Brand · Business · Review · Series · Wedding · Yelp

David’s Bridal Exposé

What’s the default place newly engaged and their bridal party flock to to look for dresses? Probably Davids Bridal (DB) in the US. There are several other boutiques and higher end chains that are usually more expensive with appointments required. However there’s no denying that they have cornered a monopoly for (affordable) bridal attire. All of my bridesmaids admittedly ordered their dresses from this place and it was convenient coordinating colors since they have the set palette. My post will be 2 pronged talking generally about their (1) wedding dress line, along with the (2) options for bridal party and special occasions. Of course we can’t forget the overall rating at the end!

Now if you’re wondering, another bride mentioned finding her perfect dress from Marry & Tux in Nashua, NH [Yelp Review], which my future mother-in-law (FMIL) and I also visited. The starting price at that place was $900-1500 for the lowest end of budget. Going up north to NH is not a bad idea though if you want to save some tax $. The luxury tax threshold in MA is only $175, so most likely you will have to pay something additional. Sadly $1,400+ is the average amount spent on wedding dresses these days. Alarming Avg. Figures for Dress Costs – Boston Globe

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I took their style quiz and here are the “picks”.  I can’t stand strapless haha!

DB gets a bad reputation due to its accessibility some have even equated it as the Wal-Mart of the wedding world. In recent years DB has been trying to change their image from the “Walmart” of wedding dresses. I find that quite ironic considering that the average price of a gown from there is still around $500-$1,200+. Keep in mind if you are getting a lower priced dress you will also have very limited sizing selections fighting with other brides/bridesmaids to get a deal! I’ve been to two locations one in Natick [Yelp Review] and in Westwood [Yelp Review]. No major complaints about either.

 

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Brand · Product · Review · Series · Wedding

FREE Wedding Websites TheKnot Part 2

Now where were we from the FREE Wedding Websites Part 1? If you haven’t read all of the different options I laid out, I would recommend reading my previous post before continuing. At this point I’m 99% done with the website and just adding any last minute or day of information along with photos from additional events. I look forward to the day when I will stop receiving these e-mails from TheKnot, stressing me about the endless checklist of tasks for your typical western wedding. We’ve definitely cut out several items we deemed unnecessary.

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209 days seems like so long ago… Look at how few of these e-mails I’ve actually opened.

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Affiliate · Brand · Credit Card · Product · Review · Rewards

American Express Blue Cash Everyday Review

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Send me an e-mail for referral link!

Are you missing out on cash back for mundane tasks such as grocery shopping? I’ve dedicated American Express Blue Cash Everyday card as my default for the weekly chore since it consistently receives 3% cash back (CB)! Also known as the Tina Fey card since she’s been in so many commercials for this… Other credit cards such as (Chase Freedom and Discover It Card) have those annoying quarterly categories that can be quite difficult to track. Confession: I own both of those too and a slew of other cards. At this point I’ve been good and haven’t applied for anymore.

If you want the quantitative break down of the APR, fees and rewards comparisons to other cards then please check out the other resources I’ll list below. (There’s a million and one stats for cards already, not going to rebuild the wheel here.) My review focuses more so on the strategy of using this as a niche card for specific very savvy features that appeal to me and could potentially work for you as well! Of course if you’re not on the market for a new credit card at this point, you could always keep this post on your radar for when they offer even more enticing sign-up bonuses than the current on the left.

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Brand · Product · Review · Series · Wedding

FREE Wedding Websites Part 1

First post in the Engagement/Wedding series from the schedule! Come back every Wednesday for more info. Wedding season creeps over the horizon (if not already here for those living in warmer locations). One of the first places people scour for info aside from your Save the Date or Invitation is your Wedding Website! In New England we’re still waiting for the remainder of the snow/ice to thaw now that’s officially “Spring”. There are plenty of PAID websites that offer services, but I’m just going to focus on the FREE choices since you’ll probably be spending a lot of money in other areas. I’ve linked the sample website demos for you to peruse. However if you want to see the layout options you can check out the main page. After digging into some more research for this post, I’m actually thinking I should have picked a different website… a little too late now!

If you are planning on having an engagement party or a celebration shortly after the exciting news, I advise starting on the website early on! Even though we shared the website link early on (Save the Dates, Invitation response card), it still required a considerable amount of goading for people to actually visit. Hate to break it to ya, but your big day won’t be as important to anyone else so visiting the website can fall to the wayside. You can also buy your own domain name so the URL is easier for your loved ones to remember. Ingrain it into their minds anyway you can.

