It’s been a while since I did a “Stuff I Like” post, but with back to school shopping becoming a reality (remember, I have FOUR kids who have to be clothed and shod every season), and the holiday shopping season not far behind, I’ve decided to start adding a few more product and services posts to my blogging mix again. If y’all are like I am, I start shopping for Christmas in the summer because I know that if I waited until November and December I’d be both broke and insane.
But anyway, other than my recent Wittlebee review, it’s been a while since I’ve written many posts sharing my opinion on specific goods or services here on my owm blog, so I want to remind y’all that as of a few months back I decided to break my product posts into three new types, so these are what you will see going forward:
- 1 – STUFF I LIKE: the only stuff that will appear in these posts is stuff I have already actually bought, used or tried out myself. In other words, these posts will offer my own, first-hand, real reviews of goods and services. As previously, some of the items I feature in STUFF I LIKE POSTS will be things I found, paid for, and tried out completely on my own (here’s an example of one of my review posts like that), while at other times, a company or brand might have reached out to me and offered me a sample of whatever it is they produce or sell for me to review, in which case I will continue – as I always have done – to CLEARLY disclose to y’all that I got whatever it is I happen to be reviewing for free (here’s an example of one of my review posts like that). Oh, and just as an FYI, in case you are interested in this info, I - like many bloggers – receive dozens (sometimes many dozens) of unsolicited emails a day, every day, from brands and companies asking me to review or write about whatever it is they are selling, and I would estimate that I only respond to fewer than one percent of those email inquiries. Of that one percent, I’d say that only about 25% of those responses from me ultimately result in a STUFF I LIKE post being published here. If a Stuff I Like post ever includes sponsorhip or a giveaway from the company that makes whatever it is I’m reviewing, that info will be CLEARLY disclosed in the post itself.
- 2- CAN’T RECOMMEND: Since I started the STUFF I LIKE series of posts, I have only featured goods, products, brands and services that I, well, y’know, like. As I’ve noted previously, this doesn’t mean that I never have a negative experience with something I’ve bought myself or been offered for review. It just means that I don’t write up those negative reviews and publish them. However, some of the email feedback I have gotten over the past year regarding the STUFF I LIKE series has mentioned that readers would appreciate it if I also let them know when I “try before they buy,” and end up not being able to recommend whatever it is I checked out. Thus, I have decided that I will start adding the occasional CAN’T RECOMMEND posts into the mix, and in these posts, I will share any negative or very mixed opinions I develop regarding a product, brand or service after trying it out. I do expect fewer of these types of posts to appear in the overall mix, because I don’t want the tone on my blog to be generally whiny or negative, but if something really doesn’t work out so well when I give it a look-see, I will share the details of my not-so-glowing review here so that y’all can have that info in case you were considering shelling out $$ for the same item or service.
- 3 – THE COVET LIST: These posts will feature products and services I have NOT actually bought or tried out, but would love to because the item in question just looks so cool/beautiful/clever/fun/helpful. Some of the items that end up in my COVET LIST posts may be things I really will be purchasing now or later, while others may be total pie-in-the-sky, utterly impractical, but oh-so-dreamy things that I love to at least drool over, and which reflect my own sensibilities, interests and tastes. Think of my COVET LIST posts as being kind of like those “Oprah’s Favorite Things” round-ups that appear regularly in O Magazine… (Except for the part where I’m not Oprah, and nobody likely actually cares whether Katie happens to like something or not. ) The things that I find and share share via one of these new COVET LIST posts will come from anywhere I run across something share-worthy. For example, I fully expect my escalating Pinterest obsession to be a big source of COVET LIST material. Also, if any item I feature comes from one of the flash sale sites I know and use regularly myself – meaning that when anyone (including you) ever refers someone to that site, and that someone ends up actually buying something there, the referrer will get some kind of store credit to use next time she shops there herself (like with Zulily, for example) – I will ALWAYS clearly disclose this in my COVET LIST posts. FYI, here is a current (and I will keep it updated) list of flash sale sites to which I belong, and where I often browse and covet, refer friends, family and coworkers via email and my Facebook page, and where I at least occasionally buy something for myself or as a gift for someone else. Thus, cool stuff I am currently drooling over on one or more of these sites at any given time will almost certainly make appearances in my new COVET LIST posts:
- FAB.com – Be still my heart! I love this site. It’s a daily style and design site with the coolest curated collections of, well, everything that I have ever seen. Since discovering the site last year, I freely admit to spending far too much time coveting things on Fab.com, and several people I love got Christmas gifts I found there this past holiday season.
- ZULILY – Y’all already know that I loves me some Zulily. Unlike Fab.com, Zulily can be a real mixed bag. There is often stuff on sale there that I wouldn’t buy in a million years, but when they DO have something I love, the sale prices are generally pretty phenomenal. Over the past 24 months, I’d say 80% of all the clothes I’ve purchased for C and G have come from Zulily, and my 16 year old daughter J routinely shops there for herself as well. Warning: it’s generally impossible to return anything you order from Zulily, even if it’s totally the wrong size after you put it on, and it always takes 10 days to 3 weeks for your order to arrive. That said, the prices when you find just the right item are so exceptional that it’s well worth the wait.
- GILT GROUPE - I’ve really only ever ordered a couple of things from Gilt. The clothing and jewelry they curate for their flash sales isn’t often to my taste. However, I have bought several awesome home and garden goodies from Gilt, and their “gifts” section is the best way I’ve found to find something fast at any price point for anybody on your ist. Also, I luuuuurve daydreaming with a little weekly flip thru their travel and vacation deals section. I’ve not yet booked any travel or vacations thru a Gilt flash sale, but I’ll betcha I will at some point. While it’s not the case every day or with every one of their travel offerings, occasionally they have something available for one day only that’s just a jaw-droppingly amazing bargain.
- TOTSY – See Zulily, above.
- ONE KINGS LANE – This is the best all-around home decor and design flash sale/referral site I’ve found, and I’ve ordered quite a few gifts for other folks from OKL. Everyone has loved what I ordered, and the shipping was speedy and reliable. I also bought new sheets and towels here in the past 12 months, and they are awesome. I paid literally 25% of what these super high thread count Egyptian cotton sheets and spa-quality towels would generally cost, and they were every bit as nice as advertised. They’ve now added a section called “Vintage and Market Finds” that offers daily flash sales on one of a kind and handmade items of all kinds, so that section of the site is more like Fab.com (but Fab remains my fave), and I find myself coveting quite a few things lately that they’ve curated there.
- RUE LA LA - See Gilt Groupe, above