Signs of the (Retro) Times: Houston, TX

Monday, November 28, 2011

I am a huge font nerd — seriously, things like "just! look! at that typography!" come out of my mouth at regular intervals. Of course, my favorite fonts are retro-style; imagine my surprise and delight to discover a trove of them during a recent stay in downtown Houston.

I can't say I recommend Houston otherwise (though I hear there's a very nice art scene), but if you have to be there, keep your eyes open.

In Which Tyson's Corner Vaguely Resembles a Ski Lodge for One Night*

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Eddie Bauer invited something like 50 bloggers from around D.C. to check out their holiday collection and style up a couple of guinea-pig models in some of the new pieces. Seeing as I hadn't stepped into an Eddie Bauer store since my prep-tastic high school years, I was pretty curious to see what they were up to. (Also appealing: A visit out to Tyson's Corner. Delicious, unhealthy mall food!)

The collection was perfectly cozy and casual: Lots of thick sweaters, earflappy hats and flannel pieces, very New England ski lodge chic. I maaaaay have gone home with the snuggly sweater leggings on my girl model, above right, which I plan on trying to get away with at work on chilly days. (Also, um, this awesome flask.) And, OK, I ordered my model's Sperry Avon boots on my iPad while I was still in the store and have been wearing them relentlessly. And I probably would've grabbed this quilted sweatshirt if someone (cough, cough) hadn't snagged the last small size. All in all, a very fun trip.

*Oh, yeah! That's me, above left, in my Valentino for Gap parka and a slightly goofy smile.

Worst Online Shopping: Lessons to Learn (and our Winner!)

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

I loved (loved in a I-feel-so-very-bad-for-you-kind-of-way) everyone's Worst Online Shopping submissions to our AmEx-sponsored giveaway so much, it was hard to choose just 10 to spotlight. However! Knowledge is power, and shopping knowledge is money saved so you can spend it on something better. Let us learn from these terrible mistakes, kids.

1. My sister bid early on a tiffany item for me on ebay for xmas. A few days later she won ... of course she won, she hadn't realized she had moved the decimal point over. whoops. -SDWrenn

Says Ms. Spinach: Um. Whoops is right. All, just don't do that.

2. I bought several final sale sweaters at because the prices were so good. When they arrived, none of them fit! So much for the great deal. I gave all of them to my daughter. She was happy, but I learned my lesson. No more final sale purchases without trying them on first! -Ruth

Says Ms. Spinach: Many of you were felled by lure of the Final Sale. If it's not returnable, proceed with extreme caution when hitting "submit my order."

3. I once ordered eight pairs of shoes at the same time and they were all terrible. Luckily it was Zappos and they were cool even though I felt like a total jerk returning all of them. -Carrie

Says Ms. Spinach: When buying shoes online, a good return policy -- ideally, one with free shipping and returns -- is a MUST.

4. once, after a bad break up, i brought a beautiful, too-expensive marc jacobs dress on gilt group to help make myself feel beautiful again. turns out, i ordered it one size too small and then totally missed the return deadline - so not only did i have a dress that made me feel bigger rather than beautiful, i was stuck with it! totally my fault, and i ended up donating it - so i at least hope someone else enjoyed it... lesson learned: never online shop while broken hearted. -Allison

Says Ms. Spinach: This breaks my heart! Shopping under the influence of a bad breakup is never recommendable, although possibly better than sitting around stewing over the stupid boy.

5. Yeah, I once bought a dress online on "final sale," so non-returnable, which of course didn't fit. But the kicker was that I had very stupidly and mistakenly put two in my online shopping cart, so then I had two identical dresses that didn't fit and I couldn't return, because I am apparently a moron. -CaitieBird

Says Ms. Spinach: Eeep.

6. I am a fashion girl, not a sports girl. I wanted to buy my husband a gift, great tickets to see Carmello Anthony against the Wizards, really expensive tickets. Yeah I bought them for a game in Denver...not DC. Oops! -DWJ

Says Ms. Spinach: When buying something otherwise foreign to you, whether sports tickets or faux fur, best to consult an expert.

7. I couldn't decide between three different bags. I ordered one, but it was backordered. When it finally arrived, it looked ridiculously huge on my short self. Despite being wide, it wasn't very deep & didn't zip when my stuff was inside. While on an airplane, my wallet & cellphone fell out of it and I didn't realize this until I walked past those darn security doors. As you might imagine, it is very difficult to go back through those doors without a photo ID or boarding pass. The cursed bag has been sitting in my closet ever since. -Krista

Says Ms. Spinach: Sometimes, items with bad karma should just be put into instant retirement.

8. One holiday season I found this crazy red sequined dress on eBay. I figured with the right accessories I could make it work, but when it arrived I realized it was simply doomed for the Goodwill pile. Imagine my surprise when the next year one of my best friends shows up to my holiday party wearing THE EXACT SAME DRESS. She was so excited to have found it at the Goodwill, and she managed to pull it off. -Kiki

Says Ms. Spinach: This warms my Goodwill-shopping heart! And a good idea that if you have some "bad purchases", you may be better off organizing a swap instead of just outright donating it. At least you'll get something in return. Plus, one woman's trash…

9. I have six (yes, SIX) too-small final sale dresses hanging in my closet still with tags! If they weren't such gorgeous pieces I'd happily sell them but instead they are my motivation to trim down a bit AND to be sure it will fit BEFORE hitting the submit order button!! (I look at the size guides on EVERY website I shop now - we all know not all sizes are equal!) -Virginia

Says Ms. Spinach: Clothes that are in the When-I-Lose-5-Pounds Pile are the WORST. And yes, brand-specific size guides are our friend! (So are customer reviews.)

10. I bought a really cool marching band jacket from 1922 a few years ago but I'm scared to wear it (I don't want to wreck it!) So it sits in the closet, an unworn work of art... maybe I should hang it in the hallway so at least it gets seen by someone other than me... -FutureLint

Says Ms. Spinach: I say, bite the bullet, find a safe event (ie, where people won't spill on you) and rock it already. Clothes are meant to be seen and worn!

And now… Our big winner (by random drawing, with full-on witness): Lisa from Quarter Life! Congrats, Lisa (and thanks everyone). Send us an e-mail and we'll get your $250 prize, courtesy of AmEx, to you pronto! We hope you get something as cute as a puppy in a box.