By Kanisha Parks

You’ve seen those commercials where they ask the person’s Christmas shopping budget, right? And they’re like, “Um, about $500.00” Let’s be honest—most of us know good and well we don’t have that much to spend! Listen: there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. For some reason, when Christmas comes around, people throw the budget out the window and go all out. And when the next year rolls in, they find themselves embedded in debt. It’s really just not worth it. Yes, it’s great to give nice gifts, but if it’s going to cost you your light bill; it’s time to re-think your definition of “nice.” Remember: you can and will still have an amazing Christmas without going broke. (Besides, it ain’t their birthday anyway!)


1. Start NOW.
A lot of people think that waiting until Black Friday or Cyber Monday to do their Christmas shopping is the best option, but this isn’t always the wisest idea, especially since you’re on a budget. These two days were created for big purchases—expensive jewelry, fitness equipment, laptops, iPhones, and other high-end toys and electronics. Being out on Black Friday can make you feel to the urge to purchase stuff you don’t really want or need, all in the name of the securing a good deal. Be wise and realize there are already a lot of deals now and even after Black Friday. You just need to know where to look. (See Tip #3).

2. Set a realistic budget and don’t budge it.
This is of the utmost importance. Make sure that when you set your Christmas spending budget, it’s an amount that you actually have to spend. (This is after all of the bills are paid). Remember that when Christmas is over, you still have a life to live.

3. Use cash.
Instead of resorting to using credit, take out cash when you shop. You are more likely to stick to your budget because you’ll be actively aware of how much you spend.

4. Decide where you can shop.
Depending on your budget, you will want to decide what stores are suitable for your coins. A lot of malls tend to be a bit more on the expensive side. Set your sights on stores like TJ Maxx, Ross, Marshall’s, Kohl’s, and WalMart. Believe it or not, even dollar stores have nice gifts sometimes. Check in advance for any deals or sales they may be having. This way, you’ll find so many nice things at discounted prices, you may be able to purchase more than you were expecting.

5. Write a list of who and what to shop for.
When you have a tangible list of who you need to purchase gifts for, you won’t be as inclined to pick up unnecessary stuff just because “it’s a good deal.” When possible, you can also determine in advance what you want to get each person so you can find the best price for the item and avoid shopping on a whim.

6. Shop early (and maybe alone). 
Try to shop when the stores aren’t as busy. When there are less people around, it’s just easier to get in, get what you want, and get on about your business. Also, it’s okay to shop by yourself if it’ll keep you from spending money that you don’t have just because the person who is with you can.

7. Have fun!
Don’t let Christmas shopping stress you out, girl! Enjoy yourself, your family, your friends, and being able to share this holiday season with them. That’s what it’s all about.

How to you stay on track with Holiday spending? 

Kanisha is a Christian writer/author based in Augusta, GA. Other than, she has also written for BlackNaps.organd Devozine, and has authored a book of poetry entitled, "Love Letters from the Master." Kanisha can be contacted for business inquiries at [email protected] 

Bo Carney, Owner, Mohawk General Store

"I'm originally from Korea—we moved to the Texas when I was young, but moved back to Korea pretty soon after I learned English. I stayed there through college, and after I graduated, I worked at this film studio and it was really stressful. You would work like a slave, and then have to go out and party, and then go back to work like a slave again. By that time, I was in my late 20s, and I just needed something different. I had always really liked fashion, so I told myself, 'I want to study fashion business in Italy. That'll be my new thing.'

So I gave myself one year to study fashion in Milan, to see if I would like it. I ended up meeting my husband [and business partner] there. He was working on a design job and we fell in love after a year. Eventually, I had to go back to Korea, and he had to go back to LA...we tried long distance for a few months before deciding to get married. I moved to LA with him, which was hard—I didn't have a car, and I didn't know anybody, and LA is so spread out that it was kind of isolating. While I was waiting for my green card, we started the first Mohawk General Store as a sort of experiment. We stumbled on a space that was tiny and cheap and we were like, ‘Yeah, let's do something!’ Then it consumed my life—my customers became my really good friends, and they’re like family now. Then it just grew like crazy. After two years we found the current space and that's how we got where we are now.

In Korea, everyone is really obsessed with skincare and staying young—it's kind of crazy how much money and time people spend. My mom used to use at least eight products day and night, but I think that’s kind of the norm for Korean ladies. When I go back, I feel like some country bumpkin because everyone is polished—the hair is done, the makeup is done....Here, you try hard to look like you haven’t tried. I bought the Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint in Medium and I mix it with an SPF, because I’m brainwashed to not go into the sun without it. I use Nars Ginger Concealer Stick for dark spots and blemishes, and I like to use MAC Cremeblend Blush to give myself a little color. Guerlain Liquid Eyeliner has always been my signature, but I just got eyelash extensions so now I don’t have to use as much. For my lips I use something really sheer, like MAC Lip Conditioner.

