Tag Archives: holiday haul

Lil Red’s Holiday Shopping Pro Tips

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Lil Red’s Holiday Shopping Pro Tips

Howdy! I have been asked a lot recently for advice on holiday shopping, since I finished my present purchasing way ahead of the game last week. I take holiday shopping and birthday present buying very seriously, because I love to spoil my family and friends. Of course, random prezzies throughout the year are nice, but it’s fun to go hard on the major gift giving occasions. Now, I’m going to walk you through a step by step guide on my holiday shopping process to help you finish your purchasing with December to spare:

Make a list: I know that I say this all of the time, but it’s true. Type or write out all of the people that you need to shop for and then start narrowing down the best gift for him or her. What are their hobbies? What is their favorite food or type of music? What is something that they would like to have but would never buy for themselves? These are all excellent places to start.

More on gift selecting: Still stuck? Let’s talk about some of my go to present selections:

  • Alcohol is always a good choice if you’re buying for one of your girlfriends or brothers. Who wouldn’t want a six pack of Christmas ale or a bottle of vino?
  • If you’re buying for a couple, how about treating them to a date night? Gift cards for restaurants and movie theaters are a great place to start.
  • Groupon vouchers can also be a nice surprise. I received two vouchers for a Paint Nite event at a bar one year and my guest and I had an absolute ball.
  • Lotions, candles, and other bath and body care treats are also a fool proof selection if you are buying for a sister, your mom, or a girlfriend. Customize a gift set for them filled with smell goods, fuzzy socks, and a sleeping mask for the ultimate pampering party.
  • Buying a subscription is another really good option. Popping for a few months of a Netflix, Hulu, Ipsy, or Birch Box subscription is the gift that keeps on giving and they are not overly expensive.

Purchasing time: After you’ve made your list and checked it twice, it is time to move on to the actual purchasing of the presents. I prefer to do every possible bit of my shopping online, and then buy the rest of my presents in store as needed. I am a faithful member of Amazon and a majority of my shopping was done on there this year. I then went to the shops on a week day afternoon to do the rest of my buying and eliminated all of my holiday purchasing in one huge swoop.

Online shopping tips: If, like me, you prefer to shop online, then there are some steps that you can take to ensure that you are always getting the best deal. Such as:

  1. Signing up for emails or rewards programs. Most websites will give you an extra incentive to sign up for their email updates, like ten percent off a purchase or free shipping. Every little bit helps!
  2. Using websites like Retail Me Not or Honey to find coupon codes for different websites. Note that some websites rarely have promotion codes like Amazon, TJMaxx, and Zara.
  3. Do your research. Read reviews of the products that you are going to buy and Google them, as well. You can’t physically touch and look at what you’re thinking of purchasing so this is the online equivalent.
  4. Check out multiple different websites to ensure that you are getting the best deal.

In store shopping tips: I avoid shopping in store during the holidays like the plague. However, it has to be done sometimes and this is how I avoid the hustle and bustle of hitting the shops:

  1. Go shopping during non peak traffic times. A week day afternoon is ideal, but if your schedule doesn’t allow for that, then try going late in the evening or early in the morning. The less people around while you’re shopping, the better.
  2. It’s also important to make a game plan while shopping in store. Know exactly who you’re shopping for and where each item that you need is located in the store. Wandering aimlessly can be stressful and ain’t nobody got time for that.
  3. Use coupons, in store sales, and apps. Plenty of stores now use apps and rewards programs to give their customers great deals. Find them, use them, and love them. Every little bit helps!

And finally, make sure that you double check all of your items that you purchased in store or online for any defects in the products. The sooner you find a problem and correct it, the less you have to stress about it – especially if you have to ship back the item and rebuy it.

So there you have it, Lil Red’s Holiday Shopping Pro Tips! Was this guide helpful to you? What are some of your tips to holiday shopping that I didn’t cover? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

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All Done Holiday Shopping!!

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All Done Holiday Shopping!!

HURRAY HURRAY! As of this week, I am officially all done holiday shopping and I seriously could not be happier. Being finished with gift buying less than halfway through November might seem obscenely early to some but, for me, it is just right. For as long as I can remember, I have never been one that enjoys last minute shopping or even going to the shops as Christmas draws closer. Don’t get me wrong, I love holiday set ups in stores and magnificent window displays just as much as the next person but, my god, the stress can be unbearable.

