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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.

Pluses:

  • Price point
  • Lightweight
  • 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

Cons:

  • 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.

(1) New Balance 696 Reengineered Polka Dot Running Sneaker – I like polka dots. They come in navy or brown (looks very brown here but reads warm/burgundy to me). I found the brown ones on super sale and went with that, but won’t be using them as running shoes. Available on sale in very limited sizes at Urban Outfitters and Bloomingdales and in more sizes at Free People. I sized 0.5 size up.

(2) Old Navy Laser-Cut Peep-Toe Sandals. These have been semi-restocked. They run wide in the front and slightly long. I’m going to see if sizing down works. I love the delicate lace look but don’t intend for them to last past a season or two. Reasonable for $15 (on sale) and synthetic material. They come in gold, black, coral and white/nude. The nude is out of stock.

(3) My feet are craving some arch support. I haven’t worn Birks in a while (and actually sold my old ones), but it’s time to get some again. I’m not sure if I love these Arizonas in rose gold or white (too white!). You can find them at Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom, and Zappos. I sized down, but was on the border of going TTS and take the narrow width. I.e. I’m a US 8 and should be EU 39 but went with EU 38.

Good news. The new Tata Harper Beautifying Face Oil is now available at Nordstrom and Sephora.
Bad news. The price is going from $48 to $68! Packaging update aside, a 40% price increase and no changes in size (30ml/1fl oz) or ingredients is a bit ridiculous!

The oil was previously only available on Tata’s own site, where it is still available for $48. (Referral link for $25 off $100). It is squalene based, I love the smell, and it’s quite lovely, but it’s not life changing. My bottle has lasted a long time since I don’t use it all the time. You can use the push method for a glow (I’m currently tampering down my glow).

 

Image: Tata Harper; Sephora

 

PSA — 30% off Baggu on Macy’s and up to $15 in gift cards from Target on Laneige purchases!

Macy’s has a VIP sale going on. Get 30% off lots of stuff including current season Baggu and 15% off beauty (they carry Peach & Lily and Shangpree masks).

Images: Baggu

Korean brand Laneige is clearing out of Target and moving to Sephora. I think most Laneige purchases get a $10 gift card, which stacks with the $5 gift card for $20+ beauty purchase for a total of $15 Target gift cards. Some stuff is sold out, but if you like this yogurt mask (use as overnight mask), you’re in luck. Especially since Target gift cards are like cash unless you have self-restraint of steel.

Image: Target

The Spring/Summer Uniqlo x Ines de la Fressange collaboration dropped yesterday. It’s inspired by the Southern port city of Marseille and is breezy and casual. Read cotton, sun dried, ruffled, less polish and ironing.

Flagship NYC Fifth Avenue store. The striped sweater is a linen blend and pilling on the rack (warning).

Women IDLF Rayon Printed Wrap Front Dress

The sad thing is that the pictured straw tote is not sold at Uniqlo.

As usual, the US Uniqlo site isn’t that great for lookbooks. For reviews/lookbook/styling info:

I stopped by the NYC flagship store yesterday (launch date) for a quick browse. The racks were surprisingly well stocked and there was no crowd. I had already placed an order online (and hope they don’t majorly mess up my order like the last IDLF drop). Some items I saw online had no appeal to me but had the opposite effect in person. In general, sizing looks similar to prior IDLF collections (true to size), but there are some items that are cut more generously whether it’s due to the fabric or fit due to the Marseilles concept.

The shirt jacket is unlined and lightweight, the stadium jacket is thicker (but not my style). Both come in various colors.

Women IDLF Twill Rayon Windowpane Shirt Jacket, Women IDLF Satin Stadium Jacket

The polo sweater quickly sold out and is one of the few items I would put in the ‘fits small’ category. It comes in 4 colors and 3 of them have a light colored collar. I have an aversion to light colored collars. Hand wash only.

Women IDLF Polo Short-Sleeve Sweater

This tee is a thicker knit with a clingier fit. It is very stretchy. I wish the neck was a crewneck.

