Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

Great Vacation = Discount Shopping

In Budget Travel, Shopping on February 18, 2009 at 3:28 am

My husband was invited to a conference last month for Canadian Jewish Students in Niagara Falls. We decided since we weren’t taking any real vacation, to take off 2 days and fly to Buffalo, where the activities are cheap. We ended up having a fabulous time and we didn’t spend all that much.

Day one we landed in freezing cold Buffalo. It was about 12 degrees, and with the wind chill was about -4 degrees. So pretty cold. We were dressed warm though. We picked up our rental car, and made our way over to our hotel, which was right next to a huge gorgeous mall. More on that later. We dropped our stuff off, and changed into everything we owned to go skiing. I was so bundled up,  it brought me back to being a little kid, when my mom would over bundle me and I’d fall over in the hallway of our building as I walked to the elevator. Skiing was beautiful, but really hard. It was my first time. What a workout! If I did that everyday I’d totally be a size 2. After a fun packed day we headed back to our hotel for some shopping and relaxing. One thing about western New York, every time I’m there I get the best stuff and so cheap.

I found at Ann Taylor Loft, two fantastic cardigans and a belt. The cardigans were $11.16 each and the belt $5.12. My husband bought at Macy’s a beautiful Club Room shirt and a tie, for $15.00 and $5.00. If you have the time it’s worth the trip for the shopping alone. Not only that but everyone working in the mall is kind and courteous, ready to help in any way they can. Plus the mall is spotless, even normally hectic, thrown all over type of stores, like Forever 21 are neat as pin. The mall was also pretty empty, so it was like having our own personal mall experience.

Day 2 we drove over the Canadian border to the most quaint beautiful little town, called Niagara on the Lake.  We spent our morning riding fabulous horses through beautiful snow covered woods. It was so pristine and untouched, we even saw a family of deer. My horse Brock was so fat, my saddle kept sliding around and I had to keep hoisting myself up. I got quite a workout.

We then drove to the actual downtown of Niagara on the Lake. It’s full of historic landmarks and British expats. There are the cutest shops. Full of interesting homemade foods, maple syrup, chocolate, hats, housewares and much more. Most of the landmarks are closed in the winter so definitely head out in the spring, summer, or fall. There are also many local vineyards you can tour both in winter and summer. There is also the ice wine festival which happens the last week in January. We just missed it. Ice wine is grapes picked on the coldest day of the year at 2 am and then pressed into wine. It’s apparently very sweet. We couldn’t try it because of the kosher issue.

One of my favorite stores was Special Teas. They are an organic fresh tea shop. There are hundreds of canisters packed in this little tea shop. Every kind of tea imaginable, roiboos, honeybush, black, ceylon, green, green kombucha etc. They have tea tastings and seminars. To find out more check out

After a phone call that night from both my mother and mother-in-law that Macy’s was giving away free makeup, we headed over Friday morning to the mall one last time. I came out with free Clinique moisturizer and Estee Lauder night repair serum. I  ran to actual Ann Taylor and bought another gorgeous cardigan reduced from $89.00 to $19.44 and a stunning leather belt regularly $48 down to $9.88. Seriously the deals are unreal.

We drove across the border to Canada again and experienced the white wonderland that is Niagara Falls in January. The trees are covered in white and the river has large chunks of ice floating in it. Definitely a sight worth seeing.

The amazing part of the whole vacation is that it cost us very little and we got to do the things we really enjoy doing. My only wish is that we had  more time.


Learn to Dress Your Body Type…..

In Advice, Fashion, Shopping, Uncategorized, Women on February 17, 2009 at 4:28 am

