Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Fake Dior

Designer purses are wonderful creations - made from high-quality leathers and rich fabrics, carefully crafted with great attention to detail. They also come with large price tags. For the average woman, a $400 purse is just not a purchase she can make...which creates two fields of businesses.

First, the counterfeiters. They duplicate those designer purses, well and poorly. You can find awful fakes - plastic instead of leather, poorly printed "logos - practically shouting to the world their status. For prices of $20 or so, you get what you pay for - and don't really expect the real thing. You can also find very well made fakes, and those can be exceptionally deceiving - leathers and fabrics that are good quality, perfect stitching, and hardware cast from a mold of the real item. These high-quality fakes often command higher prices as well - $100 and up - which makes them feel that much more legitimate.

The second business around designer purses is the resellers - people on eBay and similar sites who sell new and used designer purses for less than retail. Honest resellers offer items they know are genuine - either purchased themselves from a reputable store, or very carefully authenticated. Dishonest resellers - of which there are many - will offer fakes of all quality, sometimes by listing a real purse but sending the counterfeit.

I happen to consider myself an honest reseller - when I offer designer purses in my eBay store, they are generally something I found in a Nordstrom's clearance section. (Can't get much more reputable than that) On occasion, however, I do run across designer items at thrift stores...and then the painstaking authentication process begins.

Most fakes can be easily spotted, if you've seen the real designer items. The logo printing isn't right, or an inside tag is missing. Occasionally, however, even I can be fooled temporarily! This is one such story.

While shopping at my local thrift store, I found 2 possible designer purses - stashed in electronics, where obviously an employee was hoping to hide them until s(he) could buy them. One was a Gucci look-alike - while the outside logo print was nicely done, the inside fabric was plastic-like and cheap. I put that purse back in the "stash". The second purse looked like a Christian Dior logo. The fabric logo print was clean and distinct, the stitching throughout was pristine and uniform, and the leather strap was nice quality. Looking at the hardware, I could see multiple "CD" and "Christian Dior" stampings in hidden locations. The inside lining was a woven black fabric with "Christian Dior" as part of the pattern.

I don't normally sell Dior - it rarely goes on sale - but this purse looked close enough to be worth my $6 at the thrift. I went home, telling myself it was probably fake...but hoping for the best.

To authenticate it, I went to eBay's Guides, and looked for Dior purses. Searching through the guides, I saw multiple items to look for - certain hardware shape, check. Thickness of the hanging "D", check. Woven, not printed, name on the lining, check. This purse had so many hallmarks of a real Dior...

...but ultimately, I've decided that it's just a very well-made fake. (I'm still mildly hopeful that it's just a vintage purse with minor variations...but not enough to sell it) The shape is not quite right, for one. For another, there's no leather tag inside, which my research tells me should exist. Small details, really - but critical ones.

The moral of this story (of course there's one) - if you want to buy a discount designer purse, do your research! Know everything there is to know about the kind of purse you want, make sure you buy from a reputable seller...and realize that even the 'experts' can be fooled occasionally, so don't feel too bad if it happens to you.

Me, I'll be carrying that knock-off Dior occasionally. If I thought it was will everyone else!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Which is Better?

I've been rather busy with lots of things this summer (the bellydance class is going great!)...including 2 custom jewelry orders from Etsy, and 2 custom pieces I'm working on for family.

All this custom work seems to have consumed my jewelry-making time, so other than one 90% complete bracelet, I've made nothing to add to my Etsy store since May.

Which leads to a this a good thing, or a bad thing? Obviously having custom work means I'm earning money. (Yeah!) Still, it also means I'm neglecting my store, which makes me feel guilty.


It's About Time

Girls Equal to Boys in Math

Finally, statistical proof of what I've known all along...girls can be good at math too. Heck, I should be living proof myself - I'm great at math, have an advanced degree in physics, and more than hold my own with the male engineers at my job.

So why do people think boys are "naturally" better at math than girls? That there's some flaw in complex reasoning brought on by our double-X chromosomes...or perhaps just the 'insanity' of estrogen prevents our logical thinking.

Guess what y'all...boys don't have some natural male advantage. HA!

To the men I've dealt with in my life...including one college professor I WAS WORKING FOR, and who should have known better...I TOLD YOU SO.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Vegas, Baby!

The hubby and I just returned from Vegas, and boy did we have a good time. I won't bore you with the details - music, gambling, food, etc etc - however there were a few interesting moments I just had to share. (Hubby actually mentioned "I bet you blog this" on some of these) I'll warn you, it WAS Vegas,these aren't G-rated!

