Thursday, February 27, 2014

How to Score an Amazing Travel Deal

Curious about how I scored a roundtrip airline ticket to the NYC area  {from Charlotte, NC} for $41?  Read on, my friends, read on....

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The world's smallest plane ever. Only two seats on each side of the aisle. 
In general, here are my tips for finding a great travel deal:

1. When looking for deals, you have to compromise a little. Visit somewhere in the off season, take a connecting flight, etc. You get the picture. 

2. Make an initial list of places you want to visit and constantly add to it and update it. Start broad, you don't have to get into specifics. Then cross reference this with the deals you find. No matter how cheap it is to go somewhere, don't go just because it's cheap.  Make sure that you actually want to go there. 

3. Decide on your annual travel budget. Then, this is an important one - divide that amount by 12 and BAM! - sock that much away into your travel savings each month. It's actually pretty simple, but requires discipline. You don't want to go into debt funding your travels. 

4. Many deals require you to pay on the spot {and good deals sell out very quickly}, which is why #3 is so important. One of the keys is finding out about a deal as soon as possible and then acting on it. 

5. Sign up for emails from TravelZoo and Airfare Watchdog. I love TravelZoo's Wednesday "Top Twenty" email which highlights the Top 20 deals of the week. That is how I found out about our Iceland deal. If you want more details on that deal, see here and here.   The Iceland deal currently on Travelzoo {which is slightly different from ours} ends tomorrow. 

Thanks for sticking with me through all of that. Now, about that NYC deal.....A couple weeks ago, I got two emails about a 1-Day airfare sale on Frontier Airlines.  One was from Travelzoo alerting me that Frontier Airlines was starting a new route from Charlotte to Trenton, NJ {an hour from NYC} and the other one was Airfare Watchdog that lists airfares for many destinations from your local city and highlights the lowest fares of the day.  I searched the fare calendar and confirmed with Jake and later than night, we had our flight booked {it expired at midnight, so we had to be quick.... and days were selling out super duper fast}. 

P.S. I am insanely excited for our NYC trip! I have never been and it's always always always been my dream to go since I was a little girl. Haha.. growing up in Hawaii, all I wanted to do was experience the exact opposite I guess.  So, please share any NYC tips. We will be staying at The Standard at the Highline and I am counting the days. But first - we go to Iceland... the day after tomorrow. Is this real life?????????

Would you be so kind as to share any of your travel tips in the comments section below?! I always love to hear from my loyal fans ;)

xoxo, Kim

Saturday, February 15, 2014

I'm Kind of a Nerd

I love reading. I remember kind of feeling like a nerd when I was little because I would always, always have my nose buried in a book. I remember back in Elementary School anticipating those Scholastic book club order forms that would arrive each month. I would beg my mom to let me order tons of books every month and when we could, I would get to order a couple books and it was just the coolest thing ever.  It started with Clifford The Big Red Dog... then it moved to more mature books such a Goosebumps. R.L. Stine is probably a millionaire by now. I just looked it up, his net worth is estimated at 300 million. Go figure.

During the summer, I joined one of the local library programs and my goal was to read 30 books during the summer. I think I got close - I might have read 25 or so. But, that wasn't a big deal to me. It was just something I loved to do. As I got older and had to devote more of my time to studying, I wasn't able to read as much as I wanted to. In high school and college, I really didn't read much for fun.  My life revolved around school and friends.  Even now {even though I don't have any more homework}, sometimes I struggle to find time to read with all the other social media distractions around me. 

For me, the thing about reading is that once I get into a good book, I am hooked. I read Gone Girl in 2 days, which isn't unusual. But I had to stop reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao because I just couldn't get into it. I tried to pick it up several times but for some reason, it just wasn't the right book at the right time for me.  

Ironically, I think getting a kindle was one of the best things to happen to my "reading life" I discovered that I could borrow books from the local library for free for 21 days and I could get on wait lists for the really popular books. And once a book is ready for you to download, it's very seamless - you just login to your amazon account and it sends the book wirelessly to your kindle. It's basically magic. Oh - and it automatically returns it after 21 days and erases it from your kindle. But - I found a trick. If you don't close out of the book and don't turn off your kindle, it can't erase it and you can keep reading it for as long as you want. You know me, I have always been a bit of a rebel.

I think social media has also done a lot for making books popular and cool. Are you on Goodreads? It's a website where you can catalog books you have read and books you want to read and share those lists with friends. It's a fun new way to share some of your favorite books.  Truth: Jake and I literally had a bibliography spreadsheet that we shared on google docs about our favorite books but not anymore! Find me on Goodreads and add me as a friend so we can share recommendations!

*I am currently reading Brain on Fire which is a fascinating true story. Next up is Where'd You go Bernadette?.... Happy reading! 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

It's Boden Time

Have you all heard of the British company Boden? Within the past couple of years, they started shipping to the US and I have a mild obsession.  It's probably my favorite online shopping site after Jcrew {and Madewell and the Loft}.  When I first checked out their website, there was a million things I wanted.  But I had to restrain myself. I allowed myself to buy a dress that was on sale and one of their lovely Bretons.  The Breton is a simple long sleeve striped shirt but it is one of my favorite pieces. I want to wear it everyday. And it still looks great 2+ years later. As far as sizing goes, they have US sizing which is pretty spot on but I've found that some items run small. It just depends on what you are ordering.
Recently, I've been looking for a warm coat for Iceland and thought I would check Boden.  I ordered the Stockholm coat from there and also purchased a puffy coat at Target {as insurance, in case I didn't like the Boden one} for a great price. In the end I decided to go with the Stockholm coat and I ended up returning the Target coat. It was too shiny, not that warm and kind of made me look like a giant trash bag.
The Stockholm coat is amazing, complete with a fur hood! I am absolutely in love with it, as much as you can be with a material item, that is. I've actually worn it on a couple cold days here in Charlotte! Can you believe it? Cue Polar Vortex.... 
Target Coat on {L}; Boden Coat on {R}, Sorry it's blurry - I was on my tip toes, holding the phone above my head. Haha.
A close up of the Boden Stockholm coat
After reading a really good blog post on Wide Eyed Legless about editing your wardrobe, I've decided that I'm going to go through all my clothes and do this. I was actually thinking about doing it this weekend and this post really inspired me. So, I will be doing some spring cleaning in Winter. Ugh.. Is it still winter?!?!

A Full Length Shot of Boden Stockholm coat

Have you bought any amazing purchases lately? Or conversely, gotten rid of anything? I think going through my clothes will be very soul cleansing. I was reading the comments section of the blog post I mentioned above and the writer said she only has 75 pieces including bags and shoes. I'm going to count how much clothing I have and streamline. Quality, not quantity, ladies!