Friday, August 19, 2011


One thing the Caribbean's best known for is without a doubt all the duty-and-tax-free shopping, as prices on items from jewelry to electronics to liquor and more can be up to 40 percent lower than in the States.

St. Maarten is no different, and when we saw that our resort offered a complimentary ride to a jewelry shop in Phillipsburg, the main Dutch port that is usually crawling with cruise ships during the fall and spring high seasons, we jumped at the chance.

Image Source: TripAdvisor
Image Source: TripAdvisor
Image Source: The Gangway Gazette 
There was just one little problem... Once we got there, the shop’s owner promptly began trying to sell us “discounted” pieces that started at $700 and went all the way up to $10,000! Um, as much as I love a good deal, I’m in no position to spend that much on jewelry right now!

Luckily, to help avoid a completely awkward situation, the shop did have a few items that fit within our price range, including a classy $200 Seiko watch with tiny crystals and a blush face – the perfect stylish accessory to accompany me throughout a long day of managing a wedding or meeting with classmates to work on projects.

Image Source: Seiko

Also catching my eye was the Thomas Sabo Charm Club display, featuring sweetly chic bracelets with crystal and embellished charms to match. For roughly $100, I started my collection with a silver bracelet and a twinkly flip-flop clip-on, which has now become my avatar for this blog. Though some people might think of charm bracelets as more of a kid’s thing, the pretty yet not saccharine Thomas Sabo designs have just the right mix of style and simplicity to complement my casual wardrobe pieces and help personalize my look.

I can’t wait to add a few more charms to my collection, including these lovely little gems!

Images Source: Thomas Sabo Charm Club

Up Next… Exploring a Tropical Butterfly Farm

Travel Tip of the Day: Duty-free doesn’t automatically mean cheap! Set a clear shopping budget ahead of time so that you can easily deflect pressure and make confident buying decisions while traveling. Also, do your research before visiting a particular shop to make sure they have what you’re looking for at an affordable price.

Have a great weekend, everyone! I’m off to coordinate a rehearsal and wedding for a friend and former co-worker who is marrying her high school sweetheart of more than 10 years tomorrow. How sweet is that?!

What types of jewelry do you like to wear, and what are you up to this weekend? 


  1. Nice jewelry! :) Have a great weekend!

  2. I love the watch and the charm you selected! I agree that "duty free" does not mean "cheap." Sounds like you had a great strategy going in and managed to score some amazing jewelry because of it!

  3. So THAT'S where the flip flop came from! Those are SO cute!!! I like the kitty... of course. :o)

  4. I love those charm bracelets! Don't you just love that whole area and all that bling... it had my head spinning the whole time we were there! :)

  5. Great blog! (and darling charms) Glad I found you.

  6. Super cute. That port is a fun stop. We spent a bit of time of the beach right there. Got caught in an afternoon storm and watched a wicked sunset. Great post! The pictures brought back memories. :)

  7. have fun at the rehearsal and wedding!!! the charms :) i have a charm bracelet myself (james avery though) and i wear it every day :)

  8. Aww how cute (seriously everything in that charm collection!) How funny you mentioned jewelry shopping in the Caribbean because a friend said that she and her boyfriend bought a sapphire for her engagement ring when they went on a cruise. I'll have to check out jewelry shopping there some day!
    Otherwise, I like to mix it up between bold pieces and staples (J. Crew has had some great stuff!) I'm also keeping my eye out on a sapphire necklace/bracelet!

    Chic 'n Cheap Living

  9. Ive always been looking for the perfect charm bracelet and really want to start one. That is such a great idea to start with just one charm and work your way to others. I love the flip flop charm you have and the beautiful watch. Great tip on knowing what to buy. Hope you had a great time with the wedding! :)

  10. charms are so fun! love the flip flop one and pineapple. i don't have a current charm bracelet but am inspired to start collecting a few.


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