these days.

  1. zappos and pbs kids are launching a clothing line for kids on the autism spectrum. pretty neat-o.
  2. really loved this piece about the new age of fashion marketing via “influencers”- aptly titled the death of personal style.
  3. pretty stoked that the amazingly hilarious caroline hirons put her name on a product- a “double cleanser” by pixie by petra that you can buy at target.
  4. speaking of target- i want literally everything from their new home line opalhouse– but most especially this pillow, this pineapple lamp, this pretty serving bowl, this basket, this faux protea plant, this gold panther frame, this plant stand, and this velvet sofa.
  5. can’t stop listening to the new jack white record. i love it, start to finish. also this interview with lars ulrich is totally worth a watch.
  6. this excerpt from leslie jamison’s new book on addiction sold me. i can’t wait to read the book.
  7. really into this khaki linen short suit at urban outfitters. good look.
  8. dreaming of a trip to utah.
  9. want to get my hands on this out of print book by legendary photographer norman parkinson.
  10. we loved the andre the giant & gary shandling documentaries on hbo. can’t wait to watch the elvis one tonight.
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the low down on selling clothes.

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as a teenager every few months my friends and i would each load up a bin of clothes to haul down to san francisco and spend an afternoon huffing it up and down haight street to all the used clothing shops. we’d start at one end and work our way down, taking whatever was rejected to the next shop until we’d tried them all. then we’d take our meager earnings and put them right back in, spending our store credits on vintage t-shirts and velvet chokers and babydoll dresses. whatever was left we’d get in cash and spend on thai iced teas at ploy II.

over the last 5 years the options for selling clothes have expanded in a major way. i’ve tried many of them, keeping up everything from etsy shops and insta feeds to ebay stores and posh closets. what i find staggering about all of the options out there is that all of them make it near impossible to figure out what they actually charge for the privilege of selling your clothes. the fine print is pretty cray. so i thought i would put together a list of what these joints actually charge, how they work and what all of those little *’s add up to.

etsy: the cheapest option turns out to be etsy. etsy is for vintage (pre-1998) or handmade items only. etsy is really the best spot to sell vintage, but it can be a lot of work to get good photographs and provide detailed measurements & info on the items (these things are crucial). there is also such a large amount of stuff on etsy that it can take a long time to sell something. etsy charges $0.20 at time of listing, then a 3.5% transaction fee at time of sale plus a payment processing fee of 3% +$0.25. if you choose to offer paypal as a payment option for buyers, paypal charges another 2.9% per transaction. etsy also charges a 2.5% currency conversion charge if you sell to buyers outside of the us. total fee for sales in US= 6.5% +$0.45 of item’s final sale amount.

ebay:  for non-vintage (but you can sell vintage on ebay too) ebay is the cheapest overall option, and has exposure to the most buyers, but beware of headaches. many buyers back out/don’t pay or try to return items (even if you are clear that returns aren’t accepted). i have had a buyer reverse a charge with their credit card company (after a lengthy dispute process with ebay- which i won), resulting in my having to not only pay the ebay & paypal fees for the sale but a hefty chargeback fee to paypal on top of that. i’ve also had my ebay account hacked & hundreds of dollars in fraudulent purchases made, only to be told by ebay that i must have given my password to someone and let them make the purchases. needless to say it can be a shady place. here is their fee breakdown: 10% of final value + paypal’s 2.9% transaction fee. total for sales in the US= 12.9% of item’s final sale amount.

poshmark: this is my recent personal favorite because it’s straightforward and easy and you can avoid paypal. poshmark is an app based system- you take a picture with your phone through the app & post it, and buyers purchase online or through the app. it works like social media: you can follow people and have followers, and when you post something new they see it and can share it with their followers. buyers can buy at your set price or make an offer. once your item sells, a shipping label is automatically emailed to you (shipping is always $6.49- 2 day priority mail, this fee goes to poshmark). once the buyer receives the item funds are available & can be direct deposited into your bank account. for sales under $15, poshmark charges $2.95. for sales of $15 or more- 20%. total fee= 20% of item’s final sale amount.

mercari: mercari is a new app based system that seems to be trying to compete with both poshmark and ebay. you can sell anything from clothing to beauty products & household goods to musical instruments & tech stuff. you post through the app, and buyers can purchase online or in the app. you can either use their shipping label (flat rate USPS or FedEx) or choose your own & ship yourself. they only charge a 10% flat fee when the item sells, and they direct deposit into your bank account. the only charge for direct deposit is for deposits under $10- they charge $2. this is obviously the best deal going, but we’ll see if fees increase as the app grows. total fee=10% of item’s final sale amount.

