Black Friday & Cyber Monday: What to Snag & What to Skip

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday being some of the biggest shopping days of the year, I wanted to create a post talking not just about what retailers have sales (though I do have a round-up of retailers and what their sales/discounts are); but to talk about what items - from a fashion perspective - you should be buying during Black Friday / Cyber Monday and what items are actually not worth your hard earned money because the sales are not as good as you might think! 

Of course, I also have rounded up my personal favorites in each of the categories worth spending money on during Black Friday week. Some of the deals are insane (think $500 shoes on sale for $80, and a Tory Burch bag for under $100!) and I can't wait to make my own purchases this weekend when I have some downtime from work!

Black Friday / Cyber Monday Deals:

Ann Taylor: 50% Off Everything with code THANKFUL 

ASOS: 30% off everything with code EPIC30
Banana Republic: 50% off regular price items

Chicwish: 15% off orders over $70 with code BLK15 (Friday & Saturday)
JCrew: 40% off everything with code THANKU
JCrew Factory: 50-60% off everything with code FRIYAY

Nordstrom: Extra 20% off selected sale
Shopbop: 20% off orders $200+, 25% off orders $500+ and 30% off orders $800+ with code MORE17 

Storets: Up to 70% off sale
Topshop: Sales up to 50% off
Tory Burch: 30% off $250 or more with code THANKS

What to Snag This Black Friday Week:

1. Boots & Booties:
Now is the best time to snag some boots and ankle boots. New fall boots and booties (launched late summer usually) are always heavily discounted during black friday week. These are the newest collection for most designers, but as we are only in November, you will still get months of wear out of any boots or booties you invest in. This is unlike most sales which come at the end of the season. I have been loving statement boots this year, so I have rounded up a ton of great ones: 

2. Designer Handbags:
According to RetailMeNot; during Black Friday last year, the most common reduction bracket was 30 to 40 percent off of designer handbags. That makes this, statistically, the highest discounted 'bracket' of any fashion item during this time. So, if you've had your eye on a designer bag, this is the time to pull the trigger! My personal favorites are: 

3. Sweaters:

Similar to boots, sweaters are a perfect item to buy during cyber week as the latest season's trends and top items are heavily discounted, but really we're just starting the season where you are going to want cozy sweaters! I found a number of ones I love that are also work appropriate so huge win there! You can see my favorites below.

 4. Holiday Party Wear: 
Self-explanatory, but clearly this is the perfect time to get a party dress for any holiday parties you have coming up this season! Some of my favorites are:

 What to Skip This Black Friday Week:

1. Winter Coats:
Statistically, winter coats are 20-30% less during boxing week sales than they are now. So, unless you live in a climate where you really need a winter coat before the end of December, skip the winter coat sales and wait until boxing week! 

2. Winter Accessories (Hats, Scarves, etc.):
 Same as above! Winter accessories are usually a bit cheaper during boxing week -though selection doesn't seem to be as good as black friday. I'd still recommend waiting on these items though! 

3. Makeup / Skincare:
Beauty products don't often go on sale (as every makeup lover sadly knows!) and sadly the sales are not that great this Black Friday. I would spend your money on other items where you get a way better deal!

linking up with: FFF // posh classy mom

#Girl Boss | Interview with Molly - Podcaster & Blogger

For today's edition of my #GirlBoss Interview series, I am excited to be introducing you to Molly Stillman. Molly is a podcaster, blogger, and busy mom of two. She is sweet & funny and I know you will be inspired by her. Molly lives in North Carolina (somewhere I am not likely to be anytime soon) but I wanted so badly to interview her for this series that I decided to do our interview over FaceTime. We had a great chat with lots of laughs and I learned a ton. Read on for her interview!

Q: What do you do for a living?
A: I am a blogger, podcaster, wife, and mom 
Q: How did you get into it – tell me about your path? 
A:  I got into blogging first. I started my blog right after college because I wanted to have a creative outlet. Originally I wanted to be like The Onion; I was really into comedy. That didn’t last very long! That was back in 2007 and over time it ebbed and flowed as my life changed. It's so funny to look back at old posts and cringe. I even once did a post on bubble wrap!! *side note for my readers: don't worry I did tell Molly she had to find this post and re-share it with us lol, this needs to see the light of day again! haha

In 2010-2011 it became more of a lifestyle blog. In 2013 I was able to leave my day job and pursue it full time. My podcast, Business with Purpose, launched in Sept 2016. I worked in radio previously so I kind of always wanted to do a podcast and in September I finally decided to do it. 

