Buy my clothes! (So I can buy groceries)

We all have clothes just sitting in our closets, taking up space and hanging sadly, forgotten and rarely/never worn. Personally, I hoard clothes a little bit. I always think, yeah, I’ll find an occasion to wear that. However, after years of toting these items around, it’s time for me to say my goodbyes and send them off to a new home where they will be worn and loved.

So I’ve listed a few of these on Poshmark — a #shopmycloset social platform. Here you can find a variety of clothing at pretty amazing discounts.

Poshmark Shop My Closet

I’ve priced mine mostly at not-far-off from half off. In all honesty, I priced them at these rates because I am desperately broke and need grocery money. (Like, for reals, I have $50 in my bank account and that has to last me until May 16th, assuming I get my summer student loans on time. Just want to be completely transparent about why I’m trying to sell you stuff.)

So yes. This is me, ultra broke, begging you to please buy my clothes! If you want more detail about a particular item, hit me up! I can give more details and/or better photos. I might be adding some shoes (size 7 mostly) and accessories (purses/bags) in the next week or so. And maybe more clothes as I become a bit more critical about clearing out my closet.

A Casual Option for Halloween: skull cutout top

I was trying to think of some sort of Fangirl Fashion that might work for Halloween — as it’s coming up next week… but decided to go a slightly different route. Rather than something from fandom, I wanted to put together something that you could wear for Halloween that wasn’t really costume-y, but still would look good.

skull cutout top

There are A LOT of DIY tutorials out there on the googles if you’d like to learn how to make this top. I sort of wish I had a plain shirt or sweater big enough so I could do this myself. I’ve also seen some cool ones that look like ribcages as well.

For this, I know I’m on some sort of floral kick, but really… I like the juxtaposition of the floral with the giant skull. For the skirt, a nice flowy one will do. I paired the skirt with a clutch on a thin chain and simple black flats. And with the other, I might be committing another fashion sin, but leggings as pants. If the top is long enough, it works. The purse is a slightly adorned not-quite hobo style, and I added in black combat boots… but I’m not sure I’m sold on those for this outfit yet.

What’s would your casual Halloween outfit look like?

bleaching your hair: salon vs home

So about a month-ish or so ago, I got over whatever fears or trepidations I had, and bleached my hair. I did it in the comfort of my own home, and was really happy with the results. But then all of a sudden my hair grew and my oh-so dark roots were showing.

So, I could attempt to do my roots myself, or find a salon and get it done professionally. For this round, I chose the latter. The results were great. Though, well, I went to a student salon to save money but it took 4 hours to get everything done.

But for those curious about possibly going blonde yourself — or bleaching so you can do something crazy like blue or pink or lavender — here’s my thoughts on going to a salon vs doing it at home.

Salon: someone who’s trained who can actually see the back of your head.

Home: you can sit and watch tv or do dishes or whatever from the comfort of your couch while everything is setting. The bleach/lightener takes anywhere from half hour to an hour to process, sometimes longer. And at least at home you’ll have your backup glasses that you don’t mind wearing with all that gunk on your head so you can actually read something.

Salon: professional grade products. you know they’ll work.

Home: the box kits actually work. it might take more than one, but they do indeed work.

Salon: professional stylist, professional product, professional price. It was $45 at the student salon, and had I not been there before for other services I probably wouldn’t trust them with bleaching for my first service. But everything went well. Other salons in the area, I was told it’d start at $80 and that’s the cheapest quote I got. For hair this short, not really worth that price. And that’s all before tipping.

Home: box kits run between $10-20 each. I spent about $19 on mine and as I mentioned, the results were pretty good. There was some brassiness even after the second kit, but it didn’t look bad.

Salon: toning. Toning. Toning. Toning. Yes, box kits come with toners, but they’re not as awesome as the options you can get in the salon. And they can make sure it’s even throughout, because they can actually see all of your hair without awkward mirror tricks.

