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Monday, November 30, 2009

The Year of $25 and Under Gifts

Good news for shoppers during these difficult financial times.

This holiday season retailers are offering customers more items under $25 or less, says Huffington Post.  

Illustration credit:

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Two Tasteful Gifts From Stonewall Kitchen: Under $25

Pretzel Dips Gift
I’m always looking for something different to serve for appetizers when I entertain my family. And because I like to do something a little different, my family has come to expect a surprise--that is if they're not reading this! (Couldn’t you just make a meal of appetizers!) 

Stonewall Kitchen’s Pretzel Dips Gift includes Honey Mustard, Maple Mustard and Orange Ginger Pretzel Dips. What could be easier and more stress-free when you're busy in the kitchen than opening up a couple jars! 

The dips would also be perfect for a SuperBowl party. Or consider sending the Pretzel Dips as a care package to a college student. They will surely appreciate your thoughtfulness. And maybe the best way to their heart is through their stomach.

Stonewall Kitchen's Pretzel Dips Gift: $18.00 

Mini Jam Tree
I love fresh blueberries. And I love Maine with the crispest, coolest air you can breathe! Bottle Maine and wild blueberries and you get Stonewall Kitchen’s wonderful Wild Maine Blueberry Jam. (Tip: Try the blueberry jam on your buttermilk pancakes.) 

Stonewall Kitchen is now offering a nicely designed Mini Jam Tree holiday gift package. It contains my Wild Maine blueberry favorite and Stonewall Kitchen’s  Raspberry Peach Champagne and Holiday Jam--with a touch of orange liqueur, ripe pears, cranberries and raspberries. Who wouldn’t want to find this under the tree and be the recipient of your good taste.

Stonewall Kitchen's Mini Jam Tree: $15.50

Stonewall Kitchen:

photo credits: Stonewall Kitchen

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Contemporary Holiday Ornaments from Jonathan Adler: Tres Chic!

My sister and I were kicking around Montclair, New Jersey yesterday. We were doing a little preliminary holiday shopping. Montclair is just 13 miles west of New York City and it’s a great, hip town to shop. Lots of eclectic stores, like ColorStoryHome. 

Take a look at these adorable 2009 Jonathan Adler ornaments we found at ColorStoryHome. So modern... so cute! 

J’adore the poofy poodle. Ooh-la-la! Chic on the tree. 

ColorStoryHome offers 5 Adler animal designs: the lovely poodle, penguin, whale, elephant and dove. All the unglazed porcelain ornaments come in his cool blue signature box. 

In the following month, I plan to feature some unique items from Montclair shops that would make fabulous gifts. And lucky you, you won’t even have to leave home as you can order everything on-line. 

ColorStoryHome:$24 for each ornament/toll free: 877-744-8424/31 Valley Road @Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair, NJ  

Photo credit: ColorStoryHome

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Stylish Gifts for Under $25!

Crate & Barrel at ShopStyle
Click above to see more...

It's that time of year when the invitations to parties and family get togethers start arriving. I'm always trying to think of gifts to bring the hostess besides flowers and wine. 

Perfect for dog lovers, beauty fanatics and cooks--here are some snazzy gift ideas for that hostess with the mostess. 

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tweet! Object d'Art for Your Home from Lili & Loo

Right now I have my eye on this little brass sparrow. Won’t he look beautiful as a centerpiece perched on your Thanksgiving table? Very simple and sculptural. 

Or how about as a gift for a bird lover friend?

You can find him at one of my favorite stores Lili and Loo, a home and gift shop, in Hudson, New York. They feature the exotic, the edgy and the refined--including furniture, tableware, lighting and home accents. (See photo below.)

Check out Lili and Loo’s website and get a taste of what the store offers. The shop is also nesting a flock of other feathered friends in various price ranges. 

