Wednesday, January 16, 2013

ABC Gift Cards

Hello, my lovelies!  Sorry for my lengthy absence.  :X  That being said, Happy New Year!!  I hope everyone's year is going well.  :)  I'm a bit sick at the moment and don't feel quite up for a full picture intensive haul/review post right now, so I thought I would do a quick post about a website I recently discovered:  The premise of this site is that you can buy "secondhand" gift cards for a discount off their face value.  Gift card "sellers" often want cash or another gift card to a store they frequent instead of the gift card they have (e.g. received as a gift) and are willing to part with their unwanted gift card for less than the face value. can then purchase and resell these gift cards for less than the card's face value.

When I first heard of this site I was a bit skeptical about whether or not they were legit.  After all, sometimes, things can be too good to be true.  However, I hesitantly made my first purchase and bought my iTunes card.  It took awhile to process--I believe 1.5 to 2 weeks before I received it or saw changes to their site's order status page.  You can bet I was sweating it out those 2 weeks wondering if I had just wasted my money because the site was a scam or the card was stolen/lost in the mail!  Haha.  I even emailed their customer service to check on the status of my order!  After several emails confirming it was sent out--I received it the next day in a rather nondescript envelope.  I promptly checked the balance and the full $100 was on the card!  It was a rather easy transaction and when ABC Gift Cards had their extra 5% off discount for the new year, I bought my $100 Starbucks card, which arrived within the 1.5 to 2 week time frame.  Oh, I thought I should mention, holiday sales volume aside, ABC Gift Cards is headquartered in NJ and may have been affected by Hurricane Sandy, so their processing time may be slower than usual.

The Starbucks card design is so cute.  It's a pity that I use their mobile app and if I do carry a card, I use my bird-designed one.  Haha.  I might just save the empty gift card.  Lol.

The discounts for my cards were about 6-11% off face value, but there are other gift cards, e.g. Sephora, with 13% off face value!!

This notice also came with each of my gift cards.  It is one of the major reasons I chose to shop with ABC Gift Cards--it's much easier when the company will help you rather than relying solely on your credit card company to dispute your purchase.

Other things I thought I would mention:

- If you're unsure of a secondhand gift card seller, purchase it on a credit card or through PayPal for maximum protection against being defrauded.
- Try to purchase from a well-known seller and Google reviews to see whether the seller is legit.  Another secondhand gift card seller I've heard of, but haven't personally used, is Plastic Jungle.
- Secondhand gift card sellers usually check the balance on the gift cards they resell, but check to see what their policy is if the gift card balance doesn't match the stated value.
- I have not sold any of my gift cards to ABC Gift Cards, and when googling reviews about the site, there seemed to be a disproportionate amount of negative reviews.  That being said, if you are interested in selling your gift cards to ABC Gift Cards, keep in mind that most people only review things when a transaction is really bad or extraordinarily good--everything else seems to fall through the cracks, which can lead to a very lopsided and inaccurate portrayal of service.
- If you are an avid credit card user--for bonus points, mileage, etc--fear not, shop for the gift card on your credit card and earn your points, and then spend some "free" monies at your business/retailer/restaurant of choice!  Haha.
- If you are considering purchasing a gift card from ABC Gift Cards (and probably most other secondhand sellers) as a gift for someone, be aware that the security code will probably be scratched off and the balance will be written on the card.  This occurs when the re-seller is checking the gift card balance.  It's only aesthetically unpleasing, but the gift card (should) works as it should.  Also, some of the gift cards may be in odd amounts due to being partially used before being sold to ABC Gift Cards or being a store credit (e.g. some stores issue store credit instead of a refund to original purchase method).
- Oh, and if you can, try to consolidate gift cards:  I won't be able to drink/eat $100 worth of Starbucks  in 45 days, especially since my main card already had a balance on it before I bought this gift card, so I moved the entire balance to my main card.  Hopefully this will prevent an unethical gift card seller (not ABC Gift Cards, the original gift cardholder) tries to use the gift card online, the balance is linked with another Starbucks account and card.