In my fledgling days of advising people on what to wear I’ve come to realize that a very important aspect is knowing your body. What do I mean knowing your body? Well you need to know the good the bad and the ugly. Say you have a tiny waist but a big butt. The goal is to draw as much attention to your waist and keep the attention off our bottom. In that vein here are a few of my suggestions on how to flatter your figure. If you’ve got an hourglass shape you know that finding clothes that properly hug your curves is no easy task. Hourglasses tend to have a big bust small waist and big hips. They also tend to be shortwaisted making them appear even bustier. V-neck sweaters shrink your bust and hug your curves well. Stay away from anything ribbed, ruched, or horizontally striped it will only make you look top heavy. Those with hourglass figures need to wear fitted tailored clothing. Men’s shirts are also great if you love button downs. They won’t gap like women’s shirts just make sure you have the sleeves shortened and the shoulders taken in. Avoid empire styles which can make you look pregnant. Pencil skirts, wrap dresses, full skirts, v-neck cardigans tailored nipped in jackets all suit you. Also make sure to invest in good foundation garments such as bras that properly support you. A well fitting bra can make you look pounds slimmer. For the pear you’re skinny on top with thin arms, and waist but your bottom half seems to be taking up way too much space. To compensate wear brightly printed tops with solid bottoms. Bootleg or flared pants with a crease lengthen the body and make thighs look slimmer. Try wearing interesting fun tops that draw attention to your upper half and keep the bottom simple. Stay away from overly full bottoms which will only make you look bigger. Try wearing a skirt, tights, and shoes all in the same color. This will give the illusion of a long lean line and make you appear taller and slimmer. Stay tuned for my next post on the apple and straight/banana body types. Embrace your body and learn to clothe it properly. When you dress for your body type you’ll learn to love all the things you used to hate. If you need help shopping for a big event or just to buy a new wardrobe check out my page on Bargain Jewess Consulting. I can help you achieve any look at any price. Arielle AKA BargainJewess

Weddings: Budget Part Two

In beauty, Shopping, Weddings, Women on December 11, 2008 at 5:39 pm

There are a few more tips and tricks to think about on wedding day. Here are some ideas.

Photographers:  Some people are happy using a standard wedding photographer some want a photo journalist. whatever your preference work out a package. Both my photographer and Videographer came together as a package. which of course saved me money by having everything from one place. I had an orthodox Jewish wedding which had separate and mixed dancing. Because of separate dancing most orthodox Jewish weddings have two teams of photographers. One to photograph the men dancing and one to photograph the women dancing.  We had one team at my wedding and still had a tremendous amount of pictures so feel free to get one team instead of two. In terms of packages some photogs will offer a certain amount of pictures or albums etc for a set fee. Try to negotiate. Never been hesitant to ask, the worst you hear is no and with today’s economy there is probably someone who will say yes.

Tuxedos: For some men only Ralph Lauren will do for others they’ll bring home a shiny polyester disaster that will have you running for the hills. There are affordable tuxedos for every man. For the designer guy check the discount outlets. Century 21, Syms, Off Fifth, Neiman Marcus last call, etc. You can find all the top names for discount prices. Chances are these will be also be pricey but definitely a lot less than paying retail.

Some guys don’t care or they do but cannot see themselves paying that kind of Money. Cheaper Alternatives include renting a tux from a place like Http:// or Men’s Wearhouse also sells tuxedos and Syms sells non-brand name tuxedos for discount prices. Also check out your local suit outlet you can usually find a deal there.

Hair and Makeup:  Some people have used the same salon forever. If that’s you your stylist knows your budget and will hopefully work with you. For those trying a new place price various places. Ask if there are packages and price shop. Sometimes they’re cheaper sometimes they’re not. If you are just wearing a veil or no headpiece at all don’t tell them your a bride salon’s always charge more for the bride. If all else fails do what I did. Charge it to your credit card and pray you’ll have it to pay after the wedding. Probably not a smart financial decision but hey,  I’m a bargain guru  not a finance expert.

I think that just about cover’s the important points. The most important point is that you are about to begin the most incredible journey of your life, and whether you have a fabulous blowout or a small intimate affair the thing that matters most is that it fits both of you and what you want because at the end of the party the only two people left are you and him/her and those are the only two people who need to be pleased.

Weddings: how to have a beautiful one without spending a fortune.

In Advice, Bad Luck, beauty, education, Politics, Shopping, Uncategorized, Women on December 1, 2008 at 9:19 pm

Every girl has a dream of what her wedding will be like. Some  want small and intimate while, others want a big over the top blowout. Some may want a designer gown complete with cathedral veil while others prefer a simple sheath, with loose flowing hair and flowers intertwined. whatever your dream there is a way to make it happen.