tradesy: with tradesy you submit photos to them & set the price, then they edit your photos and post to the site. you have to choose whether to use your own shipping method or use one of their “shipping kits” (they will send you a box & shipping label- for a fee). once the item sells you ship directly to the buyer. their charges are: $7.50 for any item sold for under $50. $50 or more, tradesy takes 19.8%. they also charge a 2.9% “safe transfer fee” to transfer funds to your bank or to paypal. total fee= 19.8% + 2.9% of item’s final sale amount.

vestaire collective: vestaire is a luxury resale site that is sort of a hybrid of direct selling and consignment. you send photos to them for submission & set the price, they edit the photo & post your item and once the item is sold you ship it to vestaire for inspection, then they send to the buyer. it can be a lengthy process, but opens up your potential buyers to many other countries, and you don’t have to deal with buyers directly. pricing works on a tier system: vestaire takes $25 for sales under $70, 33% for sales between $70-$140, 31% for sales between $140-$345, 30% for sales between $345-$690. they direct deposit your earnings into your bank account on the 1st or 15th of the month, whichever is sooner. total fee= 30-33% of item’s final sale amount.

the real real: the real real is another luxury/designer resale site but you ship (or drop off, or they pick up in some major cities- for free) your items to them and they choose what they will post, take their own photos & set the prices. they pay on a tier system of monthly sales: you get 50% of items under $200, if you sell a total of $201-$1500 you get 55%. they direct deposit your earnings or send you a check. not a good deal in my book, but i suppose if you have a LOT of designer clothes that you don’t want to deal with, this would work. total fee= 45-50% of final sales prices set by them.

material worldthis site seems to be trying to compete with the real real, but this is not a consignment shop (they pay you up front for your items). you mail in your designer (no fast fashion) items (no charge), they send you an offer on the items they want to sell, and you get “up to 70%” of their estimated resale value (their estimated payout for a celine top is $27-$43- not much!). if you accept their offer, they send you a gift card that can be used at high end shops like barneys, saks, bergdorf’s, neiman marcus, shopbop and nordstrom or on their site. if you choose to get your earnings in cash, you’ll pay 3% to have the funds transferred to paypal. total fee=30-60% of their estimated resale value +3% paypal fee.

thredup: this one claims to be the easiest thing going- just send in your stuff & they sell it for you. however, they charge you $10 for a bag to mail your items to them (an additional $11 if you want your rejected items returned to you), and for the items they select from you, they pay next to nothing: between 5-45% on items sold for up to $75. you are also subject to paypal’s 2.9% fee if you want cash for your items. to me, this is a scam and a half. total fee= 55-95% of final sales prices set by them, plus 2.9% paypal fee.

swap.com: this is another site where you mail in your items & they sort & sell it for you. they charge $11.90 for shipping to them (another $5.99 if you want your rejected items returned to you). they have a tricky tier system- here is their example transaction: “Seller sends in a box and standard $11.90 inbound fee applies. The seller sells tier 2 items (giving either 40% in cash or 50% in store credit) with the total sales of $100. This gives a cash payout of $40. After deducting the inbound fee of $11.90, the Seller can choose between a cash payout of $28.10 or Swap.com store credit of $35.13 ($28.10 cash payout multiplied by Tier 2 Credit Premium Factor of 1.25) “. doesn’t seem worth it to me. total fee= 30-80%+ paypal fee???

crossroads: crossroads is a retail chain with stores all over the u.s. that specializes in used but nearly new clothing. if you sell in person they give you 50% of their sales price in trade, or 33% in cash. they offer a drop off or a mail in option, but if you do this they only pay 30% in cash, and my experience has been that tell you they couldn’t accept anything if you are not standing in front of them watching them go through it. total fee= 50% in trade or 67% cash of their estimated resale value.

buffalo exchange: chain of retail shops similar to crossroads but they accept vintage as well as current clothing. they don’t offer drop off or mail in options.  total fee=50% in trade or 70% in cash of their estimated resale value.

