Monday, July 28, 2014

Favorite Daily Shopping Sites

If you're an avid online shopper like I am, chances are you subscribe to daily shopping sites, in one way or the other. Honestly, I can get overwhelmed at times, but you can absolutely score some amazing deals if you're on the hunt for a bargain, shopping for an upcoming occasion, or just needing an update in the closet or in your home. Here are some of my tried and true favorites with some tips on how to score and still be confident in your purchase:
1. Zulily
Hands down, this is the best daily shopping site when it comes to shopping for discount, last season, and basics for baby and kids. You have to be careful, though, as the shipping is pricey, and I only pull the trigger when it's a brand I know, love, and have purchased before so I can be sure sizing is OK. I love the pricing, the categories in how they show the goods (though I always use their filters to take away products I'm not interested in), and how you can stock up on holiday items early to avoid last minute crazy mom syndrome when the toy you're desperately trying to find is sold out everywhere. Another tip is not to order something you need next week...shipping turnaround time isn't the best on Zulily and I've had to cancel orders before because of waiting 2+ months on certain items to ship. I also check out the "New Tomorrow" sales tab on my mobile app to see what's coming tomorrow, so that if a certain brand is coming, I know to set the reminder tab and can logon early AM to make sure I get the goodies I want before they are gone.
2. Jane
A fairly new site in the game, Jane has a little bit of everything to offer...though I'm certain it mostly appeals to women. From home essentials (table runners, pillow covers, and tableware) to apparel, accessories, party supplies, and such, you never know what you're in store for when you receive their morning emails...and that's just the way I like it. I would sum it up as an Etsy collection of random sellers, but shipping cost is minimal and I've been impressed with the turnaround time with purchases I've made thus far.
3. Groopdealz
Everything I said about Jane above, I'll say here again. You get the jist now, this is just another destination for some major good deals in an assortment of categories...baby, kids, apparel, accessories, home decor, gifts, and all the like. Another great bargain site.
4 and 5. Joss and Main / One Kings Lane
Essentially, to me at least, these are the same sites, just made over depending on the day of the week. If one is hosting a collection of "Cottage Looks" the other will have a different sale a few days later featuring "Nantucket Necessities" or something of the like. When I was decorating our powder room, I scoured these sites for fixtures and lighting, though in the end I went elsewhere because I was nervous about the no return policy...this indecisive lady couldn't swallow the idea of not being able to return something if I loathed it once in my house. I know tons of people who have ordered a ton of items from these sites and have been impressed, so maybe I should give them another shot. I do love their artwork options!
6. Rue La La 
Amazing if you're looking to stock up on some pricier items...one day it's Gucci, the next day it's Louis, but if you are wanting something nicer than normal, this is the site I'd recommend...obviously not a purchase I make routinely, though. I'm not really a fan of their $9.95 shipping rate, but I do appreciate that a lot of their merchandise is returnable within 30 days. I have bought a few pieces of luggage/travel goodies off this site and have been extremely pleased with the turnaround time, the quality, and the description matching what I ordered.

Any others I'm missing that are must sees?? P.S. most of these have mobile apps which make it a lot easier to shop on your phone!

