Thursday, January 25, 2018

A Review of my 2017 Vera Bradley Annual Outlet Sale Purchases

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. 

Now that tickets for the 2018 Vera Bradley Annual Outlet Sale are available for purchase, it's time to start planning. Tickets are available for the first three days of the sale on Ticketmaster. Vera Bradley only charges $5 for the tickets, but Ticketmaster added another $8 in ridiculous fees, so be prepared for that nonsense.

One thing I thought might be helpful for planning is to review the items I purchased at last year's sale. I try to plan and make lists before the sale, but once you're on the sales floor and the pressure of the crowds and time are on you, decision making can be quite frantic. So, now that I've had my items for 9 months, how do I feel about my purchases?

As a reminder, here are the items I purchased at last year's sale.

Let's start with the bags in the left side picture.

Vera Bradley Lighten Up Lunch Cooler - Because I pack my lunch for work and don't always have access to a fridge, I wanted something that would hopefully keep my lunch colder than my Vera Bradley Lunch Sack. I also wanted something that would hold more than the Lunch Sack. I like that the Lunch Cooler does hold more and because it's more structured than the Lunch Sack, it keeps my lunch from getting smashed in my teacher bag (a Vera tote, of course). And while my lunch has never been warm, I don't think it keeps things as cold as my cooler tote does, but that may be because I typically have 3 to 4 hours between packing my lunch and eating it. I'm going to try putting an ice pack in there and I'm sure it will work better.

Vera Bradley Your Turn Smartphone Wristlet  - I bought this to hold my phone, ID, and money for my summer camp job since I don't usually carry a purse. It does do a great job of holding all those and it was handy to carry when I made some grocery store runs for doughnuts before the day started. (Gotta keep the staff happy and sugared up!) During the day, I usually just threw this in whatever bag I was using and kept my phone in my pocket.

Vera Bradley Carryall Crossbody - I really wanted a crossbody bag that I could use for an everyday purse. My beloved Hipster just doesn't hold enough for everyday use. This purse works perfectly. It holds everything I need and isn't too bulky. I have used it a lot since the sale and I'm disappointed that it's been retired. I'm hoping to score another one at this year's sale.

Grand Tote 2.0 - This was a last minute, not on my wishlist decision at the sale. When I heard what a good deal it was, I decided I needed one. I am so glad I did get one because this has gotten a lot of use since the sale. I frequently used it during camp to carry all the stuff I needed for activities to our various sites. I also used it as my pool bag because it holds so much stuff. I even used it at Christmas to carry presents to my mom's house. I just love the Cheery Blossom pattern and wish I owned more in it.

Let's look at the smaller items I picked up in the right side picture.

Colorful Hair Clips - I love these so much and now I can only find them at the Outlet Store. They work really well for holding those small hairs that don't make it into my ponytail or my messy bun. Hopefully, I'll be able to get some new patterns at this year's sale, but I'm not holding my breath. Vera seems to be doing away with the smaller hair accessories.

Vera Bradley Mini Notebook with Pocket - I always buy at least one of these at the sale. They are perfect for carrying in my purse for shopping lists. I actually haven't used this one yet because I haven't even used the one I bought at the 2016 sale yet. But that won't stop me from buying one at this year's sale.

Have Faith Necklace - I've worn this a few times and I really like it. I never plan to buy jewelry at the sale, but I usually wander through since the prices are good and they have some cute stuff. This is the second necklace I've bought and the quality has always been great.

Vera Bradley Flip Flop - I really like the Vera Bradley Flip Flops. They are good quality and thick, so they don't feel like they'll fall apart anytime soon like some flip flops. I always try to buy some at the sale, but usually, the larges are sold out by the time I get there. I was lucky enough to find these flip flops in Midnight Paisley last year, so I bought them even though they weren't the pattern I was hoping for. But black and white goes with just about everything, so they got a lot of wear last summer.

Ruffle Bodysuit - Sadly, I have not had a reason to use this yet.