instagram: selling anything on instagram can be tough, unless you have a bajillion followers. noihsaf bazaar (@noihsaf.bazaar) is a feed with over 11k followers that sells higher end/independent designer clothing and shoes. the basic rule is no fast fashion, but they do take the occasional j.crew or madewell item. you submit a square photo (or multiples) to their e-mail with measurements/description & your price, they post the item & the buyer comments on the picture to buy (or make an offer). you then have to send the buyer an invoice via paypal and once paid, ship the item to the buyer. total fee= $2.80 to noihsaf+ 2.9% paypal fee of final sale amount.

the end.

these days.

dylan's blood on the tracks notebooks (image via new york times)

bob dylan’s blood on the tracks notebooks (via the new york times)

we had an ever so brief break from winter crumminess; a few glorious days of sunshine; but the clouds have rolled back in and i’m feeling like the long rainy season is on its way. despite this i am feeling generally cheered by all of the valentine’s decorations everywhere & looking forward to blooming cherry blossoms & pink magnolias. here are a few things that have caught my fancy lately.

  1. can’t get enough of the dark camel/almost chartreuse color i’m seeing all over fashion week (thanks again & again, phoebe philo). i feel like it’s the new black (as evidenced by tibi, narciso rodriguez, rosetta getty, nomia, creatures of comfort and a detacher, to name a few).
  2. it’s that time of year where i fall into my blood on the tracks rabbit hole & start listening to alternate takes of idiot wind & you’re a big girl now over & over.
  3. pretty blown away by these portraits from the 80’s by siberian artist nikolay bakharev.
  4. 9 reasons not to panic about the stock market’s plunge. nothing’s fu*ked here, dude.
  5. my bff & i were just talking about how jennifer aniston’s house is the only giant mansion we’ve ever seen that looks actually comfortable & not like a museum or a catalog.
  6. who knew it was such a cinch to pan sear ahi tuna steaks? made them this week and couldn’t believe how easy & crazy delicious they were.
  7. this excerpt from the new book by geneen roth floored me. there is really no one whose insights hit me harder, i cannot wait for the book.
  8. all of the drama between kim cattrall and sarah jessica parker recently has been bumming me out. i feel a little defensive on behalf of sjp because in my head we are the bestest of friends.
  9. we finally got around to watching mudbound, and for some reason just the sight of mary j. blige in that movie made me burst into tears. she’s incredible and the movie is so beautiful & sad.
  10. what valentine’s day looked like the year you were born.

diary.

breathing a sigh of relief that january is done. this one was really a doozey. however it is sooo not lost on me that each year, right at the bitter end of january the clouds part for several days of crazy freaky gorgeous warm weather. it always happens when i am at the end of my rope with relentless colds and flus and bad hair days; when i am so tired of putting on the same winter coat every day; of piling on all the blankets and waking up to freezing floors; of watching the weeds take over my yard as the rain gutters fill up. every year there comes a streak of bright, sunshiny days that make me want to take to the streets & DANCE. it doesn’t last long- just long enough to catch my breath before the real rainy season begins. but i am so very grateful for it this year; because it is happening right now; and it could not have come at a better time. hope the sun is shining on you, too.

 

chicken verde soup

 

it’s been an actual while since i posted anything here about cooking. mostly because i’ve kinda settled into a routine that works and haven’t wandered out of my comfort zone recently. i’ve been making this soup weekly all winter, and it never fails to keep us warm and full. i adapted it from this wonderful recipe, with a few tweaks and changes and additions and subtractions. it’s ridiculously easy to make, and one of my fave raves.

ingredients:

  1. 1 teaspoon olive oil
  2. 2 green onions, chopped
  3. 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  4. 1 zucchini, diced
  5.  1/2-3/4 serrano chili (depending on your spiciness preference), diced
  6. 1 chicken breast, cut into strips
  7. 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  8. 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  9. 2 quarts chicken broth
  10. 1 avocado, sliced (for topping)

directions:

  1. coat the bottom of a stock pot with olive oil, and add in cumin seeds. toast seeds on medium heat (about 1 minute).
  2. add chopped green onion, serrano chili & cilantro (reserving a few leaves for garnish) and cook until fragrant (about 2 minutes).
  3. add in chicken & cook until lightly colored (about 2 minutes each side).
  4. add in zucchini.
  5. add in cumin powder and stir until everything is coated.
  6. add in chicken broth & cover.
  7. bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover & let simmer about 15 minutes.
  8. top with sliced avocado & serve.

 

 

the end.

