Fashion Cupcake

Happy Monday!  Today I have the pleasure of featuring a brand spankin’ new, online boutique:  Fashion Cupcake!

My friend, Amanda officially launched Fashion Cupcake on Valentine’s Day of thiyear.  Check out this blurb from her that explains what they’re all about:

“We are a company that started based on the idea that fabulous fashion should always be affordable AND high in quality… Fashion Cupcake carries anything and everything from cute and feminine fashions to adorable affordable accessories and fun gift items!”

(The keywords I want you to pick up on are fabulous, fashion, and affordable…)

I looove boutiques, but more often than not, the prices are just not within my budget.  However, with Fashion Cupcake, you get the same unique designs and one-of-a-kind touches that you only see in boutique fashions, but for a far more affordable price.  Not to mention, Fashion Cupcake also has a sale section and an “Item of the Week,” both with great deals.  I like it.

Here are a few of my personal faves I found while browsing their selection (click on the image to redirect to the website):

Coral and gold earrings

Pleated orange dress

Gold and pearl ring with elastic band

Gold, orange, pleats, pearls… so many good things going on here :)

Go check out their website for even more loveliness:  And while you’re at it, you can check out their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter (or both) for updates on sales and new arrivals!

***The legal stuff:  I was not compensated for publishing this post, and all opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Check back tomorrow for another post in the Craigslist series!


Shop Small!

Today’s the day:  Small Business Saturday!  As I’ve mentioned in many a previous post, this is an American Express initiative to encourage consumers to shop small businesses in hopes of supporting the local community (and economy).  One last time (and I really do *promise* this time), here’s the link to my previous post:  Small Business Saturday.

Remember:  “shopping small” is as easy as skipping theStarbucks and instead, opting for the local cafe.  You don’t necessarily have to go on a  spree (but I’m not stopping you this time:)  ).  Even if you go to a local mom-and-pop kind of store and only buy ONE thing, that will make a difference.

To read all about it from the American Express folks, here’s the website:  Small Business Saturday

Shop small and have a great weekend!

***Coming up on Monday . . .

Show and Tell:  Thrifty Tree Decoratin’!

Pandora and Puppies

As we close the week and officially dive into holiday shopping season (whether we like it or not), I wanted to drop a quick note and remind you (yet again) about Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, especially since I won’t be posting over the weekend, per usual.

To remind yourself — or read for the first time — here are the links:

Small Business Saturday

Cyber Monday

If you’re reading this, I assume you either didn’t do Black Friday shopping or you’re already home… or you’re standing in line and reading this on your smartphone (oh, I hope the last one isn’t true for your sake!).

For the first time in I don’t know when, I am actually not going to be shopping on Black Friday.  I know, weird?!  (And believe me, I do miss it!)

This year, for the first time, Josh and I have made a commitment to make, re-purpose, or thrift ALL of our Christmas gifts — mostly because we want to see if we can do it :)  Believe me, I will be posting the crazy out of these various projects after the recipients receive their gifts, but until then,  I have to keep that stuff a secret (especially since a lot of my gift recipients read this).

So… instead of the Black Friday shopping thing, Josh and I are spending the day decorating our Christmas tree and apartment!  Yeah, we’re those day-or-two-after-Thanksgiving people.  To aid our holiday spiritedness, we’re using a FREE thing that many of you all know and love:  Pandora Internet Radio.

Pandora is a free internet radio service that offers a variety of stations for your listening pleasure (and did I mention it’s free?).  Yes, there are some ads and every once in a while they’ll play a brief commercial, but these are few and far between, and totally worth the trouble (and by trouble I mean, not really trouble at all).  Go check it out!