  1. Time Counts: Unfortunately the time of year you get married dictates many things, most importantly the price of your venue. Anytime between may and September will be pricey with prices declining from there. The least expensive time of year is December through March. I got married in February in a beautiful country club for a fraction of the price. The pitfall is that you will deal with snow as we did but our wedding was still rockin’. If venue is not important than you won’t have an issue because certain places are affordable year round. More ways to cut costs is to eliminate the wedding cake, have a smaller smorgasbord or cut it completely and opt for chicken only as opposed to a choice. I wanted an elaborate wedding so I gave up my June wedding for February but had a beautiful place, a huge smorgasbord, free flowing liquor and three entree choices. You really need to decide what is important to you.

Some venues to check out:

One of the most reasonable venues in New York is the New York city parks. In my neighborhood at fort Tryon park I have seen some beautiful weddings. This is obviously easier if you are not kosher but I’m sure there are vsome parks where kosher food is offered.  Another option is the Rotunda at Cuny Kingsborough located on the beach. This is truly a magnificent setting as the college is on the beach and possibly affordable as well.

2. Flowers: Flowers can truly be an exorbitant expense. If you get married certain times of the year such as spring you may have more options but florists will jack the price way up. One way to be cost effective is to choose one type of flower for the centerpiece. A really striking flower clustered in a bunch together can be exquisite especially if it’s showy. Add flashy greenery like ivy and different grasses along with tall branches to really make a statement. if you like tall centerpieces see if your florist will rent you the vases. Most should. Just make sure the Maitre d’ is aware that people can take the flowers only. If you would like to use the centerpieces for the ceremony make sure they are in floral foam so they can be moved into smaller containers. Another way to save is to wildflowers in baskets, have votives with small mini arrangements clustered together. If you’re really on a budget scatter rose petals on tables with votives or tapers, and  buy two small arrangemnts for the bride and grooms table.

Chuppahs are expensive no matter how you slice it. Sometimes you get lucky and the place does it for a lower fee than a florist. Their are also gemachs that do this check out the bridal secrets website for more info.

3. Gowns, Veils and Tiaras: These can cost multi thousands or sometimes hundreds it all depends on what you want. It also depends on material beading etc. I payed on the lower end for my gown and it still cost 2,000 dollars. Natural silks, and lace are the most expensive. Polyester satins are relatively inexepensive and can really look beautiful. If you cand find a good reasonable dressmaker it can sometimes save you a lot as opposed to buying from a bridal salon.

Filene’s Basement has a huge bridal sale every year. This year’s takes place February 27th in their manhattan location get there early to get the best selection.

Kleinfeld’s the fabulous designer bridal outlet holds their sale on February 5th. Look for designer names like Reem acra, Monique Lhuillier, Priscilla of boston, kenneth Pool and Many more. Gowns start at $499.

In your local bridal salon be honest about what your spending know what you want and tell them that. Don’t look at things out of your price range only to have your heart broken. Also ask if it’s an older style say from last season, if the sample is for sale. A friend of mine got a $2,000 dress for $800 doing that.

What is a bride without a veil? When I got married I was super shocked at how much they wanted for a simple piece of tulle. My friend loaned me hers but my mother-in-law’s cleaning lady threw it out. Do not ask. I ended up finding a beautiful cathedral length veil to match my train with three layers:blusher, fingertip, and cathedral. It cost me $20. So I seriously advise checking eBay. Also look into rental places or gemachs they usually have a nice selection for far less. if you’re really crafty consider making one yourself. You can find instructions by googling it.

Tiaras, Hair clips and Ornaments- one of the best places to find these is in the garment center btween 36th stree and 5th ave and 40th street and 8th avenue. Look online as well because you can find many affordable things on the web. If you are looking for something really unique check out gemachs and rental places. I got the most magnificent tiara from a gemach in Boro Park for get this nothing. It was really and truly out of this world. Be creative. My new favorite look is one side swept back with a jeweled feathered clip. Tres Chic.

4. Liquor: I discussed this earlier but i feel it needs it’s own paragraph. A good way to have liquor but cut costs is to wither only serve it at the smorg or have wine bottles on every table. This will significantly cut your liqour costs.

Weddings done on a budget can be really beautiful. It’s just how you go about doing it. For more tips feel free to contact me.

Stay tuned for Part Two.