What if I can’t find just the right present in store? What if the gift arrives broken or the shipment gets delayed? What if the present is out of stock by the time I get to buying it? What if, what if, what if. AHHH! Just typing this out gives me anxiety!! I am far from the home stretch, just because Amazon packages still have to arrive, but the fact that I’m ninety-nine percent done makes me breathe easier.

Not only the aforementioned, but I’m happy to get one big bill out of the way now, rather than have it broken up into December when I’ll be trying to save moolah again. Hello, holiday cash! This is the earliest that I’ve ever completed my holiday shopping before, and I find myself wondering why I haven’t done it like this every year. The major stress of the season is gone and now I can sit back, relax, and sip my hot chocolate while the rest of my family and friends do the December Dash to get all of their shopping done in time! But that’s none of my business. 😉 😉 😉

Who else is all done holiday shopping? Who is a last minute gift buyer? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

We’ve All Got Them! What To Do With Those Unwanted Christmas Gifts

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We’ve All Got Them! What To Do With Those Unwanted Christmas Gifts

We’ve all been there. At some point, we’re bound to open gifts that we don’t like or we’ve already got. If you’ve got a pile of unwanted presents, here are some handy suggestions.

Unwanted Clothing: If you’ve got items of clothing that don’t fit you or suit your style, don’t just throw them into the wardrobe and let them sit there with the tags still on for years to come. If you’ve got the receipt or the labels are still intact, take them back to the store and get a credit note or an exchange. You might as well get something that you’re going to wear. If you can’t return it, consider reselling it on an online auction site or hitting up a store like Plato’s Closet to see if you can sell it there.

Regifting: If you’ve got more than one of the same item or you’ve been given something that you won’t use, consider regifting it. There’s nothing wrong with passing on presents as long as they’re suitable for the recipient, and they’re in pristine condition. I’ll admit that I’ve been guilty of regifting before – but shhh, don’t tell. 😉

Donating To Charity: If you were spoiled by friends and family and you’ve got a few items lying around that you don’t want to keep, consider donating to charity. For many people, the holidays are a lonely time, and it’s nice to give to people less fortunate.

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Wikimedia Image

Host a Beat The January Blues Party: January can be a sobering month, especially after the frivolities of the festive season. It’s cold and dark outside, and everyone’s feeling a little low after the holidays. If you’re keen to cheer everybody up and shift some unwanted gifts, you could host a beat the January blues party. Get everyone together, put a playlist on, lay out some food and drinks, and organize an exchange of white elephant gifts. Your spare presents will find a home, and your friends will leave in good spirits.

Have a Clear Out: There’s no better time of year to have a clear out than January. We tend to accumulate a lot of stuff over the holidays and it’s a good idea to declutter and free up some space. Get rid of all the trash and then have a look through your cupboards, wardrobes, and shelving units to see if there is anything you want to throw out or sell. If you’ve got a lot of items in good condition, you may be able to make some money. Gather everything together, and organize a yard sale. Send out some fliers, put some signs in the driveway, and say bye bye to your unwanted holiday clutter.

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Flickr Image

Most of us get at least a couple of unwanted gifts each year. Perhaps you’ve got items that don’t fit or suit you or you’ve got the same presents you got last year. If you have got unopened presents lying around, don’t just throw them in a cupboard or put them in the bin. There are lots of things you can do to make use of your gifts. Donate them to charity or give them to a friend or family member who would appreciate them. Sell them online or have a clear out and host a yard sale when warmer weather permits. Happy weekend!

Featured Image By: Pixabay

Best Of My Holiday Haul

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Best Of My Holiday Haul

Hello everyone and happy Tuesday! I hope this holiday season brought you lots of fabulous goodies and some amazing quality time with your family and friends. This Christmas brought me a great big holiday haul thanks to celebrating with two families (mine and my boyfriend’s) and my best friend. I won’t bore you with featuring all of my prezzies but here are a few of my favorites from my holiday haul! Take a look:

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The Haul:

  • Arturo Chiang heels from my sister
  • Thug Kitchen cookbook from my sister’s boyfriend
  • Philosophy bubble bath, a stuffed bunny, and plaid gloves from my boyfriend

What I Like About You:

Arturo Chiang Heels: My sister spoiled me rotten with these shoes!! Kristen knows that I love all things footwear and I told her I needed one more pair for an empty space on my shoe wall. She took this need to heart and picked out a perfect pair for me in my favorite color – black! I was so excited about these because I was looking at a pair of perforated heels from TJMaxx and didn’t end up buying them but I like my gifted pair so much more! I am so happy to add my Arturo Chiang heels to my shoe wall arsenal and can’t wait to stomp it out in them once the weather warms up.