Home: you get to rinse in your shower. I mean, you can use your sink if you want to, but I prefer using my shower because there’s no awkward craning of your neck.

Salon: having someone else wash your hair and give you a head massage. This could simply be one of the best reasons to ever go to a salon. (However, I seriously feel like I have a bruise on the back of my skull from the salon sink…)

Home: no one tries to sell you product you don’t need. Seriously, $21 for shampoo? It’s not even a full-sized bottle.

bleaching your hair from brown to blonde, salon vs home

Natural. 1st Kit. 2nd Kit. Salon. (all with bad lighting and no makeup)

There’s pros and cons to both. I absolutely do not regret bleaching my hair at home. But yes, when it came to my roots, it was a lot easier going to a salon. Honestly, there’s always a slight risk you’re going to fry your hair when you bleach it. And it’s going to take a lot of conditioning treatment to get it back to those healthy locks you had before. But it is possible to do that on your own.

Products I used or am currently using:
L’Oreal Paris Super Blonde Crème Lightening Kit, Medium Brown to Darkest Brown bleach kit – This took my super dark brown hair to a brassy blonde. Not perfect for final color, but strips the color away perfectly.
L’Oreal Paris Feria Absolute Platinums – Extreme Platinum – This one had toner, works better on lighter hair, so I wouldn’t start with this one. But I loved the color this gave me, even if parts were still a little brassy.
Garnier Fructis Volume Extend Shampoo – so my student stylist said products like this (basically anything you can get outside of a salon) you’re just paying for the fragrance and it doesn’t really do much to repair your hair, but frankly I’ve seen good results with this before and after bleaching. My hair isn’t as thick as it once was, and this keeps it nice and fluffy. When I’m not using this, I’m using Pantene Pro-V Color Preserve Volume Shampoo.
L’Oreal Total Repair 5 Restoring Conditioner 12.6 FL OZ – Works wonders I tell you. My hair was brittle and dry after bleaching and this made it feel incredible silky right away and it stayed that way until my next wash. No other product I’ve tried has done that yet.

My Tips for Home:
Invest in a dying brush. They’re only about a $1 at beauty supply stores. Also, make sure you stop by the dollar store to get a cheap plastic bowl for the product. Box kits come with the bottle applicator, which is fine for over all, but with roots it could be tough… And I found the brassy areas to be the ones where the product just wasn’t applied thickly. And yes, apply it on really thick. Don’t paint it on. Using a plastic cap will help use your own body heat to speed up the process some, but don’t use a blow drier. For the days following your bleaching, skip the shampoo (at least for the first day) and only use conditioner. And even though you’ve essentially stripped most of the pigment from your hair, color preserve products will still help keep your hair healthy. And give your hair some time to heal between treatments or dyes. Doing too much at once is a surefire way to fry your hair. If you have a friend who’s willing to help, you could totally do your roots at home too. Make a salon party out of it or something.

*L’Oreal totally did not sponsor this post or contact me about it or anything. It just total coincident that almost all of the products, including that $21 shampoo I’m not sure why I bought, were L’Oreal. But that said, if L’Oreal would like to send me more of their products to try, I’d gladly accept.

The Warby Parker Experience: What I’ve learned from 4 home try-ons…

I absolutely LOVE my Warby Parker Sims. They were in my first home try-on (HTO).

I talked about it some previously. I ordered my first HTO on October 21st. I ordered my first pair of frames, the Sims, on October 24th. I ordered my second HTO on October 30th.

The experience was so good, I had to do it again. Fast forward to now, and I’m on my fourth HTO. And I’ve got a top three. And a list for the next 5 glasses I want to try on.

Now, after trying on 20+ frames at home and probably the entire collection at the showroom, I’ve learned a few things.

1) It’s not bad to try on a lot of frames. And I mean a lot. Do as many home try-ons as you’d like. Try on the pair that catches your eye but you think “that’s not me…” Do it. Try them on. Worst thing that can happen is you can say “Yep, these don’t work on me.”

