Monday, March 24, 2014

JustDon't - A Not So Fabulous Review of JustFab

Whenever a college student is told they can have something for free, we generally don't mind going one extra mile if it's worth it. This was my mindset when I received an email from shoe subscription company, JustFab (formally known as Justfabulous), telling me I could get a free pair of shoes. Of course, I immediately read the fine print. I had to sign up for VIP membership and I knew I would have to pay for shipping. However, their website told me I could cancel my membership at any time with their 24 hour customer service. So I figured I would order my pair and cancel as soon as they shipped. Not surprisingly, only select styles were valid for the offer, but I found a pair I liked enough to pay five dollars for. Little did I know, those shoes would cost my bank account and my sanity much more!

Timeline of My Experience

Friday, March 7th...
I received my shoes in the mail and promptly cancelled my VIP membership. Customer service was a pain, as they desperately try to keep you on board even after telling them, "Yes, I know I can cancel anytime. That's why I'm canceling now!" It took twice as long as it should have, but I didn't mind it too much since I'd just gotten myself a $5 pair of shoes.

Six days later...
I get an email from JustFab saying, "Congratulations! You have a credit on your account!" At first, I was thinking they'd sent me a nice little present to beg for my return. Nope. My card was automatically charged $39.95 because I hadn't "picked my shoe for the month," even though I'd canceled my membership before that time was up. Thanks to this lovely gift, my account was now in the negatives. I called customer service right away. They told me there had been "a glitch in the system" and my cancellation hadn't processed. They would cancel my membership right away and process a refund to arrive in my bank account in 5-7 business days. I told them seven days wasn't good enough and asked to speak to a supervisor. They weren't able to get a hold of said supervisor but told me they would call my bank and get my refund to me in 3-5 business days.

Six more days later...
Nothing was in my account yet and I was growing more impatient everyday. I called them again to ask what was taking so long. The customer service representative told me my refund hadn't processed yet because there was yet another "glitch in the system." She immediately processed my refund and told me it should be in my account in 5-7 business days. I was furious. How was I to trust them when apparently their "systems" couldn't handle my account? I told her how upset I was and asked for a supervisor. I actually got a supervisor on the phone this time! She was apologetic, blah, blah, blah...but I told her how dissatisfied I was and demanded she do something else. She dodged around the problem with scripted PR words until she finally said she could speak to my bank representative. Of course, I was talking to her at 11pm, so there was no way to make this happen until I visited my bank the next day. She gave me her name and work hours and that was that for the time being.

The next day...
I arrived in Boston for the weekend and visited my bank. They gave me the line to call for electronic claims that's open 24/7 so I could talk to them at my convenience. I was busy settling in and visiting friends so I put that phone call off for the time being.

One more day later...
I finally received the refund in my bank account, without having to call my bank. I was so relieved to finally be finished with JustFab and all their "glitches."

The Shoes
I ordered a pair of sandals, called Ernesta, in size six. They were cute for five dollars, not much more. The materials were cheap -- the suede was fake, the satin thin and the woven-style platform was shedding its fibers. They were slightly big and fit closer to a six and a half. They looked cute on me though, and were surprisingly comfortable. But they were certainly not worth two weeks of high anxiety and a low bank account balance.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Packing Tips From a Neat Freak

          It's easy to get overwhelmed when you're faced with an empty suitcase to pack for a long trip. For me, it's an exciting time to invent new outfits and play dress up! I'm all about organization, so I used a simple way keep everything neat and minimal when I packed for NYFW last month. I'll be packing for another trip to Albany and Boston this weekend, so I figured it was an opportune time to share my packing tips!

1. Plan your clothes in outfits and actually try them on. I can't begin to remember all the times I've packed a top and bottoms I thought would look great together, just to find out during my trip that they didn't work at all! This also minimizes the amount of clothes you'll need to bring. If you've already tried on your outfits you'll know which ones need an an extra layer and which ones don't. There's no use in throwing a bunch of random tees or shoes in as back-ups if you already know what you need. Lastly, this method is super helpful when you're in a rush during your trip. Simply pick whichever ensemble fits your mood or the weather, and you're ready to go!

