Tag Archives: Shopping Tips

8 Tips to Score Big Outlet Mall Shopping!

With internet shopping becoming more and more popular we often forget about the amazing savings to be had shopping actual brick and mortar stores.  Living in Chicago we have such great access to a number of different outlet malls but most notably we are within minutes to the Fashion Outlets of Chicago.  They’ve just recently added Burberry to their collection of designer outposts and will be new neighbors to the likes of Prada, Gucci, Tory Burch, Ermengildo Zegna, and Trina Turk just to name a few.  So with such an impressive top-tier assortment of designers to shop at this outlet mall it’s best be prepared with key tips on how to both effectively and efficiently shop so you will guarantee that you score big.

  • Develop a shopping game plan:  Be sure to check online before embarking on your shopping expedition for information that can help you determine your shopping game plan.  Some outlet mall stores offer discounts that aren’t advertised so if you’re curious about a particular store, call them up and ask what discounts they are offering—you may be surprised to learn that stores are offering 60% or more off of already reduced prices.
  • Dress comfortably:  Comfort is key! Pick an outfit that’s comfortable and definitely wear layers that slip on and off easily so you can speed through dressing rooms.  The same goes for shoes:  Choose walkable, comfy footwear that’s easy to get on and off.
  • Arrive Early-Or late:  The best time to avoid crowds and long dressing room lines is early in the day or later in the evening–between 10 a.m. and noon, and 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.   I highly, highly recommend trying items on.  Often times it’s final sale so it’s best to be on the safe side and try things on.
  • Do some research:  Enter an outlet mall armed with some money know-how.   This means doing a little research beforehand about how much designer pieces actually cost at retail, so you’ll know if you’re really getting a bargain at the outlets.  Also, keep in mind that some merchandise at outlets are actually made for outlets and factory stores, they aren’t all leftover from what you saw last season in stores, so keep that in mind.
  • Be flexible:  While you might have a set list of items you are specifically looking for based on the great research you’ve done, be flexible.  While outlets do have both current as well as past season merchandise it’s best to be open and flexible in your search because if you are too rigid in what you are looking for you might miss out on that great pair of Fendi heels that are now 80% off original retail because your heart was so set on finding a pair of Miu Miu heels.
  • Move from front to back:  The biggest clearance items and deepest discounts are always located in the back of the store, so be sure to start your hunt there.
  • Double or triple up on savings when you can:  Outlet merchandise is already discounted by 25% to 65% and many stores offer special promotions and coupons throughout the year to help you save even more.  For instance, Premium Outlets has a VIP Shopper Club with additional store savings.  By using all of your savings options, you can compound your discounts and get killer deals—there’s no shame in bringing your calculator or smart phone to make the math easier, I actually highly recommend this!
  • Throw buyer’s remorse out the window:  Don’t wait —that YSL dress will probably be gone tomorrow.  Merchandise in the outlets sell faster than in regular department stores, so don’t let a hesitation keep you from that next wardrobe building piece!

Two female friends with shopping bags having fun while shopping in a mall, close-up on bags




#ShopLocal: My Guide To The Best Shopping in Hong Kong

Starting the new year on the go with a trip to Hong Kong, I contemplated what my itinerary would consist of since this trip was going to be one of my shortest work trips to date.  Previously my Hong Kong trips have lasted anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks.  This longer travel time gave me the flexibility of playing tourist for one weekend and saving an entire weekend devoted purely to being retail consumer.

With only one weekend of leisure in my second home I had to make the not hard choice of spending the entire weekend doing what I do best, shopping.  Having previously had the flexibility of a longer stay I had the ability to make purchases with plenty of time to make returns if at any time I had any second thoughts on my impulse buys.  Geared with my new resolution to only add pieces to my closet that are thoughtful statement makers I set out on mapping out a shopping itinerary for myself of shops to visit that embodied my style mantra of being Edgy, Comfy, Chic.

