Thursday, December 29, 2016

Poshmark vs ThredUp review part deux: adventures in second hand revisited

Recently I realized that this post that I wrote over a year ago about the resale sites/apps Poshmark and Thredup were getting a lot of new views, so I thought maybe it deserved a revisit [Tangent:...or maybe not...but that's up to you to decide. You can read this or skip it. Free will is a spectacular thing, isn't it?] Since that initial review, I have used both several other times, for both impulse buying and reselling some of those impulse buys. I thought I would update everyone on how I feel about both outlets today, because as is the case with most things- I have some strong opinions and they may have ebbed and flowed a smudge.

 Buying secondhand online to some is a dicey premise [Tangent:...because one might assume the items they are buying are soiled or belonged to dead people who still haunt them. Haunted clothes seem thrilling to me, but I understand the the populus as a whole might not share my excitement.] but really, buying secondhand has become a constant in my life. I like nice things but am the cheapest person alive, so using Poshmark and Thredup allows me to have 10 J Crew sweaters in my closet that I probably got for maybe the retail price of one and several anthropologie pieces that were under $30. [Tangent: To be honest, I've probably been in J. Crew or Anthropologie all of twice respectively, because I'm afraid they're going to Pretty Woman me. No, not sell me into a life of prostitution, more condescend to me as if I don't belong there, willing me to return with a litany of shopping bags and hat boxes to rub into their faces my unleashed purchasing power! "Big mistake! HUGE!"].

These services are perfect for people that love a good thrift store jaunt, but sometimes lack the will to go outside in the cold and/or put pants on. So guilty.

ThredUp

Buying: 
In my last blog post, I hadn't yet bought from the site, so that aspect was not one I could speak to on quality, but since then, I have definitely made up for lost time and bought A LOT of items. Here are a few of the ones I find myself wearing a lot. Nothing was over $25 and that skirt on the bottom was $4.99!

I was incredibly also impressed with how the items  were delivered. The presentation was comparable to getting items from Ann Taylor and not from a virtual thrift store. I felt full-time fancy and appreciated it. It was pretty clear that the items were inspected and pressed and were in awesome shape. Not that the packaging should count...but come on...it does. The attention to detail/branding wasn't lost on this gal.
Selling:
 The selling of the thredup is super easy, you request a prepaid mailing bag on the site and get one in the mail in about a week's time, then you fill it with items from your closet. I love the ease of that process and know that what they don't accept they will donate to charity, so it kills two birds with one stone [Tangent: You can ask for items back if they are of value and you want to sell them on another site. I never have opted to do this...but it's nice that you can.] Here is a handy dandy video that explains it much better than I.

As I mentioned in the last review, the first bag I sold to them was a bit of an embarrassment, since I sent them roughly 20 items and made just over $4. The second bag was a bit more strategic...and I added in a few girls items  (since they take KIDS CLOTHES TOO!) [Tangent: Not that I buy children's clothes for imaginary children...I buy them for me. Wait, that sounds equally weird. I'm 4'11! It's a luxury I enjoy!]  

 This subsequent batch was a bit more reasonable, I made $22, which seemed more on target since a few items sent still had tags. Long story short- you're not going to get rich off this, but it's a great treat for unloading a bag of stuff out of your closet. 

If you want to get $10 credit on ThredUp, shop using THIS LINK! (I get $10 too!)

Poshmark

Buying:
 I am an OG poshmark enthusiast, as you know, and have been using it regularly for years. It's my go to when I need something specific on the cheap. [Ex: When I needed combat boots and a plaid mini for my Empire Records halloween costume a few years ago or when I needed red tennis shoes to be Sonic the Hedgehog. Basically anytime I had to make an ass out of myself in a costume...Poshmark was there. That should be their slogan! "When you wanna look like an idiot, come see us." Wait, nevermind...that may be the worst tagline ever. ] The site has even made it now where in addition to keeping track of "liked" items, you can make offers via an "offer" button. [Tangent: I LOVE this feature because it brings out my inner wheeler/dealer, the one that refuses to pay the assigned price. I don't low ball folks but it makes the thrill of the deal all the better.] 