2. If you want to get super organized, you can plan each outfit for a specific day. I used my Page-a-Day calendar to lay out my clothes, then looked up the weather report to sort my outfits accordingly. (In most cases this ended up being a general guideline due to changes in weather/temperature/mood, but it's a great idea if you have big events to plan for).

3. Pack a rotation of jewelry and accessories, with a few key pieces. While it may be more exciting to pack different accessories for each day, it becomes a lot to keep track of. Only bring a few simple necklaces, rings, earrings, belts, etc. that you can rotate through during your trip. If you have room, add a couple statement pieces that you're only going to wear once. Not only will this keep the amount of small, easy-to-lose pieces to a minimum, but it also creates a collection unique to your trip. Well after your trip is over, these pieces will be more special because they'll remind you of your travels.

4. Bring one pair of shoes for every three days you'll be gone. Shoes are my weakness when I pack, yet they take up the most amount of space. I always think of all the scenarios I might need a bright pump or a chunky platform, then I end up wearing only half of the shoes I bring. A girl only needs a few basic shoes. My theory is that the longer your stay, the more shoes you'll need. (I'm also willing to make an exception if you have a wide range of events to attend, from super fancy dinners to walking through slush and snow for a meeting).

5. Even if you aren't flying, bring all of your toiletries in travel size. There is no reason you will need a full sized bottle of shampoo. And if for some reason your stay evolves into three months, it isn't hard to find more shampoo. You'll be amazed by how much more space you'll have in your suitcase once all your creams, washes, and hair products are in 3oz. bottles.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

NYFW AW14: By Misha featuring Marylai New York and GBGH

         The By Misha presentation was held at Lali Lali Gallery in SoHo. I had backstage access so I got to see stylists preparing models' hair and makeup and interviewed the leads of Bobbi Brown and Prive Salon. The collection was absolutely beautiful and I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing designer Misha Vaidya. Originally from London, she has a romantic style yet knows the importance of strength. She collaborated with Mary Lai of Marylai New York handbags and Jackie Barbosa of GBGH jewelry to add necessary edge to her collection. I interviewed these two incredibly talented designers and also met some super stylish ladies who had impeccable vintage taste. One of these ladies, Kinna LeBlanc wrote about the show as well. Check out her post and pictures of us here

For more about the show, read my article for Papercut Magazine here:

Also check out this awesome video (PS - I make a short appearance)!

The elevator of the Lali Lali Gallery had an pop art wallpaper!

Stylists laying out fake hair to make into the towering buns atop models' heads.

Mary Lai and Jackie Barbosa
Designer, Misha Vaidya, is between Lai and Barbosa with all of the models.

Monday, February 24, 2014

New York Fashion Week - Autumn/Winter 2014 Overview

          I'm finally writing about my second New York Fashion Week experience! Needless to say, a week full of fashion shows and events was followed by a week full of deadlines and catching up on sleep.

            I had so much fun in the city and have really begun to feel more at home there. Surprisingly, my affinity for NYC has taken a little time to unfold. Of course, it wouldn't be as enjoyable without the hospitality of my cousin and best friend, Maddie. She's shown me some great places and we've already made a lot of unforgettable memories, such as the time we tried meeting at a ferryboat party and ended up on opposite shores of Manhattan! But more on that later. Here's a little overview of the fashion week events I attended, people I met, clothes I wore and food I ate. I'll be posting about specific shows and designers soon.


What I wore: A gold, vintage blazer and green sweater layered over a blue button down, dark blue tuxedo pants, authentic Greek fisherman's hat, Badgley Mischka Julia Nappa satchel, and Superga sneakers (later had to change into winter boots due to the high snow banks and heaps of slush).

By Misha
Where I went: I attended the By Misha presentation at the Lali Lali Gallery in SoHo and met some very wonderful people. I interviewed the three designers featured and I met some fabulous fashionistas and bloggers. More details to come! 
That night: I was in pure euphoria. It was my first night in the city, I'd already met inspiring people, and seen beautiful clothes.
Beverage of the evening: Owl's Brew Tea with rum

William Okpo
What I wore: A new satin, floral dress I just ordered from Victoria's Secret. I was so eager to wear it that I didn't consider how light it would be on the coldest night of the week! It was insufficient even with leather accented leggings, Cole Hann ankle boots, a Cynthia Rowley cowl scarf, a beanie and a leather jacket.