1. Free airport entertainment is worth the price. And by that, I mean it's worth NOTHING. Hubby and I were enjoying our pre-flight sushi before leaving for Vegas, comfortably seated near the front exit. Half-way through our miso, an awful caterwauling commenced...some random 25-year-old guy set up shop with his guitar, and serenaded the busy travelers. Since security didn't haul him away, I assume he had permission...but boy, were we hoping for that burly security guy to step in. This "singer" was awful; he slaughtered perfectly good songs from the 50s through 80s. Seriously, when your "Love Me Tender" is worse than the fat Elvis Impersonator at some cheap's time to find a real job, perhaps at McDonalds.

2. Vegas needs to change it's slogan. Forget "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas"...hubby now proposes a simpler "show us your tits". 10 seconds on a Saturday night is enough to prove him right. Now, I'm no prude - I've been there on a girls weekend where we dressed to the nines and clubbed hopped with the best of them. But sheesh, it's getting ridiculous! Everybody is wearing low-cut, tight, sparkly attire...from the petite girls with fake IDs, to mature cougars who know better. It's getting so you can't pick out the hookers anymore!

3. Speaking of that slogan - people, it's a saying, not a command! You'd never guess it from the Sunday-morning and Monday-morning crowds, however. (Hubby likes to get up before 7am and gamble for cheap) Walk of shame, check. Drunks of all ages, check. Conservative 50-something ladies grinning like Cheshire cats, check and check. As much as I enjoy people-watching during the evenings - all the crazy attire, the makeup, the flirting and drinking - mornings are even better - the hangovers, the smeared makeup and slept-in clubbing outfit, and more.

4. Drunks of all ages are fun. Sure, we saw plenty of drunk college guys cruising for chicks. (Note to college guys - getting drunk and randomly yelling "Wooooo" really doesn't draw the ladies) My favorite group of drunks was older, however. 3 couples, all in their late 40s to early 50s, riding the monorail with us after a night of dinner and a show. All were well soused, but one guy in the group was clearly way beyond the rest - he spoke loudly, said stupid things, engaged random strangers in a debate over the merits of the "Jersey Boys" show he just watched. His 5-person greek chorus just giggled and reminded him to use an "inside voice", which made the whole thing very, very funny to watch.

5. Movies and TV shows aren't that wrong. We witnessed an actual "medical emergency" on our flight back, and it was just like on TV! A lady was having a seizure about 20 minutes from our home airport. The flight attendants asked for "any passenger with medical training...a doctor, nurse, certified EMT". When we landed, we came in hard, and pulled into a gate in amazing time. It was thrilling and scary at the same time - for everyone, really. I can report that the passenger was conscious and able to walk out on her own, so hopefully she's ok.

In case you're wondering, no, we didn't come back big winners. That's ok - we stayed within our budget, ate a couple exquisite meals (Mesa Grill Sunday brunch is wonderful), and enjoyed being adults together. What a wonderful vacation...can't wait to do it again!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

These Guys Have No Life

In my continuing saga of "huh" moments...

This week has been a busy one for me at work. Brand new product that we're trying to get qualified and out the door - and I've run into a series of issues to deal with. It's meant some long hours, and I've had to come in early and/or stay late more than I like.

Staying late here really says something an engineer, I'm "exempt" - meaning I don't get paid for overtime. (They think they pay me enough as it is, I guess!) So instead of a nice 8-5 job with 1 hour for lunch...engineers here are expected to work 8-6pm, take maybe 30 minutes for lunch, and morning/afternoon breaks? Not a chance. Fortunately, most managers don't really stick to that, as long as you get your job done...but there ARE some odd looks and "going home early?" comments to deal with, if you dare leave at 5:30pm.

So fine, the atmosphere here is work-a-holic. But that doesn't explain some of the weird guys in this building.

Guys who show up around 7am. And leave after 6pm...sometimes closer to 7pm.

Seriously. I mean, I love my job...but I don't want to be here 12 hours a day. Or 11 hours a day. Even going somewhere else for a lunch hour...that's TOO long in this building.

What is up with these guys? Do they hate their wives? Are they lonely? Do they figure, why not work, since their World of Warcraft buddies won't be on until 8pm anyway?

Beats the heck out of me. All I know is...I love my kids, I love my husband, I have a comfy house I enjoy relaxing in...I have two internet businesses that I enjoy working on. Heck no, I'm not going to put in extra hours here 'for the heck of it'.