2) Ask friends and family. I have mine delivered to work, and once I do a private try-on in my office, I go ask my coworkers. They’re not my best friends, but they see me 5 days a week. They’re also going to give me an honest opinion.

3) Take pictures of yourself. But know this: lighting and angle make a HUGE difference. Pretty much any frame will not look terrible if you’re not looking directly square on. A slight angle can make a not-so-great looking pair of frames suddenly look a lot better. (I mean, see the photos below, where I’m cheating in most, if you don’t believe me.) THIS IS NOT A GOOD THING. It’s deceiving. Look your camera head on and take a picture. You don’t have to share the picture with anyone, but it’ll help actually see how they look on your face. I know you want to take the most flattering picture, but stop. It’s just a camera trick and you might end up with frames that aren’t best suited to your face.

4) Trying on frames with non-prescription lenses is hard without your much needed prescription. I’m happy that I’m mostly near-sided, so I could get within a foot or so of my mirror and still see myself.

5) If you have other friends who love Warby Parker as much as you do, try ordering your HTOs at the same time. This means twice the number of glasses to try on. Turn it into a HTO party.

6) I prefer the HTO versus the showroom visits. While it’s awesome that the studio has the entire collection for you to try on, I had a hard time feeling confident and comfortable enough to make a decision. I mean, had I gone with the studio visit alone, I’d be wearing Zaggs right now instead of my Sims. (Not that there’s anything wrong with Zaggs, they’re a good frame, but the Sims fit me so freaking well.)

7) In the end: go with what you love. It’s your face–granted, you don’t have to see it every day–but still, it’s your face. If you love them, buy them.

I was never really able to think of glasses as an accessory, or part of my wardrobe. They were always just the $400+ things I needed on my face to make sure I could see. But glasses are really affordable now. I get my Warbies for $90. (Bonus for the 30-day returns, so if you decide to change your mind, you can do so.)

I’m pretty sure by the end of the year, I’ll probably have 3 pair of optical glasses and at least 1 pair of prescription sunglasses. (Something I have to go into the showroom to try on.)

PS – Also, when in doubt, tweet @WarbyParkerHelp. They’re amazing people.

That’s my bag! or, sort of…

I’ve been looking for a new bag for about 3 months or so now. Normally I can shop around for a few weeks and find something I like, make up my mind, and buy it. I never really get wishy-washy about it. Until now.

I have a number of purses and bags at home, but none of them really do what I need a from a bag. I want one where I can easily carry all the stuff I generally bring with me, as well as serve as sort of a “school bag”, but not be too massive.

At the very minimum, all these things need to fit in the bag…

1. Writing journal 2. iPad 3. Medicines (yes, since my sinus infection over a month ago, I still carry nasal spray in my bag. Sexy, I know) 4. Glasses case 5. Keys, keys, and keys 6. Sunglasses I rarely ware 7. NES wallet 8. Toothbrush (been in my bag since I crashed a friend’s house and she kindly laid these out for me) 9. Pens & sharpie(s) 10. iPhone/Pad charger 11. Purse hook 12. ?? apparently I can’t count. 13. coin purse 14. Umbrella 15. Arm warmers 16. Rubber band

I also sometimes carry: food, iPad keyboard, more notebooks, books, file folders, water bottles, and whatever miscellaneous things I end up shoving in there…

I love my tote bag to death and will probably still use it a lot… But with puffy winter coat season upon us, I need something with a crossbody as well as regular handles. It helps with just being able to carry it—puffy sleeves don’t make for the best purse holding shoulders. Plus I like hands free mobility. Not to mention, something that can withstand snow better than organic canvas would be nice. And yeah, can’t be too massive.

