Shopping Secrets: The Series

STORE LAYOUTpexels-photo-331990.jpeg

Hidden Gems. Be sure to check the back of the clothes rack. Retailers often take the last remaining item of any style and blend them into a clothes rack with other, similarly colored/styled items. Keep looking!

Clearance. Clearance racks/sections are usually towards the back of the store. Retailers do this intentionally. That way, you must pass everything else that might catch your eye, for full price. They’re also usually difficult to navigate. While sales associates will reorganize a table display that’s been ransacked, the clearance section will be left as is. This is done to deter shoppers from going through all the hassle. Stay focused and never give up!

Eye Level. Items are placed very strategically. Retailers place their most important items at eye level, front and center. Have you ever noticed that grocery stores place items that will expire first towards the front? (If you didn’t know, now you know.) It’s a similar concept. Retailers place pricier items in the front, at eye level. Look above, below, and behind for a chance to find gems of similar make at lower prices.

Frequent Changes. Have you ever walked into your favorite store and see that the layout has changed? Perhaps the denim section is now where the shoes used to be. Maybe the plus-size section is now on the opposite side of the store. This makes you spend time looking through aisles for what you want. The hope is you’ll find additional items you just gotta have.


Stay tuned for more Shopping Secrets: The Series! Next week, we’ll talk about some persuasion tactics retailers use to get you to spend more money. Be sure to check out last week’s post in this series here: Shopping Secrets: The Series – Saving Money. If there are any specific topics you’d like me to discuss, leave a comment down below.

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Shopping Secrets: The Series

pexels-photo-346752.jpegSaving Money

Damaged Goods. If you ever find an item with damage – a tear in the fabric, a stain, a broken zipper, or missing button – ask for a price reduction. At Forever 21, you can easily receive a 10% discount for damaged goods. If it’s something you can fix at home, why not save a few bucks?

Rewards. Not all retailers broadcast their rewards programs. Some companies with such programs include Sephora, ULTA, Nordstrom, and JCPenny. Rack up those points for future perks! (Note: Loyalty Cards track buying behavior. Retailers often record your purchasing habits to make special offers, causing you to buy more. Avoid signing up if this is something you’re uncomfortable with.)

Abandon Your Cart. When you’re shopping online, place desired items in your cart and close the tab. If you’re signed in to an account, or linked via social media, some retailers will send you a friendly reminder to complete your purchase. You might get lucky and receive a discount code. (Note: Not all retailers do this. But it wouldn’t hurt to try. Fashion Nova sure does!)

Cash Back. Many apps offer cash back options for your favorite stores— be it groceries, apparel, electronics, etc. Click on the deals and show proof of purchase. Be sure to keep your receipt. Some deals even work with mobile/online purchases. I use Ibotta. When I earn enough, I can claim my money via PayPal, Venmo, or gift cards from various vendors. Another popular cash back app is Chekcout 51.

Student Discounts. The concept of student discounts is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Take the time to look up which of your favorite stores have student discounts. Here are a few to get you started: Forever 21, Boohoo, ASOS, Topshop, and Express.


Stay tuned for more Shopping Secrets: The Series! This month, we’ll talk about what retailers do to make you spend more money, secrets behind store layout, general persuasive tactics, and customer service. If there’s anything else you want to know, leave a comment down below!

Before It’s Too Late

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Although most New Year’s resolutions fail, making them is somewhat of a worldwide tradition. Even I am guilty of making a “promise to…” and forgetting all about it by March (if I’m that lucky). But a new year is an opportunity to change–to grow. So this year, instead of making nearly impossible resolutions, I’m taking on a new mind-set. 2018 is going to be my #beforeitstoolate year. 

I don’t want to live my life with regrets. This year, I’m going to do my best to make sure that doesn’t happen. So…

I’m going to tell my friends and family that I love them — #beforeitstoolate.

I’m going to take pictures and create priceless memories, whenever I can — #beforeitstoolate.

I’m going to eat healthier foods and exercise regularly, taking care of my body — #beforeitstoolate.

#Beforeitstoolate, I’m going to take care of my mental health. 

I’m going to do the things I love — #beforeitstoolate.