Women IDLF Ribbed Striped Crewneck Short-Sleeve T-Shirt

This collection has a ton of shirtdresses. Some of them are called tunics, but they’re long enough to wear as a dress. The one on the left was a quick seller and has a microdot print on a thicker indigo fabric. The pintuck makes it look abnormally long, but it looks normal in person. A belt might work with it. In general, these have a generous fit around the bust and are hip friendly. However, unless you have skinny arms, the sleeves may be too tight to comfortably size down.

Women IDLF Indigo Printed Pullover Long-Sleeve Tunic, Women IDLF Cotton Poplin Long-Sleeve Tunic

Close-up of the microdot print. It also comes in a shirt.

Women IDLF Indigo Printed Pullover Long-Sleeve Shirt

Aside from stripes, the collection has a lot of dots. On the left is the wrap dress in the promotional pictures. It comes in black or brown. Brown polka dot dresses always remind me of the horse race dress Julia Roberts wore in Pretty Woman  In general, I found the other rayon dotted items (shirts, skirts) to be boring. The dots on the dress on the right are less boring.

Women IDLF Rayon Printed Wrap Front Dress, Women IDLF Cotton Lawn Printed Pin Tuck Long-Sleeve Tunic

There is always a navy blazer in every collection. This one has wider lapels and single button closure. The linen jacket is unlined hence lightweight and comes off casual despite being in a more serious plaid print.

Women IDLF Blazer, Women IDLF Linen Jacket

More un-boring dots on silk neck scarves. Uniqlo recently had some other dot neck scarves that had a more interesting print, although it was in a thin silk-like polyester and hence half the price.

Women IDLF Silk Printed Scarf

These straw-looking totes were larger than expected. They looked pretty durable for being woven paper and are fully lined in cotton. I’m not sure how popular woven paper is in general, but the woven paper panama hat I got in Provence is still going strong after 2 summers!

Women IDLF Paper Bag

Images: Uniqlo

This deal is available online and at select stores. They are stackable and very popular with the makeup community. If you purchase online you have to pay an additional handling fee for each unit and shipping. Not every store is running the promotion — it’s confirmed at the new Boston Newbury store, the Soho NYC store (which is closing for renovation at the end of February), and reported at a SoCal store. The Soho store also marked down most of their stock, excluding cosmetics/skincare, aroma diffusers, and luggage.

All light grey inserts in the cases below are sold separately.



Images: Muji

I made three boot purchases this winter season. The J.Crew Chelsea Boot was the one of them. I tried both my normal size and half a size down. I have wider feet (but not officially wide) and liked my normal size more with thin socks. The heel is a little over an inch and very comfortable. It also comes in two other shades of brown, but I’ve always been more of a black boot person. I got them for a great sale price in-store and am very happy with the purchase. Otherwise, I was keeping an eye on & Other Stories for Chelsea boots.

It’s been a while since I had a downsizing post. Three years to be exact. As someone who likes new fangled things, I do not bring every material good into my home with the intent of keeping it “forever”. So it’s a good thing I don’t mind the trouble of reselling. If I didn’t care about money, I would’ve donated all of it, but I’d like a return for what I’ve spent even if it’s what I call “lunch money” (which isn’t that cheap here).

Here are tips on reselling on eBay (and a few notes for Poshmark):

Photos. Take actual photos and make sure they are flattering. Use natural sunlight if you can. If you can find stock photos, add them in as well but be aware that on eBay some companies are vigilant about pulling down photos (whether it’s reported by another user or they have someone trolling posts). This is the case for Uniqlo, Zara, and Asos, and used to be the case for J.Crew, but I think they stopped. I’ve also gotten a listing for COS pulled but I’m pretty sure it was reported by another user (competitor). If you use Poshmark, I don’t think you have to worry at all about stock photos. You are limited to the number of photos, I sometimes do collages for Poshmark. In general, I save stock photos and descriptions of what I buy as a record for myself and it makes it easier when I want to resell.

Measurements. I hate getting questions on measurements so I will include basic measurements when I post. Yes, it’s painful but I’ve found that stuff goes a lot quicker this way. I’ve become best friends with my measuring tape.

Condition. I’m very descriptive and will admit if it’s dusty/wrinkly, etc. and needs to be cleaned. I’m definitely not washing everything I’m selling, but am not selling anything that’s in a deplorable condition.

