advice, fashion, lifestyle, shopping, tips

Smart (and Free!) Ways to Save Money While Online Shopping

Hi all,

So, this is probably no secret by now, but I have quite the passion for online shopping. I love finding new looks and am constantly browsing my favorite sites for new items.

Seeing those packages at my doorstep is always a pleasant surprise to come home to, especially when I get to do fun try-ons and share my finds with you all here and on my Instagram.

One of my absolute favorite parts about online shopping is finding great deals or other ways to save money, and any way that I’m able to save or find quality items for cheaper is a huge win in my eyes.

Since I do a lot of shopping and bargain hunting, I’ve discovered many great methods for saving, and sometimes even earning, extra money while I shop.

Here’s a list of my top online shopping hacks, and they’re all completely free!

1. Join Flash Sale Websites

There are a ton of websites out there that offer flash sales for top brands. Basically, they sell quality items that are overstocked or are no longer considered New Arrivals, for a fraction of the original price.

The sales typically last for a few days each, and these sites have a bunch of new sales going on every single day!

My top favorite flash sale sites are Hautelook (by Nordstrom), Saks Off 5th (by Saks 5th Avenue) and Ruelala.

These sites all offer frequently feature top expensive brands with large percentages off, and they all offer free shipping after a certain dollar amount is in your cart. Ruelala even offers free shipping for 365 days with a one-time purchase.

You do need to sign up for an account to purchase from the sites, but all 3 accounts are completely free to sign up for and use.

If you like to buy designer or higher-end merchandise but don’t want to pay a ridiculously high price, these sites are great for you.

Click any of these links to sign up for the sites: Hautelook, Saks Off 5th, Ruelala.

2. Use Cash Back Add-Ons

Have you ever heard of apps like Ebates or Honey? They are getting more popular but a lot of people still don’t know about these amazing tools that literally pay you to shop!

You download the apps either on your phone or as an add-on to your web browser (or both!) and, voila! You start to get cash back for your shopping.

When you navigate to a website, the Ebates or Honey add-on will ask you to “activate” whatever percentage of cash back is available for that site. Once you do that, cash back will be added to your account after you make a purchase.

It’s so easy, and I’ve already gotten back hundreds of dollars using these apps.

Sign up using my links and you can get a bonus $10 to start yourself off: Ebates, Honey.

3. Shop Around Before Buying

When I’m shopping, my goal isn’t just to get something on sale. It’s to get it for the absolute lowest price available.

So even if I see an item is on sale, I don’t stop there. I usually plug it into Google or another site to see if any other stores are offering lower prices.

I like using Google Shopping because not only does it show you the price of the item from multiple stores, it also shows results for different colors of that item are available.

Simply go to and type in the name of the item you’re looking for.

It’s always better to be more specific, so try to copy and paste the exact name of the product from the original site if you can find it.

If you can’t find the original name, Google may include results for some similar products, but I’ve actually found items that I liked even better than the original that way!

4. Track Items Before You Buy

Sometimes there’s a bag or pair of shoes that I just have to have, but it isn’t on sale. Rather than buying it at full price, I decide to wait a little and see if the price goes down.

Price tracking apps are perfect for situations like this, because they keep track of your favorite items and notify you when things go on sale

There are a lot of apps like this, but Shoptagr and Lyst are two of the highest rated, and also happen to be two of my favorites.

Not only do they keep track your favorite items and stores for sales, they also help you find other places where the items are available! Never miss a sale, or have trouble finding a great item, again.

I hope the tips above help you save some money and become the savviest shopper you can be.

What other tips and tricks do you have about saving (or even earning) money while shopping? Share in the comments below so we can all help one another score big!

Stay tuned for more future posts where I’ll share some of my best finds, my favorite online retailers, and other great tips.

Thanks for stopping by 🙂 ❤

beauty, lifestyle

Top Picks: Hair Straightening Products

Hi all!

I’ve decided to do a new series of posts with my top picks of products, and the first one is about hair straightening products!

My natural hair is a mix of curls/waves/general unruliness, so when I want to look a little more dressed up or put together, I usually go with a straight style.

I also have very thick hair, which is both a blessing and a curse, and requires me to go through a couple of different steps to get my hair straight.

The steps and the products I use for each one are outlined below (with links to buy!), but if you have been blessed with more cooperative hair, you may be able to skip over some steps.

Step 1: Protect from heat

Garnier Fructis Flat Iron Mist OR Maui Moisture Blowout Mist

Since I typically blow-dry and straighten my hair, I want to protect it from heat damage as much as possible.

The Garnier Fructis spray has been my go-to for years, but I’ve recently discovered Maui Moisture and I like that as well.

I kind of alternate between the two at this point, and I’ve found that both work well, although I do love the smell of the Maui Moisture.

After washing my hair I towel dry (squeeze, don’t rub to avoid extra frizziness) and then spray all over with one of these mists.

Step 2: Blow Smooth

Conair Infiniti Pro 3-in-1 Hair Dryer

This Conair hair dryer was super cheap and is super effective in smoothing out my hair.