That is it for now.  Cheerios!  I will try to get on top of my backlog of blog posts.  :X  :)

I decided to update this post because I recently ordered a $100 Starbucks gift card that arrived without a balance!  I sent an email to ABC Gift Cards via their contact page on Thursday night, but didn't get a response on Friday.  (I know, I know, I'm rather impatient.  But I couldn't get my Starbucks!!!  Haha.)  I then tried calling the number listed on the site, but no one picked up.  As frustrated and slightly panicked as I was, I decided to wait until Monday--because everyone knows that productivity goes down on Friday, haha--before I either called them again or contacted my credit card company.  Luckily my patience was rewarded and I received an email on Saturday from ABC Gift Cards telling me to directly contact (I don't think this email is listed on their site).  I was asked to take a photo of the front and back of my gift card and email it to their claims department.  On Monday, I received an email alerting me that I received a full refund for my gift card.  :)  However, being the Starbucks addict that I am, I actually wanted a replacement card rather than a refund--especially since I had bought my Starbucks gift card using a now expired sale/discount code.  I contacted customer service via my refund notification email,, and customer service promised to apply that discount to my replacement order!  I hope this alleviates any anxiety anyone has towards buying secondhand gift cards from this company.  :)  Happy shopping!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bauble Bar Order #3

Bauble Bar usually does collaborations with jewelry designers and Gorjana was being featured!  There was a cute and fun chevron-shaped bracelet that I was on the fence for awhile about ordering because it was rather expensive, especially since it was from a designer collection.  It was listed at $45, but after vault points, I paid $42, which is still expensive.  >_<  Oh well, things worked out--I didn't know it then, but this turned out to be my favorite bracelet!  The I-never-take-this-off-not-even-when-I-shower sort of bracelet (and it hasn't shown signs of wear)!  Haha.  

 I placed my order on 6/19/12 and received it on 6/25/12!  Yay!  That being said, in that one-week shipping period, the box sure got destroyed.

The puncture went all the way through the cardboard box!  Luckily, Bauble Bar packages their jewelry in those little black pouches and covers the pouch with the tissue paper and postcard-sized advertisements.  Haha.  

My Chevron Charm bracelet!  Safe from its long journey!  I believe it is 18k gold-plated.  I love how dainty this bracelet is, but the charm is very bold on its own.  It is an understated, but eye-catching piece.  It works for everyday wear and is office appropriate.  Also, according to the description, the chevron shape is seen as a sign of change in Native American culture.  Of course that tidbit of information also factors into my love of this piece!  I view it as a good luck charm!  Change always brings opportunities, whether they are good or bad, is dependent on how you view them and what you make of them!  Here's to change, opportunities, and luck!  :)  

Oh yes, and before I forget, do you have any pieces of jewelry that you never take off?  Any special reasons or memories related to your favorite piece of jewelry?  Hopefully, this will make it into my heirloom jewelry that I pass down when and if I have children of my own.  Haha.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Bauble Bar Order #2

Hello.  The not so very diligent blogger >_< returns with a post on my second Bauble Bar order.  I ordered these necklaces on 6/15/12 and received them on 6/22/12.  I absolutely love the simple, yet bold, shapes and colors of these necklaces.

The packaging.  I love that all Bauble Bar pieces come in their very own black velvety snap case--even though I don't really store them in that case.  It's nice to know they attempt to protect your jewelry from damage.  I also like the colorful postcard-sized advertisements they always seem to include in packages.  Not sure the purpose they serve, but they are colorful amid the black box, tissue wrap, and jewelry bags.  Lol.

The Indigo Triad Collar necklace was $32, but I used $4 in Bauble Bar's "vault points" loyalty program, so I only paid $28.  The Red Geo necklace was $28, but $26 after I used my vault points.  Technically, these are Bauble Bar orders #2 & #3 placed mere seconds apart to be able to immediately use my vault points!  It is nice that there is free shipping, because otherwise I would not have ordered in that way.

