Sneakers are the New Pumps!

Listen up! This is possibly the greatest fashion news this decade. Sneakers are back. With everything. Skirts, slacks, cropped pants, dresses. Pretty much everything in your closet. Women everywhere are now breathing a collective sigh of relief.

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Stan Smith Adidas $65
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Stan Smith + Opening Ceremony

It all started last year with the wedge sneaker. I have good news and bad news. The good news, as you know, is that the sneaker trend stuck, but the bad news is that the wedge trend didn’t. Top fashion bloggers and designers agree that the wedge was short lived. Don’t chuck them yet; most suburbs are a year behind the trend, anyway. Plus, we still like wedges with a skinny jean. They elongate the leg and give the look an edge. But what’s really hot now are Stan Smith kicks. They’ve been around forever, but seemed to have found their way onto the feet of top stylists over these last few months.

The Stan Smith Adidas give your look a playful, youthful edge. If you do these with flowers and flounce, it might feel too young. Just be careful to choose sophisticated colors and patterns to balance it out.

The best part (aside from the comfort, that is), is that these are affordable, as low as $65, but if you want to splurge, there are designs as high as the Opening Ceremony designs pictured here, at $210. Check out these cool ways to wear the classic sneaker.

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If you don’t love this look, check out a pair that’s right for you. Converse one stars and other adidas options that are more feminine can work just as well.

 

These Last Minute Halloween Hacks Will Save You!

We get it. You’re busy. And shopping for a Halloween costume may not have been first on your list of things to do these last few weeks…but it’s creeping up on you. Halloween is just days away and you need something cute or kitschy for Friday night. We’ve got your covered. These top five last-minute Halloween ideas will save your budget and your holiday! And don’t forget to snap a photo before you’re out the door so you can enter PromoPro’s Halloween Photo Contest! Go to our Facebook Page and find the pinned post. Upload your photo in the comment section on the post and get be entered to WIN a $50 Amazon gift card! In the meantime, check out these genius costume ideas.

Easy Idea #1enhanced-buzz-19287-1381522694-19

Hot glue some giant cockroaches, spiders, worms or snakes onto a pair of nylons. A black dress and a witch’s hat and you’re good to go! Extra bugs? Stick them in a braid. Even better if you can find those plastic spider rings. Then, You can loop them into a ponytail and secure with clear plastic elastics.

Easy Idea #2

Dress in all white and draw a line down your middle and down your arms in black marker or electrical tape…and you’re a stick figure. Do the same to your face with white makeup and black eyeliner.

Easy Idea #3

Dress all in black and glue white dots to your outfit for a “domino effect.” Works best in a large group.

Easy Idea #4

rosie

Put on the high waisted jeans you probably already own tie up a button down shirt and roll up the sleeves, add a red bandana…and poof! Rosie the Riveter! And a few tweaks of this look–like a red lip–can turn you into Lucille Ball!

Easy Idea # 5 

Make your own skeleton costume! Super easy. Find Martha Stewarts directions here!

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When to Splurge on Make-Up

We’re all about saving money and purchasing cosmetics add up fast. So, let’s explore. When is it REALLY necessary to splurge on designer makeup? Maybe the packaging is prettier and maybe you enjoy the idea of having Dior lipstick in your purse. But when said lipstick can cost upwards to $40, it just ends up burning a hole in that purse.

When it comes to lipstick, there a few reasons you may want to splurge. One reason is better ingredients. Usually the designer brands use higher quality ingredients. These ingredients promote softness and lasting wear. If your looking for a foundation product, these better ingredients might also include ingredients thatimages treat acne or hide wrinkles. These ingredients will require research and testing, adding to the high cost of the item.

In general, department store quality cosmetics use higher quality ingredients, which cause the products to glide on more smoothly, last longer, crease or crack less often, and be gentler on skin. All of which is more expensive to add to the product.

