Note to self: if it's a hot item on eBay, save yourself some drama and just Buy It Now

Normally I hate eBay snipers, except of course when I'm sniping myself =P  In this case, I had bid early, but I got greedy.  The starting price for this lovely victorian ruffled blouse was $16.99.  The Buy It Now price was something like $19.99.  Of course, I decided to put in a regular bid on it, hoping to get the item for less than the Buy it Now price.  Stupid, stupid.

Of course someone outbid me less than an hour before the auction ended.  Luckily I was watching it with eagle eyes and was able to go back and bid up.  But I was outbid again.  And again.  Whoever had outbid me had set the relatively high max bid price of $25.  I breathed deeply, consulted both Sushmita and Jimmy, and went ahead and bid $26 with 30 seconds to spare.

I thought I had it in the bag.  Then, some b*tch comes out of the woodwork and proceeds to dash my hopes to the ground by bidding $27 and taking the shirt right out from under my nose.  Lesson learned.

Meet: tambukiki (or, I'm pretty sure I've found a new addiction)

So there I was, minding my own business, doing a search on "purple coats" on eBay for a possible Halloween costume when I saw, at the bottom of the listings, a sponsored listing (read: AD!) for this other eBay seller who apparently had nothing to do with purple coats, tambukiki.  I was intrigued by the dress in the picture and clicked through.

I found myself in a veritable treasure trove of dazzlingly cute, pretty, wearable, and--best of all--totally affordable clothing!  Actually, what struck me first were the product photos.  They are certainly done with an expensive camera against a simple gray backdrop, and the seller includes no less than nine high-quality photos for each item.  By far the best product photos I've ever seen on eBay.  I don't understand why more people don't do this--it makes your stuff look so much better!
But beyond the photos, the styles themselves are so very cute, and so very unique, and the stuff seems to be decent quality for the price (I'd place it somewhere around Urban Outfitters or the nicer stuff at Forever 21).  I am dizzy with the vast selection tambukiki offers - probably around 1500 listings at any given time, so there's always something new and fabulous to discover.  It's taking a lot of self control for me to refrain from buying up her whole store.  For you, dear readers, I picked through almost all 1500 listings and bring you the best of my favorites list.

You can find tambukiki's eBay store here.  Happy shopping--I'll probably see you at the auction block =)

A Test of Efficiency/Efficacy: Diary of sh*t I bought in the last 4 months.

Posted simultenously to

I feel like I'm spilling all my secrets. 

Don't think for one minute that, with all my mooning about beautiful shoes and things, I somehow lose track or control of my spending or, as I've heard some people say, "have nothing to show for it."  Au contraire, I know exactly where every penny has gone and try to make purchases through careful deliberation (doesn't always work, of course).

I definitely make mistakes - I'm still a fledgling shopper, still learning the ropes, still buying things I regret later (or immediately).  I know it will take some time, but what I'm really working towards is developing my taste, my ability to quickly assess fit, style, quality, and value--understanding what I like and what I don't like, what works and what won't, slowly getting more confident making this assessment, and slowly becoming faster at it.  

I've come a long way in the last few years--it all started when I realized that I was a) buying pretty stuff I didn't wear and b) not wearing it out of laziness, defaulting to jeans and t-shirts, and, even worse, c) not wearing it because I lacked confidence/self esteem.  I realized I didn't wear half the stuff I bought because I did not like calling attention to myself.  I have been very lucky to have always worked in offices that allow a lot of room for creativity.  I realized that if I could work up the nerve to pull off some of the stuff I bought, and get used to the attention it would bring, perhaps that gumption would seep into other areas of my life.  I also realized that it would be fun to to approach style as another form of self-expression.  As Garry tells me, "wear it and hold your head up!"

I digress.

