Click, Click, Flash-sites

Flash sites have been around for quite some time, but never really clicked until recently. Of course overstock.com and ebay have been pioneers in discounting pricing, but offering designer products online at a significant discount has only recently become vogue. Most sites cater towards women and their vast varieties of wardrobe desires. Luckily, most sites are seeing the light and adding a men’s “department” for the guy who wants to dress well and find a great deal.

I’ve highlighted the more “well-known” flash sites for men and given you a rundown on their selection. Remember that these sales only last about 48hours, and first come first served. I’ve seen the best products sell out in a matter or seconds!

Gilt – For a little bit it was giltman, but recent changes have returned it to its original name. Probably one of the most known flash sites. Gilt for men specializes in a dapper man who likes beautiful and (mostly) luxurious items. Brands like 7FAM, Hickey, Burberry, and that variety are staples. Gilt has shifted from “specific” designer boutiques to a more generalized type of garment sales ie. sweaters, jeans & pants in your size, cold weather accessories, and tailored shirts, all shown with a variety of designers. Gilt in the past has offered a decent selection of accessories from Jack Spade and J. Press  all the way to New and Preowned Rolex’s. I personally enjoyed when it was Gilt Man. I felt it was a separate identity, but now it seems Gilt wants to streamline its process. Luckily, they’ve vastly improved their shipping and return policys.

JackThreads – For the casual, funky, hipster you. JackThreads caters to the “artsy” man that likes to be different in their style. Graphic t’s and jeans are constantly offered by different brands. Think of JackThreads as your Williamsburg-outfitter, with a splash of Chelsea and WeHo. Expect to see a lot of stock in WESC, Obey, and Hurley, but also keep an eye out for great sales on basics, eyewear, watches (I’ve seen the great Nixon sale!!) and electronics (eye-buds, iPad accessories).

HauteLook – Recently purchased by Nordstrom (smart move), Hautelook has recently upped the ante from the occasional men’s sale to be more on-par with Gilt. Subscribe if you enjoy perusing for “unisex” eyewear and common sales on Vince, Theory, Cole Haan and designer denim. Perfect for nabbing a cashmere cardigan, slim jeans, and boots. Can’t go wrong with HauteLook. Especially with a owner like Nordstrom, it can only get better.

RueLaLa – Another flash staple, RueLaLa and Gilt came to greatness around the time flash sites were catching on.  RueLaLa hasn’t caught up with the likes of Gilt or Hautelook when it comes to offering a men’s department, BUT when they offer a boutique catered towards men, it’s usually great! I’ve nabbed a great pair of Citizens for Humanity jeans, and a few Jack Spade bags for prices much lower than Gilt.

MyHabit – A great offering from Amazon. Usually a smaller amount of items each day, but nevertheless, superb brands and nice variety of sizes. I’ve actually purchased a few things from MyHabit and I’ve been extremely impressed. No worries about shipping costs because every item ships free. I knew Amazon would bring us a fantastic flash-site. Expect brands like Sorel, Varvatos, Marc New York and a stringent denim selection from around the world. I nabbed a great pair of Neuw denim jeans from Sydney for about 80% off. Keep an eye out for promotions. MyHabit launched in 2011 and had a year-long promotion going for 25% off their already discounted prices. Definitely subscribe.

ideeli – I remember I was told about ideeli before I knew anything about flash-sites. Mainly focused towards women, ideeli offers only a select amount of products for men. Suiting and basics is what you can expect, for example sales on CKU, (2)xist, Varvatos USA, and other mentionable designers. Expect only about 2-3 men’s sales per day, but worthy of subscribing.

Huckberry – A newcomer that specialized in products for you burly men and wannabes…A great variety of products for the “outdoorsy” guys. They handpick brands that have stood the test of time and are known for durability. Keep an eye on this site for future sales on Filson, Patagonia, and other high-quality brands.

Belle & Clive – Super-duper high-end. This fairly new flash-site is from the creators of Bluefly.com, a well-known online designer discounter. This site has only the most prestigious brand offerings ie. Burberry, Bottega Veneta, Gucci, and RRL. Pricing is rather high, but the quality is there. Go here for a splurge on an item you really adore. Worthy of subscribing, even just to window-shop.

Beyond the Rack – This site was one of the starters. There sales tend to be more women-based. Decent accessory sales on sunglasses, and well-known brands. There was an article about BTR that has stuck with me. It was in regards to their pricing and how they were charging more than some department stores. I’m a tad weary of BTR.

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*Keep in mind these tips if you decide to dive into flash-shopping.

1. The best goes first. Preview upcoming sales for the designers you want. When the sale starts, click what you want and put them in your shopping cart. Most carts save the item for at least 2 minutes…allowing you time to decide as well as keeping away other prowlers.

2. Know return policies. Some sites ONLY give you store credit or take a percentage for return shipping costs if you request a refund. Know before hand.

