Uncategorized

What I Love Wednesday: February 24, 2021

Happy Wednesday everyone! This post is going to be the last one of the month of February as I will be taking a break from blogging for the remainder of the week. That said, I can’t wait to share this week’s favorites with you all!

2008 Hits List: I recently found this playlist on Spotify and this brings me back. These songs were my favorites back when I was a freshman in high school. I have been jamming to this playlist for a few weeks now, and I have been obsessed. If you need a little trip down memory lane, check this out. And yes, the JoBros are on there too.

Pandora Elevated Heart Necklace: This was a gift from my boyfriend for Valentine’s Day, and I have been wearing this ever since. It is a necklace that goes with everything, and matches my promise ring. Win, win.

Ana Luisa Giulia Silver Hoop Earrings: I am an Ana Luisa Brand Ambassador (this post is not sponsored by them in anyway, but if you use the code NATALIEBARLETTA12, you get 12 percent off of your purchase), and picked these up. Well, I am obsessed. These are good for my first and second holes, and they are a brand that has a zero carbon footprint. These were my first purchase since then, and I’m obsessed with the pieces I picked up since then.

Love and Olives by Jenna Evans Welch: I am a huge fan of this series. Basically each book follows a young girl exploring a different country. The first one, Love and Gelato, takes place in Italy. The second one, Love and Luck, takes place in Ireland. This one takes place in Greece, and it’s a great way to travel in these pandemic times.

Making Beanies: This is probably the first time that I have shared something that is not a physical item for this feature, so this is exciting. Many of you know how much I love crocheting and crafting. Most of my crochet projects have been really large projects, so making these have been an exciting change. The patterns that I’ve been using are all from an Etsy shop called Cozy Moon Designs and all of her patterns are so easy to make. Definitely a win.

Uncategorized

Tech Tuesday: Is the Ember Mug Worth It?

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Coffee drinkers everywhere can rejoice. There is a mug out there that keeps your beverage warm for the entire duration of the beverage — right up to the last sip.

That sounds heavenly. But is it too good to be true?

No. Because it does exist. That magical item is the Ember Mug.

Now, this piece of heaven comes at a bit of a heavy price tag. The 10 ounce size of the mug costs $99, while the 14 ounce costs $129. They also have a travel mug option that is $179.95. I purchased this mug about a month ago, when I traded in my Apple Watch for a Best Buy gift card, so that gift card covered most of the purchase. If you do have old tech lying around, I do recommend that you use it to help purchase something new.

Since getting this mug, I have used it at least once a day if not more. The mug works with the Ember app, which has a bunch of different temperature settings based on what you’re drinking and is really easy to use. I’ve used it for tea and for lattes mainly, but there are options for many different types of drinks. Furthermore, the app also offers a tea steeping timer which is really cool.

Now does it work?

Yes.

It takes me about an hour to drink a cup of coffee or a cup of tea. It is warm from the moment the coffee is brewed until the very last sip. What I also like about this is that it keeps beverages warm for up to three hours. I’ve used this for my night Zoom meetings, where in normal circumstances, my tea would be cold. That is not the case with this mug. I can have my tea during my meetings, and it’s warm the entire time. Another way that I use this is when I sip my morning latte so I can sip on it more leisurely versus trying to get it down as fast as I can.

The only compliant that I have is that these mugs aren’t big enough. I make large lattes with my Nespresso machine, and sometimes the drink can overflow. I have the 14 ounce one, which is the larger size (thanks to the gift card), but I still experience this problem.

Now, is it worth it?

Yes. If you drink a lot of coffee and tea, then this is something that would be perfect for you. The battery lasts a while, and it does keep your coffee warm.

Uncategorized

February Amazon Favorites

Happy Friday everyone! I’m going to start the weekend off right — by sharing my Amazon favorites. Many of these have been shared in previous Amazon favorites, but they are still my favorites for this month. All of these have been my favorites throughout the month, and I can’t wait to share it with you!