1. WeddingWire – One of my go to resources for forum Q&A discussion! Love searching for my wedding dilemma issues. Someone else usually has a crazier story on here.

  • No RSVP option online.
  • So many free themes and you can choose whether you want the menu to go horizontally (stacked), vertically (paged).
  • Photo album shows full screen photos.
  • Guestbook & Contact form included!

2. eWedding – Easy layouts to navigate, not very many theme options! Everything is on the main page, so many unique features!

  • Photos allow guests to “like” with a heart and leave comments.
  • Share other forms of media video
  • RSVP online option available.
  • Fun polls to add on your website for guests to interact, timeline of your love story
  • Guests can submit information such as song requests, collect their addresses!
  • Blog feature, really nifty if you want to post what you are up to and events leading up to the wedding. (I love writing! This would have been great for announcing wedding website updates.)

3. SayIDo – streamlined interface of all your key info in one place! Cool flash features. Not too many people are using this so your website will be unique and you can have a simple and short URL!

  • Minimalistic layout. Sleek design looks great on mobile interface.
  • RSVP feature for guests.

4. Weduary – are all of your contacts on Facebook? This website integrates all of your contact info already on Facebook to allow you to send out invites.

  • Obviously this is an issue if not all of your guests are on here, but for the very social media active this could be a very easy option!
  • Privacy control integrated with Facebook so only those invited can see the wedding details.

5. TheKnot – most popular/default option I’ve seen used among friends, colleagues. There are a few annoying glitches, but overall it’s reliable!

  • Variety of themes, some of them also have matching stationary available from Minted to order.
  • Custom pages for you to share your love story and other fun tidbits & guestbook.
  • Wedding Checklist & E-mail reminders
  • Guest List Manager / Collect Addresses / Online RSVP
  • Registry integration, donation to charity of choosing for guests who purchase through the link. (No specified % or amount though.)
  • Photo albums feature drives me crazy since the size of the photos is so small.
  • Privacy protection, you can set a PIN for guests to enter. Also your website will not be searchable if you’re paranoid like me.

Drum roll please… no surprise for my friends and family but I chose TheKnot! Don’t pick it just because it’s the default option though! Take a moment to look through all the features of the other free websites to decide which one would be best for you. You don’t need to to go with the mainstream choice like me. Hope you found the options useful. I hate it when the movie industry splits the last movie into 2 parts to get more revenue (when they could have made a slightly longer final movie), but expect the FREE Wedding Website TheKnot Part 2 for next week!

Beauty · Brand · Coupon · Promotion · Review · Rewards · Ulta

Ulta 21 Days of Beauty Review

To all my beauty lovers and (low-key) addicts trying so save some money and look good. It’s here again Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty! Starting this Sunday, March 19th through Saturday April 8th!

They have several of these 21 day events throughout the year with hair care and skin care, but of course this beauty one is my favorite by far! They feature amazing daily deals from the prestige brands for online and in-stores. I’m hoping to share my excitement for y’all to pick up some awesome beauty steals as I’m trying to save money these days for upcoming large expenses. I’ve participated in several of these in the past couple years to accumulate quite the stash…

Here’s the calendar for your reference! I’ll let you know which ones I think are the best deals. I LOVE the Ulta rewards program and special deals like this much more than Sephora’s Beauty Insider program. See my post about the silly Rewards Bazaar Review.

Platinum Perk (P): If you’re an Ultamate Platinum rewards member like me, you’ll get free shipping on all of these orders too! Along with some platinum exclusive items. Think about if you have anything else you need/want to add to your order too! Might as well with the free shipping! If you want to join you can use my referral link. Maybe I will do a separate review of the Ultamate rewards program juxtaposed against the Sephora Beauty Insiders program as well as a future post.

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Hanna’s Daily Deal Picks – set a calendar reminder! Good for one day only.

  1. 3/19 – Too Faced: Love Flush Blush ($13) – I’ve only got deluxe samples in a set, but I might snag one in I Will Always Love You!
  2. 3/29 – IT Cosmetics: Naturally Pretty Vol 1 Eyeshadow Palette ($21) – You need this matte palette in your life. There’s a shimmer transformer too. Such a great array of colors for everyday and bold colors. Love the transition shades too!
  3. 4/1 – IT Cosmetics:  Your Skin But Better CC+ Airbrush Perfecting Powder SPF 50 ($17.50) – I love this brand and I’m in the market for a new powder foundation!
  4. 4/2 – Shiseido: Eyelash Curler ($10) – I own this and got it not as much on sale at Sephora. Great deal! Tied with Tarte for favorite curler for my stubborn lashes.
  5. 4/5 – Cargo Swimmables (Waterproof) Collection 50% Off \ $9-$14.50 – I already know I’m going to end up in a puddle of tears on the wedding day so I’m looking for waterproof everything to lock in my make up look.
  6. 4/8 – Anastasia Beverly Hills – Brow Wiz Pencil ($10.5) – Love this stuff! Last year they had the brow powder and I picked up a back up since it looked like I might hit pan soon.