May we only have happy Occasions.

Bargain Jewess

The Other Side of the Bargain

In Politics, Shopping on November 25, 2008 at 9:38 pm

Some may call me naive, but when I go bargain shopping I never think about who’s making the product or where it’s coming from, I’m just excited to be getting such a fabulous deal. The truth is that while I have my cheap stores that I frequent, I also try to find bargains at better stores. What I’ve come to realize though is that other than the really high end expensive stuff, most of the stores I frequent are involved in producing clothes that violate international human rights and working conditions. After reading an article on Twitter on how to increase your visibility I decided to start posting some interesting articles. I typed in “bargain shopping” and found an expose on MSNBC of working conditions in Bangladesh. What I read had me in tears over the conditions that these people are forced to live in.

What amazed me was that these people don’t realize how little they’re being paid in comparison to “how much” the product is being sold for here; and how many Americans just don’t care in their pursuit of me. As one Rabbi I know puts it the I-Pod generation, emphasis on I. I love a bargain and I don’t intend to stop looking for them, but I do think that as a human being it is extremely important to know how our actions in this global marketplace affect others. Two summers ago I took a class on International business. It was my first foray into learning about the global economy. With ever increasing  technology our economy becomes more and more international and we encounter many more ethical dilemmas. We as consumers therefore must be educated. The piece asks consumers if they would pay 25-50 cents more for a pair of pants marked $12.84. I know I would since I’d still be getting a bargain, and I think most people I know would. Especially if they knew that they could allow a worker in a foreign country to eat more than just rice and lentils. Maybe I’m wrong but all these people voting for Barack Obama-a symbol of change-should be aware that if we want change we need to extend that beyond our own needs and realize that by bettering the world we better our lives as well.

To read this piece go to

I love to hear feedback so please comment or email me at or follow me on twitter BargainJewess.

To paraphrase a great bargain outlet-Syms “An educated consumer is our best customer”.

Jewish Hatred and Cheap Chanukah Gifts

In Politics, Shopping, Women on November 24, 2008 at 7:56 pm

So the title of this post may seem a little strange, but I’m addressing two different topics so bear with me. Last night I logged onto Facebook and saw someone I knew had posted a blog that they thought was dead on. I checked the blog out and found out about these new terms that are being used to classify certain types of people ie: Jews that other Jews take issue with. The terms are “hot chani” and “slimy shmuli“. At first I thought this might be funny but the more I read of both the posts and the comments I just felt incredibly sad. I understand that bloggers feel the need to make social commentary, I do it myself, but I do not criticize people on the basis of how they dress or what community they belong to. Having straddled both the yeshivish and modern orthodox world I have gained insight into both. The “hot “hot chanis”  bloggers speak of, are mostly good people. I know many both from my parent’s shul and from the various schools I went too. I don’t think there is a sin in looking good. If they wear tight clothes that they consider tznius who are you to tell them that it’s not and judge them for it? Are you their Rabbi or their husband or their parent? I think the snarky terminology being used is just jealousy and overall Sinas Chinam and honestly I think it’s pathetic. My motto has always been live and let live. You cannot judge a person by how they look because very often you are wrong. I would say most of the people commenting on this topic have never even met a “hot chani” or “slimy shmuli” only seen them in passing and made snap judgments. Even if you have and they are bad people what’s the point of decrying it on the internet? Do you realize what others’ think when they see that we can’t even get a long with our kind? We know what it feels like to be persecuted by many different peoples so why do we insist on persecuting our brother’s and sisters. We want those outside of us to respect us but how can they when we don’t respect ourselves? I think the lesson we all need to learn without being preachy is to love each other. We are different and yet unique and special in our ways. We all pick and choose when it comes to religion. When did one person’s relationship to halacha and God become everyone’s business? I think we each need to worry about how we define the Torah for ourselves and stop worrying about how other people define halacha for themselves.

On a more fun note Chanukah is soon to be here. Latkes and Sufganiot await. Everyone is feeling the pinch this year in their pocketbook and many people may choose to skip gifts altogether. If you choose to give gifts there are many that are affordable and that the recipient will love. The most important part is to know your recipient.