I’ve seen a number of bags I like, but not one have I 100% fall in love with yet and gone “that’s my bag!” … I’m also not one to drop hundreds of dollars on a bag—heck, even $60 seems steep to me. It may seem trivial to some, but this is something I’ll be using any time I leave my apartment, so it’s got to stand up.

What are things you look for in a bag? How much do you carry with you?

No nonsense: Leggy Fashion

My fashion style has changed a lot over the years, and it’s still changing. Currently I love v-necks, lace touches, and wearing sweaters with skirts.

I used to not be much of a skirt/dress girl. Practically refused to wear them unless it was a special occasion until college. Now I can get enough of them. It’s what you’ll see me in the most when it’s not snowing.

In Chicago, skirt season can come to an abrupt end if you don’t know how to dress for the cold. In my opinion, anything above freezing is still skirt weather. Sometimes, you just have to know how to layer properly–and sometimes that involves tights under leggings. Or, go with opaque tights and good tall boots.

One other thing I love about tights and leggings is that they can add that pop of color to my increasingly grey wardrobe. (What can I say, grey is my favorite color.) So when I got the opportunity to talk about No nonsense tights and leggings, I jumped on it.

Last week they sent me a pair of each, and after checking out their site, I was pretty excited because they had some colors I was definitely interested in: jewel blues and greens, a beautiful purple, the mustard yellow I love but am always afraid to try, and bright colors too! What they sent me was black fishnet tights and black leggings.

Black leggings are a complete staple in my wardrobe–I probably already own 5 pair in various lengths. And at this point, everyone and their five year old sister knows how to style them into an outfit.

There’s the debatable “leggings as pants”… which with these, I’d be okay with since they fit great and won’t be all up in my lady business.

Or they work great for some glam, like with my gold sequen dress I wore last New Years Eve. (Also, can we talk about how great my legs look?)

The fishnets were a harder thing for me. When I first think of fishnets I think about when I was in high school drama and had to wear them for a show… and I think of roller derbies. But I knew I could figure out an outfit for them…

So I decided to go with this great blue dress with white polka dots. It’s got sheer shoulders and back, with some great buttons. Oh, and pockets. The fishnets actually work really well with this.

Now, they only sent me the two pair… BUT, I ended up buying a pair of No nonsense tights this past weekend for Rebekah’s wedding. And I have to say, I love the outfit I put together with them!

These purple tights really make this grey outfit. The owl necklace is pretty great too.

Find your pair of affordable No nonsense tights and leggings here. I was sponsored by No nonsense for this opportunity. All opinions are my own.

The Warby Parker Experience – Part 2: Home Try-on!

Stating the obvious: I’m in love with Warby Parker, the designer glasses company offering awesome, yet affordable, glasses that also do some good as well.

In Part 1, I went to the Chicago showroom and tried on all the glasses. It was fun, but since I was by myself, I had a hard time feeling settled on a frame. So I decided to go online and request a home try-on. I get to pick out five frames, and they send them to me, for free, for five days.

Since I knew I wanted to order pretty soon, I went with some of my top frames*:

I was surprised at how quickly they arrived! I put in my “order” on Sunday night, and they showed up at work on Wednesday. Which meant productivity for the next hour or so went out the window!

Get excited, indeed Warby Parker!

#1 Sims in striped sassifras – As I previously mentioned, these were the frames that I wanted to see on my very first trip to the show room, but since I didn’t bring a list with me completely forgot about. They’re still boxy, but fit my face nicely.

#2 Linwood in striped chestnut – I like these, when my face is angled. Otherwise they sort of feel like lab safety glasses. Just a little too big. I could definitely pull them off, it’d just take some time to get used to them. I think I’m just too used to my current frames.

#3 Zagg in striped chestnut – These were the top pick from my first visit. I liked them, but just wasn’t sure. They’re another pair that depending on the angle I was looking at, my opinion changed.