Here’s their website:

To save you some time, here’s a link to their Holiday stations:!/genres/holiday

Currently, they have twelve holiday stations, including: Christmas, Swingin’ Christmas, Children’s Christmas, Classical, Country, R&B/Pop Holiday, Rockin’ Christmas, Christian Contemporary, Indie, Navidad Latina, Electronic, and even a Hannukah station. Yeah, lots of options… and that’s just their holiday stations!   I give Swingin’ Christmas my highest recommendation… but that’s just me :)  There are even more options if you’re not yet in the holiday music spirit (but I’m in the holiday spirit some time around October 2nd, so ya know…)

All right, that’s all she wrote for today.  Off to tree decorating, hot chocolate sipping, and who knows? Maybe I’ll make some reindeer antlers for Nola and Margeaux…  wait, that actually sounds like a great idea :)

Speaking of my dogs, here’s a picture of them.  You know, because you haven’t seen enough of them before, right?!

Free dog bed

Nola and Margeaux snuggling up in their new dog bed that cost ZERO dollars. Also known as FREE. Yes! (Originally $200. Jealous?) Oh and by the way, it is bed bug free. We already thought about that.


Twelve Weeks of Christmas, Week 6 (continued): Cyber Monday

***”Twelve Weeks of Christmas?  Is this some evil ploy driven by corporate greed to get even more money out of me and my vulnerable, consumer-driven wallet?”  No, not exactly…. this is just a blog!  But if you want to check out the other parts in this ongoing, 12-part series, which are not particularly evil and only mildly consumer-driven, check it out right here.  You won’t be sorry.

***ALSO, check out previous parts in week 6, “Black Friday Shopping Tips” and “Small Business Saturday.”  Kind of like a series within a series… a miniseries?  No, that doesn’t work… sounds like something on the Lifetime channel.  Anyways, check it out!

Ok y’all, I’ve asked you to put on your “focus pants” before– today I need you to turn on your listening ears (and whatever other metaphoric accessories will help you pay attention).  Today we’re talking about…

Cyber Monday!

My thoughts exactly. (Though I'm not sure why the heart has eyes and a smile. Creepy.)

Now, about ten, fifteen years ago, back in the age of chat rooms and “the-internet-is-still-a-novelty” this would have sounded like a very naughty thing, indeed.  So, dirty jokes aside, Cyber Monday is my favorite shopping holiday!

I love the internet (did I mention that a couple…3 dozen times?).  I love shopping!  I love getting a good deal (“duh” to the fifth power).  When all three of these things merge in a sweet, sweet union — in a weird kind of polygamist who’s-the-real-bride-and-groom thing — I am one happy lady!

(Quick, not boring) History Lesson:  Cyber Monday began as an official shopping holiday in 2005, after online retailers noticed an upsurge of online shopping during the weekend (and week) after Thanksgiving.  Wanting to capitalize on this,, the National Retail Federation’s digital edition, declared the Monday after Thanksgiving “Cyber Monday,” thus encouraging online retailers to reduce prices or offer a percentage off their purchase, free shipping, free gifts, et al.  Needless to say, the holiday took off and has only grown over the past years.

History lesson aside, Cyber Monday is a day to get some of the best deals imaginable, but careful planning is key for success.  So… guess what?  I made a list!  (I know what you’re thinking:  I never do that :)  )  Well, kind of a list, kind of a step-by-step, ya know… it’ll all be clear very soon.  And soon = NOW:

1.  Review your Christmas list, specifically what you have left to buy.

I know… Black Friday and Small Business Saturday haven’t even gotten here yet!  However, for some items on your list, it will be clear that you won’t find those things on either of these days (or you’ve already looked at the websites I recommended and know that you won’t find what you need on Black Friday).  Small Business Saturday comes with hidden surprises, so wait until after that before you make any solid decisions, but you should still have some idea of what you’re going to need/want online.

(Oh, and if you’re at a loss for online resources, look no further than this post.)