3. Accessories go first because of the lack of sizing. You want a bag, watch or case? Nab it…

4. Keep an eye out for coupons and promotion codes. Many sites offer you discounts for special events or even credits to get you back to shopping. Gilt and RueLaLa are known for “come-back credits”.

5. Don’t underestimate the power of Customer Service. They know what’s available and what’s not. Call if you have a concern. Many times they’ll give you a credit if you’re having site trouble…hehe

6. Wait-lists actually work. You may get the item you really want within a month or two, and sometimes at a cheaper price. Don’t be blue…add yourself to the wait-list of a desired item.

7. ALWAYS price check before plunking down for an item. Google search, and price compare. Make sure you’re actually getting a great deal, and not just a 5% discount.

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Let’s talk bad…

Let’s talk bad habits…both physical and emotional bad habits. I admit that I’m not immune to this, and I gather, you aren’t either. I’m not sure why I felt this was blog-worthy, but I’m going with it. 

One bad habit is my shopping tendencies. From previous posts, you can understand. I’m always scouring for the next “best” thing, or coolest gadgets or accessory that will “improve” myself and my outlook. Sounds phony, right?

What I know is this…don’t fault yourself for doing something you enjoy. Shopping is a time when I can mentally “check-out” of a situation and reposition. Sometimes it’s necessary when you just CANNOT figure out an answer to something. Don’t knock yourself for it. If you recognize that it’s getting out of hand, then figure out the reason you’re turning to this “habit”. Perhaps it’s a situation you’re fleeing from, or something deeper that you might want to look into further. I know I have. 

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Another bad habit is my tendency to feel inadequate in situations. To beat down on myself for things I didn’t do, or past decisions, or lost chances. When friends or family talk about a great vacation, a job promotion, or new romantic encounter, my head immediately recoils and the inadequacies kick it. 

I consistently compare myself to others and immediately my mood drops. I can tell myself time and time again to watch for the triggers and try to remedy the problem, but like clockworks, the feeling creeps up on me again. I truly envy the people that are so secure within themselves that these feelings never ignite. Consider yourself lucky, or at least privileged. 

 

Pertaining to my feelings of inadequacy…I’m trying just become more content within myself. To acknowledge the things that I have done (whether big or small) and find satisfaction within that. For example, I may not have traveled the globe because of time, money, or personal constraints, but I recognize that I have the ambition to do it…so I trust in the fact that I will, someday. 

We all have battles within ourselves. Some we win, and some we lose. Our lives are not always going to be filled with HUGE accomplishments, but tiny ones that seem to fall by the wayside. Keep those close. Pride yourself with that…

 

 

When Cupid disappears.

Ah, Valentine’s Day. A day for lovers, or those simply in love. What a beautiful day to spend with your significant other! But alas, do you know who this St. Valentine actually is? 

St. Valentine actually was beheaded for holding true to his beliefs and marrying Christians who were going against the Roman Emperor…sad.

Now the holiday is known for cards, candy, roses, and maybe a romantic dinner thrown in. What about those who find this holiday hard? The one’s who have been spit on by love, or just cease to ever find it? I know there are a handful of you who find this holiday complete hogwash.

Here’s a list of songs about the loveless, angry, unrequited, & broken. Some old, and some new. Enjoy!

 

“I Don’t Want to Know” by Fleetwood Mac

“It’s Too Late” by Carole King

“Heartbreak Hotel” by Whitney Houston (RIP)

“Where You At” by Jennifer Hudson

“I’ll Be Alright Without You” by Journey

“Careless Whisper” by Wham! (George Michael)

“Nothing That You Are” by Mandy Moore

“What About” by Janet Jackson

“I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt

“Who Is It?” by Michael Jackson (RIP)

“After The Fall” by Cary Brothers

“Disaster” by JoJo

“Bye Bye Baby” by Madonna

“Why Should I Care” by Toni Braxton

“Me, Myself, and I” by Beyonce

“Next Time I Fall In Love” by Peter Cetera & Amy Grant

“Operator” by Jim Croce

“Cuts Both Way” Gloria Estefan

“Miserable” by Lit

“As You Turn Away” Lady Antebellum

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

Served with ice-cold Revenge

“Revenge” has become the cult hit of the 2011-12 television season. The plot is based on the story “The Count of Monte Cristo,” by Alexandre Dumas. The story revolves around a man wrongly accused and imprisoned in 1800s France, and his vengeance on those who committed him.
“Revenge” follows the same outline with main character, Emily Thorne, seeking to destroy the people who took down and eventually killed her father…one at a time. Juicy, indeed.

What’s so great about this show, is how the drama unfolds. It wraps you up in Emily’s story and you instantaneously become her ally, plotting alongside her, rooting for her revenge.

At first, I had my doubts about this show, mainly because it looked so cliche. Angry girl takes down bratty rich people. I just didn’t have high hopes…luckily I was dead wrong.

If you haven’t seen the show, I urge you to watch from the first episode. It’s soapy, delicious, and satisfying. You won’t want it to end. Plus, you begin to realize how you never want to cross Emily Thorne.

