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Designer Resale Sample Sale

14 May

Courtesy: EmphaticNYC

I’ve written twice about I just think the prices are so right and the merchandise is high-quality. And for a second time, the online retailer is opening the doors to its showroom for a spring sample sale. So for those of us who can’t get into the Christian Louboutin sample sale, you can find some solace in the inventory at EmphaticNYC (like Azzedine Alaïa shoes for $239 in excellent condition). And you can get an additional 15% off items ordered online during the sale. Plus, there are some great finds under $50. EmphaticNYC, 262 West 38th Street, Suite 201, Manhattan, (212) 239-6762; through May 21, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

All That Gas

19 Apr

I hope no one had to pay the tax man. But if you didn’t or are lucky enough to get a refund, it’s a good idea to squirrel away the money you saved or received, especially if you plan on traveling this summer. Filling up even one tank of gas is expected to make quite a dent in your wallet. While a couple of weeks ago, the Lundberg Survey, a market research firm that specializes in fuel prices, reported gas prices may have reached a peak; except for minor dips, they’ve gone up since this article in Bloomberg Business Week.

But there are several ways to help save money when it comes to gas. I sometimes drive hundreds of miles a week, luckily most of that is in New Jersey where gas prices are lower than in most places. But I am always looking for savings, from old-school ways such as properly maintaining your car and modifying (or at least trying to modify) driving habits to newer methods like incentive programs and smartphone apps.

“Every driver is impacted by the increased cost of fuel” says Cathleen Lewis, director of Public Affairs for AAA New Jersey Automobile Club. “There are several easy things drivers can do to stretch each tank of gas and find the lowest fuel prices when it is time to fill up.”

The Old School

Lewis says 17 percent of all cars have all four tires properly inflated, and a survey found only 85 percent of Americans do not properly check their tire pressure. She says, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, properly inflated tires can improve fuel economy by up to three percent. So how do you make sure your tires are properly inflated? Some gas stations have built-in gauges in their air pumps; if they don’t, you can buy one in any auto parts store for a few dollars—I even saw one in a QuickCheck. Check the tires when they’re cold, not after they’ve been driven several miles. You can usually find what the proper pressure should be on the driver’s side door jamb or in the owner’s manual.

And tires aren’t the only part of the car that may save you fuel. Proper maintenance of the whole vehicle can help. Lewis says warning lights can signal problems that can decrease a car’s fuel efficiency.

How you drive can also effect how much fuel you use. Driving the speed limit and going lightly on the pedals can help save.

“If there is a red light ahead, ease off the gas and coast up to it rather than waiting until the last second to brake,” Lewis says. “Once the light turns green, gently accelerate rather than making a quick start.”

The U.S. Department of Energy reports aggressive driving can lower a car’s fuel economy by up to 33 percent.

Another way to save is planning your errands ahead of time. If you know you have to go to the dentist, the supermarket, the gym, figure out the most efficient way of driving to them and schedule your day so you can do it all in one trip. According to AAA, several short trips starting with a cold engine each time can use twice as much gas as a longer multipurpose trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm.

If you happen to pick up groceries or heavy loads on those trips, it may also be best to make that the last thing you do. The lighter your load, the less effort your car needs to move and thus the less gas will be used. So if you are driving around with a set of golf clubs, it may be best to leave them at home.

The Apps

I’ve been using GasBuddy, which tells you prices near your location—and it is free. You can choose to sort them by price or distance or see them on a map. It’s not always accurate: I saw a gas station where the price was 10-cents lower than all the others; it turned out to be closed. However, you can earn points toward free gas by updating prices at stations you do come across.

AAA has its own free app (you don’t need to be an AAA member, although I recommend it—I’ve locked myself out of my car a few times).  AAA’s TripTik has a more high-tech way of determining stations with the best prices based on credit card transactions at more than 100,000 stations nationwide. It also has the same GPS capability as GasBuddy.