I created Business with Purpose because I am really passionate about companies and people who are trying to make a difference in the world through what they do for a living. I think people want to see good things in the world, they want to see more kindness, and I think it can be overwhelming for people trying to find a way to make a difference in the world... but I think its a lot easier than we make it. So; I wanted to interview business people and entrepreneurs. My original intention was to highlight ethical fashion brands but it expanded when I realize there are so many other people in totally diverse industries - from wedding photographers to relationship coaches - who are using their different fields and finding unique ways to give back. 

Q: What motivates you / inspires you / makes you keep doing what you do?  
A: The biggest thing that drives me (in addition to my family) is that I am incredibly passionate about ending human trafficking. That’s my heartbeat - and that’s what drives everything I do. Educating people and having conversations about it. I try to let people know in anyway that I can that this is a reality still today and its connected to so much in the world that we don’t even realize. I really do believe that we can see human trafficking end in our lifetime. When it companies to companies and brands I support, I think about whether or not this is a brand that’s doing good in the world - ie. that they're not engaging in That there's no human trafficking, no child labour, etc.  

Q: What is the biggest struggle with what you do?
A: Right now its balancing work and motherhood! I try to do the best I can to work when my kids are at pre-school but its hard! Kids get sick or theres a field trip, so much unpredictability! It’s a lot of work. Balance is a real challenge. 

Q: What does being a #GirlBoss mean to you?   
A: You know; I've always been one of those people that’s questioned that term a bit. It's been a tough term for me.. the way I see it; I’m just a BOSS!!! I don’t call my husband a man boss right!? Basically, I find it fascinating that we don’t tell men they're boy bosses, but we call women girl bosses. I want women to know that we are a powerful force in the business world. period!

When it comes to bloggers, my thoughts on this are that bloggers can be seen as vapid and materialistic, and not everyone is like that. Most bloggers that I've met are savvy, smart, hard-working business women and yes the industry were in is weird and unconventional but when you're a blogger you’re your own boss, your own employee, a photographer, a content creator, a copy editor, a web developer, a social media manager - the list goes on! As a blogger you have to wear all these hats and I think that there are a lot of incredible women doing all this and they deserve recognition for being the hard working women that they are.

For a long time I had a hard time when people asked me what I did for a living. I would sort of shyly add that I have this blog – I was almost embarrassed to tell me – Men aren't like that- they’ll fake it till they make it! Women are so much more likely to discredit ourselves and not toot our own horns. I think it's important for women working in any industry to recognize this and be proud and confident. So, back to idea of girl boss (or just a boss as I'd like to say!) I think its being confident and saying proudly that I am a blogger and a podcaster!

On to some fashion questions!

Q: What is your favorite trend right now?
A: I love big earrings and I think they're so in right now. I also like that I think there's a move right now in going back towards classic pieces and making them feel modern with your accessories. We're seeing a lot of jeans and t-shirt looks with great boots or a modern scarf or fun earrings and I really like that! It’s so much more sustainable to have these classic pieces.

Q: Any thoughts on fashion & your career?  A: Hmmm. Well, I think as someone who works from home, fashion can be really interesting. I try and get dressed most days - which can be hard for women working from home. I workout first thing in the morning and it’s nice because it does almost force me to come home and shower and great dressed up. Some days of course I'll be working in sweats, but I’ve been working from home for 4 years now and I've found that the best thing for my productivity is getting dressed, doing my makeup, generally feeling like I'm put together. It helps me be productive. I've notice a massive change in how I feel and my productivity if I’ve gotten ready for the day. 

Q: What is an item that makes you feel empowered?
I always feel great in a great dress. Like a really flattering dress that is comfortable - nothing that you have to wear spanx with; no spanx allowed! Just that comfy dress that hits you in all the right places in a beautiful color. It just makes you feel awesome.

