Fashion, Uncategorized

The online problem…

Recently, I’ve come to the realization that I am (slightly) a shopaholic but with severe control over the tendencies – what lingers as a side effect of this compulsion is a constant and growing ‘need’ to shop; a deep and powerful urge that’s hard to fight. While I can fight this in many cases, I have a total ‘breaking the seal’ issue where giving into one purchase, tends to bring on a wide cascade of other purchases. Which brings us to online…

On this blog, I have discussed multiple online purchases I’ve made from the Tulle Chicwish skirt in London to my beautiful white Lulu dress, but most of the time, online shopping is a scary thing to take on.

First, many times you have to have a lot of trust. You have to trust that the reviews are accurate – this can mean people fessing up to their true sizing, ie. weight and bust sizes; explaining the difference in what they though things would look like vs how it actually sits; any details that might be relevant for others looking to make the same purchase. The best I’ve found were on Lulu which had you list your best fitting dress details (ie where it is from) so that they can compare it to the dress you are looking to buy, and Rent the Runway which lets you order two sizes at once to make sure one works (the reviews are also great!) – unfortunately these are rented so you have to return it.

I rarely shop at Hollister (read: I’ve almost bought a hat here, I think?), but I like how their online information works. The site links with the store inventory which allows you to check pieces availability in stores based on color and size – if it’s not there, you can pay online and order to shore. I may be buying my gala top here so getting to try the top on in-store and then placing an order for the right color to pick up later is perfect.

Second, sometimes things that are in the store, don’t exist online. As I mentioned last week, my favorite new pants from H&M doesn’t exist online in any form but walking into the store, you can find a few versions easily. Of course, the opposite is also true: many times there are articles of clothing that are only available online. This could be online stores or just web exclusive but either way, you are faced with the same issues as I talked about in part one.

In other words, as seen in 1 and 2, sometimes shopping online works but sometimes it just doesn’t.

The third issue about shopping online is that since it’s virtual, you don’t necessarily get the satisfaction of your purchase – a problem if you get ‘cravings’ – and you don’t necessarily realize the full cost until you are dedicated. The thing you want is always at your fingers so even if you resist for a while, unless the product is sold out, eventually you’ll buy it and for many of us in the virtual world, not having to go out to the mall and interact with people makes the purchase much easier. It’s also a lot easier to create a longer and longer list of wants that we whittle down so we can say ‘well, I only bought these, even though I wanted all of this longer list’ – ie. Pintrest (a whole other problem).

Again, these are a few ramblings from a little shopaholic who has spent way to much time looking to a top for the upcoming gala.

  • Taylor Gallagher

Fall in Love with Lulus

I know, I know, I’ve been all over Pinterest this past month but this time I need to tell you about a site I have fallen in complete love with through one particular pin:

Emma Approved

Joanna Sotomura as Emma in Emma Approved

Lulus is a great shop with all kinds of great pieces for women from shoes to coats to your everyday wear. They are always running sales as well as getting a 10% discount if you sign up for email notifications. Currently, there store houses are behind schedule which means you may not get your order very quickly, however, they are giving $10 discount vouchers on your next purchase because of it.

I’m not usually one for online shopping – you can’t feel the material, you can’t see the cut on you (and unless you are exactly model sized, this can be a big difference!), you can’t try it on, and the list continues. However, there are times when I must make an exception and Lulus Royal Luxe Ivory Print Dress was one of them.

If you’ve been following along, over a year ago I talked a bit about web series and my master’s thesis which relied heavily on transmedial webseries as the main focus of my marketing theory. Well, one such literary webseries was the amazing Emma Approved by Pemberley Digital, an adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic Emma.

The show followed the archived footage created by Emma Woodhouse, lifestyle coach and while the story brought me back week after week so did Emma’s wardrobe. This dress was featured on the webseries and the second it popped up on Pintrest with an Emma Approved tag and a link to where I could buy it, I was sold!

(The discounts of course sold it that much quicker!)

Remember, if you are buying online, check for discounts, look at reviews (both positive and negative), check out all sizing charts given, measure twice, and look at the terms and conditions when it comes to returns and exchanges so you don;t end up stuck with a dress you will never be able to wear! What’s worse than buyers remorse? Owner’s envy (envying something in your own closet you’ll never wear. If you suffer this, get rid of that item, please! I doesn’t matter how much you may have spent on it.)

So yes, it’s love – with this dress, with this site and with this webseries – check them out and until next time: be well, be safe, be smart, and thanks for reading.

  • Taylor Gallagher
Books, Uncategorized

Back to School: Planners Revisited


So I posted at the beginning of the calendar year about my new planner and how much I was loving this tool to keep track of my life. 6 months later and I can honestly say that I am still loving it.

I’ve had a busy 7 months being home filled with events with family and friends, interviews, work schedules, meet ups and the basic goings on in my life and this planner has taken a beating but has been with me every step of the way.