When it comes to pigment, the high end brands tend to have a higher ratio of pigments to fillers. The pigment is probably  also finely ground, allowing the color be bolder, to glide on more smoothly lead-free-lipstick2-lgand last longer.  If you’re looking for your exact shade of foundation, the high end brands have extensive options, versus “fair to light” or “light to medium,” as most drug store brands offer.

While many of us have our go-to makeup staples, it’s imperative to be able to experiment if you’re trying something new (like the complicated nature of picking out the right red). At a department store, you can get a professional opinion and take home some samples. At the drug store, you have to look around in stealth mode before yanking off the cap to try the pigment on the back of your hand, only to quickly replace it, hoping no one noticed.

And the bottom line for many women, is that they enjoy the prestige of Chanel lipstick and Dior eyeshadow. The package will be fancier and Chanel’s recognizable logo will be finely printed on the packaging, for all your friends to see. Just like any pair of ridiculously expensive sunglasses, you are buying the prestige as much as you are the product itself.

In general, here is what you should splurge on:

  • Concealer, Foundation
  • Powder
  • Brushes

Concealer and foundation need to stay on your face all day, or else it becomes uneven. More expensive powder is more finely ground and less likely to contain talic, an irritant. When it comes to brushes, higher end brushes have more and softened bristles. It will apply more evenly using a better brush.

In general, this is what you should save on:

  • Lip gloss and nail polish
  • Mascara 
  • Trendy itemsmascara

Lip gloss and polish contain generally the same ingredients at any price point. Mascara should be replaced every few months, so it’s not worth overspending. Finally, if you’re going with an electric blue shadow, don’t splurge. There’s a good change it will be out next season.

 

Inside Info to Help You Score the Best Deals

It’s October…and Saledon’t we love October? But for us savvy shoppers, there doesn’t seem to be a lot in the way of sales. Right now, we’re gearing up for Halloween, which means cash for candy and costumes. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, which means food and Fall decor. And before you know it, we’re making out our Christmas wish lists. And everything is on “sale.” So how do we navigate the inbox full of promotions, sales and deals? For one thing, when it comes to bigger ticket items, know when to shop. There are certain times of the year (outside of the traditional days, like Black Friday), when prices decrease and no one makes a splash about it.

According to Consumer Reports, October is the best time to shop for the following:

  • Appliances
  • Bikes
  • Computers

    "On the Town" playing now!
    “On the Town” playing now!
  • Digital cameras
  • Gas grills
  • Lawn mowers
  • Winter coats
  • Jeans
  • Broadway tickets (before it gets crazy busy)

Some of these items are going out of season (like mowers, grills and bikes) and off season is always a great time to reap savings. As for technology, these are usually restocked and updated in July, October and January. You can always buy leftovers from previous months on sale (and if not, ASK). Similarly, when it comes to big ticket items like appliances, we’re nearing the end of the year, where last year’s models should begin to go on sale.

 

JEANSWhen it comes to Winter coats, the rush comes in mid-November. When it comes to jeans and other apparel, now is REALLY the best time to shop back-to-school, since the rush is over and items are slashed.

Whatever your agenda, gear up to do some major shopping now, because prices will get hiked in time for the holiday rush before coming down again in January.

Even if you’re heading out to the store this week for a quick trip on your lunch hour, you need to this before planning your week:

Target usually marks down kid’s clothes on Monday, women’s clothes on Tuesday, and men’s on Wednesday. TJX retailers (TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Homegoods) put items on clearance on Wednesday. 

When November hits, look for these items: 

  • Baby products
  • Bikes
  • Camcorders
  • Gas grills
  • GPS navigators
  • Toys
  • TVs

 

 

Don’t Waste Time Stalking Airline Deals

travel 2No, no. Your time can be better spent shopping for a bathing suit to wear on your vacation. Are you ready? Because this information is about to change your life. According to Peter Greenberg, CBS’s Travel Editor, the best time to buy your ticket is on Wednesday at 1AM (in the time zone where the booking center is based).

