Wednesday, September 30, 2009

First Watch or La Peep for Breakfast, Orlando's favorite breakfast spots

Two local favorites for breakfast are First Watch on Sand Lake Road not far from Disney and the Premium outlets and La Peep, around the corner from Universal and close to the Prime outlets.

It's a great idea to have a real meal (french fries eaten in the car do not count as a meal!) before you take on the outlets or the malls.  You'll need the energy to get the most out of your shopping trip.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mall of Milennia Parking tips

In a few words- don't park by Macy's.  Unless you are on a search and destroy mission; and it includes Macy's.

If the mall is packed,  park by Neiman Marcus.  You get a fun walk-thru and the lot is rarely full... Check out the men's jewelry to indulge your inner rock star.  Also, the women's cosmetics has rare and wonderful lines like Cle de Peau (Shiseido's upscale line) and Rock and Republic (the world's best blusher, no contest).  Plus there is always a new perfume to try, and a knowledgeable person to tell you about its top, middle and bottom notes.

If you are not in a rush, go upstairs and check out the little shops for china, crystal, silver, etc.  NM has wonderful and unique gifts, especially at the holidays.

Florida Mall Parking Tips

Park near Buca De Beppo restaurant, between Nordstorm and Macy's.  This gives you direct access to the nicer part of the mall. 

Enter through either department store of through the entrance between them.

An alternative, if you are into labels and can afford them, is to park by Saks Fifth Avenue.  There is always plenty of parking near Saks, and it is so much fun to see what is new and hot from purses to shoes to cosmetics.  Just walk on through and get the copies at the stores inside the mall.

Hidden treasures-  Clarks shoes and Banana Republic are near the Saks entrance to the mall.  Clarks has the comfy hiking type shoes that Europeans love, plus higher, sexier versions.  Banana Republic has great fitting, American-style (but not preppy) clothes for the young adult crowd as well as for in-shape boomers.  The quality is great for the price and there is always something for sale.

For cosmetics junkies-  there is a MAC store by the food court and a Sephora near the Macy's entrance to the mall.  Both will give you all the free advice you want.  At Sephora, they now give free samples of everything in little plastic containers.  Just ask.

Premium Outlets Columbus Day Sale!

Go to Premium Outlest online VIP room for Columbus Day sale coupons.

This is one of the year's biggest sales.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sushi in Orlando- Sushiology at night

By popular request, here is the address for Sushiology on I-Drive, near Wet & Wild and the Prime Outlets:
6400 International Dr #130
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 345-0245

Sushiology is open from 11 to 11 (Sunday 3- 10:30) so you can satisfy that sushi craving when you get back from the parks!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sushi and Ice Cream near the Orlando outlets- Fast and FUN

If you are near Prime Outlets and Festival Bay, go a few miles down the road to:
  • Sushiology Sushi
  • Dippn Dots ice cream
Located next to each other, these stops are the most fun you can have without a waitress or a wait.  Sushiology is a quick service sushi restaurant with GREAT sushi.  There are a few tables inside and out, plus beer and wine.  There are take-out deals that start with 20 pieces of sushi and go into the 100's...  or you can just order by the roll or the piece.  Either way, the prices are low and the quality is excellent.

Dippn Dots is a speical type of ice cream made in many flavors. Kids LOVE this treat. Don't miss it!

United World Soccer and Bass Outdoor World in Festival Bay

For soccer fans and fanatics, United World Soccer is the place.  In Festival Bay Mall on I-Drive, you'll find a great selection of soccer jerseys and gear.

While you are there, hit the BASS outdoor world.  Kids love the BIG fish tank in center.  If you like outdoor activities (fishing, boating, hunting, you name it), you'll love BASS.  For the rugged life wanna-be's, there are really nice classic clothes, always something on sale.

For a food stop, there's a good Italian stand in the center of the mall with delicious NY style pizza.  Nice people too.

