You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2009.

I’m not much of an online shopper.  Every now and then, I’ll go online to order something, but I’m the kind of person that would much rather go to a store and avoid shipping fees.  I also need to touch all my things before I buy them.  🙂

However, recently, with all of the wedding things we have going on, as well as being busy with a new job,  I don’t believe I’ve been on a good shopping trip in months.  When faced with deadlines such as dress fittings, I had to turn to the online world to help me fulfill my shopping needs!

First, I had to turn to Zappos to find some wedding shoes!  I’d only had the chance to look in a few stores, and with my first dress fitting looming, I knew I had to decide soon so we could get the length right the first time I went.  Given the fact that all our weekend are booked from now until kingdom come, there was no way I was going to have time to visit every shoe store in the tri-state area to find the perfect bridal pair.  So, I searched around online for styles I liked and then found them on Zappos for much cheaper.

The great thing about Zappos?  Free shipping for delivery and returns and a 365-day return policy.  I was between 3 pairs of shoes, and was reluctant to pick the final pair without seeing it with the dress.  So, I ordered all 3, and returned the ones that didn’t work.  Great option that wouldn’t have been possible if the return policy was shorter and it cost money to send them back!

I also recently placed some orders with TheKnot.com and Overstock.  I had been receiving emails from TheKnot regarding sales in their gift shop. There happened to be a great sale on one item that must remain nameless for surprise purposes.  Even though I don’t need it until the wedding, I figured there would never be another sale like that!  I searched Google for “TheKnot.com coupon codes” and was able to find one that got me $5 off.  If you’re not currently taking advantage of sites like RetailMeNot and other coupon code sites, you’re not living!  You can find these codes just by searching Google, and they really come in handy.

Recently, Jared’s mom turned me on to Ebates (thanks, Leslie!).  Ebates is “the pioneer and leader of online Cash Back Shopping.”  What does this mean?  If you start an Ebates account and log-in to search for the online stores you want to buy from, you can receive cash back on your purchases!  Recently, I logged in and searched for Sephora, clicked through, completed my order, and now I’m set to receive 8% cash back on my order.  At the end of a 3 month period, Ebates sends you a check for cash earned.  It’s like getting paid to shop-no, it IS getting paid to shop!  I have a feeling I might be doing a lot of holiday shopping online this year….

One last tip for shopping online: look for special promotions.  I’ve been dying to buy Hypnotic Poison from Sephora, but was holding out until I knew I’d have a job.  🙂  While it would have been very simple for me to head over to the store location, I noticed that orders of $25 or more online were eligible for a free holiday clutch filled with free samples.  Um, why would I buy something in the store, when I can get it online along with other free goodies?  With the combination of free shipping and cash back from Ebates, buying online from Sephora was the smarter choice.  Make sure you’re getting the most of your money online before you buy!

So, when you’re shopping online this holiday season, remember to do your homework before you click!  Shop smart and get rewarded!

I read an article in this Sunday’s Star Ledger that struck me as an interesting way to combat obesity.  Apparently, Lincoln University in Pennsylvania is monitoring students’ body mass indexes as part of a graduation requirement.  If students have a BMI of over 30, they are then required to take a one-credit gym class in order to graduate.

I think this is absolutely ridiculous.  First of all, what about students that have a BMI below the normal ranges?  Shouldn’t they also be monitored and  as part of this graduation plan?  Second, I’m not really sure a one credit gym class addresses the issue.  It’s a bit demoralizing, in my opinion, to single out certain people and make them take an hour course a few times a week.  Yes, obesity is a problem, but a gym class certainly isn’t going to fix that problem. For instance, my BMI currently classifies me as overweight.  I’d have to lose at least 20 pounds to be considered in a different category.  A few hours of fitness a week ain’t gonna change that!

Just thought this was a weird solution to the obesity issue….

Chatterberries is a Web site that I used to see a lot of ads for when I would look through wedding magazines.  I saw another one in a recent Cosmo, and thought the site was worth a look!

At first glance, Chatterberries seems very similar to the other planning and community sites for brides.  From a content perspective, the site is more articles based than a lot of the sites I’ve been looking at.  While Chatterberries doesn’t seem to have as many content resources as other sites, they still do a nice job of presenting the basics in a format that’s quick to browse and grasp on to.  When time is of the essence for a busy bride, finding what you need can be crucial.  On larger sites like The Knot, it might not be so easy, but on Chatterberries, navigation is quick and it’s easy to tell within the first few seconds whether they have what you need.

I took a deeper dive into the Beauty Guide section, and liked how each category had photos, videos and articles.  This makes things easy to find without having to go to a different section and searching all over again.  While the collections are not that robust, the resources are still very helpful.  Would be nice to see perhaps some fitness move videos instead of just a video about perfect smiles, but hopefully Chatterberries is only just beginning to build out these libraries!

I think Chatterberries has a long way to go from a content perspective, but the fact that it’s not overrun with information almost makes it appealing to me as a resource.  Also, it seems like they store a lot of their videos in a separate tab, for ease of use.  If you’re short on time and don’t feel like sifting through fancy sites that take forever to load, definitely give Chatterberries a spin!

I’ll be the first to confess that I have a hard time holding back during the holidays.  Sweets are my weakness, and when faced with trays of cookies and plates of pie, I’d just as much skip dinner and fill up on dessert.  Unhealthy, I know, but it all comes back to not being able to fight temptation…

During the holidays, we all make mistakes with food.  I’m not saying it’s right, but it happens.  And, I’m a big believer in not denying yourself during this time.  It’s so much easier to stay on track if you let yourself have one or two cookies instead of depriving yourself the whole time.

There is nothing I hate more than the guilt trips other people try to lay on you at the holiday dessert table.  You know who I’m talking about….the relative or friend that watches what you’re taking, commenting on how much food there is and how they are on this great diet and able to resist.  Not to mention the person that stands over the table biting their nails over how many calories are in each little dessert.

Once again, I am in no way justifying unhealthy eating.  No matter what time of year it is, it’s never healthy to just eat whatever you want.  However, this is another case where people need to watch what they say to family and friends.  The holidays are supposed to be relaxing, and The Food Police take the fun out of what should be a time for small indulgences and treats.  I applaud all of you that can walk away from the dessert table full just by looking at it.  However, for those of us that might take that second sugar cookie, just remember that we usually have a strategy that doesn’t involve guilt and deprivation.  🙂

For tips on how to avoid temptation over the holidays, check out this Holiday Eating Survival Guide.