In explanation to this beacon of hope for your wallet, Greenberg said, “Most low airfares seem to appear between Sunday night and Monday night. And then, when people book those fares, they have 24 hours in which to purchase them,” he explains.  “At midnight Tuesday, all the discount fares that weren’t purchased come flooding back into the airline’s computer systems. And that’s when you strike.”

So, this does present a minor hiccup for those of us who by default, do all of our purchasing via a computer. If you’re thinking that this sounds like you can’t purchase online, you’re right. You have to purchase the seat over the phone. But, Greenberg adds that since you’re talking to a human, you are more likely to getter a better coach seat, or one that seems preferable to you. travel

If you absolutely cannot open your computer because the emanating light from your screen will rouse your very grumpy spouse (who let’s face it, should be grateful for your shopping prowess), Greenberg admits that you can shop online if you absolutely must. But first, follow these useful tips:

  • Browse the sites, but then delete your cookies. There is growing evidence that websites can be tracking your habits in order to drive up price.  Then, purchase on another computer. This might sound all conspiracy theorist-y, but you just never know.
  • Do not buy too early UNLESS you are planning to travel on a holiday or other high airline traffic day. Book about 45 days out for domestic flights and no more than 60 days for international flights, Greenberg suggests.
  • Whenever possible, travel on “off peak days.” Tuesday and Wednesday are the best days on which to book your flight. While it might be inconvenient, it’s the cheapest by hundreds.
  • Consider the time of month.  Many of us book right after being paid (the first and fifteenth, most popularly). Try to book on a day like the 7th, when traffic on the websites are slower, driving down prices.
  • If you’re a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of person (no pun intended), wait until just before the departure date or even on it, and try to find a good deal on an empty seat. No guarantees on this though. Some airlines drive the prices up, in anticipation of emergencies. But on the day of? Empty seats are yours for next to nothing.

If shopping online, where are the bests places to look? There’s tons of competing travel sites and it can be a little overwhelming to have six browser tabs open while searching. Try a lesser known site to find a better deal:

  • GetGoing
  • FlightFox
  • Flyinaway
  • Hipmunk
  • Momondo

Happy Traveling!

 

Do it For the Love

Shopping is fun. Spending is even more fun. But let’s take a moment to talk about something that matters.do it for the love2

If you haven’t already signed up at Prompro, do it now. For every person who signs up, we will donate ten cents to the Do It For Love, which is  a non-profit organization that grants wishes to those with life-threatening illness or other debilitating challenges in life. Do it for the Love brings together artists who are dedicated to using music as a ‘transformative experience’, says their Facebook page. The goal is offer lasting celebratory moments in face of life changing trauma or tragedy.

Do it For Love grants wishes for anyone who’s suffered, including children and veterans. Check out their webpages to nominate someone or to make a donation.
do it for hte love

Over the last few months, Promopro has donated about $200 and we’d like to grow that number exponentially. So, we’re asking you to share a link to this blog, or to our Facebook page, where you’ll find all the info. Let’s work together to do something good–help us help them.

https://www.facebook.com/DoItForTheLoveFoundation

http://doitforthelove.org/

Your Quick Guide to Sample Sale-ing

sample saleIt used to to be that you had to be invited to exclusive sites, like Gilt GroupeRueLaLa, or Hautelook. (Don’t they sound fancy with French qualities in the title?) These were the original big three, becoming mainstream in about 2008. Now, sample sites are literally everywhere and you can just join, no invitation needed. But are you really getting a better deal? In many cases, yes.

In most cases, what you’re getting is past season stuff deeply discounted. It’s worth doing a quick search on the item, if you need to know that you really are getting a deal. Usually you’ll find it elsewhere already on sale. In other cases, the item is from last year and you won’t find it now…but this only matters if you care that you’re wearing something from “last season.”

There are a few major drawbacks from these sites. One is that the sale is short-lived and there are usually minimal quantities available. So, there is no room for “thinking about” your purchase. This is impulse shopping at its best. And let’s say it’s a coveted brand (Christian Louboutin is rare, but I’ve seen it); then you’d better have your trigger finger ready to go because it will be gone in minutes.