Hanna’s Hot Buy Picks – Available for all 21 days, almost forgot about this page! I will need to stop by my local Ulta to do some swatches so I can get the right shades before the event launches.

  1. Tarte Double Duty Confidence Cream Powder 40% off ($21) – torn between this at the IT Cosmetics one above. This one doesn’t have SPF though, but it seems better for dry skin.
  2. Smashbox Photo Matte Eyes 40% off ($29) – do I really need another neutral palette? No. Maybe you might benefit though! I love how Smashbox always includes diagrams and a how-to guide for their palettes.

In the past I’ve snagged some amazing finds from this event in particular! Learn from my mistakes and check early in the day for these items, as the popular items tend to SELL OUT quickly in (all shades)! They also make great gifts for your loved ones if you know they love a certain brand or product. Those Becca blushes are still the ones that got away for me last year… Don’t forget to also check their Gifts with Purchase page for excellent add-ons, to get some extra freebies! Oh and check the coupon codes you may be able to use a code too if you have some drugstore items too!

There are so many goodies! What items catch your eyes so far on the calendar?!

Rating: 5/5 ★★★★★

App · Brand · Product · Review · Series · Social Media

Instagram: At least it’s not as bad as Snapchat

Ah Instagram (IG)… it makes our mediocre photos look slightly better with their array of filters. Anyone can be “artsy”. I’m not quite sure why I even signed up for this app in the first place? I attempted Twitter too and failed at having engaging posts that weren’t laundry lists of my life. The app has drastically changed since I first joined in the tail end of 2012 for APO Nationals photos on a horrible LG Virgin Mobile phone! The premise is that you take photos and “instantly” share your photo “gram”. IG used to have a strictly square interface, where users would use apps to fill in the background with negative space to bypass the limitation to upload landscape or portrait shots. Nowadays they have copied Snapchat basically feature for feature (aside from the range of wild overlay masks i.e. flower crown, dog mask, face swap) allowing me to consolidate and delete the latter.

 

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Brand · Business · Coupon · Product · Promotion · Review · Yelp

Yankee Candle Review & Coupon!

Well this might be slightly random, but why share an awesome coupon to my undoubted favorite home fragrance and candle brand! You also need to know why I feel this way in my review. First of all check out the coupon if you have a location near you!

Yankee Candle Coupon available to get $10 off any $25+ purchase valid through March 19,2017 or you can use the code SUNNY17C online but free shipping is steep at $100+. Print your coupon here!

Candles & Fragrance Merchandise
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Refreshingly Summer

Yankee Candle (YC) has an absolutely stunning variety of different scents where I’m sure anyone could find something they like! I wonder who has the interesting job of deciding all of these colorful names. Some of them are quite out there like their Bacon, Beer or God Bless America fragrances. These were marketed as their rugged/manly collection… Aside from scented candles, they also have oils, room sprays, gel capsule fresheners, car jar fresheners/vent clips and of course candle accessories. Although slightly gimmicky they have seasonal decor for all of the major holidays and seasons. For an extra premium you can of course also customize your favorite candle scent with your own photo to call it some equally cheesy abstract scent! (I’m thinking Family Fun Time or Endless Love.)

Favorite Scents: Citrus Tango, Lucky Green, Pink Sands, Golden Sands, Bahama Breeze
Least Favorite Scents: Cozy Sweater, Bacon, Beer

Little known fact that I actually used to work for one of their main competitors back in the day, Bath and Body Works (B&BW). Personally I love the classic feel and unbeatable quality from Yankee Candle. I’m not going to pit these 2 brands against each other, but YC offers more size variety and specialize mostly in candles. (They know their stuff!) B&BW has a variety of candle scents, but they also have lotion and perfume fragrance offerings. YC also list each candle’s approximate burn time for each size. As long as you take care of the candle by trimming the wick as needed then the candle will burn evenly to fill your home with wonderful fragrance.

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