Passing Notes: The Carlsbad outlet mall

imageWhen I was driving back from San Diego on Sunday, I saw the Carlsbad outlet mall out of my peripheral vision. It would have been rude not to stop, right?

I’m getting so much better at outlet shopping. I don’t need to go in every store and I only buy things that are bargains and fabulous. I did quite well on this trip.

I started at Kate Spade. I found a great black and white striped overnight bag. It folds into a pouch for storage and will be great for traveling or as an extra gym bag. I also bought a pair of large rhinestone, go-with-everything earrings. The entire store was 40% off and the overnight bag was additional 20% off on top of the 40%. Score!

Then I headed to Banana Republic. I was very selective. I found a black silk pleated midi skirt and a black sweater. The skirt was $70, but then it was 60% off. I had a $20 reward coupon so the skirt was basically $8. I wore it to school today and I love it. I predict it will be one of my favorite fall purchases.

Then, I went to the Gap. I found a super cute maroon and navy striped dress and a super comfy pair of black pajamas. These items were on sale, but not super cheap. I just liked the simplicity of the dress. It will be perfect on a busy morning when I don’t want to overthink my outfit. I love Gap pj’s! The fabric is so soft. I think this is the fourth or fifth pair I have bought. I like this pair in black because they look more like lounge wear and less like pajamas. I could go and get my mail wearing this outfit and not be embarrassed if I ran into a neighbor.

My last stop was at the Crate and Barrel outlet. I broke a few of my water glasses and I was lucky that they carried the same style. In addition to the glasses, I found some super cute to-go cardboard food containers. I don’t know what I will use them for, but I knew I had to have them. The black and white pattern would look adorable with an orange tulle bow and filled with Halloween treats.

All in all, this was a successful visit and I am happy with my purchases!

Homework: What is your all-time favorite outlet purchase?


Passing Notes: Dollar Tree heaven!

imageHave you been to a Dollar Tree lately? I had a few extra minutes before a meeting tonight, and I happened upon a Dollar Tree store. OMG, caps, I found so many awesome things. It was a good thing that I didn’t have a lot of time, because I could have done some serious damage. This is what I found in ten minutes…
2 sets of Halloween coasters that would be great as a hostess gift
25 Halloween treat bags
2 Halloween cupcake kits because I love cupcakes
16 gold medal winner necklaces for my office staff to wear on spirit day
12 dollar sign bling rings that I had to have, why, I don’t know!
4 multi packs of Extra gum that will be given as gifts with a “you are EXTRAordinary!” gift tag

I WILL be back with more money and more time!

Homework: 99 Cent Store or Dollar Tree?

Passing Notes: Back to school shopping at The Outlets at Orange

imageOne of my favorite back to school traditions is picking out my first day of school dress. I was starting to think this was going to be the year that I didn’t have something to new to wear :(. However, I solved the problem by heading to The Outlets at Orange for a quick shopping trip. It is always best to hit an outlet mall on a holiday weekend, because stores usually offer extra discounts and incentives.

My first stop is always the Banana Republic outlet. I was greeted with huge signs that read “50% off entire store.” Music to my ears! And, I also had $20 worth of reward coupons. I ended up buying three dresses, a leopard wrap dress for $19.99, a navy shift with a lemon and lime pattern, and a navy blue fit and flare dress. I will be wearing these new frocks during the first week of school. Dresses are so easy! One piece, add a necklace, and you are ready to go! I also found three lightweight sweaters, gray with yellow polka dots, a leopard pattern, and a black and ivory striped “ciao” sweater. They look good on their own, but look even better layered with a denim work shirt. I also found two cute tank tops that will be great to layer with, one black with white hearts and the other is hot pink with a tiny bee print. They will be perfect with a pencil skirt and cardigan. Three dresses, three sweaters and two tops totaled $200. Now I need it to cool down so I can start wearing sweaters!

Next, I stopped by the Old Navy outlet. I am in love with all their graphic t-shirts. I wanted to buy them all, but settled on the black “j’adore” and white “holy chic” shirts.

My last stop was at the Ann Taylor factory store. They had the same deal as Banana, 50% off everything. I found this adorable black dress with tan polka dots for $20 and multi-strand pink necklace.

I really wanted to go to the Nordstrom Rack, as I have $200 in Nordstrom Notes, but I was all shopped out! Next time!

Homework: What is your favorite back to school tradition?

Passing Notes: I like big sales and I cannot lie…

imageInfo I do like big sales, and the Nordstrom Anniversary sale is my annual opportunity to stock up on basics that I will wear all year long. There is a lot of buying and returning while I am making major decisions. I like to take things home, and try them on with other pieces I own. Once I have my final purchases decided, I will post and share them. I did pick out great items this year!


In the meantime, I wanted to share one of my best and most useful purchases. From my other posts, you can tell that I work out a lot. I always wear Nike shoes, mostly LuLu Lemon tops and Zella capris. The Zella Live In capris are part of the Anniversary sale each year, so I buy enough to last until next summer. I used to buy LuLu Lemon pants, but they are so expensive. The Zella capris go on sale for $28.90 and I usually buy at least four pairs. It’s almost three pairs of Zella’s for the price of one pair of LuLu’s. The ones I bought last year are still in good condition, too! I always wash them inside out, I don’t put them in the dryer, and I hang them over my banister to dry. The black slim fit are my favorite, but I have branched out and bought a few of their fun colors. This year, I bought the royal blue version.

