Monday, November 8, 2010

My Trip To Boston Sponsored by TJ Maxx and Marshalls

The Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston

I was invited to a blogger event in Boston by TJ Maxx and Marshalls. It was a holiday event to help us become familiar with the stores and their merchandise.    I was delighted to go!

When I arrived at Logan Airport, in Boston, I went to find a taxi. The driver was wearing a business suit. I was so impressed! He took me to the Fairmont Copley Plaza. When I arrived, a uniformed doorman opened my door and helped me out. From that moment on, I was treated like royalty!

The Hotel

I walked through this elegant hotel and was amazed. I sat in the lobby waiting for my room to be prepared. I was surrounded by executives. When I got to my room, it was perfect. There was a large screen television, a desk, enormously comfortable bed, a couch, a walk in closet and a marble bathroom.

I rested for a few hours and then headed to the lobby to meet with other bloggers before we all headed onto a trolley bus. They took us to a Boston Restaurant, Post 39. We were ushered upstairs to a private room where we were served Hors d'oeuvres, like crab cakes and fried, stuffed ravioli with dipping sauce. There were also dessert treats and plenty of beverages. I enjoyed a nice, large glass of ginger ale.

The Fun Project

There were a total of 22 bloggers at this event. We were given a project to do. A stocking was passed around. We had to pull out one name. This was to be a Secret Santa job. We were to keep the name private. We would be given a $50 gift card to buy that person a present (or presents) during a shopping spree that was to happen the next day.  The recipient would receive their gift later at home, in the mail. Sometime after this, there will be a reveal and we will find out who our Secret Santa was!  The purpose of this was to show us how easy it is to find unique and fabulous gifts for anyone on our shopping list. It would also be extremely fun!  Who doesn't love shopping? And who doesn't love receiving an anonymous present in the mail? 

A Surprise!

Later, we were back on the Trolley to return to our hotel.  I went back to my room and talked to my family on the phone for awhile. Someone knocked on my door. It was a hotel employee with a present for me! It was a Gift bag from Marshalls/ TJ Maxx! It contained chocolate-caramel-covered popcorn, a festive pink and white swirl lollipop, a water bottle and a charming tin of hot cocoa with dear old Charlie Brown decorating the package! I was delighted! Then I fell asleep in an amazingly comfortable bed. 

The next morning, we met downstairs to prepare for a day of fun events. We checked out of the hotel and grabbed our luggage. Off we went to the TJ Maxx Marshalls headquarters. This is located in Framingham, which was not too far away. The Trolley was decorated for the holidays and had Christmas music playing. It made for a pleasant ride.

Arriving at Headquarters

When we arrived, a camera crew was at the front door, filming us as we walked. Everyone was very welcoming and the place was festive!  I was first in line at the security desk and received a photo ID. (One of my souvenirs!)  Next, we walked through a set of doors and down a large hallway. We were greeted by costumed carolers who sang to us! It was charming!

We hung up our coats and helped ourselves to a lovely breakfast buffet. There was scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, seasoned potatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, yogurt, granola and all kinds of beverages. There was also a coffee stand with a Barista who made espresso to order! 

After breakfast, we were taken to a meeting room. The tables were beautifully decorated. The room was full of holiday merchandise on display. We each found a gift of a stocking. Inside was a designer scarf and a pair of insulated leather gloves with  fur trim. There was also a paper with Secret Santa instructions and a $50 Marshalls/ TJ Maxx gift card to complete our mission!

We watched slide presentations and learned some great facts about the stores. A Few speakers answered questions and gave us some valuable information. We even had Michael MacMillan,  the President of the stores, present a talk!! He was wonderful! 

Here are some of the highlights:

1. The stores currently have $200 million to spend on merchandise to fill their stores this holiday season.

2. The buyers shop weekly, so merchandise is always fresh. 10,000 pieces enter each store every single week. 

3. They work with 12,000 vendors in 60 countries.

4. The buyers are skilled negotiators and are able to obtain amazing prices from designers and vendors.

5. TJ Maxx and Marshalls have a solid, trustworthy name with vendors. They always pay cash. They never return merchandise. They have built a strong relationship with suppliers.

6. Since new merchandise is always coming into the store, and there are limited amounts of each item, shopping in these stores is like a Treasure Hunt! 

