Cracked Screens Aren’t Couture

fashion, productivity, Technology

Cracked screens aren’t couture. Your phone is the one accessory which accompanies you everywhere and it’s important that your phone looks well cared for and professional when you pull it out to enter important dates, add a new contact or scan a business card. Just like you, your phone needs to be dressed for the occasion. Here are my top three choices for dressing your iPhone with style and class in every situation.

Ullu

I’m not even sure how I originally heard about ullu, they aren’t sold in retail stores, but these cases are my go to for a slim and classy design. I have a leather snap on and a wally case. The cases are a bit pricey ranging from $75-$400 depending on the style and materials used (ostrich anyone?) but they’re so beautiful. I’d planned on only using these in my smallest handbags because of the slim form factor and lack of rugged protection. The Wally case with its three card slots (and my monogram) was purchased specifically to use in my Louis Vuitton Palm Springs mini backpack (because pulling out a wallet from that bag is annoying) but the case is so gorgeous I use it almost exclusively & am just careful with my phone. No handing it off to the toddler with this case & I’m not sticking a Popsocket to anything this pretty either, so no stand, but it’s worth it. *As a side note, my phone fell off my night stand last night (about a 3 foot drop) & on to a hardwood floor in the Wally case. It’s fine.

Pros:

– Luxury materials

– Light weight

– Slim

– Stylish

– Open ports/easy access

– Monogramming available ($10)

Velvet Caviar

If you’re looking for a trendy, stylish options which offers a modicum of protection, check out Velvet Caviar. These are my gym and exercise cases. They have a slim enough profile but I feel like my phone could actually survive a spill off the treadmill with this case on. The Velvet Caviar cases also work well with Popsockets (which is a great way to prop your phone up on a spin bike or other machine) the site even features some exclusive styles of those handy little stands. Not only is the selection of styles impressive they’re always adding new designs and have descent sales regularly.

Pros:

– Durable

– Easy to wipe down

– Decent protection against falls

– Trendy styles

– Good value for the price

12 South

So I have a thing for wallet cases. I’ve owned 12 South’s original BookBook case since my first iPhone. The case functions as a wallet and a stand but it also has the ability to remove the inner shell and use that as a slim case without the “wallet” portion (on a side note, Ullu offers a similar option with a magnetic backing, something I’m not a fan of, and a flap closure. Again, not a fan). This case does not offer a closure which, I believe, is a selling point. Having a folio style case adds protection to the screen, but it’s one extra step when trying to capture a quick photo. Any type of extra closure, like a flap, I find to be an annoying hindrance. I like this case for traveling. Essentially you’re getting two cases in one so you don’t have to pack an extra case to use in evening bags, it works well for watching movies on a flight and it has the card slots for whichever cards your using, your ID or hotel room keys.

Pros:

– Unique “book” design

– Two cases in one

– Clear plastic ID holder

– Acts as a stand

– Easy to access all ports

– Folio style protects screen in large bags

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Staying Organized in 2018

Organization, productivity, Technology

The holidays are over, 2018 is here, and it’s time to

get organized. Most of us are back to work trying to juggle our professional and personal lives while maintaining our sanity. It’s no wonder some form of productivity tops the list of New Year’s resolutions. The thing is, keeping your life together is more about finding a system as opposed to finding a one stop solution. Here are the five things I use daily (and in conjunction with one another) to stay organized.

I don’t believe in keeping my tasks for home vs. work separate, on a technicality I have three jobs, I don’t want to look at three calendars. I need to see the monstrosity of my day in its entirety. I also prefer a month view over a weekly or daily display, which is again a preference that can be augmented.

Step 1: The Calendars

Erin Condren Monthly View Planner

This is your basic spiral bound monthly planner with extra notebook pages added to the back. The thing I like most about Erin Condren’s line is it’s customizable. This one is large, so it stays parked in one place most of the time (usually my desk at school) but it comes home for the holidays or anytime I have to attend a district meeting. I like being able to come into work and getting that instant visual on what’s coming up. I have extra notebook pages added to the end so that I can take notes on a larger scale tablet and later digitize them if I feel they’re worth keeping. Erin Condren planners can be ordered with daily or weekly agendas as well, you can add stickers, or other accessories, they even have one specifically for teachers (which doesn’t work for me AT ALL, ironically). I have mine customized with my initials and my daughter’s photo. The Louis Vuitton stickers were added later 😜.