Looking for the NIKE, Adidas or Puma in Orlando?

There are large NIKE outlet stores in ALL of the outlet malls in Orlando/Kissimmee. All have good selection of clothes, shoes and sporting goods, like bags and balls.

Plus there is a real Nike outlet on Rt. 192 in Kissimmee, where they get all of the left-over shoes and clothes from the retail stores, including top quality golf shoes and soccer cleats.  If you are staying in Kissimmee, don't miss this one.

Adidas can be found in the Prime and Premium malls. It's not cheap but it's the quality you know.

Puma is in both outlet malls, but it's the worst kind of outlet...random leftovers mostly. My sons love the Puma brand; and we have never found anything to buy here.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

ESCADA Company Store (outlet)

Escada company store NOW OPEN at the Prime Outlet mall, close to another reader favorite, the Judith Ripka outlet.  Beautiful clothes. Don't miss this store if you appreciate American- style clothes with class, but not at all fussy or silly.  You will love these clothes.

HIDDEN Waterford/ Wedgewood Outlet

Across from Festival Bay on the other side of I-Drive (behind Texas de Brazil, the restaurant), you'll find the Waterford/ Wedgewood Outlet.  It's towards the back of the parking lot.  A real outlet, this is the perfect place to shop for your sister or Grandma who collects Waterford pieces.  The prices are so great, you may pick up something for yourself!

Esprit, Aeropostale, Burton and Guess for Young Men

For that hard to fit group that is fit and lean and finds preppy wear (Nautica, etc) way too baggy, hit Prime Outlets for Esprit, Aerospostale, Burton and Guess wear.  All feature T's and casual wear for young men that is tapered and fitted, but not too tight.

Juicy Couture

For Juicy Fans, the outlet at Prime outlets is a gold mine. LOTS of purses, a good display of jewelry and rack and racks of clothes. 

Friday, September 25, 2009

Keyword: Coupons

Readers are looking for coupons and discounts for the outlet malls.  Here's where to find them:
  1. Online-   Go to the mall's web site for special offers and vouchers for coupon books that you redeem in person at the mall office.
  2. VIP cards and clubs-   Sign up for these while you are on the web site.  You may get instant coupons to print out, a VIP card to use in person and/or other goodies.  Plus they will email specials on an ongoing basis.
  3. Mall offices-    If you didn't have time to go online for a voucher to pick up mall coupons in person, tell them.  They'll give them to you anyway.  Ask if they have any other promotions going.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The world's only Lalique/Baccarat outlet

The world's only Lalique and Baccarat outlet is right here in Orlando at the Prime Outlet Mall.  The Prime Outlets are in International Drive, near Universal Studios and not far from the Disney resort area.

If you want to take home a piece of beautiful crystal, spend some time at the Prime Outlets.  Remember,  crystal is heavy, so you will need to take it to your car immediately after purchase or you can pick it up right before you leave the mall. 

The perfect purse

I have been carrying a gift with purchase Vicky's Secret barrel-style (no shoulder strap) black microfiber purse lately.  Why?  Because it is LIGHT.  I never understood the runaway appeal of Kate Spade's basic black eponymous purses in NYC.  NOW I do and here's why... When you have lots to carry on a long day and you are walking (like they do in the big apple and I do at the Orlando malls), microfiber is the only way to go.

The funniest thing is that I have gotten lots of compliments on my gift with purchase Victoria's Secret Bag.  I am on the hunt for  a real designer bag that is as light and looks as classic as this one does.

Stay tuned.

Fun and Funky

Looking for something interesting?  Try Tu Tu Tango on I-Drive.  Kind of an artist's gallery meets a tapas bar, they serve great drinks and lots of little plates.  There are original paintings on the wall and artists are actually painting live for "atmosphere".

Tu Tu Tango is close to the convention center and Pointe Orlando. It's perfect for a multi-generational visiting group, like your uncle, his kids and yours.