Here are my Amazon favorites for the month:

iPad Keyboard: I talked about this in last week’s What I Love Wednesday, and I am really obsessed with this. I use this with the phone stand that I talk about below, and I really love it. I used to have the folio keyboard case, and I really didn’t like it as much anymore because it was so bulky. Now, I use it with a sleek case and whenever I feel like typing, I use this keyboard. I find that the keys are really responsive, which makes typing fast easier. What is also great about this is that it’s less than $20, which makes it really affordable.

Phone Stand: I think I’ve talked about this every month since I got it, but I really have been using this every day. Since my last post, I’ve found another use for this phone/tablet stand — writing blog posts. With the keyboard that I mentioned earlier, I can type blog posts so easily, and it’s so sleek. If you are looking for this phone stand, I highly recommend you getting it. You can use it for both your tablet and your phone. You can use it to hold your iPad while you’re streaming/working out, to keep your phone on your desk, to hold your iPad while you’re cooking, and to hold your phone while taking pictures. There are so many other uses for this, so I highly recommend it for anyone.

Kindle Oasis: I have been getting into Kindle reading again, and I am loving it. I have talked about my Kindle obsessively in the past, but I gave it a break. However, I keep on forgetting how much I enjoy reading on it. I recently read Shadow of Night, which is a thick novel. It makes it so easy to carry around, and I really love that I can stick it in my smaller bags and just carry it around. I love the Oasis simply because I am an avid reader, and the screen is really great for someone who reads a lot.

Nail Lamp: Because of COVID, I am not a fan of getting my nails done. However, my nails take forever to dry. This lamp has been the answer to my prayers. It dries my nails in less than ten minutes, and the polish has lasted for almost two weeks. And, it’s less than $20. Win.

Uncategorized

Designer on a Dime: Tips on How to Score Great Deals on Luxury Items

Whether you’re shopping for Kate Spade or Gucci, everyone knows that designer items come with the large price tags. Some may argue that it’s because of the quality, while others argue that you are just paying for the name. However, we know that they are expensive, and these items never go on sale.

But, there is a way to get these items discounted — the preloved market.

For many bags, this is a great way to score some deals if you play it right. There are many sites such as the RealReal and Poshmark that offer so many luxury listings. But, the real confusion is trying to find a great deal on the item that you’re interested in, and if it’s authentic.

Over the past few months, I’ve become an expert consignment shopper and seller. Well, I would like to think that I am anyways. I have been able to score bags at such a huge discounted rate and my collection has definitely grown. So, I decided to come up with some tips to help those who want to have high fashion but want the low price tag score the same deals that I have.

Do your research on the bag: When shopping online for a bag or anything on the preloved market, make sure you research it. If it’s still a bag that’s being made new, what is the price of the new version? How much of a discount are you getting? Will the quality last? And, if you don’t like the purchase, how much can you sell it for? That way, when you find a bag at the price and condition that you want, you know you are getting a good deal.

Be patient: I purchased my Louis Vuitton Neverfull when my mom’s estate finally wrapped up. The bag new is $1,500. I paid about $670 for it on a local consignment site. It took me about six months to find a bag in the condition that I like and at a price that I wanted to pay for the bag. I don’t regret waiting whatsoever. I am a huge believer of the gut feeling, so if it doesn’t feel right or if you’re not willing to get a bag in that condition, then don’t. Trust me, there are more of whatever item that you wish to get.

If something is too good to be true, then it probably is: If a Louis Vuitton bag is $200, then it’s probably fake. When browsing on Poshmark, I’ve seen bags that are too low if that makes sense. Avoid those.

Check out local consignment stores: Local consignment stores are the hidden gems of finding great deals and great finds. I typically browse Uptown Consignment, and over the year that I’ve been selling there, I have found some great deals. For example, I found a Dooney and Bourke purse new with tags. The price tag read $198, but I paid $25. And I love it! Another route to do is check Instagram for smaller consigners that deal with designer goods, because many of them ship! One of those is Closet Connection Resale, where almost all of my purses have been purchased. No matter what route you decide to go with, you can find great deals.