2.  After you’ve figured out what you may need to purchase online, comparison shop to find the best prices.

Bookmark these websites, save the links in an e-mail to yourself, whatever.  Obviously, the price you see today may be reduced on Monday, but it will usually be relative to its original price on the website.  If you have an extra minute and you feel pretty strongly about a particular website (for example, my go-to’s are Amazon and Overstock), go ahead and save yourself some time in the future and set up an account with them (this is a free account by the way, I’m not saying to open up a credit card account with them — Danger, Will Robinson!).

3.  Sign-up for e-mails, Facebook friend them or subscribe to their Tweets (or all three).

By registering for an account, you will probably already get their e-mails, but some companies give special deals to their Twitter followers or Facebook friends, so it’s worth the short-term hassle if it means you’ll get an incredible coupon or free shipping.  Needless to say, after Cyber Monday, you can unsubscribe (until next year, of course).

4.  Log in to your account with these websites, and add the necessary items to your cart (but don’t buy them yet!).

Most websites will save the items you added to your cart, and then when Cyber Monday rolls around, you have a much easier job!  You’ve already comparison shopped, so based on the price drops for the big day, you can remove or add more items to your cart.

5.  Check out

Here’s the link:   It’s basically what it sound like: a website dedicated to my fave shopping holiday, and sometimes it divulge leaked promos or other offers that will be available.

6.  Get up early!

This is important, especially if you have to work that day (though the National Retail Federation says that 50% of people who work at a desk with a computer will use it for shopping on Cyber Monday, so I’m not necessarily encouraging you to shop online while at work, but getting up extra early won’t hurt!).  Again, if you already have your virtual shopping cart full, it’s just a matter of double-checking with their Cyber Monday deals (sometimes you have to spend x number of dollars to get free shipping), then entering your credit card information, and wa-bam!  Done.

Another reason to get up early:  Online stores, though they are online, i.e. part of the world wide web, can CRASH or SELL OUT of the items you are wanting.  Eek!  So, get that worm early, early birds (there’s a proverb in there somewhere).

7.  Check out big box retailers’ websites as well.

Traditionally, that’s what Black Friday is for, but in case you were pining away for something and weren’t able to get it on Black Friday, you can still try to find it on their website (,,, ya know).  These big box websites often surprise with some lovely Cyber Monday deals, so check them out!


I know, I know…. I talk about Etsy a lot, but I also talk about my husband a lot and it turns out, I like him… this is also how I feel about Etsy :) (though to a slightly lesser degree).

I know I mentioned this website in my Online Shopping Tips and Tricks post, so you may already be two steps ahead of me, but I can’t mention online shopping without giving Etsy a little love (and no, they don’t pay me to say this… but they could.  Etsy advertising people?  Are you listening? :) )

Since Etsy is an online marketplace comprised of various individuals who have virtual storefronts selling a variety of things, you won’t find any site-wide deals.  However, my tip (that has actually worked for me before) is to contact a seller directly.  Once you find an item or items that you want to buy, contact the seller (via the contact methods given) and ask about their Cyber Monday deals… or ask if they plan to participate in Small Business Saturday.  It doesn’t hurt to ask, and if you start a dialogue with them, sometimes you can open up the possibilities of haggling (quite possibly one of my favorite words in the English language).  Explain to them that you really want such-and-such item, but you plan on setting aside all online transactions for Cyber Monday in hopes that there’ll be some discounts or other perks.  Of course, the seller could go all p’shaw on you and say they don’t participate in such things (awww…..), but at least you’ve asked, and it never hurts to ask.

Maybe the online sellers will already have some Cyber Monday deals in place… or maybe they haven’t even thought of it yet and this will be the springboard for them to consider implementing this into their business plan!