Recently, my mom gave me a coupon for this Korean facial with stem cells and told me to go with my husband. So we went and he kind of freaked out...we were in these machines and they were doing this whole body massage. But I like to experiment with skincare a lot—SK-II Stempower is really good, and I also use Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum. Then I got into argan oil after I went to Morocco. It’s really good for erasing all of your wrinkles, so I’ve been using it on my hands, my feet and my face. One of my favorite things to use is the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. It’s one of their cult products...There's this story about this guy in a sake factory who had super young hands, even though he was like crazy old, and somebody saw that so they created the essence with sake. For spots, I use DBH Blemish Balm, which is soothing. And that's my face!

I also do the Korean spa thing. I go once every season, and it’s good for your skin because you get scrubbed down like a piece of meat. It’s graphic! I do it at New Year's just to become super clean for the beginning of the year. Then I like to do it once after summer to scrub off my super-tanned skin that’s starting to flake. For more regular exfoliation, I like the Grown Alchemist Polishing Face Exfoliant. I also use this black soap that I got from Morocco—it's made from argan oil as well. You slather it all over your body, and it kind of looks like black clay.

My hair was long for more than 12 years before I cut it short. Long hair flatters me, and that’s why I kept it that way—it was safe. But I was just really bored and I wanted something completely different. I mean, it’s not that different, but it was a big thing for me. My husband had never seen me with short hair, so he was like, ‘Oh. OK.’  I think now he’s used to it now. I don’t like to wash it every day because I feel like I lose more hair if I do that—and on the second day the oils come out, so it actually looks good. Amore Pacific Ryo Anti-Aging Shampoo is my current favorite. Maybe twice a week I’ll wash it properly—I don’t know if my mom would approve, but that’s what I do."

—as told to ITG

Bo Carney photographed by Dana Boulos in Los Angeles.

Next up: Read about Sincerely Tommy's Kai Avent-deLeon and the enduring wisdom of Sephora employee recommendations, or Delfina Delettrez trying out caviar shampoo. And read more of The Face here.

The post Bo Carney, Owner, Mohawk General Store appeared first on Into The Gloss.

One Earring Is Enough

There’s something understated and modern about sweeping your hair behind your ears to reveal just one ridiculously cool earring. It's jewelry that makes a statement while being the opposite of everything tacky "Statement Jewelry" claims to be—you know what I mean? Wear less to get more—an idea we've been into for awhile, but one that feels right again with all the holiday merriment of late. Your schedule is busy enough, your outfit doesn't need to be. Plus there's the casual, cool factor: You forgot half of your earrings. On purpose.

1. IAM by Ileana Makri Safety Pin 10-Karat Gold Earring: These find the right balance between tough and sleek. I'd pair with a simple gold stud on the other ear. They also offer a more elongated version, with diamonds...which I'm planning on buying should I win the lottery. I'm feeling optimistic about that.

2. Sorelle Mara Earring: The architectural feel of the hoop/rod combo plays nicely with a single sweet pearl. Keep the rest of your look simple and let this earring do the talking.

3. Hirotaka Pavé Diamond & Gold Bar Arrow Earring: Earrings—in this case, earring—are more fun with a little danger. Though the tiny pavé diamonds make this one look a little less threatening.

4. Common Muse Nelle Ball Earring: J.W Anderson-esque (check out our gift guide) and ornamental-looking—like a silver ball on a tree. The very friendly price point makes this one a great option for those who'd like to dabble in the single earring arena. 

5. Lee Brevard Julia Earring with Stone: There are loads of options from Lee Brevard both in style and price to mix and match. Inspired by antique French military medals, this one feels medieval and gives a nod to the beloved Stone Paris version.

—Eva Alt

Photo via Getty.

Looking for a great cuff to match? Claire's got some suggestions.

The post One Earring Is Enough appeared first on Into The Gloss.

Good Ways To Spend Black Friday & Cyber Monday

Thanksgiving weekend is all about being with friends and family—so, if you're going to shop, you'll want to be efficient about it so you can get back to what's most important: honing the consistency of your mashed potatoes, debating Love Actually (again), and introducing your parents to either "Hello" or "Hotline Bling," depending on what mood you're trying to set. Below you'll find the best sales to browse from the comfort of your mobile phone (that's where the kids shop these days, right?). Happy Thanksgiving, guys, and happy shopping, too.


If you're looking for a bag: Kara is on sale up to 50% until Tuesday, December 1st. You probably know them for their compact, cushy backpacks with a horizontal straight-across zip top. Those are discounted, but it's also worth checking out this sleek shoulder bag.