Stop & Shop, a large chain in the Northeast, allows you to earn 10-cents per gallon off your gas for every $100 you spend on certain items listed in their circular each week. You swipe your Stop & Shop rewards card before you pump and it instantly lowers the price. However, not all locations or gas stations participate, so visit Stop & Shop’s Web site for more information.

And many credit cards have programs that earn you points, even double points on gas purchases. If you redeem those points for cash, you can get some of that money back. Be careful of ones with high interest rates and annual fees. One site that can help you compare is However, cash seems to be king these days—stations are charging more to pay with a credit card and sometimes the difference is so substantial, it’s best to keep some green on hand
when driving.

And with the money you may be able to save, hopefully you can enjoy better or even more vacations this summer. Happy travels!


Ok, I’ll Jump on the Jason Wu Bandwagon

11 Jan

I reported and was excited to hear that Jason Wu would be the next designer collab with Target. And because I was busy with my day job Tuesday, I defer to the lookbook on one of my favorite sites, as always, Racked. The clothes and bags look great and I love that everything is under $60 (one of my favorite and affordable outfits I’ve pictured here). But thanks to Pulsed, I have something you can use now. I’m not usually a coupon person, but what the heck. Jamba Juice is offering select 12 oz. and 16 oz. smoothies for $1 and $2 (plus tax) through January 19.

Meanwhile, Target currently has the Bullseye Bodega (if a real bodega had what Target has stocked, it would be a Costco). It’s not the same as the pop-ups that the retailer set up throughout New York City some time back. What it is: multipacks of everything, supersized shampoos, etc…. You get the idea. So if you don’t belong to a warehouse club, hit Target now. I even saw some infant items and kitchenware as well.




All Wrapped Up

21 Dec

So you’ve bought your Christmas or Hanukkah gifts and now you have to wrap them–or you’re still waiting to shop last-minute. If the stores where you shopped or plan to shop don’t have free gift-wrapping, don’t buy wrapping paper or bows or even tape at a Hallmark store–even Target or Walmart. This is an area where you can–and should–save money. If you haven’t been to a Dollar Tree, now is the time to go.

If you are inept at wrapping, they have tons of gift bags, packs of tissue
paper or shredded paper filler and even pre-decorated gift boxes. But if you can wrap, there are 10-yard rolls of paper (they aren’t all ugly or tacky), plenty of tape, gift tags, stickers (in packs of no less than 30), cards, tape-on bows and regular spools of ribbon. And not only are they all a dollar, sometimes they’re two or three or even four for a dollar.

What popped into my mind when I went was, if you’re really tight on money, why not give homemade baked goods? And Dollar Tree has tins and decorated cellophane bags that are perfect for that.

And if you haven’t gotten those stockings hung or decorated a tree, they have a variety of sizes in stockings and plenty of ornaments.

The only negative is the service. But you get what you pay for. I think it’s worth trading good customer service for the value. And don’t just consider going around the holidays; they have wrapping paper and cards for all occasions and even party supplies, including balloons. Again, everything is a dollar or less. You can’t beat that!


A Deal with a Mouse

5 Dec

I’ve been meaning to post about a wonderful deal from a talented guy. Sam Wilson of With a Mouse Design, who I’ve known for years, is offering 20 percent off custom design work. While it may be a little late for holiday cards, it’s never too late to get a head start on next year or still get invites to your New Year’s eve party. And with the new year approaching, if you need anything related to your business, including cards, media kits, logo design, advertisements…. why wait for next year to get those tax deductions!

Sam has done work for companies like Nike, Target, Sony and American Express, so you can be sure you will get the best work possible. See some of what he’s done by visiting Just “Like” With a Mouse Design on Facebook by clicking here and mentioning the promotion. The work must also be completed by December 31, so no procrastination!