Pricing. Be realistic. Do you want to maximize your inflow or just get some money to get rid of it? What is the going price (you can search completed listings)? I do fixed price listings on eBay and almost always have the Best Offer option enabled, with a minimum price built in. Many folks buy without attempting an offer. I also do periodic sweeps and will lower my prices.

Take Home Pay. For new sellers, find a calculator online to figure out how much you’re taking home after eBay fees, PayPal fees, etc. If you use Poshmark, the app will tell you your future earnings when you finalize your listing.

Shipping. I always have a flat shipping fee stated for the US with some padding built in to absorb the fee/trouble. If you’re not familiar with shipping items, have a very good understanding before you list an item, or else you may eat away your earnings with shipping fees. I also have the luxury of not having to go to the post office. I drop items off for pickup 99.9% of the time. If it’s something expensive ($750+) and I need a receipt for drop-off, I will go in person.

  • “Free” Shipping. Since eBay charges you fee for 10% of your shipping fee, sometimes it makes sense to pad it into your price. Especially, if it’s a fairly cheap item that can be mailed via First Class Mail* (under 16 ounces through PayPal/eBay shipping). But don’t always offer free shipping. If you can’t afford for someone to reject your package and eat the cost, don’t do free shipping.
  • Shipping Supplies. For eBay, I ship First Class Mail and Priority Mail 99.9% of the time. For First Class Mail (up to 16 oz on eBay/PayPal), I’ve purchased padded poly envelopes and poly bags from eBay (link) and save almost all of the bubble padding that I get from my own online purchases. Since First Class Mail requires precision down to the ounce, I have a basic scale that I got for free from eStamps ages ago. For Priority Mail, I ship most often with padded flat rate envelopes that you need to order from USPS (link). For times when I can’t use the above (or Poshmark), I use my own boxes or Priority Mail boxes. My favorite tape is purchased from Amazon (link). I also use shipping label paper (link). In general, you shouldn’t be spending much on supplies unless you sell a lot.
  • International Shipping. I used to ship internationally on my own, but now I use eBay’s Global Shipping program where you ship your item to a US eBay center and then they ship it to the buyer abroad. It’s stress-free because I only have to worry about domestic tracking — eBay handles the international part which can be stressful. The pricing the buyer sees includes customs and eBay relies on the seller to put a weight estimate (especially if it’s over a pound). I’m not sure how eBay transports the items but I heard they might do a bulk shipment.

When to Sell. It’s best to sell in-season, but if you can’t, it’s not the end of the world. For some reason, Uniqlo lightweight down sells fairly well in the summer.

Handling Time. I’m not Amazon Prime. I put 5 business days and have done 10 before in the past. Better to exceed expectations than not meet them. Once in a while, I have an annoying buyer asking if I can ship immediately. I point back to my handling time. Poshmark has stricter rules on how soon you have to ship.

Cross-posting. I sometimes do eBay and Poshmark. Poshmark is a pain, in my opinion, because it’s only available on the app. Certain things tend to sell easier on Poshmark for higher prices to boot, so don’t discount that (my guess is some people never withdraw their earnings and use that to shop). eBay is still better for niche brands (including Muji, Uniqlo) and Poshmark is better for mainstream/trend.

What I’ve been Selling

Skincare/Haircare/Cosmetics. I tend to stock up so there were instances where I stopped using a product, stuff expiring faster than I can use it, or “free samples” or items that came in a set. It is also quite amazing how people will pay more than full price for something that they can buy online. Note: you can’t sell used cosmetics on eBay and Poshmark but you can sell used skincare/haircare on eBay (not sure about Poshmark).

  • Sample/travel sizes from Birchbox (no longer getting this), Sephora Play!, and Sephora orders. I categorize my samples for the most part using Ikea clear plastic bins. I bundled samples and listed them by category (e.g. perfume, foundation, eye shadow/blush, one brand, skincare, etc.) These were all instances where some $ was better than none and I got enough money for probably a few retail Birchboxes. Some samples sell well on their own or if you have multiples of the same brand, e.g. NARS, Tata Harper, Drunk Elephant, and Glamglow. (Although if I knew anyone local who liked this stuff, I would’ve given it away for free.)