There are things like Madewell sweaters and Tom's ballet flats that I was always into, but never wanted to drop a big chunk of change on. Luckily, I know Poshmark has them in serious droves (as in Loooooots to choose from.) and most for 20-30 bucks. 

Selling :
Selling on Poshmark can be feast or famine. I will sell three items in two days, and then not see any buying activity for 6 months. It's built up like a social network, so depending on how many followers you have will determine how much exposure your "closet" has and how often you share things to the themed "parties" they have. I will say certain brands I have no trouble selling and accessories are super easy because they aren't size reliant. As long as you include measurements, solid photos and disclose all the needed info, you should be good to go. I've made almost $1000 using this app. True it's been over 3 years, but it's still something.

I love that the shipping and all is included [Tangent: As you may remember, its consignment...so you keep 80% of your sale and 20% goes to PM, but that includes your shipping costs- so you don't have to pay for that! You simply print it off when your sale goes through and toss it into a box and it gets to the buyer in 2 days. It's insanely idiot-proof which I enjoy!] 

You are probably going to make more with this app/site, but you won't purge everything at once, so if you wanna do a quick closet clean-out and get everything out of there, this probably isn't your best option. There is a sweater I have been trying to sell for 2 years.WHY DOESN'T ANYONE WANT MY DAMN SWEATER!??!

If you want a promo code to get $5 credit at Poshmark, signup using: HGENX  
  
So this is what you get for your sudden interest in my hoarding of used clothing..another updated blog post. I blame you. I'm like that. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

My podcast debut

I really don't like the sound of my own voice...which is weird because I talk incessantly. As with most of my irrational fears or insecurities, I like to pretend they don't exist. [Tangent: Like my fear that the holocaust is going to happen again or my strong aversion to claymation. YIKES! I just try to be brave in those situations. I mean, that island of misfit toys isn't going to attack me and push me into a fascist regime, right!?!?] In the last few months, I have volunteered to or been invited into several things which means innocent bystanders are being subjected to my pitchy grating tone regularly. [Tangent: You can read one of them here.] 

I'm a big podcast fan, so have been telling my friend Ryan [Tangent: You remember him best from this post and this post. Both stories are brought up on the podcast.] for months that I want to be on his podcast- Biff Bam Bort (which used to be all about Batman 66 but is now just 3 dudes sitting around talking about pop culture, which is decidedly in my wheelhouse.).  
Anyway, what we got was 55 minutes of utter nonsense (but funny nonsense) and probably not for everyone, but I thoroughly enjoyed doing it because as I just said I got to talk utter nonsense for an hour and laugh...which is my ideal way to spend an hour. Check it out unless you are squeamish or easily offended or are looking for something that will enrich your mind, because this probably won't unless you want think learning about the return policy at Spencer's Gifts is a "THE MORE YOU KNOOOOOW" moment.

You can listen to it here by scrolling to the bottom. The episode is called Chingy and Hot Dogs for The Ride Home (even though the last part of that title gets cut off a bit in the end. #professionalism !] Check it out if you've ever wondered what my voice sounds like. Spoiler alert- it's like a less appealing dog whistle!

You can also find Biff Bam Bort on iTunes and stitcher and all those fun places!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Thanks Goodreads for making me read stuff in 2016

So I make a lot of promises and don’t always make good on them. I know this about myself. It’s not always a lack of commitment (though sometimes it is)- it is often just I get distracted by a shiny object or over-commit myself or go all in on a passing fancy (when I should probably just say I want to hypothetically do it and not Do it..do it..ya know? ) This year I decided (after taking a couple years off from one of my favorite hobbies) that I was going to read 20 books in 2016. [Tangent: I know this is going to be a huge shock to all of you who think I am edgy AF and super too cool for school (NONE of you think that!), but I used to read A LOT. Like I would hear about a book that sounded interesting and actually go out and read it. I had favorite authors and everything. Then I got a smart phone and I 100% am blaming that device for superseding books in my life (and not just for the stuff that pays my bills, but for important things like googling "what is LeeLee Sobieski doing now? or falling down a vortex of Chuck Tingle titles.). I wasn't just distracted, but was dwelling in the land of delusional pretension where I couldn’t possibly put an e-book on my phone because that would somehow ruin the experience. Ya know- the magic of flipping and folding and smelling the written page. I was an asshole because guess what guys? E-books are the cat’s pjs and you can download them for free from the library whilst sitting on the toilet or lying in bed aka primo me time(and you don’t have to lend them to people and disclose that they have been sitting on the back of your toilet for a month...or have people judge your questionable titles in a doctor's waiting room. EEK!).]  

