Thursday, September 26, 2013

Second Time Around - Consign Me Up!

Shopping bags going out instead of coming into my apartment.
After months of procrastinating (okay, it’s been over a year) I finally put a few dozen items up for consignment. Dresses, bags, shoes, and separates, if they weren't my style (regardless of how good of a deal I got on them or whether or not they might someday make a great Halloween costume) out they went.

There are two consignment shops in my town, but one has so much inventory that you can't even see what they have and the other only takes appointments from 10AM-4PM on weekdays and, since I'm not a socialite, those hours don't work for me.

Instead I wound up bringing my items to the Huntington location of Second Time Around consignment. I found them one evening when I was early to meet a friend for dinner (When does that ever happen? Obviously this was fate intervening) and as I browsed I heard the sales girl very politely inform a young woman that they would not be taking the Louis Vuitton bag she had brought in because it was fake. This can be a touchy subject, but the salesgirl handled it in a kind, yet firm manner and I knew this was the kind of place I wanted to deal with.

In addition to their stellar customer service, which they've been providing for 40 years, they have 45 locations in 12 states, tons of press clippings and positive reviews online (for most locations, sorry, Forest Hills) so I feel like they are a reputable company. Plus, they were also featured on Bravo TV's Fashion Hunters. Sure, it was a 1-season-wonder, but it was on Bravo and I take that sh*t seriously.

This is how it works:

You'll need at least three pieces to start an account. STA allows you to either set up an appointment or drop your items off to be reviewed (you can also consign online, here's how, but be forewarned that the unwanted items are donated, not returned to the consignor).
Once they decide what they're going to take they research the items and mark them at approximately 30-40% of the original retail value and if the item sells the profit is a 60/40 split ("luxury" handbags are a 50/50 split). You can keep your earnings as a store credit (which entitles you to an additional 10% off) or request a check (checks under $100 must be picked up, but checks over $100 can be mailed to you) which is available on the 1st of the following month. If your items don't sell in 3 months you have 1 week to pick them up or they will be donated to charity.

Not content to just collect, I felt compelled to create a spreadsheet that would take what I originally paid for the item (because I'm crazy and I keep records of everything) and subtract what I make back to see if I can get out of the red and back in the black. While I’m not taking into account the old shopaholic Price Per Wear equation (cost of item/times worn), some items were gifts and others were sample sale finds, so I'm optimistic. Either way the items are doing more for me at STA than they were piled up in the corner of my apartment.
So far I've sold one item, a fringed black leather Kooba bracelet bag, and made $38. Five of the 36 items are AllSaints and the salesgirl informed me that they have a customer who comes in on the regular asking for the brand, so I'm just hoping that she and I are the same size. All in all I feel like I'm off to a strong start, but I'll still keep my fingers crossed that it keeps trending that way.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Outfit Post: Vampire Weekend

Friday night we went to see Vampire Weekend at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. We had a delicious dinner at Flatbush Farm and then headed over (way too early, we got there before the first of two opening acts went on) to the venue.

The Barclays Center is a nice enough venue (cleanest bathrooms I've ever seen), but I found all of the concessions to be extremely overpriced ($9.50 for a domestic draft? That better be super-sized), so I suggest you do the majority of your eating and drinking before you get there.

Vampire Weekend was clearly stoked to be there, but the effects on the new album didn't sound great on the sound system (any base whatsoever was crazy muffled like you blew a speaker in your '98 Honda Civic) and the stage was set like Scarface meets a Tommy Bahama ad (faux-marble columns, an over-sized mirror and a loud floral backdrop). Thankfully they placed "Diane Young" early in their set which made me very happy (if you haven't heard this infectious tune yet you can check out the delightfully bizarre music video here).

Here's the outfit breakdown:

Dress: Wyatt -  Bought this dress on Bluefly because it struck me as something Debbie Harry would wear. It has long sleeves, but it's lightweight so it's perfect for when you're in between seasons.