Time to cut this ESD tester needs my attention!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Easiest Shopping Ever!

Today, I did the unthinkable.


That's right! During my lunch break, I drove to the nearby Kohls and dared the swimwear. Why? Well, for one - 50% off. For another...hubby and I fly out Friday night to Vegas, and I need something that fits decently for those hours I plan to lounge at the pool. (In the shade, with SPF30000, I swear!)

As always, I dreaded this. I'm not a size 6 - I have a daughter, some surgical scars, and an affinity for chocolate. Finding a CUTE swimsuit that fits well and covers my flaws - yeah, sure. If you hear the Mission Impossible theme playing, there's a reason.

So it should shock you as much as it shocked me, that I spent about 5 minutes in the dressing room, loved what I grabbed, and left the store smiling after 15 minutes. SMILING. 15 MINUTES.

What's the difference? Have I finally learned which styles suit my body? (Halter good, string bikini bottoms bad) Are my expectations lower - am I happy with a less cutting-edge, more mom-style suit? Or is it just that this year, FINALLY, they've created flattering AND cute suits for everybody.

Me - I'm voting for the last. Let's hope next year is more of the same!

Monday, July 7, 2008

I Hate Working With Men

For all you women out there who work with other women...I'm so jealous!

Yes, I know you have problems. There's nothing like fighting with another woman at work to really ding the self-esteem.

But I have a bigger problem - no women to interact with!

It's really true. I'm an engineer, and I work in a building surrounded by other engineers. Male engineers.

And that means I have no one to gossip with! Seriously, we're not just talking about the goofy new name of Nicole Kidman's baby. This is the important stuff, like the awful bike outfit worn by one of the VPs. The visible tattoos on our new cafeteria cashier. And how the new ESD smocks make everyone's butt look HUGE.

It also means I have no female supporter here. Nobody to tell me my new haircut is great, or my new eyeshadow is too dark. (Guys might think it, but they won't say it!) Nobody to share my anger with over the sexist comments and double-standards that sometimes crop up.

It stinks. Truly.

So go hug your female co-workers today - even the ones you love to hate. Trust me, you'd miss them!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

So Life's Been Busy...

Once again, I find myself apologizing for my 'radio silence' of late. It's been a rather busy week yet again, and I have little time for blogging! So much is going on in my life...

For one, my kids are leaving for the summer. My family is 'blended' - meaning all of our kids have other, non-custodial parents. (My husband and I are blessed to have primary custody at least!) Our youngest daughter flew out with her dad last Saturday, and the sons and eldest daughter leave today for Wyoming. (I'll freely admit, I'm going to enjoy being kidless for a little...a quiet house, a much smaller grocery bill, the ability to eat whatever the ADULTS want) Getting the kids ready to go has been long and painful, however. Not just in the sheer volume of clothing to be washed and packed, but also the time spent with friends before leaving, the summer-vacation-type activites that we've tried to cram into our 3 scant weeks, and the overall emotional tones to everything we've done. Frankly, my husband and I are exhausted!

Adding to all the stress, I've been working on TWO custom orders. I finally finished the first - a lovely coral necklace - last night. The second, a jade ring, will take another week or so. 'Cause I've got SO much free time.

Of course, my biggest stressor right now is my job. (Which I generally enjoy, don't get me wrong) To simplify things, let's just say I'm an engineer who makes computer chips...really small ones lately. In fact, I spent a large part of my morning trying to move TINY little 4mm x 4mm parts from a small tray to an even smaller tray so we could test them. They are this tiny...

So you can see why I'm not only stressed, I'm headache-y too. On the plus side, however...things are wrapping up with these tiny parts, and next week should be much, much easier.

Hope you all enjoy your 4th of July holiday - me, I'm sleeping through it. Catch you on Monday!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

What Were They Thinking?

Summer certainly brings out the questionable behaviors, doesn't it?

Like the guy at my work who has decided to ride his bike, instead of drive. (Noble idea, of course) Except he's kinda large. AND he likes those skimpy bike outfits.


Or how about this morning's big winner...a lady at work wearing a tube top. No, I'm not kidding. We're a professional company, today is NOT casual Tuesday, and yes, our A/C is working fine.

Somebody forgot she's not in college anymore!

Last but not least is the guy who sits near me. He's about my age (mid-30s) and reasonable attractive...or at least, he was until 2 weeks ago, when he inexplicable bleached his hair. Obviously on his own - no stylist would allow that horrible orangey-white nastiness to leave his/her salon!

Guys, please...before you do this, ask a woman or two about it first!