In January, I randomly deciding to click on my dusty Goodreads icon on my phone to add something I read about in Entertainment Weekly [Tangent: Don’t judge! They have some killer book reviews.] onto the growing and unruffled virtual “to-read” pile. I was greeted with:

“Would you like to participate in a 2016 reading challenge?”

And guys…I did it…and I stuck with it and fell butt-crazy back in love with reading after a brief hiatus. In fact, I ended up reading 35...and it was easy! [Tangent: Promise that I am not bragging so much as getting in print that I finished something I started when there were zero consequences.] I even have proof

I finally took all my friends up on those suggestions that they have been giving me for the last several years and sprinkled in some from my favorite authors and some that sounded so terrible I had to get my eyes on them for myself [Tangent:I’m looking at you Me Before You and the Holly Madison autobiography (yeah...that Holly Madison).] Unlike boys, I seem to have no type when it comes to books…or do I? Here are some of the reoccurring themes I found in my reading.

  • Number of books about mental hospitals: 3
  • Number of books that deal with disability: 5 (If you count Frankenstein as a disability book…which I feel on the fence about.)
  • Number of fiction Books about human experimentation: 3
  • Number of books featuring a naked person on the cover: 3
  • Number of Celebrity Tell-Alls that made me 100% more interested in the celebrity: 3 (But seriously ya'll- get on that Rob Lowe autobiography!)
  • Number of Mary Roach books that made me incapable of having a conversation that didn't include the facts therein: 2 
  • Number of books featuring lobotomies:  6 (that number seems really high, right?)
  • Number of books that make characters from religious text way more  interesting:  2
  • Number of books targeted at angsty teen girls and probably not women in their mid 30's: 5
  • Number of Kurt Vonnegut books I had been meaning to read but hadn't: 3 
  • Number of books based on TV/Movies I already was a fan of: 3
  • Number of books that discuss the porn industry: 3 
  • Number of books that made me laugh out loud in inappropriate places: 5
  • Number of books written by people who are really funny on Twitter: 4 (spoiler alert. Mary Shelley isn’t one!)
Seriously, I am so stoked about it and can’t wait to be a nerd (or spoiler...maybe NERDIER) again next year. It has also saved me A TON of money I was impulse spending on Candy Crush and Frozen Free Fall. Feel free to ask me about anyof these  because I have opinions for DAYS! 

I also am so excited I once again got to live out one of my Tim Gun annual mantras to the absolute fullest ! 

 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Down with the Sickness (50 ways to leave your cold)

Although there is no optimal time to get sick (kind of like there's never a perfect time to get pregnant or wear that shirt that's sheer but has long sleeves), I'd definitely not recommend the midst of holiday goings-on aka mid December. Like my nose, it blows...hard and raw. I've missed out on nog-fests, dinners and open bar holiday parties for liquor companies. Life is not fair. While I should be wowing you with some kind of heart warming or glitzy Christmas post, instead you're going to get one about mucus. You'll deal.

As the daughter of a nurse, I have not only acquired a really dark sense of appropriateness and humor but also a giant arsenal of medicinal treatments for anything that could potentially ail me (both of the Walgreen's and Kooky bananas variety.)

As the snot volcanoes started to form in my nasal passages and the Harvey Firestein started to set into my voice, I called on every single weapon at my disposal to slay the beast of a cold. [Tangent: yes. A cold is a cold and is small potatoes to most, but for me- anytime I get sick I go into panic mode. I have craptatsic lungs and am what they call "medically fragile" so even though I feel bulletproof and badass most of the time, I'm not. As I get older and realize what a shit storm hospitalization is, I have come to terms with beings a vigilante. I'm that annoying person that will harp on you to get a flu shot and tell you to go away if you're sick. Anti vaxxers need not apply!]