Awesome Calendar

This was one of the apps I mentioned in my best of 2017 post. Obviously you need a digital calendar (maybe I shouldn’t say obviously, my parents haven’t jumped on the digital bandwagon yet but they’re close to 80). Digital calendars are just so practical. I started with a Palm m100 (anyone remember those? Am I that old?) when I was doing the acting thing full time and working as an assistant to a producer over at Hollywood Center Studios. My life was crazy because my day never looked the same twice and things were constantly changing. The benefits of a digital calendar is the unlimited space for not just events but notes, directions, and photos as well. We’ve come a long way since those Palm days. I know every phone comes with a calendar app and Google makes a great (free) calendar alternative so why spend $10 on another calendar? Again, it’s about finding what works for you. I like being able to add personal photos as the background to my months. I feel that entering events is intuitive. You can look back on events 5 years in the past or look at your photo calendar (all the photos you’ve taken on a specific day). There’s even a Filofax mode in case you need a bit of nostalgia.

Step 2: My Note Takers

Again, I have a digital and paper version of notebooks to simplify my life. Most of the time I have a Field Notes notebook with me, they’re small, light, and fit in even the smallest of bags. Physical notebooks come in handy if your on the phone and need to write things down,as well as certain meeting situations. I hate carrying my laptop around & I don’t always have my iPad either. Some people don’t understand taking notes on a phone (they automatically think you’re texting) so having a tiny, lightweight notebook keeps you looking professional while capturing your ideas. And you can doodle, come on people, don’t act like you don’t love to draw. On a side note, a small notebook & a highlighter are a great way to entertain a fussy toddler in an emergency.

The final resting place for all my notes is Evernote, my digital notebook. Evernote has been my modern TrapperKeeper for almost a decade. Physical notebooks are great but once they’re full they’re relegated to a desk drawer never to be visited again. I avoid losing handwritten ideas by transferring them to Evernote along with news articles, business cards, photos, and import emails. Everything gets tagged and added to the appropriate notebook. I rarely use it, but voice notes can added as well.

Headphones:

The productivity tool everyone forgets about…until they forget them. 2017 was the year of the video call. Front facing cameras may have improved but microphones could still use some work. LHeadphones help you stay focused and in the conversation. Headphones also give you a hands free option for regular phone calls & voice memos.

Happy New Year! What I’m Bringing From 2017 Into 2018: The Best of 2017

fashion, Technology

Goodbye 2017. Hello 2018. With everyone focused on starting anew, resolutions, and wiping the slate clean, I thought I’d share some of my favorites from 2017 which will be making the transition into the new year with me.

The Bags

Palm Springs Mini Backpack: Hands down my easiest go to bag for running around the neighborhood with my daughter. I’ll be posting my one year review and wear and tear on YouTube this week. I’ve never regretted splurging on this bag.

Gucci SoHo Disco Bag: I love this bag because it’s the crossover between a personal bag and a work bag. I can fit my work keys or a diaper in it and it’s small enough to walk around town or take to the playground.

The Accessories

Louis Vuitton Small Leather Goods:

It took me forever to find a system which worked for me. I change bags a lot and it’s easier when I can grab just a few items to transfer. The winners: a mini pochette (or toiletries 15), a cles, and the round coin purse. Every bag, every time.

Leather iPhone Case(s):

Although not the most protective, they are they most stylish and professional. Right now I’m sporting a snap on case from ullu but I have a soft spot for Twelve South as well. Some of my cases have credit card slots, some don’t , but they all have that soft, lived in, leather look and sleek design.

The Apps

Day One:

I’ve kept my digital journal since 2010 and I’ve never looked back. I started using DayOne back in ‘11 but it’s made my 2017 favorites list because I finally splurged on the subscription service enhancing my experience. Unlimited journals. Lost of photos. A secure server. Password protected.

