Last week, I was invited to a blogger event hosted by the Dolphin Mall in Miami. Dolphin Mall is owned by Taubman, which owns several other malls and shopping centers around the country. Dolphin Mall was the first mall I came to when I first moved to South Florida from NY. I remember there being live music on their outdoor stage and valet parking, which I had never seen at the malls on Long Island. I also remember it being so huge that I literally got lost. I do recommend a map as you navigate its 240+ retail stores. It is definitely large enough to make a full day of shopping, and they have tons of activities for the whole family to keep them entertained.
The day kicked off with complimentary valet parking. I knew I was in for an experience when I walked through the door and was greeted by this sign: After a brief introduction, we headed over to Starbucks where we were allowed to order whatever we wanted. We still had to wait on the line like everyone else though, you know, because we aren’t celebrities yet…. When we arrived at the counter, they had the welcome flyer with our logos on there as well. We soon realized that this flyer was on every counter of every place we were visiting. Since it was breakfast time and it took me over an hour to get there from home, I opted for a cheese danish and a Venti Java Chip (y’all know I love my iced coffees). You can catch a glimpse in a picture further down in this post. Stopping to enjoy our refreshments, the Dolphin Mall reps introduced us to the mall and its offerings and gifted us with the first of multiple swag bags. Contained in the bag were a Dolphin Mall giftcard, a Bloomingdale’s giftcard, and a savings passport to help aide us in our day of shopping. Note: If you live more than 50 miles from the mall, you can pick up a savings passport anyday too! Our first stop was the Bloomingdale’s Outlet. (Dolphin Mall has multiple outlet stores within). Many of the bloggers had their kids with them, so Bloomingdale’s had set up a coloring area and a refreshment table with tons of snacks. They also provided someone to watch over the kids while the moms shopped. How cool is that? I began immediately to put my giftcards to good use. To sweeten the deal, they just so happened to be hosting a sale with up to 60% off and the manager added on an additional 20% off just for us. I got all of the below for about $65 w/ tax and my receipt said I saved almost $400. I am in love. If you look closely: I got 2 Nautica Polos and a pair of Guess jeans for my son, and even without the extra 20% off the cost, it would’ve cost only $16. That is crazy! I got my daughter a Guess shirt, a DKNY shirt, and thick pink tights all for $13. And because I rarely spoil myself as a mom, I picked up a pair of Calvin Klein slacks, a Milano blouse, a Status blouse and a Hazel flowy, long skirt (which is apparently in style right now), all for about $35. It felt great to spoil myself a bit and because the pricing was so low, I didn’t feel guilty about it either. I must admit that prior to this experience, I was not much of a Bloomingdale’s shopper and now I am converted. When I think about it, my mother was always a Bloomingdale’s fan as I remember “little brown bag[s]” making their way home with us on a regular basis. After shopping to our heart’s content at Bloomingdale’s, we were scheduled for lunch and a movie at CineBistro. I had never heard of this place before, but I was excited to check it out. You’ve heard the phrase “Dinner and a Movie” before right? Well, CineBistro takes it a step further and offers you both in the same place. Besides the convenience, this venue offers an amazing menu and even more amazing seating to view current major motion pictures. With wide, plush seats, tons of legroom, two cupholders and a tray, I can imagine pretending this is my own personal home theater. Our lunch began with a beverage of our choice and an appetizer of Ham Croquettas served with Aged Manchego Cheese, Stone Ground Mustard and Crispy Fried Fries. They are only $7.50 on the menu. I felt they tasted pretty good, but I refrained from the mustard dip because they tasted better on their own. Then we were given three options for our main course, and I selected the House Ground Bistro Burger, which includes their Signature Mix of Short Rib, Brisket and Chuck Beef with their own Special Sauce, Aged Cheddar, Lettuce, Tomato, Onion and Pickles. I also chose regular fries, though you can select Sweet Potato Fries if you would like. The menu price was $13.00. I am a bit picky about my burgers being well done, and they cooked it thoroughly. The meal really hit the spot. CineBistro’s American Bistro menu was created by their Executive Chef Justin Sherrer and is prepared daily from scratch using high quality, fresh ingredients. The menu is complemented by premium cocktails, an extensive wine selection and movie-inspired drinks. During the day, they offer family movies. For the event, they showed Planes 2: Fire & Rescue. It was my second time seeing it, but I got to actually watch it through this time because my kids weren’t with me. Last time, I kept having to get up to get the food and bring them to the bathroom. Mamas, you know how that goes right? After 6pm, the venue becomes 21+ and serves alcoholic beverages. Our swag bag included 2 tickets and a $25 gift certificate for food to come back another time. I think it is perfect for a date night, so might be paying a visit soon with #mymister. After CineBistro, we headed over to Dave & Buster’s for a nice cocktail and a chance for the bloggers’ kiddies to play using the $10 giftcards they each got. (I took mine home for another day). If you are not familiar with D & B, they are more adult-oriented food and game venues. They also gave us a coupon for $20 of game play with the purchase of $20 Game Play. It was here that we also received 2 more swag bags. (Yes, two!) One bag was a really nice tote with an umbrella, candles, and coupons (like 2 free meals from the mall and a $25 giftcard to Rotelli’s inside). The other was a bookbag with a tablet case, drawstring bag, admission pass to Cool de Sac, water, a lollipop and some other goodies inside. Sidenote: Did you know that a mom founded Cool de Sac? I did an event with her a few years ago and now it has grown into a franchise. It is a play space and provides upscale food for parents. After D & B, we were turned loose to go shopping on our own. One of the items in the swag bag was a $10 giftcard to Wacoal’s. I stopped by there and took advantage of their clearance sale to pick up a bra and panties for about $4 more than the giftcard. You can see below that they were good quality. Then I paid a visit to Old Navy hoping to use a discount from the Splasher’s kids club membership. I ended up not using it because my items only came to about $40. I picked up four polos at $5 each, a pair of slacks and a skirt. My kids go to a school where they need uniforms and the uniform store charges $35 for the skirt alone. Through digging in my swag bag, I cam across a $10 gift certificate for the Tommy Hilfiger store and I used it to pick up a polo for #mymister as they had them on sale for $19.99 (not pictured). My last stop on my spree was a Hello Kitty purse and kiddie makeup for just $2. A girl could get used to this. I got all of this stuff for $145 in giftcards and gift certificates. Not bad, huh? Imagine what you could do with the $250 Dolphin Mall AMEX giftcard we are giving away? The giftcard that is good at all Taubman Malls across the country. Open to US Residents 18+. Starts Friday 8/8/14 at 2:00pm EST and ends 8/25/14 at 11:59 PM EST. The winner will be chosen via random.org. One entrant per household/ I.P. address/ email/ social media. This event is is no way administered, sponsored, endorsed by, or associated with Facebook, Twitter, Google and/or Pinterest.