It's been yeeeears since I have really had a legit cold, so I am exceedinglyrusty at how these proceedings even go down. Instead of being level headed, I just threw everything at the wall of sickness waiting to see what stuck (I know that sounds like a vomit euphemism, but it wasn't. I was vom-free.) [Tangent: as any scientist would tell you, this is the worst way to find what works. Having 100 variables in an experiment of finding a successful outcome is the worst idea ever. This is why I made a 71 in high school chemistry (but it was honors!!!)] Here were some of my methods.

  • Drink pretty much just hot toddies morning noon and night. So a couple years ago, I invented a drink recipe that is not really delicious, but definitely clears sinuses (of not just you but anyone in a 3 county radius). [Tangent: People (aka my family) often say it smells like I'm drinking a Yankee candle.] Years ago I got a starter pack of essential oils and had not a clue what to do with them, but after letting them collect dust in a drawer I broke em out for allergy season and learned they can take a hot toddy from 0 to 60 real quick. I mix hot tea, whiskey, lemon, local honey, a drop of peppermint oil and a drop of lavender oil. If nothing else it will make your home smell good and make you a lot drunk.  [Tangent: I couldn't tell you if it was alcohol or my immune system that was exhausting me, but I like to use the tactics of old timey prospectors to feel better.]
  • Netti pot like it's going outta style. As I've written about before here, I'm a big believer in a netti pot and it's more foolproof cuz, the netti bottle. When I was little, anytime I was sick, my dad would tell me to gargle with salt water (which always seemed like bullshit and something he leaned in the navy or on the farm, but it always worked even if I swallowed it and always gagged). This is the next natural progression, plus I like any treatment that immediately makes you feel better. [Tangent: Even if the cost is that feeling that you've been knocked out by a giant wave and are momentarily choked with sea water.] I sometimes even put a drop of that lavender oil in my Neti bottle with the salt solution (because what the hell else am I gonna do with all these oils?!?!?) to make the inside of my face smell refreshing and not like week old snot funk. And when I wasn't doing that I was just hitting my face with saline spray every 10 minutes to knock those boogers loose. My sodium intake through my nostrils has probably broken a record in the past 10 days. [Tangent:...I mean unless there's a human that ingests only kikoman soy sauce through an NG tube, then they probably earned that depressing crown. I shouldn't be so quick to assume that title.] 
  • Take all the medicine  I mean within reason (sort of). You best believe I pulled out all my best gal pals: sudafed, Zyrtec, Mucinex, Flonase, Tylenol, Afrin (when desperate because I was sick of blowing my nose all night). Vitamin c gummies for when I want to delude myself into thinking I'm indulging in a delicious sweet treat, but I'm really boosting immunity. I even swabbed my nasal passages with zicam the max number of times a day, even after I read an article warning a loss of olfactory powers among patients that used it. OH WELL! I NEEDED WELLNESS MORE THAN THE ABILITY TO SMELL! Priorities change when your throat is the width of a coffee stirrer.
  • Dip myself in Vicks vapo rub So I guess there are different camps, but I was not raised in a Vicks family. Like I guess it was around, but I never remember using it as a kid or basting myself in it nightly when a cold struck. Maybe I was too nasally sensitive and the idea of that was too much. Despite all this, when this cold rolled around- I got balls deep in Vicks. [Tangent: Eww...not literally...that would smart.] There were points when it was on my neck and chest and the soles of my feet, even though the logic that an ointment on my feet would affect my chest and head seems like dark magic [Tangent: One of the recommendations for a sore throat is to slather your neck in Vicks and wrap it in a man's sock. Does that sound ridiculous? Yes. Did I do it? Also yes. At that point I would have summoned every deity to do my bidding.]
  • Liquid Diet. What goes best with hot toddies? Hot soup. I ate any variety...homemade chicken noodle with bone broth....chili...to 20 cent Ramen. My taste buds didn't discriminate. 
So after all of those shananigans, yesterday was the day I finally felt like a human woman. My voice is almost back...I mean as back as it could be. [Tangent: On the regular, my voice is sub-par.] Also, I finally have a computer that is functioning. Oh, bury the lead...my old macbook committed suicide last week and as a result I (for days) thought I had lost a LOT of writing that I am saving for a special project. [Tangent: Surviving being homebound without my laptop was hellish. First world problems...I am fully aware.] Luckily, it was pulled from the wreckage! Christmas miracles all around.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Netflix Documentary Hits & Misses vol. 22 (Nov/Dec 2016 Edition)