If you <3 the Naked Palette: All Urban Decay everything is 20% off on their site through tomorrow, Friday the 27th. On Monday, November 30th, they're bringing back the Naked Vault Volume II (!) which consists of every single Naked palette ever created for $165. You'll never need to shop for eye shadow again.

If you're in the market for diamonds: Designer Monica Vinader's skinny sterling silver ring that's lined with tiny diamonds is 40% off through EOD (midnight) tomorrow, Friday.

If you need some new 501s: Everything from Levi's is 40% off through Monday. A suggestion. Another suggestion.

If you're already planning for next summer: There's no time like the present to start hoarding SPF, and Shiseido is 20% off site-wide through Monday. Use code FF2015, and wait 'til Monday if you're interested in a complimentary Ultimune deluxe sample, of which Michelle Phan is a fan.

If you have a bunch of holiday parties coming up and also ran out of that Bobbi Brown eyeliner you love: Stock up on regularly-priced BB items and choose one solid gift set when you spend $50 through Saturday the 28th. Both the Smokey Taupe Eye Set or a Classic Red Lip Set make holiday party looks easy feats. (P.S.—you can forgo a set and wait until Monday to take 20% off everything through Tuesday)

If you need a new coat: Look into Belstaff—they're offering 40% off everything in their pre-fall and fall collections through Monday. If you order a waxed cotton jacket online (oh, HELLO), you'll get a can of wax with it too. Very thoughtful.

If you need a gift for someone you don't know that well: All cashmere at Uniqlo caps out at $50. Good for someone else, or great for yourself.

If your happy place involves Rosetta Getty/Rochas/etc: Moda Operandi's sale section is on sale through Monday. Use code EXTRA30 for an added 30% discount.

If you've been meaning to try that Nars Audacious mascara: It's really good, and it's included in their sale, which is 20% off most of their site through Tuesday.

If you could use some more dresses: Head on over to Reformation's site, where select styles are 30% off. It's true–there will be plenty of dresses as well as other well-loved items, like this jumpsuit.

If you want to upgrade your hair dryer: Do it now because most GHD hot tools are 25% off through Monday. You can't go wrong with their hair dryers, but if you're after waves, consider this guy instead.

If you want some new clothes and don't want to spend $$$: Pretty much everyone in the office owns at least one thing that looks inexplicably chic and was found at Aritzia, and the retailer is up to 50% off certain styles through Sunday the 29th (or cross your fingers your size is still in stock on Monday, when the whole stock is half off). For your perusal: a longline coat and a track jacket-like sweater.

If you have slightly more to spend: Whistles is 30% off now through Monday. Pretty much everything they make is straightforward in the best way, and able to be worn over and over again. Example: this slip dress.

If you're trying to make leather weather last indefinitely: Take an extra 15% off most of Veda's offerings, sale included—so, this tan jacket is fair game. Use code allyouneedisVEDA.

If you need some new underwear: A large selection of best-selling Hanky Panky styles (so, underwear) is up to 60% off through Monday. Steals 'n deals.


If you need another Balm Dotcom: So, this never happens, but everything Glossier will be 25% off starting tonight at midnight, ending on Tuesday. Also an opportune time to pick up giftables (the Mask Duo Set).

If you're into Korean sheet masks (us!): Peach & Lily is going 20% off site-wide starting at midnight tonight through this Saturday. Be sure to stock up on Uka oils, too.

If you're into treatment skincare: Starting tomorrow, Friday, Tatcha is 20% off site-wide with code FF2015. Consider their Rice Enzyme Powder or Soothing Silk Body Butter.

If you're still planning for next summer, but want a bikini, not SPF: Giejo goes 30% off on Monday with code Cyber30. Start with an all-white bikini.

If you're more into one-pieces: Go for Solid & Striped; they're also 30% off tomorrow through Monday, and their Anne-Marie style is as good as you've heard it is.

If you're chilly: On Monday, AYR has you covered—this sweater is the right amount of roomy, and this one is softer than anything you already own. Take 25% off their whole site with CYBERNATE25.

If your hair needs some TLC: When you purchase $60 of Fekkai products on Monday—that's exactly three Brilliant Glossing Crèmes—you'll get a complimentary full size Apple Cider Shampoo (for clarifying) and an Essential Shea Masque (for dealing with overly dry hair).

If you've been meaning to get a card case: This one from Clare V. is compact, cute, and included in their 30% off Cyber Monday sale. Use code CVMONDAY.

If you want to turn your shower into a natural oasis: Take 50% off all Acure orders on Monday. See: The Best Organic Shampoo Is Only $10. And now it'll be only $5, for one day only.

If you forget to shop until Tuesday: The Outnet is having a clearance sale starting on Tuesday. All signs point to it being great.

—Claire Knebl

Photo via Getty.

