Hermosa Beach, CA
Yesterday was a beautiful day in southern California (no longer in the triple digits!), so the hubby and I decided to grab lunch and hit up the beach...and shoot a few pics of my very first, and already very loved, Louis Vuitton bag!
As I had mentioned in a previous post, I've been on the hunt for a cross body Louis Vuitton for months now. Neutral, easy to wear, goes great with nearly everything, and luxurious. The catch was...I only wanted to spend $100. And not for just any bag, but one that had been previously well-cared for and in good condition. I had done my research, and decided eBay would be the best way to go. (see my blog post on shopping eBay the smart way!) I knew it would be difficult...but possible. Time passed, and I had watched bags come and go. Very similar bags, some smaller and in not so great condition, reaching bids of $200-$400. No thanks.
Cue last week, as I came across this lovely item with 12 hrs to go on a weekday. (I've found that items that end on week days vs. weekends typically have less bidders and sell for less.) The bag had been taken care of very well, and there were zero flaws aside from the deterioration of the inside of a small pocket. No way inhibits the use of the bag, and easily fixable. The shipping was $18, so I placed my max bid at $82. As there were 10 bidders for the item already, I was thinking there was no way I would win, and I went to bed. Imagine my surprise to wake up the next morning to find I had been the final bidder, and the prize was all mine! *cue happy dance*
details: Ralph Lauren oxford [new, $30], Banana Republic skirt [new, $10], Nordstrom sandals [$20, new], Louis Vuitton cross-body [secondhand, $100], Michael Kors watch [new, gift], Rayban wayfarers [new, gift]
I've been really into tying my button ups and oxfords in the front lately, with my high waist skirts and pants. I feel it adds an extra sexy detail to the outfit, and makes the shirt less baggy and more feminine.
Aside from the bag... walking next to the water in the beach cities (Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach) is like a real estate dream! Every house is unique, well kept, and has such a killer view! I was super jelly of the people relaxing on their patio, watching us commoners walk by. Think I can swindle a deal on one of these beachside villas? ;)
I was super excited to share my new (to me) bag with all of you, and would love to hear about your own fancy finds! Comment below!
Since we bought our first house last year, I have become obsessed with filling our home with more high quality pieces. Move over Ikea! We plan on living here for some time, so I feel it is safe to finally invest in nicer furniture, artwork, and kitchen items (no more fear something will get damaged in a move.)
Ever since I was in high school, I've loved walking through Williams-Sonoma. Not only does it always smell like Christmas, but the home and, specifically, kitchen items, are so beautiful and decadent! At the age of 16, I was daydreaming of china, dutch ovens, and owning different sets of silverware for different occasions. Weird? Maybe. But this is where my love for Le Creuset came from!
Le Creuset is a high end, French cookware company known for their baking dishes and bright hues . Most of their pieces are cast iron, and go through an extensive 12 step finishing process. Not only are they pretty, but they will last a lifetime! Because of this attention to detail, small pieces from Le Creuset usually START at around $75.00.
Now imagine this: you are walking through Marshalls, when you happen to glance a lone, bright yellow baking dish. You rush over, look to make sure it is legit (not a wanna be), and flip it over to check the price. Le Creuset... clearance... $19.99!
This is not a fantasy. It really happened! The dish had a few dark marks on the inside, but I was super confident I could scrub it out, and I did! No scratches, chips, or anything. And it was mine for $20!
Since my kitchen is neutral with red accents, I love the pop of yellow the piece adds. I usually have it sitting up on my stove top, unless of course I'm using it to make something delicious...like brownies. :)
They were even more delicious than they look, if you can believe it!
Have other Le Creuset pieces you love? Suggestions for home/kitchen items? Comment below!
As you guys have probably noticed, I buy a LOT of my pieces secondhand. I usually prefer to find my good deals with luxury consignment websites, such as TheRealReal and thredUP, because they only accept items in good ---> new condition, and offer authenticity promises. However, I have found the most amazing steals on designer items from eBay, paying for some items a 1/4 of the price that I would have paid for the same secondhand item on a consignment site! (I recently won the most AMAZING find on eBay, I can't wait to share with you all!) Some of my most recent wins include lululemon tops, leggings, and jackets (all under $20!) and my well-loved Burberry scarf ($80, I mean come on!)
However, it is important to remember that there are many sellers that are deceiving, and looking to take advantage of unsuspecting and naive consumers. But do not fear! I have compiled a short list of do's and don'ts to avoid falling into one of these traps. Continue reading!
1. DO YOUR RESEARCH
Many designers offer limited editions of their classic bags, accessories, and clothing items. This can make it difficult to figure out if the item you have in your watch list is legit. If the seller does not have a name listed for the item, ask! Google it! If you can't find it anywhere on the internet, steer clear. Also, when you have an item in mind you are looking to bid on, wait a few days to look at the bidding trends, and see what a typical price is that the item is going. For me, I have found the most success winning items during the week days. For some reason, there are less bidders, and items go for cheaper than when they sell over the weekend.
2. DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR MORE PICTURES
One of the first things that should tip you off to a scam is if the seller uses stock photos for the item. Before bidding, make sure to contact the seller to ask for genuine pictures. As well, if it is hard to decipher the overall quality of the item, ask for additional pictures with the product in a well-lit area. If you receive no response, or are declined pictures, this item is a no-go.
3. WHAT IS THE SELLER'S TRACK RECORD?
I always feel more reassured buying from a seller with hundreds, or even thousands, of positive reviews on their profile. Go through and read the comments. Look for other customers that purchased second hand designer items. Did the item they received reflect what they thought they were buying? And if the seller is new (a member less than a month) or has no reviews, I would highly suggest moving on, they are most likely a scam.
4. UTILIZE GOOGLE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE NUANCES BETWEEN AUTHENTIC AND REPLICA ITEMS
Whether it's the shape of the "L" on the bottom of a pair of Louboutins, or the capitalization of the origin city on a designer bag, it is important to utilize the internet to learn the small details in authentic items that are often looked over in the creation of replica designer items. You can even find pictures with authentic and replica items side by side.
5. USE YOUR COMMON SENSE
Look closely at the photos, be honest with yourself, and if the price seems too good to be true, I assure you it is. Don't think the quality looks like that of a $1,000 handbag or pair of shoes? It's because it isn't. Keep looking, and don't lose hope! It may take time, but eventually you WILL find the item you are looking for in your price range.
I hope these tips are helpful to my fellow bidders, and best of luck!
If you have flipped through a magazine or logged onto social media in the past few months, you have probably seen these shoes a million times:
They are a fun spin on the classic ballet flat, and totally adorable for summer! As a former ballet dancer I was all over this new trend, and started my research to find a cute pair. My go to places, like Banana Republic and Nordstrom, produced a number of results (click the store to see options), but I was hesitant to spend over $100 on a pair of shoes that will most likely be considered "out of style" once winter hits. Deciding these were more of a fun piece instead of an investment piece, I started searching through a few discount shops. And I got incredibly lucky!
Yesterday, as I perused the shoe section at H&M, I came across a lone pair of the black tie up flats I had been dreaming of! As I flipped over the tag to see the size, I was elated to find not only that they were my size, but they were marked down to $20! I quickly tried them on, and then headed to the check out with my treasure. In natural Sydney fashion, I wore them around the house for the rest of the day, and planned today's outfit around them. See below!
details: Ann Taylor button up [new, $20], Banana Republic skirt [new, $30], H&M flats [new, $20], Longchamp tote [new, gift]
For investment pieces, I rarely consider looking through shops such as H&M and Forever21, as the quality is just typically not there. For a classic, wardrobe building item, it is always a better return in the long run to spend a little more. But for this pair of summer ballerina cuteness? $20 was all I needed!
For any wardrobe, I would highly recommend a classic, color-neutral bag that is easy to grab and go because it goes with a multitude of colors, outfits, and occasions. For me, I have two bags I use on the regular, and I switch between the two depending on where I am going and what I will be doing.
My first go to bag is my Longchamp Le Pliage large tote bag, pictured above with my Kate Spade wallet (gift) and Chanel compact (also a gift.) While this bag was a birthday present, you can click here to see the retail price. Currently on summer sale! Because the bag is black with accents of brown, it literally can match any color combination. This bag goes everywhere from grocery stores to shopping trips and lunch dates. It is very lightweight (and also water proof!), so it is easy to swing on my elbow or shoulder and carry for a long amount of time. While these bags are not too often seen in the United States, they are staples through out Europe, as the brand is French. You can find them in a Longchamp store (however there are not many in the States), Nordstrom, or Bloomingdales.
You guys have definitely seen this bag before! (Here and here) With or without the scarf, this gorgeous Gucci bag upgrades any outfit, and is neutral enough to go with most color schemes while adding a pop of color with the red and green details. While I was lucky enough to receive this bag as a hand-me-down, similar bags (ranging between $1000-$2000) can be found here and here. The bag is incredibly deep, more like a tote, so it can pretty much hold everything except the kitchen sink. The top handles make it a little bit less comfortable to carry around (I either hold them in my hands or have them on my elbow), so I generally reserve this bag for more special occasions (date night, Beverly Hills, you get the idea.)
In the future, my dreams are too add a Chanel flap bag (like this) and maybe even one day an Hermes Birkin bag (here) to my collection. While these bags new are gorgeous (and expensive!) lightly used, secondhand options are over half the price! (Examples here and here from TheRealReal) Currently, I'm on the hunt for a Louis Vuitton cross body. Super classic and easy to carry (no hands necessary!) No worries, that fancy find will be up the moment I score!
Live for luxury? No trust fund, no problem!
Join the fancy free journey as we seek the
finer things in life, sans millions.
- Marie Claire, September 2016