As I said, I keep close tabs on my credit card statement, the wad of receipts in my wallet, and the accumulation of "stuff" around my room.  I thought it might be a good exercise to do a recap/roundup of what I bought in the last few months, much of which you may have seen on this blog, along with my thoughts on each item.
April: Some may remember I gave up shopping for Lent.  As soon as Easter came, I bought stuff. A crapton of it.
  • Yellow bag: My first real-leather handbag.  From Marshall's. Besides being a steal, I use it almost every day.  Definite winner.
  • World According to Jess "crossword" case: It is a fantastic overnighter.  I love the separate compartment on the bottom for shoes.
  • Black hoodie, gray sweater, blue top from the Gap: The hoodie replaced one that was falling apart and will come in handy as soon as autumn hits.  The gray sweater I ruined in the dryer - but at least it was only $10 and may make some cozy armwarmers.  The blue top I absolutely love.
  • Shoshanna floral print dress: Huge mistake.  It is sized a true 4 (as opposed to the generous sizing at most chain stores), so I can't even zip it up.  I can't decide if I want to donate it, resell it, try to alter it to fit me, or lose a crapton of weight.
  • Franco Sarto clogs: I love them.  They were totally affordable, the grommets on the side add edge to any outfit, and they are so versatile!
  • RSVP silver sandals: They served their purpose (my friend's wedding).  At $13, does it really matter if I ever wear them again?
  • Frye lace-up boots: One of my most expensive shoe purchases to date.  I like them a lot, but still can't figure out how to wear them. (Help!)
May: This was a month of scouring eBay and traveling.
  • Cotton "tropical toile" sundress: I bought this dress from the fantastic Moule in the Pearl District of Portland, a fantastic purchase from an amazing retail store.  It was a one-of-a-kind sample, made either by Rachel Mara or Michelle Mason (the designer later decided to turn the design into a top instead of a dress).  It has a balloon-y silhouette, is light as air, and I love everything from the pattern of the toile to the black bands that define it at the top and bottom.  The icing on the cake was that it was heavily discounted, and there's no sales tax in Portland.  Score.
  • Black fedora: a random buy at the Saturday Market in Portland.  I like the way it looks/fits but have not figured out where on earth I can wear it with a straight face.
  • Vintage Selby loafers: From one of my favorite sellers on Etsy.  At $10 they were a steal, and I love the extra-long tongues and little gold hardware.
  • Vintage striped secretary blouse: It was also a steal, but it's a bit shapeless.  I need to figure out how to wear it without looking like a referee or a flight attendant.
  • Random jewelry: All purchased on eBay.  You all witnessed the deliberation over the owl, but the blue orchid was an unexpected find, and I was surprised at how much I love that splash of blue against everything.  The bracelets are fine, not super excited about them.
  • Custom pencil skirt from Louise Hedley: I was disappointed with the purchase and ended up giving the Etsy seller neutral feedback (she was very nice/lovely to work with but the color and fit was just not what I expected based on the item description).  Haven't worn it out but maybe one of these days.  Not worth the $ at all.
June: Showed a bit more restraint this month.
  • Plaid "farmer girl" shirt: I can't for the life of me remember the name of the designer even though I chatted with her for a few minutes at SF's Indie Mart.  She very cleverly cuts off the sleeves of things and arranges them in flower patterns on the chest.  I was debating between this and a vest made out of a repurposed blazer, but Garry was right that I would wear this more.  I do, and I love it!
  • Eva Brann cream crochet cardigan: It was the one thing I wanted to buy in all of Beacon Hill when I visited Boston last month.  The preppy, yacht-club style of New England does not jive with me.  I was surprised to find this unexpectedly romantic piece at Boutique Eskil.  It was expensive, but it's beautiful, you can't go wrong with a pretty white cardigan, and there's no sales tax in Boston.  Score.
July:  So far.  This does not include the sh*t I ordered last week from Anthro.  Including the enchanting dark bouquet dress.
  • Look from London plaid tights: The only thing at Jeremy's SF worth buying.  Sushmita and I thought Jeremy's was like a big, disorganized, and appallingly expensive version of Ross.  There were very few good deals to be had, and the selection was awful.  But I salvaged the day with this quirky find - they are super comfortable and lots of fun (and not pricey!).
  • Emily Katz "wish" top: One of the very few things I was moved to buy at the giant DIY flea market that was the Renegade Craft Fair.  Not only was this sample hugely discounted, but I got to chat with Emily herself for a while.  I'll be featuring her in a later post.
  • Elie Tahari snakeskin sandals: You already know all about this one.  They fit all right, but one major negative is that the slingback slips so easily off my heels.  I don't know if I should try to return them, if I just need to break them in, if I should get some kind of heel insert, or if I just need to totter around like a deer in them.

Dilemmas: Too many items from sarah19r I want to bid on...

...I could never decide on just one!  I may very well clean out a third of her online store.

Shopping on eBay is not a very sexy thing to do -- it's tedious (you have to sift through a ton of junk, sort of the online equivalent of a rummage sale), it's stressful, and the UI is super frumpy.  

But every once in a while, you come across a seller that is pure gold and it sparks your interest all over again.  I was still searching for owl pendants when I came across sarah19r, vintage jewelry seller from the UK .  Who knows who Sarah is?  I just know I had to catch the drool from my mouth as I added about 20 precious trinkets to my Watch List.  In fact, you must realize how much I love you all because I'm sharing the link and opening myself up to potential bidding competition, HAH!

May the best individual win.