Recognize that it’s Not Going to be In Perfect Condition: 9 out of 10, these bags have been used before. Some items will have wear, tarnish, scratches, etc. And, that’s ok. With Louis Vuitton, that can get fixed down the line. Tarnish can be cleaned. That said, many of the items may be new with tags and just sat in the closet for many years. Whatever the reason is, do expect some items to have wear, because they have been worn.

Message the Seller, if you Can: I have never used Fashionphile or the RealReal, so I don’t think that you can do it this way. However, the best way to get a good deal is to just ask questions about the bag. One of the things I love about using Poshmark or Closet Connection Resale is that I can ask questions about the condition of the item, and what it can fit. That has been helpful for making better choices on whether or not I want to pull the trigger. And, one thing that is helpful about this trick too, is if the seller is not responding, then the listing is a scam. So, it’s a win-win.

So, those are my tips on how to score a great deal on the pre-loved market. Have you shopped consignment for designer items? Let me know in the comments below.

Uncategorized

What I Love Wednesday: February 17, 2021

Happy Wednesday everyone! It is another short week for me, and I am really excited to share my favorites with you today. This week, I am dealing with the after effects of a car accident, so it has been stressful. I am thankfully okay, which is the most important thing, but it has been extremely emotional this past week.

That said, here are some items that I have been loving this past week:

Sex and the City TV shows/movies: I have been getting really bored with the TV that I have been watching, so I decided to turn on an old favorite (for me at least), Sex and the City. The show for me is kind of like my comfort food for TV, so that’s been fun to watch.

Young Adult Novels: I have been obsessing over young adult novels lately. I have read a few romances this past week, including Lucky Caller by Emma Mills, and Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan. I am now reading The Start of Me and You by Emory Lord and am loving it so far. I love these books because they are light and fluffy, which have been uplifting for me.

Pandora O Pendant: I love Pandora jewelry. I recently bought the O pendant from Pandora and have been obsessed. What I like about it is that it’s interchangeable with many different charms. Mine has a long chain, so I can layer necklaces together, which I also really love. I currently have three charms on there — two infinity charms and one heart one.

Pandora 2021 Angel Charm: I love this charm. This is the Pandora Club 2021 Special Edition Angel Charm. This charm means a lot to me, because it reminded me of my mom, who I like to think is my guardian angel. The charm has sterling silver and rose gold, as well as a single diamond. I wear it on a chain, and sometimes layer it with other necklaces. Wearing this charm has been a source of comfort for me, especially with the accident.

Kendra Scott Ari Heart Stud Earrings: Last year, I really got into the hoop earring trend. However, I will always be a stud girl at heart. I picked these up at a recent mall trip and I really love them. They are large enough to make a statement, but they still work for me. My first and second holes are fairly close together, but these don’t overcrowd the earrings. I got them in amethyst, which is a calming gemstone.

Uncategorized

7 New Releases that I Pre-Ordered and Am So Excited About

Happy Tuesday everyone! I am so excited for the first half of 2021 because so many of my favorite authors have upcoming releases. Many of the books I decided to preorder are either the next book in a series, a book I’ve heard nothing but good things about, or my favorite author. These all are different genres, which makes it great to diversify and expand my reading tastes.

If any of these sound interesting to you, I highly recommend that you preorder them as well. Preorders help authors grow their audience and help them with the book promotion process, although I am not sure of the exact details.

That said, here are all of the preorders that will be coming my way!

First Comes Like by Alisha Rai, released today: I have been obsessed with the Modern Love series, because it not only is diverse, but also talks about influencers and many things are relatable. I read the Right Swipe a week ago, and could not put it down so I had to naturally get this one as well.

A Court of Silver Flame by Sarah J. Maas, released today: This is the fourth book in the Court of Thorns and Roses series. I bought this one because I am hoping to marathon read them all at once.

Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare, releasing March 2, 2021: This is the second installment of the Last Hours series in the Shadowhunters world. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say that it continues where the first book left off.

Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert, releasing March 16, 2021: This is the third installment of the Brown sisters series. The first book, which I read in 2019, follows Chloe Brown, who is disabled and has a romance with Red. I am going to read the second one very soon, which follows Dani Brown, and I have heard nothing but good things about. This one follows Eve Brown, who is a hot mess to say the least. She needs to prove herself to her parents and grow up. She then meets Jacob, and then everything seems to go to chaos. I can’t wait.

The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren, releasing May 18, 2021: I am a huge fan of Christina Lauren. This book is about single mom Jess, who is having trouble getting back to the dating world. Jess has a young daughter, and is more of a data focused person versus a romance focused one. She then takes a DNA test and learns that she is a perfect match for the DNA company’s founder. Ooh, interesting. I can’t read this one, because as I mentioned, I am a huge fan of this author.

Better Together by Christina Riccio, releasing June 1, 2021: Chrisine Riccio’s Again but Better was one of my favorite books that I read last year. I am so excited for her latest release, which is basically a parent trap style story. The book tells the story of two sisters, Jamie and Sia who were separated when they were younger. The two meet years later, realize that they are sisters, and switch places. There are budding romances, and the sisters learn what it is like to be the other. I can not wait to read this one and it sounds so much fun!

Mailbu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid, releasing June 1, 2021: Last but certainly not least, is Taylor Jenkins Reid’s latest novel. She is the author of Daisy Jones and the Six, as well as The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, which I highly recommend if you haven’t read yet. This one is set in 1980s California, and tells the story of a party that goes completely out of control. I don’t want to give too much away, all I know is that I am really excited to read this one.

Uncategorized

5 Great Places to Get Dessert for Your Valentine

Baked goods are an essential part of Valentine’s Day, even when I was single. And, Valentine’s Day is a great way to get treats — even though it might look different than in years pasts.

So, if you’re looking to treat your Valentine — or even yourself, here are some great places to get some delicious baked goods.

Donut Crazy:

Donut Crazy is hands down my favorite place to grab donuts. If you are not familiar with them, they have regular donuts (glazed, sprinkled, etc.), but then they have these insane donuts. For example, they have donuts with Nutella, cookies, and more. And, I am pretty sure that they will have something special for Valentine’s Day. They have locations in New Haven, Shelton, Branford, West Hartford, Westport, and Stratford. Be sure to check their website for more information on how to get your hands on donuts during the pandemic.

Good Morning Cupcake:

You might remember my interview with the owner Adriana about her shop. However, her cupcakes are perfect for a date night in. Good Morning Cupcake has mini cupcakes. Which means instead of committing to one single cupcake, you can sample a bunch of little ones. I love this idea, especially since you can try different flavors, and not commit. This is perfect for your Valentine so that everyone gets what they want.

Sugar Bakery:

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Home of the famous cupcake truck, Sugar Bakery is the best oasis for your sweet tooth. They have a whole page on their website dedicated to Valentine’s Day with treats and interactive date ideas. They also have their cupcake and dessert menu, which you can order online as well. I highly recommend them, because their cupcakes always make a great treat.

Moon Rocks Gourmet Cookies:

These cookies are some of my favorite cookies. They always taste fresh and they are so delicious. And, they ship all over the country! You can also order cookies online or go to their store in Hamden.

Mozzicato Bakery and Pastry Shop:

This bakery has a little something for everyone. Pastries, cookies, cupcakes, and so much more. No matter what you choose, it is delicious. There are many locations across the state, including Wallingford, Hartford, Plainville, Rocky Hill, and Middletown.

Uncategorized

Romantic Book Recommendations Perfect to Cozy Up This Weekend

Valentine’s Day this year is going to be different thanks to social distancing requirements. However, no matter what your relationship status is or what your plans are, there is always room for a great love story.