Another potential drawback is that there are rarely coupon codes available. But then again, you are getting a great price.

Lastly, the shipping rates are always flat (and never free), which means if you buy a $15 piece of jewelry that ways an ounce, you’re still paying $7 shipping in some cases. Which is annoying. With so many to choose from, let’s outline the most popular:

The Best Luxury Brands: Gilt Groupe has the most exclusive brands. Find Burberry, Katharine Malandrino, Helmut Lang, Lanvin, and so much more. These items still feel very high end, according to the price tags. But still, it’s fun to look. Gilt has more affordable brands, also that are a bit more realistic to most. If you love designer diggs but need to score a deal, here is a great place to start.  gilt

The Best Men’s Selection Most sample sale websites have men’s selections, but RueLaLa has the best and widest selection. Their brands tend to be mid-tier, like Calvin Klein or Tahari, but they do boast the occasional Gucci sale. Their men’s selection tends to be the most versatile with the most to choose from. You can also find a decent deal on appliances at RueLaLa, since you’re already there, and all…

The Best”EVERYTHING” Selection Hautelook, owned by Nordstrom, is your one stop sample sale site. Hautelook has literally hundreds of sales going on at once. In fact, it can be a bit overwhelming. Fortunately, you can shop by category. Find everything on this sight from a tube of lipstick, to an area rug or a curling iron to a set of puzzles for your little ones. The fashion brands tend to be new-ish designers trying to make a name and more or less caters to a younger audience. For fashion, think early twenties, but for everything else…think toddler to senior.

The Best Furniture Collection Joss and Main has some great fun and contemporary furniture that feels IKEA-esque (but perhaps better quality), as well as more substantial classic pieces. Most is modern in design, with fabrics featuring modern trends like brightly colored florals and chevron patterns. Distressed furniture is also very big this season, according to Joss and Main.

365 hangersBest Overall Discount 365Hangers guarantees a 70% discount. What’s unique here, though, is that not all dresses are available in all sizes. But, this allows you to search easily (by size) and the bonus is that you get to see models actually wearing your size! No more trying to imagine how a dress will look on a 145lb you versus the 95lb model.

There are dozens more sample sale websites for all of your online shopping needs! Do a quick Google search to start shopping and picking your go-to stops when you need something fabulous.

Are Your Sunglasses Worth the Price?

They’re a bit of a status symbol, aren’t they? Women, as well as men, love designer sunglasses. And why not? We wear them almost daily, so why should we not pay for them? And since we pay for them, why should our friends not see the cool designer name etched on the side?

downloadRay Bans are the thing of now–for men or women, at any age in any size, any style. We do love our Ray Bans–classics, they are. This might have been the biggest fashion comeback (from the 80s), maybe ever. But at $200 (and that’s not including a prescription), the question is: are they worth it?  download (1)

And what about those $300 Prada Sunglasses? Gorgeous yes. Worth $300-$500? No. Especially since those Jessica Simpson glasses at TJ Maxx are indistinguishable copies. And if you’re a normal human being who loses sunglasses on a regular basis, they definitely aren’t worth it. Here’s what you need to know:

You are paying for name ONLY. And, a fancy case…again: TJ Maxx, people. The sunglasses do not more offer protection and most importantly, are not made better.

According to the Wall Street Journal, most sunglasses are made by the same company. I REPEAT, they all come from the same place! And guess what? This goes for your spectacles, too. Italian manufacturer Luxottica pretty much has a monopoly on…well…everything. Glasses, included. Perhaps what you’re paying for is the idea that your designer glasses are being manufactured in Italy (because doesn’t it sound better than Taiwan?). About 70% are and the rest in America or China. But still…same glasses, lower manufacturing cost. So that is ultimately what you’re paying for: the cost to do business in Europe.

You are probably buying your sunglasses from Luxottica, no matter where you purchase them. The same company is also selling your sunglasses. Luxottica owns, LensCrafters, Pearle Vision and Sunglasses Hut. So, to clarify, your doctor may be peddling sunglasses if he wants to remain in good standing with the company he works for.