Detail pictures of the necklaces.  I was surprised by the indigo necklace, which looks opaque on the website, and against the jewelry pouch, but is actually a bit translucent.  A nice detail.  Also, the red necklace looks like a bright red-orange-coral, but it is actually bit deeper and darker--not as bright as the top picture.  These necklaces are very versatile and can be worn both day and night, which is nice.  I also think they may be office friendly, but that depends on your office environment and field.

I am going to start editing pictures and writing up blog entries for my third Bauble Bar purchase and my fourth GMarket haul, since I have purchased so many things in the interim and am actually waiting for my fifth GMarket haul!  I am thinking of doing a collective, maybe mostly picture post of my Bauble Bar and Haute Look hauls.  And off to work, I go.... 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bauble Bar Order #1

I "recently" decided to place an order on (I know it's been around for awhile!) after seeing Bauble Bar mentioned in several magazines and seeing the lovely promo pictures for the Man Repeller Arm Party bracelet set ($50)!  I was curious as to whether the quality and/or style of the jewelry justified the prices--which are rather expensive compared to Forever 21, but luckily there is a $10 new customer discount that I used to bring down the price of the set to $40.  I excitedly placed my order on 6/2/12 and waited impatiently for roughly 2 weeks, when I received it on 6/14/12....

Here's the order form and my responses for the Man Repeller Arm Party.  I should note that I was expecting golds, bronzes, espressos, corals, and turquoises as per the promo pictures.  

However, when I received my Arm Party set, I was less than thrilled.  In fact, I was rather disappointed since the set was $40.  Specifically, I wasn't a fan of the white enamel mixed with the turquoise and coral.  I also didn't like the tiny rhinestone bracelet, which seemed to get lost amidst the other larger bracelets.  Although 3/5 bracelets were okay, it was still not enough to warrant the cost.  Moreover, there was something stuck in the white enamel bracelet, which made it seem messy.  So, I decided to contact customer service to exchange the set, which according to the website, an entire set had to be exchanged rather than individual bracelets.  

I contacted Bauble Bar's customer service, and received a prompt reply.  Customer service was very helpful and even offered to help create my ideal set!  Excitedly, I decided to mail back (return shipping is free!) my first Arm Party set along with a note with my ideal color choices and await my second set.  I waited a bit longer than I had expected due to slow shipping:  I mailed my return on 6/15/12 and it arrived at Bauble Bar on 7/5/12!  However, exchange shipping was much faster as my exchange shipped out that very day (7/5/12) and arrived on 7/9/12!!

My new Arm Party set!  I was very excited to see how it turned out with my specific requests!

My new set!  I love that there are warmer colors and bigger bracelets!  I think the set "fits" better together, but each piece is detailed enough to stand alone.  Also, I love the back detailing on the turquoise stone bracelet--it has a gold filigree-esque design!  The only issue I had is that wearing the Arm Party all together results in a lot of ties, which I tucked, but that is a little time consuming.  Other than that, I really love this set. Although, after wearing it once, the coral rhinestone-studded bar bracelet broke--the cord came undone.  :/  However, I think I'm going to look for a metal chain to put it on since the jewelry piece is still intact.  The other bracelets are all okay, so perhaps it was just defective?  In any case, it is something to consider since cord is not as sturdy as a metal chain bracelet.

Also included in my second set was a handwritten note, which was very sweet and also demonstrates the friendliness and helpfulness of Bauble Bar's customer service team!

Overall, despite not liking my first bracelet set and even having a bracelet in my second set break, I had a really good experience with Bauble Bar.  I enjoy their jewelry designs, which are a bit more "grown up" than Forever21--or at least, I find them easier to incorporate into more looks (but that could just be me).  I appreciate their free shipping and return shipping.  And lastly, their customer service is very responsive and good at problem resolution.  In fact, before I even received this "first" Bauble Bar order, I had already placed my second and third orders--I placed these separately as to immediately use the "reward points" that Bauble Bar awards for every purchase that is relative to the amount spent.  And, since this post, and the next two Bauble Bar posts, are several months late, I have already become an avid Bauble Bar fan.  I will attempt to post a collective haul post soon with pictures and brief reviews of the pieces I have bought.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 Chanel Sunglasses!

