Monthly Archives: August 2014

Would You, Could You, for a Box?

Essays - Fashion - Women

Birchbox, Barkbox, NatureBox, Ipsy, Wantable, FabFitFun, Club W, StitchFix…

Our society has turned from hunter gatherer to hunter-wait-for-it-to-be-delivered. And in some cases there is minimal hunting– these services even offer to hunt for you if you’ll answer a few questions beforehand.

You can get everything you need from healthy snacks, wine, bras, makeup, accessories, clothing and supplies for your dog — all in a box. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this. Take it a step further and this is the ‘small business’ equivalent of taking the advantage back from stores like Walmart and Amazon. And a large part of our commerce happens online. If you live in a small town and can’t get access to something, you order it. When you don’t want to fight the mob at the mall (or the awful music, inescapable) then you have it delivered.

Personally I love to shop. And I love to shop by myself. The notion that someone is waiting for me, even if they’re not, is unbearable and I can’t concentrate. However, the only thing I can say I love a little more than shopping is waiting for a package in the mail. If you read my other post on marketing and the ‘language of obsession’ then you know obsessively tracking a package and being marketed to as if I’m ‘addicted’ to something bothers me. This, unfortunately, doesn’t mean I’m not a package tracker. It’s actually one of the reasons I stopped my subscriptions to some of these boxes. It was draining my wallet, the tiny samples were cluttering my bathroom, and I had more important things to think about then when a certain package was arriving.

I found that the problem was my ‘Profile’ was never quite right. The Julep colors were not that great. Why is dark blue any less or more ‘Classic with a Twist’ than is any other color? It took two Fix’s before I found a partial StitchFix that worked, and as for Birchbox I found the questionnaire too confining and the samples I received didn’t fit “me “one way or the other.

Whether it’s food and drink (Plated, NatureBox, SaffronFix or Club W), clothing (Stitchfix, Wantable), beauty (Birthbox, Julep, Ipsy) or even a box for your furry friend (BarkBox) one has to decide how much these things actually apply to you and your life. I’m sure there are many more boxes that I’m forgetting or don’t even know about…if you enjoy them great! If it’s helpful and convenient, great! I love Stitchfix and would totally recommend it– it’s useful if you don’t like shopping, or don’t always know what items to pair with what other items or how.

Stitchfix is one that I go back and forth on. Sometimes I don’t want to pay that much for the clothing they send. Other times my stylist (who must think I’m bipolar or crazy or both) hits the nail on the head and I absolutely must keep the item (read: anything in the color green or anything that any one else would think is hopelessly boring I mean minimalist).

So. My most recent fix. Not as good as the last one. I still haven’t made the plunge and taken the 25% off for purchasing the entire box. Nor have I purchased any $120 jeans, or any $88 jeans. Especially not since getting bicycle grease on a new pair not even a week ago (Quelle horreur I can’t even talk about it). And perhaps I haven’t grown up enough yet, but I can’t get my head around paying more than about $25-30 for jewelry either.

For me it’s all about the thrill of the chase; the hunt for the quality pieces at mark downs, or at thrift stores, the way a store feels familiar and so you, and the atmosphere of boutique on a quiet afternoon. Even saving up for a piece that you know will get years of wear and love. As a novelty I love Stitchfix, and I plan on putting my poor stylist through the wringer at least a few more times– besides who says this can’t be a totally new way to hunt?

Yoga + Chicago at Thalia Hall & Dusek’s in Pilsen

Chicago - Cooking - Photography

I’m on the Halstead bus going south to Chicago Ave. I don’t often come to this area of Chicago, but have come to like exploring the West Loop and West Town areas. I love the old buildings and especially the smell of chocolate that comes from the factory. You wouldn’t necessarily think so, but it’s delicious.

My stop. I get off the bus, towing my yoga mat. I don’t really like carrying it with me as it’s come un-rolled once on the bus, I’ve almost left it on another occasion, and despite how careful I am, there’s always good odds I will accidentally knock someone.

I walk up the street to Workshop Chicago. This is where Yoga+ Chicago had their first event. I did a previous post on this space and who they are if you are a work from home kind of person, but want to expand your network this space is more than ideal.