Fun for Kids

Many a tired Mom has found that their children have more fun at the Disney Marketplace than at Disney's expensive theme parks.  Why?  No lines, great food, kid-friendly attractions, like the Lego store and the BIG run-through fountain. If you have a picky eater, there is a large McDonald's right next to the Lego store.  Plus Disney has seasonal activities galore, from sandboxes to trains to playgrounds... This is really a local secret!

Once I sat next to a nice Mom from the Midwest, whose daughter was blissfully playing in a temporary  beach at the Marketplace.  She said that taking her child to Disney was her dream, but her 5 year old really was exhausted by it all.  Disney Marketplace suited the little girl much better.  :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Save in Orlando

Top spots to save in Orlando:

Prime Outlets-
Top picks include 7 for All Mankind, Joe's Jeans, Neiman Marcus Last Call, Escada, Calypso, Lalique/ Baccarat outlet, Judith Ripka (jewelry), Kate Spade, Juicy Couture and Vicky's Secret.  Plus sporting wear from North Face, Pearl Izumi, Reebok, Nike, Adidas, Burton and on and on.... Great Calphalon and La Creuset outlets here, where you'll find that last piece for your set or a perfect gift.

Premium Outlets-
Find AG Adriano Goldschmied, Lucky, DKNY, Armani, La Perla here. Lots of sporting wear here too at Reebok, Nike, Adidas. Big Timberland and Ralph Lauren outlets. Nautica is a favorite at Premium.  Enjoy French-inspired fare at the Anelle and Hugo kiosk in the center of the mall.

Lake Buena Vista Outlets features a large Vanity Fair outlet and a host of smaller outlets.

Milennia Mall- Orlando's most fashionable shopping address has lots of sales and deals these days, at Macy's and Bloomingdales especially.  Today, retailers mark slow-moving product down ASAP.

Shop Pink at Prime in October

For just $2, you can buy a Pink discount card in October to benefit a Breast Cancer charity. It's a great deal, since you get a free cream puff from Beard Papa's, with a value of more than the cost of the card. (Way to go, Beard Papa's!)  Plus lots of other great one-time discounts. 

To find out more:

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Florida Mall Alert: FREE Metallic Stephanie Johnson bag at Saks Fifth Avenue

Go to this link to see these great metallic totes, free with any $75 dollar beauty purchase at Saks:

Don't wait, this is while supplies last or until October 4th, in-store or online.  Top picks at Saks:

For a makeover in a bottle, try YSL Teint Majeur foundation for $100.

Rachel Zoe, the stylist to the stars, swears by Armani Liquid Silk Foundation.

If you love romantic, feminine fragrances, pick Chloe in the pretty bottle with a sterling silver top. It makes you... happy!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Top Quality Cosmetics at PRIME outlets!

The following brands are found at The Cosmetic Company Store:
  • Estee Lauder
  • Clinique
  • MAC
  • Bobbie Brown
There is also a Lancome company store.

Ralph Lauren and poor service

There is a new RL outlet at the Prime outlets, to house the RL designer collection.  Great idea, except the two self-absorbed young people in the store did not bother to greet me, help me try on their overpriced clothes or say thank you when I left.  It reminded me of the SNL skit with Adam Sandler providing hideously poor service at the GAP.  I would NEVER go back to that place.  It was empty and will probably be gone in six months.  Unless someone gets a clue.

On the FLIP SIDE, go to Cole Haan or Christian Dior.  Going up the ladder towards prices in the straosphere, both outlets treated me with respect (even in a jean skirt and T) and worked hard to find the buy of my dreams.  If you visit, you will be glad you did.

BOOTS and more at Bass- 50% plus another 10% off

Bass is running a crazy sale on current styles, including lots of BOOTS and warm clothes, including sweaters and khakis for both sexes.

The deal is 50%, plus an additional 10% off almost everything.  To help with the math, they have charts all around the store.  If shoes cost $50 originally, they are now $22.50. 