Belt: Linea Pele - This belt is a consignment shop find. My What Not to Wear education has taught me that a waist-cinching belt is essential in any wardrobe, so when I saw this one I scooped it right up.

Bag: Pietro Alessandro - This bag is from an online flash-sale (ideeli if I'm not mistaken). This bag is great not only because it's metallic and therefor versatile, but because it can also be a shoulder bag or a clutch or a cross-body. Foley & Corinna originated this style, but any incarnation you can get of it is a worthwhile investment.

Vest: J. Crew -  I have never been big on the jean jacket or the jean skirt; they were always items I bought because I thought you should have them, but this vest is just so fun and 80's and versatile that I had to have it. It adds just the right amount of warmth and I know I'll be wearing it year round.

Shoes: Cole Haan - Flat boots just feel so right in Brooklyn. This was the first time that I wore these boots; as per the salesgirl from the Cole Haan outlet I sprayed the sh*t out of these boots with leather protector and they came out of the concert unscathed.

Scarf: H&M - Chilly weather makes me happy because I love soup and cozy accessories and there are few accessories that I love as much as the scarf. H&M offers a great selection in a variety of colors and textures for about $12. Scarves keep you warm and complete your look; get used to seeing a lot of them here at KimboNotKimmy.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

13.1 and Done!

This past Sunday I [finally] ran my first half marathon in Philadelphia. It was part of the Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon Series and I had a really positive experience. My goal was to start slow and finish strong and I accomplished that, crossing the finish line at 2H 41M.

The race was well organized and the bands (for the most part they had a band or a water/fuel station for every mile) and crowds along the race route did a great job of keeping us energized.

So here’s my takeaway:

Random signs are more motivational than you’d think: The race route was littered with people holding signs saying things like, “Go, random stranger, go!” or “Worst parade ever.” These signs kept me entertained and distracted and that is huge when you’re running for any length of time. I think my favorite sign was; “Run like there’s a hot guy in front of you and a creepy guy behind you.”

Anyone can be a runner: If you’ve ever thought about doing a race (of any length), but talked yourself out of it because you’re “not a runner,” I beg you to reconsider. The Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon Series draws people of all shapes, sizes, ages and backgrounds. As someone who, until her mid-twenties, had only ever gone to the gym to socialize I can tell you that as long as you keep going forward you are a runner and you can do this.

Take the Gu: Sure, Gu Energy Gel is basically the same as that weird gel candy you used to buy from the ice cream man, but it really does give you a nice little burst of energy. A random volunteer handed me a strawberry banana flavored Gu at mile 9 and, let me tell you, at that point it tasted like a delicious smoothie.

Don’t take the Gatorade*: This may seem counter-intuitive, but hear me out. For starts warm water > warm Gatorade. Also, the Gatorade at these races is made from the powder (something I actually forgot existed), so you have no idea how potent of a cup you’re going to get. If you must grab the Gatorade, then get a cup of water too so you can a) water it down or rinse your mouth if necessary b) wash off your hand from the stickiness of the Gatorade that sloshed out of the first cup. That stuff is nasty and it makes your sneakers sticky too. You’ve been warned.
*I love regular Gatorade on any given day, this advice is specific to this situation.

Your fellow runners can be quite amusing: I ran this race without headphones and my fellow runners were a great source of entertainment. There was a pair of older women discussing their husbands (one woman “gave in” to her husband on Friday night because she knew she’d want to get to bed early on Saturday, the night before the race), two young girls discussing the guys who were waiting for them at the finish (Girl #1: Matt and Jason are there. Girl #2: I’m going to date Matt. He doesn’t know it yet, but he’s going to be my boyfriend. Let’s hope Matt’s a strong runner too), and a variety of people in interesting and entertaining outfits featuring everything from tutus to clever shirts to capes. If you’re bored or tired or loosing your mind, look around, distractions are everywhere.