Today is yoga and flower arranging with Larkspur. I remember arranging flowers a lot when I was little so it’s exciting to get to try it again after all this time.

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My arrangement. I’m very proud of it. Even though I went out of my comfort zone and went by myself I had a great time. I always feel welcome by Natalie and Andrea and did not mind at all that I was the only girl with a flower arranging table to herself.

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I have since attended the Yoga+ Chicago Sepia Pasta making event, as well as the Trunk Club Tour and my favorite thus far, the Punch Making class at Thalia Hall in Pilsen.

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This is why. I met Katie Ferry of Beneath the Chandelier and we had a great time talking and making punch together. We even ate brunch after the event at Dusek’s Board and Beer which is delicious. Made even more so if you were punch-drunk (punch tipsy?) like I was.

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Fall Preview of T+J Designs at Sarah Raskey’s Gallery

Chicago - Fashion - Photography - Women

On Wednesday I attended the Fall Preview of some great Chicago designers. I will admit for the first 10 or so minutes walking into the event I felt a bit out of place. Though it was barely 630 at night, most of the women were dressed in high, high heels, hair perfectly done, and wearing tight short dresses and skirts. I was a bit intimidated, in my nautical striped sweater, blue shorts, and sneakers.

After a few minutes taking in the different collections and the art gallery itself, (if you get a chance do visit the gallery in Chicago it’s stunning and the space is quite comfortable; homey and sophisticated) I found T+J designs. I loved the display that Tiffany and Jen had arranged. Check out the blog too at redsolesandredwine.com, I love it.

The jewelry is pictured below, along with the Henry + Belle jeans that I was sorely tempted to take home with me… if only my wallet were fatter. <Sigh>

On that note the sale that was going on was excellent; any of these pieces would refresh your wardrobe as summer winds down or give it that fierce attitude it needs to transition into fall. I love that jewelry is an inexpensive (sometimes) way to refresh a wardrobe– especially if you’ve already invested in the ‘good pieces’ and are just looking for something new and shiny.

Scroll and enjoy; fall is my favorite season and dressing for it is why! <3

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Bracelet Designs by T+J

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A beautiful display

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Statement pieces in gold and silver

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Another beautiful statement piece

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Henry + Belle Jeans, Fall 14 Preview and Spring Sale

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Loved the different textures and styles of all these pieces

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Social Media at Workshop Chicago

Chicago

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Since I moved to Chicago about a year and half ago a lot has changed. When I first moved here, I only knew a few of my colleagues and a couple of people I’d gone to college with. It’s taken a while, but I have expanded my network, and learned how to go places by myself. This doesn’t sound like much, but for me it’s a huge step. Going to a happy hour, workshop, retail event, party, or any other sort of event, where you may not know any one can be scary. I’ll be honest, there were still times when I wandered the room/space/terrace/store a bit like a lost sheep, but I eventually got used to being ‘out and about’ and have made many friends, and am still cultivating new friendships and an excellent network.WP_20140819_009

It was to this end of networking and perhaps learning something new that I attended Workshop Chicago’s Social Media Workshop. Workshop Chicago is a ‘co-working community’ in Chicago, IL. I have just been introduced to this concept of co-working and if I didn’t have an office to go to every morning it’s definitely something I would do. It’s a great way to expand your network, while still having a great place to work. A cafe might have unreliable Wi-Fi, and sometimes you can feel pressured to keep buying things. A library is too quiet–what if you need to make a quick phone call? And sometimes working from home by yourself gets a bit lonely. So this is a great compromise and it’s a beautiful space in River West.

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The workshop outlined the basics of social media, growing a following, and looking intelligently at different advertising and social analytics to grow your following. It was an introduction, and included some things I already knew, but Jaclyn Crawford presented the facts in a very approachable way and I was able to take a lot of information away that I could use in my personal life as well as at work. The discussion was great, and it was nice to know that I was not alone in my questions. What has been trial and error at this point will be a lot less error thanks to Jaclyn.

Scroll below to look at the beautiful space!

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Workshop Chicago Space