On Label Whoring at Thrift Town

@tw0lle There's a thrift store near me that I kind of hate because the employees (mostly elderly volunteers) are obnoxious and most of what they sell is outdated crap. But I still go there because the employees are so out of touch with trends/brands and often too lazy to price even nicer common brands appropriately that I get crazy deals. I got a wool and silk Sonia Rykiel dress for $15, a heavy J.Crew fisherman's sweater for $3, a wool Lux swing jacket for $3, and found my mom a Vince sweater for $4. I also got a crazy vintage mohair/cashmere Lord & Taylor cardigan with faux-pearl buttons for $5. Last time I was there, they had a silk 3.1 Phillip Lim slip/dress for $8 (because it was consigned). Meanwhile, faded Tommy Hilfiger shirts from the 90s are priced at $13. There's a nicer thrift store a little farther away that does recognize good brands but prices things pretty homogenously. Last time I was there, they had whole rack of beautiful vintage French/Italian couture at really reasonable prices. But everything was at least a size too small. It was a very sad thrifting day.

Posted on July 11, 2014 at 12:07 pm 1

On Every Job I've Had: City Paper, Biking in Jorts, and The World's Largest Design Firm

@kellyography Yeah, this was very hope-inspiring! I live on the east coast, but I'm thinking of applying to jobs in the Bay Area because the job market for my field in my city is awful and the Bay Area has a ton. But I can't even get interviews regionally, so it's really daunting. I need to just buck up and apply for more.

Posted on April 17, 2014 at 5:46 pm 0

On The Nightmare of Being a Virtual Assistant

@snackcarts Me toooo! Luckily, most of my firm's clients are polite, even if some are a little nutty. Though the week I started, some clients who were getting sued had mailed us something and it hadn't arrived. Their solution to this was to call multiple times a day to berate me and the clerks and occasionally hang up on us mid-sentence. They refused to believe that the documents hadn't arrived and that we'd call when the documents came in. Because we'd rather take abusive phone calls than open the mail?

Posted on January 23, 2014 at 4:56 pm 0

On The Nightmare of Being a Virtual Assistant

@qwer1234 Yes! I have never had quite such a terrible job, but I've had a lot of customer service jobs, some of which were pretty awful. (No, you may not smoke a joint in a crowded no-smoking venue. No, flirting with me will not help. No, switching to being nasty because I didn't respond to your flirting will not scare me.) I'm pretty quiet/shy as well, but if anything I'm sometimes excessively chatty and smiley with cashiers and customer service people. I always feel terrible when I'm polite or patient about a delay or problem that isn't the worker's fault and they thank me profusely--I just imagine what the rest of their day is like.

Posted on January 23, 2014 at 4:53 pm 0

On How to Fix Your Bathtub That Won't Drain Using These 30 Easy Steps

I've been through this! When I was living in a crappy, recently-crappily-redone apartment in France, my shower drain got completely clogged with hair. Apparently, Parisians' solutions to clogged drains are: a. pour one of many caustic chemical solutions down the drain or b. hire a plumber. The crappy shower drain cover wouldn't twist off, leading me to believe it was permanently affixed there. I tried baking soda bombs and non-toxic drain cleaners to no avail. Being Parisian, my landlords were kind but incompetent at fixing anything, and "helped" by dumping extra-strength chemicals down the drain. I was prepared to call a plumber and then plead with my bank's insurance to pay for it when I accidentally fixed the problem myself. My weird wire snake accidentally popped the drain cover lid off, at which point I realized that there was a plastic cup right underneath it that was supposed to catch hair but had really just made a hair barrier. My landlady had basically dumped the chemicals into the cup. I then sent triumphant photos of the hairball to my dad. TL;DR: Sometimes the stupid drain cover just needs to be levered off. Also, Drano is terrifying.

Posted on November 5, 2013 at 7:02 pm 0

On How to Fix Your Bathtub That Won't Drain Using These 30 Easy Steps

@Beaks I have heard that those are amazing, BUT when I was dealing with a clogged shower drain, my dad warned me that he once had one break down in the pipe and get stuck there, further clogging the train (and angering my mother).

Posted on November 5, 2013 at 6:55 pm 0

On How Much Should It Cost to Fix My Shoes?

Yeah, that sounds a little expensive, but not insanely so. A lot of places automatically shine whatever they repair and charge you for that, too. I bought a pair of used wooden-heeled oxfords at a thrift store last year, and I think I paid about $20 for them to just re-sole the heels and file the wood down a bit. They told me that I had to resole them then, since any more wear on the bare wood would mean reheeling them, which was much more expensive. Shoe repair is expensive! I just paid $30 to get the heels on a pair of wedge flats resoled and the shoes shined after the previous re-soleing job fell apart. When I taught at a tiny town in France, the old-timey cobbler resoled my boot heels, sewed new leather to the lining, and shined the boots all for 42 euro. I miss him. While we're talking about shoe care, do not let your shoes get soaked through with snow! The same cobbler told me that snow is even worse for unprotected leather shoes than rain, especially when mixed with salt. I almost ruined those boots by trudging through snow in them.

Posted on October 23, 2013 at 4:39 pm 0

On Someone Stole Lisa Congdon's Art And She's Pissed (She Should Be)

Ugh. I have a friend who's a fine artist in a medium that's not very profitable, and until she switched to other paid work, doing this type of product design was how she made a liveable income. (Baubles for large companies and gift shops and the like.) Urban Outfitters is also pretty infamous for this type of theft, which is ironic considering the artsy/fight the man image they try to cultivate.

Posted on October 16, 2013 at 10:20 pm 0

On Locked Out

@astauff This is bringing back panicky memories from when I locked myself out of my sublet in Paris. Not only was it Sunday night, it was Sunday night before a national holiday, when everything, and I mean everything, shuts in France. And on top of that, my friend was visiting from Germany and had a train back the next morning. I called one of the friend's numbers my sublettor had left me, and he just to be happened passing by on his way home. He spent at least two hours trying to get an X-ray he could slide under the bolt (apparently this works on some French doors!) and then trying to use it. Everyone we talked to in the building said that getting a locksmith at that hour before a holiday would cost close to a thousand euros. I knew that the sublettor, who was vacationing in a different country, had her keys with her and had no phone service. Her friend emailed her telling her on the situation, just in case. The sublettor (now my friend, somehow!) later told me that she was about to go out for the night and randomly decided to check her email. Just as we were giving up hope and making complicated contingency plans (reschedule the train, overnight the keys), she emailed her friend and said that an acquaintance had a third set of keys in Neuilly-sur-Seine. It was basically a miracle, though marred somewhat when that acquaintance scolded me for locking myself out and told me how lucky I was. I think I knew that by then! Luckily, the door of my next apartment was almost impossible to shut from the outside without a key.

Posted on October 13, 2013 at 2:15 am 0

On Started from the Bottom and Now We're Here

I so needed this today. I graduated from a good college with pretty good work experience, but most of my heartfelt cover letters to places in DC have gone unanswered. Meanwhile, a number of my classmates from college got hired almost immediately to be "experts" of some sort at impressive-sounding places in DC. At age 22! I had the opportunity to meet with a high-level woman at a big nonprofit in DC, and when I told her that I couldn't afford to move there and work for free, especially after two dead-end internships elsewhere, she said, "Well, you might just have to."

Posted on October 1, 2013 at 6:45 pm 0