My Favorite Cyber Monday Specials (So Far)

26 Nov

Sporto's The Wendy

One reason it’s stupid to go in-store to shop this week (or the next few weeks) is that you can actually get some better deals online. And two of my favorite online shopping sites, ASOS and Piperlime, are offering 20% off at checkout with special codes. At Piperlime, be sure to get everything you want in one order because you can only use the code TWENTY once! Also, it doesn’t apply to gift wrapping, gift cards or the following brands: Frye, Hunter, Rag & Bone, Fossil, Stuart Weitzman and The North Face. But that does mean you can get those Sorel Tofino™ or Joan of Arctic™ boots you’ve been pining for (like I have) at 20% off of $140. I’m actually going to order Sporto’s equally cool version of the Tofino™: The Wendy. (I need a good pair of snow boots because when you’re a TV reporter, you never know how many hours you’ll be reporting in a snowstorm for!) It’s priced at $89.95 at DSW, and you can get $15 off with the code CYBER and free shipping with the code SHIPR. (You do have to become a “Rewards Member,” but that’s free. And the more you shop, the closer you get to freebies.) There are fewer restrictions at ASOS: You can use the codes HAPPYBLACKFRIDAY or BLACKFRIDAY2011 multiple times–even on sale items; orders just cannot exceed $890. Both ASOS and Piperlime offer free shipping on orders and returns. So shop now and have second thoughts later, as all the deals expire at 11:59 p.m. Monday.

Leave It to Sam

24 Nov

Not me. Sam’s Club, that is (I’ll get to that in a bit). I’m technically on vacation, but I had to put in my two cents on Black Friday.

Courtesy: Sam's Club

You are absolutely crazy if you wait in the cold at midnight, even at Target, for a deal. My advice: Don’t even wait for Cyber Monday; make this Friday “Cyber Friday.”

There are so many options out there (I mentioned last week). It seems most people wait for those doorbuster deals to buy deeply discounted electronics. Still not worth it to me. First of all, with eBay, you can find great deals on new products–not necessarily used. And many electronics vendors on eBay accept returns. You may just need to do your own wrapping (which I suggest doing to save money anyway).

Next, if you’re a member of Sam’s Club, snapping up deals on all-things tech is easy. The megastore has an iPad® app and mobile app you can use starting November 27. Grab big screen HDTVs and electronics to diamond jewelry and toys. For example: One deal is a Magnavox 32-inch LCD 720p HDTV for $248.88 (and includes free shipping). Of course you must be a member, but I think any of those warehouse clubs are worth it (if you have the room or can split your spoils among friends).

Between now and the holidays, I’ll have some more ideas to save money, so stay tuned and have a happy and a healthy Thanksgiving!


Goodbye Syms and Filene’s Basement

3 Nov

Courtesy: Yusuf C

I must thank my friend and Sarah Palin expert and author Shushannah Walshe for tweeting this info via The Washington Post. RIP Filene’s Basement and Syms. Filene’s Basement is one discount store I don’t like, and haven’t liked since I visited the original basement in Downtown Boston. Syms, which I do like, bought it out of bankruptcy but apparently could not revive it. So, while “An Educated Consumer Is Our Best Customer” was the tagline of Sy Syms’ long-running ad campaign, apparently the Syms family wasn’t educated enough to know that the chain they bought was beneath them (in my opinion). Now I don’t know the details– whether it was Filene’s sales that brought the company down or the two combined–but I’ve found Missoni and Krizia pieces at Syms, while Filene’s was selling crap. By crap, I mean brands you could buy in discount department stores like Sears, Kohl’s and jcpenney (which, as I’ve mentioned before, sell some great lower-priced lines from great designers, although I never mentioned the $14.99 I ♥ Ronson blazer I got at jcpenney–that’s how they are spelling it these days). It was basically akin to Burlington Coat Factory. (Blah!)

The one positive: It means there will be a liquidation sale. And that information comes straight from a message Marcy Syms posted on the company’s Web site. Yes, Syms suits were irregular, but they were from many of the best designers–and they did alterations! What discount store does alterations?! (If anyone knows, let me know.) So while I don’t mourn Filene’s passing, Syms–the commercials that ran throughout my childhood, the hours spent combing the racks for just a few gems–I do mourn. To see Marcy Syms’ statememt, click here.