Awesome Calendar:

Yep, that’s it’s name and that’s what it is, an awesome calendar. I’m not anti paper planner, I use an Erin Condren monthly planner for work and an LV pm agenda next to my bed. I carry a Field Notes notebook with me just about everywhere but my digital calendar is my life line. What I love about Awesome Calendar is how customizable it is. I can add photos, stickers, color code, attach notes, directions, and review what I did on this day in history (because sometimes you’re just curious). This is the closest app to my college planner I’d spend hours decorating with magazine cut outs.

The Beauty

Benefit Hello Flawless Powder Foundation:

I’d heard somewhere that women over 40 shouldn’t use powder because it settles into fine lines and wrinkles. While I’m sure that’s true for some women, I’m still pretty oily and powder foundation helps control that. The formula is light and comfortable while providing complete coverage.

Bangs:

I’m not immune to wrinkles and the saying “bangs or Botox” definitely holds some truth. Besides, ever since my daughter saw Iron Man 3 and said I was Pepper Potts, I have a new affinity for my fringe. As much as I love changing up my look, I think I’ll keep the bangs another year.

The Fashion

Zara:

Zara still dominates my closet for shoes and tops. Unfortunately, the brand has vanity sized me out of pants. In an effort to be more inclusive and diverse the smallest pants size Zara carries in most styles has a 26” waist. But, the brand continues to be innovative, trendy, and affordable so I can spend top dollar on more expensive jeans elsewhere.

The Guilt App:

Speaking of denim, Guilt offers a wide variety of styles, brands, and sizes. I’ve even been able to find a size 22 on occasion. The best part is most of the merchandise is discounted. Guilt carries more than jeans, you can find everything from designer bags to vacation getaways.

Remember, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. There’s no need to get caught up in the hype. If you love something, keep it. Happy New Year.

The Bag Has Been Found!!!! 

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The bag has been found! Hallelujah. What couldn’t be accomplished in three weeks was accomplished in three days when I started to use my voice and the power of the internet. Go social media. If social media is the bane of interpersonal relationships, it’s the champion of customer service. Here is what I’ve learned from my experience:1. Pay attention! It turns out they did have camera footage, they just hadn’t received it when they made their first offer. I’m lucky that they keep their footage for an extended period of time. I should’ve paid closer attention, checked on my bags more often and caught the problem sooner. This wasn’t anyone’s “fault” but I should have been more vigilant. 

2. Call always. Call often. As great as email is for leaving a paper trail, noting beats speaking with a real person. The customer service representatives were great. And somehow, even though it was written in the emails, it was still being miscommunicated that we were looking for a Speedy 30 and not a Speedy 35b. It was Stacey in customer care who caught the error. 

3. Skip the validation. This wouldn’t have happened if I had sent the bags directly to the realreal company warehouse. I sent the bags to a validation specialist FIRST to get a price quote. It was somewhere in the transfer between validation and warehouse where things got funky. What I think happened was that the bag in question was removed from the box and brought in separately. I can’t be sure. But it fits with what happened. 

4. The words “legal” and “freelance writer” get some attention. Don’t use them lightly and don’t lie about your intentions. When they initially offered me $200 based, of course, on the wrong bag I meant it. I’ve subsequently been given a very fair price. 

So, it all worked out. Thankfully. And I learned something. Which is good, right? And maybe you’ve learned something…or gained knowledge from my experience. 

You Have to Know What You’re Looking For. 

fashion, Technology

The saga continues…First of all, I want to say that TheRealReal did reach out to me today and it appears someone is paying attention. Furthermore, just remember that every time you deal with a customer service representative, you’re dealing with someone totally unrelated to the problem. They’re just doing their job. So be nice to them. Today I spoke with Stacy who help ease my worry. It turns out that the company is NOT stopping their investigation, which is what I want. I want to find this bag. End goal. I kinda feel as though the money is already lost, but I want that bag found. It’s a personal pride issue. And I remember a time when I was home on maternity leave that this money would have made a huge difference, so I want to make sure that it doesn’t happen to anyone else. 

