Archives for January 2016

01.19.16

Guide To Buying Used Handbags

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The cost of a designer handbag can start from a few hundred all the way to the hundreds of thousands! That’s pretty steep for a handbag, but we all have our vices. There are some people who spend money on shoes, others that spend money on electronics. My husband likes to spend money on vacations, I like to buy designer handbags. But what I enjoy more than anything is saving money!

Throughout the years I’ve become a pretty confident buyer and seller on ebay. It’s taken a lot of research and some bad experiences. Every time I fall in love with a handbag I weigh the pros and cons to buying new vs. pre loved. I love buying handbags new. The whole boutique experience is a lot of fun. But sometimes I just can’t justify the price difference between pre loved and new handbags. It also depends on the brand. Louis Vuitton is a brand that I like to buy new. Whereas I usually buy Chanel pre loved. The reason is because Chanel is a brand that has huge price increases every year. I can’t justify paying $5500 for a handbag that was $3500 3 years ago.

When buying any handbag pre loved you need to do your homework. Learn about the handbag. This includes knowing what type of leather, finish, hardware, logos, colors, age, size, etc. the handbag is. Make sure you ask questions like –

Why are you selling it?
Is it from your collection?
How long have you owned it?
What does it come with?
Are there any imperfections?
Is it coming from a smoke free, pet free home?
Where was it purchased?
Do you have any proof of purchase?

If the handbag was made in 2012, make sure you learn about how the brand made it that year. Designers change how they make a handbag every few years. For example, the Chanel Jumbo I purchased was made with a shiny caviar leather. The new Chanel jumbos are more matte caviar. I knew that before 2011 Chanel was using a shinier caviar leather for their Chanel jumbo. If I hadn’t known this I would have thought my jumbo wasn’t authentic since the rest of my caviar handbags are matte. Check the date codes on the handbag and do some research on that year. You’ll learn things like what kind of font they used that year, or if they changed the style. Look at the zippers to make sure they are the brand that was used for that date code. Examine the stitch count on the handbag. The stitches should be tight and small. You can do some research to find the general stitch count of an authentic handbag vs a replica.

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Finally get the handbag authenticated BEFORE purchasing. There are several places online that authenticate handbags through e-mailed pictures. Some are free and others charge a small fee. I’ve used The Purse Forum and other sites they recommend. If the price is too good to be true then it most likely is.

Make sure your Ebay seller has a good seller rating. I prefer %99-%100, unless they have a ton of sales. I would accept %98 from a seller who has sold thousands of luxury items. Always read the negative feedback. Sometimes sellers receive negative feedback due to simple communication errors. I have a list of “trusted sellers” that I’ve purchased from before. I still do my homework when purchasing from these sellers though. I purchased a Chanel mini from a seller with %100 rating, but she’d only sold 4 items. We communicated a lot and she was selling her mother in laws handbag collection. I had it authenticated and purchased it. She didn’t have great pictures or a long history, but everything worked out great. You can find sellers with little feedback who are selling for friends or themselves (like myself). Just make sure you do your homework.

Here are Ebay sellers I’ve used in the past.

yuko0702
Fashionhulu – just bought my jumbo
bagswithstyle90210
Fashionphile – not sure if they still sell on ebay

There are a lot more sellers on ebay. These are just the ones that I’ve had personal experience with. When I buy my handbags on ebay I make sure the bag comes with the box, dust bag, and authenticity cards. These things are optional, but I feel like they increase re-sale value in case you ever want to sell that handbag. I also feel more confident in the authenticity if it comes with everything. Sometimes the handbag will have proof of purchase like a copy of the receipt. That is rare but obviously really helpful. Just be smart and do your homework. Trust your gut. If it doesn’t feel right then don’t do it! Good luck to all of us!

 

 

01.11.16

Keeping Christmas Decorations Organized

I am a very OCD person. I like everything in it’s place and I will obsess about things that need to be done. Decorations are hard to organize and store because we have SO many! They also come in weird shapes and sizes. They are a blend of wires, glass, fabric, metal, and plastic that you have to pack together to avoid gobbling up storage space. Here is how I organize and store my decorations every year.

You don’t need to go out and spend a ton of money on things. You may have everything you need around the house. It may take a bit more effort, but you’ll be happy you did it when you pull your decorations out next year! You won’t have tangled lights to dig through or missing  items. Christmas lights can be a pain because they tend to tangle easily. Don’t even get me started on Icicle Lights! I wrap all of my string lights into little bundles, plugging the male end into the female end. This keeps them from tangling and using the ends keeps things simple.

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I love Hefty’s Jumbo storage slider bags. These are less than $3 at Walmart. I store the regular small bulb light strands in these bags. I usually fit 6-7 light bundles per bag easy. Then I’ll label the bag with a permanent marker and white duct tape. The Hefty bags have a label strip on them, but I find it easier to read when it’s on white duct tape. Just my preference.

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For more difficult light items like icicles, or net lights I’ll use regular shopping bags from any grocery store. Icicles rarely tangle for me. They are just messy looking. I’ll store icicle strands and net lights one per bag to avoid any tangling. Net lights can be folded like a towel and then stuffed into the bag. Then double knot the bag. I don’t label any of the lights in the grocery bags since they are stored as singles.

When buying spools of lights always keep the spools! You can re-wrap the lights around them. Our large lights in the picture are wrapped around the spool that we bought them on.