Some Cheap Ideas:

Board Games: I personally find that you can have a great time getting together with friends and playing some board games.  Some fun ones Scattergories, Taboo, Jenga, Settlers of Catan, and Blokus. Check out or for these games and many more. For Settlers check out

Picture frames with personalized pictures: A picture frame can be relatively inexpensive.Putting in a fun picture of you and that person, or photo’s of them that are really great is a thoughtful and cost effective gift. For really pretty picture frames check out

Books: Books are always a great gift idea which you can tailor to every person. For cooks there’s always a new cookbook, for history buffs a biography will always suffice. There are so many book types I don’t have time to list them all. Check out or Also if you really are on a tight budget you can join a sight like which allows you to swap books for free. All you pay is the shipping  for those books requested from your collection by others.

If you have a skill like sewing or knitting you can always make homemade gifts that people will love. A hat, a scarf, a personalized apron, all can be big hits. Baking is also a great gift. You can make cookies or mini cakes and most people will truly appreciate your time and effort.

The key to budget gift giving is essentially thoughtfulness. Before you go out and buy cheap garbage, think about what the person you are gifting will really want and work from there. The look on their face when they receive it will be worth the time and effort.

I would love to hear your budget gift ideas. Please comment or email

You can also follow me on twitter, Bargainjewess, and keep up with all my latest posts.

Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.

In Shopping, Uncategorized on November 19, 2008 at 4:36 pm

For those of us who are fans of old movies and glamor most of us can vividly picture Marilyn Monroe in her pink taffeta gown belting out every girl’s favorite catchphrase “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend”. Marilyn is of course dripping in diamonds the kind that a girl can only hope to own. Here’s a little known secret you can. How you say? Those diamonds cost thousands of dollars and I’m a working girl on a limited budget. The funny thing is none of Marilyn’s diamond jewelry was real it was all paste. If paste can look that good, why not wear it!

There are some who will say that if it’s not real it loses cache; I think it’s perception. I have many fabulous costume pieces that people go crazy over, it’s all about your confidence. There are a few things to consider. Don’t buy fake  unless its truly quality fake like Banana Republic. Opt for sterling silver settings which look exactly like white gold and real gemstones. Also consider 10kt. gold as opposed to 14kt. or 18kt. You can also look into sterling silver plated in gold or platinum a great alternative for those looking for something that packs punch but is easy on the wallet.

A few of my favorite bargain jewelry sites:

  • As mentioned above Banana Republic is fabulous. Although there pieces are totally costume they are incredibly well made and last. I have a magnificent multi gemstone coktail ring that people go absolutely gaga over. Ever time i’m there I drool over the stunning affordable pieces they have. Check it at
  • A fabulous place to find real and costume pieces at bargain prices is HSN. They always have beautiful pieces frequently in silver with real gemstones or in 10k or 14K for ridiculously cheap prices. I bought a magnificent London blue topaz vintage style 14k gold ring for my mother’s birthday last year for get this $68.00 dollars. Keep in mind that gold prices have risen so you may not get a deal that good, but you can steal find fabulous fun affordable pieces.
  • QVC is in the same league as HSN with fabulous affordable pretty pieces. One over that they have on HSN is Judith Ripka You can get gorgeous signed Judith Ripka pieces in sterling silver for incredibly reasonable prices. The pieces all have the signature Judith Ripka look. I bought my mother in law for her birthday a stunning blue topaz tear drop enhancer, the piece was wow. No one will know that you didn’t get it at Judith Ripka on 5th avenue.
  • You can also check out Gilt Group. The y Frequently have designer Jewelry sales. Some sales are affordable. I recently got awesome leaf design 18k gold plated earrings for $60. This is a members only sample sale group if you’re interested  in joining send me a message with your email address to
  • Finally there is This is another television shopping network website where you can fabulous finds. One of the great things is you can purchase unset stones and set them in your own settings. This a great resource for those who make jewelry or want to make affordable one of a kind pieces. They also have a large selection of affordable rings, bracelets, earrings and necklaces. Check them out at

If you find anything fabulous let me know, I would love to hear about. I am always happy to have helped you find affordable pieces that make you feel fabulous. You can email comments and suggestions to

Always remember that faux can be fabulous.

Le Smoking A Tribute We Should All Be Wearing.

