A semi-regular round-up of fashion and shopping-related news and links.
» Filene's Basement and its parent company, Syms, filed for bankruptcy this morning. Going out of business sales are expected to be completed by January.
» With Google Wallet, Google is attempting to turn your phone into your wallet, so to speak. They've partnered with stores so you can pay, redeem coupons, and/or earn rewards points, all with one tap of your phone. (They also have exclusive limited-time offers.) To encourage people to try out the new service, they're heading out to NYC, Chicago, DC, San Francisco, and Los Angeles; you can get $10 towards your purchase when you use a demo phone to tap and pay at one of their store demo events.
» Jon Bon Jovi has opened a new restaurant, "Soul Kitchen," in New Jersey. But it's not just any old restaurant: it aims to serve as an alternative to soup kitchens; the hungry can pay what they're able or, if they lack the ability to pay, they can "bus tables... wait tables... work in the kitchen as a dishwasher or sous chef." I have a newfound respect for Bon Jovi.
» You no longer have to wake up at the crack of dawn to battle it out for Black Friday deals: The new trend is for stores to open at midnight. Macy's is set to do so at all but 20 of its 810 stores. (Many outlets, as well as Target, will also open at midnight.)
» Fashion terms are tossed around all the time on TV shows and blogs, in magazines and newspapers, but what does it all mean? Lucky has the answers.
» A new company would like to help you find the perfect fit while online shopping with the help of a webcam and a CD.
» Or, if you're shopping in person, you can just use a fancy-schmancy 3D body scanner.
» In recycling news...
- A bridge in Scotland was built from 50 tons of recycled plastic
- Lifehacker has a list of 5 easy places to recycle your old gadgets
- eBay now offers "instant sale" — you can trade in your electronics for cash, without having to wait for a buyer
» Wal-Mart has announced a partnership with Facebook to offer "Facebook pages specifically tailored for each of its more than 3,500 locations," which will provide discount offers, events, and other information.
» If you have a Kindle, you can now borrow library e-books and have them sent directly to your device. (Nook users are able to download library e-books and sideload them to their devices.)
» If you (or your kids) have a bunch of LEGO sets, check out the new site Rebrickable, which shows you what you can make from the combined collection of pieces you have.
» As one Borders location was closing for good, its employees posted this epic list of "Things we never told you: Ode to a bookstore death."
» Bagged lunches don't have to be uncool. Save money and make your kid the envy of his classmates with awesome paperbag artwork.
A semi-regular round-up of fashion and shopping-related news and links.
» Tales of the retail bizarre: An Australian store is reveling in the negative attention it has received since news broke of their poor treatment of one customer, who wrote an open letter regarding her experience.
» The AtomicAttic duo makes good on the term "upcycled": they make awesome pet beds out of vintage products and beautiful home decor from old barn wood.
» Speaking of vintage products, Maggie Mason (of Mighty Girl) has a Flickr pool of the clever ways vintage products were designed, from mixing bowls with measurement marks inside to an expandable purse and a multi-faced baby doll.
» I'm in love with the custom wedding gown sketches by Megan Hamilton. They're a beautiful way to remember your wedding dress, and they take up a lot less room than a gown box or garment bag! (I'm still hoping I'll get one eventually.)
» Today Groupon introduced Groupon Goods, which offers "really good deals on great products." Whereas regular Groupon offers discounts at stores, Groupon Goods will offer discounts on specific products.
» Now that Amazon has introduced its new Kindle Fire, you may be wondering what tablet is the right choice for you. PCMag has it covered.
» There's a new app for iPhone and iPad (sadly, no Android yet) called StyleBook that enables you to inventory your wardrobe and then experiment with different outfits without having to pull the clothes out of your closet.
» The Economist looks at the impact "digitisation" has had on the book publishing industry in their article "Great Digital Expectations."
» If you want a good deal on your cell phone plan, look into your service provider's "secret" no-contract deals. As Get Rich Slowly shows, "The plans without the contracts had a lower monthly cost than the plans with contracts."
» In Finland, all expecting mothers receive a "baby box" full of gender neutral baby clothing and essentials for the first year. Love it or hate it? Personally, I'd be a lot more amenable to the idea of having kids if we had a program like this.
» Recycling is necessary (and awesome), but it can be hard to know where to recycle things other than paper, plastic, and glass. For electronics, head to Best Buy, whose e-cycle program accepts everything from cables to movies to computer monitors; they also have kiosks for ink and toner cartridges, rechargeable batteries, and wires. In NYC, clothing can be recycled through the re-fashionNYC program, a partnership between the City and Housing Works; they accept any clean fabric and material (clothes, towels, linens, etc.) as well as shoes and accessories. And no matter where you live, there's always a thrift store to which you can donate your unwanted items!
» MSN has the run-down on what you should (and shouldn't) buy in September. (Warning: There's a video that auto-plays.)
» JCPenney's "Too Pretty To Do Homework" girls' T-shirt set off a firestorm on the Internet, leading to JCP's removal of the shirt from its site.
» Greeting card company Fomato has distilled the Target shopping experience to its three basic truths: (1) 50% of people call it "Tarjé," (2) No one will turn down a trip to Target, and (3) You always buy more than you plan.
» Do you try to purchase products that are healthy? Green? Socially responsible? Then check out GoodGuide's Transparency Toolbar, which automatically gives you product ratings while you shop online. (Or you can head to the GoodGuide site to look up specific products.)
» On Tuesday (September 13), a new Westfield shopping center opens in Stratford City (UK), becoming Europe's largest urban shopping center. To promote Westfield Stratford City, they've created a video of 100 years of East London style:
Over the years, my family has spread out... instead of 5 kids at home, my mom now has 5 kids living in 4 different states. Our grandparents, aunts, and uncles also live in one of those states, and my parents live in yet another state. So you can imagine it can get difficult for the family to coordinate who's buying what for birthdays and other gift-giving holidays.
When we were younger, we'd simply hand-write wish lists that my mom would then distribute via phone tree, giving certain ideas to certain people so there wouldn't be any repeats. Then we moved on to e-mailed lists. Now, I like to use Kaboodle*, and I've talked a few family members into it, too. You can make as many or as few lists as you want (and it's not just limited to wish lists; you can make shopping lists, inspiration lists, and lists of things you have, too). My favorite aspect of it, though, is that you can add products from all different sites, unlike the proprietary wish lists on so many shopping sites. Plus there's the ability to "reserve" an item, which helps eliminate duplicates.
My 25th birthday is a week from today, so I thought I'd share with all of you my current wish list. Check out the slideshow below, and click through if you want to know cost or store of any of the items.
*Kaboodle started out as a list-making, shopping-oriented site, but it's evolved to become a community to discover and share cool products, get input on shopping quandaries (this purse or that purse?), and be informed on new products and special sales from your favorite brands.