Every December I try really hard not to buy things for myself. But, you know, it’s difficult when ALL THE THINGS are on sale. That pink blazer was particularly difficult for me to hold off on. But I did and I got it as a gift from my mom which made it worth it.
I took quite a few things to a local consignment shop, sold a shirt on eBay, and donated some additional items to score a discount at a local boutique where I bought some Christmas gifts.
I also got a new coat from my mom as an early gift. She let me pick it out and since Macy’s had coats on a crazy sale I actually end up getting two because I couldn’t decide.
Jason told me I had too many coats so I actually ended up getting rid of THREE older ones! One went to the consignment shop, one was donated to a coat drive, and the other went to Goodwill. Spreading the coat love all around. I’m currently wearing the Michael Kors one and have the Anne Klein hanging in the closet as a back-up.
With my birthday coming up in two weeks I’m sure I’ll be getting a few more gifts (especially since my dad already said he’d take me shopping) but, honestly, right now I can’t figure out what I want! Such a first world problem to have, right?
I’m so glad I jumped on ordering the Groopdealz vest. The quality is even better than J. Crew Factory one because this one is actual woven herringbone, not just printed onto the fabric. I’ve already worn it three times.
Also, I decided to spend money on jeans this month because with my current job and winter I’m going to be wearing jeans a lot more now so it’s worth it to buy ones I love. And neutral colored jeans keeps it interesting.
And, yes, you guys convinced me to keep the dress.
The shoes, though. These are now the second most expensive pair of shoes that I own. Gulp. Granted, I am very fortunate to get the c/o gift cards from Shopbop from running ads on my blog but I still feel a teeny bit guilty about owning something that costs so much! Here’s hoping they stay in style for awhile!
P.S. After I wrote this post I did a bit of post-Thanksgiving shopping and ended up with two of the Old Navy plaid flannel shirts – one in red tartan and the other in a black and white buffalo plaid. I also picked up a boyfriend cardigan in light taupe brown to replace one I’ve been meaning to get rid of. All three were paid for with a gift card.
Have you heard of Small Business Saturday? Started by American Express in 2010 the goal is to encourage us to shop at local, small businesses the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Kind of the antidote to big box stores and Black Friday fever.
One of my goals this year is to do as much shopping as possible at local stores or from small business in Chicago. To attain that goal, here are three places I’ll be spending my money. Maybe not on Small Business Saturday, but definitely before Christmas.
Milk Handmade’s main store is at 5137 N Clark Street in Chicago but they recently won the Block 37 Pop-Up Shop contest and will have a shop in the Block 37 stores at 108 N State Street (second floor!) for two months.
Photos courtesy of Zapwater
I went to the Milk Handmade Pop-Up shop opening and saw at least 10 things I wanted either for myself or as gifts.
Almost all of the items sold at Milk Handmade are made by Chicago artists as well so not only is the shop itself local but the items are local, too! And Hallie, the owner, puts up little signs telling you about the artist and where the items came from.
Milk Handmade is also doing a collaboration this season with Care for Real where you can bring gently used clothing donations to the store to get discounts and freebies! I’m really looking forward to doing our sibling name drawing at Thanksgiving so I know who I can start shopping for!
The One of a Kind show is a weekend long pop-up shop to end all pop-up shops. Did you ever go to craft fairs at the mall when you were a kid? Or maybe a street art fair? This is like that on steroids. More than 600 vendors will have booths with items such as housewares, food, clothing, and jewelry. You can see some of the items on their Instagram feed.
Last year was the first time I went and I was in awe. It takes place on one floor of the Merchandise Mart which itself takes up an entire city block. There is a $12 cost to attend but that ticket covers entry for all four days of the show. Last year I knocked out over half of my gift shopping in one fell swoop so the ticket cost was totally worth it.
Not all of the vendors are Chicago-based but many of them are. And most of the items are handmade and you get to meet the creator in person.
Located on Madison Street in Chicago’s West Loop (1037 W Madison, to be exact) The Fig Tree is an awesome place to find gifts. I wandered in there on my way home from work one day to find a bridal shower gift and wanted to buy one of everything for someone!
I ended up buying the bridal shower gift and my first Christmas gift. The selection changes seasonally so if you see something you should get it right then because it might not be there if you wait!
The Fig Tree has accessories for both you and your home, kids clothes, toys and books, and a quirky assortment of cards and random items. And I personally thought everything was reasonably priced.
And since this store is in my neighborhood I’ll definitely be supporting them!
There are myriad other independent local stores in Chicago, though. Two others that come to mind are One Strange Bird (the owner and I go to the same dog park and she’s amazing) and Comfort Me Boutique.
So, this year don’t forget about shopping local whether you’re in Chicago or not.