More REAL outlets- Vicky's and Chico's

If you are a Victoria's Secret fan, go to the big outlet in the Prime center.  A real outlet, you can find lingerie, yoga wear, VS cosmetics and toiletries and more.  It's like a big treasure hunt.  Today, the cosmetics were 75% off for LOTS of choices.  True to VS form, this is a service oriented outlet.  I had several women ask if they could help me...

Chico's is a favorite of working women with style. Check out the triple threat outlet, also at the Prime Outlet mall.  Chico's, according to the manager is NOT for young boys (as the name translates in Spanish) but for women.  The perfectly cut, adjustable strap (very unusual, almost like free alterations!), sexy but ok for business camisoles, will make your sweaters and jackets into outfits.  This outlet has three areas- Additions, Chico's outlet brand, plus real outlet product from the past month's catalog and Soma, the next big thing in lingerie (advertised on the Delilah show). 

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Real Outlets

From time to time, we'll cover real outlets, like the big North Face outlet in the Prime outlet mall.  North Face is a gym- size building where you will find racks of whatever is left over from the expensive retail stock in the US.  Good place for warm jackets, light jackets and backpacks.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The shiny side of Florida Mall

Popular Florida Mall has two faces.  There's the newer, shiny side, with upscale shops like Sephora and Saks Fifth Avenue plus fun features, like the M & M store and the glass enclosed surf tank in Adrelina.

For the shiny side, be sure to park near Nordstrom, Macy's or Saks, NOT by Sears, Penney's or the Food Court.

If you're hungry, head to the food court, which is huge and has lots of good spots, and the best (and worst) of American fast food at McD's and Chik FilA, which is a Southern favorite for chicken sandwiches and nuggets. The bad news is that the food court is noisy and crowded. Teens love the free samples of delicious chicken that are always available from at least 4 vendors. If you like chicken, you can make a meal out of free samples.

Also, on the shiny side of the mall, check out Williams Sonoma and Harry and David for delicious free samples. Seasonal in nature; samples are especially plentiful during the holidays.  If you like popcorn, don't miss the Moose Munch at H&D, available in Dark, Milk and Sugar-Free choco varieties.  Also in the same part of the mall, Teavana is pours expensive innovative tea combos in little tiny cups for you to try. 

Monday, September 14, 2009

Coupons! 25% off on Kenneth Cole and Guess

Attention Kenneth Cole fans. Head for the Premium outlets, near Disney, after hitting the Premium outlets webs site, where you can get a coupon for 25% off your entire purchase at the KC outlet. 

The Guess outlet , a favorite of young adult Orlando fashionistas, offers 25% off on a $100 purchase.  They have hard to find wovens and t's for leaner guys, every day. Also reasonably-priced sexy shoes and accessories for women.

If athletic shoes, accessories, shorts and T's are your thing or you just need some new stuff, there are coupons for 15% off at Reebok and at Adidas. Adidas store is not cheap but great selection of the latest styles.

Anti-designer jeans

For those of you who don't like pretension of any kind, head to the Vanity Fair outlets in Prime and Lake Buena Vista outlet malls for Wrangler and Lee jeans.  They make both brands. plus lots of others including Jansport.

Outside the Prime mall, there is a huge billboard, visible from I-4 off-ramp to the Florida turnpike.  Compliments of the VF outlet, featuring Junior (Dale Earnhardt, Jr.) in his Wranglers.  Not sure how, but NASCAR is now America's most attended sport..  Cute guy.  :)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Finally- a sunscreen that won't gross you out

Finally a sunscreen lotion that does not smell or leave a layer of white on your skin.  It's called Aveeno Continuous Protection Sunblock Lotion, SPF 55 with "active photobarrier complex".  An oil-free, non-greasy waterproof lotion that comes in an ivory tube with a gold cap, this is what we have been waiting for.  Perfect for long days in the sun.  I use it before a long car ride on sunny days...