Here is what I learned today:

– First, the offer of $200 was based on them looking for the wrong bag. Yep. Not even looking for the correct bag. They were looking for a Speedy 30. Mine is a Speedy 35b. That’s a significant price difference. And now I have them trying to find the correct bag. For the record Speedys range in size from nano to 40. 40 is like luggage. I’d originally thought I’d use the 35 as a diaper bag, but it was just too large and cumbersome for my 5’2” 95 pound frame. I actually got tangled in it once. The “b” stands for BANDOULIERE. What it really comes down to is the “b” has a crossbody strap where the classic Speedy does not. The current retail price of this bag is $1,410. The retail price of the bag they thought they were looking for is $970. 

– Second, according to them, the monitory offer is not a settlement. It does not mean that they stop looking for the bag. I did not get this impression from the original email, but…maybe that was just the way I interpreted it. 

– Finally, although camera footage was requested, it was never obtained. Interesting. It was requested again at the time I was on the phone. 

So…we shall see. The fact that the company is willing to work with me says a lot. And now we’re looking for the correct bag, which makes a huge difference. Again, I shall keep you posted as the saga continues. 

A Very RealReal Problem With Online Consignment 

fashion, Technology

In 1951 Ray Bradbury predicted a futuristic world in which people wouldn’t leave their homes electing instead to remain indoors “Everything went on in the tomblike houses at night now, he thought, continuing his fancy. The tombs, ill-lit by television light, where the people sat like the dead, the gray or multicolored lights touching their faces, but never really touching them.” (“The Pedestrian”). Well, Mr. Bradbury, you were correct but it wasn’t television that dehumanized us: It was the internet. I’m going through a particularly stressful situation with a consignment company called TheRealReal. They’ve lost a fairly expensive bag I sent to them in July and are attempting to get me to settle for a nominal amount of money. I do want to be compensated for the bag (a Louis Vuitton Speedy B 35 purchased 8/4/16) but more than that I want to find out how this could have happened and prevent it from happening to anyone else. So how is this the fault of the internet? Technically, I guess it isn’t, but at no time in the past three weeks since the discovery of the problem, has anyone from the company called me personally. My only telephone conversation was initiated by me and despite the customer service representative acknowledging the fact that I was clearly upset no further personal communication was ever attempted. Everything was communicated via email. I find this an insult added to my injury. 

Let me explain exactly what happened and how the bag went missing:

– At the end of July 2017 I consigned five bags with TheRealReal, a highly reputable online consignment business. The company sent me a packing list which had all five items and assigned them each a bar code. 

– Shipped the bags. 

– I received an email that the bags were received and that I could expect a combined selling price of around $4,000. At this time all of the bags were accounted for. No one told me a bag was missing. They sent me a packing list for five bags, I was given an accurate and fair price for the five bags. Everything was in order. If a bag was missing, I’d assume this would have been the time to mention it. 

– All five bags were listed in my account. 

– Mid August I checked on the bags and they had all sold with the exception of the bag in question. I did not check on the remaining bag until mid September. 

– The bag had been removed from my account and when I made an inquiry, I was told the bag did not exist. 

What. Just. Happened? 

As soon as I discovered the bag was missing I called (the customer service rep said someone would call me shortly after looking into it, which never happened), emailed, and tweeted the company. When I hadn’t heard from them after a week I emailed them again. Finally I was told that there was camera footage from the warehouse. Thank goodness, right? Fail safes in place. Nope. I was told a week later that they could not locate the bag. So sorry. Please accept $200. I can’t tell you how sick to my stomach I felt after reading that email. 

The problem is I have no idea what I could have done differently. The bag was received and listed on my account. I should have paid closer attention, I guess. If this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. 

I have no idea what happened. Like I said, this is a reputable company and I’ve had positive experiences with them in the past but the way this was handled was (is…I’m not letting it go. I want to see that camera footage along with proof that they confirmed every LV SpeedyB 35 in mono print sold between 7-28 & 9-18 2017 was credited to the correct account) inappropriate and unacceptable. 

