This One H&M Trick Saved Me $35

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If you're like me, then you know that I love a good sale! I love when items get marked down half-priced or even when it's those end of season sales, a perfect time to stock up on items for the following season. But whenever a sale arrives, I do think that it's important to not just be smart as to what you spend your money on but try and use as many tricks to really get the most bang for your buck! If you are not familiar with price matching, you definitely need to be. Read on! 

A few weeks ago, there were a few items (mostly accessories) that I wanted to get from H&M. I spent some time browsing their site to see anything that piqued my interest and to get an idea of what was included in their 80% off sale before going inside their store. When looking online, I knew for a fact that most of these earrings were priced between $5.99 and $6.99 each so I kept that in mind.

Upon going to the H&M on Newbury Street, I noticed that the earrings I saw online weren't really marked under a sale section. So immediately, I knew that 1) the price I saw on the tag was the full and final price and 2) when I go the register, it'll come up as full price. But I was not about to pay $12.99 for 5 earrings in store when online they're $5.99 for each. So here's what I did:

Step 1: Kept a tab open on my phone for hm.com

Step 2: Took a screenshot of the items I saw and their prices (both original and sale) 

Step 3: When you I went to the register, asked the sales associate to check the prices of the items for me. If they came up as a full priced, I asked the sales associate if they do price matching. 

*In this case at H&M, the sales associate couldn't just change the price. He said he would have to physically see the item on their website and their prices.*

Step 4: Once I confirmed the items, I gave the sales associate the prices that each item was on sale for. He then should manually change the prices. 

Step 5: Voila!

Price matching is a term that most if not all companies embrace. It gives customers the ability to get an item at the same price, especially if it's priced lower. Why pay more of the same item, right? Some companies will give you the same price if an item is marked lower at one of its competitors. If you're new to price matching, here are a few tips you can keep in mind next time:

Tip 1: If a sale is happening both online and in store, check what's online first. Why? That way if you see something you like online and go into the store, you'll know what exactly you are looking for. And even if the store does not have what you saw online in the store, then in most cases, ask one of the sales associates what you can do! 

Tip 2: The second reason why it's good to look online first before you buy is that it gives you an idea as to what it may give you an idea of what that item looks like in person. Nothing worse than buyers remorse! In any event, when looking online, I knew for a fact that most of these earrings were priced between $5.99 and $6.99 each. This gave me leverage when I got to the register because I knew that the sales associate had to honor the lowest price I saw online for the same item!

Tip 3: Ask questions! Sometimes there are so many tricks you can use to save you money but of course, the company is not going to broadcast them. It's also good to read up on store policy and have an idea of what it entails. Price matching is always about saving money! 

Here are some of the earrings I bought: 

What are some shopping tricks you've used before? 

I've Called Suicide Prevention Lifeline....For a Friend

Photo by Demetrius Washington (Unsplash)

Photo by Demetrius Washington (Unsplash)

When I was in high school, a student committed suicide and I remember how sad everyone felt. It was like the person we all knew and loved didn't really compare to the person that we looked upon in his casket. I guess in some way, you never really know what a person is going through and dealing with- even on the inside. And just because someone chooses to smile on the outside, I always feel like that smile is a choice, because in reality, who knows what lies behind it. 

My personal interaction with someone that was thinking about taking their own life occurred roughly two years ago. What scared me the most about the suicidal thoughts she was having, was understanding that these were thoughts that played on repeat daily. "I've just been dealing with trying not to commit suicide, honestly," I remember her saying.I knew that she needed someone to talk to, but who? I knew that perhaps there was a way for me to talk to her, help her process, and help her understand and feel that her life is worth living. I remember people always saying to contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline if you need to talk to someone or even if you know of someone that is thinking about taking their life. So I did. 

"I honestly feel like those hotlines are so cliche and whoever is talking really doesn't get it. They all say the same things, though I've never actually talked to one, but I don't like those things," I remember her telling me.

I knew that if I couldn't call them for her, then I certainly needed to call them for me. My goal wasn't to call them because I myself was dealing with suicidal thoughts but because I needed to get some advice. I needed help and the last thing I wanted to feel like if she did, in fact, take her life, then it would be on me because I didn't try hard enough or go the extra mile. 

The moments leading up to that harrowing phone call, I began to immediately appreciate the person on the other end. I honestly do not know how they are able to balance work from life. How they are able to not get emotional or even feel for the caller wanting to give up and throw in the towel while still do their job and provide great customer service. I began telling the woman I spoke to about how I have a friend that has suicidal thoughts. A friend that has had these thoughts since she was in the 6th grade and perhaps they only keep intensifying as time goes on. 

