Online Shopping

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I’m tackling a project to complete 101 Things in 1001 Days.  #59 on the list is Get some new glasses with bright frames.

Before I tell you about my rad new glasses, I’d like to make it super clear that this isn’t a sponsored post.  I know how frustrating it can be to read somebody’s blog and discover at the end of a post that they were paid to write it, or that they got stuff for free.  If you ever see sponsored content here on Scarlet Words (which is pretty unlikely, by the way) I will tell you before making you read through it.  I think that’s good blogging etiquette – and you know, just good manners.

So just to recap: This post isn’t sponsored.  Oscar Wylee has never heard of me or my blog.  I paid for my glasses, and I love them so much that I’m planning on buying a second pair.  I’m writing about them here because I am so happy with my purchase, and I was blown away by the price.

Oh, blogging!

Let’s move on.

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Last February I had my eyes checked by my brand new eyeballologist, who updated my prescription and took photos of the backs of my eyes.  While I was there I chose a hot pair of Bvlgari frames with more bling than I knew what to do with and I’ve been enjoying the sparkle ever since.  They’re perfect for work because of the classic wayfarer shape, and the diamantes make them feel polished.  They definitely get attention when I wear them.

However, I knew that with all that sparkle I was going to feel a bit too noice, maybe a little too Kath & Kim if I wore them around the house with my sweatpants.  I wanted to find a pair that was casual and fun, and maybe a bit more adventurous than my usual black frames.  After trying on hundreds of glasses at my local optometrist stores I decided to take the search online.

A quick Google search told me that there are heaps of online stores selling prescription glasses.  We have a few in Australia, but most of the ones I found looked dodgy and the pictures were too small.  There were plenty of overseas sites that would ship internationally for a pretty reasonable price – in fact, some of the prices were so cheap that I wondered whether they would even last, and whether they’d get my prescription right.  Were they going to use the best materials for my lenses?  Would they get scratched after a week in my purse?  I started to get nervous about spending money on something I couldn’t see for myself.

I’d heard a lot about BonLook and Warby Parker from American bloggers that I follow (my glasses crush is Keiko Lynn), and trusted the reviews enough to know that the quality would be good.  But I still hesitated because I couldn’t try them on myself.

That’s when I discovered a new Australian-based company called Oscar Wylee, and their awesome free 5-day trial.

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It works like this:

Start by browsing through the frames on their site, including all the different colour options for each style.  When you see something you like you can click the ‘Add to Home Trial’ button.  You can choose five different frames (or just five different colours of the one style!) for your free trial.

The trial really is completely free.  You will be asked for your credit card details during the checkout process and charged $1, which is refunded immediately once verified.  After this your credit card will not be charged again unless you fail to return the frames.

Aside from the fact that I really love their glasses, it was the packaging and no-nonsense delivery arrangements that impressed me most about Oscar Wylee’s home trial.  My glasses arrived in a beautiful fabric-covered box with individual compartments for the glasses I chose.  Inside, the glasses were packaged in individual plastic pouches and arrived with non-prescription lenses already installed, with none of those annoying stickers that you have to put up with at the optometrist.  You’re encouraged to wear them to work, out to dinner, and to get everybody’s opinion before it’s time to send them back.

The box also included a information about how to order, how to return, and a pre-paid label to attached to the parcel when it was time to send them home.  There was even a lollipop in the box to sweeten the deal!

I wore my glasses around constantly for the next five days, and it’s funny how much my mind changed during that time.  The glasses that I loved on Day 1 felt a bit boring by Day 3, and others were eventually dismissed as being too ‘out there’ for everyday wear.  I spent the last two days of my trial being completely obsessed with the frames in the photo below: Xander in Sapphire Tortoise.  Once I stopped being intimidated by their size I realised that they really were the best of the bunch.  Go big, or go home – right?

 

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Xander in Sapphire Tortoise – how pretty are those little flecks of blue?  The colour is definitely less intense without all the backlighting of a professional studio, but they’re much more interesting than your average tortoiseshell glasses.

On Day 5 I sadly sent my box of glasses back to their home in Sydney, which was just a matter of popping them back in their box and sticking on the label provided.  To console myself I jumped on to their website and placed my order, using the prescription I had obtained from my optometrist.  I had expected that the price would increase when I entered my prescription and was kind of stunned when I realised that the lenses were included in the price.