And if you're working through that holiday shopping list—have you seen ITG's Gift Guide?

The post Good Ways To Spend Black Friday & Cyber Monday appeared first on Into The Gloss.

I was recently contacted by TSB and they challenged me to go on a little shopping spree and spend £100 using only contactless in celebration of their new offer in which you'll receive 5% cash back on your first £100 of contactless payments each month when opening one of their plus current accounts - not a bad little offer at all. I'm a self-confessed shopaholic and already a massive fan of using contactless so I was obviously well up for the challenge!! The reason I love contactless so much is because it makes shopping so much easier and quicker - all you have to do it place your card over the screen and wallah, payment has been made. I know that probably sounds really lazy as entering a pin isn't exactly the most difficult of tasks but when you're going from shop to shop and are weighed down with all your bags, it can become a pain in the butt! Especially if you're forgetful like me and regularly have those moments where you go completely blank and think 'oh crap, what's my pin?!?!'. 

Armed with my new TSB contactless card, it was time to hit the shops. I went for a shopping spree in Manchester city centre with my mum and Nanna and we had lots of fun - we even got ourselves some yummy Christmas Costa coffees using my contactless card! I could have gone mad in the shops (so much beaut stuff around at the moment!) but due to the £30 limit on contactless transactions, I did have to hold back a little. I kind of wish the contactless limit was higher than this as it's SO convenient but I can totally understand why it isn't - lets face it, if you lost your card, someone could easily go on a huge contactless shopping spree without the need to know your pin number so its definitely safer this way! Anyway, let me stop rambling and show you the goodies I bought...

I ended up going to Boots a couple of times throughout the day as my mum and Nanna were buying Christmas presents and I knew there'd be some bits and pieces in there that I just *had* to have. The first thing I spotted is this French Connection hand wash and hand lotion duo and I just LOVE the packaging (is that marble effect I spy?!) so I had to have it for my bathroom. Now I'm living in my own flat, I love treating myself to nice hand wash and hand lotions - it may sounds completely sad to those of you still living at home but trust me, little things like this make a house a home. Also, I'd just ran out of my beloved Molton Brown hand wash so this will be a lovely little replacement!

A few more thing I picked up from Boots are a clean cotton Yankee candle jar and the matching tea lights. This is my favourite scent ever ever ever so I just had to stock up on one to keep my flat smelling lovely and fresh. Now I'm working from home, I always have candles lit throughout the day - I find them really calming and when they smell as good as this one, I just want to have it lit 24/7. If you've not smelt this, you need to give it a sniff next time you're passing Boots. It smells so clean and fresh - I love it!! I also picked up this months Glamour magazine as it has the beautiful Tanya Burr on the cover. As a blogger, I'm all for supporting 'team internet' and its amazing to see Youtubers and Bloggers getting theses amazing opportunities. I can't wait to sit down with a cup of tea and read this!!

My boyfriend and I LOVE the TV show Supernatural and season 10 is now on TV but we haven't yet seen season 9 so when I saw this in Tesco, I had to pick it up. It will give us something to watch in the evenings again now Pretty Little Liars is finished - yep, I made my boyfriend watch PLL!! If you haven't seen Supernatural, its about two brothers Sam and Dean (who by the way, are rather dishy ladies) who are 'hunters' - they basically hunt supernatural creatures such as demons, vampires and werewolves. Most episodes are about a new case which the brothers are trying to solve but there's also a contenting storyline throughout about their relationship and you get really attached to the characters! It's definitely one worth watching!!

Okay so this is a super practical and boring purchase but I was in desperate need of some new bedding so whilst passing Argos, I popped in to see what they had on offer. Unfortunately this packaging doesn't have a picture of the bedding on it but it's a lovely grey and white set which matches the colour scheme in my bedroom perfectly. I'm sure I'll be tweeting a pic when it's all ironed and on so make sure you're following me on Twitter @k_leexjx to see how it looks!!

It was my friends birthday recently so I popped into Pandora to pick her a charm up. I'd seen a best friends charm I liked the look of online so I grabbed her that and she loved it! We always seem to get each other Pandora charms has we both have the bracelets and its not something you'd really buy for yourself! I also bought myself MAC 'Velvet Teddy' lipstick - I've wanted it for such a long time but its usually sold out so I was very excited when Selfridges said they had it in stock and I can't wait to give it a try. I'm hoping it'll transform me into Kylie Jenner (keep dreaming Kayleigh)!

So there we have it, all the things I bought on my recent shopping spree. I think this came to slightly over £100 (told you, shopaholic) but that's cool as I'm super happy with everything! PS - please ignore the bottle of Too Faced foundation in the top image - I have know idea why I added it in as that was an online purchase!!

Have you used contactless yet?

*This post is sponsored by TSB but as always, all views are my own.