#4 Webb in whiskey tortoise matte – Well, for one, you gotta love the color name. These were the ones a random lady in my second visit really liked on me. I never gone for rounder glasses, and these were in that nice “not too round, not too boxy” category.

#5 Miles in amber – These are interesting frames. I like how they look in the picture. However, They’re a lot thicker than they appear. While they’re not bad, they weren’t great either.

I’ve had a lot of fun counting votes based on the pictures. However, being able to try the frames out at work and also home was a huge help! The Sims, Zagg, and Webb were probably my top picks from this set. They all looked pretty good, but one just suited me better than the others.

After only a half hour with my home try-on set, I already knew which ones I’d be ordering. I placed my order late Wednesday night, and according to UPS my glasses are in Ohio (where they’ve been since Saturday morning!)…

It was a super easy process, and has been a fantastic experience. Also, thanks to my showroom visits, I got $5 off my order. Glasses and prescription lenses for only $90. Free two-day air shipping. Mom’s convinced I need to order prescription sunglasses from them. But for now, it’s compulsively checking the UPS tracking page until they get here.

*The Sloan and Marshall frames haven’t been available for home try-on. Or, at least, since they’re in the new fall collection, all the pairs have been requested, so I’m stuck still waiting to get a chance to try those on again!

The Warby Parker Experience, Part 1: Rini wants all the glasses

I’ve been wearing glasses since fourth grade, or at least, that’s when I got my first pair. I promptly lost them within a year, and it wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I ended up actually wearing glasses.

I’ve had my current pair for a little over two years. Which means according to the optometrist  my prescription has expired. According to my glasses, they’ve survived a lot of abuse. They fit a lot looser than they should, and there’s only so many times you can heat up and adjust plastic frames.

With that and a few other reasons, like wanting to  change things up, it’s time for me to get new glasses.

I knew for a while that I wanted to get Warby Parker glasses. For every pair purchased, WP donates a pair. (+1 for doing good.) They’re only $95, and that includes prescription lenses. (+1 for budget friendly.) Also, they just look good. (+1 for style.) However, I was originally hesitant ordering glasses online. Picking out glasses is a big thing. This is your face. Luckily, WP will send you up to 5 pair at a time to try on at home. (+1 for convenience.) Unfortunately  most of the frames I wanted weren’t available for home try on. Curse of being popular, I guess.

But then I learned that WP had a show room here in Chicago. Sold.

I went a month or so ago, and had fun trying on all the different styles. But I was by no means settled on which I wanted. So I went back on Saturday—and if you’ve seen my twitter or facebook, you’ve seen the result. (And all my indecision.)

I tried on well over half of their styles. Ended up taking pictures of 19 different frames. I’ve been tallying votes from friends, family, and peoples of the internet. Eventually narrowed it down to my top seven. And the more and more I thought about it, I think I’ve got my top four…

As soon as I put on the Webb frames, one of the many other people who were also there trying on frames stop and immediately said “those look good.” They’re rounder, but not too circular.

These were ones I liked online a lot. Similar to the Webb, but more angular. I couldn’t find these on my first visit, which prompted my doubt in my original decision.

The Sloan frames are part of their new fall collection, and thus weren’t available the last time I was there. Not looking directly at the camera is making it hard for me to remember exactly how these looked. They’re definitely bigger, and rounder-ish. Just not sure if they’re too big for my face…

These were the frames I liked the most on my first visit. And from the votes, others seem to like theses too. They’re the most rectangular/squarish of the four, which might be why I’m shying away from them. I’ve always done rectangular frames.

I’m trying to tell myself I won’t be going back… but who am I kidding. I’m going back. And this time only looking at my top 7.

And just for reference, here are my current pair–the ones I’ve been wearing for the last few years…

Thanks for everyone who’s given me their input thus far! And for those who are over all this WP obsession? Well, it’s not over yet. Thanks for sticking with me.