While I can't recall everything the woman said, one thing that has stuck with me that she did say was the importance of not being judgmental and listening to the person going through. Active listening. Sometimes, it's easy to get lost in trying to fix something right away but underneath it all lies real emotions for someone that still needs time to process. It's scary to think about the number of deaths this world has seen via suicide. Before, it seemed like adults did, but it's trickled (and is trickling) down to kids too. 

If you are reading this, just know how loved you are. Check in on people. Don't just say you're checking in to check in, but actually do it. Meet people where they are not where you want them to be. You don't have to fix everything. But just know that there are people, there are advocates, and there are resources available to you at any time. While I am thankful that my friend has not taken her life, dealing with was just as hard as an outsider looking in trying to help someone so close to the ledge.

We're all a work in progress trying to come up for air and perhaps, that's an okay place to be. 

Have you called Suicide Prevention for a friend before, if so, how did you feel afterwards? 

 

WEEKEND IN GLOUCESTER, MA

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As the summer months take their place, I really enjoy spending time at the beach, feeling the waves ripple back and forth against my skin and just having a good time with friends and family. Typically in the summer, my mom and I pack up the car with our beach supplies and go to our favorite spot: Gloucester, MA. If you are not familiar with Gloucester, it is a coastal city on Cape Ann, in Massachusetts. 

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Gloucester has fishing history and it's Fisherman's Memorial reflect the names and statues of those lost at sea. In Gloucester, there's Good Harbor Beach, a small beach with optimal swimming conditions surrounded by dunes, marshes but limited parking. My mom and I can really spend hours there. It's amazing how the concept of time feels like few and far in between when you are spending the day relaxing. 

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There's this place not too far from the beach that sells some of the freshest and tastiest seafood. My favorite thing about J.T. Farnhams is that it's pretty quaint, sort of like with a mom and pop feel to it. Right next to the restaurant is a lake that looks miles and miles ahead into the distance. I remember being awe as I would stare straight beyond the bunches of trees and the clear blue sky. Freedom. 

I am often always amazed at the wonder that it means to breathe in fresh air and see creation all around. Even the big and small things have meaning. That right there is something worth cherishing. 

 

What I’m Learning About Taking Things Personally

Photo by Jacalyn Beales,  Unsplash

Photo by Jacalyn Beales, Unsplash

As a social media manager in Boston, the typical day to day stuff involves creating content, monitoring our platforms, thinking about our target audiences, being involved in Twitter chats, and so much more. Sometimes, it feels like my brain is constantly running from one thing to the next while simultaneously striving to always stay afloat, above, and on top of what’s happening. Because social media moves in the blink of the eye, it’s so easy to get lost in the weeds of it all. 

Part of my job also deals with being able to collaborate and work with other members of the team. Often, everyone’s communication is different. Everyone’s process is different. And also, everyone’s leadership style is different as well. I think we all gravitate to things, people, and even ideas that are the most comfortable and familiar to us. Sometimes in the collaboration process, those forces that are the most familiar are the ones that knock us down. But how we get up is what matters. 

Over the years during past endeavors and even currently, one thing that has always been a struggle for me was learning not to take things personally. All. The. Time. I know the idea of that seems far-fetched and if you’re reading this then maybe you’re a pro at being able to let this go as opposed to carrying the weight of what people say and do. For me, I am constantly learning the former. I am constantly learning to hear what people say but stop at the point where what they say becomes something that I have to carry and or dwell on. 

If you sometimes struggle with taking things personally at work, here are 5 things that help me: 

1) Take a step back.

2) Clear your head.

3) Speak up.

4) Seek Clarity. 

5) Move Forward. 

Do you struggle with taking things personally (at work)? If so, let's discuss in the comments below! 

Give God Your Best

Photo cred:  Graham Hunt

Photo cred: Graham Hunt

Whether you are putting together your new piece of furniture or figuring out the parts to your new appliance, paying attention to the small details matters. Sometimes, we spend more time trying to figure out where the screwdriver is when we don't realize that it's been in our hand the entire time. In reality, the time and attention we put towards building the perfect exterior, we forget about is supposed to go inside.  

Exodus 25, God speaks to the Israelites about bringing an offering to build the tabernacle. God was specific with what he wanted them to bring. These items included but weren't limited to: gold, silver, brass, blue, purple, scarlet, fine linen, goats' hair, onyx stones, sweet incense and more. In fact, these were items of quality and above all, of value

When God told the Israelites to give Him their best, God in return promised the same. How do I know? Because it's evident in Exodus 25 verses 8-9 which says, "They are to make a sanctuary so that I may dwell among them. You must make it according to all that I show you--the pattern of the tabernacle as well as the pattern of all its furnishings."

