the time I bought things and told you about them


Over the summer I made a mistake in trusting a blogger I didn’t know. I packed the whole of my life in 49 boxes–I would bring to California only the things I loved and needed–however, I found myself browsing blogs during a work trip to Arizona and I happened upon a blue floral skirt from a company called Chicwish. It was gorgeous, cheap, emphasis on cheap. And although I consider myself savvy–I know the awareness and affiliate game that happens between brands and bloggers–I fell in love with a piece of fabric that was more about what I envisioned for California than the California in reality. I was buying something because I was frightened of all the uncertainty that came with moving across the country. I wasn’t buying something I needed from someone I trusted.

Big mistake.

To say the quality of the skirt I received was abhorrent would be an understatement. I’ve seen better quality at the $1 stores I used to patron when I was a kid in Brooklyn. I would be the girl in the flammable skirt living in the gold, citrus state. Tossing a bucket of salt into a gaping wound (even worse than believing bloggers who are routinely paid to lie on a daily basis because elevating that brand sure looks good on paper), was Chicwish’s return policy. I had to pay to ship and return my item, and after over a month wait, I reached out to the brand to query about my return to which I received an offer for store credit.

When I write your clothes are terrible quality as a reason for my return, I certainly DO NOT want store credit. Essentially, I spent $20+ of my hard-earned money on a crap skirt (initial shipping + return shipping), of which I’ve only myself to blame for buying something to fill a void. I could make this post about the influencer marketing racket (of which I’ve been privy on the agency/brand side), however, I’m trying on positivity for size.

I have a few close friends who are bloggers, friends whom I love and trust, and even then I’ll ask: would you buy this with your own money, or is this product good enough considering you got it for free? Because you could so easily make allowances for things that don’t deplete your bank account. You tend to overlook flaws and inconvenient return policies.

Before I moved to California, I went on an insane home shopping spree–an event of which I’m constantly reminded whenever I view my bank and credit card statements. I left much of my furniture in New York, and I found myself buying A LOT of new things (couch, bookshelves, rug, kitchen carts, etc), and the purchases added up. That, and the fact that my apartment is pretty expensive, has forced me on a strict budget. Luckily I work from home so I don’t have to worry about clothes, gas, and parking, and most of my disposable income is spent on books, food, and fitness.

Today I’m sharing some of my choice investments.

For the past seven weeks I’ve been struggling with heavy breakouts, and it wasn’t until visiting a dermatologist two weeks ago did I learn that I had a stubborn case of folliculitis (my prescribed topical regimen, below). Infected pimples covered the sides of my face and ran down my arms, shoulders, chest, and back. I was miserable. My doctor prescribed an oral and topical antibiotic and I’ve been washing my face with a cleanser that has 5% benzoyl peroxide. My condition has improved by 75%, but I’ve had to make massive adjustments to my skincare regimen. Lately, I’ve been using Simple skincare (I really like their exfoliating wipes and water-free cleansers), Dermalogica and Murad moisturizers. The holy grail of my purchases is Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion. This really works. Trust me on this one. I typically use this before I go to bed and blemishes vanish by morning. While the Drying Lotion didn’t solve my stubborn skin care problem, it helped before I saw a doctor, and made taking meetings outside of my home bearable.


I work out pretty often and much of what I wear during the week is athletic gear. I have a pretty big selection since I sweat heavily and need to cycle through my gear pretty often. So I look for clothing that will stand up to multiple washes, clothing that is sweat absorbent and has the flexibility to move how I move. I’ve hated Lululemon since 2009 because they simply do not make quality clothes for curvy women, and I always felt like I needed Crisco to pull on their tops and forget about their leggings.

To supplement leggings I’ve collected from Zella, Old Navy and Gap Body (Gap Body is good, not great, and I’ve found that my Old Navy gear lasts longer), I recently discovered Beyond Yoga via a 50% sale in my hot yoga studio. The pants are soft, roomy, completely absorbent and really stand up to the fact that I need to throw them in the wash every week. They’re on the pricey side, admittedly, so I have a few investment pieces and supplement with Old Navy and Zella (when I can get them on sale).

As I mentioned, I sweat. A LOT. So much that my mat, which is often promoted to those who take Bikram or hot yoga, isn’t stopping me from sliding. I purchased a yogitoes mat towel and I have absolutely no regrets. Since yoga is a huge part of my life (I practice 3-4x/week), buying a towel was essential, especially since I tend to be injury-prone.

Since I spend most of my time working in front of a computer, eating, working out or snapping photos of my cat, I don’t need fancy handbags whose cost are the equivalent of a month’s rent. Expensive finery used to be important to me but the desire was more about projecting a life lie I was living rather than having people get to know me without all the accoutrements. I’m not knocking expensive things, live your life, but coveting the latest handbag is no longer part of my life. For the past year I’ve been toting around a canvas bag, and it was only until recently that I upgraded to a $150 (!!!) tote from Cuyana, specifically this one. I own a Celine bag and there is literally no difference in the quality and suppleness of the leather. The only difference being that I didn’t cry when I reviewed my credit card statement because I dropped a few grand on a few scraps of leather and an embossed label. I love this tote (I’ve posted another snap, along with a photo of a wallet I purchased, below) because I can fit my laptop, books, gym clothes, water bottle, you name it. I’ve already managed to stain it and I found the leather pretty easy to clean. Plus, it’s presentable for business meetings and client lunches. #WINNING


Something’s happened since I’ve moved to California–I’m less of a morning person. While I naturally wake at 6, the first hour is a struggle and I can’t face the world (or email) without being heavily caffeinated. Breakfast used to be a grand affair, but now the idea of going near the stove is unthinkable. As a result, I was downing copious amounts of cereal (not good, people) or AB&J sandwiches (again, not good). On a recent trip to the market, I discovered Love Grown Oatmeal, and it’s GLUTEN-FREE! As my friend Amber would say, GET INVOLVED. I add water (or almond milk) to the mixture, heat in the microwave for one minute, and top it with fresh fruit, and breakfast is done. I can then spend a good hour catatonic in front of the computer before I even contemplate a shower.