Over my reading career, I’ve read tens of thousands of great romances. That said, I have picked out some of my favorites to share for everyone to consume this weekend.

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin: This is one of my favorite books of all time, and sparked my love for reading chic-lit. This book is about two best friends named Darcy and Rachel. Rachel is in love with Dex, who is Darcy’s fiancé. However, after one party, Dex and Rachel share a kiss and began an affair.

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid: Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of my favorite authors of all time. To the point where I preordered her book. This book is about Lauren and Ryan, a married couple who had hit a rut. So, they decide to take a year off. This novel documents Lauren’s journey of self-discovery and reflection.

Love and Gelato (and other books) by Jenna Evans Welch: What a perfect book to read when you can’t travel. I’ve read the first two books, and hope to read the third this month. Lina is in Italy to meet her estranged father. Her mother passed away, and she got her mother’s journal that she kept when she was in Italy. She also meets Ren, who stays with Lina along with the entire ride. After reading this, I highly recommend that you read the sequel, Love and Luck.

To All the Boys I Loved Before series by Jenny Han: If you haven’t heard of this series or watched the movies on Netflix, I highly recommend that you do. The third one, Always and Forever, Lara Jean, is a Netflix movie that will be released tomorrow! The series follows our main character, Lara Jean. She writes a letter to a boy every time she has a crush on a boy. One day, those letters get released. The series follows her fake dating someone, and then a real relationship that navigates the trials of high school.

Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren: Christina Lauren is one of my favorite authors, and it was so hard to narrow my choices t just one. This book is about Macey, who is ambitious and is extremely guarded. She runs into her childhood best friend/first love, Elliot. Someone who she hasn’t spoken to in a decade. And, things changed. The book was told in then and now perspectives, and is one of the sweetest books I read.

The Wedding Date series by Jasmine Guillory: I have read four out of five of these books, and I am obsessed with this series. The series starts with one set of characters, and as the series goes on, follows a supporting character’s romance. The first one follows the relationship between Alexa and Drew. They meet the night before his ex’s wedding, and Alexa becomes his wedding date. The two soon turn to their ambitious life, but can’t get the other out of their head.

Uncategorized

What I Love Wednesday: February 10, 2020

Happy Wednesday everyone! This week is going to be a short week for me, and I am so excited for it. I’m hoping that there isn’t any snow, because snow has been constantly in the forecast.

That said, this week’s What I Love Wednesday is a more product-heavy one than in weeks’ past. Many of these are items that I’ve had for a few weeks now, and have been loving, while others are newer.

So here are this week’s favorites:

Kendra Scott Ansley Small Heart Earrings: Kendra Scott has been a hit or miss jewelry brand for me. I either find something that I really love, or something that I end up selling on my Poshmark because the earrings are too heavy for my liking. These earrings are ones that I really love. I purchased these a few weeks back, along with a necklace that I ended up returning. These are really lightweight, and they are perfect for Valentine’s Day. I have the silver color, but you can also get them in gold and rose gold. I love hearts, so chances are, I will be wearing these past Valentine’s Day.

Kendra Scott Maggie Small Hoop Earrings: I just recently started wearing these earrings as well, and I really have been enjoying them. They are pretty much lightweight as well, and they are perfect for everyday use. I’ve had these since September, but I’ve just started using these now. And, like the other earrings, these also come in gold and rose gold as well.

Fitness Boxing 2 Nitendo Switch Game: I mentioned this when I first got this game, but I’ve been playing this a lot lately and enjoying. It basically is a game that lets you cardiokickbox with different music. It is a really fun work out, and it’s something that progresses as you progress.

Trader Joe’s Cocoa and Almond Spread: I’ve been addicted to this since I opened it. Basically it is a healthier version of Nutella, and it is so good. You can use this spread for so many things, such as: waffles, crackers, and more.