I wonder if another store could hold a “Running of the Brides” for wedding dresses like Filene’s Basement did. If you’ve ever seen that on the news, those were crazy. I wasn’t planning on getting mine that way, though (although I will try to find a deal in a more civilized fashion).

Now I wonder what will take its place on that prime Upper West Side corner of 79th Street and Broadway, its location in Union Square or even its space in the Bergen Town Center (home to so many fabulous department store outlets).

On a side note, I have taken my day job as a television reporter up again, so, I apologize in advance for posting less frequently, but I will keep trying to help you live life fully without paying full price. However, in the name of shameless self-promotion, if you live in New Jersey and have FiOS, be sure to watch me every weeknight on FiOS 1.


Locate a Sale…. From Anywhere!

27 Oct


When the Valhalla, New York-based father-and-son team of Michael and Udi Falkson came up with the idea for their amazing site,, they felt there simply wasn’t one place to find the type of sales you would have to wait to see in a Sunday paper circular. Thus, was born.

“Instead of visiting hundreds of retailer sites or scouring newspaper ads, circulars, direct mail,” says Michael Falkson, “shoppers can visit one resource, SaleLocator, online or via a mobile app, that brings this information together in one location.”

The site lists more than 275,000 retail and online sales per day for about 1,000 stores, many big-box and chain retailers. It’s extremely simple: The site detects where you are geographically (or you can search in other locations). Then users can shop by category or even search for something specific. You never know what will be on sale.

You’re probably wondering how they are able to get all this information. An Internet veteran, Udi Falkson helped develop Yahoo! Answers, so the Falkson’s site use a special computer program that communicates with retailers. But Michael Falkson also says some dedicated human research is involved.

As more big-box stores open in New York City (whether you are for or against it), can help you find deals at all of them. But, according to Falkson, they also show sales at smaller stores (Godiva, for one), even supermarkets and drugstores. And you can organize your shopping by saving searches, setting up alerts and making lists either through the app or on the site.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Just in case you plan on getting out to shop later, today (for example) lists the specific items of men’s outerwear on sale—along with their prices—at the H&M on East 86th Street. You’ll also find details on specifc drapes, rugs and furniture on sale at the Pottery Barn on Second Avenue between East 75th and 76th Streets.
                                                                                                                                                                                                       For more information, visit      

An Emphatically Awesome Sample Sale

20 Oct

There’s nothing better than someone who’s hosting a sample sale being so excited about it, they actually are sad to part with some of the merchandise. It also shows how great the deals and items are. That describes the folks at–a designer resale Web site. They are offering an amazing selection of items in their Garment District showroom that would normally only be available online. EmphaticNYC’s first sample sale takes place Thursday, October 20, through Saturday, October 22. You could say they are emphatically enthusiastic. And it’s easy to see why. First of all, look at the savings: up to 85% off (a few items are discounted even more). The designers: Jean Paul Gaultier, Chanel, Moschino, Manolo Blahnik, Diane von Furstenberg, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Prada, Yves Saint Laurent and more! If you can’t make it to the sale, there are still plenty of deals online. So, what are some of the pieces owner Adrianne Hayon is sad to see go?

Escada oatmeal tweed coat with fur collar, $894.95 (68% off)

Alberta Ferretti silk embroidered dress, $84.95 (almost 93% off!)

Coach limited-edition tote with snakeskin trim, $824.95 (45% off)


But if you want the best, always good to get there early. Doors open at 8 a.m. And if you don’t get a chance to visit EmphaticNYC’s showroom, stay tuned: Bloggains will take you on a tour and show you the racks of wonderful clothes and accessories. EmphaticNYC, 262 West 38th Street, Suite 201, Manhattan, (212) 239-6762; October 20-October 22, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.