10 ways to get your financial shit together.

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i recently came across this article by sallie krawcheck in harper’s bazar about women and money; specifically about how the majority of women do not invest their money-they hold it in cash and tell themselves they don’t have enough or know enough about it to invest. i remember reading this article by alice finn last spring and realizing that i related to the statement that women think that investing is too complicated and that it is “for men with white hair.” after leaving my job and becoming a stay at home mom, i had to make some major lifestyle changes and figure out how to manage what money i had better. looking over my 401k statement from the job i had left, i felt my eyes glaze over. i had originally set it up very conservatively on the advice of my father (a man with white hair who knows about these things), so that i wouldn’t have to think about it. i realized that that applied to all of the money i had in my life: i had largely tried not to think about it- kept it in low risk savings accounts and told myself i’d figure it all out one day when i had more of it.

below are the top 10 things that i have done to figure out money: how to spend it wisely; how to save it; how to live on a budget and how to educate myself about investing it.

  1. budget. it took me a long time to figure out how to budget, because i had to find a way to budget that worked for me. i tried envelopes (putting cash into a different envelope for expenses each week); using an app; and keeping up spreadsheets (google sheets has a basic budget and most banks let you input a budget/spending report into your online account). i found that without adjusting my spending habits, a budget didn’t do much for me. i had to first figure out how to get organized about shopping & curb impulse purchases; once i did that sticking to a budget was much easier. i recommend tracking your spending for at least 2 weeks, to get an honest picture of your spending habits. from there, you can build a budget that is realistic for you.
  2. clear the clutter. cleaning out my closet for the first time was daunting. i first tried the dreaded/lauded kondo method but found that several months later i had re-cluttered my life. i now keep a rotation: i have a beautiful antique trunk that i use to keep summer clothes in in the cold months; and winter clothes in in the warm months so that my closet doesn’t feel packed. other than that, i don’t store anything because if it’s sitting in a plastic tub somewhere, it might as well be gone. every new season when i feel the urge to buy all the things, i go through my closet & edit out what no longer “sparks joy” or looks cute to my eyes. selling clothes can make a little money, but it’s not for the faint of heart. don’t expect to make much, and prepare for lots of rejection. here is a good guide to some options if you’re looking to sell your stuff.
  3. shop online. often i feel like if i have free time to myself (a rarity!), i go shopping because it is something to do outside of the house. for me, avoiding temptation is crucial. i try to order household supplies online: through amazon prime or walmart (which typically has free 2 day shipping on orders over $35). it’s been a big money saver to avoid wandering the aisles of target & making impulse buys. buying clothes online can be tricky: i always look at return policies to find out if something is returnable & at what cost. i also check the measurements: against my own measurements and against a similar item that i have that fits well (if i’m buying high waisted pants, i measure a pair that i have that fits great and compare to that). for beauty products i try to shop at ulta, because they are one of the only places that actually has sales on beauty products. they regularly have coupons & promotions that give big discounts.
  4. quality over quantity. i have found that if i fall in love with something that i feel is too expensive, i tend to buy multiple fast fashion/cheaper similar versions, but they never seem to add up. the acrylic h&m version of the wool celine sweater or the crappy particle board ikea version of the mid-century cabinet falls apart, and often has to be re-purchased. i have also been guilty of buying cheaper knockoffs of something, only to eventually find the original at a good price and buy it after all. in the end, it’s worth it to invest in something you really love.
  5. get honest. before investing in something i ask myself: is this on sale somewhere else, or can i find it pre-owned (on sites like the real real or vestaire)? does this fit into my lifestyle: can i walk in these shoes; can i wear this on a school run; to a meeting or on a date? am i willing to take care of this: am i willing to have this altered if the fit is off; have it dry cleaned; or will i hand wash or iron this? if it’s more work than i am willing to do, it’s not worth buying. can i think of 3 items of clothing that i have that i can wear this with? do i love this because it will look good on me or because of how it looks on a model or insta-darling? when i got honest i realized that i continually bought things because i wished my body was shaped differently. i finally accepted that i will never be able to wear skinny jeans, off the shoulder tops or vintage 501s because they do not flatter my figure. it’s important not to buy something just because it looks good on someone else, or simply because it is on sale (!!!). you should buy what makes you feel great, and what feels great to wear.
  6. plan ahead. it can seem tedious, but planning meals for the week & making shopping lists saves money. i try to stick to a rotation of meals that are easy to cook, plan out the week on sunday & then do my shopping with a list. to get started i saved grocery receipts for a couple of weeks to get an idea of what i was spending, and then made adjustments from there. it helped to look at what i really spent, what impulse buys i made and food i wound up wasting. i now don’t run out or throw away much food each week, which is awesome.
  7. skip the drinks. this one seemed like it would be tough, but we found that not ordering drinks with dinner afforded us two meals out a week instead of one. having a drink at home after a meal as dessert is a good (and much cheaper) way to still get the booze in.
  8. workout at home. boutique fitness classes and gyms can be motivational, but they’re also hecka expensive. even with a membership or multi-class discounts, classes add up fast. i set aside time at home to work out online every day. some of my favorites are karen lord pilatessadie nardini for yoga, and ballet beautiful, all free on youtube. i also stopped paying for pricey spin classes and invested in a rowing machine.
  9. educate yourself. when i was 25 my dad gave me the book the wealthy barber. i of course didn’t read it, because i was more interested in putting my money into faux chanel handbags and sugary cocktails, but i have since come around to this book. the intelligent investor is a great book to learn how investing, stocks and bonds and all that shiz works. if you prefer online info to a book- i highly recommend jlcollins stock series. i also recommend the financial diet.
  10. put your money to werk. the basic financial rules are: 1. make a budget. 2. pay off debt. 3. build an emergency fund. 4. put money towards retirement. 5. invest. you don’t have to have a ‘uge pile of money or a vault filled with bars of gold to invest. there are apps like acorns that round up your purchases & invest the change (a good place to start but not so good for the long run). jl collins’ book the simple path to wealth has all the good advice for getting into investing.