I can reiterate all the reasons why everyone should get a planner from my last post on planners – everything from forgetting to schedule something on your phone (like while on a phone call!)to the benefits of detail memory retention (which comes with writing things down!) and showing off (or working on) that amazing penmanship for anyone you write notes to! – but you can read that yourself.

So why am I talking about planners again?

While I am now out of the July/August to June year schedule that comes with student and teacher life, there are many out there – and four in my family! – who this schedule rules their lives. I have one more sister still in school and three teachers/staff working at the middle school level so while they could use a calendar year planner like I have fallen in love with, their year would be bisected by a planner change.

This lead us once again to Target – they really do have the cutest and best designed planners I have ever see and with enough variation to suit everyone’s personal styles.

I love my small and very open plan planner but my sister – who has become a planner convert – is a huge grid and lined paper fan so the Blue Sky Day Designer is perfect for her. It has all the areas to create check list and notes but with lots of organized lines and days organized with hour by hour segmentation. She’s the sister that is still in college and with year she’ll be doing all her classes as well as looking for work, serving as a bridesmaid in a friends wedding, is in two fraternities (one social and one academic) and serving as the groups secretary in one, so she has a lot going on. This also means she’ll be using a backpack so this larger planner which affords her more space to schedule things in is perfect for her.

Funnily enough, my other younger sister who works as a teacher’s aide and is the mother of a 6 month old, picked the smaller version of this same July 2016 to June 2017 planner. She needed to smaller book that she can throw in a baby bag or purse and run out the door with. She ups her organization using color coordinated highlighter pencils and her advice from today was if you want your planner to look nice and get stressed out with changed plans – that are out of your control – always use pencils; blacked out pen scratches look messy and can get distracting!

For me, It’s a matter of what I have on hand though plans that are more obscure definitely stay in pencil! Also, if you are looking to organize the rest of your paper and office life but with cute flair, there are tons of super cute choices from giant ‘oops’ erasers (I definitely bought this!) to desk globes and chalkboards galore.

So, if you are school bound (whichever way this applies), I cannot recommend buying a beautiful (cause you will use it more!) but useful planner enough.

  • Taylor Gallagher
Fashion, Shoes

I’ll wear you to death:

A shoe lover’s story.

Old boots on the left and New on the right.

Old boots on the left and New on the right.

Hi, my name is Taylor and I fully admit to having a shopaholic personality.

Yes, I love to shop—after months of living in London, I went to an actual mall a few weeks back to help a friend shop (I didn’t even buy anything!) and simply walking around was inspiring new outfit ideas and made me feel a little closer to home.

What can I say, I’m a valley girl at heart.

Despite this disposition, I have trained myself not only to not mindlessly consume, but consume only the basics I really need (undergarments, tee-shirts, jeans, ect) and things that I absolutely love.

Unfortunately, this means that I have a habit of wearing things to death—sometimes past this point.

Nowhere has this been more evident that in my recently departed studded biker boots purchased from Target about two and a half year (YEARS!) back.

These were honestly the perfect shoe.

They were black leather (probably not real but…) with buckles and studs. They gave a fun jingle like cowboy spurs which made me smile as I walked. They cut an inch below my calf—higher than a bootie lower than my wide calves which defy a high boot—and had a loose top which didn’t cause issues when my jeans inevitably bunched within them. They were light weight and perfectly broken in after only a few wears. They were perfectly happy to trudge through all kinds of weather, all types of roads and all kinds distances. And, they cost less than 25 dollars.

Like I said, the perfect boot.

However, over the last two or three months of constant wear, these beautiful lovelies have become more super glue than boot. They’ve taken on water, rocks nestled in the holes in the heels, and at long last, I can not only stick my hand from one side of the boot (between the fabric and the rubber sole) to the other but tug pass my sock along the way.

So yes, I’m sitting here in Austria and I know it’s time (my mother’s laughter at the shoes pathetic state helped a bit as well…).

Hence this little tribute which says goodbye to the little shoes that could (seriously these shoes hiked miles and at least a year past their expiration date) and hello to the up priced boots that will hopefully live up to them.

Sailing in from Portugal with a price tag (on sale) for triple the price, these boots may not have all the studs, history, or pant-bunching space, but with a sturdy build and exciting visual texture, I’m hopeful for a new favorite!

So (a very fond) farewell to the old and many hellos to the new, this shopaholic has found her shoes.

–Taylor Gallagher


Fashion Finds: Chicwish

The thing I’ve found in London is that there are great stores and tons of them, but nearly all of them sell their wares way beyond what I could afford of I want to keep my life on the budget I’ve been working under.

This doesn’t mean that I never splurge—it’s just rare and something I do only after a lot of thought. And I’ve found—as an individual who really does love to shop—whether you are wandering around a physical store or flipping through a virtual one, you can have the same basic experiences with only a few dangers and draw backs.

Growing up, I never liked online sopping—even the idea of it perplexed me. You can’t run through the idles seeing what other people are holding, feel the fabric and really see and feel the details, try something on just so you can say you tried it, gage your size by trying on different sized—while the wide web of the internet shopping ethos have done a great deal to right these issues, it’ll never be the same.

