This post is for anyone who uses United States Postal Service (USPS). I mostly ship for eBay through PayPal, but very rarely I have to ship a return not using a return label, or a present. (I previously blogged about reselling/shipping here.)
(1) Padded Flat Rate Envelopes. These Priority Mail padded flat rate envelopes are great. I rarely go to a post office, so I can’t comment on whether any post offices have them but I’ve never seen these padded envelopes at a post office before. It’s best for shipping from one coast to the other, or items over a pound that doesn’t need cushioning. If something needs cushioning and it fits, I put a box within the padded envelope. You can order these envelopes for free online along with other Priority Mail supplies. I always have some handy along with the flat rate envelopes for flat items, e.g. documents.
(2) Cheaper Rates on PayPal. Take advantage of USPS commercial rates when you purchase a shipping label on PayPal. It’s almost a dollar difference for a padded flat rate envelope within the US. With international priority mail, the difference is pretty significant. When it comes to shipping expenses, every bit counts and I prefer to keep them low, especially if it doesn’t require much work.
(3) First Class Mail on PayPal. If you’re shipping something under a pound (<16 ounces) and you’re not in a rush, use First Class Mail. It only takes a few days extra than Priority Mail. You can’t print first class postage on USPS.com but you can ship and print it through PayPal. Note, in post offices you can only ship First Class Mail up to 14 ounces. The <16 ounces is for commercial accounts.
I love Ines, but the Uniqlo x IDLF fall/winter collections have been getting a bit boring. It’s not totally my style or if it’s a repeat style, I already have it and mine is in great condition. Not to say I didn’t get anything, but most of what I bought in person is going back — those dressing room lines in Soho are crazy. There are items that are in-stores but were launched days later online. There are also items that are not launching until October. Some styles are selling out.
Overall, the quality of Uniqlo collabs is better than their normal collection and some “basics” are worth getting. I like the quality of the flannel shirts/dresses. I like the style of this ultralight down jacket. But for something like a velvet blazer, I’d go to J.Crew. You can’t compare the velvet blazers between the two. This season is also the first men’s IDLF collection.
I’m fairly fond of Drunk Elephant (past mentions). However, I have not tried their sunscreens or soaps. Nor do I plan to. When DE dropped the new Beste jelly cleanser, I thought eh… why not. My experience was consistent with many lackluster reviews, I was not impressed. My skin is normal (I used to think it was combination). In general, I wash my face at least twice a day and do a double cleanse at least once a day. I tried this cleanser on dry skin, wet skin, as an only cleanser, and as a second cleanser.
- Texture: A little goes a long way, but it felt slippery and stripped my skin of moisture despite having Marula oil and glycerin. Maybe it works better for oilier skin. It does foam up.
- Packaging: People were extremely upset at the packaging. The bottom lid is concave, you turn it for the center opening to open and squeeze the tube to dispense cleanser. You turn it back and hear a click for it to lock in place. My bottle never leaked but others complained about it leaking. Also, if you leave it in any wet surface in an upright position, that can’t be hygienic. The tube comes in a cardboard box which has an internal black/white print, which leads a gray line on the right side of the tube.
- Pricing: Drunk Elephant is by no means a wallet-friendly brand. This cleanser is $34 for 5 oz.
Compared with the other jelly cleansers you see here, or my favorite non-jelly second cleanser (Cerave Foaming Facial Cleanser), this cleanser is not worth keeping and already returned to Sephora.
Reviews of the other two cleansers. Both have hyaluronic acid, which is hydrating.
- Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser. Thicker texture. I like it on wet skin. Nice packaging and it comes with stickers for customization. It has a smell – like a mild floral scent of a plastic toy from childhood – but it’s actually from rosewater. This is probably the only Glossier product I like aside from the lip balms. It’s slightly pricier than the next cleanser, but since it’s a thicker cleanser, you will have to use more to properly cleanse. I like trying new cleansers so most likely won’t rebuy. Referral link: 10% off first purchase.
- Lagom Cellup Gel to Water cleanser. Lagom is a Korean brand. Gel = jelly. This cleanser is great — if you wanted a jelly cleanser in concept, this is the one to try. It does not strip at all. In fact, I think it’s super moisturizing*. I love how the gel dissolves into a watery consistency once you swipe it. Similar to the Beste, a little bit goes a long way. I would have be impressed if DE formulated a product like this. (*You will never get enough moisture from a cleanser — you still need actual moisturizer.) It’s also a large tube — at 7.44 fl oz for $17, the cost per oz is almost 1/3 of the Beste cleanser. Find it at Target and Peach & Lily (referral link: $10 off $50 for first purchase). This bottle is lasting me for a while since I rotate cleansers regularly. If I had to decide right now whether I would rebuy one day, I would say yes.
In the summer, my work uniform is usually a dress (often COS) with a cardigan. The cardigan is a necessity — the a/c is blasted on the bus, ferry, and in the office and I also prefer to cover my arms if I’m wearing a sleeveless top. I fell in love with the Uniqlo lightweight cardigan last summer and was sad that the long version didn’t return this year. I did, however, end up buying this Uniqlo light v-neck long sleeve cardigan in black and then returned to get the blue and white. It’s sheer, made of a tencel/lyocell blend, hopefully blocks some UV rays, and is super affordable. I wash it in the machine on delicate. It runs TTS. Uniqlo also says it has a cooling touch and is anti-microbial. Sizes online are scant, but were plentiful when I stopped by the Fifth Avenue store.
Images: Uniqlo JP
What I bought in the second round. The anniversary sale ends on Sunday.