Barefoot Dreams Blanket: This blanket is deemed as the best blanket, and for a while I’ve been skeptical. Mainly because I make blankets in my spare time. However, there is a reason that the blanket is hyped. I purchased this for my living room, which is a little fancier than the rest of the rooms in my house. Therefore, I didn’t want to have a handmade blanket. However, I got one off of Nordstrom Rack for a fraction of the price. I took it out, and pretty much have used it nonstop to the point where I ordered a second for my bedroom. What I love about this blanket is that it is really comforting. Whenever I use it, I feel so relaxed when I use it, and I highly recommend it if you suffer from anxiety like I do. I can’t attest for the quality of this, but I really am loving this so far.

Apple Fitness Plus: I got three months for free thanks to my Apple Watch. This week, I have been loving the spin classes. What I love about it, versus the Peloton app, is that you can use any bike. I have a cheap bike that I bought from Kohl’s a while ago, and this app worked great with it. I have done three classes in a row, and I have been enjoying them because they are fun and have a positive energy to them where I look forward to working out. If you don’t know anything about the app, it gives you a ton of different types of workouts, such as running, cycling, walking, HIIT and more. For me, I would probably keep the app so I can use it with Jazzercise.

Uncategorized

Online Shops You Should Know: CC Malden

For years, I’ve always lusted after a Louis Vuitton Neverfull. However, I didn’t like the pricetag of the Neverfull, because at the time, it was a purse that was over a thousand dollars.

Yeah, no. Even though Louis Vuitton purses do last forever and you can get it repaired.

In my search for this handbag, I checked both Poshmark and Ebay without much success. The ones in decent condition were close to the price at Louis Vuitton, and the ones that weren’t in decent condition made me swipe down.

One morning, I came across an advertisement for the Neverfull on this luxury consignment seller. The price was good. The bag looked great, and was from 2007. Was it too good to be true?

I messaged the seller, and she sent over some more pictures which was amazing. I purchased the bag, and the price ended up being less than a third than the Louis Vuitton one.

When it came in the mail, it was in excellent condition and was well wrapped. It soon became my favorite purse, and still is one of my favorites to this day. Since then, I purchased a makeup bag, a pouchette, and the Speedy 30. All of which were a fraction of what the retail is from this shop.

The shop I am talking about is CCMalden, aka Closet Connection Resale. Based in Malden, Massacheutts, this luxury retailer has a wide variety of current and historic Louis Vuitton styles. But, the shop has so much more than Louis Vuitton. The shop occasionally offers other luxury fashion houses, such as Chanel, Tiffany, and Gucci.

How this shop works is that it basically is a online consignment store for luxury goods. All of the bags before they are sold are authenticated. According to the website, they work with a Louis Vuitton and Gucci expert, as well as work in a partnership with a larger resale community to “guarantee authenticity.” And, they back their items up. If an item turns out to not be authentic, you get your money back. You can view more details about that here.

I really like this, because there is no second guessing when it comes to purchasing. This is so much more relieving than trying to scan the internet trying to authenticate items.

What I love about this shop is hands down the customer service. I’ve messaged the owner, Kristina, a handful of times about bags that I ended up not purchasing, and she was responsive and informative. She is also helpful if you have any further questions about the bags that you are about to purchase, whether it may be size, date codes, etc. She also has a Facebook group, where she does Facebook lives of all of the items that she has in stock.

If you have an interest in bags, but don’t see what you’re looking for, I highly recommend that you also follow the shop on Instagram. All new bags are posted in the shop’s stories, and it’s the best way to see new arrivals. It is also another way to ask questions about the products before purchasing.

Now, let’s talk about the fun part — the bags and the prices. Luxury goods aren’t cheap whatsoever. However, many of these bags are less than a thousand dollars. Which is a steal if you’re talking about Louis Vuitton to be honest. What I also like about this shop is that they are vintage pieces, which is really cool as well. With vintage or hard to find Louis Vuitton pieces, it’s very common to see the price increased exponentially. However, these are affordably priced.

That said, I highly recommend this shop to anyone who loves luxury pieces, but not the luxury price. It is easy, it is affordable, and all of the bags are in great condition.