7. The brand names they offer - like Versace, Anne Klein, Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana, are high quality items offered at discounted prices. Why are they discounted? Because the Store Buyers are outstanding at their job!

8. The buyers attend all the fashion shows in Milan, Paris and London. They know the trends. They know what to look for and they bring it all to us at a discount!

9. No games. No gimmicks. No sales. Always the best prices, everyday! Clearance items are the ultimate find in Treasure Hunting. (Anything on clearance which is not sold, is donated to charity.)

Kicking Myself

We were shown samples of gifts the store carries:  shoes, belts, coats and clothes. We saw a preview of the new spring line they would be selling. The winter coats were trendy and gorgeous, with prices that were astounding. I was kicking myself when I realized I had just bought Amy (15) a new coat from Chadwicks of Boston on sale for $68, when Marshalls had even better coats for only $39.99!!!  

A Delightful Lunch

Next, we had a catered lunch. When this was announced, we headed off to another room, where we had assigned seating. There were place cards and the tables were delightfully decorated.  There was a chef who carved turkey to place on each plate. In buffet style, we were able to choose - dinner rolls, gourmet green beans, candied sweet potatoes, stuffing, gravy and turkey. It was a delightful feast reminiscent of Thanksgiving dinner! There was also a dessert cart with lovely treats.  

We went back to the meeting room for a fun game - "The off-price is right." We were shown several different items and told the department store prices. We had to guess the Marshalls/ TJ Maxx price. Whoever guessed the closest price won the item!  There was a Gucci men's watch for over one thousand dollars; A Versace purse for hundreds; a pair of Dolce and Gabbana Sunglasses for hundreds. I didn't win anything, but loved seeing the excitement of the winners!

We were then taken on a tour, upstairs, in the buyer area, where we saw shoes, handbags, gift items and more. It was exciting!

A Fabulous Shopping Spree

Next, we were back on the trolley, after taking a boxed lunch for later. We were on our way to go shopping at both Marshalls and TJ Maxx. When we arrived, we were each given a $100 gift card to spend on ourselves!

I didn't know what I was going to buy, but started looking at the coats. I always have a hard time finding a coat that is pretty and fits me. I end up getting coats that are too big. So I wanted to find my dream coat! I searched and searched and searched. Then finally I found one coat that I adored! It had puffed sleeves (stylishly gathered at the shoulders), a TIE in the front, purple lining and a lovely designer name - Steve Madden. It had a comparable department store price of $160, and a Marshalls price of $70. But, here is the best part. It had a red clearance sticker, so it only cost $39!!!  I tried it on, looked in the mirror and fell in love! 

Next, I needed some new winter boots. Even though I would have loved to buy some Jessica Simpson heels (for $49) which were super-cute, I had to be practical. I found a pair of waterproof Totes with side zippers. They were warm and cozy inside and cost $29.99. 

I also wanted a new purse. It didn't take me long to find a lovely black one with the designer name Nine West. It had a comparable department store price of $60, and a Marshalls price of $34.99. It also had a red sticker clearance price of $28! 

Total spent (using my complimentary gift card) - $98.74 (including $1.75 sales tax.)

I went home happy!

In a couple of weeks, I will tell you all about the Secret Santa fun. I will also tell you about some of the other bloggers I met.  In the meantime, I have two slideshow presentations for you. One is the entire trip. The second one is back at home, where I show you my new coat, boots and purse! Enjoy!

The Trip:


Back at home with my new coat, boots and purse:


*Disclosure - Travel, Food, Hotel and Delightful Shopping Spree were provided entirely by Marshalls/ TJ Maxx*


Heather said...

What a blast!! I'm glad you had a terrific time:) Love your slide shows--you look so pretty and the coat IS great!! Personally, we shop TJMaxx ALL the time. I have found some wonderful stuff--this reminds me to go more often:)

Deanna said...

Mrs. White,
Blessings to you!

What a nice time you must have had.

Our Village is a Little Different said...

Wow! What a wonderful opportunity! TJ Maxx is one of the few stores I shop at. I love that I can stay in my budget and get good, quality items. I'm so happy for you. When I read about the special care you take to be such a good mother and homemaker, I am always impressed. You deserved this special experience!

midwest mama said...