This isn’t going to be easy. Change doesn’t happen overnight. It’s going to be a challenge. But I know it will be worth it. So, I challenge you to make 2018 your #beforeitstoolate year, too.

Accomplish your goals and live out your dreams. Make memories with those close to you. Take this year one day at a time, and make each day count — #beforeitstoolate.

#PartyLikeIts1992

Today’s my sister’s birthday! Be sure to check her out at esteandginelle.com.

It’s my dream to plan all sorts of events. So, months ago, I asked her if she’d let me plan her 25th birthday party. She said yes! It was my first-time planning something so big from scratch. And I loved every second of it.

We partied 90s style in every way possible—food, music, movies, decor, games. Here’s a look into the planning and execution of the year’s hottest party!


For the center pieces, I spray painted mason jars neon colors. For added flare, I placed sparkly tissue paper in remaining mason jars and used them as floor decor.

centerpieces

Each mason jar was beautiful on its own. But to add dimension and excitement to the room, I decided to attach confetti filled helium balloons. 

confetti balloons

If it’s a party, there needs to be candy and party favors! Don’t sleep on Party City & Dollar General.

candy table

Extreme Twister, anyone?! My sister’s boyfriend put SIX Twister mats together.

extreme twister

Here’s a look at the whole room. 

entire room


Special thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate, and contributed in anyway. Special, special thanks to my sister for letting me plan this party for her. You’re a super star. Happy Birthday!

I took my GMAT…

As some of you know, I’ve been preparing to take my GMAT. Well… I took it. 

First things first. Anxiety is a serious monster. On the morning of my exam, I refused to get out of bed. I literally watched the clock get closer and closer to my exam time. I knew I needed to leave home at 7:00 AM if I wanted to make it to my exam site on time… but 6:00 came, and I was still in bed. 6:30? Same thing. Finally, at 6:45, I mustered enough strength to text my dad “I need your help.” Thank God for his and my friends’ words that got me out of bed. I got ready and left home by 7:10 AM. Oh! I GOT LOST. But I made it to the site at a reasonable time.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the GMAT, you’re given a raw score at the end of the exam. Certain portions of the exam still need to be processed and graded…but that’s the gist. And when I got my raw score, I was crushed.

The exam is difficult. For someone who has test anxiety, struggles with math, and doesn’t like to be in one place for too long… it was a nightmare! When I left the examination site that day, I felt defeated. I beat myself up for a while. (That’s part of the reason I’ve been gone for so long.)

“Maybe if I started preparing earlier.”

“What if I enrolled in classes?”

“Perhaps I didn’t put in enough hours.”


I’m not ashamed to tell you that I cried. A lot. That’s actually why I’m here. There are so many success stories circulating the internet…so many posts about exciting news. When I got my score, I felt like there was something wrong with me. But there isn’t. Not everyone excels on the first try. And there’s no need to suffer in silence. There is no need to suffer alone.

If you’re ever feeling down, like you don’t know where you’re going… remember this:

  • Walt Disney was once fired from a newspaper because he lacked imagination.
  • Steven Spielberg was rejected from a prestigious film school, which now has a building named after him.
  • JK Rowling’s Harry Potter manuscript was rejected multiple times.
  • Oprah Winfrey was fired from a news channel because she was unfit for television.

Failure is nothing to be afraid of. Use it as a catapult to the next step! 

“Dust yourself off and try again.” -Aaliyah

SHEIN: What’s in My Cart?

Online shopping is possibly the best development since sliced bread. It combines the comfort of being wherever the heck you want to be and the joy of getting new things.

Shopping online is one of my favorite pastimes. (Don’t worry, sometimes I just window-shop). If we’re being completely honest, there’s never a time I am NOT online shopping. There is always something in my cart…somewhere. Recently, I stumbled upon a new site that is filled with all sorts of goodies: SHEIN.COM

I thought it would be fun for us to take a look… What’s in my cart?!

 


For those of you who mightn’t be interested in shopping there, check out these at other sites and use the promo codes!

  • Forever 21- take an extra 30% off sale items with code EXTRA30 (online & for a limited time only)
  • Boohoo – 50% off everything with code GIMME50, including menswear
  • Fashion Nova – use code HAPPY20 for 20% off your purchase