The margin is incredibly high, which means the markup is HUGE, which means your getting hosed. Luxottica is making $.52 on every dollar, including overhead. And they’re doing great. Stock is at an all-time high.

And finally, cost has little to do with the amount of protection you’re getting. As long as you’re getting 100% protection against UV rays, you’re good…and that shouldn’t cost you more than $40. After that, what the heck, pay a little extra for polarizing lenses that cut glare. Now, you can afford it.

Websites May Vary Prices Based on User Profiles

online shopping imageIf you’re a regular online shopper, you probably already know that your information is everywhere. On your Facebook page, you might have noticed those shoes you were browsing yesterday pop up on the sidebar. A little creepy, right? And yet, we ignore it because it’s become our new normal. But one study by investigative journalists showed that some websites might actually be using your shopping history against you. This shocking discovery showed that based on your spending habits and other factors, some items might appear higher for you, than for your friend who has different (and more frugal) spending habits, or might live one town over.

online shopping image 2Another factor in the study was location. Never think you’re invisible—you’re not, even to a Staples store. One company said that they use the user’s IP address to determine the most appropriate price based on their location. If the retailer perceives that you live in a higher income area, the price comes up by a few bucks. They can also gauge what bricks and mortar competitors might be near you, and thus price accordingly. For example, if you can easily visit a competing store only two miles away, the price will reflect that. In this case, you’re at the advantage.  Unless there is no competitor for miles…then you’re stuck. In that case, shop the competitor’s website instead!

Perhaps most disturbingly, is the prospect that you might be put into a category, based on your shopping habits, if you keep cookies on your computer. Or, if you have an account with the retail website, they know what kind of spender you are. You might be labeled “frugal” or “big spender.” On this, the retailers declined to comment, but the investigators suspect this plays a role. Here’s the million dollar question: Is it fair? Retailers argue that this type of “dynamic pricing” happens all the time—the consumer is just used to it in the physical world. For example, a consumer might expect that gas is cheaper a few towns over because the average income is known to be higher. Why should Staples operate any differently? And what about consumer profiles that do allow for deeper discounts, like seniors and students?

The bottom line is this: as usual, do your shopping homework and delete your cookies.

Does Amazon Really Have Better Prices?

VfFsy8u_      download         walgreens

With the advent of online shopping, it’s feasible to not have to go to the store for anything except some late night children’s Tylenol when you realize you’re all out and the little one has a fever at midnight. Beyond that, there’s an online option for just about anything. Amazon.com is the winner when it comes to selection and availability. But pricing? This remains to be seen. Let’s do a test: You need the Oil of Olay Microdermabrasion and Peel System. You’re going to check out Amazon first since you don’t usually spend more than $10 on any facial care and want to get the best possible deal for a small splurge.

Amazon offers three options: $25.99 (sold by Amazon), $26.12 (sold by third party), and $28.45 (sold by third party). Now, here’s the important part: Amazon offers two-day free shipping with Amazon Prime, for which you will pay a flat yearly rate. The other retailers are charging an additional $4.99 for shipping on this product. (If you’re anything like me and turn to Amazon for even the smallest of household items, like batteries and stickers for the kids, the flat fee is worth it by the end of the year.)

deals

So how does Amazon actually compare to other retailers? Walmart came in at the lowest at $21.28 and Target a close second at $21.44. The highest? Walgreens at $29.99. The lesson here is to never, ever, buy anything at a drug store unless you’re desperate. They have the highest prices, hands down. Grocery stores are number two. You can even pay another $4.49 for shipping at Walmart and still come in at about the same lowest price at Amazon. Or if you’re willing to go to the store, but have to run there on your lunch hour, go with the in-store pick up option.

The winner? Depends on what you’re looking for. If you are willing to shell out the flat fee, turn to Amazon first and enjoy two day shipping (beware though—if you order on Thursday, it turns into four day shipping). If not, head to Walmart and try to navigate the long lines and grumpy salespeople.