(1) Fresh Eye Cream. I recently read that wrinkles take 6 years to surface. Maybe I should be more diligent with using eye cream (I have not been)… As I mentioned last time, the Nordstrom anniversary sale has a ton of beauty deals and gifts with purchase (gwp), which in my opinion is the best time to buy beauty products in lieu of a site-wide 20-25% off. I get really excited when you can stack gwps for a brand like Fresh since they normally are not that generous with deluxe samples. I got the Fresh Creme Ancienne eye cream, and with it came 7 minis (along with 5 beauty samples from Nordstrom).
- The 5 minis on the left are auto-added with any $125+ Fresh purchase ($83 value).
- The 2 minis on the right above the eye cream are through code DMFRESH (exp unknown) for a $50+ Fresh purchase ($60 value). If you don’t care for these minis, you can get an 17 piece sampler with code DEALMOON (exp unknown) with any beauty/fragrance purchase over $125. You can see its details once you add the code at checkout.
(2) Cubic zirconia stud earrings. I want a pair of diamond studs, but I’m not sure how much I want them. So, these are a low stress experiment to avoid a financial regret! They also come in other sizes.
(3) Gehwol foot cream. I love everything from this German brand.
I looked at the Nordstrom anniversary sale a few days too late and know I already missed out on stuff I don’t really need. What’s nice about the anniversary sale is that they mark down Fall merchandise or what normally does not get marked down. The sale is open to cardholders through Thursday, July 20.
These days, I don’t workout often but I do love wearing Zella leggings on occasion, especially when flying. Zella is a Nordstrom house brand that I would buy at full price in black as it frequently sells out. I prefer high waisted over regular, black over blue, and midi over full length. The Keep it Cool leggings really do keep you cool — I could wear them in balmy Taipei weather. Also, if you need hemming, you get a $100 alterations allowance with the basic, fee-free Nordstrom card. I have yet to try it since I’m not super close to a Nordstrom.
‘Live In’ Midi Leggings (not on sale) | Live In High Waist Leggings | ‘Keep it Cool’ Crop Leggings
I also ordered some other stuff — the search function doesn’t work for showing anniversary items, you have to navigate through the anniversary sale menu. I did some restocking. If you’re a fan of J.Crew or Madewell, they are included in the sale. There are a ton of beauty deals (including lots of gadgets). I prefer to buy electronics through Nordstrom, so I highly recommend checking out the sale if you’re looking for e.g. a new Clarisonic.
Amazon Prime Day has started as of 9pm ET. I’m quite sad my friend missed out on the $45 Instant Pot 9-in-1 deal by minutes, but hope Amazon revives it even for the original $90 deal!
While you need to be a Prime user to partake in most of the deals, here’s a deal for all Amazon users – $5 off $15 any book sold by Amazon.com with code PRIMEBOOKS17 (it didn’t show up when I applied it the first time, I had to return to my cart and re-checkout for it to show). I normally save books I want in the “saved for later” part of my cart and finally ordered the Yayoi Kusama illustrated Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland book:
Image source: Amazon
I have too many striped tees. This one by Maison Labiche is a favorite (tied with Petit Bateau x Kitsune collab). It’s a heavier material (not for summer), but it has a flattering fit and is soft. The sleeves are also not too long on my arms which typically align with petite sizing charts. I think it runs slightly big, yet tailored and neat. They come with an embroidered message on the chest, sometimes cheeky. You can also make your own (if you order from Paris or go to their Paris store). In comparison, Petit Bateau’s classic marinieres cut is boxier, the length/sleeves too long, and made of a stiffer material. And I never was into the classic Saint James tees either for similar reasons. This Maison Labiche top is of better quality than the striped tees that you’d find at J.Crew, Gap, etc. made of thinner material.
Currently Anthropologie has some styles on sale (long sleeve, short sleeve). Also find it at ASOS, Farfetch, Shopbop, East Dane (for him).
Momofuku Milk Bar is dear to my heart. They recently added birthday cake soft serve to the menu, replacing the crack pie soft serve which was tasty considering I don’t like crack pie. It’s amazing how Tosi got the flavoring of a boxed birthday cake mix so right. I love the birthday cake soft serve with the crunch topping (the complimentary sprinkles were too hard), which they also hide at the bottom of the cup.
And then Milk Bar collaborated with Glossier* on a birthday cake scented lip balm. I had to get it! The balm is sparkly and the smell is fantastic. It does not taste like birthday cake.
*Referral link: 20% off first purchase.
I returned the two pairs of Birkenstock Arizonas I wrote about last time. The rose gold upper leather was too stiff and I wasn’t in love with the rose gold. The white pair was just too white.
Verdict: I love the Birkenstock Arizonas in EVA in black. I tested them for warm weather for a week in rainy Taipei and heartily give them two thumbs up.
- Price point
- Easy to clean
- The non-leatherness is not that obvious (for the black color; other than white, the other colors do not have matching buckles)
- Arch support is softer than the leather/cork version and breaks in easy
- Leather-free for those who do not like animal products
- If the straps are on too tight and it’s hot, your feet won’t be able to breath.
- The strap material doesn’t look that durable in that I wouldn’t change the strap holes often.
Sizing: I am normally a US 8 and wear a 38 Narrow in Birkenstocks. I could get buy with 39 (what’s recommended for US 8) but I like 38 more.
Where to Buy: Nordstrom (women, men), Birkenstock, Dick’s Sporting Goods. Amazon is not an authorized seller due to counterfeits — I would avoid Birkenstock. If you are going to Europe, they are cheaper there and have more styles. Birkenstock is a German brand.
I also got the Arizonas in dress blue patent/red bottom. Those need breaking in. I’m not sure if it’s a seasonal color, but only Birkenstock carries this color combination.