So there you have it! I think I did pretty well for shopping in such a chaotic environment. Doing my research and having a list going into the sale definitely helped. I already have ideas for this year's sale and can't wait to start my wish list.

If you are interested in learning more about the Vera Bradley Annual Outlet Sale, here a few of my posts you might find interesting -

My Experience at the 2017 Vera Bradley Annual Outlet Sale
Tips for the 2017 Vera Bradley Annual Outlet Sale

And don't forget to check back later for my annual tips post for the 2018 sale. I'll be making predictions about what patterns we'll see at the sale. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Adding to Our Family

If you've read my blog for awhile or looked at my now outdated About page, you know that M and I had 2 cats, Mimi and Sammy.

I wrote in February of 2014 about how we lost Mimi. While I was busy not blogging last year, I didn't tell you that we lost Sammy at the end of May. Her health had been declining and we knew it was time.

M and I knew that we would someday get cats again. We wanted 2 cats that could grow up together. What we didn't know was just how quickly we would want them. We took time over the summer to grieve and miss our darling girl but then realized just how empty our house seemed without cats.

We had started to think about looking for new cats to join our family when one of M's coworkers mentioned that she was fostering a couple kittens for a local animal rescue. She knew M was looking for cats and showed him pictures. She emailed them to him so that I could see them and while I thought the kittens were cute, I wasn't so sure about this.

Going to meet the kittens at M's coworker's house convinced me that maybe I did need these little furballs after all. We applied for adoption and a few weeks later, we finished up the paperwork and brought out girls home!

Introducing, Pepper and Luna! 

While I had been hoping for an orange or calico cat, we fell in love with these black and white sisters. They are full of personality and loving with each other and with us. They are also two of the most vocal cats I've ever met.

At nearly a year old, Luna has become a huge cat while Pepper has remained more average sized. And Luna isn't shy about letting Pepper know she's the bigger sister!

I'm so glad that we added these two to our family and I look forward to years together.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

My Experience at the 2017 Vera Bradley Annual Outlet Sale

Yesterday was my day to shop at the Vera Bradley Annual Outlet Sale. It was a really fun day and now I'm sad that I have to wait another year to do it again.

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 VBAS shoppers.

We arrived at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum about an hour before our 11:00 am session. Like last year, we entered through the conference center and waited in the conference room there. When we arrived, we were about in the middle of the room. While we were waiting, we were encouraged to move forward and fill in empty space, so we ended up being closer than that.

The best part was that they actually opened the door to the sale 15 minutes early! It felt like we didn't have to wait long at all this year!

Since I had already studied the map the day before, I knew that the purses that I wanted to look at were in the yellow row with the crossbody bags. I planned out a route using the map and this year I actually stuck to it!

I made myself focus when I got into the sale and I headed for the yellow row. I smiled as I passed up the Glennas and found the Carryall Crossbodies. Pattern selection for the Carryalls wasn't great for my tastes, but I found one in Impressionista. I was interested in a microfiber solid one, but they only had espresso and I really wanted black.

The map said that the Cargo Slings were in the yellow row, but I couldn't find them. I knew they were retired, so I figured they were gone already.

I looked at my wish list and headed for the flip flops in the blue row. I had hoped to get a pair in Chandelier Floral, but while they had plenty of size large flip flops this year, I couldn't find any in that pattern. Instead, I grabbed a pair in Midnight Paisley. Black and white go with everything, right?

Next, I headed for the wristlets and wallets in the green row. I found the wristlets I was looking for and picked up a couple in patterns I like. I just grab and go, there's time to consider choices later!

Then it was time to head for the paper products and hair accessories. There were lots of mini notebooks this year and I even considered some file folders. I found the Colorful Hair Clips with the other hair accessories. Sadly, there were only 3 patterns this year as they've been retired. I grabbed 2 of them, but because I'm not a fan of Camofloral, I didn't get those.

I finally headed for the lunch bags where I found the Lunch Coolers. Several ladies at the table raved about the bag, so I added one to my bag.