You look fabulous in your new outfit:0) What a wonderful adventure. My absolute favorite jacket came from TJMaxx...a beautful plum wool assymetrical number by Tweeds. I can put that on and suddenly look put together and even fashionable...even though it's a few years old.

And congrats on being nominated fro the HSBA!

Anonymous said...

What a lovely time you had! And such a lovely place! I'm so glad for you to be able to do that. You are such a sweet person and do so much for your family. You deserved this wonderful time. I think you look very pretty in your new coat and boots. You made good choices. I don't go to TJMaxx but after seeing your post I will have to take time to go there. If I get any good bargains I will surely let you know!
God bless, Kathy in Illinois

Anonymous said...

how fantastic!! i'm so glad you got to go and i love your new coat!! blessings~

Sheri said...

Oh goodies, I got I said on the forum-I couldn't think of a more deserving lovely lady to have this special treat than you! I am so happy you had a lovely time! Blessings-

Mari said...

WOW! Amazing, you went to my hometown. isn't it beautiful there! The Holiday season is so beautiful, but super cold, brrrr. The coat looks great. I also shop there, the prices are great. I would have loved to win that trip. Congrats.

Lynne :-) said...

Hey Sharon, I was sitting on the edge of my seat to see where you went off to. It looks like you had a fabulous time, and enjoyed every minute of it. I LOVE your new coat, very trendy and looks great on you!! I just had to respond to this. Can't wait to hear about secret santa, and glad you had a safe trip XOXO

busymomof10 said...

Wow! What a Fabulous Adventure!!! It sounds like you had a great time and were treated like a princess! I Love the way you shopped wisely with your $100 gift card and came home with so many perfect purchases! You look incredible in your new coat and boots and purse! I got a new purse this weekend as well -- also a Nine West. Bought mine at Ross! (Shh! Don't tell your sponsors!) I Love Ross and TJ Maxx for good deals!

Welcome HOme! I missed you!

Anonymous said...

Wow! First - Praise God that He had such a great time planned for you. I've pondered the idea of branching out to seek or be sought out by sponsors. I think I will leave it even more so in His hands and not live in fear of If It Happens Then What??? Your trip sounded like such a blessing. I am sure your family is encouraged to have a happy homemaker home. :)

TerriG said...

You are blessed!
That was one of the best posts I have read in a long time. It sounds like you really enjoyed yourself. T.J. and I have been friends for years.

Jennifer said...

How wonderful! I'm happy for you, for the opportunity as well as finding just the right coat.
We don't have Marshalls here, but my girls and I enjoy shopping at T.J. Maxx- especially their clearance shelves.

Mrs. Q said...

Wow, what a fancy trip! Glad you had fun but I'm sure you're glad to be home :)
You are so cute in your new clothes! I would love some boots like that.
Have fun!

Heather @ Marine Corps Nomads said...

I'm so happy that you were blessed with this trip. You deserved it! Love the new clothes. That coat looks fabulous on you!

Kimberly Kovach said...

What a lovely time for a lovely lady! Thanks for sharing. Made me feel as if I was there with you . . . and now I want to go Christmas shopping. :)

Anita said...

Fun, fun, fun!! So nice that you got to pick out some things JUST FOR YOU!!

Beth@The Stories of A2Z said...

Sharon, would you mind if I used some of your pics (credited of course and linked back to you) on my post? I didn't have my camera which was so not smart on my part!

Love your new coat, boots, and scarf!!

Shannon R said...

No one more deserving could have received this exciting opportunity. I'm SO pleased for you... I think that the Lord abundantly blesses (sometimes in spurts) those who reflect His light in the world... and you are one of those people... so enjoy the blessings!!!
You look super cute in your new coat/boots ... and I love the purse! :)
May He bless you EVEN MORE!

Michelle Smith said...

What a fun trip! I am so glad you enjoyed yourself--and your new coat looks great on you! How nice that you had a wonderful weekend alone and have a new winter outfit, too!

I haven't been to TJ Maxx in a while (when we moved here there was not one close), but we now have one close by. I really should stop by there before Christmas! :)

~ Denise ~ said...

What a fabulous and very well deserved trip! I'm thrilled with how spoiled you were and LOVE Steve Madden. I have a few pairs of Stevie shoes that I just adore. ;-) Fantastic photos, too. Thank you for sharing your adventure with us!

Kas said...

So wonderful to have met you! Had a wonderful trip!

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