Thug Kitchen: Finally, someone sees me for the thug that I truly am! My sister’s boyfriend, Ramon, gave me this cookbook along with a Starbucks gift card and I thought that it was so thoughtful. Ramon is one of my best friends and I really appreciated that he picked out something that I actually really like – an all vegetarian cookbook doused in profanity! Thug Kitchen is filled with amazing vegetarian dishes and is freaking hysterical. Not that I would expect anything less from a cookbook that is subtitled “Eat Like You Give a Fuck”!!

Boyfriend Presents: As always, my Kyle spoils me during gift giving occasions and this Christmas was no exception. Among a huge haul of gifts from him, my bath wash, bunny, and gloves are some of my favorites. I love Philosophy products but I would never buy them for myself so I am so excited to use my Vanilla Birthday Cake scented body wash, especially because my favorite fragrance is anything vanilla!

There is actually a cute little story behind my blushing pink stuffed bunny. I have been begging Kyle to get me a real rabbit for Christmas since the beginning of the year but unfortunately, my mom is not on board with the idea. So for now, the stuffie will do but it definitely doesn’t beat the real thing! And finally, I adore my new gloves. The gift shop at Kyle’s restaurant has new variations of these gloves every year and I loved the black and maroon pairs that he got me last Christmas. But I think that this plaid pair is even better! I love the colors and the bow that goes across the wrist is too cute. 🙂

This is just a tiny peek at my holiday haul and I am so thankful for everything that I received this year as well as the time spent with my loved ones. So special shout out to them for making my Christmas one of the best yet!

So there you have it, the Best Of My Holiday Haul! What did you guys score this holiday season? Did you receive anything that you were madly in love with or ehh not so much? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

All Done Holiday Shopping!!

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All Done Holiday Shopping!!

Hey everyone and happy Thursday! This past week I completely finished all of my holiday shopping – gifts wrapped and all and let me tell you, I could not be happier! If there’s one thing that rings true about my style of holiday shopping, it’s that it is all done online, as my featured image says. You can call me the Queen of the Amazon because Amazon.com is always my go to website for gift purchasing.

In my family, I have five people to shop for as well as my boyfriend and best friend, so figuring out the perfect gifts for seven people proved to be a bit difficult. But fear not! I am going to share with you guys my techniques to getting your holiday shopping done as efficiently as possible:

  1. Set a Price Limit: The first thing that I do when the holiday season rolls around is set a price limit for how much I am comfortable spending. Whether that be in total or for each individual person, I make a budget and try very hard to stick to it. Once you know what price range you’re working with, is when you can narrow down the type of presents that you will be giving.
  2. Create Your Gifting Style: What are your go to’s when it comes to gift giving? My method of choice is giving presents that are compatible with a person’s favorite hobby. Do they like gardening or working outdoors? Pick out a sweet bird feeder and some seed packets! How about baking? Snag some must have ingredients in a cook’s arsenal like flour, sugar, and some cute cookie cutters. Once you know your style of gift giving, it should be easy to come up with some great ideas for everyone you need to shop for.
  3. Make a List: And check it twice! After you establish your gift giving style, create a list that can be subject to change for your shopping that needs done. I composed an email to myself for all of my shopping that included who I was buying for and gift ideas for each person. As I completed different purchases, I went back to the email and edited it with a big “DONE!” next to each thing that I could check off. This helped keep me organized and it kept me on target for what I wanted which helped me avoid senseless purchasing that strayed from my list.
  4. Scour the Deals: If you’re shopping at the local mall or from the comfort of home, it is important to make sure that you are getting the best deals for your purchases. Sign up for email updates for the stores that you plan on hitting up to receive notifications of upcoming promotions and discounts. If you are a fan of shopping online, like myself, then I cannot recommend downloading Honey enough! They will hook you up with all of the best promotions for the site that you’re shopping on without having to search for promo codes or discounts. So handy!
  5. Keep Organized: As you finish up your shopping and begin receiving the parcels that you ordered make sure that you keep everything nice and organized. Set aside space in your closet for your present stockpile and continue to reference your list in regards to your purchases and budget. Then, once all of your shopping is done, pencil in an hour or two to wrap up your presents to avoid prying eyes in the home!