Winter Weatherland

Winter is here…sadly, and if last year is any indication…expect it to last for 3 months…unless you’re lucky enough to escape to a more balmy climate. Why not take some of your holiday cash and get yourself prepped to weather the season.

A great warm coat. Necessary for the frigid temperatures here in the Tri-state. This year, I invested in a heavy down-filled coat that I know will last me for many seasons to come. Yes, the peacoats and driving coats are focused more toward the business professional, but for your weekends, or after-work, nab yourself a quality coat that looks great (NEVER too puffy), is weather-proof, and is relatively streamlined (remember…pockets add pounds). Also, stick with a neutral color like grey, black, off-white, or navy. You’ll thank me in upcoming seasons when you realize you really HATE fire-engine red, or hi-lighter yellow.

Photo: Andrew Marc

A decent all-weather boot is perfect for slogging through those puddles of water, mud, and whatever else. Get a boot that can carry you from the rainy-days of Autumn to the Spring showers of April. A heavy snow-boot is great for a blizzard, but really isn’t practical for those blustery days in November and March. Stick with an all-weather boot that can handle double duty. Just make sure it’s properly insulated so your toes don’t get a taste of frost-bite.

Photo: LLBean

Right now, it’s about 10º outside. The wind outside is howling and just the sound makes me pull the blanket closer. Just think about having to go outside in that. Remember, fabric is permeable. You can bundle up as much as you want up top, but if you’re wearing slacks or denim…the wind will cut right through. Get yourself an extra layer, and invest in some long-johns. They’re perfect for layering as well as lounging. They’ll trap your body heat and keep you comfy cozy.

Photo: Calvin Klein

What are you waiting for? Hunker down…it’s going to be a long winter!

Aside

So we’ve all made it through another holiday season. Now is the perfect time to catch-up on old movies, and previous Oscar contenders. Why not? What else are you suppose to do on 21º nights? Gotta love Netflix (except for the price increase debacle).

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Well, I started with “Marvin’s Room,” starring Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep, and Leonardo DeCaprio.The movie revolves around Bessie (Keaton) who has been taking care of her incapacitated father, Marvin. Bessie soon learns that she’s been diagnosed with lukemia and reaches out to her long-lost sister, Lee (Streep). Lee, an absent-minded mother of two boys (one Leonardo DiCaprio) decides, after much self-debate, to travel down to help Bessie. Hank (DiCaprio) is a rebellious child that’s been committed due to reckless behavior and a successful attempt at burning down his mother’s house…yikes!

The movie is both comical and deeply moving. I can see why Diane Keaton got nominated for a Oscar, and Meryl Streep for a Golden Globe. Keaton is absolutely lovely as he perfectly inhabits the dedicated daughter, while Streep masters the emotionally stunted woman focused on one things only…her job. Watch this for a great look at a strained family building the love again…and perhaps a tear or two. I promise, you won’t regret renting it.

Arm Candy

What I’ve noticed recently, is a influx of wrist “apparel” for men. More men around have adopted this looks of wearing a significant amount of bracelets. Well-worn leather cuffs, large “friendship” like yarn bracelets, exotic beads, and so much more. I adore this look.

Stacking bracelets, bands, and cuffs seems very “indie” to me. Now, you can take the word “indie” to different levels. To me, it says something about your style and attitude. It gives a bit of pizazz to a part of your body that’s normally just bare.

Bracelets are a cost-effective way of accessorizing (most of the time). Watches can be pricey, as well as bracelets made out of exotic materials with designer backing and price-tags. Metal, leather, beads, yarn, shiny, dull, matte or glossy. Most though are pretty cheap, especially if you’re not afraid of making them yourself. Women’s bracelets have become to universal that anyone can virtually wear them. Take a risk!

Start small and just add to a collection. I tend to never go too “dangly” with bracelets. Allow enough space between the bracelet and your wrist to fit a finger underneath, otherwise you’ll get skin marking…not fun. Have your wristwatch be the focal point and add to that. It’ll be bitchin’ before you know it!

Currently, I have on a Brown/Copper Skagen Watch with a sterling linked chain bracelet, a couple wild bead bracelets, a small braided band, and my Until.org yellow gel bracelet. I tend to add more if I’m going out. Friends have brought me bracelets from foreign travels, and I’ve obtained a few of my own from small boutiques or even from something I’ve crafted myself. Oddly enough, I rarely put anything on my other wrist…it stays naked. I tend to keep my bracelets on at all times…the beads can come off but my link bracelet and Until band take permanent residence, until I feel like it’s time for a change.

Whether you choose to wear an advocacy bracelet or beads, I suggest blending it all together. DON’T stack further than the first quarter of your forearm…otherwise it begins to look a tad overplayed and juvenile. Try not to accessories with silly bandz…Yes, they were a trend (mostly with elementary schoolers) and made it to the wrists of the kids-as-heart…but it’s time to take them off…unless, of course, it’s of a unicorn…then you’re just magical.

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