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Business of Sugar Bit

Back when I began envisioning opening my own business, of course I daydreamed about being able to go to market, shop away, sell the merchandise instantly, and then call it a day...yeah, that's not really how this entire running your own business thing goes I assure you. I do believe I remember Jeff telling me that, and I should have payed closer attention.
For the most part, I try to keep my business details separate from the personal stuff, but there are times when they absolutely cross paths and this is a big part of our lives now so it's fun to update you on where we're at, the progress we're making, and I'm so excited to see what the future holds for my beloved Sugar Bit.
First of all, let me be honest and say that running your own business is a lot more challenging than I ever expected...it's hard because the owner (i.e. me) does it all, and I mean ALL of it. I do the accounting (oh Quickbooks and I were enemies at first, but we're slowly starting to figure each other out), the inventory, the taking of the pictures, the packaging, invoicing and shipping, the social media, the email newsletters, the responding to customer's emails/inquiries/issues/etc...let me tell you, it's a 24/7 effort, but when you're doing something you love, it truly doesn't feel like work and that is how I know I am doing what I always dreamed of.
Some would say it must be nice working from home, and yes it definitely has its perks, but then there are times when the girls are playing and I want to be playing with them too, or when they head to the park and I am getting anxious because I want to be the one going down the slide with them...and sometimes, I have to admit, I do cut out early, sneak away, and do those things and then finish my business stuff once they are asleep at night. They are only young once, so investing the time in these amazing little details is something I absolutely intend to keep doing...this is when I am thankful so much of my work can be completed after hours.
On the other hand, the retail clothing business is fun and I love it! I love when the UPS man shows up on our doorstep with new inventory and I get excited just thinking about what's to come and being able to unveil our new goodies to the public. Last month, I sent out a survey to customers, friends, and colleagues to gauge their opinions and interests and it was refreshing to see so many honest answers...good for helping us get even better and serving more people in a friendly, fast way. Then there is the competitive aspect when I have to make sure to stay up-to-date on what others are doing, offering, giving away, and featuring because in the world of online sales, you're never closed and competition is around the world, not just around the corner.
Next Thursday, we have our first End of Season/Clearance Sale and I am so nervous/anxious/scared...like I could get sick just thinking about it. You know when you put yourself out there and you fear no one will come or no one will support you? Yeah, I have anxiety about these types of things and I scare myself into acting like a crazy person. That's when I have to take a deep breath, give my worries to the Big Guy up above, and hope for the best. So if you don't mind, cross your fingers for me and hope this event is a success...thank you all so much for listening to me blabber today, and as always, I am here to answer any and all questions you have.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Back to Life, Back to Reality...Girls Beach Trip Recap

It was a hard weekend...a long, exhausting weekend at the beach with some of my very best friends in the world and we had a ball! Times like these, I am reminded that we all need a break every now and then. To take off work, put things on hold, hand off babies and husbands and other responsibilities and just savor time with your girlfriends...it's good for the soul! And also give thanks that family comes to help and lend a hand to make sure everything runs well in your absence, too.
From Instagram overload, I am certain you were able to tell that we had an absolute ball gallivanting around 30A...eating our way into food comas, indulging in some adult beverages while beachside, catching up on our chick lit, taking a few group snapshots here and there, and having loads of girl talk, too!
Thursday morning, us Nashville girls took the early bird flight to make sure we had ample time to take in the Florida sun. We arrived at the airport by 10AM, took the shuttle to the Watersound complex we were staying at, and then waited poolside for other caravans to arrive. Luckily for us, we didn't have to wait too long and we checked in and headed back outside to spend the afternoon by the sand and surf. We then got ready, headed to Great Southern for a late dinner (birthday cake included since my 31st just happened to fall during our vacation--lucky, huh??) and then us wild ones went to Bud and Alley's to round out the evening. Fast forward to closing time and let's just say we might have been given a ride by a local Sheriff to help us find our condo...yeah, no GPS phone navigation and friends who didn't answer meant we LITERALLY almost died (inside joke, not being serious). It absolutely makes for a funny story, though, I assure you.
The next morning, we woke up and headed to the beach so we could have some major time basking in the warm weather. We all huddled around, lounged out, and spent the entire day at the ocean, listening to tunes, talking, splashing in the water, and eating as much junk as we could stuff our faced with (no diets on vacation allowed). That night, we went to La Cocina for dinner in Seacrest...the best little Mexican restaurant along 30A, with amazing service, too! (ask for Hector, and order a mojito and the lobster quesadilla...you won't be disappointed)
Saturday came quickly, and so did the rain. A few of us girls went on a morning walk that ended up being more of a marathon tredge to Alys Beach and we got back from the 5-mile journey just as the rain started. That afternoon, we vegged at the house, and watched hours upon hours of Sex and the City episodes...it was AMAZING and we had a blast. Once dinner rolled around, Meg made her famous Martha's casserole and then we spent the rest of the evening playing too many rounds of Cards Against Humanity (a girl's trip must!) We then decided it was a fantastic idea to have a late night dance party and I brought out my college iPod...it was HILARIOUS and I think we are all thankful those videos shall stay secret.
Sunday rolled around, our last day at the beach, and we were getting sad the weather wasn't cooperating with us...we decided to make the best of it and headed out anyways...just to be rained on and come back inside. We gave it our best effort, but the winds, rain, and chilly dip in temperature made it impossible. Luckily, the sun came out that afternoon and we spent the rest of the day at the pool, promising ourselves we wouldn't go home less tan than we arrived. For our last supper, we went to the crowd favorite Red Bar and all indulged, just as it should be! We then had a wild evening of ice cream and then headed to bed!
All in all, it was a FANTASTIC trip...way too much fun with women I am proud to call my friends and sisters. We all agree it's something we need to do more often and we will be planning again soon! Here are some favorite pics from our adventure: #miranda #imafoodie #literallygoingtodie #bronte #makeupbeast #30on30a #microwave #pamdown
 we travel light :) 
 cute cups Jo had made for us
outfit of the night...top via Gap, shorts via JCrew Factory
 Jo AKA Miranda...hahaha
 girl pic after dinner
 yummy cake compliments of the best friend
 outdoor concert before dinner 
  jules, lizzy, and i
 us with Hector...ole!!
 SATC marathon AKA couch time
 rain didn't ruin our party
the infamous circle of friends pic
 color coordinated...and we didn't even know it
 our cute little prego mamas and lizzy