Holiday shopping can be stressful but it doesn’t have to be! If you keep chipping away at your list a bit at a time, soon you will have a present stockpile just begging to be wrapped! Believe me, the sigh of relief you can breathe once you’re all done will make it all worth it!

What is your gift giving style? What is your favorite gift that you have ever received? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Monday Update: Holiday Haul Edition

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Monday Update: Holiday Haul Edition

Hello everyone and happy Monday! Welcome to this week’s Update: Holiday Haul Edition! Lil Red made out like a bandit this Christmas and it’s still not over! I still have presents to receive from my sister and my best friend later this week. But so far, the loot has been fantastic. I feel so spoiled because I’ve never had a boyfriend during the holiday season and Kyle and his mom were nice enough to give me some amazing presents. Take a look at what I received on Christmas according to each person:

My parents:

I am SO in love with the gorgeous coat that my mom and dad got me. I’ve been eyeing this jacket from Target for over two months now and I’m so happy that it’s finally mine! My mom got it for me the day after I tried it on in front of her in October and has been hiding it for my surprise ever since. What a lady! I also received a generous donation to the Lil Red Foundation as well as a fresh supply of my favorite beauty products from The Body Shop and Trader Joe’s. Thanks, mom and dad!

My brother and sister-in-law:

From Peter and Megan I received my first Adult Coloring Book, complete with colored pencils and a sharpener. My sister and I have been interested in these for a while so I’m so excited to unleash my inner child and crack open the coloring book with her. I also got a Groupon for two free admissions to a Paint Nite. In Ohio, there are certain bars that offer a night of drinking and canvas painting and I’ve heard that they’re so much fun! It will be the perfect date night for me and Kyle!

The most special gift I got this Christmas, however, was the rosary that Peter and Megan brought home for me from their honeymoon in Italy. It’s my favorite color and it is also blessed by Pope Francis from when they had the honor of meeting him. How cool is that?!

My other brother:

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From my second oldest brother, Andrew, I received another generous donation to the Lil Red Foundation. You can’t go wrong with cold hard cash!

My boyfriend:

My darling Kyle spoiled me rotten this year with some of the most fantastic gifts ever!! He gave me an entire family of stuffed animals from Despicable Me – one of our favorite movies. I also got a stuffed Moogle from Final Fantasy, which I’m pretty stoked about! To continue with the Minion theme, Kyle got me the most comfy pair of Minion patterned fleece pajama pants, which were unfortunately in the washing machine while I was taking my haul photos! Rest assured, they’re cute. 🙂

Kyle did a wonderful job of picking me out some beautiful accessories as well. I was so surprised when I opened the boxes of gorgeous jewelry, which included two stunning bracelets and a necklace. Kyle also knocked it out of the park with a burgundy and grey infinity scarf (Which I’m wearing right now!) and burgundy and black trimmed gloves. I can’t wait to wear my new scarf with all of my favorite sweaters and pair my gloves with my new coat from my parents! Thanks, babe – I love you! ❤

My boyfriend’s mom:

I was so humbled by the lovely gifts that my boyfriend’s mom treated me to. She got me the absolute cutest ornament for my tree of a little penguin ice skating. I made sure to put it right by my human skater, which I got at a figure skating competition in New York. Mrs. Kyle’s Mom also gifted me with some luscious bath and body products from Philosophy. I’ve never used their products before but have always wanted to so I was SO excited to try both of them out! Spoiler alert: They’re amazing and they smell heavenly!

As much as I enjoyed receiving all of these beautiful presents, I enjoyed giving everyone the gifts I picked out special for them even more! I am so thankful for all of the goodies that I was gifted with but would have been just fine with only having the quality time with my family and loved ones. My Christmas this year was one of the best ever and I can’t wait to continue the celebrations this week with my sister and darling best friend!

So there you have it, this week’s Monday Update: Holiday Haul Edition! How was everyone’s holiday? What was your favorite gift that you received or gave? I wanna hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Be Back Monday!

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Be Back Monday!

Helloooo everyone and happy Saturday! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas that was filled with family and good cheer. I’m taking the weekend off from lifewithlilred as a little holiday vaca so I’ll be back with you on Monday for the usual Monday Update which will be the Holiday Haul Edition! Until then, how was everyone’s Christmas? Was Santa good to you this year? 😉 I wanna hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

^^^ If you haven’t seen the movie Vacation, do yourselves a favor and do it! It’s me and Kyle’s new favorite! ❤