Goodwill Find

The Goodwill is a magical place. From placemats to fanny packs, you can always find an interesting piece or a hidden gem. Armed with patience  and money (and in my case also allergy medicine), hitting up the Goodwill is fun and financially sound. In the Tulsa area they offer 25% off everything on every last Friday of the month. That day being yesterday, my sister and I thought it would be a great idea to browse through one of our local stores. Hence this post on the goodies I personally scored.

The first items that caught my eye were these brand new DKNY jeans (normally $68) and this beautifully pink button up from Old Navy. For a while now I’ve had my eye on the Chanel Espadrilles (yeah right) and when I saw these never worn, similar espadrilles from Steve Madden (Ceciile style) I thought for $6.75 a girl can’t go wrong.
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So, funny story. As we were checking out I happened to take one last glance through a display case and a little golden bar caught my eye. YES, I found a Marc by Marc Jacobs Classic Q Lil Ukita at the Goodwill for $27. I have a little Marc by Marc Jacobs collection going on, as he designs some of my favorite handbags, and I could not leave this little baby at the Goodwill. The bag is in overall good shape, just the smaller handle has more wear. I thought about trying to send it to handbag rehab, but now I think I like the little touches of extra character. What do y’all think?

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In the very first picture you can also see that I got just two books this trip: “Casual Vacancy” (J.K. Rowling) and “Faithful Place” (Tana French). SIDENOTE: Highly recommend this series by Tana French. Thrift stores are my go to place for new reading material besides my library. It’s safe to say I’m a bookaholic, which isn’t so good for my bookshelf space. Also, my sister is going to be a first year teacher this fall (wish her good luck!) and she got some great steals on necessities for her class room! You seriously can’t beat the Goodwill.

-Miranda

Ulta Shopping Tips: From an Employee

Ulta TipsAfter working at Ulta Beauty for two years, I have discovered many tricks for getting the best deal, so I thought I might as well share them! Remember that Ulta stores vary, along with the associates and managers, so this list comes from my specific location. Some of these tips you may already know, but hopefully you can use this to your advantage at least once.
1. Coupons:
The most obvious way to save money at Ulta is with the coupons. Pretty much everyone already knows about the VERY popular $3.50 coupon and the ever illusive 20% off coupon. However, these little guys have several layers. The $3.50 excludes ALL “prestige” items (i.e. Urban Decay, BareMinerals, Stila, fragrance, etc.), so we always recommend to wait, if possible, and use the 20% off entire purchase coupon for those items.
ulta couponNow, speaking of the 20% off coupon, there are three different ones: one that comes in the newspaper/ad (same exclusions as the $3.50), a mailed postcard that works on anything except fragrance, and another postcard that works on absolutely everything. I recommend to read the itty-bitty fine print before going to the store so you are sure which coupon you have, to avoid surprises.

Ulta will also do bounce back coupons that print at the register after a purchase, usually $5 off $15 that is good for one week. These coupons have the same exclusions as the $3.50 coupon, but in the past customers have been able to use both the $5 and $3.5o off of the same transaction when they qualify. I’m not 100% if it still works, but just be very friendly to your cashier and ask if they will try! But if you’re being friendly, and this trick doesn’t work, usually cashiers will divide your transaction up so that you can still use all your coupons and save more $$. This can be done with multiple $3.50 off too.

YES, THE $3.50 CAN BE USED MORE THAN ONCE (it’s the only one that can).
Also, keep your eyes peeled for vendor coupons, because Ulta will combine these with other coupons when applicable (all company coupon policies are still followed here).

2. Gift with Purchase:
GWPs are extremely common in the Ulta marketing world. They’re those rotator_021614_1little deluxe size samples that come when you spend $X in X brand. My advice on this is to NOT go spend $40 on something that you weren’t going to buy anyways just for the GWP. I did that once before working at Ulta because I didn’t know that the gift was a sample; it’s honestly not worth it. Now, I will say that brands like Benefit, Laura Geller, BareMinerals, the prestige skincare brands, and fragrance usually have the better free gifts. I also want to mention to always check the ad and see if your purchase qualifies for a GWP, because usually the cashier will forget. They have to deal with many things going on at once and multiple free gifts, so just mention it.
3. Special Sales:
The best sale of the year is what we call “The Liter Sale” where most major pro haircare brands have liter sized shampoo/conditioner marked way down. Another great event that Ulta does is the “21 Days of Beauty” where each day, one item is on sale for that day only and usually 98% of the products are prestige. Both of these happen only twice a year, usually spring and fall.
4. Inventory:
At my store, we do inventory usually 3-5 times a year and afterwards there is always an abundance of clearance items. I would suggest asking your store about if they are doing inventory soon and then hitting it up after. Coupons usually can work for these items too, which is more savings.

5. Repackaging:

Companies, especially professional haircare brands, tend to repackage their products a lot. When this happens, the old packaging will be clearanced out to make way for the new design. It’s literally the same products, so be on the look out for these because you can get some great deals.
6. Leaving the Store:
Sometimes a particular location won’t be able to sell enough of a brand, so they mark it down to make room for a new company’s product. Our store did this with Cargo Cosmetics, Napoleon Perdis, POP!, and a few others last year. They were 75% off at our store and full price online.
7. Rewards Cards:
Screen-Shot-2014-03-25-at-11.38.03-AMGet a rewards card. Seriously. It’s basically like EBates where you get cash back for buying things you’d buy anyways. Then you also get birthday gifts and special offers through emails. I strongly advise to save your points at least to 1,000 ($50 off) before using them and to only use them in increments of 1,000 at a time, for the best value. To help bump up your points, make big purchases during times of bonus points (birthday months or activated through emails).
8. BE NICE TO THE EMPLOYEES:
Guys, honestly, we would give out GWPs from previous ads to customers who were nice and sometimes extra coupons that we had at the register. Become friends with your Ulta employees and see the benefits.
Anything I forgot? Sorry, I know it’s a long one! I’d love to hear if you guys have any other tips!
-Miranda

Welcome Spring!

We are 100% feeling spring here in Oklahoma! It’s even thunderstorming as I type this…that’s how we roll here. Anyways, it’s always SO BEAUTIFUL here this time of year and I thought I’d share some pictures! I just can’t keep all of this picturesque land to myself 😉DSC_0421 DSC_0430 DSC_0433 DSC_0435 DSC_0440 DSC_0442 DSC_0493DSC_0492 DSC_0499DSC_0496 DSC_0500   DSC_0501 DSC_0505482815_2806688977518_2071950649_n-1

Yes, I did take all of these myself; completely authentic!

An Explanation and Hello

wordpressMiddle school being tough would be an understatement. Add moving to a new school in 6th grade and being the “fat girl” to that, you get an even more unpleasant experience.

The name of this blog comes from one of those days. Repeatedly I was told that I wasn’t beautiful because I was a size that society deemed unacceptable. Fast forward many, many years and I now know what body confidence means. I hope I will be able to inspire girls and women alike from this blog.

-Miranda