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Passionate Mom Dare


I recently stumbled across Susan Merrill and instantly I was hooked to what she had to say. She is the director of iMOM and a mom to five, so I'm fairly certain she has some credibility in the area of parenting... she has written a book called "The Passionate Mom" and it's a universal parenting approach based upon the Old Testament book of Nehemiah.
It's all about what makes us moms the best we can be...it's passion. Passion to teach, protect, study, and prepare her little ones for their future.
I then found her 30-Day Passionate Mom Dare and thought this was something that is not only important, but something I want to genuinely try to incorporate more into my life. Some of these actions require more time, but I know I can learn a lot more about what my children need, think, and feel. Can't we all be a little more passionate??

Thursday, July 17, 2014

31 Candles

I may be turning 31 today, but I sure don't feel 31. That just sounds old to me. Not that I mind growing older, I just don't "feel" older...maybe it's the working out, eating better, and using a skincare regimen that's starting to work its magic and do some good to mind, body, and soul.
This past year has been another whirlwind--don't I always say that? Everyone keeps telling me to slow down, but that's just not in my DNA. We have started a business, sold our first home and moved into another, traveled, and survived our first year as parents to two crazy, happy, healthy, and amazing baby girls. I'm hoping we can take it down a notch this next year.
For this birthday, I decided not to do a big celebration, but spent loads of quality time over the past few days with my favorite people. Sunday evening, we had family dinner at Mimi and Pappy's and mom made my favorites by request. Then, she and I had a day date on Tuesday, getting our hair done and eating lunch together. Finally, last night it was all about quality time at home with Jeff and the girls...sometimes the simplest of days gives you much more joy than anything else in the world, and that is what my heart truly needed.
However, as of today, two of my besties and I are on a plane headed to the beach to celebrate a fun-filled weekend at the beach with our incredible girlfriends. Four days of all girl fun and I know it's going to be a weekend we'll never forget. Be sure to follow along on Instagram (and I will apologize ahead of time for oversharing)
Thanks for sticking with me this year...lots to reflect upon, but I know undoubtedly I will still be focusing on all the happiness life has to offer! Be back soon my dears...OXOX
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