The internet is a glorious thing. I use it A LOT. I’m sure we all do. You are using it right now. So, I’ve compiled a list of trusty sites that I zip over to for anything from food and flights to invitations and gifts.
Since I don’t have a lot of spare time to galavant freely at the mall these days who does?! this is a great online shop. I find that the merchandise is far more unique and way more affordable than what is found in a store like Anthropologie. Don’t get me wrong, I shop at Anthropologie from time to time, but so does everyone else in my town. I prefer individuality. I particularly like their review system, as buyers post their comments and – if you’re lucky – pictures in the blouse, skirt, dress, etc. you are considering ordering. This is awesome. The comments have really made or deterred my purchasing decision on more than one occasion.
Sampling is a highly effective marketing technique and works well on someone like me who is very loyal to the products they use. I can get stuck in a routine bubble and this is a great way to be introduced to new things out these days. So, if you are a fan of receiving your points-awarded free gift at Sephora upon checkout, you will really like this monthly beauty product subscription service. Anything from eye cream, body butters, eyeliner and hair ties can be included in your box (there’s typically around five items that come each month). After you decide if you want a one-time shipment, or choose to get a six-month or annual package for around $10 a month, you set up a beauty profile sharing your skin type, things you would/wouldn’t be interested in getting, and then the shipments start. This is a great gift idea as well. These are some of the items I have received over the past few months that I wouldn’t have sought out myself that I really like: twistband Hair Tie, Camille Beckman Monarch Butterfly Body Butter, Kind Granola Bar, Honest Healing Balm, Harvey Prince Cherie Blossom Perfume…for $10/month? Steal!
If you aren’t using it, take my word for it, sign up now and thank me later. This service is WORTH IT. Free two-day shipping on all Prime items (which is basically almost everything Amazon offers) and a reduced rate on overnight shipping? Done and DONE. This was a huge help and savings on diapers and wipes, and a lot of things baby/kid related. I could order in bulk and have the big boxes shipped to my doorstep without having them take up space in my cart and lugging them from the car to the house with a child in tow. I was over it. Great for gifts as well, because occasions are always popping up and you can quickly order something and have it arrive to you in no time, and as a bonus – you can order a gift for someone and send the gift directly to that person. Awesome for birthdays and around the holidays.
Yep, I’m a yelper. When traveling, we have learned the locals know the best places to go and where to eat. This site expands upon that. We first heard of it while in Chicago about four years ago. We were at Quartino, one of our favorite eateries in that town, and in search of restaurant recommendations for the duration of our trip. Our server rattled off a few places to us, and just told us to go to Yelp to read the reviews and get further menu and directional information. Now? This site is like our culinary bible. I not only use it to find places, I write a lot of reviews on it myself. I love to praise establishments for good service and share our experiences with others so they can feel good about their restaurant decision too. I have to admit, I did write a nasty gram recently – but it really was warranted. I cannot stand when servers are jerks to their customers. Standby for a future post I’m writing about Things I Learned From Becoming A Server. Yelp can also be used to read up on other services, but I feel like restaurants are their top draw.
This online site comprised of thousands of online shops allowing handmade and vintage pieces to be sold is genius. I have bought unique pieces of jewelry and party decorations, had plenty of customized event invitations drawn up and found cool articles of clothing. I scored big on a sweater for an ugly sweater holiday party, and my Roller Girl Halloween costume came together after I landed old school roller skates and a Polaroid camera I found on the site. The sellers I have used have all been friendly and awesome to work with.
Remember, Evite? Oh, you still use that…okay…right. Well this is a really updated and beautiful way to send electronic invites, save the dates you name it for any party, event, celebration, holiday, whatever. The designs are just beautiful. It has basically the same concept as Evite, but the look is so much classier and chic. It appears to also have an option to purchase actual printed invites, but I haven’t used it.
Frommer’s is a site that I use to become more familiar with a destination and what landmarks or “must sees” to check out. They really do a great job of describing hotels and the varying parts of a town.
Once we have landed on a destination, I head on over to TripAdvisor to look for hotels. The site is extremely user friendly and I like to search by user ratings, considering it is driven by actual travelers’ reviews.
After that, I flip on over to Expedia.com to look for what type of airlines and flight times we are looking at. Once I see who flies to where we are going, I switch over to the actual airline websites to do a search again to find the best flight times and prices. We try to avoid layovers as much as possible, but sometimes they are inevitable. When that happens, I am extremely cognizant of travel times and do my searches by duration of flight. I even use it to look up all possible rental car options, but then go to the rental company sites for a more in depth search, price check, etc.
We never book through value sites though. We book straight with the hotels, airline carriers or rental car companies to ensure there are no strings attached, because life happens and plans may need to be tweaked or cancelled and we want the flexibility to make any changes and receive any refunds or credits.
What are your favorite sites???