Tag: expensive

What’s in Your Garage?

My husband likes buying new cars. At least, it seems like he does because he’s doing it every few years—four years being the maximum he can endure without car shopping. So our garage sees plenty of inhabitants.

Me? I don’t like the car buying process.

I mean, it’s fun to see the pretty colors and drive the sporty models. The new car aroma is intoxicating in its own way.

But car salesmen…even the good ones…talk too much and listen too little.

Even walking in with “cash” didn’t make the process more speedy.

It’s like they have to play their little “numbers” game. No matter what.

And the truth is, I’m not a huge fan of new gadgetry, and that includes new vehicles. I learn the ins and outs of my rig, and it becomes a member of my extended family.

If I had my way, I’d still be driving my 1998 Durango. I adored that guy (Shari’s Tough Machine) but when gas prices sky-rocketed and my sons started driving their own vehicles rather than riding with us, my husband decided I needed something ….more economical? In truth, I’m rather vague on this point.

Anyway, he likes new and shiny. I’m not a fan of monthly payments. Usually we’re at an impasse.

Or he gets a new job one week and purchases a Mustang the next. Because…why not?

And if I say “I want a…” then he sees it as his mission in life to get that for me.

Five years ago, it was an Audi Q5. At the time, they were behind on the technology of syncing all your devices with your car and using it as a WiFi hot spot. But, man did that baby handle like a sports car. Acceleration…yep. Cornering at speed…oh, yeah.

*Grin stretches off her face*

But it was out of the price range. And I decided at that time, I would get a solid book contract with a $50,000 advance and pay cash for the amazing driving machine.

And boy did that motivate me to produce novels at the rate of four per year.

Not that I sold a single one of them. In fact, only one per year met the advanced rewriting, revising and editing stages so it could be pitched to agents and publishers.

But…there was a carrot dangling. And it was shiny…and hugged the road like a Porsche 911 (exact words the salesman used on my first test drive).

And now it’s in my garage. There’s a monthly payment attached.

And, no, I don’t have a book contract that paid a sizable advance. In fact, none of my book contracts (yes, I have many) includes advance payment. Which is fine. Because now that I know how that works, I’d rather wait until I’m a best-selling author before anyone bets on me that way.

But what’s going to motivate me to keep writing novels at a break-neck pace now that the sporty SUV is hanging out on the other side of my office wall? Maybe the idea of paying the loan of early.

It doesn’t have the same compulsive sound to it.

What’s in your garage? A car? Boxes? A crafting area?

Getting a Style Fix in the Mail

I love getting packages. This is one of the reasons I adore shopping online.

But some things shouldn’t be bought via mail.

This is what I used to think about clothing.

The Down Side of Clothes-by-Mail

Sometimes a shopping excursion to the mall is fun. Other times, the crowds and pushy people don’t make the measly sales worth the trouble.

Or the gas. Even if the prices aren’t skyrocketing these days.

And there are all those glossy catalogs you get in the mail. Or maybe the advertisements in the sidebar on Facebook or some other website.

Sometimes the idea of squeezing yourself into another pair of jeans that who-knows-how-many other people have tried on before you in a claustrophobic dressing room is about as appealing as a root canal.

Maybe the confusion of sizing makes your head spin.

Should I take a 6 or 8 into the dressing room? I need a 12! I’m never shopping in this store again.

Let’s face it, mail order makes things simpler.

Except for one thing: shipping charges.

They charge you a bunch to ship it to you. They send a pre-paid label for your returns. Somewhere on it in ultra-fine print is the warning “$7.99 will be deducted from your refund when you use this label.”

But sometimes UPS will charge you $10. And the post office used to be cheaper. But not these days.

So you can take a chance that you might love the clothes you’re buying unseen. And pay the fine in shipping fees.

Or you can try a service called Stitch Fix.

The Up Side of Stitch Fix

All the things you like about mail-order clothing comes in that box from your own personal stylist. (And doesn’t it feel awesome to think you have a personal stylist?)

And all the things biggest drawback is solved.

Stitch Fix includes an actual pre-paid envelope for your returns.

You don’t have to figure out how to repair the one you ripped open with abandon. You know when you were so excited to see your new clothes.

Nor do you have to wrestle with packaging tape. You can even put the thing in your mailbox for the mail carrier to pick up (provided you don’t have that bank of tiny boxes at the end of your block that has only a slim letter slot for outgoing mail).

It also has a special feel to it. There was a card with all the instructions in a nice envelope. There were style option cards with pictures of what to wear the individual pieces with.

And of course a note from Kristen explaining why she chose the way she did.

My First Fix

I recently received my first box from my personal stylist. Her name is Kristen.

Now I didn’t really give Kristen much to go on when I filled out my style profile on their site. None of the groupings they showed truly appealed to me. I liked a piece or two from some of them, but not everything. How do I know they won’t imagine I liked those hideous zebra-print shoes?

I asked for jeans and casual tops. And shoes I could wear if I was on my feet all day.

Kristen sent me five items:

This is the Loveappella knit top. So soft, but seemed tight in the arms.
This is the Loveappella knit top. So soft, but seemed tight in the arms.
  • DV8 Penny Loafers in Teal
  • Papermoom Melcon Lace-Up Back Blouse
  • Loveappella knit top
  • Kut from the Kloth Maribel straight leg jeans
  • Market & Spruce button-down top – plaid

I will say that straight out of the box I didn’t love any of these items. But I liked all of them. I would have tried on any of them at the store.

The best thing about trying them on at home?

“These shoes would go with my jeans.” You know how you think that when you’re trying stuff on at the mall? And use that to convince yourself to buy whatever it is?

Then you get home, and it doesn’t match.

I walked right into my closet and pulled out my teal jeans. Yep. Exact match with the shoes.

But I didn’t love the shoes. And they were $70. I don’t spend over $50 on shoes. Ever. If they’re more than that, I wait for a sale.

So maybe I’m too cheap for this service. Time will tell.

I liked the way the jeans felt. I saw some black ones while perusing the Stitch Fix Pinterest boards (because that’s the way to really inform your sylist). And I really would have preferred those because they are a tad dressier. But I did ask for casual.

And straight leg isn’t my favorite. It usually feels to snug on my thighs.

The blouse was pretty but not really my colors. I liked the flowy fit, but did it make me look fat? (The question for the ages, right?)

The button down shirt would look great with my gray and black slacks. But as often happens with button-up shirts, it pulled slightly across the bust. Not a big gap like so many blouses do, but enough that I knew I wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing it without a cami underneath.

Notice the gap across the chest? My husband didn't either.
Notice the gap across the chest? My husband didn’t either.

And for $58? Well, I could pass that up.

If it wasn’t for my husband, I probably would have sent the whole shipment back (although I drooled on the shoes for a good long while before talking myself out of them).

This is the outfit I kept:

Outfit cost: $122. More than I would pay at the mall
Outfit cost: $122. More than I would pay at the mall

I could have added all five items for $218.50. (They give you a 25% discount if you buy everything in the shipment.) That’s a little lot over my usual shopping budget.

Once I slipped my returns into the pre-paid envelope and dropped it at the post office, I promptly updated my style profile online. To help Kristen, I created a Pinterest board dedicated to my style and pasted the link in my Stitch Fix account.

Now I have to wait until December 13 for my next “Fix.”

I will be newly back from my birthday trip to Hawaii. My tanned skin will be ready for whatever my stylist sends me next.

Have you ever used a service like this? What was your experience? Do you prefer shopping at home, online or in person?

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