The final cost: $98.  Shipping was free, once again.

And look, I’m getting a bit gushy here but there are some other cool things to know about this brand.  I’m getting a bit long-winded so let’s just dot-point them, yes?

  • If you don’t need a prescription, you can still order glasses with UV-proof, anti-reflective, anti-scratch lenses.
  • They have a big range of prescription sunglasses too, for both men and women.  This is next on my agenda, and if I’m honest I might even be choosing the same frames again for my sunnies.
  • They work with your health care provider to provide the usual rebates that you would expect for your prescription.
  • Although they only ship to Australian addresses right now, international shipping is on the horizon.
  • This one is important: They have a One for One scheme partnering with non-profit organisations around the world to help ensure that many people in poverty-stricken countries will be able to obtain the fundamental human need of sight.  Hooray for global awareness and social good!

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Summary: Great company, beautiful glasses and the quality (and the price!) is excellent.  The prescription is, as far as I can tell, identical to the expensive glasses I purchased through my optometrist and I’ve had a couple of months to really test them out and be sure.

It’s not every day that I’m so thoroughly impressed with a purchase, so I guess I just wanted to spread the word!

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To the best of my knowledge, there is only one problem with loving so many international blogs.  It’s the out-of-season temptations that are constantly dangled in front of you.

These beautiful owl fingerless gloves jumped off my screen when Dooce mentioned them a couple of weeks ago, and I snapped them up immediately even though we’re only halfway through Summer.  They arrived yesterday (in record time!) and I couldn’t wait to try them on.

I’m in love.  They’re soft too – made from a blend of wool, alapaca and acrylic.  And hello, they’re owls!

Feel free to start whenever you like, Winter – I’m ready now.

 

 

 

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Now that I’ve finished tinkering with my list of 101 Things to do in 1001 Days, I’m excited to start ticking some of those things off!  I Have a number of art related tasks on my list this time around and I wanted to make sure that I started early and enjoyed the process.  And besides, my art classes start up again next week and I was slightly concerned that I had forgotten everything from last year!

The still life scene above was painted on a fairly large piece of canvas board with acrylic paint.  There’s a lot to like about this painting, but I can’t help but stare at the obvious problems with my initial drawing.  I think that’s what always lets me down – I’m so excited to break out the paint that I don’t spend enough time on my sketch.

In any case 1/25 still life scenes complete.

 

This tree was really just an exercise in playing with a bunch of my art supplies – watercolours, acrylic paint, sumi ink and gesso.  I’m trying to fill an altered book with drawings and being a little more experimental on those pages.  It’s a really fun way to discover which mediums work well together.

24 trees to go!

 

 

I’ve also set myself a challenge to take 101 photos with my cute little Fujifilm Instax Mini 25.  This camera is the little brother of Polaroid, and prints out cute credit card sized instant photos.  I’ve had the camera for about a year and for most of that time it was pretty badly neglected.  I’m glad we’re finally spending some quality time together.

I thought that it would take me a long time to churn out 101 photos, but to my surprise I’m almost halfway through in my first month!  Once you get the hang of this camera it’s pretty addictive.  You can see more of my Instax Mini 25 photos here.

 

I’m really looking forward to beginning another one of my tasks next week when a big box of Ilford black & white film arrives.  I’ve been tracking its progress across the ocean for about a week now and it’s actually in my city now!

I wish I’d been able to purchase the film locally, but to do so would have cost $14 per roll, instead of $3.50 per roll from the US.  Even with 5-day shipping it worked out much cheaper for me to buy it online.  Why do Australian consumers always get the blame for the shift to online shopping when it’s the retailers who won’t compete?

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Shiny Happy Art by Anna Bartlett

by Elizabeth on November 12, 2011 · 1 comment

in Art, Australia, Online Shopping

About a hundred years ago I lived in a beautiful city in regional QLD called Toowoomba.  It was a pretty fantastic place to grow up when I was a kid, and I have a lot of awesome memories from those years.  One of the things I remember about it was the strong folk art and handmade culture that flourished there.

