favorite online stores

Preparing for Next Year (or the next 2 months)

If you've been to a department store or the mall lately, then you've noticed that in retail-world, its swimsuit season already. Here in Cleveland, and really, all over the northern US, we're still freezing our butts off. Needless to say, its a FANTASTIC time to buy coats!! Why? Because they're ridiculously on sale, like this J.Crew beauty that I ordered last week.

It was an extra 40% off the sale price when I bought it, so the grand total was a whopping 65% the original price!!!! If you're in the market for a new coat, I recommend taking a look at what's out there right now; all the major retailers are offering huge discounts, and there are some great great deals to be had. I will say, that you're probably "safer" picking out a classic style, or at the very least, something that you absolutely LURVE, and that you're likely to still love next year. In any case, you'll still get to use it until March, maybe even April!!!

Forest City Portage: great gifts for men and women

Until a few years ago, I had no idea that Cleveland had such a vibrant art scene. Since that discovery, I've been fortunate to meet some incredibly talented Clevelanders. One of those people is Michael Hudecek, the enterpreneur and artist behind Forest City Portage.

If you live/work/drive around downtown/Ohio City/Tremont/Lakewood (I'm sure there's similar spots on the east side too), you may have noticed an increase in the amount of bicycles around town. Forest City Portage has a number of bags specially suited to bike riders, but they work for pretty much anyone looking for a cool, unique bag.

The products above are available at Forest City Portage's etsy site.

In addition to the work featured on his new site (still in soft-launch), Michael does custom work, so feel free to contact him if you're looking to give someone a super special, personalized gift!

You know you want one!

Flamenco Scarves

One of my favorite things about fall is that its the start of scarf season!! I love scarves! Not as much as I like handbags and shoes, but they're definitely a close third. I own a lot of brightly colored scarves, but in keeping with this fall's theme of neutrals, I have my eye on this gorgeous gold flamenco scarf:

Flamenco scarf $17 (plus shipping) on etsy

What accessories will you be adding to your fall wardrobe this year?

I'm Gilt-y

Earlier this year I was introduced to Gilt, which was simulatenously the best and worst thing anyone has ever recommended to me. Best, because its so awesome; worst, because I really don't need more avenues to shop. If you're unfamiliar with Gilt, its a member's-only site that features "sample sales" by well known designers. The stuff they offer is extremely high quality and extremely discounted (compared to retail), and includes designers like Alexander McQueen, Furla, Donna Karan, Judith Ripka, just to name a few. Here's the best part; not only do they offer clothing, jewelry and accessories for women, but they also feature a full selection of items for men, children, and home. They also do vacations, but I'm frankly unfamiliar with how those work. If you would like to join and you're looking for a membership referral, email me with your email address, and I will send you an invite (its really not that exclusive, you could probably just sign up yourself, but I'm happy to invite you if it will be easier. Full disclosure: if you buy something, I will get a $25 credit, so there's something in it for me too : ))

Here's the pros and cons:
Pro: One-of-a-kind designer merchandise
Pro: deep discounts
Pro: they  have an app so you can log on wherever you are
Pro: high quality stuff
Pro: you will look absolutely fabulous in anything you buy
Pro: excellent customer service
Pro: free returns (please check return policy on individual items)

Con: shipping charges. There is no free shipping
Con: stuff sells out quickly. And I mean REALLY quickly. The sales usually begin at noon, and if its a hot designer, they could be sold out by 12:30. SO, either stay at your desk at noon, or use your iPhone/iPod Touch app.
Con: if you're looking for overnight delivery, its not going to happen. Each sale has a different time horizon, and they're really good about letting you know approximate delivery dates. But, if you're looking for somewhat instant gratification, you should probably use another website.

N and I are in home-decorating mode and were lucky to fine this awesome candelabra ($44) and cocktail shaker ($26).

Oooh, I can't wait to have an extra-dirty martinis with extra olives by candelight!