Better yet made a trip to Hudson. This charming historical village, less than an hour from Albany, has the best shopping. There are 65 antique stores, along 5 blocks on Warren Street.  I mostly browse (and dream) in the antique stores, because the majority are high-end. (Although you can find some bargains.) Where I buy is at Lili and Loo.

While you're in the area, you can tour nearby Olana--the impressive Persian-style home of Hudson River artist Frederick Church. His home is high on the hill overlooking the river, and the view is breathtaking.

Lili and Loo:"Sparrow on a Branch"/$20.00/259 Warren Street, Hudson, NY

photo credits: Lili and Loo
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Elegant Black Pumps: All Under $25!

Charlotte Russe at ShopStyle
Click above to see details...

I'm always looking for some dressy black pumps. They look great with just about everything from a fancy outfit to jeans. 
I have favorites that I just wear to death... then I realize, maybe they're not so dressy anymore. With these prices I can buy several pairs. Then I'll go have a night on the town!
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Saturday, November 14, 2009

What to Shop for in December: Get More for Less!

photo credit:
Every month there are store deals just waiting for you. But to find those bargains, you need to know the secrets of what's on sale. Everyone knows about January White Sales, but what's on sale in December?

If you are aware of the retail sales calendar you'll know what to look for. 

In a previous blog post, 10 Shopping Tips: Getting More for Less: I discussed how you can get good deals by making your purchases in the months these items are traditionally on sale. A smart buyer will buy ice skates in March and air conditioners in August.

The Motley Fool said, "the trick to getting a bargain on just about anything is to buy it when you don't need it."

In December watch for sales for these items:
  • Appliances
  • Clothing: especially men's suits
  • Gifts
  • Holiday paper, cards and ornaments
  • Shoes
  • Toys and bikes
  • And don't forget about those after-Christmas sales!
Each month I'll preview the next month's sales. Look for my next blog post in the series,"What to Shop For in January: Get More for Less!"

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Glamorous Wallets Under $25: Think Holidays!

Forever 21 at ShopStyle

I'm starting to think about holiday parties and getting dressed up! Time to sparkle and glitter.

Plus these shimmery wallets make wonderful gifts and stocking stuffers.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

PINK PIGGY BANK 2: Stylish Deals for Under $25

credit: mconnors from

This is the second in a series of blog posts for PINK PIGGY BANK to call attention to blogs that offer fashionable tips under $25.

Berets are In! Love these Prices
I'm a hat person. Hats off to CheapChicDaily! They have my number, showcasing sweet and stylish knit berets under $25. Take a look.

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Friday, November 6, 2009

2010 Animal Calendar: A Work of Art

I know. The leaves have almost all fallen off the trees. Thanksgiving  is around the corner. But I'm just not ready to see the holiday decorations. It makes me think about next year. 2010. Yikes.

Then I see this adorable animal calendar at MOMA's Design Store. It is designed by Katsumi Tamura and includes six paper animals with a month calendar on each side. Calendar as art!

Maybe turning older won't be too bad with this cute menagerie. Right?

MOMA Design Store:$24.95 

photo credit: MOMAstore

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ikea Bowls You Over: Eat Your Cereal in Style

Last week my sister and I were poking around Ikea. We met for lunch in the Ikea restaurant. Full Disclosure: We are both head over heels in love with Ikea's almond cake. 

One of my favorite parts of the store is the Marketplace where they sell curtains, cookware, home accessories and more. Here, we spotted these adorable Fargrik Trolsk bowls. 

You can buy a 2-pack in one of three colors for $2.99. Get outta here! 

The 6" melamine bowls come in turquoise, white and green. 

Swedish design is so cool, especially when it's affordable.

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Monday, November 2, 2009

10 Shopping Tips: Get More for Less

When it comes to shopping sometimes the $20 sandals flatter you more than the $400 designer sandals. Style is not in the price, but in your approach.

