Friday, August 30, 2013

So What's All the Hubbub About eBay?



 
 

Like a lot of people you probably have some stuff you want to get rid of but it’s too valuable to simply give it away, or maybe you want to start an internet business but it is too complicated to develop a standalone website. You could always go to Amazon.com or Etsy.com but Amazon has closed quite a few of its categories and unless your item is handcrafted or vintage you won’t meet Etsy’s requirements. May I suggest eBay.

 

 
 
eBay allows a seller to place ads for new as well as used goods. They do not have any categories that are closed so you can pretty much sell anything from Grandma’s china to that expensive evening gown you only wore once. You can even sell reconditioned electronics as well as new products ranging from toys to health and beauty products and more. Last I checked you can’t sell your kidneys or Nazi memorabilia. Don’t think these items are going to be a problem for most people.

 

 
 
If you’re not familiar with eBay I suggest you go to their website and crawl around. Put a topic into their search and see what comes up. Check out what other people are selling and how much they are selling those items for; remember to keep an open mind. In all honesty sometimes our own concept of the value of an item differs from what you can sell it for on the open market. While you may believe that teacup is super valuable, it might sell for substantially less than you anticipated.

 

 
 
Starting off as an eBay buyer is the easiest way to begin. Open an account and make a purchase. It doesn’t have to be big. I’ve bought watch batteries, printer labels and an assortment of other miscellaneous do-dads. As you familiarize yourself with the purchasing aspects of eBay you can then think about placing an item up for sale. It’s easy but does require some preparation and I will discuss some of the steps on Monday. Until then have some fun browsing the world’s largest flea market, rummage sale and retail store all wrapped up in one.
 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Inventory: Organization is Key


 
A well organized space helps with inventory, even if it's small

Like anything in life, at some point you have to figure out what you have in stock. Even if you make your own jewelry or handcrafted items you have to know how much you have and where it is located. Logical reasoning tells us that the smaller the store or workshop the easier it will be to count those items. The more spread out your inventory is the harder it will be to count. The first rule of inventory is to know where everything is located.

 
 
Storage bins work well for small items
 
 
If the store is small you probably know which items are on display and which items are in the storage room or area. For those who handcraft from home, you probably have a good idea of where all your supplies are kept and where each finished product is located. Organization is the key to keeping track of things. If you haven’t done it already organize your products. You can use open bins, open shelves or even cardboard boxes that are labeled, as long as you know where everything is stored.

 

Open shelves, while not attractive keep everything handy
 
 
For items that are kept in our storage area we use open shelves with bins. If you use inventory software you can input bin number for each item. This helps in locating the item for shipment. If the items come in boxes you might want to put a picture on the face of the bin. This helps when an item number is long or confusing. While I know certain items based on their number, most items are a mystery to me until I match up the model or item number. If many of your items are sold on the internet you need a way to track inventory. There is nothing worse than selling an item you don’t own.

 

A well organized open shelf with bins
 
 
Inventory is just one aspect of a retail store. You have to acquire items, track items, figure out the optimum price and get the item up for sale, either by stocking your store or placing an ad on a website. Generally speaking it is easier to begin tracking inventory right from the start. Unfortunately many do not begin this process until they have been in business for a year and it comes time to do your taxes. Take my advice and even if it is only written down in an inexpensive ledger, keep track of each item you purchase or make for inventory. There is no going back to the beginning for a do over.
 
A dedicated space works best for crafters

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Pocket Watch Care & Handling


 
My favorite, Charles-Hubert Paris $199.47 at The Coin Outlet
 

We sell a lot of pocket watches. Some are really cool with a skeleton style face and most are mechanical. Whenever I test a pocket watch I find it fascinating to watch the internal gears spring into action. I sometimes find myself watching the time pass and tick away. This is probably the biggest attraction for a pocket watch; you can actually sit and watch time pass in your hand. Unfortunately, time doesn’t always continue to pass when someone abuses (unintentionally) a pocket watch.