Leather Japan
Where I went: I got lost in SoHo and missed my first show by ten minutes. Who knew exiting from the subway in the wrong direction could veer you so far off course? That evening I went to the William Okpo show. Just as I was gaining more confidence in my sense of direction, I forgot half of the address to the Leather Japan gallery opening and took two cabs to get to there.

Maddie and Daniel
 That night: Complimentary shuttles took everyone from the gallery to the after party that was to be on a ferryboat. I invited Maddie to meet me there and gave her the address we both thought was at the Chelsea Piers. Half an hour later, my shuttle stopped on Wall Street. Maddie was almost "there" but I wasn't leaving on the boat without her. I called her and we soon realized she was on the coast facing New Jersey and I was on the opposite facing Brooklyn. It was time to scratch plans and figure out new ones. I ran into the nearest Duane Reade to keep warm and charge my phone, got a cab, and finally met up with Maddie. At that point, all we wanted was warm pizza and a relaxing drink. So we ended the night at a cozy bar with her boyfriend and some delicious BBQ chicken pizza.
Beverage of the evening: Blue Moon


What I wore: A vintage, angora sweater dress on top of a printed skirt with fur winter boots, leather jacket, and a floppy, felt hat. Of course, I also carried my Badgley Mischka bag. 

Mega Mega Projects' AW14 Preview
Where I went: I stopped by the AW14 Preview by Mega Mega Projects and interviewed a couple budding jewelry designers. It was a very intimate event that focused on small collections of high quality craftsmanship. 

Zink Magazine fashion event
That night: I met Maddie at B & Co. in midtown for Zink Magazine's fashion event party. We had fun taking pictures of our outfits and catching up on our day.
Beverage of the evening: Cranberry and vodka.


What I wore: A red cable-knit sweater on top of a white button down with leather pants, fur boots, ruffled scarf, beanie and a wool, vintage coat. 

Doughnut Plant
Where I went: Late that morning, Maddie brought me to the Doughnut Plant to try what she told me were the best doughnuts ever. She was right! We had hazelnut, chocolate, chocolate chip and their Valentine's special, rose. Since we were fairly close to the next fashion week event I had on my agenda, she accompanied me to KOTUR's AW14 preview at the Standard hotel. It was quite the journey! There were puddles and slush at every intersection and it was impossible to get to the next block without stepping into eight inches of water. On our very wet way back to her apartment, we grabbed Mexican at a nearby food cart. My tacos were so delicious they made me forget all about those treacherous puddles. 

Maddie was invincible in her solid rain boots!
That night: While I'd been wearing my "waterproof" winter boots, they were no match for NYC puddles. I learned that a good pair of rain boots is an absolute necessity in this city. Maddie lent me hers for my last event of the week, Samantha Pleet's AW14 collection film premiere at the Wolverine store. I was really excited for this one because I'd covered her last collection in the fall. There was no way the weather would stop me from covering my first NYFW followup! More details to come!
Beverage of the evening: Red wine. 

Samantha Pleet


               My boyfriend came into the city for the weekend and I stayed until the following Tuesday. We had a really nice time together and between my internship work, we visited the dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History, had giant slices of pizza with Maddie and Daniel, took a slippery walk through Central Park, and ate lots of yummy bagels!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

BCBG Max Azria AW14

          BCBG is one of the shows that's had the biggest impression on me in these first few days of fashion week. Maybe it's just the cold weather getting to me, but I would love to wrap myself in one of their luxurious, fur capes or coats. While their outerwear was definitely the high point of their collection, I'm also digging the color palette. Everyone's been talking about pastels for winter and BCBG incorporated them in a very understated, approachable way. Soft pinks instead of bubblegum, stripes of aqua blue, and accents of orange all lent themselves to the greys, whites, and blacks. I usually gravitate toward the latter in winter, but I'd be willing to wear these more colorful pieces without a second thought. Additionally, their acid wash print was a pleasant reminder of burning wood -- the patterns made in logs as they become charcoal. Overall, this collection felt cozy and warm, making it one I'd be dying to get my hands on come fall.

photo credit: