weekend and fell head over heels for this Marble Cheese Board from Crate and Barrel. They showed it up against my favorite Camden stoneware set that I’ve been lusting after forever and it just looked stunning – talk about a way to make a sale.

4. I’ve tried the French Press, the espresso maker and even a drip coffee maker and, confession time, my coffee making still leaves A LOT to be desired. This Chemex 6 cup coffee maker is gorgeous to look at and, I’m planning on using Anne Thornton’s Spiced Coffee recipe. If I fail with that – you have permission to slap me upside the head because, clearly, a coffee fiend that CAN’T make coffee – shameful *sigh*

5. After reading this article from Saveur about Whoopie Pie Pans, I decided that I could actually do more with it than just make the typical whoopie pie (which I have yet to attempt).  I picked up this Wilton Whoopie Pie Pan and I’m figuring that I might attempt making a few things like the “Muffin Tops” and other goodies with it around the holidays.

6. Speaking of bakeware, I am still on the fence about “purchase or not to purchase” this All Clad 8-in. Square Baking Pan. I’ve bought some typical 8×8 pans before and, after repeated use, they really don’t last as well as I would like them to. I have been seriously contemplating this All Clad Baking Pan for some time now – just a question of “Do I really want to spend THAT much and have it not work?” Has anyone used this and could maybe give a little insight?

7. I went a little “cookbook crazy” and picked up a few books that I just “had” to have. I know I will be using them like crazy over the holiday season and, of course, using a little recipe inspiration from them for here. One of the latest acquisitions was so good, I couldn’t wait for it to come over from the UK and bought it on the Kindle app for the iPad – Lorraine Pascale’s Baking Made Easy. If you haven’t caught her show, Simply Baking, on the Cooking Channel – you should. It definitely has shown me that the only complications that I associate with baking are clearly just in the mind – it’s not as difficult as I once thought. Her recipes are stellar and, you should be all set if you have a digital scale.  Her show definitely reminds me of some of the early Nigella episodes – very casual and a wealth of info.

Guilty of Idiocy: MoreRebates.com

As you all know, when things are good – I tell you and when things, quite frankly, stink – I’ll tell you. Such is the case with MoreRebates.com.

When our relationship started, it was good. We went through our honeymoon phase with me testing their program and actually loving the fact that they give rebates for sites that might not be on the typical cash back path. Well, as you know I maintain more than one blog and I use one specific hosting program for them that I ADORE called Hostgator. When I saw that I could get cash back from MoreRebates for Hostgator, I was thrilled. There was no fine print of a “one time only” deal and I used them for two separate blogs that I moved from Blogger. Both times I had cash back credited accordingly.

Well, after logging in one day to check the cash back percentages for a store since they aren’t listed on EVRewards.com, I noticed that one of my purchases was missing – namely the first Hostgator purchase.   Curious as to why the higher priced hosting package was not listed (which they get a bigger commission on), I immediately emailed them to find out what the heck was going on and heard NOTHING. I figured it was a computer glitch and made a note to calendar it to check it in a couple weeks and, again, same situation. The rebate was STILL missing and now I was really heated. I immediately emailed them AGAIN and still heard nothing.

I waited a week and checked it again, and while I received a check for one of the rebates, the other rebate was nowhere to be found. I not only emailed them but their parent company ValueClick (which has some serious litigation problems) and, like before, heard nothing.

So here’s the issue – you have a cash back company that basically, from my observation and experience, appears to pick and chooses what “cash back” they will pay and, not only that, they still charge Hostgator for the referral, but my fave hosting company gets screwed in the process. How fair is that??? It’s not.

So, if any of you have an issue with them and I referred you, I’m so sorry. Fact is, I had no idea that they were shady and I’m removing any banners from them from my site and they will no longer be on my “Cash Back Tutorial.” Please check your rebates from them with an eagle eye and, if any are missing, definitely let them know. I can’t promise that they will respond because from my experience, they seem to either ignore or not answer the hard questions but definitely call them out on any mistakes.

MoreRebates – quite simply, we’re done!

Holiday Online Shopping – Getting More Bang For The Buck…

I’m one of those gals who avoids much of the holiday chaos- namely Black Friday and the chaotic mall shoppers.  Why should I feed the frenzy when I can maximize my dollar with online sales, shopping and cash back, right?

Well, here’s the refresher course for y’all along with some new finds and for the new readers – welcome, bookmark and enjoy.

First of all, here are the sites to sign up with – g’head, it should open in a new window so I’ll wait for ya.

Cash Back:

Coupon Sites

Now that you are all signed up and bookmarked, here’s how this works.  First thing you need to understand is that most cash back will be available 60-90 days after the purchase – to allow for returns, etc.  So, let’s say you are doing your holiday shopping – well, in March, you should be getting some extra green in your wallet – just in time for St. Patty’s Day and everyone is a winner.

Start off with going to EVReward to see who offers the MOST cash back – that’s vital.  If you know where you are going to shop, then why not get the best deal out there, right?

I often know the item I’m looking for – like, let’s say a great pair of Elizabeth & James shoes from ShopBop.  I head to EVReward to see who’s giving the most cash back on ShopBop which is, in this case, Cashbaq with 7% cash back on my purchase.  So, let’s say I buy the boots I’ve been coveting – which are $276.  7% cash back of that will mean that come March, $19.32 will be my cash back reward.  To maximize my cash back dollar, I will also make note of any coupon codes for ShopBop through RetailMeNot.com or any of the other coupon sites that have done great by me in the past. Works like a charm every. single. time.  Often you can find coupons for free shipping, etc. especially with the retailers wanting to make this holiday season their best one ever.

Here’s another thing – my bff, Meowmix, often shops online via eBay.   Did you know you can get cash back for any eBay shopping?   Big Crumbs offers up to 36% cash back.  Bing! offers 10% cash back while Ebates offers 2%.  You see where I’m going with this.

Now, for those of you buying those big ticket items from, let’s say BestBuy – here’s my suggestion – buy online through Bing! with 5% cash back, select the “Pick Up In Store” option and you don’t even have to worry about the shipping.  Most times, it’s ready in an hour or so and you don’t have to deal with all the craziness.  This helps especially when you are looking for that TV, Video Game System or other high ticket item and you don’t want any shipping drama but still want the maximum cash back.

Basically – most of the stores you shop online are on the cash back wagon and why shouldn’t you be too?

Now, the disclaimers – keep track of your purchases and receipt emails to make sure that you get credit for everything.  Most of the cash back companies are great with tracking, but some purchase can fall through the cracks.  Just send their customer service an email after a week or so and they’ll jump right on it.  Secondly, yes there are referral links which means that both you and I are getting a Win/Win as they put a little something in your cash back stocking.

I am happy to say that after 3 years of living the cash back mantra, I can never go back to online shopping the old way.  I always make sure that I’ve maximized everything through cash back and coupon codes and couldn’t be happier.  Heck, I’ve even gotten cash back for my cable installation – who the heck knew you could do that.

So, while the holiday brings out the crazy in shopping, know that you can enjoy CyberMonday behind the computer with your coffee in one hand and the mouse in the other as you click your way to cash back happiness.  And, if you have any questions, know that I’m only an email away.

Happy Shopping!

Deal Alert: Dean & Deluca Double Cash Back – TODAY ONLY!

I adore Dean & Deluca – their spices are some of the best I’ve ever used.  Heck, if Barefoot Contessa uses them, why shouldn’t we.   However the closest D&D to me is in NYC so I have to be content with shopping online.  When I moved to Philly, the first thing I did was order some new spices and their shipping was lightening fast.  Normally I shop through Ebates and I adore getting 5% cash back on all of my D&D needs.  However, Ebates is giving DOUBLE cash back on all Dean & Deluca purchases for TODAY ONLY.  Heck – thats 10% back and you know I’ll be shopping today to get some seriously fabu spices, coffee and more!

If you aren’t a member of Ebates, sign up through this link and both you and I get a bonus $5.

So what are you waiting for – go forth and get that holiday shopping done EARLY!

Colin Cowie’s New Summer Line for HSN…

Colin Cowie debuted his Spring/Summer line for HSN today and, I have to confess, I spent quite a bit of time with my jaw to the floor going over the products. Some of the products, I had heard about in advance but my poor wallet is screaming at me.   Thankfully I was able to get cash back from Mr. Rebates but still… eeeks!  I did, however, control myself with a couple purchases I’m still thinking about.

When it comes to entertaining, I swear by his products.  I’ve found that they are durable, beyond classic and top quality.  I’ve been more than pleased with my past purchases and when I’ve had a great experience, I tend to be brand loyal.

I splurged on his Appetizer Plates which I felt will be a great accent to my dishes that I bought from his line previously.

Appetizer Plates

For perfect entertaining, check out this wood and porcelain chip and dip server

Chip and Dip Server

and matching 3 bowl wood and porcelain server.

Square Server

I was looking at this wire cloche plate cover for outdoor grilling. I’m not a fan of bugs to say the least and this looks like it might help…

Wire Cloche

Finally, check out this three part server – love love LOVE!  Not only would this be great on the countertop but also in the bathroom.

 

3 Part Server

Colin also has been showcasing his new gourmet food line. The first to garner my attention: the Spice Collection from Urban Accents and, well, you all know I’m a sucker for anything spice related.

 

Spice Collection

Couple that with his Urban Accents All Natural Dryglaze Spice Rub Collection and, yes, I’m a goner. Check out that Bombay Blitz. Expect a more detailed review when I get them in.

Dry Rub

HSN has some great deals and if what you are looking for is sold out, rest assured, they are getting more in. He’s already hinted that his fall line is going to be phenomenal so be prepared.  Also, the price point on all of the items is reasonable and even some deals (like the plates which I bought a couple months ago and are now marked down to $30.  ARG!)

To quote him earlier today “The best investment in life is to invest in family and friends.”  So very true…