I bought mine at Walmart. You can get it at CVS and Walgreens as well.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ralph Lauren at Premium Outlets

Looking for a quick buy that will go with everything you already have?  Head to the Polo Ralph Lauren outlet (also on in the Prime outlet mall near Universal) for tops, from bright colored logo t-shirts to collared polos to long-sleeved wovens in the latest styles.   If you look good in vivid- colored jersey knits or you like light-colored wovens, like those found on button-down shirts, you will love this place.  Plus lots of jeans, khaki pants and skirts.

The outlet is divided into mens, women's and children's areas.  There are accessories and lots of sale racks. 

You can get a coupon for $20 off $200 purchase at the customer service desk in the food court.  It is found in a coupon book (really a brochure, not a book) that sells for $5.  Tell them you signed up on the mall's website; and they will give it to you for free.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Best Free Samples in Orlando- Dark Chocolate Brownies

Take a side trip to Winter Park for chocolate heaven.  At Not Just Cake, "Fresh Bakery and Cafe",  in Hannibal Square (on New England Avenue) across and down the street from local favorites, casual restaurant Dexter's and brunch and dinner fave, Hot Olives, you can enjoy large samples of the world's best dark chocolate brownies to your heart's content.  With a pound of chocolate and a touch of espresso in each batch, these brownies are simply amazing.  On an early morning visit, the charming owner gave me a large bag of crumbs and edges for my son to enjoy with ice cream... how nice is that?

Winter Park has great boutique shopping- Lily Pulitzer, Eileen Fisher, Douglas cosmetics, Winter Park pioneer and style-setter Tumi and lots more.  Timothy's is a fine art gallery with great jewelry and interesting pieces of glass and fine art finds. Peterbrooke chocolates on Park Ave has more free samples of choco-creations, most famously, their chocolate-covered popcorn. My favorite- the choco-covered oreos. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cafe Kalik at Prime Outlet Center

Island- themed restaurant has great Sushi rolls.  Conch chowder was only OK, not flavorful enough.

Lots of variety on the menu, including Bahamian, Jamaican and generic "island" options.  I'll be back to try the seafood, since the sushi was so good.

Also lots of island drink options, the best thing on a hot day (every day in Orlando, right?), includes about a dozen island beers, a long list of "rhums" and a menu of mojitos, margaritas and rum punch-type things.

Btw the "Bread" basket is unique in a good way- sweet little muffins (yum), long plantain-like chips and regular chips, plus salsa, butter and honey butter.  Kids will love it.

$1 Milk Shakes

Burger King is selling small milk shakes for $1.  These are the perfect size for children or for adults looking for a no-guilt treat. 

There is a Burger King across from the Disney entrance in Lake Buena Vista.  There is one near Universal as well.

Designer Purse Update

At the Premium Outlet mall, it's Kate Spade for clean classic looks in purses and totes. Leather in a rainbow of colors as well as the microfiber KS made so popular a few years ago.  LOTS of inventory in the store, all sparkling new. Hurry- Great deals on small purses and wristlets for a perfect souvenir that doesn't take up much space in your luggage. Loved a black leather/patent wristlet with the Kate Spade name embossed quietly on the front.

There is a new Brahmin shop if you like that classic leather brand, based in Massachusetts. Great buys on bright summer colors, including hot pink. If you live in a warm clime, you can use them all year.

If you are under 30, hit Juicy Couture for a large selection of Juicy purses plus jewelry.  Also- Guess has a large purse collection, not lasting quality but the latest looks.

Gorgeous clothes at ESCADA

ESCADA, a designer label, has a brand new outlet at the Prime outlet mall.  The clothes are pricey, even at 20 to 50% off, but clearly on a higher level than most clothing available at retail in Orlando.