Since I now had everything on my wish list, I decided to head for the last chance tables. They were very crowded, but there was a lot of good stuff! I ended up finding the cargo slings back there, although they were buried and there weren't very many. I found one in Katalina Pink and added it to my bag. I also found some Turnlock Wallets back there. I was secretly hoping to find one in Ribbons but didn't see any. I did grab one in Flutterby to consider.

Eventually, I just wandered around looking at things and taking pictures of signs. I felt overwhelmed and actually never went over to the Faux Leather, Preppy Poly, or Leather items. I met up with my group and sorted my stuff and agonized over which purse to get. Because I'm trying to find a crossbody that is similar in size to the Glenna, I went over and grabbed one of those. I ended up grabbing one in Northern Stripes which was a mistake because I freaking loved it.

But since I promised myself I would not buy yet another Glenna, it went into the discard bin with a few other things I'd grabbed. Sandy had grabbed a Grand Tote 2.0 and I asked her about it. Turns out, it is originally $65, but at the outlet sale, it was $19.99! Well, that's a great deal, so I went to look at those and ended up grabbing one to use this summer for camp stuff and to take to the pool.

We did one last wander around and just before we headed to the checkout, I decided to take a spin through the jewelry section. I ended up adding a necklace to my bag.

We made it to the checkout area just before our session ended. Although there were no problems this year, check out still took a long time. We were in line for over an hour. In previous years, the line has gone much faster. Although I did appreciate not waiting over 2 hours because the computers crashed.

Things I didn't like this year
  • The lack of sorting areas. Before, there has been lots of space for people to get out of the way of the shoppers and look through their stuff and put things in the discard bins. This year, there were only 2 small areas at each end of the sales floor. I don't know if that's a fire marshal thing, a Coliseum thing, or a Vera thing, but it wasn't enough room. 
  • Also, you aren't allowed to sit on the floor which has been always been a rule, but they don't provide chairs. I don't mind, but many shoppers are of a certain age and kneeling on the floor isn't really an option. Meanwhile, the Coliseum workers that supervise the sorting areas were sitting in chairs. 
  • And to go along with my previous 2 points, if you're going to enforce those things, you need to enforce them everywhere. When I was in the jewelry section, there were several people sitting on the floor back there. They were hidden from view from the sales floor, so nobody told them they couldn't sit on the floor.
  • No markdowns? Usually, on Thursday, prices start getting marked down. If there were any markdowns at our session, they weren't advertised.
Things I did like this year
  • We got into the sale 15 minutes early! That was awesome!
  • Signs! This year all the signs were on top of the tables and there were lots of them! So many in fact, that I'm still missing prices on the price chart.
  • The price scanners were working! And they were improved.
  • Pattern selection! There were lots of patterns available. I even saw some things in Havana Rose and Havana Dots. Outlet and QVC exclusive patterns were also available. 
  • Organization! Everything was organized very well with similar items grouped together
  • Last Chance Tables! Even though they were frequently crowded, I love the Last Chance Tables. They were more spread out this year and organized by price. I found several things worth considering and Trish found some things too.
Here's what I bought...

Grand Tote 2.0 in Cheery Blossoms
Carryall Crossbody in Impressionista
Lighten Up Lunch Cooler in Floral Fiesta
Your Turn Smartphone Wristlet in Chandelier Floral
Ruffle Bodysuit in Lilli Bell
Flip Flops in Midnight Paisley
Colorful Hair Clips in Nomadic Floral and Wildflower Garden
Mini Notebook in Northern Stripes
Have Faith Necklace
Not pictured - an item I got for my mother-in-law for Mothers' Day

What did I put back?

Because I wanted to check out the Front Zip Wristlet, I ended up grabbing it in Marrakesh and Katalina Pink. I decided to go with the Your Turn Smartphone Wristlet, so these went back. I found a Katalina Pink Cargo Sling on the Last Chance Table for $29.99 but ultimately decided it was too big and I didn't love it, so it went back. I agonized for the Northern Stripes Glenna, but it went back too. The Turnlock Wallet in Flutterby that I found on the Last Chance Table for $19.99 also ended up in the discard bin.