Addition: The Zara Situation

Q: As an ethical fashion blogger, I think you would have a lot of insight into something that has been on my mind - and I know a lot of other fashionistas minds lately. That is the business practices of Zara and what we are learning about their horrendous treatment of the people employed to make our clothes. What are your thoughts on this? 
A:  I actually spoke at a luncheon yesterday about this very thing. It came as zero surprise to me, because I have been studying and learning about this for a while now. There are a couple of organizations that do work to hold brands accountable and Zara has ranked horribly for years. In a lot of ways I'm glad its coming out now in a public forum. It was so brave of the workers to do what they did; as doing so is risky for them, the consequences can be severe. People say that slave labor doesn’t exist – and sadly that’s not always the case. People are not always paid to make your clothes, and this is finally coming to light in a public forum. 

A lot of these factories used by big retailers like Zara are incredibly unsafe with unsafe working conditions. It's all in the name of cheap fashion and that makes me so sad. I will be really interested to see how Zara responds – if they change things and if other big retailers follow suit. 

A bit of history about this issue - A lot of things have changed since 2013. In April 2013 there was a tragedy called the Rana Plaza disaster; and this was a situation in which a complex of garment factories in Bangladesh (who made clothes for brands like gap, dillards, h&m, jc penny, etc) collapsed; killing over 1500 workers who were inside. In the months leading up to this, the workers had been saying to their mangers that the buildings were falling apart and noone would do anything. Over 1500 people were killed and 1000s more were injured. It is considered the worst garment factory disaster in history. Following Rana Plaza we did see some positive change come to the industry; but of course there is still a long way to go. The biggest thing is that Zara is not the first and they wont be the last but the more that we as consumers become educated about where and how our clothes are made and then put pressure on brands the more change we will see. I can only hope that the public Zara situation at the moment does raise awareness and in turn create change.

Side note for my readers: I did some research myself on the Rana Plaza disaster and found this article on the changes since Rana Plaza a very good read.

Thank you to Molly for being interviewed today. Be sure to check out her blog for more ethical fashion (and to seriously melt over the cuteness of her children) and her podcast to learn about inspiring people making postive change in the world.

Gifts for a #GirlBoss

I am so excited to be kicking off the holiday season today with my first holiday gift guide. I will be doing a series of specific gift guides this year - all tailored to the people I think you, my awesome readers, may be shopping for. I will have a tab in the header of my blog with all of this year's guides for easy shopping for you. 

To start off this year's holiday gift guides, I could think of no better fit than gifts for girl bosses. Knowing what bad ass women you all are, I figure that many of you have friends, sisters, etc., that you will be needing to buy Christmas gifts for who are equally amazing girl boss type women.

These gifts are all items that I think would be perfect for the #GirlBoss in your life. You can click the images to be taken to the product (most are clickable in the photo!) and you can also click through to the items as listed below. Read on for more information about each item! 

1. Glitter Cardholder: Every working woman needs a business card holder that is suits their style. This glitter one is young and feminine (and comes in three glitter colors), perfect for a girl boss.

2. "Let's Talk Shop" Desk Cardholder:
Similarly, a desktop card holder is a great little gift for a friend or sister who is a working woman badass! This one is so chic (and affordable!)

3. Initial Necklace:
I like that this necklace goes beyond the classic initial on a chain, to having this unique spinning component. It's a great staple that can be worn with any work outfit, making it a great gift!

4. Bad Girls Throughout History Book: I bought this coffee table book a few months back as a gift to myself when placing a big Amazon order of birthday gifts for people. I am obsessed with it, and highly recommend it for any woman. It's great to flip through and feel inspired by so many women. I actually hadn't heard of quite a few of them and so have learned a ton!

5. Li
ke a Boss Digital Print (c/o): How fun is this digital print!? What I love about this as a gift, is it gives the receiver so many options. Because it is a digital download you can buy it and turn into something or give the download to the recipient to make what they want. This print would be a great desktop background, a perfect print on a pillow for a home office chair or even printed and framed for a home office wall. It's such a versatile item for the price, I love it! 

6. Like a Boss Pillow: Speaking of pillows for a home office chair (or really anywhere in the home), this pillow would be perfect for a the boss babe in your life. I also think it would look sweet paired with a pillow with the above digital print for a cute pillow set!