Her is a little known fact… Zella is the Nordstrom house brand of workout wear and it’s very similar to LuLu Lemon quality, as Zella allegedly poached one of LuLu’s top designers.

Homework: What’s your favorite brand of workout clothes?

Passing Notes: Rediscovering Ross, Dress for Less!

Recently, I had a few extra minutes between meetings and a Ross, Dress for Less was close by. I hadn’t been in one in years, so I thought it would be fun to pop in and see what they had. Well, $60 later…

I found these great storage bins to use in my closet. I swear all I do is wash and fold work out clothes. I just wear them again right away, so I decided to switch to bins for easy access. Plus, I don’t have to be super careful about folding everything. I can just dump the clean clothes in the bins. The best part of the bins is that they say Paris, London, and New York on them. All cities where I have run marathons. The big bin was $11.99 and the small one was $6.99. Organization makes me happy!


I also found these great lap desks for $6.99 each. I bought one for me and one for my mom. I play on my IPad while in bed or on the couch and sometimes it gets really hot on my legs. This cute lap desk will solve that problem and make it easy to write notes and cards in bed. It was an added bonus that mine matches my bedspread.


My last purchase was this adorable tank top for $11.99. How could I resist a bedazzled bike shirt that says, “Live your dreams,” on it! This will be great to throw on after spin class.

All in all it was a productive trip. The home goods section had a ton of great deals. Lots of fun things for summer entertaining. I didn’t need anything, but I will definitely go back the next time I throw a party.

Homework: What is your favorite discount store?

Passing Notes: Summer prep at Costco

imageMy summer officially starts this afternoon and I can’t wait! In order to get ready I took a trip to Costco. I canceled my Costco membership about a year ago because buying in bulk wasn’t really working for this single girl. I really didn’t
miss my monthly Costco runs until I went to help a friend prep his beach house for the summer. There were so many fun things to buy! I am ridiculously excited about my new Tommy Bahama backpack chair. It has cup holders and a pillow! Now I can ride my beach cruiser and I will be able to take my chair with me. It will also be great for Movie Monday nights and outdoor concerts 🙂 I was also able to buy a two-pack of my favorite sunscreen, Neutrogena’s Beach Defense. I wrote a whole Honor Roll post about this sunscreen that I lovingly call the “force field.” It was a great deal and I am stocked up for the summer. I was very responsible with my shopping. I bought the chair, sunscreen, and two big bags of frozen fruit, $65 total. It would have been easy to get carried away. I’m not going to lie, I was tempted to buy a stand up paddle board, wagon, and beach tent!

Homework: What do you need to prepare for summer?

Passing Notes: HauteLook

imageDo you know about Hautelook? I recently was told about this app/website and I’m pretty much obsessed. It’s the online version of Nordstrom Rack and anything you buy on the site can be returned to your local Nordstrom Rack. You get free shipping on purchases of $100 or more, and the returns are free when you return your items to the Rack. Be warned, there are great deals and the site is addictive! You are welcome 🙂

Homework: What is your favorite shopping website or app?

Passing Notes: Do you Birchbox?

imageOne of my new favorite discoveries this year is Birchbox…

Birchbox helps you find products that you’ll love. Try our monthly subscription service, explore our personalized shop, or start with our editor tips and tricks.

Here is how it works… You sign up at Birchbox for $10 a month. You fill out a survey to let the folks at Birchbox know what you like. Once a month you get a box of samples to try. I love getting my Birchbox samples in the mail. It’s so fun to try out new products! I have what I like to call “mini kits” in all my gym bags, in my desk, and in my car. Each kit has a mascara, lip gloss, powder, sunscreen, and concealer for quick fixes. My Birchbox samples come in handy when I travel or have to get ready on the go! I highly recommend signing up for Birchbox.

Birchbox sells full size products of each sample, and you earn points for each purchase, including the $10 monthly subscription. I’m super excited for my May Birchbox. I had the option to add a Kate Spade mirror necklace to my box for only $20. I couldn’t resist!

Homework: How would you use these samples?

Passing Notes: Run, don’t walk to The Gap!

imageEverything at The Gap, including sale items, is 40% off this weekend! Check out the deals I scored.  I bought 2 blazers, 1 dress, and 1 pair of Kelly green pants (hello, St. Patty’s day!). All totaled $60!  I also bought a pair of white boyfriend jeans, very on trend according to People Stylewatch, and a pair of camouflage khakis. The camo khakis are amazing!

Passing Notes: Once and Again in Laguna Beach

imageI stumbled upon a darling new store in Laguna beach on Friday. I was driving down PCH and was drawn in by colorful teal umbrellas and signage. I have been looking for a vintage desk to use as a vanity and there was one out front that I fell in love with immediately. The owner was so nice and even delivered it to my house! They have lovely furniture and accessories. If you are in Laguna, check it out! They don’t have a website, but they have a Facebook page.