What’s your favorite place to “shop small”?
By the way, I was not asked by American Express or any of these stores to write anything. I just like to share the love. Although, I will say that Milk Handmade plied me to with drinks and cupcakes at their pop-up shop opening but that was just to attend, not to write anything nice about them.
You guys! I was SO GOOD this month. So good. I stayed under budget and put the money I made via ShopSense and thredUP toward my credit card. But clearly I shopped for something since I’m writing this post, right?
I did end up ordering the Sam Edelman boots from Shopbop but I might still get my old riding boots fixed. The Sam Edelman ones are beautiful and the leather is soft but they need to stretch out in the width of the toe box before they’re super comfy. I might try the hair dryer trick and see if that helps.
The black boots might be a replacement for my plain black riding boots although these will probably only last a season. That’s okay, though, because for $2.37 I can live with that.
The sweater is SO SOFT and comfy but the sleeves stretch out like crazy. Still, I will wear it as often as possible and maybe buy it in a few more colors.
And the scarf, well, I’m pretty sure every single blogger bought it in October but I’m totally okay with that.
Alright! It’s time for another round of how I spent my paycheck. Although, to be honest, I was really lucky this month and got to try some great things for the whopping amount of zero dollars. So, let’s get to it. 1. Victoria’s Secret Sports Bra c/o Influenster (same in other colors)
I was initially a little shocked by the sports bra because A. it’s orange and B. it has a zipper. In the front. Turns out it was great for my fitness class at the gym, especially since I’ve been having some collarbone issue that makes getting a regular sports bra on and off kind of painful. I haven’t run in it yet but it seems to hold everything in place. And, you know, it keeps you from having uniboob if that’s something you’re concerned about. Funny story: when my husband and I were first dating we went rollerblading together and I was so worried about my sports bra smooshing my boobs that I wore a regular push-up bra underneath it. No worries about that with this bra!
Although, I’ll be honest, I might actually like the cropped pants just a teeny bit more.
I ended up spending most of my money at Rent the Runway but that’s fine by me. Some people say that if they’re spending that much money they want to keep the dress. But, really, how many times do I need to wear a dress like that? And I couldn’t afford to buy one that nice every time so I think it’s perfect. I’m definitely a convert!
And, yes, I bought shorts. In September. Whatever. I’ll wear them next summer.
First, before we get to what I spent my hard earned money on in August (because I know you’re all dying to know) I need to tell you a little story about how this giveaway came about.
Earn $25 eBay gift card from Influenster.
Debate what to spend it on.
Go to put your silver circle Fossil watch on and realize it’s missing. Believe it fell off while riding a Divvy bike home from work (stupid Chicago potholes).
Find the same watch (which you bought over 7 years ago, by the way) on eBay and decide to use your gift card toward the $40 cost.
Receive watch in the mail. It’s perfect….and I’m sure you can see where this is going.
Find your original watch in a random reusable grocery bag when you get home from the grocery store the next day.
So, yes, now I have two of the same watch. And, because I know that some of you out there have coveted it for years, I’m giving away the duplicate! It needs a battery but is in otherwise perfect condition.
Which means if you want to follow my awesome watch lead, read to the bottom of this post to find out how to win it!
And now, how I spent way too much money in August.
Also, if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you may recall that I asked if I should order this sweater or these shoes. Well, the shoes won by a narrow margin so I ordered them. And they were HUGE! And they didn’t have a size down. So, sadly, they were returned and now the sweater is on its way to me. As are the shorts and skirt from American Eagle and the sweater from J. Crew Factory. Hopefully those items will all fit!
Okay, now that you’ve endured that rambling, how about that whole watch giveaway, huh?
Well, here you go! Use the Rafflecopter thingy below to enter! I’ll pick a winner on Friday, September 12th.
After several years of trying to sell clothes I no longer want via Poshmark I decided that I wanted to try another online service: thredUP. I figured now is the perfect time to start getting my closet ready for fall (and, let’s be honest, hopefully make some money to buy some new fall clothes pay off my credit card).
I requested a free bag from thredUP in which I placed the clothing I wanted to sell and then loaded it up with the following items:
4 dresses (Gap, Maggy London, Ann Taylor)
3 pairs of shoes (Steve Madden, Anne Klein, and Eric Michael)
1 vest (CAbi)
2 skirts (The Limited)
5 tops (J. Crew Factory, The Limited, Express, C&C California, NY Collection)
1 blazer (Eyelash Couture)
Total items: 16
ThredUP is different from Poshmark in that instead of you selling the items on your own using someone else’s platform, you send your items to thredUP for evaluation and immediate pay-out. For the items they accept they pay between 10 and 40% commission and in most cases you don’t have to wait for your items to sell to get your money.