I came across Toowoomba artist Anna Bartlett by chance last month and had lots of fun poking around her shop, Shiny Happy Art.  I was immediately drawn to this sweet little robin fabric panel, and quickly added it to my cart despite having no idea what I was going to do with it!

It arrived after just a couple of days, beautifully packaged with a cute hand-drawn picture drawn on the envelope.  Adorable.  In fact, I had to convince the receptionist at work to part with it so that I could see what was inside!

 

 

There’s something extra special about receiving a package directly from the artist, especially when it’s personalised in this way!  Anna also  included a note with my order, suggesting that I might like to stitch around the robin to bring out his little feet.

A month later I still haven’t decided what my little birdy will become, but someday he’s probably going to be a cute little cushion or a bag.  For now I’m just admiring him from afar until inspiration strikes.

Did I mention that this little guy is only $12?

 

There’s plenty of other beautiful things to see at Shiny Happy Art.  These are my top picks.

Original art: Mid Century I and Antique I, $146

Robin Red Breast and Blue Wren hankies, $14

Robin Red Breast teatowel, $24

Blue Wren and Robin Red Breast parlour cushions, $35
(These are my favourites!)

 

I know sometimes it isn’t easy to be sure, so I thought I should mention that I wasn’t asked to write this post.

I’m just all about sharing the pretties with you guys!

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Gift guide from Calico & Co

by Elizabeth on November 23, 2010 · 0 comments

in Cool stuff, Online Shopping

Amanda Fuller, of Calico & Co. fame, has drawn upon her legions of crafty creatives to compile this excellent gift guide, just in time for Christmas. It’s been great to see a new category (or more) appear in my RSS feeder each day, so I thought I’d share these carefully curated collections here!

I think there’s more to come, so make sure you check out Amanda’s blog in the coming days. She has a great eye for good design so you’re bound to find something you love.

The challenge will be giving some away for Christmas!

For baby under $20
For baby under $50
For baby under $100

Girls under $20
Girls under $50
Girls under $100

Teen girls under $20
Teen girls under $50
Teen girls under $100

Boys under $20
Boys under $50
Boys under $100

Teen boys under $20
Teen boys under $50
Teen boys under $100

For him under $20
For him under $50
For him under $100

For her under $20
For her under $50
For her under $100

Thanks for doing all the hard work for us, Amanda!

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Pretty things.

by Elizabeth on September 10, 2010 · 1 comment

in Art, Online Shopping


Beautiful earrings by Etsy artist potpourri4


Sweet little hearts by a favourite of mine, Australian designer Epheriell


Pretty hand-hammered stackable rings by Emily Wiser

Friday!

Oh, Friday. I want to kiss you RIGHT on the mouth.

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How cute are these made-to-order iPhone/iPod cases? They’re made by Etsy shop owner EvelynX, who seems to have a thing for owls like I do.

This little guy is my favourite…

EvelynX also makes cute little owl plushies, and screenprinted moleskine journal covers. Find more at her Etsy shop.

(Come on, payday – I have cute things in my etsy cart!)

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Cuuuute!

by Elizabeth on May 29, 2010 · 2 comments

in Cool stuff, Online Shopping

I just saw this beautiful little mobile over at Tipsy Society, and wanted to share it with the rest of the world. Isn’t it the sweetest?

Handmade bird mobile, by aet2002

Nobody freak out, I’m not in baby mode. My plan is still to adopt 16-year-olds (so that they’re old enough to clean the pool) and then buy them a tent when they’re 19.

I know, I know. I’m going to be such an excellent parent some day! At least their rooms will be full of awesome etsy finds…

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I’ve just discovered these beautiful handmade books by Natalie Stopka, and didn’t think it was fair to keep them to myself. I love all the work that goes into this style of binding, and wish I had the skill and patience to do it myself!

Natalie is a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, and makes beautiful sketchbooks and journals using vintage handkerchiefs, fabric and embroidery stitching. No two books are ever the same, and she also welcomes custom orders on her Etsy shop Natalie As Is. I was surprised to find that her prices are very reasonable.

Photographs of her works-in-progress can also be found at her flickr site.

And, as further proof that the Universe distributes talent unequitably, she just happens to be a beautiful portrait artist as well.