Ever since I saw Chanel's 5171 sunglasses with their cute white bows on either side of the temples, I fell in love!  The sunglasses were adorably cute and flirty--the bows are just the right amount of sass for the otherwise simple and classic oversize frame.  However, I did not like their price tag.  The sunglasses retail from upwards of $250.  :(

After a bit of online "window shopping" I happened across Pret a Voir, an online (they also have a physical location if you live in Glasgow, Scotland) sunglasses and glasses seller that had them for cheaper!  The catch?  I had never heard of Pret a Voir and it is a UK-based business--it would be very difficult if there were problems with my order and I wasn't sure if they were selling legitimate Chanel sunglasses.  However, I did my research and there were several sites with good reviews of Pret a Voir, which coupled with their fantastically (relatively) low price, ultimately led me to purchase from them.  I bought them for about $230 USD after shipping and currency conversion, whereas in store and after tax it would have cost me around $305.

That being said, and without further ado, here are my Chanel 5171 sunnies!

They came in a Chanel cardboard box filled with a lens cleaning cloth, cloth bag, hard case, warranty information, and authenticity card.

 They also had properly spelled lettering and coding on the inside of the arms which tells the manufacturing location (Italy), product number (5171), and product color (C5013C).  

 According to my research on fake Chanel 5171 sunglasses, the Chanel logo on the case is glued on and there is no indentation so that the logo lies more flush with the surface of the case.  Also, although I didn't take a picture of it, authentic Chanel sunglasses have writing etched onto the lenses themselves.  I believe they etch Chanel onto the lenses, but I don't have my sunglasses on hand to verify it.  :x

Cute little white ribbons!  This style comes in a variety of colors, including one with a black frame with black bows, but the most popular is the black frame with white bows.

The Chanel logo is on both of the white ribbons in authentic pairs.

In any case, after tons of research (kudos to this forum), I'm confident that my sunglasses aren't fake and I am very pleased with my purchase.  I will definitely consider buying my next pair of sunglasses from Pret a Voir!  Oh and a few things I forgot to mention, customer service was very friendly and helpful, and international shipping (~12.95 GBP) was rather quick.  The only caveat was that I had to call to place my order since Chanel (and I believe one other brand) does not allow online selling of their sunglasses.  Other than that, the service and convenience was terrific!  One final consideration, if you decide to buy from Pret a Voir, consider going into a store to try on the sunglasses to see how they look and decide on frame colors.  Happy shopping!!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

HauteLook Order #2

I am so behind on updating this blog.  It's horrible.  I made my second HauteLook purchase--before I even received my first order.  Haha.  I got a bit obsessed with Gorjana jewelry, which has been showing up on both HauteLook and BaubleBar (await a future post!).  This time, I bought the Graham Leather Studded Double Wrap bracelet in black/gold for $28 (retail ~$70 in its heyday) not including shipping.

Shipping and delivery was much quicker this time!  I placed my order on 6/18/2012 and received it on 6/28/2012.  I also got a little surprise in my box!  More on that later....

Underneath everything in the shipping container was my tiny little Gorjana box.

Isn't this bracelet just darling?!  It's so cute and dainty!  The leather and studs are not overwhelming; it is totally wearable.  I love the tiny pendant by the closure, which just has a simple g stamped on it--no gaudy designer name or branding to detract from the bracelet.  The only issue I had was trying to put it on--you really need to bend the leather by the closure to pull it through, but it is very secure.  All in all, I am very pleased with this purchase:  adorable styling + real leather +18k gold plated brass!

I almost forgot, my surprise sample!  I was actually really baffled when I saw this in the box because I wasn't expecting a freebie.  Many U.S. sellers just don't offer freebies and samples the way Asian sellers do.  Not to mention, this product didn't seem to relate to the item I purchased, but I'm not complaining.  I've only tried it once and it is a very nice light daytime moisturizer.  I can't say whether it lives up to all its claims, yet, but I will tell you all later when I've had time to test it!