Sometimes, if I want a more wavy, blown out look I will stop after Step 2. In fact, my current profile picture for this blog shows how my hair looks with just the blow-drying.

This dryer is amazing because it comes with a few different attachments that you use like a brush.

There is a different version of it, the Conair Ion Shine Ionic Styler, that I used for years, but because my hair is so thick the attachments would get stuck and either break, or get pulled off the base and fall onto the floor where they would crack.

Conair doesn’t sell the attachments separately, so I bought 2 additional dryers over the years purely because of broken attachments!

I got tired of this after a while and that’s when I found the more advanced model, the Conair Infiniti Pro.

This attachments snap into place rather than sliding on, and even my tough hair hasn’t managed to pul them free yet. 🙂

It also has a range of heat settings and power, which is great because I tend to dry my hair on the Warm setting rather than Hot (too much heat can make a freshly-washed scalp a little sweaty/greasy).

Step 3: Straighten

Chi Air Straightener OR MiroPure Straightener Brush

I have had my Chi straightener for years (as you can tell by the picture) and it really is durable.

This thing has traveled everywhere with me and still works as well as it did the first day I purchased it.

I usually put it on ~350˚ for straghtening (again, due to the texture of my hair) and divide my hair into 2 layers. I’ll straighten the bottom layer and then do the top.

I also recently got this l MiroPure brush for Christmas and have been using that instead of my Chi when I’m in a rush.

I’ve tried straightening brushes in the past and pretty much accepted the fact that they were not made for my hair type.

They would somehow manage to make my hair MORE frizzy, or simply not straighten out my kinks and waves at all.

My brother got me this MiroPure brush for Christmas and I decided to try it out. I wads very pleasantly surprised that it DOES straighten my hair!

I keep it at high heat (~375˚F) and run it through my hair like a regular brush.

I do try to get the underneath parts of my hair and then brush the top, and get sections in between.

It doesn’t make my hair pin straight but it smooths it out leaving a bit of volume (which I actually like) and is so easy to use.

Step 4: Lock It In

Frizz-Ease Moisture Barrier Hairspray

You’ll probably see this spray in a few of my hair Top Picks, because I use it all the time.

After straightening my hair, I have a lot of little pieces on top that tend to stick up.

I spray just a bit of the Frizz Ease on the top of my hair and then smooth it out with my hands, which prevents it from clumping up or making the top of my head hard.

Sometimes if I’m going to brush my hair back instead of parting it I skip this step, but if you want a really polished and in-place look, this spray is a great finishing touch.

Those are my top picks for hair straightening products!

I’d love to hear your own experiences with these products, or if there are others you swear by for straight hair!

Drop a comment below and be sure to check back for my other Top Picks, coming soon!

advice, lifestyle blog, tips, wedding planning

Key Tips for Planning an Amazing Wedding

I can’t believe it has already been one month since the best day of my life! My wedding day truly felt perfect, and even though it took a lot of time and effort to make it happen, every second was totally worth it.

As I look back and remember the wonderful time I had planning and then attending my own wedding, I’m also reflecting on the process itself—what worked, what I could have done better, and what I wish I had known going into it.

I’ve wielded this down to four key things that I think it’s important to remember when planning a wedding. There are a lot of other things to consider, but keep these in mind to help take your wedding to the next level.

Do your homework

There are so many decisions to make when you start planning your wedding—where to have it, when to have it, what type of entertainment to include for the party…it’s a lot to think about, and going in blind can make the process even more complicated.

Before you meet with any vendors or commit to anything, compare your options online. Look at reviews written by other couples (The Knot and Wedding Wire have tons), and try to get price estimates (Wedding Spot has a calculator you can use that was pretty on par with the venues we actually got quotes from).

I would suggest doing a lot of your research online/by speaking with others rather than meeting in person with a lot of vendors up front.

Narrow it down to a few favorites and go see those in person—this will save you a lot of time and make your decision a little easier in the long run, because you’ll eliminate several before you even start setting up meetings.

Don’t be afraid to take suggestions from coworkers, friends, or family members (trust me, you will get a LOT of them). In the end, make your own decisions, but use the experience and advice of others to help guide you.

Make it personal

My husband and I really wanted our wedding to reflect who we are, both as individuals and as a couple. We tried to find fun little ways to incorporate our interests and passions into our wedding.

We got pretty into it and ended up adding a LOT of little details, but our guests thoroughly enjoyed them and my brother even saw it as a challenge to find all of the little “Easter eggs” hidden throughout the day.

Some of my favorite things we added that may spark ideas for you:

• Bitmoji cake topper

• Horror-themed hashtag/snapchat filter (#TheHillHaveIDos :P)

• Handmade book flowers (I surprised all of my bridesmaids with their favorite book/song lyrics for this!)

These things weren’t too expensive or difficult to add, and they really personalized the wedding for us. I definitely recommend integrating parts of yourself/your relationship into your wedding decor to truly make it your own.

Prioritize your spending

Ok, so you had to know something cost-related would be included in here. Throwing a wedding is so expensive, even for a discount shopping expert like myself.