The idea and emphasis of giving God our best wasn't a message just for the Israelites. In reality, it is a message that can and should be applied to our lives too. Often, giving our best comes with sacrifice. While we dwell on the price or size of the gift, God looks at our heart. "But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or his stature because I have rejected him. Humans do not see what the Lord sees, for humans see what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart." (1 Samuel 16: 7) 

We should make it a habit to give God our best, first. Not our leftovers. Not our scraps. Not what is left that we no longer want to do anything with. Think about the last time you asked God for something, perhaps something really BIG. Now imagine if what you got in return wasn't the best but just what was left over? How would that make you feel?

When we give God our best and not just what's left over, it's saying to Him "God I trust you and God, I value you above all the others." And with that, that's the best choice you can make. 

Reflect: Is there anything in your life that you would not be willing to give to God if He asked? If so, you just identified an idol in your life.

The Art of Letting Go + Letting God

I don’t think I ever really had a full grasp of what “letting go” meant. I mean, maybe I did but the reality of it felt and seemed few and far in between. I knew however, that as a child, attached to my mother’s hip that I would have to let go- eventually. 

I remember my first day of kindergarten. Oh what a joyous day that was. In my little mind, somehow I conjured up that my mom would be staying with me during the entire school day. That though she took me to school each day, her presence would be there too. 

On this particular day when my mom dropped me off, I remember meeting Ms. Shelley, a charismatic, vivacious and warm woman that would sit in the office as kids were dropped off. Ms. Shelley had this unique yet magnetic ability to make me forget that my mom had left me at school to go to work. 

She, Ms. Shelley would plop me on her lap, bouncing me up and down as my stream of tears dried up. I knew that within time, I could not depend on my mom to stay with me at school every day. I also knew that Ms. Shelly, though she provided me comfort, that she too, would have to let me go. I could, as much as I wanted too, depend on her. That I eventually had to hop off her lap, wipe my tears, and go to class like a big girl. 

Understandably, letting go got easier within time. Presence and steady time. Letting go got easier when I became more ready to explore something new. In order to grow as a person, sometimes it’s the very thing we find comfort in that can hold us back. Unfortunately. 

The art of letting go isn’t always comfortable but trust, it’s required. The same way my mom had to let me go, is the same that I too, had to let go of Ms. Shelley. It’s never easy getting rid of that sense of security or drawing near to whatever it is and whom ever it’s that provides that’s safety blanket but when do you decide it’s time to move on? 

The art of letting go means that though one chapter may be ending, the beauty in it lies being able to start fresh. The art of letting go means that whatever used to feed you, no longer will. The art of letting go means understand that it’s a process. That we are all a work in process. 

Whether it’s past mistakes and or short comings, we all have them. We’ve all be there. I know I certainly have. But one thing I know for sure is that letting of something is saying goodbye to one thing and hello to another.

I know that right now and even continually, I am in a season of letting go and have been. I know that the places I want to go and the places that God wants to take me, it requires the art of letting go. It requires doing away that things that have been a clutch, things that have a potential to be a stumbling block, not a steppingstone. I know that letting go means that I am saying YES to the plan + purpose that God has for my life. For me, thinking that my plan was for my life was better than God’s, was a mentality I had to + continually aim to let go of. Yes, there are moments when I want things to happen at a certain time but that’s not how things are nor should be. I promise you, once you let go, you’ll be in awe of what’s waiting for you on the other side. 

What are some things you struggle with letting go of? Let’s DISCUSS in the comments below! 

WHY I TOOK A BLOGGING BREAK

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In November of 2017, I set out to do something that came with great trepidation: launch a blog. Eventually, I got over that fear and actually launched it (yay!) I was so proud of myself for starting my blog but I knew that I was merely scratching the surface. 

A few months later, on the continuous blog journey, I felt stuck. The content I had in mind felt few and far in between. I then ran into feeling like the actual blog design was just too confusing, making it really hard to establish the journey I wanted to take you the reader on. A close family friend told me that I should think about a way to display latest post and think about what I want people to know about once that come to my blog. 

What they said hit me. I knew that I wasn't operating at the rate of efficiency I should have been. I knew that the only way for me to figure out what I wanted my new blog to look and feel like, I had to step away. See sometimes, I think we make it a goal to present our best selves all the time, all day every day. Doing that comes with feeling like we all should have remnants of our fabric woven together into one unique blanket. Sometimes, stepping away helps understand our sense of what's in front of us, what we're doing, and the direction we are headed. 

I am so thankful to God really for pushing me to launch my blog. I am even more thankful because in November, I knew that what I started was not the finished product. It just needed some time to really manifest itself into something great. The time that I took off from blogging to figure out my new blog, I began thinking about themes, content, categories, layouts--the usual. I knew that this time around one phrase that played on repeat was "passionately pursuing faith, great style, and new travel." I have so much in store for 2018 and I am thankful to have you along for the ride. 

When's the last time you took a break from something? How did you feel afterwards?