Check out my Hong Kong shopping agenda this last trip and what I believe are the top 10 best shopping destinations in Hong Kong:

1.  Monki: Fashion foward edgy womenswear shop that offers statement making pieces that are very pocketbook friendly. (Monki Langham place Langham 8 Argyle street, Mongkok, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR)

2.  Dour Studio: Founded by style icon and actress Lillian Ho and creative director of Moiselle, Harris Chan, Dour Studio focuses on emerging design talent from across the world.   The studio is a one-stop shop for global modern cutting-edge design (2/F, 4 Pak Sha Rd, Causeway Bay, 2811 3307)

3.  Goodbye Goodbuy: This ‘flea market’ is run by a couple who love travelling, and bring back pieces whenever they go away, so there’s an interesting and ever-changing inventory of goodies from many countries and even some handmade goods from local designers. (Rm 1508, Goodhope Bldg, 5 Sai Yueng Choi St S, Mong Kok, 3446 7423)

4.  Love to Mart: Discover a treasure trove of handmade goods from different local designers each month.  The selection ranges from custom-made jewellery, unusual watches, pendants and small leather goods. (Rm 1203, 12/F, Metropole Bldg, 57 Peking Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, 5611 6305)

5.  Off the Wall: A very cool street-style boutique that stocks quirky & bold pieces. (4/F, 18 Pak Sha Rd, Causeway Bay, 2499 9839)

6.  Upper Mansion: Channel the runway with the ultra-trendy gender-neutral clothing from this fashion boutique.  (Shop 105, 1/F, 1 Sai Yeung Choi St, CTMA Centre, Mong Kok, 2384 8801)

7.  WOW: This gem sells an extensive mix of original innovative labels from around the world for both men and women.  (2/F, 14 Yiu Wa St, Causeway Bay, 2893 9116)

8.  Reach:  This is a sneaker head’s mecca.  Step your footwear game up with this street savvy collection that has been handpicked and curated based solely on this owner’s impeccable and irrefutable passion for footwear.  (3/F, 30 Granville Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, 2771 7333)

9.  Lab Design: The owners this store with passion and they are passionate about design, about living in Kowloon and about local handmade products.  Their Kowloon-based store sells cool and often individual pieces from local designers in Hong Kong.  (Unit 7, 3/F, Fook Hong Industrial Bldg, 19 Sheung Yuet Rd, Kowloon Bay, 2756 8111)

10.  Numb Workshop:  Numb Workshop is a Hong Kong fashion label that carries all leather, all day.  If you are looking for an innovative, edgy, chic leather piece this is where you need to start.  (Shop 290, Causeway Place, 7-10 Great George St, Causeway Bay, 2691 2303)


#ShopLocal: CSM’s Holiday Hidden Gems Go To!

With the holiday season in full swing the hustle and bustle can be a bit overwhelming at times and before you know it the holiday party has arrived and you haven’t gotten a chance to pick up that great unique and thoughtful gift you have been meaning to grab.

Trust me I’ve had that happen to me more times than I’d like to admit so to save you from that dreaded feeling of, “Yikes! What can I scrounge together at the convenience store?” take note of my round-up of my Top 10 local Chicago holiday go to’s below.   Bonus, these hidden gems are so amazing that they will be your go to year round but more importantly great places to snag a gift or two for yourself-no judgement here I promise.

1. stock mfg. co.

Stock Mfg. Co: If Stock sounds a little familiar it’s because I’ve featured this amazing company on CSM previously.   They focus on classic shapes and silhouettes that exude comfortable simplicity.  They offer great menswear accessories such as neck ties, bowties, hats, etc.

2. Space 519

space519: Touts itself as a refined general store and if you haven’t yet made it there, it’s a definite must.  They carry a carefully crafted assortment of beauty products for both women and men.  For your beauty aficionado this is where you find all of their most talked about products but discover new product lines to wow them with.

3. Roam

Roam: This is a wanderlust’s dream come true.  Both the menswear & womenswear collections are carefully curated to include hard to find designers as well as local Chicago favorites such as jules, a jewelry line by Jules Vance as well as C/FAN by Christina Fan.

4. Reform Pic

reform objects: This vintage shop is filled with an ever-changing inventory, focused mainly in Mid-Century Modern design.  Their pieces are a node to their love of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.  What’s also great is that one can also find the occasional Industrial, or Art Deco jewel in the mix.

5. Randolph Market Pic

Randolph Street Market: Stretch your stylish dollars to the max while perusing the market’s amazing selection of vintage apparel, accessories, footwear to hard to find fashion collectibles.  The market is happening this weekend 12/14 & 12/15 and you can get all of the info on times, parking, ticket pricing, etc here.