I also have an upcoming post about items I’ve purchased for my home and a MONSTER post on the 50+ books I’ve read this year, but if you have any questions about any of the above, or about folliculitis, drop me a note in the comments.

19 thoughts on “the time I bought things and told you about them

  1. I love the new bag, it’s gorgeous! I’m sorry to hear ChicWish didn’t work for you. I’ve ordered a couple of things from them and as long as I pay attention to sizing never had an issue. I hope you keep enjoying CA. ❤ Kait

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Loving the new bag! I know that I always seek for free items all the time, so you know that means I only use carry on size. Enjoy California!! I love it there!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. love and appreciate your honesty about Chicwish. I have been seeing it all over blogs the last couple of months and struggled to understand why so many people promote the product (esp. given even by zooming in on some of there items you can see the poor quality.


  4. Your new bag is amazing. I love all things Cuyana so so much (that yes, as a blogger I’d spend my own money on them!) I’m waiting for them to restock the small wallet – it’s #1 on my shopping list right now.

    The simple Micellar water is fab too. I did a sponsored post for them a while back and worried that my readers wouldn’t buy it because it was sponsored… but it’s so gentle and really does get your skin clean (I swear that it’s magic!!) I’ve heard amazing things about the Mario Badescu lotion. I rarely break out but when I do (usually after a lot of travel, etc) it’s a mess and the one breakout takes over my entire face… I may pick up a bottle next time around as I’ve just been using organic tea tree oil.

    I’ve never bought anything Chicwish (and I think we may have talked about them together before) but I am sad to hear that the quality is so terrible as so many of my favorite sites frequently feature them! It’s such a bummer as the pieces look SO cute. Le sigh.

    I need to check out Beyond Yoga. I too am a big fan of Old Navy and Zella for workout gear. I’ve been really, really into Carrie Underwood’s workout gear (full disclosure – the brand gifted it to me and I never would have bought it on my own, but now I would 100% buy it with my own $$.) The pieces are great quality and have fun cuts (and a cute inspirational motto inside the hem of the shirts.

    Well this was a novella… clearly I miss you and all our long chats about all things beauty! XO


    1. I KNOW. It’s been so long. I neglected to include the Shaffali mask you recommended. It’s amazing, but I didn’t get to use it long enough before I had the Epic Breakout of 2015. Once my skin calms down, I’m all over it again. Although sadly I can’t use the One Love Organic face balm, or any of the face oils because my skin and this climate + oils = NOT OKAY. Insert emphatic wail emoji.

      You’re so right. Simple is the jam. I’ve tried other drugstore brands (my derm told me to keep everything simple, pardon the pun, while my skin was recuperating from said epic breakout), and nothing is as good as the Simple stuff. Plus, I can lay off water if I’m too pooped to wash my face at night (and that’s happened).

      I’m STILL angered re: Chicwish. I felt I could get better quality at Old Navy or H&M and not pay the Zara prices Chicwish charges. The return policy is channeling ecommerce of the early 00s–especially if you’re purchasing products sight unseen. NEVER AGAIN.

      Btw, is The Clasp good? I’ve a pile of books in my TBR pile so I held off on getting it. Small world–I knew her from my publishing days when she was a publicist at Random House. So happy for her success.



      1. zomg that scrub is EVERYTHING. i can’t wait to hear how you like it. i am actually going to put it on now since you mentioned it.

        i actually just started reading the clasp now. i just love how she writes. it’s good so far, but i will give you my full thoughts once finished!!!


  5. This is a great post. After I read the Kondo book earlier this year and purchased a few items from Everlane and Cuyana it has been really hard for me to buy things I don’t love. It has saved me tons of mental energy and money. My husband and I found a really great shelter this year and donated so many things. A good friend recommended Chicwish and I couldn’t do it. I rather spend the money on a great item that I love and is of great quality. I recently bought a sweater The Row. A major purchase for me since I only work part-time, but every time I put it on I’m so happy. It’s classic and elegant.

    I have been reading books from the library before purchasing due to the fact that I may be moving back to Texas in the next 2 years and don’t want to cart back books I don’t love. I recently bought Fates and Furies and it was worth every single penny from my local independent bookstore. I loved it. This is a great post, Felicia. Also, I’ve been stocking up on Beyond Yoga at It’s a decent discount. Also, check out Zobha and Kira Grace. Great clothes as well.

    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So glad to know others have struggled to get on the Lululemon bandwagon! I mean how tight are workout capri’s supposed to be? If you are looking for a good YA novel the Wither series has been one of my favorites! It is so intense and well written!


  7. Thanks for the derm info! Now I’m wondering if the bumps I get are the same kind, need to check with the professionals. Did yours say anything about sunscreen?? I’m still struggling to figure that part of this southern California skin equation.


  8. I absolutely love Mario Badescu’s entire line! I have always have acne prone skin but I was finally able to get it under control with this line. Great suggestion!


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