7. Boss Lady Heels: Now these would be a pretty big splurge as a gift, but I had to include them because they are so perfect for this gift guide. Every working woman, every proud independent woman, should have this pair of shoes! I may need to get these as a Christmas present for myself!

8. "Go-Getter" Cuff Bracelet Set c/o:
**10% off with code LEGALLEEBLONDE**
If you follow me on instagram you likely have heard me talk about the jewelry brand behind these cuff bracelets; Pieces of Me. Pieces of me specializes in items that allow you to really celebrate the wearer and the great qualities that they have. There are symbols for a number of different traits that are embossed onto various items of jewelry. This go-getter set is perfect for a #GirlBoss because the symbols on these cuffs are "ambitious" and "passionate". What a great gift to show how much you admire the woman you are giving this to! 

9. Boss Lady Mug c/o: I have a mug addiction, and definitely would love to add this to my personal collection. It is such a great gift for any friend who you know is hustling and being awesome and talking control of their life and career.

10. Merci Mon Cheri T-Shirt: THIS SHIRT!! This shirt was the "it" shirt among fashionistas this fall. No doubt you saw a ton of women on instagram styling this shirt. It is a similar look to a Gucci shirt but I think it's even cuter. It is (originally) from Top Shop selling for under $40 which is why it was such a hit. Unfortunately, it sold out way before most women could get one. I genuinely squealed with joy when I found it back in stock on red bubble. In my opinion, every girl boss needs this great shirt!  

11. Phone Cases: I love the idea of a phone case as a gift because it's affordable, and something that women are able to change up frequently to accessorize their look. Each of the six phone cases are are inspirational or motivational - perfect for any of your girl boss friends. Links to each are: Fight Like a Girl // Get it Girl // Boss Lady // The Future is Female // Girl Boss // Be The Boss

12. Tech Gloves: I do not even remember how I handled winters pre-tech gloves! For any busy woman in a cold climate, these gloves are a must have! The fingertips are threaded with material to allow you to still use the touchscreen function on your phone. Because walking to work or around at lunch on a cold day, you want to stay warm but still be on your phone! These come in a couple of other colors so you can find the perfect one for your girl boss gift recipient. 

13. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg: One of the most important reads of our time for working women. It's high praise, I know, but trust me it's worth it. Gift this book to any woman who hasn't yet read it.

14. In the Company of Women: This makes a great coffee table book. Sharing profiles of a hundred women across the world, this book is diverse, insightful and a great gift.

15. Corkcicle: The perfect gift for any woman who drinks wine! Plain and simple!

16. What Would Beyonce Do Desk Name Plate: Wouldn't this be perfect on a home office desk? I feel like I would smile and chuckle every time I saw it! 

17. Girl Boss Pencil Set: Just a simple little addition to any gift for a girl boss in your life. 

linking up with: on trend tuesdays // style swap // trend spin

Work Wear | Pink Blazer & Chloe Bag

This pink blazer is certainly a statement piece! I wasn't sure if I would be comfortable wearing such a bold piece to the office, but I loved this blazer so much that I knew I wanted to get it and step out of my work wear comfort zone. I am so glad I did as I get stopped and asked about the blazer every time I wear it.

I think the key to making this blazer (or any other bold colored blazer) appropriate for a day at the office is keeping the rest of your look classic. To do this for this outfit, I went with a white button down blouse, my go-to skinny dress pants, and black patent heels. My blazer is an old J Crew one, but I have linked up a very similar one from Boden. I actually have the Boden blazer in the bright yellow shade and love the quality of it - it is a heavy material and his tailored beautifully.

Of course I can't not talk about this gorgeous bag. The Celine Drew is an iconic bag and I love this grey-beige shade. I thought it was a really interesting complement to the hot pink. I've linked up the Celine Drew, but also a quality dupe version if you want the look of this bag without the designer price tag. I might add the dupe version of this bag in black to my closet!

Alright guys! That's it for me. Hopefully this bold pink blazer has brightened up your Monday (... I swear Mondays are easier when you wear bright clothes. Try it!) Let's take this work week by storm ladies! Have a great one!

