Friday, April 10, 2015

My Experience at the 2015 Vera Bradley Outlet Sale



Yesterday was my day to shop at the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale. I had so much fun, but now I'm sad that I have to wait a year for the next one!

I wanted to share with you a few notes about my experience and some pictures I took along the way. I shopped with my best friend Tricia and our moms. We are all veteran VBOS shoppers.


We arrived at the Coliseum about an hour before our 11:00 session. I'm still not sure what line we were in, to be honest. We were upstairs, so I assumed we were somewhere in line 2, but we got into the sale relatively quickly and it wasn't very crowded at all yet.

There was apparently some delay in getting people into the sale which resulted in Vera Bradley adding an extra 45 minutes to our session. They never announced this while I was on the sale floor, but I saw it on Twitter while I was shopping. They may have announced it towards the end of our scheduled time, but by then I was in the checkout area.

As I said, we got into the sale relatively quickly.  The line started moving right after 11:00 and we didn't stand still for long. I'd say we were in within 15 minutes of the sale starting. I was too excited to start shopping to look at my watch!

This year, I had grand plans to try to stay with mom while we shopped. So when we entered the sale, she and I headed for the Little Hipsters because she wanted one of those. I had also been thinking about getting one, but they didn't have any in Ribbons, so I decided not to get one.

There was one Little Hipster in Go Wild on the pile and I very stupidly did not grab it. Of course, later when I went back, it was gone. Always grab something you're interested in, even if you don't think you will buy it!

After picking out a Little Hipster for my mom, I headed for the Glennas and Emily Satchels which were in the same section. At this point, my mom wandered off, but no big deal, we had a meeting point set up.

I did find a Glenna and an Emily Satchel in Ribbons, so they both went into my bag to consider later. I then got distracted by various items in that area, like the baby stuff. I had to force myself to focus on what I was there for first and then I could browse. But there was so much stuff and so many great deals!


I found the Veras and got one for my mother-in-law and then looked for the Tumblers, which were gone, and the hair accessories. After I had the things I had come for, I wandered around looking at various other things and documenting prices for the price chart.

I also decided to go back and pick up a Little Hipster to consider. As I said, there weren't any in Ribbons or Flutterby and the Go Wild one was gone, so I ended up grabbing one in Flower Shower, which was the same pattern my mom picked out.

Eventually, we all met up at our meeting spot and started sorting our things and adding up our totals. I compared the Glenna and the Emily Satchel and ended up going with the Glenna again. While the Emily seems to have lots of room and I like that it's divided, ultimately I didn't like the shoulder strap. It felt shorter than the Glenna. Vera Bradley says it's a 1/2 inch difference, but apparently that makes all the difference to me!


We headed to the checkout probably somewhere after 1:00 and while the line was long, it moved quickly. We didn't really stand in one spot for long. I was attempting to update the price chart while in line, so that was an adventure!

Things I Liked This Year
  • Bonus Buys! I admit, I was a little skeptical this would be a good thing, but I liked it. Our session had quite a few Bonus Buys and one of them was the Vera, which I was getting for my mother-in-law. The Bonus Buys were marked with balloons and they frequently announced what they were throughout the sale.
  • Markdowns! Markdowns had already started on Thursday, and I was happy to see the silver balloons marking them. Sadly, it wasn't anything I wanted in my session, but I'm always happy to see markdowns.
  •  Things were actually where the map said they were. Last year, this was a problem, but this year was good. Although if something was sold out, there was usually another product in that spot, so that was a little confusing. 
  • Friendly workers! Once again, everybody I interacted with was super friendly.
  • Jewelry! This year the jewelry, readers, and sunglasses were located in a special area on the sales floor with plenty of workers to help. This is so much better than having them after the checkouts or located elsewhere. I was so happy to get the necklace I've been wanting since last year. 
  • Coupon! Vera Bradley printed a coupon for $30 off a $100 purchase at the Outlet Sale in a local newspaper. Thanks to Tricia's mom and dad we were able to get our hands on 4 copies. After doing my calculations, I was able to keep the Little Hipster I was considering because I basically got it for free thanks to the coupon. I LOVED that coupon! My mom didn't spend enough to use hers, so we gave it to the lady in the check out line behind us.
Things I Didn't Like This Year
  • Strollers! Look, it's crowded, it's chaotic, and it's hard to move around. The strollers do not make things any easier and I cannot imagine it's easy to maneuver with one. I'm just worried somebody is going to get hurt. I did see several ladies wearing their small children, which is great.
  • Sold out items. I know it's hard for Vera Bradley to predict what is going to sell out quickly, but it's really annoying to get excited about something on the map only to find out it's gone already. For example, pet items were on the map, but they were nowhere to be found during our session. I found where they were supposed to be, but there were only beach towels there. They need to put up a sign saying that the item is sold out. I know the map is trying to be helpful, and I appreciate that, but they couldn't have had much pet stuff if it was already gone, so maybe it didn't need to be on the map? I don't know. Better communication about sold out items is needed though.
  • No prices on the shopping guide again. Finding the right sign for products was sometimes tricky with the crowds and I always have a hard time remembering things. The price scanners were helpful, but with no prices on the guide, it meant that everybody wanted to use the scanners. You had to fight the crowd to get a chance to scan your item. I like being able to provide the price chart though and hopefully it was helpful to a lot of people this year.
Here's what I bought...