You can get more for less if you are savvy about your shopping. Fashionable finds are possible for under $25. How do you do it? Here are 10 Tips to think about when you’re out on a shopping expedition:
    1. You Can Find Deals in Unexpected Places.
    I got a purse for a steal at a Nine West shoe store in New Jersey. Not a shop I would normally think of to buy a purse. But I spotted it in the front window and fell in love. (Although maybe not as deeply as with my husband.) When I went into the store to ask a sales clerk about it, I thought this gorgeous tan satchel would be expensive. It looks like something that would be appropriate in Grace Kelly’s or Audrey Hepburn’s wardrobe closet. But now it’s in my closet.
    2. Set Your Budget and Stick with It.
    Yes, you've probably heard this before. However, forced to work within a box, you will come up with creative ideas. One year for Christmas, I set a working budget of $25 each for my nieces and nephew. Instead of getting them each one gift, I got them a number of small funky gifts and they each had 3 presents to open. It made opening gifts more exciting for them.
    3. Read fashion magazines to get an idea of the trends.
    Many clothing companies with budget-happy fashion lines will replicate the “look” or “feel” of pricey designer fashion. I read everything from New York magazine and the NY Times Fashion to Vogue, Elle and fashion catalogs to see what’s happening out in the fashion world. Go to your nearest public library and those fashion mags are FREE! If you learn what is cutting edge then believe me you will find cheaper versions of the trends. Or you will learn how to put an outfit together in your own expressive way.
    4. You can find reasonably priced gifts at even the most expensive stores.
    For example when I go online to Saks Fifth Avenue I can look under the gift category “Under $50.” Today for "$25 and under" I find: a Kate Spade notecard set, a hip style book on Dolce and Gabbana and Fresh waterlily soap---all would make lovely gifts. The price is so reasonable for the soap you could even include a little something else so that the recipient has another gift to open--always more fun. Go to a pricey chocolate shop. Then buy the smallest, but always tasteful box, sometimes under $15. Put it in a nice gift bag with the heavenly scented waterlily soap. Your gift card can read: "You deserve a little elegance in your life." What friend wouldn’t be flattered.
    5. Be open to new opportunities.
    When I travel to new cities I like to explore new shops. I usually end up in the artsy section of town. To me that means galleries, museums, maybe a university--and fun shopping. I collect business cards of the stores I love and make notes or take pictures of what they have so I can call them and order from them later. If a town has a college or university it has plenty of stores with low prices to satisfy the students. And me too. 
    6. Know your own style.
    Allow your self the luxury of an expensive item that you just can’t pass on. Especially if it defines “YOU.” Find deals for other purchases. I coveted a $99 sweater from J.Crew, but then I bought a purse for only $20 for a wedding. You can justify the expensive purchase. The sweater will last for years, amortizing into less money. If I wear the sweater often, cost-wise it pays for itself, while the wedding purse I might only use that one time.
    7. Accessories are inexpensive ways to refashion the look of your outfit.
    An $8.00 leopard print scarf I bought at H&M compliments my chartreuse cardigan, jeans and black boots. It’s a dressy-casual look that suits my style. And the scarf goes just as well with a knit purple dress and heels. A few strategically picked accessories means less outfits to buy.
    8. Consider buying your purchases in the months they are traditionally on sale.
    If you’re not in a rush to buy new towels then why not wait until January or August. Or if you thinking of painting your bedroom Robin Egg blue, that paint will be cheaper in April.
    9. Sign up for email blasts from your favorite stores.
    Stores will alert you to their sales and often give email subscribers exclusive discounts. You will learn about sales before the average customer. Then instead of spending a fortune on the skirt you admired earlier in the season you can scoop it up at a bargain.
    10. Shop from your home and comparison shop online.
    Yea, why not. Shop in your pjs, my favorite way to shop.
    What do you think? Do you have some shopping tips? I'd love to hear from you.
    In the upcoming months look for more blog posts on "Annie Goes Shopping"  to "Get More for Less" when you go shopping!
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