Shop The Post:

linking up with: hello monday // mix it mondays // creative mondays // #howifall

Travel | Aruba - Where to Eat & Where to Shop

I couldn't talk about Aruba without talking about the food! Aruba has some of the best restaurants in the Caribbean. There are so many great choices, and I wanted to share with you my personal favorites. To round-out my review of my recent Aruba trip, I thought in this post I would also share with you my favorite place to shop, and share some last few photos from my trip.

 Best Restaurants in Aruba:

As mentioned, Aruba is known for it's incredible selection of great restaurants. Narrowing it down to just a few favorites was certainly tough, but four that I absolutely love are:

1) Pinchos Grill & Bar

Pinchos is a beautiful restaurant on the water. The views are incredible and, as you can see, there is even a swing by the bar area. The atmosphere is perfect for a night out - it is a fancier restaurant, but still with a relaxed Caribbean vibe. It was actually voted the most romantic restaurant in the Caribbean a couple of years ago! (Next time I need to bring my guy!)

Sitting at your table with the breeze blowing through (hopefully with one of their delicious cocktails in hand) you can't help but feel relaxed. Speaking of cocktails, Pinchos makes what is now my new favorite drink - a champagne mojito. You absolutely need to try this drink! Another highly recommend one would be the Aruba Aribe!

As far as the food, the seafood dishes are top notch and there is a ton of variety. My mother who I went with is a vegetarian and they were also able to make a custom vegetarian main for her, which she loved! I had the special of the day which was a seafood trio including the local wahoo fish, lobster and shrimp. It was delicious!

If you follow me on instagram, you hopefully saw my instastories of this restaurant. This is hands down the coolest restaurant I have ever been. Indoors is filled with twinkle lights and has a super hip bar area, and outside - as you can see above - is literally in the water. There are a number of these water tables and we were lucky enough to get one for our dinner. If you want to secure a water's edge table be sure to book in advance and note that they only have seatings for these tables at 5pm. 

My mom was not nearly as enthusiastic as I was about the idea of eating with her feet in the sand with waves lapping up. However, she was quite the convert once we arrived and experienced it. It is definitely an experience worth having!

Sadly, the food was not as good as expected, especially given the prices. I would say the food at Pincho's was far better, but I still recommend checking out the flying fishbone for the experience. 

The West Deck is the most casual of my top 4 restaurants, as well as the most affordable. The food here is so good that even with all of the amazing restaurants to try out in Aruba, we went to the West Deck twice during the week because we wanted nothing more than to get the Caribbean Rice and Fried Funchi dishes again! 

I highly recommend stopping at the West Deck at least once during your stay. As you can probably assume from the above the side dishes were the biggest hit for my mother and I. Instead of ordering full meals we ordered a ton of appetizers and side dishes to share. In addition to the funchi and Carribean rice, I would highly recommend the plantains! 

Screaming Eagle has been voted by a number of publications as the top restaurant in Aruba. While I am not sure I would call it the absolute best (it's a tie between all four of these restaurants!) it was definitely incredible. It is the priciest of the 4 on this list, so be prepared for that. That said however, they routinely have 40% off wine bottle nights - so plan ahead to go then! 

The menu is more European than the other options on this list, which all focus more on local Caribbean cuisine. Screaming Eagle is a nice change for a mid-week meal if you are staying in Aruba for a week or more. We ordered appetizers, main courses and desserts and after every course we talked about how impressed we were! The dessert though was definitely the best part, in my opinion. I had the La Tazza Famosa - which was a mug made of chocolate filled with liquor, white chocolate mousse and orange sorbet. Just typing that is making me miss it haha. 

Best Place to Shop:

If you are looking to do some clothing shopping, I cannot recommend enough that you go to D Shop.

The store isn't particularly cheap (dresses around $100, shoes around $70, handbags around $50) but the styles are gorgeous. What I loved is that so many of the pieces were inspired by designer collections. To be clear, these are not dupes of designer pieces, but rather brands who have taken inspiration from designer collections.

There were so many pieces inspired by Gucci - with Gucci style ribbon and bows, red and green accents, etc. There were also a number of gorgeous print wrap dresses that are clear nods to Diane Von Furstenberg ones.