In beauty, Shopping, Uncategorized on November 19, 2008 at 6:16 am

Saturday night had me shopping in as you already know one of my favorite stores, Forever21. I bought this fabulous cloche with feathers and tulle and it inspired me to wear the hottest tribute this season the fitted tuxedo jacket popularized by the late great Yves Saint Laurent who passed away a few months ago. According to the December issue of Glamour magazine, the new night out cover up is no longer the eponymous pashmina but the ultra chic le smoking. Back to the hat. I decided the perfect outfit would be a women’s tuxedo skirt suit. I found a fabulous one at H&M where you can buy the pieces separately, great if your top and bottom are different sizes. I bought it for a wedding I have in December and I plan on wearing it with lace patterned tights and and sky high red heels.It’s sick just thinking about wearing it get’s me more excited than cheesecake and that is indeed a hard thing to do.

A few of my other favorite winter things; a fabulous perfect red lip with a barely there eye, silver nail polish, velvet jackets, school boy blazers, anything Blair wears on gossip girl and boots. Oh and tights. I think tights can really make an outfit. If you’re like me a girl who prefers colors that inhabit the dark side, bright or patterned tights can really punch up your outfit. I also recommend a colored coat it makes everything so much more stylish. My other favorite makeup look which I’ve been playing with is the heavy black kohl rimmed eye. So sexy if done right but not for everyone. I did it on my 16 year old sister-in-law it was a bit much. Save it for special occasions. The best shadow to get the look Milani Wet/dry in Black out. Get it at most drugstores for under 4 bucks. Apply it wet for major drama. Add falsies to really take it to the next level.

Lash out Ladies.

Busy, Busy Busy- (to the tune of Abba’s Money, Money, Money)

In Shopping on September 12, 2008 at 5:00 pm

Hey all,

It’s a been awhile since I first wrote. So many updates… well I got job doing what else? Jewish communal work. It’s a nice work environment so I’m happy I’m also taking LSAT prep so I basically don’t have a minute to breath let alone write posts I wish I was one of those people who could function on 4 hours sleep but I can barely function on 8. Studying for the LSAT is the hardest thing I have ever done but I think it will be the most rewarding. As you can see I am trying to pump myself up, I learned a while ago or maybe yesterday that attitude is everything; if you believe it you will achieve it.

On to shopping and beauty. I hope you’ve enjoyed my DIY tips. They are all really helpful and will save you time and money in the long run. Now that fall is coming I suggest hurrying to your favorite stores and checking the sales racks you might score some great leftover summer stuff that can transition to fall/winter. You can take that really cute sleeveless/strapless/short sleeve summer dress pair it with a long sleeved t-shirt, cardigan, or blazer, tights, and boots and voila it’s fall ready. Also I love eBay you can get anything there. For a great fall wardrobe you might have to hit up a few places. Check out the following.

For t-shirts, cheap sexy shoes, fun dresses, accessories and the occasionally wear it to death piece check out Forever21. I have many pieces from Forever21. Most have lasted fairly well. Just check materials. some will look faded or pill sooner than others.

For T-shirts, tights and occasionally shoes check out Conway. Conway is amazing. they always have great cheap plain t-shirts, plus they have some really good housewares and dirt cheap beauty products.

H& M although having gotten more expensive in recent years can still be a place for a bargain. especially when they have their $5 & $10 sale. They also always have great coats and jackets for under a $100. Find fun hats  and accessories there on the cheap.

Loehmann’s is one of my favorite stores ever. It is hit or miss. Always try to go on the day new merchandise arrives so you can get size and color selection. They are a mecca for everything. Clothes, coats, shoes, bags etc.

The G3 sample sale is a great place to find a coat. They have a sample sale once a year in November that features labels like Kenneth Cole, Andrew Marc and Nine West to name just a few. If I can get the info I will post it up here.

Daffy’s is great for coats and leather jackets. Last year I bought a beautiful lambskin leather jacket for $50. I also always find fabulous hats there and great sexy, comfy, nighties. They’re prices are always great especially when they mark merchandise down.

These are just a few places to hit up. Walk around your neighborhood and check out what’s available and always check the sale rack.

Happy hunting and for inspiration check out NYCTV’s coverage of Mercedes Benz fashion week.

Bargain Jewess