Costume Jewelry/Belts. I used to like buying them way too much!

(Sun)glasses. I’m not a nostalgic person for keeping my history of sunglasses. I even sold my old glasses frame (they were a designer brand). These sell better on Poshmark.

Plaid/Black/Navy Clothes. I got sized out, have something too similar, and/or didn’t love it anymore. In general, most clothes I have are of good quality (whether it is fashion or not), well maintained, and had little to no signs of wear. Photographing black/navy is not the most fun.

Buttondown Shirts. There are some J.Crew buttondowns that I’m sad to see go, but there just isn’t enough time to wear all of them. (Blazers will be next…)

Sample Sale Hauls. I went to these in my younger days with much regret. I’m finally selling some of that stuff. This includes lots of leather Baggu items and Orla Kiely. I avoid sample sales now.

Purses. In general, anything that I’ve bought in recent years that I didn’t LOVE most likely was eliminated. I’ve gotten rid of my Clare V non-totes and all but one of my vintage Coach bags (many of them are too small to be practical).

Old Navy. This goes for any non-activewear. I’ve bought a decent amount of cotton dresses over the years and I end up falling out of love with them. They resell fairly well considering how much I bought them for.

The Mansur Gavriel pop-up shop in the Soho area of NYC has been open from mid-November through January 11. After MG announced the expansion of their Saffiano line on December 13, it gave me incentive to check out the saffiano bags. Unfortunately, MG bags are still final sale when you purchase from mansurgavriel.com, which I strongly dislike because (1) they are expensive (2) many styles/colors are only available directly from MG who normally doesn’t have a storefront and (3) MG can be difficult with any flaws on the bag (this is based on personal experience and what I’ve read on TPF). I consider myself lucky that I live near their pop-up.

The pop-up is very spacious, minimalist, and pink. If you don’t like rose quartz pink which is popular with MG and Glossier, tough luck! I went mid-afternoon and got personal attention from both SA’s — not all stocked items are displayed and they also mentioned that they have the large lady bag in stock. There is also plenty of seating for the men and a fancy flower shop.

As I was trying on the bags, I realized that if I ever were to get another, I would need a regular sized lady bag so I can hold letter sized paper. I also was surprised at how gorgeous the tumbled leather is! The tumbled leather bag was lying around (the sales assistants try their best to put away bags while answering questions) and I think I might like it more than the saffiano, which is unfortunate for my wallet. The tumbled leather style is thicker than expected, perhaps due to the canvas lining, and will not stand on its own unless you stuff it. Out of all of the MG bag styles, the lady bag is my favorite and uniquely MG.

Pricing is higher than the bucket, given the style and construction:

  • Mini Lady: vegetable tanned $750, saffiano $795, tumbled or calf $1050
  • Lady: vegetable tanned $895, saffiano $945, tumbled or calf $1195

Orders with MG sent to NJ, NY, and CA have sales tax.

This “baby bucket” is exclusive to the pop-up and designed for a baby/toddler. It fits your smartphone if it’s not XL.

The mini lady bag in black saffiano and rosa saffiano with matching interiors.

I compared the mini lady with a regular lady in calf leather and quickly noticed the fraying thread. Ick. I have a detailed post on regular lady vs mini lady bag size here.

The saffiano leather is a very structured leather. Maybe it’s a little too structured for the lady bag style.

It’s hard to see, but there were dirt marks on the rosa saffiano. Not impressed even if it’s a floor sample. This cemented my decision to steer away from a rosa saffiano lady. I have a rosa saffiano mini bucket (review) which has some dirt marks that couldn’t be easily removed with a baby wipe. I asked the SA how to clean it and referred me to Leather Spa. That’s a cop out answer to me.

Regular lady bag in peony pink calf leather, mini lady bag in royal blue tumbled leather

Circle of MG lady bags, clockwise from left: black saffiano mini lady, red calf lady, rosa saffiano mini lady, and blu tumbled mini lady.

Love the non-knot of this peony tumbled leather mini lady

Closer look