 

Check out the inside, Charles-Hubert Paris $87.47 at The Coin Outlet
 
 
A mechanical pocket watch can be a delicate timepiece and must be treated with care. One of the top problems with a mechanical pocket watch is over winding. A watch should only be wound 30-40 half turns for a full wind. It won’t keep time longer if you wind it some more. It is designed to need a finite number of turns for a full wind and more than that can damage the internal workings of the watch. Believe me I’ve seen the damage, never over wind.

 

Charles-Hubert Paris 14" chain stainless steel chain $27.96 at The Coin Outlet
 
 
The next most common abuse of a pocket watch is the cover. If you watch an old movie you’ll see the train conductor checking his pocket watch for the time and then he snaps the cover shut and proceeds to call “All Aboard.” This is not how you close a pocket watch. You should always depress the release button as you close the cover. Snapping the cover shut will prematurely wear out the clip that holds the cover shut and eventually it will loosen then fail.

 

Charles-Hubert Paris $66.47 at The Coin Outlet
 
 
Finally wipe your pocket watch down at the end of the day. Sterling silver is notorious for tarnishing but a gold plated watch can also tarnish. Gold does not tarnish but the brass or other metal under the plating can oxidize and eventually cause problems. It is always a good idea to use a soft cloth and gently wipe fingerprints and other debris from the surface of the watch before you store it away. A pocket watch is a lovely combination of technology and nostalgia. By keeping a few simple concepts in mind your pocket watch will last for generations.
 
Very affordable, Charles-Hubert Paris $66.47 at The Coin Outlet

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Is Miley Cyrus Sexy?


 
Miley Cyrus at the VMAs
 

Unless you’ve been under a rock the topic of conversation around the water cooler is Miley Cyrus’s inappropriate performance at the VMAs. Everyone is talking about it from Brooke Shields who played Hannah Montana’s mom to Robin Thicke’s own mother. The latter proclaimed she can’t unsee this performance, but I’m sure she wishes she could. There are many who thought the performance was over the top, inappropriate and an exploitation of young women. What it really does is beg the question “is this sexy?”

 

Seriously...
 
 
While there are obvious elements of sexy, Miley’s make up and shiny nude colored bikini, there are elements of getting it wrong. Without a doubt Miley had the makeup right. Red lips and thick lashes will not only make any woman feel sexy but look sexy also. All she needs is a come hither stare and maybe a wink. Unfortunately Miley decided that sticking her tongue out the side of her mouth in what looked like an attempt to lick her eyeballs like a gecko was sexy. It wasn’t sexy it was weird.

 

She would look so good if she just put her tongue back in her mouth
 
 
Another element Miley got right was the nude vinyl bikini. She is young and lithe and should show off her body, especially during performances. It was the thick soled white stompers she wore on her feet that threw it off. Adult sexy is heels, this was an uncoordinated and gangly attempts at sexy is tennis shoes. While I understand that she didn’t want to take a tumble a la Beyonce or J. Lo the tennis shoes just made her look like an unskilled striper without a pole. She stomped across the stage rather than skipped and the shoes were very unflattering. It made her look like she was wearing flippers.

 

She looks like she just stepped in something based on her facial expression
 
 
Looking sexy and acting sexy is tough. Miley is young and her concept of sexy might not always be in tune or appropriate. She’s probably going to get it wrong more often than get it right. Sexy is not vulgar for vulgarities sake. It’s emphasizing the femininity of a woman. Women are different from men and this is what makes us sexy. It may not be the shortest skirt in the room but it is certainly the most confident women no matter what she wears. Gypsy Rose Lee was a stripper and a lady. She enticed while taking her clothes off, she never had to resort to sticking out her tongue or simulating sex to get a guy’s attention. Ladylike can be sexy. If Miley wore a pair of heels and just smiled and winked she would have seemed a lot sexier and way more appropriate. Give it a try next time Miley.
 