I snapped two photos of clothing racks just to give you sense of the prints I am talking about. Check them out:

I could have spent a fortune in this store and cannot wait to go back on my next trip! I now know that I need to leave room in my suitcase to allow me to buy a bunch of clothes! (... You should have seen me trying to fit three pairs of high heels into my carry-on suitcase for the flight home... it was not pretty haha)

I hope you enjoyed this post and let me know in the comments below if you have any questions! Thank you to Pinchos & The West Deck for their collaboration in this post. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

linking up with: friday favorites // FFF // WW // welcome to the weekend

Travel | Aruba - Must-See's & Must-Do's

I can safely say that Aruba is one of my favorite travel destinations. The island is beautiful, the people are friendly, and the restaurants and activities are some of the best in the Caribbean. Having returned from my trip to Aruba a couple of days ago, I wanted to give you some suggestions of the best restaurants, activities and hidden gems in Aruba.

 But first; on a personal note: I have actually been going to Aruba since I was 7 years old. My grandfather has a timeshare there, and so as a kid, I went quite frequently. My parents even let me and my best friend travel to Aruba by ourselves (to meet my grandparents staying there) when we were ten years old. Once I was in high school (...and then my undergrad degree... and then my master's... and then law school) I wasn't able to take the time away to visit this magical island.

This trip was my first trip to Aruba in nearly 20 years. It was a very personal trip for me because it was the first time I have been since my grandmother passed away last year (read more about my relationship with her / what a fashionista she was) It was really interesting because a number of people remembered her and asked about her. Even the owner of her favorite restaurant in town remembered her fondly and gave his condolences. She certainly had a big personality and it was great to meet with people who knew her. 

Best Way To Get Around Aruba:

Okay, on to the good stuff! First up: when you get to Aruba go to Budget rent a car to pick up a car for the duration of your trip. Aruba has so much to explore that you will want your own vehicle to get around to restaurants and beaches in different neighbourhoods. Budget is right across from the airport- when you walk out the door it is about 15 feet directly ahead of you - so it is ideal for convenience! 

Driving around Aruba is actually quite easy. Most tourist type things are very well marked and your GPS map will work easily in Aruba. Just be sure you are prepared for a LOT of roundabouts (This country LOVES its roundabouts) 

Best Unconventional Thing To Do:

In a world of sand, sun and pina coladas it is nice to find something to do that is a bit different. I cannot recommend highly enough the yoga & pilates classes at Manchebo beach resort. They have both morning and evening classes (I did the morning classes 5 out of the 7 days I was there!) and they are such a great way to unwind and feel healthy during your vacation. The classes are held, as you can see in the photos below, in the most gorgeous outdoor spot overlooking the beach. 

On a similar note - the outdoor restaurant at Manchebo, Ike's, has amazing healthy breakfasts which I would recommend grabbing after your yoga/pilates class! The chia pudding is so delicious, and an absolute must try! 

Best Beaches:

Let's be honest, you can't really go wrong with any beach in Aruba. Aruba is lucky enough to have crystal clear water and fine, white sand beaches. That said; there are different perks to different spots. 

If you're interested in snorkeling, two of the best beaches are Boca Catalina and Baby Beach. Baby beach is usually quite busy, but definitely worth checking out. Boca Catalina is very small, but has great snorkeling to see fish. It's not a reef sight so you get different fish than you would in other locations. I also like that Boca Catalina is easily accessible and very close to the low-rise hotel area.

 If you want great views, and don't mind people, Eagle beach is fantastic. This is the beach I spent most of my time at- simply because it is right out front of where I was staying. 

Places to Visit:

The Aloe Museum/Factory is definitely worth a visit when you need a break from the beach (or when it rains!) Free guided tours (that last about 15 minutes) run every 15 minutes and are a great way to learn a little bit about One of Aruba's biggest exports and a great little Aruban company. The gift shop at the end is SO good. Get at least two tubes of the sugar scrub cubes - You'll thank me later!
The California lighthouse is also worth a visit. It is a great way to get a sense of the geography of the island.

That is all for today; stay tuned for Friday's post for more! On Friday I'll be covering the best places to eat (so many restaurant reviews), as well the #1 place to shop and the "most instagramable places"

Thank you so much to Budget Rent-a-Car Aruba & Manchebo Resort & Spa for collaborating on this post. As always, all reviews and opinions are my own.
© LegalLee Blonde

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