9.  Don’t get spastic with the plastic!

(Can you believe I just made that up?  Will wonders never cease?)  :)

But seriously, remember that your debit or credit card is connected to a bank account (or a soon-to-arrive-in-your-mailbox bill).  It’s not Monopoly money (but oh, how I wish it was!).  It’s one thing to go to a store and swipe a card or hand over cash for your purchases;  it’s another to enter in a few numbers and click-click-click.  Don’t discount the gravity of what you’re doing, however user-friendly it may be.  It’s so easy to get into the mindset of the click-click-click, especially when you’re not dealing with tangible things like cash or a paper receipt.  Have fun, get great deals (I mean, how could you not?), but be SMART.

10.  Number Ten

I didn’t really have a number ten, but I was feeling sort of off balance with a mere nine tips.  I’m sure you understand.

Question time:  Do you plan to participate in Black Friday, Small Business, Saturday or Cyber Monday?  All three?  Just one?  None of the above?  Or are you going the Courtney route this year and giving all handmade, re-purposed, or thrifted gifts (if so, good luck — it’s no easy task)???  Are you going to start using the catchphrase “Don’t get spastic with the plastic,” especially considering I spent 3.75 seconds thinking it up?

Let me know in comment form below!

***To check out my Black Friday Shopping Tips, go here.

***To read my Small Business Saturday spiel, go here.

***To check out the other parts of “The Twelve Weeks of Christmas,” go here.


Twelve Weeks of Christmas, Week 6 (Continued): Small Business Saturday

*** “Twelve weeks of Christmas?” you say, with an incredulous tone.  That’s a lot of Christmas… or is it just enough?!  You decide: here

Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday, which falls on November 26th this year, is a an initiative of American Express, the credit card well known for supporting brick-and-mortar mom-and-pops.  It’s part of the busiest-shopping-weekend-of-the-year triumvirate, which includes Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  However, unlike these other two shopping holidays, Small Business Saturday doesn’t support the big box retailers; it supports the little guys!

Ok, for real y’all, just the name of this special day gives me warm fuzzies.  I love supporting small business!  However, that whole penny pinching quest of mine can get in the way of this more often than not.  However, having a specific day dedicated to this makes it even easier, and hopefully, the specified day encourages small businesses to have their own sales, sharing in the busiest shopping weekend of the year.

Here’s where you come in!  To get the word out about Small Business Saturday, first check out their website here.

No really, click on that link now.  It will open in another window and you can come back to me in a minute.

Ok, good.  If you clicked on the link, you probably noticed the whole Facebook sharing thing.  If not, there’s a direct link here.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it (and c’mon, it’s easy!) is to social-media-nudge the mess out of this!  Share it on Facebook, Twitter, E-mail, in conversations with friends and family… anyone. Get the word out!

Small Business Saturday is still a relatively new holiday (ok, it’s only two years old), so not everyone knows about it.  It’s our job, as penny pinching advocates, to promote this holiday and increase its awareness.  (I know… misuse of the word “holiday,” but that’s what the American Express website calls it, so move on, language purists.)

The more people that know about it means more people will partake in it, which means more small businesses will feel encouraged to drop their prices, take a percentage off, et al, if even for one day.

And of course, the last component of your mission:  SHOP on Small Business Saturday.  Even if a particular (small) business is not in the American Express OPEN Retail Index, patronize it anyway.  When you’re checking out and they say “thank you,” (and hopefully they do), tell them you’re just partaking in Small Business Saturday!  Hopefully they’ll ask you (or look it up) if they don’t know what this means, and you can explain to them (or Google can).  When it comes to Small Business Saturday, the more the merrier!

Well… looks like you’ve got work to do, dear GPP readers and accidentally-stumbled-here-via-search-engine folks!

In summary:

1.  Check out

2.  “Like” them on Facebook and share the link:

3.  Tweet it!

4.  Bring it up in random conversation… with whoever you randomly converse with!

5.  Put it in your calendar.

6.  Shop small on November 26th, 2011.  It’s as easy as getting coffee from that little cafe you’ve been meaning to go to… instead of Starbucks.

Happy (small) Shopping!!!


***To read the previous posts in this ongoing, twelve part series, go here.  Only 5 weeks left!