Glenna in Ribbons
Little Hipster in Flower Shower
Colorful Hair Clips in Ribbons and Flower Shower
Cleaning Cloth in Indigo Pop
Carpe Diem Necklace in Petal Paisley
Not pictured - Vera in Indigo Pop for my mother-in-law and another item I'm saving for mother's day.

What did I put back? I put back the Emily Satchel I had been considering as well as a Loop Keychain because $6 was more than I really wanted to pay for a keychain I really didn't need.

How did my wish list do? I did get the Glenna, Colorful Hair Clips, and necklace that I wanted. The Tumblers and Umbrellas were already sold out by my session. There were no large flip flops left either. I did see the Ruffle Cosmetics I like, but they didn't have any in red.

After shopping, we headed over to Jefferson Pointe to shop and check out the Vera Bradley store. Of course, I spotted items I'll be adding to my wish list for next year's sale.

We also discovered that Fort Wayne now has a Tim Horton's, so we checked it out and got doughnuts. They were delicious and we'll be adding a stop at Tim Horton's to our annual girls' day traditions.

Yum! Double Chocolate!
We had a great day of shopping and I can't wait for next year's sale!

Tricia and me
Have any questions about the Outlet Sale or Vera Bradley? Feel free to ask them in the comments or over on the Argyle Love Facebook page.

What did you get at the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale?

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Sunday, April 5, 2015

2015 Vera Bradley Outlet Sale Wish List



This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small amount of compensation which I will then use to buy more Vera.

This week, I'm making my trip to the annual Vera Bradley Outlet Sale next week. The sale is crowded and chaotic, so it helps to go prepared. I like to make a wish list of items to look for first before I attempt to browse the rest of the sale.

Today, I'm sharing with you my Vera Bradley Outlet Sale wish list.

Glenna


In 2013, I picked up a Glenna in Island Blooms and I loved it. Last year, I picked up one in Olivia Pink to carry in fall and winter. I really love this style. It's big enough to hold everything I like to carry, it has 2 generous pockets on the outside, and the strap is the perfect length. This year, I want to get one in Ribbons, since that is my favorite pattern.

Tumbler


I really wanted to get one of these last year, but I only want one in Ribbons, which was not available. I'm hoping it will be there this year. I drink water all day out of tumblers, so I'd love to have a Vera Bradley one.

Colorful Hair Clips

Last year, I picked some of these up in Go Wild. I'm still kicking myself for not buying more than one pack. I used them all summer to help keep my hair up in a ponytail for summer camp. I'd like to get some in Flower Shower and maybe another pattern.

Emily Satchel

Source
Even though I love my Glenna, I'd like to check out this style too. It is very similar in size to the Genna, but it is divided into compartments on the inside.

Bubble Umbrella

I just really love this style of umbrella. I'm a sucker for a cute umbrella and this one would be handy for when it's raining at school dismissal and I'm walking the kids to the buses.

Of course, I have other items I'm interested in getting, but unless the price is right, they aren't as important as these items. Check out my wish list on Pinterest to see more of what I'm wishing for!

What's on your Vera Bradley wish list?

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Tips for the 2015 Vera Bradley Outlet Sale



The Vera Bradley event of the year is next week and I cannot wait! The Annual Vera Bradley Outlet sale is held every year in Fort Wayne, Indiana. It's an arena full of handbags and accessories all at a discount price. For me, it's just as good as Christmas!


Basically, once you enter, you grab a big plastic bag and a price sheet and then it's time to shop! My plan is to grab anything I think I might want and stuff it in my bag. Then, when I've browsed everything, I find a spot and sort through what's in my bag. Rejected items are placed in nearby boxes and carts to be restocked by Vera workers.

After making my decisions and any final sweeps around the arena, it's time to pay! There are always tons of registers and the lines move pretty quickly.

To prepare for the sale, I try to make a list of styles I want to look at the most. These are the items that I will head to first before taking some time to mosey through the rest of the sale. I'll share my wishlist for the sale soon, so come back to check it out!