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Finally I store my decorations in plastic tubs. This makes them easily assessable and I can store them indoors or outdoors. I have a TON of blue icicle lights that I just stick in a bin together. Then I have a tub filled with any inflatable decorations. All the bagged, spooled, and boxed (unopened) lights I have left will go in their own tub. Lastly I’ll have a few “Misc. Christmas Decoration” boxes. This box will have things like our candy cane lights, stakes, light bulbs, tools, and anything we only have 1 or 2 of.

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All of my boxes are labeled with white duct tape. It’s so easy to remove and it saves a lot of time when I’m searching for something. I store my outdoor decorations in the garage and my indoor decorations in the attic. I store all my indoor decorations in a similar way. Although it’s a bit harder because we have a lot of “miscellaneous” decorations like pillows, throws, vases, candles, towels, etc. I have boxes for wrapping, stockings, ornaments, wreaths/garland, house decorations, and of course miscellaneous. It’s relatively easy to store indoor decorations because I don’t have to deal with lights.

Packing up our decorations does take more time, but it makes set up super easy. It also helps me sleep at night knowing that my items are organized and labeled. I know it’s weird but it’s just the way I am!

01.08.16

Our New Years In New Orleans!

This New Years was a lot of fun. One of Tom’s Christmas gifts from me was a trip to New Orleans to celebrate the New Year. I had everything booked and childcare taken care of. All he had to do was pack.

We dropped Audrey off with my mom and started driving to New Orleans on December 30. I rented an Airbnb because my cousins were coming too. We needed a space big enough for all of us and Airbnb was actually cheaper than the hotels. You can’t beat having a kitchen when you’re traveling. It saves so much money preparing a few meals instead of eating out all the time. Not to mention that my stomach can’t handle too many restaurant meals!

After checking in we went out to see some of the city. We ended up staying out until about 2am. The next morning Tom and I headed out to the hop on hop off bus tour. We love these types of tours because they are a great way to see the city and learn about the history. We hopped off in the Garden District and ate at a cute family owned restaurant. Later we found out that it was a famous restaurant featured on the FOOD channel. We tried our first cup of Gumbo there, and it was OK. Tom got the fried cat fish and it was SO good. After lunch we went to Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. It was an interesting experience learning about how they buried people in New Orleans. After that we headed back to our apartment to get ready for NYE. We spent that evening freezing our butts off on Bourbon street and Jackson Square. At midnight we were enjoying our beignets at Café Du Monde! We stayed out until the rain came which was aroung 4am.

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Obviously we were exhausted after NYE so we slept in on January 1, 2016. I also started feeling sick that day. At lunch time Tom and I left the apartment to grab something to eat. We were dying being cooped up for so long. It was so cold and dreary all day. We drove to a pizza place called Slice down the street. It was nice getting out and eating some good comfort food. After that we went to Walgreens because I needed some medicine to combat this virus I picked up (which I STILL have).

That evening Tom and I had dinner reservations at Commander’s Palace. We wanted to splurge on one expensive dinner while we were in New Orleans. Everyone talks about the food being a big part of the experience. Commander’s Palace is ranked as one of the top 10 restaurants in New Orleans. They have a dress code and $40-$50 a plate dinners. It was nice being able to say we’d been there, but the food was overpriced. I got the lobster risotto which was VERY heavy. It was good, but not $42 good. Tom ordered the scallops which were actually pretty tasty. We both ordered a soup sampler called the 1-1-1. It had a cup of gumbo, crawfish soup, and snapping turtle soup. The gumbo was delicious, but I wasn’t too crazy about the other two. We finished the meal with a slice of New Orleans style cheesecake. There really was no difference in taste between this and the cheesecake in a box I buy at Costco. It was a nice experience for us though and a little spooky. The Commander’s Palace is directly across the street from Lafayette Cemetery No. 1!

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The next morning we woke up and headed back to Texas. The drive back was a bit easier because we didn’t hit any rush our traffic. Our last meal in Louisiana was Popeye’s chicken! We HAD to taste it to see if it was any different than our Popeye’s at home. To our delight, our Popeye’s in Texas actually had better chicken. We arrived at my sister’s house around 3pm. JUST in time to take all the kids to Chuck E Cheese!

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01.05.16

What I Got For Christmas 2015!

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Here is what I got for Christmas! Well my Lorac Pro palette and a few kitchen tools aren’t shown because they are being used. This year was great and I am very blessed to receive such nice gifts. As I get older I am very focused on “Quality over Quantity”. That is especially true for products that are fashion and beauty related.

I found my Chanel Jumbo from ebay seller fashionhulu. I’ve purchased a few bags from them and they are easy to work with and trustworthy sellers. They shipped the bag quickly and it was packed very well. I’m happy with my purchase and I visit their page often to check their inventory.

A gift I got after Christmas that I’m SO excited about is my Shark Rocket HV321. I am counting this as a gift, even though Tom and I bought it together, because I didn’t absolutely NEED it. I’ve been getting tired of sweeping my entire home so I started searching for a vacuum that would work on hard floors. I hope this lives up to my expectations. I’ve had a Shark Liftaway for about 4 years and I LOVE it. It’s been such a great vacuum, but it’s not as easy to use on hard floors. Sweeping is easy enough but it kicks a lot of dust into the air which I don’t like.

Here’s something you probably didn’t know about me. I used to save my allowance money as a child to buy cleaning supplies! Weird I know, but I just love them. They make cleaning fun for me. I’ve always been fascinated by the newest cleaning tools to come out. I remember saving my pennies so I could buy a bottle of Febreze!

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Watch my video to see everything I received this year!