And I’ve always recognized the dangers (because I really like to shop!). You can now shop without making the effort to go somewhere and you can do it wherever and wherever you are which means if you aren’t careful, you will end up spending tons of money on things that were whims because you didn’t have to physically cart them back across town.

Not to mention the loss (of excitement and sobering reality) of having to hand over your money to a stranger and realize that you are giving up something for getting what is in your hands—a sensation that can make your discernment process a bit stricter in terms of what you let yourself buy.

And now that I’ve put in the effort to tell you all the problems with online shopping, I want to mention a site I’ve found this year and have come to really love: Chicwish.

Amore Mesh Tulle Skirt.

Amore Mesh Tulle Skirt.

I think I first stumbled upon this site thanks to a pintrest tag after I’d fallen in love with Audrey Hepburn films. I found this wool midi skirt that just screamed Audrey style circa Roman Holiday and after giving myself a week to stare at the tag in my browser favorites, I just had to get it—and just in time for Christmas! I got that happy shopping feeling in my gut and promptly watched Confessions of a Shopaholic to reaffirm that loving shopping is good, but control is better.

Back in January, I wrote a post covering my fashion wish lists—capes, plaid/tartan, and collared dresses—but I left out one look that anyone flipping through my style pintrest board would quickly discover: I have an obsession with tulle and a desire to run around town in a fashion tutu.

Why was this left to the wayside then?

Generally, I’m a practical dresser. Yes, I tend to lean to a carefully fashioned practicality—a cotton blazer is just as easy and warm as a hoodie—over flashier pieces and what is a tulle tutu if not a statement piece?

And yet my love of them continued to flourish.

I’d convinced myself for a while that I would simply make my own—I’m crafty like that—but as time went on, it became more and more clear that it just was not going to happen. Then, when I was still looking through stores, the closest I found besides petty unlined petty coats—not made in either quality fabric or true outerwear wearability to really work as a substitute—came in the form of high school dance dress which, while cute, never has the versatility I was looking for.

Which brings us back to Chicwish. After my Christmas purchase, I began receiving updates from the site and, therefore, received their email about the big styles they are currently promoting, Bloom and Tulle.

To say it was hard not to splurge is an incalculable understatement.

Lavender Tulle Mini Skirt.

Lavender Tulle Mini Skirt.

Anyway, if you are looking to purchase a skirt like this, now is the time to get looking. The site currently has a range of styles (including dresses), lengths, volumes, and colors to look through and, if my cart is anything to go by, a lot of the merchandise is on sale.

I approach online shopping like you would (or at least should) approach shopping in a store. Put the stuff you like in your basket—this gives you a clear visible range of the style and individual pieces you are looking for.

Then, go through the basket pulling together similar items and narrowing them down to what you really want, discarding as you go.

When you have your short list, ask yourself the reality questions: when will you wear this? How often? What am I giving up for this? Is it worth it? What things do I own that I can wear with this, or do I have to buy more to make it work? Do I already have something that makes this redundant?

Once you answer these, you’ll discard what you don’t need, save what you still have to think about and head out to buy what you have really thought about buying—this can easily be a week after putting it in your cart (depending on availability)—one of the convenient positives of having the store at you fingertips!

Like I said, I love shopping, but it’s about shopping well—a skill that is honed just like any other in your arsenal. And Chicwish and its unique pieces, for me, definitely makes the cut in this city I can’t really afford and yet love so much.

–Taylor Gallagher


Find of the Week!

I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve done a fun post and amidst the craziness of my balancing acts that I discussed last week, I did do something fun for myself this week:

I found a store I was actually able to buy something in!

I know, my bar for entertainment is low (case and point: it’s Friday night and I am sitting, watching Netflix and BBC’s Musketeers while writing this post and eating chocolate–it is freezing outside and my pjs are comfortable, however, so I will not apologize for my glamour free life!), but as a valley girl who is use to weekly trips to target and the always affordable trips to the fashion center/mall, finding one store in this town that is simple, cute, easily accessible, and has options in my price range is a major accomplishment–or at least it feels like one!

Living here for four months, this was the second time I’ve been able to go shopping and as a bonus, I was able to check one of my *must buys/wish list* items and just in time for my birthday.

Yes. It’s been a good week.

Birthday options with my  *Oliver Bonas Dress*

Birthday options with my *Oliver Bonas Dress*

The truth is I’ve been walking past Oliver Bonas Sale store for about as long as I’ve lived here (it’s on my way to campus) and Wednesday after a very successful meeting with one of my internship advisors, I just had to go in.

While the fact that the sale was the real reason I could afford (and chose to buy) anything, taking a look in one of these stores if you happen to be strolling by is worth the look.

I’ve found a few fun books I may pick up later for souvenirs, cute things to decorate with if I move here on a more permanent basis and (of course) sale items which aren’t only super cute and easily wearable, but that stick around until they’re in my price range!

The stores are bright and clean and the woman working was extremely personable. Even if I was having a terrible day, this would have been my pick me up and is one place I will be stopping in again and again.

–Taylor Gallagher