The look of confidence is sexy, no weird facial expressions or gestured required

Monday, August 26, 2013

Back to School


 
Michael Kors Hamilton tote
 

Some are going back to school today and some have already experienced a week of torture. For the older student going back to school usually requires some preparation. Getting your books and then figuring out that you have two classes back to back at opposite ends of campus. While some will say this isn’t a problem, they obviously haven’t walked some of the larger UCs near here. I went back to school as an adult and walking from one end of campus to the other within a limited time frame wasn’t my forte.

 

Rebecca Minkoff MAB tote
 
 
This is when you find out that the cute outfit you picked out that morning is not perfect when you’re power walking. When I first started I carried a separate purse and book bag. This just became extra stuff that got really heavy the farther I had to walk. I learned really quickly that a large shopper with a relatively short strap worked great as a book bag, a place for my wallet and also what I needed to make it through class. Go with leather and you can use it for years. You also don’t want to leave your valuables in your car. Colleges are notorious for break-ins. Stow any extras in your trunk.

 

This classic wool blazer feels so collegiate
 
 
I also found that a heavy sweater, while super cute became a sauna suit by the time I got to my next class. Dress in layers just like you’re going on a hike. After hiking across campus I was usually hot but you will cool down in class and probably find out at some point that the air conditioning in turned on full blast. That’s when the jacket you stuffed in your shopper comes in handy. I find there are two types of classrooms, those that are freezing and those that are sweltering, never a middle ground. It is prudent to dress for all contingencies.

 

While they may not be super attractive Skechers GOWalk are kind on your feet
 
 
So remember to have a large shopper to carry your books and computer. Dress in layers for that hike across campus. Don’t forget to wear a watch since most of the clocks on campus don’t work. Carry quarters for the vending machine in case you get hungry and if possible don’t schedule back to back classes. Most student unions have some place to get some reading done or a snack while you wait for your next class. I’ve also seen students sleeping in the library, hey it’s quiet! Have fun this year and welcome back.
 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Styling a Menswear Watch


 
Simple clothes and a large watch, perfect
 

Yesterday I wrote about the Fisherman Sweater but I really didn’t delve into accessories. Since the sweater is such a big thing, it’s hard to talk about those items that go with it successfully. One item that works really well is the oversized menswear style watch. Several designers have watches that fit this criterion. An oversized dial and wide strap make it look as if you borrowed your guy’s watch.

 

 
 
Women have borrowed from guy’s style wise for quite some time. The boyfriend jeans, boyfriend blazer and of course the androgynous look of trousers with vests, think Annie Hall. For those of us who just want a touch of menswear think watches. Even though these watches are larger they are still styled to fit a woman’s wrist. While an actual man’s watch will fit the bill it might not size down to fit every woman’s wrist. I would be the exception with my larger than normal wrist.

 

Can't go wrong with Armani
 
 
The trick with this watch is to get the overall style correct. This isn’t a dainty watch so wearing it with a floral sundress might look a little off. Go for simple lines, a leather skirt and a cashmere sweater, a pair of jeans, menswear button-down skirt and boyfriend blazer all look great with an oversized watch. You want to wear clothes that are tailored, classic and simple. This isn't the time to bring out the bling. Remember, the watch will naturally stand out and take center stage on your wrist; you don’t want a lot of different styles and jewelry competing for attention. Keep your handbag simple also, leather is best.

 

Go with a leather strap, Panerai Luminor
 
 
I’m lucky in that I have a slightly larger wrist so I can wear a men’s watch with a few links removed. If you are like me you can wear a larger watch without having to look too far. A men’s watch with a leather band makes a nice substitute for those smaller ladies watches and you don’t have to have the band sized. Anyone can wear a watch and the right watch can make an outfit sing. Just keep it simple, go classic and you can’t miss. Menswear is hot for fall so join in the fun, you can beg borrow, or if necessary, steal that watch from your guy, or better yet, go buy one of your own.
 