* As an amendment: I have all of my original emails concerning the consignment. After sending the bags they were received by a consignment specialist in the LA area. She held the bags, inspected the bags, and assigned them a value. It is 100% my fault that I did not realize that the bag in question was not named in the validation email. It was assessed and given a value, ironically enough, but not specifically named. I take full responsibility for not catching the error and I will post all of my email correspondence, but should that be a 1,000 dollar error? This woman had my bag in her hands. I’ve emailed her and am eagerly awaiting her response. My next step is to do a screencast of the email chain to send to customer service. I would like to believe that this is a clerical error and that somehow my bag was accredited to another account and not some “funny business” and at this point, I believe this is the case. Since tomorrow is Monday, I assume that I will hear from the company. I have no plans to reach out to them tomorrow since I’ve already sent several emails and tweets over the weekend. We shall see what happens. 

This is becoming a trend…

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This is clearly turning into something with another belt bag sighting via Vogue. The thing is, I still can’t get the Gucci gg marmont matelassé leather belt bag to work into my rotation. Even if the strap were longer, it’s just a touch too tiny even for my minimalist daily essentials. Ironically, buying the bag has led me to appreciate my latest purchase, the Louis Vuitton six key holder, which I hadn’t been impressed with initially and my LV Eva clutch (out of my rotation for roughly a year). 

After being forced to keep my keys on a simple ring again, I concluded that I really did prefer the key holder. And it fits easily into that Eva clutch. I’m still using the key cles in place of my Chanel O case because of going to the beach, etc. but that darn belt bag. 

Finally Got Around to…

fashion

Finally got around to posting the Gucci Belt Bag Review video. Again, not the greatest video but it gets the job done. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t even end up using the bag for the rest of that day. I went to the gym and then transferred my things into a Louis Vuitton Eva clutch. There’s a bit of irony there since I hadn’t been using my Eva on account that I’d felt it was too small, but it’s a lot larger than the belt bag. I’m even getting use out of the six key ring holder I’d been regretting. Turns out I like the key holder better than I like having the keys loose on a ring in a bag after all…thanks Gucci belt bag. If it hadn’t been for the belt bag I would still have the Eva in my closet and be less enthused about the six key holder. Of course I’m back to the LV mini Palm Springs backpack. I just love that bag. It is absolutely perfect for my needs. 

The Gucci Marmont Belt Bag

fashion

It’s a fanny pack. I didn’t exactly want a fanny pack…oh, I’m sorry “belt bag”, but I did want another hands free bag and I THOUGHT I had the perfect solution with the Gucci Marmont belt bag. Side note: I plan on doing a YouTube video on this bag sometime within the week when it’s more convenient. Because the plan was to wear the bag crossbody style. My mistake (huge mistake) was ordering the bag in the smallest size. I should have called the 800 number and asked for assistance in sizing, but I’m so accustom to being small. I made the assumption that the small size would fit crossbody on a small person, no such luck. For reference: I’m 5’2″ tall, weigh 98 (ok, technically 97.6) pounds, with a natural waist of 22.5″ (I’m guessing around 24 or 25″ in the sweatshirt). Crossbody is not really an option unless wearing the bag at this height becomes a “thing”. It’s not really uncomfortable, it just looks weird. 

And the bag is small! I mean really small. I can barely fit the iPhone 7 Plus in there. When looking at the measurements, it appeared to be comparable to a Chanel mini but now that I have the bag in my hands it feels smaller. What the bag can actually hold is:

The iPhone 7 Plus in a very slim case, RayBan aviator sunglasses, my keys (no keychains), an eyeliner, one lip product, a Bobbi Brown corrector, and an LV key cles. That’s it. It’s stuffed. 
How I plan on using this bag this week: for the most part I plan on using it as a bag within a bag for the next four days. In the gym bag in for the morning then take it out and use it alone on walks with my daughter. In my Speedy or Neverfull along with all my computer stuff for two days of work and then again take it out for trips around town with my baby girl. After that…I’m not really sure. I’m not sure this bag will make it into my regular rotation or end up being sold like my WOC. I guess I could try to return it for the larger size strap…but I’m not really much of a returner. I’ll have to think it over. I just hope my experience helps someone else. It makes a nice pouch or clutch without the belt if that’s helpful. If you have any styling suggestions, please let me know. Until then, wish me luck. Looks like I’ll be sporting a fanny pack.