Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Le Tote Review

Netflixs for clothes is how some bloggers describe Fashion startup Le Tote. I wouldn’t necessary go that far. Netflixs (streaming at least) is instant and you can choose what film you want to see. With Le Tote a stylist chooses clothes and accessories for you based on your style preferences (i.e., Blake Lively vs. Kate Middleton, Zara vs. Anthropologie). For about $49 a month ($54 if you want to add the extra $5 for insurance) you receive a personally styled box filled with three garments and two accessories. Return the used items in a prepaid envelope and in 4-6 days (this is my current timeline) you get your next box.

What I like about the service is when it works it works well. For example, I wore all of my clothes in my box #2. I woke up and didn’t have to think about what to wear because I wore what was in the box. I didn’t have to think about dry cleaning or searching through my closet. Since they sent me in between season items –sleeveless shirts, thin tops, and a sleeveless dress when it was 40 degrees outside I did have to put some thought and my own style into the process but I styled the outfit around their Le Tote garments. Le Tote also gives you the chance to wear clothes you would normally never pick out for yourself.

When Le Tote fails (aka all the clothes utterly disappoint) then it’s a flat out waste of money and a perfectly good cardboard box. I have to say (and display below) that 2/3 of the boxes were waste. I did change my style preference after my first disappointing box but at this point I’m not sure it really matters. In their defense I understand that when a start-up grows it’s difficult to meet the increasing volume especially if the staff and inventory might not be at the same growth rate. My husband is in a start-up and I live less than a mile from a thousand San Francisco start-ups so I completely get it but as a consumer paying $54 a month to wear 3 garments a month is no value at all.  It would be a better value to raid my friends’ closets, shopping at Forever 21 or wear the abundant supply clothes in my own closet (where is the fun in that right).

To my Le Tote stylist whoever you are I have some suggestions for you:

1.)     Allow the customer to choose between what type of garments they want. For example, I would prefer you send me clothes I could wear to work. Please stop sending me studded sleeveless shirts. I haven’t gone clubbing in months.

2.)   Consider buying more seasonal clothes. Thin flowing pink printed polyester dresses might be more durable but it’s freezing outside. You know this because we essentially live in the same city.

3.)   There should be a function where the customer can choose exactly what garments they would like to borrow (i.e. blazer, maroon dress, etc.). I know that’s a bit controlling but in the end it would ensure a more satisfied customer.

4.)    Is there a function where I can choose what colors I would like? Aka please stop sending me bright red and baby pink –not my colors. I could go on but I’ll stop right here. I will wait for my next   box and if that’s still unsuccessful than I will have to end my Le Tote membership and continuing shopping at MyHabit.com (ßgeez I love this site).

5.) My friend Susan also suggested that there should be a feature where you can upload a picture of yourself and maybe knowing what you look like can increase a better box for the customer (think: skin tone, individual style, body shape all matters in fashion and buying clothes). 

Here are my first three boxes below....

Box #1: I wore NONE of the clothing and the jewelry. I hated the pinks and the blue shirt looked like a potato sack on me. 

From Box #2 (p.s. the necklace is mine):

Pink Shirt

Basic Black Dress (worn with a heat-tech thermal)

Diamond Top (worn with another Heat-Tech thermal)

From Box #3

I didn't like anything so I sent the entire box back. Also, the sizes ranged from XS- Medium. 

Stay tuned for Le Tote mystery box #4...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Guide to Selling Your Wedding Dress

As a psychologist I like watching other psychologists at work. So I'm a fan of the TLC show "My Shopping Addiction".  In summary it's a show about two clinical psychologists using Cognitive Behavioral Techniques (CBT) to rid others of their excessive materialism. Truth- I also love watching this show because it makes my shopping issues look completely normal -although my husband begs to differ, but he has no psychology degree so he has no expertise in this matter. Anyways, one of the psychologist said something very profound to one of their $50,000 in shopping debt client. He told her that our memories are in our heads and not in our clothes. This comment is sooo true but I think one of the reasons why women and men have such a hard time purging their closet is because we attach memories and emotions to garments.

When I started cleaning out my closet I knew I had to sell my wedding dress. For one, I will NEVER wear it again and second it took up way too much room. It was actually super easy to sell my dress and I had over 12 inquiries. In the end I ended up selling to a woman living in Idaho. Her parents who live four hours away actually drove to San Francisco so they could pay me in cash and pick up the dress. They were soooo ridiculously sweet and in the end I asked them if they could send me a picture of their daughter in the dress after her wedding day. Although, my wedding day was one of the happiest days of my life the memories live on in pictures and in my head -not in an ivory Vera Wang dangling on a hanger. The cash also cheered me up too :-)

The Guide to Selling Your Wedding Dress

1.) Get your wedding dress professionally cleaned and make sure they place it in a garment bag.

2.) Set up a listing on a popular preowned wedding dress site. I used www.preownedweddingdresses.com.  It cost me $25 and the listing appears until your dress sells. It is also the #1 site that comes up when you search "preowned wedding dresses". I also like this site because they do not take a percentage of the dress when it sells. 