However, if your items are evaluated and thredUP determines they don’t think they can re-sell them, you don’t get your items back unless you pay $12.95 up front to have them shipped back to you.
Of the 16 items I sent here’s how it broke down:
Gap Casual Dress
Anne Klein Heels/Pumps
The Limited Casual Skirt
Steve Madden Flats
C&C California Short Sleeve Blouse
NY Collection Long Sleeve Blouse
Express Long Sleeve Button Down
Maggy London Silk Dress
Ann Taylor Summer Dress
J. Crew Factory Store Long Sleeve Button Down
Ann Taylor Summer Dress
Eric Michael Flats
The Limited Skirt
Eyelash Couture Blazer
The Limited Sleeveless Blouse
The total payout for the 10 accepted items? $54.52 or an average of $5.45 per item. ThredUP shows you the list of items they’ve accepted with a link to each of them in their store so you can see what they’ve priced them at. Doing the addition myself I found that my payout is 32% of the total of what they are charging for all 10 items. So, it definitely falls into the 10-40% range.
I admit I was surprised that they also didn’t list the items they didn’t accept and why until I emailed them to ask. And even then the only information I got about why they weren’t accepted was that they were either “Un-clean/stained” or “Off-Trend Item”. The un-clean/stained one makes me curious since I take really good care of my clothes and looked over everything I sent. One of the items they marked with that was a pair of $100+ shoes that I only wore three times!
I also wasn’t a huge fan of the fact that you have to decide in advance if you want to pay the $12.95 to get your unaccepted items back. If your bag didn’t even end up being worth that much you could easily lose money on sending items to thredUP! And what do they do with the items they don’t accept? According to their FAQ: “garments that are not purchased by thredUP are distributed to various organizations and a portion of the proceeds are donated to Teach for America and other charities or partners.” And, no, you cannot claim them as donations on your own tax return.
So, what are the main differences between Poshmark and thredUP?
Currently no cost to send items to thredUP
Can send both women’s and kid’s clothes
thredUP takes care of listing, selling, and shipping
No waiting for an item to sell before you get your money (for the most part)
Must wait 14 days to cash out
Have to pay $12.95 to get unaccepted items returned
Payout amount varies by item (mine averaged to $5.45 per item accepted or 32% of the total of what they want to sell the items for.)
Women’s clothes only (although people list kid’s clothes they’re not supposed to)
You control the price and you know in advance what you’ll get if it sells at that price
You can decide if you no longer want to sell something since it never leaves your own closet
Requires you to take photos, list and manage your items
Requires some community interaction and marketing of your items to get them to sell quickly
Some items languish in your Poshmark closet without ever selling
Items under $15 Poshmark takes a flat $2.95 fee. Above $15 they charge 20% of the sale price
Poshmark provides shipping label but you’re in charge of shipping the item once it sells
So, would I use thredUP again? Honestly, I’d probably use it as a second step between going to a brick and mortar consignment or resale store. I’d take my clothes to the brick and mortar store, see what I got for them, and whatever wasn’t accepted there I’d send to thredUP since I was probably going to donate it anyway. Yes, I’d probably make more money trying to sell items on Poshmark and yes, I could keep it local and get a tax write-off (although I’ve yet to have enough donations of any kind in one year to be more than the standard deduction). But, if I’m really busy and want the convenience of putting items in the mail and getting a check thredUP is out there.
What do you do with clothes you no longer want? Have you used thredUP or Poshmark?
So, yes, this post is sponsored. But, I mean, if you’re a woman and you’re reading this you probably wear a bra, right? And if someone offered you $50 to write about something you wear every day you’d probably say yes, right? So, if you hate sponsored posts or you hate bras (or both!) feel free to skip. Otherwise, read on for bra buying tips from Aerie.
For years I only wore bras from that place that claims they’re someone’s secret. You know who I mean. Yet, I never felt like I was getting the best fit and the underwires tended to poke out after awhile.
Then I moved on to buying bras at stores like Kohl’s and Target but there are SO MANY OPTIONS and, really, who likes trying on bras? But, try them on you must. And that’s why Aerie came up with some infographics to help you figure out what kind of bra you need. The full infographic discusses the different types of bras and their purposes, facts about the life span of a bra (it’s shorter than you think!) and how to tell if your bra fits you correctly. In fact, it’s this last bit of information I’m sharing with you.
This infographic told me that those bras from VS did NOT fit as there was always a gap in the cup! I personally have not tried the bras from Aerie but I’m planning on it after this post. They also have a pretty cool campaign where they try to show real women wearing their products instead of just models all the time. In fact, if you’re brave enough you can take a photo of yourself on Twitter or Instagram in an Aerie product and tag it with #AerieReal you might appear on their website! Am I brave enough to try it? Well, assuming I follow the above guide and pick out a cute bra that actually fits, I just might!