How did my wish list go?

I got everything that was on my wish list this year. I did a good job of sticking to my list and getting the things I wanted before considering other things. I did a much better job of actually considering the things I had on my list this year. I did get the Ruffle Bodysuit which was not on my list, but for $1.99, how could I say no?

After the sale, we headed to our traditional lunch at Cheddar's and then went to Jefferson Pointe. We checked out the Vera Bradley store there but didn't stay long since there were storms in the area and we were ready to get home.

We had an awesome day and can't wait for next year!

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?


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Tips for Making a Vera Bradley Annual Outlet Sale Wish List

Yesterday, I shared with you, my wish list for the 2017 Vera Bradley Annual Outlet Sale. I always make a wish list before shopping at the sale. The sale is always chaotic and the ticketed sessions are limited to two and a half hours, which means making the most of your time on the sales floor is imperative. I find that having a list helps me to focus on the items that I am most interested in purchasing first. Then, I have time to wander the sale to find more items I'd like.

Today I'd like to share with you some tips for making a helpful wish list for the sale. The first thing I usually do is identify the big ticket items I'd like to get that year. My budget for the sale is limited, so I need to make the most of it. I do research on items on the Vera Bradley website. I like that they have dimensions of the products as well as lots of photos.

I also add to my list any smaller items I'd like to look at while I'm at the sale. Even though I always look at the Mini Notebooks and the Colorful Hair Clips, I make sure to put them on my list so I don't forget about them in the chaos. Even if I'm not sure I'll actually purchase something, I add it to my list if I'm interested because I don't want to forget about it.

I always write down my wish list or type it up and print it out. I don't want to rely on cell service or risk draining my phone battery. (And just being in the Coliseum will drain your battery, believe me.)

But my wish list is more than just a list of items I want. I also include information that I find helpful for decision making. I like to include the regular price and the current online sale price for each item as well as the price at the outlet if known. I find this helpful for deciding if something is a good deal or not. I also have access to a Vera Bradley outlet store, so I keep in mind that they frequently have sales with 20% off on top of 50% the regular price. This is why I opted to wait to purchase a beach towel last year. I got it at the outlet store for cheaper than the outlet sale.

I also include on my list the location of the items if known. Since I go on Thursday, the map of the sale is usually already been shared on social media. As soon as I see it, I'll be sure to share it, so make sure you're following me! The map is very helpful to make my plan of attack for the sale. I try to plan a path around the sale that will help me get the items I want first.

A post shared by Jenn K (@argylelove) on

You can see my wish list from last year in the above picture. I used a spreadsheet to keep it organized and as you can see, I also color coded the locations. I handwrote those since the locations are last-minute information. I also prioritize the items on my list. My must-haves are at the top and items I'm not as interested in go at the bottom.

You will notice that I do not have patterns on my wish list. While I do have an idea of what patterns will be at the sale, I try not to get my hopes up that I will be able to get an item in a certain pattern. Instead, I know what patterns that I prefer and I try to look over all that are available to find the one I like the best, or if I don't like any, then I don't purchase the item.

This year, I'm going to try to organize my list by row. After looking over the maps from previous years, I noticed that the order of the colors of the rows remains the same every year, however, the product does change locations over the years. This does mean I will have to wait until Tuesday or Wednesday to make my list, but since I've already identified the items I'm interested in, I think it will work just fine.

While I'm waiting in line to get into the sale, I go over my list again to remind myself of my plan. Otherwise, once I get in the sale I get excited and start looking at everything. I keep my list handy in one of the outer pockets on my Hipster so I can quickly consult it whenever necessary. And when I'm sorting what I've picked up, I consult my list again to make sure I've gotten everything I wanted. Having the prices on the list helps when the price scanners are down or far away and I can't remember them. Don't forget to consult my price chart!

I hope this post has helped you make your own list for the sale and don't forget to also read my tips for shopping the sale.