Best Shopping Season

afterxmas saleThis is my favorite time of the year for Christmas shopping.  I know, I know, Christmas was a few days ago, but hear me out.  This is the time of year where things are so deeply discounted that you can stock up for all of your 2018 birthdays, celebrations and yes Christmas.  Most of your stores are trying to get rid of not only their Christmas inventory but their winter inventory as well.  So why not stock up now and save money on your 2018 Christmas budget.

Stores like Bath and Body Works and the Body Shop are my favorites.  The Body Shop has a seasonal scent, cranberry that is only available during this time of the year and I stock up on this scent EVERY year.  Last year I purchased several gift sets valued at $45 for $5.  They made great gifts this year.  Also at Bath and Body the holiday scented lotions are normally marked down to less than $5 so why not stock up.  Lotions last a long time and you don’t have to worry about them getting watered down or not lasting through the year.

Also stores like Walgreens and Walmart have gift sets that are drastically reduced during this time of year.  I remember hosting an event during this time of year and being able to provide all of the participants with great gifts because of the reduced rates during this time of year.  This is a great opportunity to purchase gifts for everyone on your list.  This is also a great time to shop if you have birthdays coming early in the year, buy a great gift without breaking the bank.  I know personally my dad’s birthday is in January and I can normally find great valet sets or cologne sets for a fraction of what they normally cost.

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This is also the best time of year to stock up on hats, scarves and gloves.  Most stores have these so deeply discounted that I purchase gloves in all colors and I purchase additional sets to give to local shelters or to people in need.  For those with kids, especially kids who always lose gloves, this is the perfect time to prepare for the rest of winter as well as next winter.  You can always find great sales on these items and if you live in a cold weather area like I do, hats, scarves and gloves are a necessity.

Additionally, this time of year is great for holiday decorations.  I love to switch up the color scheme on my trees each year (even though it has been awhile since I actually put up a tree).  This is the time where stores like Michael’s and Hobby Lobby discount their ornaments and other décor sometimes as much as 90%.  I have found some amazing deals on ornaments, tree skirts, baskets, wrapping paper and gift boxes.

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Another tip.  Valentines Day is around the corner.  If you make gift bags for schools or friends or send care packages, holiday candy is holiday candy.  You can always use the chocolates and other items that go on sale right after Christmas for your Valentines day goody bags.  And since red is a popular color for both Christmas and Valentines Day you are in a position to win either way.  The key is to think outside of the box and to find items that are holiday neutral.

After my after holiday shopping is complete, I simply store all of the items in a box or tote and everything is on hand once the holiday season returns.  It is really that simple.  Shop with the people that you gift in mind and you can sit back and relax next December because your holiday shopping is complete.  The only things you may have to buy is for kids because of new toys and changing sizes.

Holidays are a great time to give and show those you care that you are thinking about them.  The truth of the matter is far too often people find themselves stressed after Christmas because those Christmas bills begin to roll in.  Why not save yourself some frustration and some money by preparing (yes a year in advance)  and get use the money you save to donate to a great cause or add to your savings or vacation fund.

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I hope these tips helped you as much as they have helped me over the years.  I used to drive myself crazy attempting to shop for everyone and often ended up spending money I didn’t have.  Once I broke the habit of trying to please everyone and focused on how to get more for my money without going broke, I learned that it was quite easy to give great gives and not go broke attempting to do so.

Be Blessed!  Be Fabulous!

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Girls Trip: Big Fun, Big Laughs

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Girls Trip officially hits theaters this Friday.  Fortunately, I have already seen the movie so I can to share a little TEA with you all about the movie.  So here goes…

Thanks to Universal Pictures and the organizers of BlogHer I as able to see an advance screening of this movie during the annual BlogHer conference myself and a select group of bloggers were able to see this movie a few weeks ago, and I am happy I had the opportunity.  This was one of the funniest movies I have seen in a very long time.  When I say funny, I mean laugh out loud, tears in your eyes funny.  This is a plan the evening, go see the movie with your girls and then head out for margaritas and martinis to talk and possibly plan your own Girls Trip.

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This movie took place at one of the largest and heavily attended events for African Americans, the annual Essence Fest in New Orleans.  Essence for those who haven’t been is a time for fun, inspiration, food and partying.  I have attended Essence several times, and while I did not have as much fun as theses women did I did experience a few similar issues.  1.  Lodging during Essence is always an issue.  If you plan to go, book your hotel as soon as the dates are released.  You do not want to end up in a less than desirable hotel in New Orleans during Essence, IJS.    Secondly, you will party at Essence if you plan too.  There is no shortage of partying and fun during Essence, but back to the movie.

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Essence was an appropriate backdrop for this movie.  The characters, the situations and the events fit perfectly.  There could not have been any greater locale for this movie.  Tiffany Haddish, was the star of this movie.  She is real, hilarious and keeps you laughing throughout the movie.  Her character keeps the fun and at times the drama going.  If you don’t have a friend like her or similar to her you need to find one.

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This movie is laugh out loud funny.  It is be carful drinking during the movie because you could possibly choke laughing.  There are serious parts and serious issues that occur during the movie, but for the most part expect to have many belly laughs.  Expect to leave the theater feeling good and in a good mood.  Girls Trip is definitely a chick flick so I would suggest going with your girlfriends and not on a date night.

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My rating for Girl’s Trip is a 10. It gets 10 stars.  This movie will have you laughing until you cry, reminiscing about your college days and the days when asymmetric hairstyles and 8-ball jackets were the fashion, and reflecting about the responsibility and challenges that everyday life brings.  Go see this movie and after you see it come back and let me know what you think in the comments.  I know me and my girls have already planned our Girls Night out to see Girl’s Trip.

Be Blessed, Be Fabulous!

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