The fabrics, cuts and fabrications- beads, sparkles, trims- sets this line apart.  It is not for teens (head to Juicy Couture), but for women with a more evolved style.  Lots of suits, separates and lovely party dresses. A pale blue party dress displayed near the entrance with heavy beading on the bodice, front and back, was the subject of oohs and ahs from everyone who saw it.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Baccarat/Lalique...maybe not.

Don't go out of your way for the Baccarat/Lalique outlet unless you like the Lalique jewelry.  There are always major deals on jewelry.  This week, RINGS are 90% off.

Next door at Judith Ripka, you will find real deals on pretty everyday jewelry, sterling and 14k.  The most popular stones are yellow quartz, blue topaz and green quartz.

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Top Perfume Samples at Nordstrom!

Nordstrom's in Florida Mall is offering generous samples of perfume.  You can get a sample of ANY perfume they carry in a small vial. Ask for more than one if you can't decide which is your favorite.

The latest perfumes include Totally Hollywood by Michael Kors, a luscious gardenia-based fragrance that is perfect for a tropical clime like Orlando or Miami, according to Nordstrom's perfume expert. Don't let the gardenia scare you (it scared me), it is only one note and it blends into a lovely dry-down. I want this one!

There is also a new version of Chanel # 5, called Eau Premiere.  It is a bit warmer, less formal, according to the experts.  It grows on you, so be sure to wear it for  a while before deciding.

Don't miss Bobby Brown's new lipstick shades on the fall promo display. Deceptively neutral, they light up your face.  Rosebud is gorgeous, like a cashmere sweater.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Good food to go, close to I-4, plus NY bakery

If you've overdosed on theme park food or are looking for a great selection of healthy food for your condo kitchen, stop at Whole Foods. By the Sand Lake Road exit on I-4 (on the other side of the highway from the world's largest McDonald's), this store has everything you need, including including wine, cheese, seafood, produce and great ready-made selections. For a quick bite, there is a huge salad bar and bakery, plus a cafe. 

If you need a bagel fix, go next door to Delish, the New York bakery.  Already one of Orlando's top bakeries after just a few months, they cook bagels to order with real NYC dough.  Stop in, order yours, go shopping at Whole Foods. Pick them up and go!  A complete selection of favorite NYC bakery items like those big cookies... and Junior's cheesecake.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

World's Only Baccarat Outlet Store Open at Prime Outlets International Orlando

The headline above was a Reuters news story last year.  The first and only Baccarat/ Lalique outlet in the world opened in the Prime Outlets in Orlando near Universal Studios in 2008.

Baccarat joins the Waterford/ Wedgwood outlet at the Prime outlets. The Waterford outlet is one of eight locations in the world where you can find discounted Waterford crystal.

Florida Mall- or not?

Mall of Milennia is fun to visit, but the locals shop at Florida mall.

On the plus side,  the area's only Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue stores are in the Florida Mall.  Saks has mostly prestige goods- purses, shoes, expensive and top quality make-up (only source for Armani line, touted by Rachel Zoe recently) and exclusive fragrances.  Also great jewelry, most, but not all expensive.

The Nordstrom store (according to a manager there) carries mostly quality American labels that are popular with visitors from overseas. It is not a "designer" store, like some other Nordstrom's (e.g- Miami). These American labels are reliably good quality and style, but not that exciting.

There are some standout departments at Nordstrom that are fun to browse - unique, top quality, reasonably priced hair accessories (barrettes, clips, etc.), costume jewelry and shoes. Also an unusually large Bobbi Brown counter and perfume department.  These impulse-buy departments are close to the mall entrance and Nordstrom's coffee cafe, so you can browse with latte in hand.  Fun.

The area's largest Sephora and MAC cosmetics stores are in Florida mall, as well as a Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Banana Republic as well as other upscale mall standbys.

Note:  the best fashion department store is Bloomingdales in Mall of Milennia.  More on Bloomies soon.

Get ready for your trip!

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