I would love to own one of her beautiful books, and be able to fill it with sketches like these!

You can see more of Natalie’s work at her portfolio site, www.nataliestopka.com.

Thanks to Paper Crave for this discovery!

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Leona Edmiston

by Elizabeth on November 14, 2009 · 2 comments

in Fashion, Life, Melbourne, Online Shopping

Josh Evans - Studio Go
Leona Edmiston – Photo by Josh Evans

I spent a fantastic morning in the city today, dress shopping with a good friend. Our workmate had told us – in fairly evangelical terms – about the great sale that Leona Edmiston was having this weekend, and how amazed we would be with her dresses. So much so that she insisted that I try on the three dresses she had with her at work that day, just so that I could see for myself!

She wasn’t kidding. There’s something about the cut of these dresses that just works. Forgiving in all the right ways, yet completely unapologetic for flaunting curves and boobs. And even better? Leona Edmiston has her own sizing, which doesn’t correspond directly to traditional clothes sizes. It takes your mind off the size tag and forces you to concentrate on the fit of the dress instead.

I hadn’t really expected to spend a great deal more money after last week’s purchases, but I quickly discovered that this was an opportunity too good to pass up! It’s been such a long time since I’ve walked into a dress shop and been presented with so many options that just fit. With the sale ending tomorrow, I knew I had to pick up a few things while I could.

So here’s what I chose:

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Shona Shirtdress

Perfect prim and proper in this retro-inspired cotton Shirt dress. This dress features 50’s inspired detailing such as self covered buttons, cuffed sleeves and a nipped in waist that creates a subtle vintage silhouette.

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Bridgette Button

I’ll be the first to admit that this dress doesn’t look all that special in the picture, but of the three dresses I bought, this one really stands out!

This Leona jersey dress is a bold daywear piece with plenty of cool-girl sass. This dress has short sleeves with button cuff, scoop neckline and button waistline making this a perfect piece to introduce to your summer wardrobe.

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Joan

I bought this dress in “petrol”, which is the colour that Leona wears in the top picture.

This effortlessly stylish dress will become your fail safe choice for any work day or occasion. With a flattering A line skirt, ¾ sleeves and super flattering cut this dress will instantly update your dress collection.

And this next dress came very close to joining the others!

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You will create Perfect Park Avenue chic in this Leona dress. The sweetheart neckline and nipped-in waist with self tie are super-flattering. This dress also features an A line skirt, capped sleeves and a concealed back zip for easy wear.

Anyone who knows me well will probably be surprised at some of my choices, because I tend to choose “safer” colours and styles. I’m really excited to have bought some pieces that are bright, girly and summery – my Melbourne black-staple wardrobe was starting to look a bit emo!

The Leona Edmiston sale continues online until tomorrow, so get in quick to get 30% off. However, I strongly recommend heading into one of their stores, or to David Jones, to try on their gear if you haven’t worn it before.

Today taught me the importance of a perfectly fitted dress!

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Note to Santa

by Elizabeth on October 26, 2009 · 3 comments

in Cool stuff, Online Shopping

Dear Santa,

I thought I’d start putting together my list early this year, since I didn’t get that pony I asked for last Christmas.

Love,
Elizabeth

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Imagine a Rubik’s Cube that actually makes you smarter; an Erector Set that never stops erecting; a Hula Hoop you don’t look ridiculous playing with; Silly Putty that isn’t silly; cram it all in a jar, turn the fun up to 11, and you’ve got BuckyBalls!

Each set contains 216 powerful rare earth magnets that can be shaped, molded, torn apart and snapped together in UNLIMITED WAYS. Make sculptures, puzzles, patterns, shapes, stick stuff to the fridge, invent a new game—trying to find something more useful is useless.

Something tells me that these would be awesome to keep on my desk at work, especially during those long phonecalls to the IT helpdesk!

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2010 Calendar by vanhoosedesign

by Elizabeth on September 30, 2009 · 3 comments

in Art, Cool stuff, Online Shopping

calendar

I love this beautiful wall calendar, by vanhoosedesign at Etsy. I especially think it would be terrific for marking off the days that I go for a run, due to the great linear layout.