I’m going to be honest. I’m on my fourth white blazer and I haven’t loved any of them.
My first two were from Forever 21. The first one just always felt too boxy and too tight across the shoulders. The second one felt too short for what I wanted.
I mean, looking at the photos they don’t look bad. But when I wore them I didn’t feel good. And if you don’t feel good when you’re wearing something then it’s time for it to move on to another home.
I sold the first white blazer on Poshmark. The second one is currently still hanging in my closet but hasn’t been worn in over a year.
So, I went on the hunt for a white blazer I would LOVE and feel good wearing.
First try, the Target Boyfriend Blazer I mentioned in my July shopping summary. I had high hopes for it. But, unfortunately, it not only looked like I borrowed it from my boyfriend, it looked like I’d borrowed it from my basketball playing boyfriend.
Um, yeah. That will teach me to buy a blazer online that doesn’t list the length! Thankfully I have a Target Red Card so shipping was free and I was able to return it at the store a block from my apartment. Also, in case you’re curious, it’s more of a really, really light tan than a pure white.
Next up? The beautiful Club Monoco Gala Blazer. Definitely out of my normal price range but I had a c/o Shopbop gift card that would cover it. I liked that the back was a little more fun but that it would also make it longer without being too long.
It fits great in the arm length and hits me at a decent spot on my hips, but I wasn’t loving it. It was too wide in the waist and too big around. Yet, the arm holes felt really tight on my arm pits. Plus, the split back didn’t look as good on me as on the 5’9” model who apparently doesn’t have hips or a butt. And it is 32% linen which I’m pretty sure would drive me crazy with the wrinkling. Again, thankfully Shopbop shipping and returns are free.
So, back to the drawing board. At this point, though, I feel like I’ll have to wait until next spring as all the stores have started carrying their fall items. It’s not a total loss, though! Now I know that I prefer blazers that are 24-25 inches long. That’s a key stat to know when doing online shopping for sure.
Life may be crazy but I honestly haven’t done a lot of retail therapy. Okay, maybe a bit! But it’s only because Target sucks me in every time. Oh, and I worked at a half marathon expo and I am incapable of being surrounded by running goodies and not purchase something.
6. Be Good Tees – $15 total w/credit from Earndit (same)
7. Target Merona Vintage Tees – $16 total on sale (same)
8. Tortoise Resin Link Necklace – $8
*This money has been sitting in my Sole Society account since January. Do I count it or not since it was already spent once? I’m going with not counting it again.
Plain tees are my new favorite thing to wear this summer and they work well for my office, too, so I’ve been slowly stocking up on them. I actually like the Target ones better than the Be Good ones although, if you’re into sustainable enviro-friendly manufacturing then go with the Be Good ones. They’re still nice tees, just a little shorter and boxier then I would like.
I’d had my eye on the Sperry’s for months and finally found a pair in my size on ebay. Combined with the fact that I earned a $25 ebay gift card from Influenster for writing three shopping guides, I went ahead and ordered these to replace my silver Nine West boat shoes that are about to fall apart.
And the silver loafers? Well, as I said when I wore them, these are instead of buying a pair of silver heels which had also been on my wish list for months.
The necklace was the only item I brought home and kept from a clothing swap I went to last weekend. I paid $8 to attend so I figure the necklace cost me $8. Still a good deal if you ask me.
I saw the pink sandals at Target when I was there this weekend running errands but they didn’t have my size. Enter my Target Red Card and free shipping. I hardly have any brightly colored shoes (other than my pink heels) and I thought these would be a fun addition. They should arrive on Friday so hopefully they work out! The white blazer should arrive on Friday, too, and I’m REALLY hoping that works out. I’ve been wanting a white boyfriend blazer for at least a year and haven’t yet found one that I didn’t think resembled a lab coat or didn’t cost hundreds of dollars. Fingers crossed this one works out.
Finally, my new gym bag. My old one was a freebie I got for running a half marathon in 2010 and it was being held together by safety pins at this point. I wanted another gym backpack, not a shoulder or duffel bag and when I saw this one at the Rock and Roll Chicago Half Marathon expo I knew I had to have it. It’s totally amazing and for every three bags that Apera sells they donate one to the Special Olympics.
So, overall, I think I did pretty well in July. Now that my office isn’t basically next to Express, Target, Nordstrom Rack, H&M, Forever 21 and DSW I have a feeling I’ll be doing a tad less shopping. Oh, it also helps that I’m less likely to online shop at work, too!