SF Bay AreaLast Minute Holiday Shopping Survival Guide + Giveaway! by Alyson December 22, 2014It’s the home stretch to Christmas and I JUST finished my gift shopping this weekend. I drove up to Stoneridge Shopping Center and like the rest of every shopping center/mall right now, it was packed full of people. But with proper planning, I was in and out really quickly – and avoided traffic too! If you have some last minute shopping to do, here’s my survival guide. 1. Water & Snacks: First things first, a girl’s gotta eat. I know there are tons of places to eat at the mall, but they’re usually crowded and overpriced. To save on time, I bring my water and snacks with me. 2. Notebook & Pen: Have a list of people written down that you need to buy gifts for and have an idea of what to get them. I love lists and it feels so satisfying crossing things off. 🙂 (Scroll down for more tips) (super excited that J.Crew carries items from Garance Dore!)(gifting winter accessories are always a good idea) 3. Research sales & return policy: After you have a general list, check online for sales to get an idea of the pricing. For example, I knew that J.Crew was having a 30-40% off sale, so I made sure to visit that store and they have a really good return policy too, in case I change my mind about the gift. 4. Money & Giftcards: If you’re like me, I have random gift cards lying around and I always forget to use them! Holiday shopping is a great way to use those gift cards and save you some cash too. (scroll down for more tips)(of course I had to stop by the mothership: Sephora) 6. Tinted Lipbalm: When I do heavy duty shopping and I’m on a mission, the last thing I worry about is fussing over my makeup. This Dior Lip Glow is brilliant because it moisturizes and has a tint that enhances your lip color. 7. Go Early: I know it’s tempting to sleep in, but not during holiday shopping season! I go during off hours or right when the mall opens to avoid the pains of stalking people for parking and large crowds. Stoneridge has a really good selection of stores, including Nordstrom, MAC, Lush, Gap, and Williams Sonoma, so I was able to find all my gifts easily. I also have gift guides if you hover over The Holiday Boutique in the menu bar if you need some gift inspiration. Since I’m in the holiday spirit, I wanna give you a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card! All you have to do is 1) Follow me on Instagram at @alysonalconis. 2.) Comment below with your Instagram handle and what part of Christmas you’re most excited about. One winner will be chosen randomly and contest ends on 1/2/15 at 11:59 PM Pacific Time. Good luck! Thank you to Stoneridge Shopping Center for sponsoring this post.