 
 
Fossil is affordable and stylish

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Fisherman Sweater


 
The classic Fisherman Sweater
 

I’ve always loved the look of a Fisherman Sweater. The bulky cable knit, the way it hangs loose and casual on the wearer, the warmth it seems to project. It’s a wonderful garment that is quite versatile and perfect for relaxing. A quality Fisherman Sweater is made of 100% wool, the wool helps to keep you warm yet is breathable and water repellent, perfect for a fisherman. While looking for these sweaters on-line I learned a little about their history.

 

Its been around for eons
 
 
The sweaters were originally from the Aran Island which is known for its harsh climate, so these wool sweaters were perfect. What’s interesting is the patterns on the sweaters themselves. The Irish clans had their own specific patterns and these patterns was passed down from generation to generation. The patterns also has a specific meaning; a blackberry panel in the center represents the Holy Trinity, a symbol of the island’s spiritual beliefs. Now here’s the gruesome part, the patterns were so specific to each clan that when a fisherman drowns they were able to identify the body based on the sweater it wore.

 

Super cute with skinny jeans
 
 
All this time I just thought those patterns were pretty. I still think that a Fisherman Sweater is beautiful even though I now know the reasoning behind those elaborate patterns. This style of sweater has been around for a long time. It is still very popular and has worked its way into the mainstream of fashion. It can be worn long and loose with a pair of leggings. Short and sweet over a denim shirt and jeans, and there are even versions in a multitude of bright colors. If you’re daring you can even wear this sweater with shorts.

 

A daring soul can wear them with shorts
 
 
I have a version of a Fisherman Sweater with bell sleeves and a turtleneck. It’s long and loose and looks great with skinny jeans. I think I’ll try and find a more traditional version this fall. The wonderful thing about this style is the popularity and classic styling. Since this style is so iconic there are now versions that come in cotton or a blend that make it easy to clean and a little more affordable. Wool versions do require visits to the drycleaner which can get pricey. So if you’re looking for a great sweater to transition into fall, think the Fisherman Sweater, it’s a classic and you can’t go wrong.
 
Classic styling gone bright

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Boots, Boots and More Boots


 
My favorite: Sheena by Rocket Dog $64.95
 

Okay, I admit it, I’m a boot junkie. The weather turns a little cooler for like an hour and I’m already thinking about boots. I realize that this is a real problem and I probably should get professional help but that would cost money and let’s face it, wouldn’t that money be better spent on a pair of boots? Yes it only prolongs the inevitable, things like overstuffed closets and the wrath of my hubby, but I can’t help myself.

 

If money was no object: Diem by Donald J. Pliner $348.00
 
 
This morning’s trouble began with an email from ShoeDazzle.com, they are having a boot sale. Buy one pair of boots and get the second one free. I told myself that they didn’t have anything I would need but I succumbed and went to the website. I was looking for a low heeled bootie style that looks rugged and comfortable. While I saw many boots that were awesome nothing fit this bill. At least I’m choosing a style and only shopping for specifics.

 

Cute and light: Mad Dash by Skechers $59.99
 
 
This led me to my favorite shoe website, Zappos.com and their lovely selection. The wonderful thing about Zappos.com is their criteria selector. You pick what you are looking for and they only show you shoes and boots that match your selection. This little feature keeps temptation down to a minimum and also reduces the number of shoes you have to search through. While I love shoe shopping I really don’t have time to hunt through 3300 potential candidates.

 

For my inner biker chick: DV by Dolce Vita the Storm $149.00
 
 
So today I have pictures of those boots that I found that might fit my needs. Yes there is a need not just a desire when it comes to boots. This year is the year of the short boot. Looking for a shorter bootie style boot with a low heel that can be worn with leggings or skinny jeans as well as boot cut jeans or slacks. Not that I don’t love my Frye boots but I need a transition boot that is a little lighter for fall. Let the hunt begin!
 