3.) Make sure you include quality pictures on your posting. I received many e-mails asking me for more pictures so I also included a link to my wedding photographer's site.

4.) Price your dress correctly. You should google your dress to determine what others are selling it for used. There is also a pricing guide on preowned if you aren't sure.

                                                             Good Luck!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Simple Italian Dinner

The first rule of having a dinner party is to invite guests. Simple as that seems it sometimes gets lost in translation or social media. Last Friday night I was hosting dinner for (what I thought) 6-8 people. In the end we only had five guests -one flaked  -which was o.k. because he was invited one hour before we started cooking and the other two I forgot to invite (details, details, etc.). 

Besides the missing guests we ended up having a great time. After coming back from Italy I was inspired to cook for friends but I didn't want to slave over the kitchen. Below is what I served. The entire dinner was inexpensive, relatively healthy, and most of all delicious.  Total cooking time is under 2 hours (including prep). I also served a green salad (with grilled zucchini and red pepper) and of course gelato for dessert. 

Course 1: Pesto & Tomato Bruschetta 
                 -Slice a baguette, brush olive oil on both sides.
                 -Bake in the oven for 350 degrees for 5 minutes
                 -Take out and then spread pesto (we bought a wonderful jar in Cinque Terre) or a fresh  
                  tomato mixture
                -Put back in the oven and bake for additional 5 minutes

Course 2: Green Salad

Course 3: Low fat Spinach Lasagna (made with cottage cheese instead of ricotta)

Vegetable Side: Green Beans wrapped in Prosciutto
                   -Boil water
                   -Blanche green beans in the water for 1-2 minutes
                   -Drain green beans
                   -Heat oven to 350 degrees
                   -Bundle green then wrap a slice of prosciutto around the bundle
                   -Bake on a cookie sheet for 5 minutes until prosciutto is crisp

Course 4: Blood orange salad
                   -Peel 4-5 blood oranges
                   -Brush olive oil on the oranges
                   -Cut some slices of red onion
                   -Add a few slices of olives or capers
                  -Add a touch of rock salt and pepper

Course 5: Gelato (purchased at Whole Foods)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Look for Less: Valentino Rockstud Patent Sandal

Today's "Look for Less" features the ultra studded and sexy Valentino Rockstud Patent Sandal. I LOVE these shoes although I'm not sure how comfortable they are. If you also love the look but not the price check out Sole Society's Margie Studded pump for $49.99. If that price isn't sweet enough use the coupon code "INFLUENSTER25 for $25 off any pair of shoes including these lovelies. 

Valentino Rockstud Sandal $945

Sole Society's Margie $49.99

Look for Less: Sheer Polka Dot Golden Globes Dress

I have to applaud Rachel Weiz for stepping outside of the box and wearing this sheer polka dot Louis Vuitton dress to the Golden Globes. I know some websites criticized her look because they didn't think it was "fancy enough" but she looked stunning, elegant, playful, and most of all memorable. If you want to replicate this look for MUCH MUCH less than check out this $31 polka dot net veil from Choies.com. Pair it with a satin black belt and black heels to complete the look. 

Choies $31.99

Satin belt $7.95

Monday, January 14, 2013

Black and White Ruffle: Looks for Less

I'm in the middle of working on a report but I had to do a quick "Look for Less" post. I promise to be BETTER at updating my blog after this week. The past two months I was working three jobs ->can we say "Jamaica Mon". Anyways, I'm no longer teaching a graduate school course (phew) and I can now concentrate on my two other jobs and periodically cleaning my home. This "Look for Less" is also a shot out to the return of one of my favorite shows on HBO "Girls". Can't wait to watch the first episode of season two. I just need to finish this report...

Zosia Mamet in Moschino

from Zara's new Collection $99

It's basically the same dress except upside down. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Still Recovering...

There we were celebrating New Years Eve in Bologna, which some consider may have the best food in all of Italy. My husband booked us reservations at Da Cesari which is highly rated and was one of the few restaurants recommended by Frommer's. Being a semi-foodie I was excited about our six course meal that also included a bottle of red wine, a bottle of champagne, and an aperitivo. The restaurant was charming (it's over 100 years old), the service was impeccable, but after course number three my stomach turned on me. I hope none of the restaurant staff thought I was anorexic because my numerous trips to the bathroom and because I turned down dish after dish -even the tempting dessert plate and the bottle of champagne. To this day I'm not sure what happened. My husband thinks I might have had a food allergy since I was basically afraid of food for about two entire days. Not able to eat and traveling in Italy is basically a form of first world torture. I am slowly recovering and taking it slow but on the positive side I haven't gained 10 pounds in Italy.

Here are some highlights from Bologna. It's a beautiful city and apart with what happened on NYE the handmade pasta (a Bologna specialty) is something to definitely try if you are in the area.

Course #4 @ Da Cesari -I wanted to crawl under the table and die but the staff would eventually notice.

The Mechanical Monkey  burns in Piazza Maggiore on NYE

Happy New Years Everyone! 

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