Alright, I finally feel semi caught up with all my purchases.  Be on the lookout for a couple of BaubleBar reviews and two GMarket hauls (Well, it's more like one massive haul since I placed the orders within days of each other.  Haha.)!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

HauteLook Order #1

I know HauteLook has been out for awhile, but I've always been hesitant to jump on the bandwagon.  I'm not even sure why.  Perhaps, it was the thought of crazy "discount" prices that still managed to be way out of my price range.  Or maybe, I was afraid of falling into a crazed frenzy to grab anything designer just for the name--despite the fact that these were potential designer rejects, and thus, discounted.  Anyways, I finally caved and purchased this Amrita Singh Mira handbag in black for $56.95 ($49 + $7.95 shipping).  I placed my order on 6/1/2012 and received it exactly three weeks later on 6/21/2012  (Yes, this post is rather late... :/).

After three weeks of anticipation, I finally received my package!

The bag arrived in a very flat box--almost the shape of a very skinny laptop box.  The small handles were originally clipped to the same side--if you've seen the stock photos the short straps are on the ends of the bag, which look very weird and awkward.  I re-arranged them to clip to the opposite sides of the bag and lay flat against the bag; they are slightly short in this orientation, but not so bad as to be a deal breaker.
This bag has a lot of straps.  The shoulder strap (studded) is the only strap that is permanently attached to the bag.  The long shoulder strap and the smaller handles are detachable. 

I like the buckles and gold detailing and the side zippered pockets.  The side pockets are functional, but I'm not sure what I would put in them.


Other side-view.  Haha.  I like how plain, or subtly designed, this bag is, so that it can match a lot of outfits without being overbearing.  This bag is a very soft faux leather and doesn't keep its shape too well.  It does, however, fit a lot.  In order to take pictures I stuffed it with my Etude House lip pillow!  Haha.

Amrita Singh.  It was a decent deal at $49, but I wouldn't pay the $250 list price because it wasn't even real leather.  Also, the stitching on the inner liner (which I forgot to take pictures of...maybe later) was somewhat messy--not overly, but then again, for $250 it shouldn't be messy at all.  I feel like some of the non-designer bags I've found off GMarket have much neater stitching.  It is sturdy; I'm not afraid that the straps (all 3 sets) will break.

Overall, it is fun to shop on HauteLook because there are always different deals.  It can be hazardous if you're a shopaholic not only because everything "seems" like a good deal--cheaper than retail!--and can cause you to buy unnecessary items, but also because of that 15 minute countdown timer once you add something to your cart.  I honestly clicked purchase so quickly because I was afraid my bag would be sold out--in fact, these Mira handbags, at least in camel and black, were still around a couple weeks later.

Another nice thing about Hautelook is its flat-rate shipping.  I hate sites that have a different shipping rate to Hawaii and Alaska.  I know it does cost businesses a bit more to ship things further than the continental U.S., but Hawaii and Alaska are still part of the U.S. and shouldn't be discriminated against.

Lastly, despite being called HauteLook I was surprised to find E.L.F. cosmetics on their site.  I'm not saying that E.L.F. cosmetics aren't high quality, they just don't seem to fit HauteLook's image.  (Not to mention, I'm not even sure how much of a discount can HauteLook give on already inexpensive cosmetics.)  That being said, if you are easily swayed by designer brands and names, I would double check on the brands and designers that HauteLook lists because they don't all seem to be well-known or high-quality.

After using this bag for a bit, I thought I would give a little update regarding my thoughts on this bag.  The straps are slightly awkward on this bag, especially the long shoulder strap.  It looks cluttered if you clip it to the circular ring where the shorter shoulder strap is permanently attached, but I feel the bag falls a bit awkwardly if you attach it to where the shorter handles--either diagonally across or both on one-side because of the way the weight of your bag is distributed.  That being said, I don't really use the longer shoulder/cross-body strap, but that also means your stuff isn't as easily accessible while wearing your bag.  If you are the type to dig around through your purse while it is still on your shoulder or arm, then the shorter shoulder strap and detachable arm straps may get in the way.  Other than those slight annoyances, though, this bag is nice and has held up well.