When you want some detail: Possey by Sam Edelman $170.00

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

NFL Handbag Policy


 
These bags aren't allowed
 

The NFL has instituted a new handbag or large backpack policy. It basically doesn’t allow these bags into stadiums at NFL games anymore. You are however allowed a clear bag that measures 12” x 6” x 12” or one clear resealable Ziploc bag…really? Women all over the country are already protesting this new policy and I can’t blame them. Now this is the catch, most stadiums will be selling these new policy approved bags in their gift shops. Can we spell “Rip-Off.”

 
 
Maybe a clutch if it's not too big


The NFL has implemented this policy in the name of security. Well last time I checked when you go into any stadium for any event they have someone at the gate that checks the contents of your bag. I’ve been to a number of Sharks games, concerts and other large venue events and there is always someone that makes me open my purse and quickly rummages around inside. If you’re wearing a heavy coat they have you open it or take it off. Isn’t this enough?

 

Cute, but it might be considered a weapon
 
 
A handbag is a very important accessory to most women. While men empty their pockets every night few women empty their handbags. My handbag is placed on a low bookcase in my office when I’m home. I actually have two handbags sitting there in case I want to change to the other. Handbags are a fashion statement, they also carry our lives. While a handbag can be on display I wouldn’t want the contents to be seen by every person around me. Some things are better left unseen.

 

Super cute and quite compact
 
 
The NFL may think this will just blow over but those female fans might not let this one go. While we may be able to get by with a small evening clutch for a few hours, sitting in the stands for the same amount of time needs a few more supplies. Let’s face it the NFL policy was made by a bunch of men. If these guys actually thought about it for a minute they would realize that it’s their wife who is carrying their extra stuff in her purse. So if you take away our handbags guess who has to carry their own crap.
 
OMG! It's just a handbag officer!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Wearing a Leather Jacket


 
A classic motorcycle jacket, Wilson Leather
 

While this isn’t the time of year to wear a leather jacket chances are you have one in the closet just waiting for a slight turn in the weather. Leather can be tricky. It is a delicate balance of tough versus ladylike. I have a decided liking for leather jackets so I have a hard time finding an outfit where it wouldn’t be appropriate. I think I once wore leather to a job interview. I didn’t get the job…

 

Leather jackets pair easily with jeans
 
 
A leather jacket that is hot right now is the cropped motorcycle jacket. It’s a good length for wearing with a variety of different clothing pieces. It’s a natural for wearing with jeans but you don’t want to limit yourself. It’s also cute with a tunic and some leggings. You can transition it from late summer to fall by switching those heeled sandals with a pair of leather boots, but these aren’t the tricky pieces. Jeans and leggings are an easy match with a leather jacket. If the color is light you can get away with wearing a leather jacket on cooler evenings during the summer. The lighter color makes it seem light weight.

 

Go lighter, Wilson Leather
 
 
Things get a little trickier when you try and pair a leather jacket with a dress. Any summery dress that you would naturally pair with a jean jacket is probably okay. It isn’t too far out of the realm of the usual so it’s a good match. When you try and pair a leather jacket with a more business like dress, it can look casual, but not in a good way. When wearing a leather jacket with a sheath dress keep it simple. Conservative pumps, a simple belt, not too many bangles, stud earrings and maybe a string of pearls. Match that conservative lady with the wild biker.

 

Wear it to the office with a sheath dress
 
 
Some people like to wear their leather jacket with everything. While I agree that it is a versatile piece I still can’t fathom wearing a leather jacket with an evening gown. I’ve also heard suggestions of wearing a diamond choker with a leather jacket. While this seems odd, you would have to keep everything else very conservative. I guess I just have a hard time wrapping my head around the super elegant next to the tough biker. Diamond might be a slight step too far. Any way you slice it a leather jacket is a hot piece and transitions well from later summer to fall and beyond. Now is the time to pick one up while the weather is still hot so go shopping.
 

Pair it with a feminine floral