Do You: Yes, I’m semi-quoting Jersey Shore cast members here, but seriously, you should run your race whatever way you live your life; for me, that means smiling and mugging for the course photographers. My sister took the picture at the top of the post right before I crossed the finish line and, as my friend Catherine pointed out, I had full jazz hands going. When I got the email with my race photos I laughed out loud and I know that when I look back at those same photos years from now I will have that same feeling of pride mixed with just the right amount of amusement.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Healthy Hair Helper

Image source:

For the majority of my life my hair was straight and shiny, but I couldn’t leave well enough alone. It started with punky purple streaks, made by bleaching chunks of hair so the purple glaze would show, and progressed to the oh-so-popular ombre. Now, a year and a half of processing later, I’ve got some major dryness and breakage.

Enter Kiehl’s Heat-Protective Silk-Straightening Cream; I was introduced to this product years ago when my hair was healthy, but only experienced its full potential recently. A quarter-sized amount is perfect for my medium-length, medium-body hair. I recommend adding it after you towel dry, but before your hair gets to that almost-dry point because at that stage it can make it difficult to wield your brush.

You’ll see the difference the minute that first section of hair drops from your big, round brush; you hair will be smooth and shiny. I dare to say that, if used correctly, this product will give you a salon-quality blowout. At $17 it’s pricier than drug store finds, but it’s not going to break the bank and you only need a dollop, so the 5oz. tube lasts for quite awhile.

Bonus: It can also double as a finishing cream, just be careful not to use too much (I’m talking less than a dime-sized drop on shoulder-length or longer) on dry hair because your look can go from smooth to oil slick in a second.

If you live near a Kiehl’s retail store it’s worth it to buy direct; their sales people are really knowledgeable and they’re all about the free samples. If you order through their website try to wait until you need some other Kiehl’s products because orders over $50 qualify for 3 complimentary samples as well as free shipping (to help assuage the guilt of ordering $50+ of product, here’s a link to the charity work Kiehl’s does). Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus and select local retailers also carry Kiehl’s products, so check their website for a retailer near you.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Outfit Post: Last Call for White Y'all

Friday night we were heading out for a simple dinner at a rooftop restaurant in town. I've been seriously neglecting my heels lately and with just one weekend left in summer I decided it was time to bust out the white pants.

Here's the outfit breakdown:

Pants: Free People - Found these at a sample sale ages ago. Wide leg pants have come in and out of style, but in my later years I've become a believer that, regardless of what's 'in,' you should wear whatever style works for you.

Shirt: Gap - V-necks are my weakness. While I typically prefer Old Navy to The Gap, you just can't beat a Favorite Tee.

Belt: J. Crew Factory - It's hard to tell from this pic, but this is a gold fabric braided belt (which I cannot say without thinking of Cappie from ABC Family's Greek saying, "And also shame on guys who wear braided belts, they just give me the willies," but I digress). Metallic belts really are essential (here's a silver option in a similar style) and this one has completed more looks than I can count.

Bag: Kate Spade - This bag is from the outlets ages ago. It's small, but it fits the necessities: iPhone, "going out wallet" (which, in my case, is the Coach Wallet my sisters bought be for 8th grade graduation), keys and a lip gloss. Perfect for a night out.

Shoes: Marc Jacobs - Ah, my very first pair of designer shoes. I cannot speak to the quality of Marc Jacobs shoes in recent years, as this is the only pair that I own, but if this pair is any indication I say they're worth every penny. My amazing mother bought them for me at Century 21 almost ten years ago.  They've held up remarkably well and they've never even seen the inside of Augie's Shoe Service (if you don't have a skilled shoe repair shop on speed dial, get on it).

Necklace: Gorjana - Layering necklaces has been in for awhile now and the Gorjana website is one stop shopping for these sort of pieces. They host a decent amount of sales as well as offering deals through their facebook page and you can find their pieces on flash sale sites like Gilt and RueLaLa too.