6.  Luxury Garage Sale Pic

Luxury Garage Sale: This gem is a upscale consignment boutique that specializes in selling new and gently used designer and vintage clothing and accessories.  Someone on your list looking for that stunning Givenchy ‘Nightingale’ or ‘Pandora’? 99.9% of a chance LGS has it and at a ridiculously amazing deal-trust me you & your pocketbook with thank me later.

7. Luxaby pic

Luxaby Baby & Child: This carefully curated children’s store offers amazing apparel for not only the little ones but for mommy as well.  Perfect one stop shop for any of the little ones on your list.

8. Jayson Home pic

Jayson Home: Sophisticated but never stuffy while maintaining an edgy but elegant aesthetic are what define the stunning home decor pieces that you will find at this hidden gem.  You will never go wrong here when finding the perfect hostess gift and I can almost guarantee you will find that missing piece you have been on the search for.

9. haberdash pic

Haberdash Men’s Shop:  This men’s focus boutique is a blend of cool classic style paired with old-school philosophy.  They focus on offering men a finely curated collection of hard to find brands including L.B.M. 1911, RRL, Baldwin Denim, Alden, and Gitman Bros. Vintage.  For that dapper gentlemen who’s style is nothing short of spectacular, this is your one stop shop destination.

10. Dose Pic

 dose market: The foodies in my life tend to be the hardest to shop for.  So when I discovered the food & style mecca of this hidden gem I can’t help but share the info.  The next market is happening this Sunday, 12/15 so definitely plan ahead to not only stop in for brunch and nosh while you shop for the great flavors that will win over that fashionable foodies palette.  Get all of the info on times, parking, ticket pricing, etc here.


CSM’s Guide to Holiday Sales for Black Friday & Cyber Monday!

It’s finally here ya’ll, it’s Thanksgving week!  Many of us associate this week with pumpkin pie, turkey dinners but for alot of us (ahem, shopaholics who love a great bargain) it’s the week that kicks off the holiday sales season.  I’ve rounded up the top sales that are currently happening now and will be updating additional sales through out the week leading up to the mecca that is Black Friday and continuing all the way through to Cyber Monday.

Check out my round up of the best holiday sales below organized by category.   Again, be sure to check back throughout the week for the new sales I’ll be adding everyday this week.

Now, breathe, keep calm and go shopping!