I know…I know…I have not exactly been consistent in my documentary reviews as of late. [Tangent: Gasp! It may have been a couple months.] I’ve been swamped with some fun and then some decidedly not so fun stuff…but I can’t completely blame that; my intake of media has not been null.In the last few months, I have been undertaking a mass horror movie marathon as well as trying to finish up my self-imposed resolution to read 35 books this year. So in those fringe hours, early morning and late late night, which is usually earmarked for solo doc watching- I have instead devoted to those pursuits. I am my own worst enemy.

Amanda Knox- B
This one was one that I have been hearing about since it "dropped” on Netflix. [Tangent: Can I pull off that use of the word “dropped”…did I even do it right?] I was familiar with the story because I watch a lot of 20/20, but I had forgotten a great deal about it- so I was somewhat interested getting retold the story, and hearing it from Amanda’s own mouth. The doc is told basically from Amanda’s perspective…and she came off just as one might assume…kind of disconnected and cold but somehow sympathetic. I still can’t decide if I think she did it, but I think it was an interesting watch. If you dug Making The Murderer with the fervency I did (or true crime in general)-then you’ll be into it.

Jesus Camp- A+
Just in time for Christmas, Netflix has re-added one of my all-time favorites to streaming- JESUS CAMP! Back when I got dvds in the mail through the service- this is one I watched over and over.  If you asked me to recommend 10 docs,this would probably be in my top 5! Being from the South and not really being super religious, [Tangent: I'm a unicorn. I was raised Catholic…which is an altogether different animal so makes it hard for me to relate to a lot of things…like the goings on in this movie.] I find extremes in religion both foreign and familiar. The plot of this movie is pretty easy to glean from the title, it’s about a group of children attending a summer church camp…and it follows their attempts to recruit Christ followers in any way they can…even at bowling alleys. As you know if you have read any of doc blogs, then you know that I love a film about children deeply immersed in a niche group. If you like this one, then watch Magic Camp and Bible Quiz. By the end you will have a favorite kid…mine was clearly Levi with the rat tail. [Tangent: And feel free to checkout this article after you watch about what all the kids are doing 10 years later  and the impact the movie had on their lives.]

Children of God- B+
Another big doc draw for me is if it is about a cult. [Tangent:You know how much I gushed about Holy Hell in one of my last posts! I guess it goes in line with being deeply intrigued by anyone that follows a belief super strictly.] All I knew about children of God prior is that the Phoenix family (as in Joaquin and River and crew) were members as children. This 1994 film, which is only an hour in length, is a very informative…in fact it has a more journalistic PBS vibe than a movie vibe, but I was on board. It is jam packed with weird music video bits produced by the cult that are equal parts terrifying and catchy. Also, a cult leader nicknamed “Daddy” who communicates through weird comic books??!?  This cult, like a lot of others, made me sure that the 60’s and 70s were basically just like Hair and The Who’s Tommy.  [Tangent: I also regularly ask my mother “Are you sure you weren’t in a cult?” because she had long blonde hair, wore flowy dresses and spent the 60s in Honolulu and San Francisco. Seems like the perfect storm.] At this point, you can’t change my mind to the contrary.

Queen Mimi- A
Yet another trope that draws me like a fly to cow pies is delightful and somewhat surly old people. There is honestly nothing I would rather spend 90 minutes on, and Queen Mimi is definitely one of my favorite eclectic old folks movies. Mimi is a woman in her 80s that lives and works in an LA laundry matand has  over the years built a bit of a fan club. Included in her gaggle of loyal admirers are Renee Zellwegger and Zach Galifinakis, who invites her to premieres and considers her almost family. As the movie unfolds,the viewer (as well as the filmmaker) uncover some secrets about Mimi that no one, including her close friends know. It has quickly joined the ranks of Gray Gardens, Burt’s Buzz, Iris and Magical Universe as “Favorite Docs about kooky old people.”