these days.

00-tout-okeeffe-closet

georgia o’keefe’s closet via vogue.

my husband and i have been doing a lot of cleaning out around the house lately. he totally re-did our laundry room storage area and put in open shelving (’cause he’s cool like that). we also re-arranged our son’s room, after sorting through the mountain of christmas gifts that he received and thinning out the herd. then we tackled our shared closet and cleared out quite a bit of old t-shirts, records and abandoned running shoes aka junk. i love the feeling of clearing clutter, it somehow has the ability to make me feel like my life is not a spinning spiral of cray and everything is going to be ok. here are some things that are catching my eye of late.

  1. although i love having an empty space in my closet beneath my hanging clothes, i kinda need a little piece to hold my ridiculous collection of brightly colored/ultra gaudy vintage belts, metallic and hand-made clutches and espadrilles (with varying heel heights). it’s between this brass geo stand from west elm, and (more likely) this wire organizer from target. also eyeing this quilted storage bin and these stackable wood bins for my son’s room.
  2. i plowed through joan juliet buck’s the price of illusion in about a week, i could not put it down. she has had such a super extra remarkable life. artfully told recollections of growing up around hollywood royalty like john (and her best friend anjelica) huston, peter o’toole and lauren bacall. crazy tales about travel, money, power and everyone in fashion from guy bourdin, karl lagerfeld, yves saint laurent and of course anna wintour. romances with the likes of donald sutherland, california governor jerry brown and leonard cohen. and at the center of it all, a complex relationship with her father. one of my favorite books of all time.
  3. current favorite lazy dinner from trader joe’s: roasted chicken patties over zucchini spirals, topped with either almond butter turmeric dressing or vegan kale cashew basil pesto. also fully hooked on their pistachio cranberry bites.
  4. i didn’t really make resolutions this year, but i have vowed to finally start taking care of my under-things. i got myself some new underwear, along with some mesh laundry bags to keep them from falling apart. i feel like a grown up now.
  5. brushing teeth is always a struggle with my son. i got him this dentrust 3-sided toothbrush and he loves it. it covers a lot of territory in way less time, so i can get in and out of there quick.
  6.  last weekend while standing in the candy aisle at sprouts i spotted this jo jo’s chocolate bark with a label that read “kick the craving.” i bought it based solely on that statement, and holy crow, it’s pretty much the best thing i ever tasted.
  7. i love this piece in the cut: 25 famous women on thrift store shopping.
  8. i finally found a non-dairy creamer that honestly tastes and feels like half and half without all the weird corn syrup chemical shiz. praise.
  9. how pretty are these little ballerina heels?
  10. can’t wait to watch the new david bowie documentary: the last five years.

the end.