Just about every current and retired style of bags and accessories will be at the sale. What's unknown is exactly which patterns will be available. Based on what I've seen at previous years' sales, I can usually make a pretty good prediction of what I'll see. I try to identify which patterns I would most like prior to the sale. This is especially helpful if you are attending the sale with a group. Your friends can help by grabbing things in the pattern you want if you want to split up to shop and then meet back up to sort. (Of course, you'll help out your friends by grabbing what they want.)

I've found that the patterns are mostly ones that have been retired since the previous year's sale as well as some that are going to be retired after the sale. These are often the colors listed as "sale" on the Vera Bradley website


So, what colors do I expect to see at the Sale? I usually say it's a good bet we'll see plenty of the patterns that have been retired since the last sale, but at the 2013 sale, there were lots of new patterns available, so it's really anyone's guess. However, I would not set my hopes on a getting a new pattern and instead be pleasantly surprised if they're available this year.  I believe that most of the available patterns will be retired patterns.

 Starting with the colors most recently retired..

Ink Blue
Flower Shower

Then, those retired in November and December...


Canterberry Magenta
Fanfare
Flutterby
Blue Bayou
Clementine
Midnight Blues

And the patterns that were retired last August...

Canterberry Cobalt

Plum Crazy
Jazzy Blooms
Ribbons

And I'm sure we'll see some of the colors that were retired just after last year's sale...

Julep Tulip
Citron
Venetian Paisley
Bittersweet
Olivia Pink
Tutti Frutti


As in previous years, there will also be older patterns available in select styles, but it's tough to predict just what exactly will be available. For example, I've been seeing Night Owl every year since 2010. Your best bet is to look over the Sale section of the Vera Bradley website to get an idea.

Retired styles are usually available in all patterns that they were made. Theoretically, you could find a bag in a Spring 2015 or Summer 2015 pattern, but I've found that anything that new tends to disappear fast. Your best bet of scoring those will happen in the first few sessions on Wednesday.

what about prices? Exact prices won't be known until the sale opens, but looking at previous years' prices can give you an idea of what to expect. Keep in mind, that beginning the second day of the sale, prices may start dropping. Just a few on the second day, then more as the sale goes on. Just keep in mind, the later in the sale you go, the less selection you may have to choose from. I value selection over price, so the second day works well for me.

To help give an idea of prices, I made a chart comparing the prices I could find from sales over the past few years. I'll be updating this as I find out prices from this year's sale. Keep in mind, the prices on the chart are the starting price; I did not include any markdowns that occurred as the sale went on.

Vera Bradley Outlet Sale Price Comparison

This will be my 8th Vera Bradley Outlet Sale and I've picked up a few tips along the way.
  • Use a crossbody handbag or a smaller purse. It gets crowded in the arena as you can see from the pictures and believe me, you'll want your hands free to shop!
  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes. You're going to be on your feet the whole time. Don't wear flip flops or you risk having your foot stepped on.
  • A couple years ago, several readers suggested using a tote or larger bag to hold their shopping. I was buying a tote for my mother-in-law, so I stuffed my other shopping in it and it was awesome. It was much easier to carry than the plastic bag you are given. If you are not going to purchase the tote you use, I would suggest making sure you use one that is well stocked so that you don't take away somebody else's chance at getting that bag.  There are boxes at the registers to put back items you do not want to purchase.
  • Bring your registration and your ID. There are usually computers set up to print off your registration, but you'll have to wait in line. Save time and do it before you arrive. You will not be able to purchase anything without your ID, so make sure you have it!
  • Please don't bring children! There is no way I'd bring a kid to the sale. It's crowded and you won't enjoy yourself if you have to worry about keeping your child with you at all times. I'm going with my best friend, Tricia, and she is leaving her adorable toddler at home. He's a great shopper, but she knows that the Outlet Sale is no place for a child. I'm so glad I have responsible friends who value the safety of their children.
  • This is not the mall, do not bring a stroller! You will only annoy everyone else and your baby really doesn't belong. If I couldn't get a babysitter, I wouldn't go to the sale. I really cannot stress this one enough. Last year, there were tons of strollers and I even saw a double stroller. It is very crowded in the sale and at times, impossible for an adult to just walk through the crowd. A stroller will only make your shopping experience unenjoyable and unsafe.
Don't forget to like the Argyle Love Facebook page and follow me on Twitter and Instagram. I'll try to tweet from the sale and hopefully share some pictures too. Also, follow my friend Trish on her Twitter and Instagram. We're shopping together and I'm sure she'll have things to share too!

And finally, remember to have fun! Score some great deals and enjoy being in the company of other Vera Bradley lovers.

Any questions? Leave them in a comment below and I'll try to answer them!

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Life Updates

I know I've been MIA for awhile, so I wanted to give a brief update of what I've been up to lately.