I was all set to buy it for myself when I realised that the colour scheme is totally aimed at the Northern hemisphere. I’m sure it’s not that big a deal, but now that I’ve noticed all the warm colours in the middle of the year I think it would bug me every time I looked at it!

Maybe I should think of it as a reminder to turn the heater on in Winter, and the aircon in Summer? Sure, that’ll do!

Thanks to Nicole Hill Gerulat for sharing.

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5 Great Aussie online stores

by Elizabeth on September 28, 2009 · 8 comments

in External Sites, Online Shopping

The other day I wrote about the 30 presents I bought for Tim’s birthday this year, and that I found most of his presents online. A bunch of my coworkers were amazed that I knew where to find some of that stuff, and some were even a bit shocked that I was comfortable using my credit card online to pay for it.

It made me realise how much online shopping has transformed the way I shop, and how many people are yet to embrace this modern-day advancement!

Some of my favourite US-based stores still don’t deliver to Australia (are you listening, Urban Outfitters? Anthropologie?), and others charge far too much to ship here (American Eagle, I’m looking RIGHT at you).

This post focuses on Australian and NZ online stores. Later on I’ll write about the many US stores who have taken the time to calculate the true cost of shipping to Australia.

Here it is – enjoy!

fishpond

#1: FISHPOND – Books, music, movies and games
Fishpond.com.au is Australia’s answer to Amazon, providing an enormous range of books, music, movies and games to the Australasian region at the best possible price. Fishpond guarantees that its prices are lower than Amazon’s, and as they are based in NZ they don’t have to charge GST. How good is that?

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#2: PETER’S OF KENSINGTON – Homewares, Cookware, Glassware, Collectables (etc)
Peter’s of Kensington is a Sydney institution, and in 2000 they launched the online branch of their store. I’ve bought a mountain of great stuff from Peter’s – everything from my coffee machine, to my Global knives and my incredible Jamie Oliver Tefal frypan. I’ve spent a lot of money there, but the savings are so massive that it’s all been worth it.

They stock major brands, making it easy to “window shop” at a physical store if you ever want to see the item before purchasing it, and shipping is lightening fast and very inexpensive.

(Plus, I actually look forward to my weekly email full of specials!)

coles

#3: COLES ONLINE – Groceries
You might be surprised to see a grocery store on my list, but Coles Online is the reason that I was able to survive in Melbourne without a car for as long as I did. I’ve never been good at buying a carry-bag of groceries every few days, preferring to do one major shop every couple of weeks, and discovering Coles was the answer to all my prayers.

Now that I have a car, Coles is no longer my supermarket of choice. However, there is no denying that they do online groceries better than anybody else in the market right now. I’m sure that shopping this way helped me to save money too, as it was simple to sort items by unit price and identify which brand was the best value. Better still, they regularly throw in a bag of sample products – one week it was three cartons of rice milk, another time it was a couple of big bags of dog food.

biscote

#4: BISCOTE – Womens clothing
Biscote is a store that I have purchased from many, many times. I find their range of clothing to be really inconsistent, and much of it doesn’t interest me, but I’ve found it to be really good for basics.

You can’t argue with their prices, or the reasonable shipping costs, and that’s what brings me back time after time. I’ve bought a couple of great winter coats for under $30, and several marino wool knits for work that are Country Road quality (at a fraction of the price). I only wish that they would update their range more regularly, as about half of the items in their store were there 18 months ago when I first discovered it!

Their returns policy is fantastic, shipping is as fast as it gets, and I’ve found the customer service to be impeccable. Just take your time and pick through their offerings, and you’ll find some terrific gear. Their Hawthorn store feels more like an office, but it is worth dropping in there for more bargains if you live in Melbourne.

redballoon

#5: RED BALLOON DAYS – Experiences, gifts
Red Balloon Days is a place you want to know about, if you want to find a gift that’s out of the ordinary. They specialise in “experiences” like hot air ballooning, rally car driving, spa packages and getaways. They also have an interesting range of gift boxes.

It’s always best to compare their prices with other sites like Wishlist.com.au

That’s Noice is another great resource for Aussies, as they regularly review websites and products that cater to the Australian market.

What’s your secret Aussie shopping obsession? Give me your tips!

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