Black Friday Deals


  1. Leonisa::  Save 20% off site wide and receive free shipping (11/21 to 11/29) CODE: 20BLACK


  1. Bloomingdale’s:: Save 20% your purchase of $75-$149 and save 30% off your purchase  over $150 (11/22 to 12/1)
  2. Buffalo Jeans:: Save 20% off all fashion denim and apparel (11/21 to 12/31) CODE: HOLIDAY20
  3. ModaXpress:: Save 20% off site wide (11/21 to 12/3) CODE: GOBBLE13
  4. dELiA’s::  BOGO 50% off everything (11/21 to 11/26) CODE: SEASON
  5. OTTE NY:: Save an extra 40% off sale items (11/22 to 11/29) CODE: BLACKFRIDAY
  6. THE OUTNET:: Save 20% off site wide (11/25 to 11/26 10am EST) CODE: THANKSGIVING
  7. Point Zero:: Save 20% off new items and 50% off sale items (11/22 to 12/4)
  8. The Trend Boutique:: 25 days of giving- 1 new product featured each day up to 50% off (11/25 to 12/20)
  9. Urbanoutfitters:: Free shipping on orders $50 (11/22 to 11/29)
  10. Target:: Save 40% off select denim, women’s loungewear, and women’s party dresses (11/25 to 11/30)
  11. True Blessyn:: Entire fall collection and custom orders 50% off (11/29) CODE: BLACKLOVE
  12. Luxury Garage Sale:: Starting at 10am to 7pm 10% off of a different designer each hour (11/29)
  13. Les Nouvelles:: Save 20% off site wide and up to 50% off fall collections (11/26 to 12/2) CODE: CHARLIEBROWN
  14. The Dreslyn:: Save up to 50% off site wide (11/26 to 11/29)
  15. Urban Outfitters:: Save 20% off all books (11/26)
  16. H&M:: Free shipping (now to 11/30) CODE: 1088
  17. Crystal B. Designs:: Additional 25% off all sale items & Additional 30% off all BLACK items (11/29)
  18. Crystal B. Designs:: 40% off of everything (11/30)
  19. Crystal B. Designs:: 30% off your entire purchase but must follow on Twitter & IG (12/2) CODE: CBCyberMonday
  20. C. Wonder:: Save 30% off 3 items or more, full price or sale + free ground shipping (11/27 to 12/1) CODE: GIFT30
  21. Modcloth:: Shop hundreds of new items at 50% off (11/27 to 12/1)
  22. Nordstrom:: Save 25%+ off select brands (11/27 10am PST to 12/1 10pm PST)
  23. Evans (UK):: Save up to 30% off (11/27) ALSO free deliveries for purchases over 50 Euros (11/27 to 12/31)
  24. French Connection:: Save 30% off your total purchase + free ground shipping on orders over $150 (11/27 to 12/2) CODE: W13COUPON
  25. Joie:: Spend $250, save 20% off-Spend $500, save 30% off (11/27 to 12/2)
  26. Saks Fifth Avenue:: Online only up to 60% off select styles (11/28 to 11/29) Plus get a $25 gift card with your beauty or fragrance purchase (11/28) CODE: BEAUTY13
  27.  Urban Outfitters:: Save an extra 50% off all sale merchandise (11/29)
  28. Wasteland:: Save 15% off your entire purchase (11/29 to 12/1) CODE: BLKFRIDAY
  29. American Apparel:: Instore only, 20% off everything when you spend $60 or more
  30. Tory Burch:: Save 20% off orders over $300, save 25% off orders over $500, save 30% off orders over $750 plus free shipping (11/29 to 12/2) CODE: HOLIDAY
  31.  Hurley:: Save 30% off site wide (11/28 to 11/29) CODE: CARVE
  32. Cynthia Rowley:: Save up to 65% off fall markdowns, save 50% off angora sweaters, and save 20% off full-priced clothing (11/28 to 12/2)
  33. Nordstrom:: Save 33% off on select brands (11/28 10am PST to 11/29 10pm PST)
  34. OTTE NY:: Save 20% off site wide (11/29 to 12/2)
  35. Planet Blue:: Save an extra 25% off sale items (11/29 to 12/1) CODE: BLACKOUT
  36. BooHoo:: Save 25% off sitewide (11/28 to 12/2) CODE: PUMPKINPIE
  37. BCBGMAXAZRIA:: Save $100 when you spend $300 (11/28)
  38. LOFT:: Save 40% off your entire purchase (11/29 to 11/30) CODE: ENJOY
  39. ASOS:: 20% off all of it, US orders only (11/28 to 12/2) CODE: GIMME20
  40. ASOS:: Save 30% off site wide (12/2 to 12/4) CODE: GIMMEMORE<–NEWLY ADDED
  41. LOFT:: Save 50% off your entire purchase (12/1 to 12/2) CODE: CYBER50<–NEWLY ADDED
  42. Bloomingdale’s:: Save 25% off site wide (12/2)<–NEWLY ADDED
  43. C. Wonder:: Save 40% off 4 items or more, full price or sale + free ground shipping (12/2) CODE: GIFTS40<–NEWLY ADDED
  44. Moda Operandi:: Save 40% off select pre-fall and fall merchandise (12/2)<–NEWLY ADDED
  45. The Dreslyn:: Save up to 60% off site wide (12/2) CODE: CYBER10<–NEWLY ADDED
  46. Equipment:: Save an extra 20% of all sale items (12/2)<–NEWLY ADDED
  47. Planet Blue:: Save 20% off site wide (12/2) CODE: CYBERTIME<–NEWLY ADDED
  48. Revolve Clothing:: Save an extra 20% off final sale items (12/2) CODE: Cyber2013<–NEWLY ADDED
  49. Urban Outfitters:: Save $15 off $75; $25 off $100 and $50 off $150 and enjoy free shipping (12/2)<–NEWLY ADDED
  50. Wasteland:: 20% off site wide (12/2) CODE: LETSCYBER<–NEWLY ADDED
  51. Saffron Vintage:: 20% off all order over $100 (12/2) CODE: saffron56<–NEWLY ADDED