The teacher whose maternity leave I was scheduled to do, went into labor 11 days early, so I ended up starting 10 days early. Nothing like taking over kindergarten during Dr. Seuss week with no written plans. I hit the ground running and haven't stopped running since! I started my 5th week today and it's been crazy, but never boring.

Teaching kindergarten full-time has taking a lot more of my free time and energy than I anticipated. I stay after school to work on things and by the time I get home, I just want to eat dinner and spend some time with my husband, so blogging has fallen to the wayside. Plus, unless you really want to hear about what we've been doing in kindergarten, I haven't had much to share.

Luckily, next week is spring break and I'll be able to relax. It's also time for the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale, so expect some posts about that this week and next week.

And don't forget, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram for more timely updates.

 What's new with you?
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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Lent 2015

Ash Wednesday has come and gone (although due to a snowstorm, I was unable to attend services) and we're now into our Lenten season. I wanted to quickly share my sacrifices for this year. Not because I think you care, or to keep me accountable, but because I like to be able to look back at what I did and how well I did it.

This year, I gave up the same things I gave up last year: chocolate, pop, and eating out. And even though I've been giving up chocolate and pop every year since I became Catholic, it's still a struggle. More so for the chocolate than the pop. I usually only have pop once a week typically. I'm proud to say that's a habit that developed after giving up pop during a previous Lent.

Here's hoping I can develop some new habits this Lenten season.

Are you giving up anything for Lent?


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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Young Adult Book Series I Enjoy


You may have noticed my Goodreads Reading Challenge widget over there on the side of my blog. It's no secret that I love to read, and I love being able to keep track of what I read through Goodreads. I also love challenging myself to see how many books I can read in a year.

Last year, I initially challenged myself to read 50 books, but it quickly became apparent that that particular goal was a bit low. I ended up raising it to 75 books and by the end of the year, I had surpassed my goal. In 2014, I was able to read 82 books. And that's only the books that were new to me. I did not count any books I reread.

One way that I am able to read so many books is that I love to read book series. All too often, I reach the end of a book and am sad that there is no more to read. I want to spend more time with the main characters or read more about other characters from the book. Book series fulfill that need.

So, I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite book series that I've read over the past year or two.  Perhaps you'll find a series or two to interest you.

Today, I'm focusing on Young Adult book series that I enjoyed. Yes, I confess that I still sometimes wander over to the Young Adult section of the library during my weekly trips. And why not when I frequently find books like these?





The Woodcutter Sisters

This young adult fantasy series by Alethea Kontis is full of references to fairy tales, but don't let that fool you into thinking these are fluffy romances. These books about sisters are full adventure, action, humor, and yes, romance.

I've only read the first two books, Enchanted and Hero. Dearest was released earlier this month and I'm waiting for my library to get it.






The Agency

This is a historical mystery series by Y.S. Lee. I could not resist when I found out it took place in Victorian London. The series is about Mary Quinn, an orphan who escapes the hangman's noose and is recruited for The Agency where she is trained in the art of espionage. The series is full of mystery, adventure, and a little romance.

I've read the first three books, A Spy in the House, The Body at the Tower, and The Traitor in the Tunnel. The fourth book, Rivals in the City is due to be released next month. I can't wait to read it!




Finishing School

This steampunk fantasy series is by Gail Carriger. I previously read Gail Carriger's adult steampunk fantasy series (which I'll cover in a later post), so there was no question I was going to read her young adult series as well. There are some character overlaps between the two series, but I think that you could read either one first.

The series revolves around a finishing school that teaches espionage.  And you should know that vampires & werewolves exist.

Currently, there are three books in the series, Etiquette & Espionage, Curtsies & Conspiracies, and Waistcoats & Weaponry. The fourth book, Manners & Mutiny, is coming later this year.


The Lunar Chronicles

This is a science-fiction series by Marissa Meyer. While these stories are based on fairy tales, they are unlike any fairy tales you've read before.

It's the future and the world is nothing like it is now. There are androids and cyborgs. There's people living on the moon. And a plague is running rampant all around the world.

I know, it sounds weird, but these are great stories about strong young women who don't wait around to be rescued.

There are three books in the series so far - Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress. Fairest, a book about the villain of the series was recently released. The fourth book in the series, Winter, will be released later this year.

The Ruby Red Trilogy

This is a science-fiction series by Kerstin Gier.

Without giving too much away, the series involves time travel, mystery, adventure, and yes, romance.

The three book in the series are, Ruby Red, Sapphire Blue, and Emerald Green. They were originally written in German and have been translated into many languages.







I hope you've enjoyed this look at the young adult book series I've enjoyed. Stay tuned for posts about other genre series I've enjoyed over the past year.

Do you have a young adult book series recommendation for me? Let me know in the comments! I'm always looking for new books to read!

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