Everyone’s budget and means are different, so you really have to talk with your s/o and anyone else who is helping pay for your wedding and set realistic expectations.

Once your budget is set, a tip for ensuring you don’t go overboard is to prioritize.

What can you absolutely not live without?

Where can you potentially cut back a little or go with something cheaper without sacrificing the vision you have for your big day?

My husband and I picked a few key things that we wanted to splurge on, and then found ways to make up the cost elsewhere.

We splurged on our photographer/videographer because we felt that it was really important to have the beautiful memories of the day captured, and once we found our company we knew no one else could do a better job for us.

We also chose to add a fireworks display offered by our venue, which we didn’t tell any of our guests about beforehand and definitely added a huge wow factor.

We got lucky with flowers; I wanted mainly book flowers for the bridesmaids, and since we got married 10 days before Christmas our church was already beautifully decorated.

We kept it simple with some pew bows and went with winter greens, pine cones, and Christmas lights for our reception centerpieces, which turned out beautifully and saved us a lot of money.

We put together our Christmas ornament favors ourselves to save a bit there, decided we could do without church programs, and I did a lot of cute DIY-type things for my bridesmaid gifts. I found a lot of great ideas and tutorials on Pinterest, so definitely look there if you’re going the DIY route.

Overall, we probably spent what the average couple does these days on a wedding, but felt that our experience and ambiance were well above average.

I’m so glad we decided to save money in certain areas in order to splurge on others, and definitely see it as an effective way of getting more bang for your buck.

Let go and enjoy it

When it comes to your wedding day, the only that actually matters is that you have fun. I repeat, the ONLY thing that matters on your wedding day is that you and your s/o have a good time. Seriously, things will go wrong.

My beautiful wedding gown actually ripped during our reception (you can see it in some of the pictures) but even as I heard the unmistakable tear of fabric as a guest stepped on my train for the 45394th time, I took a deep breath, smiled, and decided that I would worry about t later.

I was still fully covered, every part my dress was intact, and it certainly wasn’t preventing me from walking around or dancing, so…oh well!

I know it sounds crazy for me to be so aloof about a dress I spent a lot of money on and months getting fitted for, but the reality is, there was nothing I could do in that moment and I wasn’t going to let one little mishap be the thing to define the biggest day of my life.

I should add a disclaimer here that I am normally not this cool about things going wrong AT ALL. I’m a lifelong perfectionist who obsesses about every detail and I definitely tend to overreact when things don’t go as planned.

So, how did I let go and stay cool the day of?

In the months leading up to my wedding, I heard so many stories from friends, family members, and colleagues about things that had gone wrong at their weddings.

My one college buddy’s cake fell over onto the floor before it was brought out at the reception (honestly, I was at this wedding and had no idea the cake was missing…trust me, your guests don’t notice nearly as much as you think they will…) and her mom immediately started breaking down.

My friend, the bride, assured her mom it was fine, stayed calm, and asked the wait staff to cut up the remaining part of the cake that hadn’t fallen and serve it to the guests. The

night went on without anyone knowing what had happened and without my friend feeling disappointed on her big day.

Stories like this one helped me mentally prepare for the fact that things would inevitably get messed up on my wedding day.

Therefore, I decided in advance that I was not going to worry about things I couldn’t control when the day finally came.

Weeks before my wedding I started reciting to myself things like “the day will be perfect no matter what happens,” and “if I can’t control it I’m not going to worry about it.”

These became mantras that I would repeat to myself daily, sometimes even multiple times a day, and it worked like a charm.

The mindset almost became second nature, and by the time my wedding day rolled around I really was able to ignore all of the nonsense and just have a great time.

I cannot stress enough how big of a difference this made for me and how glad I am that I mentally prepared myself to make my own feelings and enjoyment the highest priority on my wedding day.

The big bonus was that so many of my guests told me afterwards that the thing they enjoyed most at the wedding was seeing how incredibly happy my husband and I looked the entire time.

There will always be another time to stress, to worry, or to get upset over plans gone astray. Your wedding day is the one time to take a break from all of that and simply be happy.

Planning a wedding is not easy. I gets really stressful and frustrating, and since a lot of us these days are planning on our own dimes and with plenty of other time-consuming priorities to work around, it can seem like an impossible feat.

But there are SO many resources and tools to help you plan the perfect wedding for you and your spouse.

The key thing to focus on is how you can make the day best represent the two of you, and how you can make it the most fun for yourselves.

With all of the craziness going on in the world lately, just finding someone you truly love and who loves you back is rare—I personally consider it a miracle. And that is the whole reason for having a wedding.

As long as you view your wedding as a celebration of your love and the start of a wonderful life for you and your s/o, you’ll be just fine.

And I am always happy to answer questions or offer up advice! Leave a comment bellow or send me a message on Instagram.

You can also leave a comment if you have some additional wedding advice you want to share with others.

Thanks so much for visiting this post and I hope to see you on my blog again! ❤


All photos courtesy of MPW Media Group