  1. Max & Chloe:: Save $30 off any purchase over $150 (11/25 to 12/22) CODE: GIFT30X
  2. Kendra Scott:: Save 20% off sitewide & free shipping (excludes LUXE collection and gift cards) (11/27 to 12/2) CODE: BDCM2013
  3. Jeweliq:: Save 20% off entire order and 30% off orders over $100 + free shipping (11/29 to 12/2) CODE: BFTREAT20 & BFTREAT30 (respectively)
  4. Charm & Chain:: Save 20% off all orders under $150, save 25% off orders between $150 to $400, and save 30% off orders over $400 (11/28 to 12/2) CODE: thanksgiving20, thanksgiving25, thanksgiving30 (respectively)
  5. Loren Hope:: Save 20% off orders over $100 + free shipping (11/29 to 12/2) CODE: THANKS
  6. Towne & Reese:: Save 40% off site wide (12/2) CODE: holiday40<–NEWLY ADDED

Skincare /Health & Beauty::

  1. Paula’s Choice:: Save 15% off all orders plus free shipping on orders over $50 (11/25 to 12/3)
  2. Sephora:: Receive a free mystery sample bag with any $25 purchase (11/25)
  3. Kate Somerville:: Save 30% on all orders (11/25 to 12/2) CODE: HOLIDAY2013
  4. Kyoku for Men:: Save 10% off your purchase (11/21 to 12/31) CODE: snowflake10
  5. LVX:: 35% off your entire order (11/29 to 12/1) CODE: black35

Handbags & Accessories::

  1. Forzieri:: Save $50 off on orders  over $195-does not include discounted items (11/25 to 12/31) CODE: HOLIDAY2013
  2. Henri Bendel:: Save 25% off your order over $100 and receive a $20 Splurge Card with every purchase (11/29 to 12/1) CODE: TURKEY25
  3. GiGi New York:: Receive a phone wallet with the purchase of a full sized handbag (11/29)
  4. GiGi New York:: Save 10% off 10% when you spend $150+ ; Save 15% off when you spend $250+; Save 30% off when you spend $500+.  Free shipping  on all orders and also receive a free zip pouch when you spend over $100. (12/2 to 12/3)<–NEWLY ADDED
  5. Henri Bendel:: Save 25% off handbags & wallets; 30% off jewelry, home fragrance & gifts; 40% off cosmetic, travel & tech accessories (12/2) CODE: CYBER13<–NEWLY ADDED


  1. Sole Society:: Save 33% off all jewelry, handbags and shoes (11/25 to 12/2)
  2. ALDO:: Save an extra 30% off all reduced  footwear + save 50% off select Men’s  footwear (11/27 to 12/1)
  3. Rebecca Minkoff:: Spend $200, get 20% off, spend $400 get 25% off, spend $600 get 30% off (11/28 to 12/3)
  4. Steve Madden:: 30% off + free shipping (11/28) CODE: THANKFUL30
  5. Heels.com:: Save $25 off your purchase over $100, save $50 off your purchase over $150, and save $75 off your purchase over $200 (11/28 to 12/1) CODE: BF7
  6. Aldo:: Save 15% off site wide (12/2) CODE: CYBERDEAL13A<–NEWLY ADDED
  7. Target:: BOGO 60% off on apparel, shoes, and accessories (12/2)<–NEWLY ADDED
  8. Sears:: Women’s Fashion Boots starting at $19.99! Plus, save an EXTRA 30% off. CODE: SHOE30 + Free shipping on orders $59+<–NEWLY ADDED


  1. Serena and Lily:: Save 20% off site wide and enjoy free shipping (11/26 to 12/2) ALSO receive a $20 gift card when you spend $100 on 12/2 with CODE: THANKS20
  2. Poppin:: Save 25% off all orders over $75 (11/29 to 12/1) CODE: POPBF
  3. Furbish Studios:: Save 25% off + free shipping on any orders over $100 (12/2) CODE: MONDAYMADNESS<–NEWLY ADDED
  4. Poppin:: Save 30% off all orders over $75 (12/2) CODE: POPCM<–NEWLY ADDED