The Great Wardrobe Purge

It seems like a cliche joke to say, as a woman, I have a lot of clothes. I have a decent amount of shoes too, but I only wear a handful of pairs, so I tend to forget about this… However, I have a hard time getting rid of things, but an easy time shopping.

My current apartment doesn’t have storage. So I see this mass accumulation of clothing every day. It sits in various corners of my bedroom. Each time I’d go shopping for new clothes, I’d come home to those piles and wonder what I was doing. But I knew I’d probably never wear those clothes again, so I continued to “rebuild” my wardrobe. Eventually I’d figure out what to do with all those unworn clothes.

Well, I finally decided to do something about all of this. And it’s pretty much what I’ve had going in the back of my mind the entire time. A Great Wardrobe Purge. Time to get rid of everything I haven’t worn in a year or long that aren’t some sort of keepsake (like the skirt I bought in South Africa)*…

A lot of these clothes are in good condition. So I’m inviting some Chicago lady friends over to have their pick of the clothes. Whatever’s left of the dress clothes will go to my sisters to pick over… then the rest will get donated or trashed depending on condition.

It feels good to get this going. Until recently, I didn’t properly utilize my closet or my dresser. My whole bedroom felt more like a storage room with a bed in it than not. I’ll still have some boxes to deal with after The Purge, but it’ll feel more like a bedroom. In fact, after just this weekend, it’s already feeling better. I started by taking all the new clothes I just purchased, and the last few loads of clean laundry and hanging them up or folding them and putting them in the dresser.

I still have a long way to go… but now that I’m not traveling every weekend, I finally have time to get to work on this! My goal is to have all of the old stuff cleared out by the end of the August at the latest.

*I’ve loved being able to go through my grandma’s old wardrobe (the furniture, not just her clothes), and seeing her old outfits as well as my aunts’… I’d like my niece as well as any future generations to be able to do the same. But only select pieces.

Kavalena: Look Good + Do Good

Normally when I buy clothes, I just go for what looks good, is comfortable, and reasonably priced. Like many others, I don’t think too much beyond that.

However, I was recently contacted by a local Chicago store who made it their goal to not only provide clothes that look good, but that do good.

In fact, that’s Kavalena‘s motto: Look Good + Do Good.

With every purchase of their clothing, they help provide the following:
3 meals for a child and their family
1 hour’s worth of clean water for a village
1 hour of aftercare for an individual freed from slavery
1 day of school for a child in Ghana, Africa
1 hour of therapy for orphans with cerebral palsy and autism

Every purchase helps–they only partner with non-profits who use 100% of their donations.

What’s really cool is that Kavalena was started by a 23-year-old Chicago native, Val Nash. “Kavalena is here to do one thing: Provide for the biggest needs in the world.” Her ultimate goal for the company is to provide for people’s needs on every continent and in every country. Their goal for this year is to have built a well by their 1-year anniversary in November. These are huge, but really awesome goals.

I think what I truly love about Kavalena, and Val, is that I see a lot of my sister in this company. She’s got this same heart, and same desire to reach beyond her self, her neighborhood, and go out into the world and do good. Her current life plan involves her becoming a counselor for victims of human trafficking. She’s had this plan since she was 15.

I’ve been wearing the “every day” tank quite a bit. It’s such a nice, lightweight tank that it’s one of the few things that’s been comfortable in this crazy heat wave. I’m actually pretty sure I’ll be ordering some stuff from them as comfy clothes are a must on tour. Plus, I’m pretty sure my little sis will be getting something from them for her upcoming 17th birthday. I know she’ll appreciate all the good the gift is doing.

I was contacted by Kavalena, who offered me a free shirt and I agreed to write about them on the blog. These opinions are mine–and by which, I mean I think what they’re doing is really awesome and I’d support them otherwise.

Kavalena is co-hosting an event with Feed My Starving Children on August 3rd, from 6-7:30pm in Schaumburg to pack meals for children suffering from malnutrition. For more information about how you can help, go to