Floyd Norman: An Animated Life- A
I didn’t expect to love this one so much, but soon I was pulled into it and even tearing up, after blindly choosing it to watch one day.The subject, Floyd, is a long time Disney employee who has worked on everything from Sleeping Beauty to some of the Pixar films. [Tangent: Stylistically, Sleeping Beauty is one of my all time faves. That color palette!!] It makes me so mad I had never heard of him before because he has literally had his hands on so many things animated in popular culture  in the last 50 years. He was so passionate about his life’s work that it can’t help but make you feel like you’re not doing life right unless you’re obsessed. [Tangent: That’s a very highjacked and very mutilated John Waters quote.] I’ll try not to give too much away, but just prepare to fall headlong in  love with this dude. He’s the best.

Vintage Tomorrows- C-
This is one I watched months ago, so I am having a hard time recalling much about it. That doesn’t speak of my crap memory but more that this one just wasn’t that memorable. It follows, through profiles and interviews, steam punk enthusiasts. As stated before I love watching any doc that uncovers some niche group of people that follow an unconventional interest or lifestyle. I guess it would be better if you were totally ignorant of what steam punk was, but for me it just could have been a lot better; I felt I spent most of the 90 minutes scrolling through FB.  I did find it interesting to learn about the “maker” aspect and the creativity and craftsmanship that goes into it.

Ok. See, I'm back. There will be more coming soon. What should I watch next? 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Animal Babies Nursery: The Creepiest Toy Ever


I have a niece and two nephews under 5, so I'm not immersed in children's popular culture 24/7; 365- but around the holidays I casually dip my toe in so I can be the cool aunt on Christmas morning. This is not something I half-ass. I spend time scoping out toys in stores and via Google- and I have come to the conclusion that the majority of them are terrifying. Case in point- Animal Babies Nursery. This innocuous sounding toy is the creepiest thing I have encountered in a long time, and I spent the entirety of October watching horror movies. These animatronic plushes are part innocent cuddle time...part Island of Dr. Moreau...and all nightmare fodder.

My first encounter with these scary beasts was when I was combing through the gender specific girls section trying to find something freak-out worthy for my five year old niece. Misshelved among the Cabbage Patch Kids and Puppy Surprises (a nostalgic head scratcher unto itself) was nestled a Baby Animals Nursery creature called the baby kangaroo that made me audibly gasp and perhaps drop a well-earned F-bomb. [Tangent: Being that I was window shopping solo at that moment, this didn't go over well with the lululemon wrapped momarazzi hanging in the aisle. Oh well. I don't take back my reaction. It stands as valid and 100% warranted.]


I'm not a total square, I know that animals with human traits are a tale as old as time. In prior years, my eyes have been personally accosted by the likes of Equestria Girls and something called Pinkie Cooper. Both are bipedal mammals (ponies and puppies respectively) clad in go-go boots and mirco minis with human lady proportions. Seriously, I am sure they are a hit with little girls (and maybe some niche internet perv groups.) But something about these Baby Animal Nursery toys are even more aggressively upsetting than those animals from the phylum Fashionista.  I can’t even put my finger on it, but now when I close my eyes, the peaceful black is replaced with that non-blinking kangaperson. 
 Because my twisted curiosity is stronger than my need to live peacefully ignorant of the horrors of the world, I was soon flung headlong into the internet vortex of these animal babies and each one was creepier than the last. I can just imagine these thumb sucking monsters sticking their hard plastic faces out from behind a pillow and "babble" in the most terrifying of manners.

 EEK! That calico cat solifies my status as “more of a dog person"! That werid turtle abomination? The humanzee with bangs? And dear god that rabbit makes Frank from Donnie Darko look like Peter Cottontail.

I cannot pass judgement on kids today, nor do I want to. Granted I can still sing the entirety of a theme song for a cartoon based onpersonified gummy bear candies in a renaissance setting...and don't get me started on the enigma that is the Popple.  But come on,  this shit is horrifying. This weird humanoid kangaroo in a diaper with its blow up doll expression and promise to cry like a person and say the word "yummy" is enough to rob me of a week's sleep. As my friend Katie observed when I showed her the pic, "if they can hold a bottle, they can hold a knife."

Now aren’t you feeling their vacant eyes crawling on you from all sides as you hear their robotic giggles? Sweet dreams.
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